Matt Ogens, the director of the captivating and entertaining documentary, Confessions of a Superhero, sent me an email after I posted my last entry. He wanted to let his side of the story be known, and of course, I am more than happy to oblige...
Again, this could easily be a symptom of the fact that I wrote the story in May and it was never published. Enough time has gone by since I wrote it and since I posted it, that the article is out of date. Again...one of the perils of freelance writing.
I really don't want to be the one to create bad blood between former collaborators. So if there is "beef" (as they say), I would of course urge them to talk it out among themselves and to remember again that my article was written in May, who thought what in May and why? I don't know...miscommunication is kind of a calling card of the film industry, and often times nobody is really at fault.
COAS is such a stunning piece of work that I like to picture cast and crew being able to remain friends forever, bonded over the excellence of that work. Then again, I'm a total Pollyanna and I know that in real life, conflict happens, and unlike in film...it can't always be resolved.
So my mission at this point is simply to state the facts as I hear them from both sides and hope a little clarity can come from it, or maybe at least by the new year, that some "old acquaintance be forgot".
Here is what Ogens had to say to me via email regarding his relationship with Dennis and the others regarding contracts.
"Read your blog about Confessions of a Superhero. Im the director and one of the producers. Im happy to comment on Chris Dennis's accusation that we would not let him out of his contract.
His portrayal of what happened is less than accurate to say the least. We gave them agreements for their story rights as we intended to make a film or tv series based on them, which would have been in collaboration with them. They also would have rec'd backend points. Of course they would be able to act in other projects...but after much complaining on their parts I agreed to release them from their contracts free of charge. I sent them the agreements releasing them and they never signed them...so not sure what they are thinking at this point."
And one more email, "Chris's take on the situation could not be any further from the truth. We offered to obtain their life rights (for a small amount of money plus backend percentages if we sold it that would guarantee more). We are independent filmmakers without deep pockets.
Chris and some of the other characters jump at every opportunity - for example we had exclusive rights to our characters for the doc, which is normal. Why would we want them to be in other documentaries while we're still making ours, yet Chris, Max, and Joe were each in 2 other documentaries that started being filmed after ours.
While they breached our trust and agreement we moved forward in good faith. We planned on attempting to sell a feature or unscripted television project based on the documentary, however, I was getting so many complaints from Chris and Max I offered to release them of their rights at no cost whatsoever.
Any other information you were given by them whatsoever is a fabrication. FYI - the rights we obtained would not have prevented them from acting in any project (as Jenny has many times).
I think a big issue, understandably, for a couple of the characters is once the film was sold it was out of our hands. And I moved forward onto other projects. Some of them expected the ride to last forever and for me to get them work, agents, et cetera, which I have no idea how I could have done. Additionally, they think we made millions of dollars of this film. It's a documentary. We're still out of pocket."
So there you have it, the follow-up to the Christopher Dennis interview. For the record, I can see both sides of the story and much like Switzerland...I'd like to remain as neutral as possible at this point.
And in the spirit of that neutrality, I looked for a clip of the "neutral people" from Futurama episode, "War is the H Word". I couldn't find it. So you'll just have to enjoy this one instead...which isn't relevant in the least, but is indeed hilarious.