Saturday, January 7, 2012

TI WEST: A GOD AMONG MEN

This is about to turn into an extremely eloquent fangirl rant, and I have absolutely no shame in admitting that.  Let me get the carnal responses out of the way so I can really divulge into why I'm so obsessed with him at the moment. I would have Ti West's babies and gladly enjoy the process of making them.  Now that I've gotten that out of my system. LET US BEGIN. 

A few years ago, I got my grubby little paws on a film called The Roost.  I found it to be not without its problems, but a fantastic throwback to the horror films of yesteryear.  It was shot on a low budget, but gave off a delightful indie feeling and in all honesty, was a damn entertaining movie.  For a young director, I'd have to say I was rather impressed.  It was 2009, however that put Ti West on the map as a horror director that is a force to be reckoned with.  The House of the Devil is a near perfect film.  Now before anyone tries to shout about the slow pacing or how nothing crazy happens until the ending, I'd kindly like you to take a step back and go watch films from the early eighties and bite me.  Ti West completely encompassed the look, feel, and probably even the taste of how truly terrifying horror movies were meant to be made.  He has a keen eye for style and I find him to be an expert at pacing.  While the payoff wasn't until the ending, the film was always entertaining, thrilling, and interesting to watch.  He has a unique writing style and developed characters that were always authentic and easy to relate to.  The film took the underground horror film by storm and it has every right to.  It's a gorgeous film and a great thrill ride.  He created a film at the age of 31 with a quality that most directors twice his age have failed to produce.

Last night, I finally saw The Innkeepers.  Ti West has truly done it again.  This isn't going to be a review, so I'll hold my tongue about plot points.  I swear to Cthulhu, this man can make a damn movie.  The thing I appreciate the most about his film making, is his grasp of aesthetics.  His films are all remarkably appealing to the eye and if there's ever a moment that feels "dull" or "slow" there is always something beautiful about the setting to distract you.  I honestly didn't find a single moment of this film to be dull or slow, but I am also a person who craves "slow-burn" horror films.  Ti West is a master at pacing, and this film was no exception.  To enforce even more about his eye for beauty, his one-sheets for his films are incredible.  Both The House of the Devil and The Innkeepers were placed #1 on "best posters of the year" on countless horror websites.  Why?  Because they're perfect.  They all look the way posters are supposed to look.  They're intriguing, but they're works of art.  You know you've created a quality advertisement piece when someone would be willing to put it on the wall in a frame without ever seeing the film.  That's how I felt with both of his recent films, and I know I'm not the only one in thinking that. 

Most importantly, Ti West is an incredible person because of the way his mind works.  Recently, he released an open letter to the world explaining why we shouldn't pirate movies.  It reads as follows:

Dear Internet,

This Friday (Dec 30th) my film THE INNKEEPERS will be released on VOD an entire month before it's released in theaters (Feb 3rd). This means it will likely hit the Internet torrent sites within 24 hours and seed thousands of downloads in the coming days.

WHY I THINK YOU SHOULD PAY FOR INDEPENDENT MOVIES. It's not the money. Personally I don't care about the money. As sad as it is to admit it's very unlikely I will make a dime off of the release of the film. My previous film, "The House of the Devil," had a similar release and was very successful - That was in 2009, and to this day I have made ZERO dollars off of its success. I do not own the films, and by the time any profits would trickle down to little old me (writer/director/editor/producer) they would all have been mysteriously soaked up into vague expenses, random fees and outrageous overages. This is the nature of the business and I have come to accept it. As long as I don't own my films - something I give up in exchange for someone with much deeper pockets affording me the budgets to make them - this is how it goes. It's a trade off and I'm fine with it. I don't really care. What I do care about, however, is your support. I care very much about that.

Every time you purchase something you are making a statement. You are creating physical evidence that something has value. If something has a high value, then it becomes in high demand. So if you make a concerted effort to support lesser-known, interesting and esoteric things (Art?) then you are helping make those lesser-known things more popular. I'm sure we can all agree that there are incredible movies made every year that never get the attention they deserve - That's not the movies' fault. That is our collective fault for not being proactive enough to GO OUT OF OUR WAY to support them.

So yes, I want you to go out of your way and pay for my movie. Not because I'm greedy, but because if the movie makes money (whomever for) that's tangible evidence of a paying audience out there for movies like mine. For independent films. For something different. Not just bland remakes/sequels or live action versions of comic books/cartoons/boardgames. This is a powerful time for the consumer. With a small platform release like ours (VOD/Theatrical), it's been made incredibly easy for you to support the film...You don't even have to get out of bed.
I do personally benefit from you paying for my film. So do my friends and collaborators. Maybe not in a direct, financial way; but in the gaining of support from consumer/fans whose collective interest convinces rich people to keep giving us budgets (hopefully bigger ones) for the types of movies we make. These investors only do this based on the accountable value of a movie. Not the content. Hopefully everyone knows that by now, but maybe there are still a few ideological people out there reading this who think movies get financed because they are simply great stories worth being told no matter what their commercial appeal. Unfortunately, with very few exceptions...They don't.

How about this: If you went into a store and there were two similar products - one made by hand by someone local who you knew (perhaps a small business in the USA?) and the other just churned out by a machine (perhaps not in the USA?) - wouldn't you pay a tiny bit more for the one made by the person you knew? Especially if you knew it was actually benefitting that person? Wouldn't that be better than supporting the machine-made, impersonal, uninspired version? Wouldn't you want to support them?

Where we choose to spend our money should reflect what matters to us and what we want to support. If independent film matters to you, then do me a solid and pay for the film instead of downloading it. It's not a huge financial commitment, but it has a huge financial impact. I am not a corporation, I am not independently wealthy, I don't come from a family of the industry...I'm just a regular dude who made a movie and wants to keep on making them. I can't do that without your help, and it would be very much appreciated.

Lastly, if you live in a city where the film is being released theatrically, please go see it in the theater. It took over a year to meticulously craft the film with the intent of it being seen projected on 35mm on a big screen with loud surround sound. This was all done for your benefit. It is meant to be seen in a theater - It is after all...A movie.

Sincerely,

Ti 

I'm sorry. What the hell is there not to like about the guyTi West, get down with your bad self.  Continue making movies for the rest of your life, because you are one of the few directors out there that actually understands how to make not just a movie, but a piece of art that will stand the test of time and CGI.   

1 comment(s):

The Diary of a Milkman said...

Smart guy for sure. Even though I'm not cuckookaka for his films, I respect the guy - even though I don't buy his 'I don't care about the money' stance.

Anyways, I understand the big picture meaning of his letter and I'll support the guy - if I like the movie. I'm too strapped for cash to buy dvds blindly. :(

Back to Ti, I personally don't think he has anything to worry about. He's arguably one of the brightest spots in horror today, and his future is there as long as he sticks with it. He makes approachable, likeable, professional films - he'll eventually make cash. Again, if he sticks with it. Hell, a big wig like Del Toro should and probably will take notice.


Enjoy the blog very much by the way. o/

Related Posts with Thumbnails