Why I still do it… (updated)
I have tons of fans following me on both sites. However, the majority of the people following me are not REPO! fans, but fans of the SAW franchise, or fans of the fact that they are ‘following’ a director. The other percentage of people are industry friends, various horror sites, reporters, etc…
It should be noted that while mainstream press destroyed REPO!, the majority of genre sites backed it, and almost all of them gave the movie glowing endorsements. Bloody-Disgusting, Shock Till You Drop, Dread Central, Fangoria, Horror.com, even Aint It Cool News.
So here we are, almost two years after the release of REPO! and I am still tweeting about it on an almost hourly basis. These same sites who helped bring credibility to REPO! and are still following me on Twitter have to be over the fact I still talk about it constantly. I mean come on, GET OVER IT, right? The movie came, the movie went… move on.
Move on… maybe I should just ‘move on’… But move on to what? I am an artist… An Artist creates Art. The hope we have is that we create something that will spark something in the viewer…
I think the biggest failure in REPO! was not the lack of money nor the lack of promotion. The biggest failure in REPO! is the lack of EXPOSURE of what is happening right now… I realize these people who are discouraging my excitement are not standing next to me when I show up to a REPO show and still see lines that wrap around multiple city blocks…
These people are not there when fans come running up to me dressed like characters from the movie.
Last week a good friend of mine – who happens to write for one of these sites – said, “Darren, you HAVE to move on. It’s all you talk about.” I smiled and nodded…
Where was this friend last month when I attended a shadow cast to a sold out crowd of cheering fans?
My rep’s for the most part were ‘no better – they had their hands tied. They are in a business of making money. ”ON TO THE NEXT!” they proclaimed. And to their credit, this is a ‘business’, and their business is to get me work and make me money. So the failure of REPO! was a wound that they wanted to help me quickly bandage up. And I understand that. And that is why I hire them… To watch after me and my business… And my business venture failed.
But what about the ‘art’?
There I was, one of the most profitable horror directors working, who created a bomb. And not just your classic bomb, but a bomb of EPIC proportions. REPO!, while a low budget movie, still cost millions and millions, and only made thousands at the box office.
My star had not gracefully fallen; it took a nose dive into a black pit.
Offers stopped coming in, emails stopped being answered and my phone stopped ringing.
Everyone around me: my reps, my friends, my partners in horror crime, all urged me to MOVE ON. Even my wife, while always supportive, began to ask if we could have REPO! free conversations.
To the world, I had created a failure of UWE BOLL proportions.
I was lucky enough to find MOTHER’S DAY and have a group of producers back me after the crash and burn that was REPO!
My agents were ecstatic – Darren is back, returning to his horror roots, this will be the thing that puts him back on the map… “STOP TALKING ABOUT REPO!” all those around me would say…
Yet, my Facebook updates, my Twitter posts, everything still centered around one topic: REPO!
We get it, we get it – you love REPO! Way to be self absorbed and self indulgent…
I had become the guy who you didn’t want at your party, as odds were, all I would want to talk about is REPO!
Them: “Hey, Darren, who do you like in the Superbowl?”
Me: “You know they don’t have football in the future — GENECO won’t allow it!”
So the question that needs to be asked is WHY?! Why do I still fixate on something that was so 2008? Why do I still shed a light on something that I know is damaging to my career? Why do I allow myself to be the one who is laughed at by people who used to revere me?
To answer this, I must first tell you a story.
Back when I was doing SAW 3 – an email came through my blackberry from one of the producers of SAW. The email had one image attached to it – it was a person’s arm, who had gotten a ‘Billy’ tattoo from SAW. The email had a huge chain of people involved with the SAW movie. The email said, “How exciting is this? Look how our movie is affecting people!” That email, and that image, was the talking point in the SAW family for weeks — if not months. No one could believe that a fan could be so committed to branding themselves off a creation we were all apart of. Truth be told, it was an amazing thing. I was a part of a franchise where the commitment from fans ran so deep they would INK themselves and sit through pain and agony to proudly show their love. It felt good.
As a director you set out to tell stories that will affect people… inspire them. Directors are given a platform, and the hope is that those watching their creations will somehow be changed by what they helped create.
Most artists will work their entire life and never realize how their work has impacted others. A director could make 20 movies, make billions at the box office, and before his retirement all he has to show is his mansion, his millions in the bank account, and some great posters hanging around his office of movies he was apart of. Let me be the first to say, nothing would make me happier then when I die, I have the mansion, the millions in the bank and some great posters. But I want something more… Need something more. I want to know I made a difference…
REPO! is that difference. I am not fooled into thinking I have created a masterpiece. Nor do I think REPO! will be the best movie I will ever do. (I honestly believe my current film, MOTHER’S DAY, is the best thing I have done so far.) What I do believe however, is that no other movie I make will have the impact in people’s lives as REPO! has. I do believe that no other movie I make will have the level of dedication as our fan base has shown.
The majority of people who know me, or casually know REPO! have no idea what REPO! really is, or what it is continually doing.
REPO! is a drug. And I can 100% with conviction tell you, as a filmmaker and artist, I am addicted. There is no way to explain the feeling of walking into a sold out theater some 19 months after the first screening and seeing a rabid group of people STILL CHEERING, STILL SCREAMING, STILL SINGING, and all dressed up in their REPO! best.
Every morning I wake up, my inbox is still flooded with fan creations, pictures and stories about how REPO! is changing them.
Awhile back, I went into a restaurant and the waiter handed me my to go order. I thanked him, and turned to walk away. As I was near the door, I heard the waiter say, “TESTIFY.” I stopped, turned, the waiter smirked a little, and nodded.
TESTIFY. One word that has become the backbone of the REPO Community. TESTIFY. The waiter didn’t have to say anything else to me. That one word was all that needed to be said. I knew him, and he knew me. It was like FIGHT CLUB. There was an unspoken bond.
Every single day new theaters pick up REPO!, and more fans discover it.
Every single day our little following is growing bigger and wider… And here I am, standing, watching this thing grow – and yet those closest surrounding me our blind. My own family, friends and most trusted representatives still view REPO as a failure. Surely, this, what is happening, is not a failure… Most movies will never see this kind of fandom. This kind of loyalty, this kind of passion.
To the majority of the mainstream REPO! is gone… It showed for a week in the theater – got bad reviews, and went away.
I took a meeting this week with a producer – he started off the meeting by saying, “Hey, sorry to hear REPO! didn’t work. It’s okay though, you’ll bounce back.” I smiled…
Unless you know, YOU DO NOT KNOW. It’s easy not to see what lies beneath the surface. It’s easy to write off these so called ‘goth’ kids and their crazy opera. But what about our little UNDERGROUND movement? What about our tattoos? What about our sold out shows?
If a tree falls in the forest and… you know the rest.
To those who are closest to me, my family, my friends, telling me to move on, move past, and find the greener pastures – you have not seen what I have seen. You have not experienced what I have experienced, you have not felt the connection that I have.
I am a director. My passion lies in telling stories, and trying to connect with those I have told my stories to.
“MOVE ON, GET OFF THE REPO KICK. IT’S OVER… IT’S DONE…”
Sorry to tell you my dear followers, IT IS JUST FUCKING BEGINNING!!!!