They Shoot Movies Don't They?

I just watched this documentary on IFC called "They Shoot Movies, Don’t They?".

It chronicles the struggles of filmmaker Tom Paulson as he tries to get funding for his independant film. It’s a fairly interesting look into the realities of trying to get a film made in the studio-dominated environment of Hollywood. Not the best movie made on this topic, but interesting none-the-less.

What prompts this thread, however, is the utterly shocking ending. The last 10 minutes of the film threw me for such a loop, that I’ve begun to doubt that this film depicted actual events. I’ve seen enough “mockumentaries”, so I can usually pick up on them fairly quickly. This one did not seem staged, but like I said–after the ending I have my doubts. Does anyone know the real scoop on this film & the filmmaker it follows–Tom Paulson?

In case you’re curious…here’s how it ends (don’t say you haven’t been warned!) Paulson cannot get the final $40,000 he needs to secure a distribution deal after begging everyone he knows. So he sells his baseball card collection & drives to Las Vegas. According to the documentarian, Paulson wins big at the tables (the camera wasn’t allowed to film inside the casino itself, so we don’t actually see this). The next morning, Paulson, alone in his hotel room, turns the camera on and rambles on for a while, crying. He then apologizes to his family, puts a gun to his head & kills himself!

Hmm, I’ll have to check IFC for this. But I don’t get it…

He wins all the money he needs for his film, and commits suicide? Doesn’t make any sense.

Mr. Frink, highlight the below for a possible answer to your question. But is IS spoiler-ish type information for anyone who hasn’t seen the film and might want to approach it “blind”.

According to everything I can hunt down on the web, including from the Internet Movie DataBase, They Shoot Movies, Don’t They? is a mockumentary. I haven’t yet discovered who portrayed Tom Paulson, but I’m sure the information is out there somewhere.

I haven’t seen the film myself, but all this discussion makes me want to seek it out!

It’s a mockumentary. Here’s an article by the guy who played Paulson. I’d never heard of the film before… sounds interesting.

Ah…thanks much, PRNYouth & Anamorphic for setting me straight. I’m going to have to watch the film again in this new light. I don’t mind–it was so well done and felt so damn real!!!

My gut told me that this wasn’t a “real” documentary–mainly because I would have heard about the events depicted in it elsewhere. I’d say it would be a pretty big deal if the subject of a documentary killed himself at the end.

Yet the lengths the filmmakers went to making everything appear genuine made me doubt my doubts. The website Zen Postman links tois a protest site run by Paulson’s friends & family, complete with a letter from Paulson’s “mom” urging Grammercy Pictures to drop the film. Even the clippings postedon the film’s website seem legitimate–they even have his obituary!

Real or not, it’s a very scathing look at Hollywood, and an fascinating glimpse into the mind of a filmmaker pushed to the edge. And the “Blair Witch” quality of the entire project gives it an interesting edge. Right now, The Independent Film Channel has the rights to the film, so anyone with this channel should keep their eyes on their schedule for a chance to catch it.

What gets me about the article Animorphic linked to is that the producer mentioned therein was actually offended to find out that the movie wasn’t real!

The idea of distributing a film that exploits a man’s, desperation, degradation and ultimate suicide wasn’t offensive to him, but learning it wasn’t real was. How fucked is that?

Oh yeah, IFC just happened to show this film earlier today, so I checked it out without looking at your spoiler but in the knowledge that it might not be real.

I thought the cigaretter smoking producer who doesn’t even like movies was an early clue to the film’s fictionality. He’s a bit too much of a “character” to be real.


Are you named after the lens-and-film technique, or after the DVD-for-widescreen-TV technique?

My screenname comes from my love of the film lenses. When my partner and I made our short film a few years back, we shot it anamorphically. From then on, our producer’s regular-job boss, herself a producer at Fox, and who helped us procur the camera package from Panavision, referred to us as “The Anamorphic Brothers”, because we dared to shoot a short film with the lenses. Curiously enough, our feature was not shot anamorphically, for various reasons.

To prove what a dork I am, there’s a whole row of anamorphic lenses pictured on the coffee cup I’m drinking from right now!

I love this its awesome. The con-man gets conned and is so upset about it he cant even remain calm. I havent laughed that hard in a long time.

-x out