Mark McCarthy (Gavin McInnes) is dying of breast cancer, which means he has only a matter of months to capture his greatest fatherly advice on film for his unborn son. Ad-vice like: how to fight a bully, how to shoot heroin and how to give a woman amazing oral sex. That last item is a solo performance by McInnes (in a crowded bar) that will have men taking notes for eternity. How to Be a Man, which premieres March 15 on Netflix and digital download, is the second feature from Fox Digital Studios. Check out my review of the film for the LA Weekly HERE and read my full interview with co-writer and star, Gavin McInnes, below.
Where did the idea for the film come from?
You gotta do what your good at. My shit is telling people what to do and enforcing stupid rules. In high school they used to call me Rules Guy and I started Vice Magazine with the DOs & DON’Ts. This movie is me, Chadd and Bryan doing what we’re good at. We did the same with Asshole. I rant about stupid shit and they craft it into gold.
You know, sometimes I wonder if the Ramones even liked the Ramones. They came up with “Hey Ho, Let’s Go” and people loved it so they basically did that song their entire lives. Same with AC/DC. Maybe they wanted to do weirder songs or more sentimental stuff but the public didn’t want that so they never tried. You gotta hand it to Lou Reed. He didn’t exactly follow the money. He did whatever he wanted to and totally ignored supply and demand. That’s not our bag. We’re not Lou Reed. We do what people like.
What excites you about this story and the platforms on which it’s being presented to the public?
What excites me about this story is men have become total pussies, especially young people. The kids today all look like German stay-at-home dads who are working on their first novel. They wear cardigans with big pockets and have their little desert boots with a patterned t-shirt. Drag queens are more masculine. I’m not even exaggerating. I’d way rather fight a millennial than a drag queen.
As far as the platform? I don’t know what the hell that means. You mean Netfilx? Uh, I think that’s great. I never really cared about theatrical distribution. I just want to be able to tell my friends where they can see it and it’s easer it say Netflix than “a theater near you.” I think all indie filmmakers should just give up on distribution. Unless you’re Joseph Gordon-Levitt, you’re not getting into theaters so fuck the laurels and just go straight to Netflix. If’ it’s a great movie, the meritocracy of the web will vote it up.
Was it always in film form or did it go through other format manifestations while working with Fox Digital on it?
No, it was originally a web series but the people at Fox liked it so much they said, “Why don’t you cram all these episodes together and make it a movie.” It took some tweaking because Chadd and Bryan and I feel very strongly about a third act but we pushed all the crazy shit to the end of the movie and it was good to go. Adaptation is pretty much the perfect movie don’t you think? Except the part where Meryl Streep is okay with porn pics of her going on the Internet. That made no sense.
Why did Fox Digital seem like the right place for this specific project? Why that instead of the indie route?
This was the indie route. The budget was indie. The notes were basically genius light touch. The days or corporate and indie are gone now. It’s all a big gray area of: How much money do you got and what can we do with that budget? Kickstarter can make a $3m movie with friends and a huge corporation like Fox can put out half a dozen movies for that money. I don’t really give a shit who’s paying to be honest. If you don’t mess with my jokes and you don’t abuse small animals, let’s get to work.
I can’t get over how fantastic the oral sex instruction ‘performance’ in the bar was. What is it like, coming up with moments like that, which rely so much on you as a comedian and performer rather than lines?
I had to do a lot of research for the pussy eating scene. It was brutal but I worked with great people like Kate Hudson, Eva Mendez and Lucy Liu. I can’t thank them enough for all their help. I learned so much about cunnilingus from practicing on them but I also learned a lot about queefs. Did you know they don’t stink? They actually smell like baby burps.
How did you have to craft the script and production to make it for an indie-price?
The crew was really cool and did it for basically nothing. The soundtrack was also a huge favor and I am eternally grateful to all those guys, especially Diplo. It’s hard to convince a producer to get real music. They’d rather just pay a composer $1,000 and be done with it. But we talked them into letting us beg and plead for songs and we got them. That’s my favorite part of the film. The songs really make it and I’m really grateful to everyone letting us use their songs. My experience has been, as long as people know you’re not ripping them off, they’ll give you the shirt off their backs.
Where do you see smaller budget, risk taking film making like this headed? Do you think there will be more opportunity through digital studios or will the indie film scene find more ways to raise money with digital deals?
Man, there’s a lot of parts to that question. Uh, first, it’s not about money. The technology is cheap. You can make anything you want for $1,000. All you need is a shitty camera and a lav. People are so used to bad quality on YouTube, they don’t expect a Red. You could almost use an iPhone. Just make sure the sound is good.
As far as risk-taking goes, festivals have become incredibly PC. If you are a woman and you’re making a movie about a Native American paraplegic who falls in love with a deaf slave, you already won Sundance. If you’re a man and you want to make a movie that has the same kind of jokes we all use when we’re with our friends in bars, you’re fucked. Don’t even send it to a festival.
Do you have any advice for young filmmakers or performers trying to get into the industry today?
Kiss ass. If you want to be a cameraman or a DP or whatever, you have to intern for about two years and do whatever they tell you to do. Go across town to get them a latté and never complain. You have to go through a brutal initiation like that because that’s what they went through. Young people are so entitled these days they want to be Steven Spielberg after a week’s work.
As far as being an actual filmmaker goes, I’d say just tear up YouTube for a while and hone your skill. If you never break 1,000 views you probably suck and should save yourself a lot of heartache by quitting. Go learn a trade. We always need welders.
What’s next for you as a performer and writer?
I’m going to get hit by a train in a couple weeks and leave behind a grieving family as well as thousands of fans who will say stuff like, “We will never see the likes of him ever again. He was one of a kind.”