Like a lot of people, I do my best work in the absolute last five minutes before I'm going to be fired if I don't turn that goddamn thing in right now. Give me a week to work on something and I'm going to go ahead and take a nap for six days and 23 and a half hours. Then I wake up and it's like, "Oh, what's that? Deadline, you say?" CLICKETY CLACKETY CLACK CLACK TIK TOK BOOP... and then total genius comes out. Or something shitty. Either way. Then I go back to sleep.
So, to me, fly filmmaking events like STIFF's Weekend Film Challenge seem full of creative possibility. Don't give people time to overthink things. But, I discovered, I am wrong about that. Writing, filming, and editing a movie is not, in fact, the same as writing 500 words about how much you love pancakes and/or Patrick Dempsey. Weird.
The Weekend Film Challenge isn't a recipe for disaster—it's interesting, at least, and one and a half of the films (out of seven) are great—but it feels more like exercise than entertainment. Each team is assigned a genre (erotic thriller, western, mockumentary, etc.), then given a week to write, a weekend to shoot, and another week to edit.
This year, the filmmakers were also required to incorporate the music of Moby—electronica's baldest sweetheart—into their soundtracks. Moby himself (quiet, sweatshirted, empirically likable) was there at the WFC screening, as a celebrity judge and to spread the word about Moby Gratis (www.mobygratis.com), his new web project for independent filmmakers.
After the screening, Moby sat on the stage and talked to us. One of the most difficult things about making an independent film, he said, is licensing music. So the point of Moby Gratis is to provide free, downloadable music to the independent film community: "To put the music out there and let people do what they want with it—you know, as long as it's not snuff films or GOP advertisements." It appears to be an entirely philanthropic enterprise—there's not much in it for Moby, I suppose, besides finding a home for "music that would have otherwise been relegated to obscure B sides."
Moby is funny. Someone asked about his experiences doing music for big-budget Hollywood movies. "If a big studio made Blade Runner now, they'd put Limp Bizkit in there," he said. About his song being used to beef up the soundtrack of The Saint: "I felt like a dirty whore, yeah." Also, "Directors are the craziest people on the planet." He told the story about the first time he spoke to Michael Mann: "All I said was 'Hello?'" and then Mann talked for 45 minutes about the plot of Heat. Then he hung up. "He was happy with the music that I did, so he sent me a turkey. Sent me a frozen turkey. I've been a vegan for 20 years."