November 7, 2013

10 Quotes from 'Seduced and Abandoned,' the New HBO Doc All Filmmakers Should Watch

Seduced and AbandonedEver wish you could see what happens inside private dealmaking sessions for Hollywood films? Well, Alec Baldwin and James Toback ran around the Cannes film festival trying to pinch heavy cash from finance fat cats, and lucky for us, they filmed the whole process! Compiled into the new HBO doc Seduced and Abandoned or as some have tagged it, what's wrong with Hollywood, we get a pithy look at filmmaking from everyone from Ryan Gosling to Francis Ford Coppola. Below is a roundup of memorable quotes to ponder.

It's both refreshing and disconcerting to hear from the likes of Martin Scorsese about how difficult it is to get funding for a film. As Toback and Baldwin head down the rocky road to remake Last Tango in Paris (to be set in Iraq and titled Last Tango in Tikrit), we get a pretty entertaining look not just at financing, but the whole messy, lovely art of filmmaking.

There are plenty to choose from, but here is a selection of ten quotes worth thinking about.

1. A line from Orson Welles flashes on the screen and sets the tone for everything to come:

I look back on my life and it's 95% running around trying to raise money to make movies and 5% actually making them. It's no way to live.

2. And you thought it would get easier to get financing after you make and epic like The Godfather? Francis Ford Coppola says otherwise:

No one wanted me to do Apocalypse Now and I had finished 2 Godfather films, won a ton of Oscars -- I was so frustrated, I said, "What do you have to do to get to be able make the movies that you have in your heart?"

3. Then Alec Baldwin takes a whack at what it:

The way you make it in this business is that you have to become a really selfish motherfucker.

4. From Avi Lerner, Co-Chairman of Nu Image, Inc:

When I make a movie, all I think is, what's the profit? Before I make a movie, I know how much I'm going to sell it.

5. Jeremy Thomas of Hanway Films on the state of visionary studio bosses:

It's very hard to find anybody today who says, "I want to do that, I want to do that."  No, let's run the numbers. So it's not anybody whose got some type of vision anymore. The visionary studio bosses are a thing of the past.

6. As if funding meant the hard part was over, Bernardo Bertolucci on directing a great performance from Marlon Brando in Last Tango in Paris:

He didn't speak to me for 5 years -- Maybe he felt betrayed by me because I stole from him so many sincere things -- real things from him.

7. James Caan on good directors and bad scripts:

The good directors, they're supervisors. If I have trouble memorizing, it's pretty much written wrong.

8. Baldwin's take on the future of the movies:

 The technology is splintering the audience, and it's happening slowly, but something tells me its going to shatter.

9. Roman Polanski tells us that the glory days of, er, film school in Soviet Poland courtesy of a quote from Vladimir Lenin. Chew on that:

"Among all arts, film is the most important for us."  "Us" meaning socialism. That school was fantastic really and I have great memories.

10. And finally, Scorsese:

You have to fight very, very, very hard to do what you want, because it always comes down to the money.

If you've seen Seduced and Abandoned, do you have a quote that you thought rang true? When it comes to getting movies financed, is the film industry broken? Or is this a necessary part of the art?

Link: Seduced and Abandoned -- Watch Now -- HBO GO Documentaries

Your Comment

25 Comments

This film was actually put together not as a true doc but as a docudrama, part fact part fiction. If you check out the podcast "The Treatment" hosted by Elvis Mitchell, he interviews both James Toback and Alec Baldwin about it. It's pretty cool stuff, I've been looking forward to seeing it for a few weeks.

November 7, 2013 at 7:05PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

0
Reply
Paul

Its really good, very funny, and should not be taken too seriously.
/big fan of Toback.

November 8, 2013 at 12:07PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

9
Reply
marklondon

I feel very sorry for those filmmakers...

wait a minute,

how many millions of $ each one of the have?

November 7, 2013 at 7:45PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

2
Reply
normalornot

If you think most directors get into filmmaking for the money and not the art, you've got it pretty twisted. It's easier making money doing basically any other job on earth. If you're just looking for money, choosing a career in filmmaking is a pretty dumb idea.

November 7, 2013 at 7:58PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

0
Reply

no, i just find it pretty ironic, when people who made a fortune doing what they love whine about the industry that made them filthy rich
If they are there for art - they all can do small self financed indie films and shoot whatever they want, but those people like to spend a lot of money and other resources on their art, thus it has to make a lot of money

November 7, 2013 at 8:03PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

6
Reply
normalornot

Now they have crowd funding too.

November 7, 2013 at 8:26PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

0
Reply
moebius22

and here they are making money by making documentary about how they raise the money to make more money

November 7, 2013 at 8:39PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

0
Reply
normalornot

Sorry, but directing as employment actually pays pretty well. Hard to get started though.

November 7, 2013 at 8:03PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

0
Reply
Lucian

I know someone who worked as a 1st AD on a major TV show a few years ago, and I saw her paychecks. Sure, there are thousands who don't make a lot of money, but some make obnoxious GOBS of cash.

November 7, 2013 at 10:32PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

3
Reply
Edmund Dale Lloyd

I love the mentality of the artists with no money begging "The man" for funds to make there vision come to life.
Than they complain the whole time about Producers and the suits that funded the film giving their input on the project. Raise your own money for your project or shut up!

November 7, 2013 at 11:22PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

3
Reply
skubrick

Lenin actually said "arts", not "odds". "Among all ARTS film is the most important for us". ))

November 7, 2013 at 11:38PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

0
Reply
CMOSFilm

Woops. I blame Polanski's accent.

November 8, 2013 at 5:00PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

1
Reply
avatar
Oakley Anderson-Moore
Writer
Director/Shooter/Editor

See, here's the thing. We're talking about Alec Baldwin here. The guy has money. A lot of it. I read an estimate of about $65 million. So, first of all if he's really PASSIONATE about a film, like he says he is, why doesn't he put up the money himself? Black Swan was made for 14 million. He could make TWO "Black Swan"s and still have 41 million left. Is he afraid it won't make it's money back? So why would a producer want to take that risk? Or maybe he just isn't that passionate about it in the first place. Kevin Smith wasn't rich but he maxed out his credit cards to make his movie and it paid off. I'm not saying he should make foolish decisions, I'm just saying he has money and if he REALLY wanted to make a film he could.

It does seem a little disingenuous for a millionaire to ask someone else for money to make his dream film project. In addition to that, he's Alec Baldwin! He has connections. If I had a lot of money, I might not be able to get famous actors, producers, distributors interested because I'm not a big name. But Alec Baldwin? Are you telling me he couldn't talk one of his famous actor friends into a couple weeks of shooting? These Hollywood types are so focused on their set way of doing things I feel like they can't think outside the box. How about throwing a little Roger Corman attitude into the mix. I'm not saying make a purposely bad movie, but what about reducing costs a little? Maybe you can shoot in Mexico where you can get talented non-union crews that are cheaper? Maybe you buy a Scarlet instead of renting an Alexa. Maybe you don't give all your actors their own trailers? Maybe you don't have craft services. Take your pick. I don't know the right answer, but when I see a comedy that amounts to to people talking to each other for 2 hours and the production costs were $35 million? Something seems off there.

That being said, I'm looking forward to watching this. I'm fascinated with all the wheeling and dealing that goes on so this should be interesting.

November 8, 2013 at 10:42AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

3
Reply
Guy

That's how I feel when I listen to big name director's complain about how hard it is to find funding. You're telling me in all these years they haven't amassed enough money or connections to make a film...even a relatively cheap film by Hollywood standards?!

I give Spike Lee some credit. He went out there and used Kickstarter, and got his movie funded on name recognition ALONE! That's something Spike, Scorsese, Spielberg. et al can do, that the average director can't.

November 8, 2013 at 12:23PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

3
Reply
moebius22

Agreed.

Name recognition for someone like Francis Ford Coppola, or Alec Baldwin is a BIG deal. They should use it to their advantage if they have the chance. I would.

November 8, 2013 at 2:20PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

0
Reply
Guy

Woah!!! Hold on there. You should never make a movie without craft services.

A scarlet instead of an Alexa...a 5D instead of a RED...but don't ever think you can cheap out on the snacks at ANY budget level. Maybe Cokes instead of expensive energy drinks...maybe carrot sticks instead of caviar and pâté, but you still gotta have the snacks.

November 18, 2013 at 5:36PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

0
Reply
Daniel Mimura

...but seriously, I agree with all your other points. No millionaire actors have any right to complain about anything. Just pony up a few hundred thousand and your film is still gonna a lot of exposure and get in the right hands and still have more resources than the vast majority of other indies.

November 18, 2013 at 5:39PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

4
Reply
Daniel Mimura

You are confusing "Actors" with "Producers" Baldwin is an actor, he has never (as far as I know) really taken a risk as producers do on a daily basis. He gets paid to do what he does, and does it well, but being an actor or director or whatever other position, is not being a producer. A producer finds the money, spends the money and figures out how the whole thing is going to make a profit so he or she can do it again. A producer lives with risk, and is willing to take a chance far beyond anyone else. So many people have "producing credit" but till you mortgage your house, or max out your credit cards to make a film, you are a poser, not a producer.

MJM

November 8, 2013 at 11:50AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

1
Reply
MJM

he was a producer on 30 rock

November 8, 2013 at 10:27PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

6
Reply
normalornot

Some amazing quotes here, love the "The technology is splintering the audience, and it’s happening slowly, but something tells me its going to shatter." one, Baldwin is totally right, the question is aggregating audience in a way that makes sense for engaging viewing experiences, telling stories, and making money.

November 8, 2013 at 12:28PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

0
Reply

The current Russian WWII epic "Stalingrad" was made for about $30M. Various Russian studios have also made some large scale epics for under $50M and comedies and period dramas for under $10M. Taking the above-the-title wages out of the equation, the modern Russian made dramas seem to be made for 50%-75% less than their Hollywood brethren while maintaining the "filmic quality" of production. Usually these productions travel to less expensive locales for the actual filming (to Czechia or Belarus and sometimes even China).

November 8, 2013 at 7:03PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

0
Reply
DLD

November 9, 2013 at 6:06AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

0
Reply

if you're going to take content from a documentary and use it for viewers on the site can you at least provide a way that I could watch the documentary? You say its produced by HBO but How can I watch it? Do I have to have hbo? can I see it on HBO go? Can I buy the DVD? Is it available on netflix?

November 11, 2013 at 3:02PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

3
Reply
Chris

He did provide (or add) a link, it's above the 'related posts' at the bottom of the article.

That takes you to HBO, where you can order a dvd. You can also watch it on HBO Go (HBO's internet-viewing service) if you are a subscriber to regular HBO or want to become one.

I can find no other way to view it, so I'll have to wait until one of my HBO-having friends wants to see it, you may wish to ask if any of your friends have HBO and wish to watch it.
-Olaf
Here's a review from the AV Club, which paints the film in a less-glowing light:
http://www.avclub.com/articles/seduced-and-abandoned,104756/

November 11, 2013 at 4:13PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

0
Reply

Correct me if I'm wrong but I thought success was a good thing? Making well though out decisions throughout your career is how you make money. Not self funding them. Last I checked, these folks are actors/directors not producers or studio execs...

November 15, 2013 at 4:55AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

0
Reply
Jamison