Sunday, July 1, 2012


Your pirating does not help me.

Stop kidding yourself. Stop lying. Stop justifying. Just stop.

Five years ago I started writing DETENTION with a Canadian guy named Mark Palermo. If you know anything about Canadians*, that was a huge sacrifice. But I got through it, and three years later our script was complete.

*Eh, buddy?

Then I took every dollar I had and just started making the movie myself. No studio, no distribution, no guarantees. I had to bring on investors and contractually insure that no matter what the movie did, I would pay them back. Every single dollar spent on this movie, win or fail, ultimately comes out of my pocket. I owe craploads and I’m working like crazy to pay it all off over the next couple years, with the doomsday scenario of selling my house if it all goes to shit. I bet it all. And why did I do that?

Because I wanted you to see something pure.

It's not for everyone. It doesn't slow down. It's made for people like me. You know, people with great hair.

The movie in my head couldn’t have been made with a single piece of interference of any kind. It’s too complex and too new and too dangerous. It’s a tightrope walk across the Grand Canyon and Detention would fall to it’s death in it’s orange Chucks with the slightest wrong step.

But I wanted to see this movie. So I made it. And I fucking love it. Lots of people fucking love it. I want you to fucking love it. I know you need a movie like this in your life. I want you to see it.

But here’s the part I’m going to be completely 100% honest with you about: I want you to see it, but I want you to PAY to see it.

I want to make my money back. I want to make another film. I’m willing to bet it all again to get the freedom to make films like this, but if I stay broke and owing money like I do now, I won’t get that opportunity for a loooong time, maybe ever (cue Richard Roeper applause*).


If you watched the movie online for free and then loved it, but didn’t buy it, I’m pleased that you loved the movie…but you didn’t have sex with me. You suck.

On the otherhand, if you PAID for the movie and somehow HATED it, unlike the cockteasers, I actually love you. You took both the time and the money to support a filmmaker’s effort, and I appreciate that, even if you have terrible taste. You are still awesome and sexy and you will always have Neal Mortiz’s FAST FIVE (“That force of chaotic and unsatisfiable desire that Freud called the id is much closer to the surface in a movie like Fast Five!” – Andew O’Hehir, Salon) to wash away the taste of DETENTION (“A directorial drum solo that quickly wears out it’s welcome!” – Richard Roeper,

Of course those that paid and loved it, your sex is the best.

Now I am well aware that people’s perception of paying for entertainment is messed up right now. We expect everthing to be free and the pattern of how we access entertainment is confusing. Many young teens have no idea that downloading is illegal, prosecutable, and punishable by death by electrocution down to 13 years old. It does not help that most of my work – music videos – have basically been given away all your lives and you equate my movie with free youtube stuff (you have me confused with Bobby Lee you racist.)

But let’s be clear. You are being entertained by me. This blog cost me exactly $5 in Panda Express energy to stay alive and write it. You can have this one for free. On the house. DETENTION cost millions. $4 to rent it or $20 to own it is a tiny price to pay for the fucking hell I’ve gone through to make that son of a bitch for you. And I won’t go into it here, but, HELL.

Look, I know it’s a losing battle to explain to pirates why stealing is bad. So I won’t. Fuck em. Lost cause. They’re those bad seed kids in Hunger Games trying to kill Peeta. I mean, look at this piece of psychotic tumblring:

Basically wrong on every fact. Producers, art, budget, me, all wrong. And she goes to film school. Yes, she was probably eating bath salts when she wrote that, but still...amazing.

Yet…I see some Katniss’s running around the woods, holding our illegal DETENTION movie in her shaking hands, wondering if this is good or bad. This is who I want to talk to before District 2 kills me.

Katniss, you have three justifications of why you download movies:


Baby, Katniss, what are are you talking about? You can help promote Detention, by you know, buying it. And telling people how awesome it was that you are buying/bought it. Instead of linking them to the movie download, how about linking them to one of our awesome reviews and amazon link? Basically anything you do by “promoting” it off an illegal screening can be done by buying it, without sharing an illegal link to tons of people who aren’t going to buy it. But then you say the people you were linking it to are pirates weren’t going to buy it anyway? WELL THEN HOW ARE YOU PROMOTING IT???? You fail advertising. Don Draper would stub a cigarette on your arrow pulling hand. And Peeta hates you.


Really? How about people like this?

The point of the movie business is it’s an exhibition business. You are paying for the exhibition, and once you pay for that, then you have the right to pass judgement on us. The cast and crew of DETENTION are performing seals. We cry, laugh, and bleed so that we brighten your life in the best way we know how. The show is all we have to sell. When you see it for free, there is no more we can give. You have gotten all that is precious to us. Our art. And when you leave without feeding us, we did all those flipper claps for nothing, and whether you like it or not, flipper claps are hard.

If you think you’ll love it, buy it. If you’re not sure, rent it. Renting is your option to see if you like it. That’s why renting is cheap. The problem with the attitude of I will illegally watch it then decide whether I want to buy it is that you are replacing renting with illegal downloading, An independent movie like DETENTION will NOT get prominent placing on iTunes or Amazon. People will have a hard time finding it. When you turn on Apple TV we’ll be buried somewhere you have to scroll to. Most people will not know we exist.

This is why EVERY RENTAL COUNTS. It moves our ranking up on the charts, and the higher on the chart, the more people will see the poster, and that is ADVERTISING. People who have downloaded the movie may or may not buy it, but they certainly won’t rent it. Losing so many viewers to free downloads hurts the rent-and-see market that do not download (otherwise they wouldn't be renting, see the closed logic?). You're dissipating our opening weekend impact - yes, DVD/VOD have opening weekends - and making it that much less likely we'll ever chart. With no support from rentals, it doesn’t push the converted buys. With no buys, it gives no incentive to cable or tv or foreign to buy. By destroying the chain of distribution, you are killing every single way I can recoup so I can make more kick ass movies for you.

And ultimately the only thing Hollywood cares about our movie is whether it made money or not. You may love my movie. But Hollywood could give a shit. Most producers and executives and often, critics, have no idea what is actually good. Have you seen THOR? (“A sweet love story!” – Richard Roeper, They are robots. All they go by are the numbers. If the movie made money and it was terrible, doesn’t matter, I work again. If the movie was great but you downloaded it for free and it made no money, I don’t work.

So then why are you sharing that illegal link again?

Please don't shoot an arrow through my career, Katniss.


Ex President Bill Clinton once stuck a cigar up an intern’s pussy and proceed to smoke it, saying “Tastes good.” Then he got a blow job in the Oval Office. Before the DNA tests of the cum stains on her dress positively identified him as the Cum-mander in Chief, he looked straight into a deposition camera and emphatically stated, “ I did NOT have sex with that woman.”

He only put his dick in her mouth after all.

I hope this hasn't been too depressing of a rant. Making this movie is still the most insanely tough but gratifying experience of my career and there's a light at the end of the tunnel: there's people that are patiently waiting to watch DETENTION when it comes out in 30 days. There are less and less of you honest people out there, but from the bottom of my filmmaker's soul, thank you. I made this for you.


DETENTION comes out on Blu-ray/DVD on July 31. Here’s a link to buy it:

And if you want to “promote” it some more, here’s some merchandise:


  1. Hi Joseph,

    I live in Germany and this film was not in our cinemas. Do you have any idea if the movie comes out on DVD or Blu-ray here?
    I want to see this film, really. Not because of Josh. Simply because I find the idea very interesting. I hope you can give me an answer.

    Greetings Anika

    1. Anika, you can buy the dvd online at and have it delivered to your house. Mr Kahn has posted the link at the bottom of his post.

      To Joseph: Damn you have great hair. I already pre-ordered the blu ray and am patiently waiting (it will take nearly a month to get delivered to my country).

    2. Kafka, my awesome hair thanks you.

  2. I'm pretty sure it will be available in Germany in August. I don't think there are any places the DVD will not be available in. I wish the studio would just release it all at once to be honest. The world is so interconnected this tiered releasing doesn't make sense anymore.

  3. God bless you Joseph.

    I'm a 25 year old wanna-be screenwriter who loves movies and loves supporting them. I work a shitty job that doesn't pay much, but what does it say about me if I'm not willing to spend money on the profession I want to get in to?

    Movies like Detention (along with the films of Frank Henenlotter, Ralph Bakshi, and the likes) are the reason I want to get into movies, and I haven't even seen it yet. I love the spirit and true independence (not like half the movies at Sundance being sponsored by Absolute Vodka). Contrary to what most think, a movie like Detention has more to do with the "Spirit of Cinema" than some shitty indie film about a kid who goes on a school shooting rampage (that's right Let's Talk About Kevin, I'm talking about YOU).

    But being 25, I have grown up alongside a generation of people who feel entitled to be entertained. I have friends who have pirated THOUSANDS of movies and albums, all the while it just pissed me off. In my mind I think "Gee, thanks guys. You're sure making it easy to get into the business of making movies."

    So not only am I rooting for you in this fight because I think Detention looks amazing, and because there were about 30 minutes of genuine genius in Torque (The giant key? The best!), but because for me to even ever have a shot in this business, a movie like Detention needs to be economically viable first.

    So yes, on July 31st, I will be buying the fuck out of Detention on blu ray.

    1. Thanks! It's true. If a popular independent film like Detention can't make it's money back because everyone downloaded it, then every filmmaker is fucked.

  4. Hi Joseph,
    I was wondering if Detention will be available for rent on iTunes before it's released on amazon, like when they put up movies because they are still in theatres, but you pay like $6-$9 because you get it early. I really want to see Detention, it looks awesome and I will definitely buy the DVD & Blu-ray (not because of Josh)I want to see it because of the storyline and see how it all comes together. Thnx, Sammy

  5. Saw DETENTION in theaters and preordered the Blu-ray. I want to see more from you sooner than 10 years.

  6. I'm also production student (at a public school). Just last night working my campus security job around 4am I was talking to my shift boss who was telling me about Abe Lincon: VH which he had been watching online, siting our low pay for his justification. Granted I WANT that movie to bomb into obscurity for it's creative bankruptcy but it still sucks. I don't plan on ever having a movie on the big screen outside festivals, I just don't see that ever happening. I'm counting on websites like Hulu and Netflix to get any kind of audience and monetary reward.

    And while I know it's better not to walk away in anger, hanging up my ambitions for film I will still ask: IS THERE ANYWAY TO HELP TAKE DOWN PIRATING SITES? The one my boss used was called Le Me Watch This. They pop up like weeds anyways, never permanent. Remember Ninja Video? Most don't ;)

  7. It's a good question and I hope someone who reads your question can answer it.

  8. I've seen links to stream/download Detention all over Tumblr these past few days. People have been spoiling the movie and it's really starting to piss me off. I've been waiting for months to see this movie and although I'd love to watch it now, I'm not willing to give into piracy. As (yet another) college student majoring in production, I understand the time, effort, and money put into a movie. It's a shame that even with a great cast and what seems like a great story line, you still might not make a profit. I won't be watching Detention until it arrives in my mailbox on July 31 and can't wait to see it! It seems like it's going to be a great movie and I'll definitely be promoting it to my friends in the coming weeks :)

  9. Sorry they're spoiling it for you. So selfish. Bums me out.

  10. Will it come to Argentina..?

  11. Wow. I like how he cuts to the chase, but he's right. People who burn DVDs find ways to download them without paying don't care. Their mindset is that they've already given too much money to "Hollywood" based on the assumption that EVERY movie made is financed by this Illuminati Hollywood Committee of Jewish bankers in suits. Pirates don't want to give another cent to "those guys" and of course, EVERY movie made is made by "Those Guys" in Hollywood, California and every penny from tickets and rentals and purchases goes straight to "Those Guys."

    Basically, people got used to getting music for free via radio for fifty years so paying ten bucks for the album was a necessary evil...until the Internet. Then that mindset naturally moved to TV and movies. They can get music for free, so why pay for movies and give that money to all those rich fucks who have already taken so much?

    This is the flipside of the Free Market.... people get "Pay Fatigue." They just get sick and tired of having to pay for every damn thing so when the chance opens up to NOT pay for something...anything... they tend to take it if just for the temporary relief. It's not a justification for stealing, but it is an explanation for why it happens.

  12. Best read on piracy ever! I live in Trindad, so i'm pretty happy that it'll be out on blu-ray soon! I actually just ordered some
    copies from amazon for friends! :D

  13. I'm just gonna quit and become a dentist.

    1. i think this comment just made me pee myself

  14. I love how you told me off yet still mad me laugh should that even be physically possible? And for as far-fetched of a plot as Detention was, I really loved it. Then again I just love indies + Josh, of course. And I really hope you can keep making movies because one day, I really hope I can work with a director/screen-writer/producer THAT'S AS AWESOME AS YOU, OKAY ^-^

  15. Have you ever tried talking to an internet pirate? It's maddening! You try to explain that they are killing the thing that they love, and that if it is no longer economically viable, people will stop producing content, and their response is...

    "There will always be more stuff."

    There will always be more stuff to entertain them, because creative people will always feel the need to be creative, while consumers will always feel it is their right to consume this content for free.

    This goes beyond just the ignorance of not know what exactly it is a director/writer/producer/actor does and how they make money from it; it's just pure stubborness. The pirates are, in fact, cognizant that what they are doing is wrong...they just don't care because they're fucking horrible people.

    This is mostly the fault of the internet generation, which has grown up expecting instant gratification. They consume content at a faster rate than the pre-internet generation, and that content has also been widely and freely available for a long time, so the expectation is that (A) all content will ways be available and (B) all content SHOULD be freely available. Neither is true, and both are short sited and destructive beliefs.

    In conclusion; you're fucked. I have no insight on how ferment wide-spread socialogical change on an entire generation of internet users. The responses you retweet prove that pirates don't have empathy for the filmmaker, even when he sets his Sauron-esque eye upon them and communicates directly, so appealing to their lack-of-a-better-nature is impossible, because they have no shame and feel no guilt.

    The really frustrating thing for you, I imagine, is that you're blamed for even making the movie at all, and how it was handled from the start. The general consensus among the pirates seems to be, "Why make a movie if you didn't want me to steal and watch it. No one eles did, so I'm actually doing you a favor!" That has got to be maddening.

    I saw DETENTION when it was playing at the Empire Theater in Toronto with two of my friends, and I pre-ordered the Blu-Ray immediately when it became available. I hope to spread the good word to my other friends so that they will hopefully feel intrigued (and aroused) by the most mindblowingly complex narrative I've ever experienced and buy it themselves.

    I hope that helps.

  16. Joseph, I loved this post! The hunger games related parts were hilarious :DD
    Anyway, I can't wait to see the movie on in Italy it comes out on the 29th of August, one day after my birthday, so I know what kind of present I'll give myself :))

    I really hope you'll have all the money back (or even more!) and that all of those who have whatched it online are going to buy it...well, Hope is the last one to die :D

  17. Producer and musician Steve Albini recently posted some interesting thoughts on piracy.

    They seem applicable to your bitching here.

    "The reluctance to adapt is a kind of embarrassing nostalgia that glosses over the many sins of the old ways, and it argues for a kind of pity fuck from the market.

    It's doomed thinking.

    If you release recordings into the world, the world will do with them as it sees fit. You can defend against that by not releasing recordings or by not counting on income from the world playing with your recordings. I think the latter is just being reasonable.

    If I came up with the phrase "thank you," and wanted to collect a royalty for every time it got used, it would be an impossible task and I should not frustrate myself in the effort.

    That's basically the situation [the film industry] is in. There are so many avenues to [watch] it and so many people involved that getting them to fall in line with a preferred compensation scheme is a fantasy. In a market sense, avoiding payment would be trivial and anybody who did pay for use would be at a competitive disadvantage, so that behavior is not going to be favored.

    If nobody is willing to pay you to do something, then it isn't as valuable to the world as it is to you. You then decide if it's worth doing for its own sake.

    If it isn't, quit.

    IIf it is, carry on and who knows, maybe people will see value in it later and reward you. If not, you're still doing something you want to do.

    While I think labor should be valued by society, the avenues to enforce that are limited to industries that hire employees, not people who do creative work on their own.

    Explain a mechanism to enforce payment for [watching films] then. I mean, without that there's nothing else worth debating. Even if such a thing were possible, only [films] people already wanted would get paid for and nobody would ever [watch new films] because why would he pay for an un[watched film]? If it's free for a little while until people like it, then they have to pay for it, then while it's free it will be copied and distributed later for free.

    Whatever the industry or individuals think should happen, until somebody comes up with a mechanism (hint: They won't, it's a paradox and impossible) then the ethics of [film] sharing are moot. This doesn't just apply to the consumers, it applies to the hosts.

    This is not rocket science. If a society wants X then that society should make sure that the best makers of X can concentrate their time and attention on making X.

    Yeah, society doesn't value creative work as much as the creative community values it. Ever thus. Ever tough titty."

    Best of luck.


    1. Steve Albini is old and irrelevant.

    2. Tee hee, Albini's old and irrelevant. Except when he's not, like now.

      Probably stings twice as much that's he's old and relevant.

      Josh is trying to make and distribute a very personal project.

      I have empathy for him.

      At the same time he's a bit of a dumbass.

      A promotion and distribution plan rooted in the early '00's means he's got a good chance of getting his ass handed to him.

      If he can't get paid for his passion projects then he either does 'em for free or he gets a job.

  18. I was going to go find it pirated on the internet, but now that i've read this, I feel really bad. I actually had a change of heart. I WILL wait for this movie to come out on DVD and buy it. Because I am just hurting you. I'm sorry. And im not trolling either. I'm dead serious. Thank you for the great movie.

  19. Seriously, where can I get a pair of Clapton Davis Sunglasses......ANYONE???

  20. "Most producers and executives and often, critics, have no idea what is actually good. Have you seen THOR? "

    I have no idea who you are or what your film is, I came here from a link on a sight talking about pirated shows in 2012.

    I read it, interested in the point of view of a man on the other side. I don't pirate stuff, I have the cash to spend so I'll spend it. If you entertain me, it's only right that I reward you for that and hope that you'll do it again.

    But then; "Most producers and executives and often, critics, have no idea what is actually good. Have you seen THOR? "

    Passive aggressive shots at someone else's hard work is pretty fucking weak.

    You have a god damn perfectly valid argument, and it all makes perfect sense. But that little snide remark blows it. I liked Thor. Insinuating that they, therefore myself too, have no taste and don't know what is actually "good", means that you come across like a prick.

    I went from wanting to try your film out, throw some pennies your way. I've done that in the past when I've seen someone online present themselves in such a manner. "He seems cool," I thought, upon seeing Max Landis do his Superman short film, "I'm going to go buy his movie and try it out."

    And I thought that about you, until that needless little comment. Your point wouldn't have been any less valid had you NOT taken a cheap shot at THOR. Yet you chose to do it. Aren't you a big, bad film maker, taking a dig at a successful movie.

    I'm now actually going to do my best to make sure I don't send money your way. You probably couldn't give a shit, because my opinion doesn't matter because I've not given you any cash. But there it is.

    When the whole point of your blog is wanting people to get that it's bad to steal something you worked hard on, I don't get why you'd try and shit on another film, acting like you're better than it. Just awful, awful behaviour.

  21. Next time you can try to film a cheaper film, man. It is very much possible, come to Argentina and we'll explain to you how to make cool films with next to nothing. And we don't whine on the internet about it. Really, if you LOVE it, you do it like that. If you've got talent, someone will recognize it and do something about it. In the meantime, go enjoy the fact that you were able to get 10 million dollars. We make 12 films with that.

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