it comes to film reviews, whether they be old or new, the good
majority of you will probably make your wait to a standard review
site. But for two men out of Salt Lake City, they're taking
film reviews straight to your iPod.
--- A Damn Podcast takes a look at all cinema genres with nothing more than an appreciation for movies and a six-pac of beer. Reviewing old and new films as fans rather than critics, all while making fun of anything and everything about them along the way. Winning over the local audience and even winning an Artsy Award from City Weekly this past month, the two Adam's have found their niche in the local film community, with no signs of them to either quit watching or drinking. I got a chance to chat with both men about the podcast and their thoughts on many a topic, and even got to sit in on Episode 27 for a night of photo taking, discussion and random one-liners.
Adam Palcher & Adam Sherlock
Gavin: Hey guys. First off, tell us a little bit about yourselves.
Palcher: I am Adam Palcher I am a Production / Traffic Manager at Salt Lake Magazine, I have a Bachelor of Arts in Film from the University of Utah, I review DVD's for SLUG Magazine, I have a wife, two kids and a HUGE movie collection.
Sherlock: Well, my name is Adam Sherlock. I have participated in the music and art scene as well as the poetry scene in Salt Lake for several years. I am a 31 year old Leo, and have an extensive collection of gas masks and Bruce Springsteen bootleg LP's.
Gavin: How did the two of you first meet up and started collaborating?
Palcher: Well, we've basically been best friends for close to a decade and have always been equally nerdy about movies. We had the idea one day, almost simultaneously, to start up a podcast. We both had separate visions and combined them both to what you hear today.
Sherlock: Palcher and I have known each other for years, and always geeked out about movies, books, and records we had recently gotten into. It seemed like a no-brainer.
Gavin: Where did the idea come from to do the podcast, and why films as the main subject?
Palcher: Well, we talk about movies so much anyways we figured we might as well record our conversations and let others join in. The podcast gives us the opportunity to get really in-depth and go off on tangents we normally wouldn't think of in day-to-day conversations about film.
Sherlock: I wanted to start a podcast after I had heard a couple of them I had downloaded off iTunes, and I thought, "We could do this". As far as being movie-centric, it felt like a good jumping point with which to get people used to our personalities. Movies, even really epic or intense ones, are more of a morsel than a meal. If you want to sit and wax philosophical about a book, you would need a months worth of podcasts to do it. If you wanted to pontificate about a record you were into, I think that intuition would change over repeated listens, and the review wouldn't be honest. Not that similar things couldn't happen with movies, but it is a much more reactionary stance, in my opinion. If my grandmother's favorite movie is “The Music Man” then chances are 'Reservoir Dogs' wouldn't be her cup of tea. It gets easier and easier to gage once you start thinking about it.
Gavin: Are you guys filmmakers yourselves, or do you just watch films for fun?
Palcher: I always made films growing up with friends, stupid little shorts with bad acting and a 8mm. Like I said I went to film school and created some there as well, wrote a few different screenplays. I wouldn't call myself a filmmaker but it's definitely a dream of mine that I hope to pursue one day.
Sherlock: I just watch them.
Gavin: What did it take for you to get setup and do it?
Palcher: Not much, some notes, some beers, and Garageband. Pretty simple really.
Sherlock: We use Garageband on my Mac at home. The setup is pretty user friendly. We came up with a format (which has changed a little over the last twenty-some-odd episodes) and tried to stick to it. We watch the episodes separately, take notes on them, and then try our best not to talk about it before we press record (which has proven to be the hardest part, actually).
Gavin: What was the first episode like when you finally started and recorded it, and what was the initial reaction to it from the public?
Palcher: The first episode went better than we both expected, as far as conversation went. But there were definitely some aspects that you could tell we were still batting around, structure, getting use to talking to a computer and each other in way that still included the audience. Lots of “ums”, “yeas”, “basicallys” …that still happens sometimes. As far as a first response from the public, I think it got pretty positive readings, mostly family and friends, so you know, they can be bias. But it's excitingly grown well, and quickly. I think part of the reason for that is we have truly concentrated on content and putting as much material out there that we could handle each week.
Sherlock: Our first episode was “No Country For Old Men”. It went pretty good, although we had no idea what we were doing, really. When I listen to it now, it's a little cringe-worthy, considering how far we have come.
Gavin: You started out doing some recently released films, but moved onto doing films that had already been out for a while. Why the change?
Palcher: Well, we didn't really want to restrict the format so early on. We both have day jobs and don't have all day to sit around watching movies. Though I guess that is the ultimate goal. We both wanted to do stuff that was new and fresh, but also loved talking about the classics that we grew up watching or that had an impact on our lives. Doing both older and newer films allows us to mix it up, as well as discuss those classics in detail. If we get a free pass to something we want to see we'll review it, but realistically we are not making money on this thing. It actually costs us to pay for hosting and domain name, etc. But what we spend in time and money we get made up for in satisfaction of quality bullshiting.
Sherlock: We always wanted to do a show that reviewed both current movies that were coming out, as well as older classics, and our personal favorites. We started by doing the 1998 sci-fi noir movie 'Dark City', which was 'older' by comparison, and then a few episodes later, we went all out and did 'One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest' which allowed our listeners to understand that we were going to be covering pretty much whatever we thought would make for a good episode. We tried to make it a gradual transition, and since then have tried to be very aware of mixing it up, episode by episode. We try to do an older one, then a newer one, and never do two action movies in a row, or two comedies in a row. We try to have a real variety for our audience.
Gavin: Have you gotten any grief or hate mail over the reviews you do? And do you respond to any of it or just ignore is as par for the course?
Palcher: I wish! We highly encourage people to write in and give us feedback each week. A certain few do, we've gotten responses all the way from England. Most if not all of it is positive or pointing out something we stated incorrectly, or movies we've missed with our top 5 lists. We love feedback and encourage people to disagree with us to write in. We read most everything that comes in on the show and respond that way. Hopefully it'll get to the point that we get so much feedback we have to sift through and find the stuff worth mentioning.
Sherlock: Most of our feedback has been very positive. Occasionally we will get criticism, but it has been helpful. Comments about over-explaining parts of the movie, or criticisms about length of the show have been the most prevalent.
Gavin: Are there any films you're afraid to review for possible lawsuits or demands, or do you feel that anything is good for you to review?
Palcher: Anything is fair game; we're very open to whatever and can usually sit through anything. (i.e. our punishment reviews) Every so often we assign each other crappy movies to review on the show, generally ending up in hilarious results.
Sherlock: I don't really think about that. If we were big enough to garnish a lawsuit, that would be an incredible compliment.
Gavin: You promote a lot of what smaller theaters are doing, are you looking to do any partnerships down the road, or just giving people options to places you like?
Palcher: We recently got sponsored by Brewvies Cinema Pub so we promote what they are playing, I think our main goal is to get paid to do this or be credible critics. Not really looking for partnerships, just free movies.
Gavin: Down the road will you invite guests like other podcasts have done, or sticking mainly to the two of you?
Palcher: We love having guests on, it's nice to break the mold and have someone come in and add to the bullshit. We've done it a few times. I think one guest at a time is the limit; we reviewed 'The Thing' and had 4 guys in the room at once, by the end it was a bit of a mess. Too much talking over each other, we want it to be coherent. Guests are definitely a plus and we plan on starting a new segment where an audience member or a fan can submit their own 5-minute review or experience of a film. Hook us up with submission people!!
Sherlock: We have had several guests on our show already, and this October we are trying an experiment where we are giving several of our frequent contributors their own small spots in each episode.
Gavin: What film review was your favorite to do so far? And what film would you like to review down the line for the cast.
Palcher: I thought “Donnie Darko” was one of our most interesting conversations; 'The Dark Knight' was a blast to talk about. 'Children Of Men' was our 2nd podcast and I think started feeling the most natural. Future movies I'd love to do would be “Brick”, “Waiting For Guffman”, “Godfather”, “Primer”, “ Once”, “Magnolia”, it could go forever.
Sherlock: I really liked the Rosemary's Baby episode. The “In Bruges” one is another favorite of mine. As far as movies we haven't done yet that I would like to, lets just say that I have a long, long list.
Gavin: What do you think about all the film festivals that are held in Utah every year?
Palcher: I think it's cool, I think it's good exposure for Utah and thanks to Robert Redford makes us part of the national film community. It gives the chance to show people that are clueless about Utah that it's not just snow and Mormons. At the same time, it has become more and more commercial each year, which isn't always a bad thing, because your exposed to great stuff early on, but it also takes away from 'the little film that could' aspect.
Gavin: When they start coming back, will you be doing anything with them?
Palcher: Hopefully, I'd love to be able to get a press pass and be able to do some interviews with some cool directors and actors. Note to self: get press pass for Sundance.
Gavin: You recently won an Artsy Award from City Weekly. What was that like for you guys?
Palcher: Very surprising and very humbling. Kind of a funny story, we showed up to the event and got handed an award. We looked at each other and were like, award? Huh? Sure enough we won he Best Local Podcast Artsy. Who knew it even existed. It's a very cool accomplishment to be recognized locally. Now we have a title to defend!!
Sherlock: The Artys award was a huge surprise. I didn't even know City Weekly was aware that we existed. It was a real honor to be recognized.
Gavin: Going a little statewide, what are your thoughts on the local film community, both good and bad?
Palcher: I think the Salt Lake Film Society is a great resource and great thing for the local artists to have to show their works, get exposed to all things film. I need to pay more attention to local festivals around town. I'm glad we have theaters like The Broadway and Tower that show more independent features to people curious about something Larry H. Miller doesn't approve of.
Gavin: Is there anything you believe could be done to make it better?
Palcher: Sadly, our location is the best and worst thing for local filmmakers. We have this unique, amazing landscape but the opportunities to start a career in that field is few and far between in Utah. I've worked on a few movies, television shows, and commercials, and it's hard to find something steady enough to call a career and most people are from or move to a different state to get the work they need. At that same time that gives you the DIY option, which allows some creative minds to dish out some of the best most original stuff.
Gavin: What's your take on how local film critics do their job?
Palcher: They seem to fit the bill correctly; I have nothing critical to say about the critics. I'd love to see Salt Lake become the next Chicago in terms of the film critic society and national valued opinions.
Sherlock: I don't ever really read them. Although I think the guy that shows up on X96 is pretty entertaining. But most of the ones I read in the paper I don't agree with.
Gavin: A little nation-wide, what do you think about the state the film industry is in, both good and bad?
Palcher: Well, it's never that good with Hollywood at the helm, 75% of what's created out of Hollywood is mindless drivel. The quality of films and budget allows fantastic aspects to be created with CGI, cinematography, etc. But the ideas themselves are generally rehashed, remade, money machines. But on the good side, you do have that quarter of the market that let's the artists push the envelope and put stories that really matter or affect an audience on film. I've seen a lot of movies, though Hollywood puts out entertaining movies, a huge chunk of them I can't see holding the test of time.
Sherlock: I think that there is a greater attempt to take chances on new ideas, but there are also a lot more copycat movies now than ever before. How many J-horror movies have come out in the last five years as a result of the popularity of The Ring? How many silly ultra-violence movies have come out as a result of movies like 'Kill Bill' and 'Sin City'? When an original idea comes along, Hollywood likes to beat it to death to the point that any time someone is holding a pistol and having a mundane conversation about everyday things, we think that Pulp Fiction is being ripped off.
Gavin: If you could change one thing about the way it's run in general, what would you change?
Palcher: Let studios allow directors and writers more free reign and not let the everything that makes or breaks a movie be based on opening weekend results.
Sherlock: Let's see some new faces. If there is some new movie that has a brand new, innovative director, a great score, and a totally original story line, but it stars Bruce Willis, Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, and Kevin Spacey, who the fuck cares?
Gavin: Switching to podcasting, what are your thoughts on it as a medium today, both good and bad?
Palcher: It's not a medium that's going away anytime soon. It's a convenient alternative to radio / satellite. Kind of like Tivo for your ears. It generally has no restrictions and someone as small as me and Sherlock can voice our opinions and literally be heard by anyone in the world. The Internet is an amazing thing. The only downside I can see is that there is a million different podcasts out there about a million different things. So it's hard to sift through the crap and get to the ones that are really have something to say or don't sound like they are recorded under the community pool with a tape recorder.
Sherlock: Power to the people! I love it. Don't get me wrong, it can be done poorly, but on a whole, I think it is the new punk rock talk radio. The accessibility is infinite, the parameters are limitless, and I will say this: I have already garnished more exposure in six months with this podcast and no publicity than I ever did working my ass off playing in a band that was trying to 'make it'.
Gavin: Are there any podcasts that you listen to that you'd recommend?
Palcher: Anything NPR, Filmspotting is similar program to ours that I look forward to every week. The Moth, Ricky Gervais Podcast, Official LOST podcast, so many.
Sherlock: Any of the NPR stuff. Talk Of The Nation, This American Life, Radiolab. Also, I am a fan of the Simply Syndicated guys, and I like the Dharma Lars that do the Lost Podcast.
Gavin: What can we expect from you and the podcast for the rest of the year and going into next?
Palcher: We are continuing our film festivals each week; it allows us to talk about a genre of movies, or a certain director in a more compact review. Like I said before we are starting to have a segment where the audience can submit their own review of a certain movie experience or hilarious antidotes that would be fun to put on the air. It'll allow the audience to contribute to the show and be fun to hear the stories. We're going to try to have some kind of trivia game we can play either locally or over the show. Stay tuned for that.
Sherlock: I think we will do something big for our fiftieth episode, but I think that's still a ways off. I know we want to do some live, interactive stuff.
Gavin: Aside from the obvious, is there anything you'd like to plug or promote?
Palcher: Make sure to hit up ADamnPodcast.com, give us your feedback as much and often as possible, we love that shit! Also, look for our interview in SLUG Magazine October issue.