Girls, Girls, Girls - Part II
by Eugene Hernandez
To read the first part of this article, click here.
In a decade when being an independent filmmaker is the latest
trend, Jim rejects the movement explaining that, "a lot of people who really
aren't quite ready, make a feature film rather than...a short, and a lot of
people are really impatient to be a film director and that's because of the
celebrity that is put upon filmmakers. You really have to have an idea that
means a lot to you," he warns, "The idea for the film meant enough to me that
I would bust my ass and put out my own money and put everything on the line
for it." He hopes that articles about "Girls Town" and its collaborative
process will inspire filmmakers to work another way. He adds, "I would like
to see a re-evaluation of the term independent filmmaker."
Jim admits to being resentful of the "indie" facade used by those who are
simply interested in cashing in on the current popularity of independent
filmmaking. "The minute someone says this how its supposed to be done, is the
minute I go back and say I don't want to do it that way," he declares. But
after talking with McKay you realize he is less a rebel for the sake of
rebellion than a missionary on a crusade to make a difference. Equating the
indie film movement
with the alternative music scene he declares tremendous respect for bands
like Pearl Jam and filmmakers like Jim Jarmusch and John Sayles -- all of
whom have remained relatively pure in the face of incredible money and fame.
Since completing the film, McKay has been living on credit cards and staying
rent-free at a friends' downtown New York City apartment, and he wonders,
"How many people can afford not to pay rent for a month." He goes on to
warn, "We have to really think about how that's limiting the people who are
actually getting into filmmaking in the first place and therefore limiting
the stories that are being told."
McKay is also outspoken about the "dumbing of American youth by mainstream
Hollywood movies" and is critical of the way Hollywood plugs in all the
elements they think are needed to get young people
into theaters. He explains that "kids go to (those films) because there is
not a whole lot else out there, and they accept those images of themselves."
Jim goes on to say, "I read a comment from one of the people at one of the
mini-studios when we were writing our script and he said 'Girls don't buy
movie tickets, girls go to boys who buy movie tickets and decide on the
movies, this is a person who is buying and making films for a big company
and my feeling is as long as people like him continue to make shitty movies
that girls don't really have a stake in choosing, well then maybe they're not
going to choose the movie. There might be a little bit of truth in that," he
admits, "but that's like saying 'well all TV sucks, so lets make sucky TV'.
You can go to work every day and be a part of that process or you can go to
work everyday and try to change that."
"The frustrating thing for me is when you make something that actually does
show them as they are its that much harder to get them to go," he continues,
"its that much harder to get it to them because they have been trained and
have this impulse to go to the big stupid movie." As a result Jim is ready
to employ non-traditional techniques to get the word out about "Girls Town".
While he admits to being fairly unfamiliar with the Internet, he seems aware
of its power and has been enthusiastic about using the medium as a way to
further explore the issues raised in the film, the collaborative filmmaking
process, and as a way to directly respond to viewers questions or opinions of
To read the next part of this article, click here.