Saturday, November 21, 2009


Did you ever wonder why when you we look through countless shelves and DVD titles at Blockbuster, your neighborhood store, or supermarket why you have this feeling that there’s really nothing worth to rent or to watch?

You seem to wonder as you recognize thousands of movie titles - some you have seen, some you never got to see, some you just know by their names from the media and you keep thinking what is there to watch you can't help having this feeling that there’s really nothing to worthwhile to see. Almost every one of us had this feeling at one time or the other. 

Recently, I looked at a queue at Netflix online linking you with over 12,000 movies and TV episodes from your computer directly to your room.This is where you can instantaneously check mark thousands of movies on your Smart TV directly from your browser in your living room as much as you like. Years I was thinking of delivering movies from a satellite dish the shape of Goodyear blimp that would hover above the earth and deliver them all at once to some mysterious box or attachment sitting right next to our TV screen. 

The concept has not changed much although the method of delivery is slightly different with different hardware of course. However, as soon as the novelty of Internet delivery wears out the question that immediately pops up is why do we really need 12,000 mediocre movies when most of us want to see a few good movies once in a while that would blow our minds? Second question that inevitably pops to mind is why the movie industry needs to be sustained with mediocrity since it costs exactly the same amount of money to make a horrible film as it takes to make a masterpiece? 

Third question is why is it increasingly harder to find a good movie these days, and it cannot not be because there's a lack of money to produce them. Obviously, there are a lot of movies being produced and distributed all over the world every single year. So what is the problem? Why do nearly all movies have such amazingly short shelf life, and I am not talking about their physical shelf life, or their DVD properties, but about their cultural and artistic properties? 

Why they cannot even pass the couch test? For some of you who don’t know what the couch test is, it's when you watch a movie in your room and you fall asleep on it within ten or fifteen minutes. If you don't, that;s when the movie passes the couch test. This means if you survive the first fifteen minutes, the next challenge is to survive the first half of it, and if it still keeps awake you're doing great. If you survive both, and still manage to keep your eyes open the movie you watch will pass the couch test. Unfortunately very few movies manage to keep us awake on the couch that long. We can do a lot with two-hours of our lives and with the amount of time that it takes to watch an average movie or watch it on TV with all the commercials making it twice as long. Time is very valuable in our lives, and often we are painfully reminded how extremely limited is our available time pool. 

Our time is like a bank account. It is always shrinking and unlike the bank account never be replenished. The amount of time wasted watching a badly produced, mediocre movie will never come back to us, and this is along with a plethora of things as we use up our resources, our youth, our adulthood, our well-being spend on watching movies. Henceforth, these two-hours of our time spend exponentially countless of times over and over again is a serious commitment since we are never going to get this time back in our lives, ever again.

Truly great filmmakers are not compelled to make a movie every year, just to prove something to everyone, as everyone in Hollywood wants to make a hit at the box office and get recognized by this peers. and saying they need to make another movie because they just love making movies, or that they must do it simply because that is what they do is not enough to make a great movie. 

I wonder how many current and aspiring filmmakers say they must make a movie for the love of movies, and when they actually do make a movie can their product really survive the test of time, or even a simple couch test? From the voluminous titles, websites, and massive amount of screenplays with tens of thousands of movies made over the last few decades it is obvious that making money, and making truly great movies are two incompatible terms with very few exceptions. 

Even saying we’re doing it for the love of movies seems nothing but bittersweet  statement to justify filmmaker's ambitions instead of following their true passion for making movies, while majority of movies leave very little behind them past their original release. This is why I wrote  four (4) movies: 2 historical, 1 science fiction, and 1 contemporary drama, and I only plan to write two, or three more. In essence I do not plan to write, produce, or direct massive amount of movies for the sake of making them, but focus on few truly amazing films and whoever watches them will be proud to watch them and/or have them in their possession.

My goal is to produce a masterpiece – a movie that we will be compelled to watch over and over again because of its cultural and cinematic value - not because someone has told me it’s good, but because my films can pass the couch test - and like classical music will always provide endless hours of enjoyment, boundless energy, beauty, with unique charismatic and dramatic power.

Today, there are only a handful of movies like that - in a world where there’s water everywhere but few drops to drink, even though movies make millions of dollars around the world but there are very few of them around that make people happy.

 Projects in development slate:


Action-driven historical epic, an espionage drama about The Romanoff Dynasty, and the answer to why the political powers are where they are today. This is Europe at its best from the formation of Russian ballet to great Russian literature, and what brought on the revolution, to the struggle of superpowers, and finally the answer to what is considered the greatest mystery of the 20th Century. 

Deathblow is DaVinci Code meets Patriot Games meets James Bond meets Angels & Demons and a lot more. 

More importantly Deathblow meets history - real history, and it is based on actual events an international spy war at its best, plus a great father and son story audiences will never forget.


Historical epic about two greatest musicians of all time during the Romantic Age. This is a sequel to two highly successful films about this subject.  The first was with Merle Oberon’s called Song To Remember and it was about Chopin,  and the second was  George Cukor’s highly popular Song Without End starring Dirk Bogarde as Franz Liszt.

Soundtrack for Liszt & Chopin In Paris - Special Anniversary Album.

Short Bio of John Mark:

John Mark, writer and creator of LISZT & CHOPIN IN PARIS is American screenwriter and novelist with extensive scholarly background and training in classical music. He studied classical piano and music composition in Warsaw at Panstwowa Wyzsza Szkola im. Elsnera Drugiego Stopnia, ul. Swietojerska (Chopin's school and hometown) named for Prof. Jozef Elsner who taught Frédéric Chopin. 

During Chopin's time the school was referred to as the Warsaw Conservatory and is known for its legendary teachers and scholars among them Stanislaw Moniuszko, Karol Szymanowski, Ignacy Paderewski and many others.

After leaving Warsaw to Paris at young age to study film and classical music John Mark studied with Prof. Nadia Boulanger at the Paris Conservatory, as well as film directing and cinematography at IDHEC/Paris and at Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia that is part of Cinecitta studio
 in Rome. John Mark speaks English, French, Spanish, Italian and Polish and he has received numerous letters of recognition for his contribution to classical music.

Screenplays written by John Mark:


All projects above are now in development as major theatrical motion pictures.

Several years ago John Mark has recorded preliminary soundtrack for LISZT & CHOPIN IN PARIS that paves way to the ultimate soundtrack soon to be produced and re-recorded with world's greatest virtuosos.

John Mark performing Chopin’s Ballade No. 4 in F-minor.wmv on Grotrian-Steinweg:

Preliminary SOUNDTRACK for LISZT & CHOPIN IN PARIS  recorded by John Mark - a preamble soundtrack featuring music scenes from the Script.


YouTube - Videos Key words: John Mark Chopin
Google Search Key words: Liszt & Chopin In Paris

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