Anomalisa director-writer Charlie Kaufman to The Hollywood Reporter‘s Nick Holdsworth: ““It has gotten considerably harder for me to get things made. The early movies I made in collaboration with established directors, but since 2008 [i.e., Synecdoche, New York] I have been working to direct my own movies. At this point in the film business I am taking assignments when I get them. I need to earn a salary. I am doing what I can to make a living, but hoping to do what I would like to do.”
Kaufman to Variety‘s Will Tizard: “I think I have to have one commercial success in the indie world and I’m off. Anything that I do in this form that makes its money back or a little bit more than break even. That’s all it is. I don’t think anybody cares about anything else when they’re financing movies.”
HE to Kaufman: The titles, dude. You’ll lose 90% of your potential audience if the titles of your films seem overly referenced or smarty-pants. You don’t have to “dumb” your titles down, but they shouldn’t be aimed over the heads of people who graduated high school but skipped college.
Synecdoche (later changed to Synecdoche, New York) was one of the least intriguing titles in the history of motion pictures. When it was first screened in Cannes, some of the journalists at the press conference had to be told how to pronounce it. (I was there — Phillip Seymour Hoffman did the explaining.) Anomalisa wasn’t much better. The titles of your films have to be easily and immediately comprehensible to Average Joes — simple. It’s not rocket science.