When four gamers head west to compete in a videogame contest, we're all the better for it in the comedy "Noobz" starring Jason Mewes. Blake Freeman is not only the actor, but director of the film. In part one of my interview, Freeman discussed the reasons for making the film as well as going independent. Today, he goes into detail about how the importance of product placement, what frustrated him the most, and what he's got in store.
Billy Tatum: How did you manage to get the cooperation of so many brands from Sony to LucasFilm?
BLAKE FREEMAN: As you'll see in our two other movies this year, we're pretty good at that. We have somebody that we worked with closely on our team. She was able to introduce a lot of those. Some of those, we got through relationships, but honestly, it was the script. The script was more realistic to the world of gaming and that's why we got to choose between Sony and Microsoft. We got to choose between a lot of brands. They didn't give us money, now or I would've been rich (LAUGHS). To make it realistic, there's one thing in films that really
bothers me. You're sitting there and looking at a can and it says "SODA". And you're just like "Arrgh. You had me. Don't take me out of that world." In the world of competitive gaming and at these tournaments, you'll have a sponsor sticker on your behind. They're everywhere. I read one time about a film "Oh, there's so much product placement. It's sickening". It's not sickening. It's called real life.
Billy Tatum: You even had Apple and a BMW to drive in, right?
BLAKE FREEMAN: Yes, Mac gave us Iphones. BMW was great. They gave us to car to use. It was all done, because they felt that we were making a movie for the first time that wasn't too vulgar. It stayed true to what they thought gaming culture should be. Honestly, there's not a part in the movie where we mention someone being a nerd or anything like that. We were happy about that.
Billy Tatum: How did you maintain your sanity getting an R rating for a film with no physical violence and no nudity, despite a scene at a strip club?
BLAKE FREEMAN: It drove me nuts. This movie was made to be PG-13. I couldn't believe they gave it an R rating for sexual innuendos. We have no killings and no nudity and for them to give it an R was just (sigh)...whatever.
Billy Tatum: I found that just unbelievable.
BLAKE FREEMAN: If i went back and made this movie an R, it would've been an R!
Billy Tatum: If you knew you got the rating, why didn't you go all in?
BLAKE FREEMAN: Because you don't get the rating until a couple months before the movie's coming out. That was so frustrating. We thought we had done everything we needed to do. They gave us a list of things we would've had to pull out in order to get the PG rating...and it was all the jokes!
Billy Tatum: What advise would you give upcoming writer/directors?
BLAKE FREEMAN: I didn't go to film school. Some of the most successful directors either didn't go or dropped out of film school. I would say this: try to make something commercially viable. Give yourself a chance to have distribution. You have to give your movie an opportunity to have it be seen. Art movies are great, but they don't make any money. So, if you want to make an art movie, make it in your third movie. Make something that is commercially viable. That way, you have an opportunity to make money and have a chance later to make your art movie. That's my best advice.
Billy Tatum: What can you tell me about "Mucho Dinero"?
BLAKE FREEMAN: Mucho Dinero is a great comedy and really funny. Eddie Griffin, Casper Van Dien, myself. We're three guys down on our luck in L.A and we travel to Columbia to capture a drug lord.and we have no military training. Danny Trejo's in it. We just completed that movie. It should be out later this year.