Will Arntz is known for two of his eclectic achievements: Writing a widely used piece of computer System Management software called “AutoSys”, and creating, directing and producing the revolutionary, genre-defying documentary – What the Bleep Do We Know? [WTB]. E. Raymond Brown – visionary musician, producer, director and author – wrote the book, “Will the Real Pimps and Ho’s Please Stand Up” Peeping the Multi-Leveled Global Game, and a few years later completed a pilot film project based on his book.
In 2008, they banded together to co-write, co-direct and co-produce a full length theatrical film adaptation of the book. Planned for general audience release in the Fall of 2010, this irreverent, cagerattling, cinematic jewel, titled Ghetto Physics: Will the Real Pimps and Ho’s Please Stand Up! is intended to wake-up, inspire and empower its audience. And in doing so, it is destined to put a whole new face on what has emerged as one of the most popular art forms of the 21st Century: “Spiritual Cinema.”
SuperConsciousness Magazine had the honor and pleasure of conducting the first Ghetto Physics interview with Arntz and Brown.
SC: What was your original inspiration behind the book?
ERB: The book came together in late ‘02. I was doing music production, urban music production –hip hop stuff, which is inundated with a lot of sociopolitical terminology. At that time, I was also studying mythology and was really interested in archetypal psychology. I saw the connection between the modern hip hop lingo and its archetypal context.
This was a time when George Bush is on the TV talking about weapons of mass destruction. My consciousness synthesized what I had been thinking about and the title hit me – Will The Real Pimps and Ho’s Please Stand Up. There, right in front of me, was the archetypal game; I was watching who was pulling the strings behind whom. It clicked.
With Ghetto Physics, the actual premise of ‘the pimp and the ho’ was something that I had never thought about, but as soon as I saw it, I recognized it as a great metaphor in which to get a lot of ideas out.
SC: What motivated you to evolve the book into film?
ERB: As a music producer, I was already familiar with production scenarios. Michael Moore was doing his thing around that time, and the documentary genre was starting to become popular, so I went through the process of exploring the possibility of an adaptation into film.
I started my pilot draft in late ‘05 and finished the pilot film in early ‘07. I had seen WTB in theaters twice, bought the DVD, and it was one of the films we would look at while we were working on the pilot. WTB was the first film that I had seen that brought spirituality together with science – popular consciousness in an entertainment format. It was a spark.
SC: Will, when did you first explore the concept of ‘pimps and ho’s?’
WA: John Raatz, who had done some of the marketing for WTB, was approached by E. Ray who had written the book “Will the Real Pimps and Ho’s Please Stand Up”, and had also gotten the bright idea that he was going to make a movie of it. E. Ray had no experience making movies, but he had no experience writing a book either; he just did it.
John contacted me saying, “Look, I get a lot of stuff- people who think you’re destined to collaborate with them. I don’t even bother forwarding them because I know you’re not going to like it. But, I think you might like this one. It’s just odd enough.” He told me the title and I said, “Yeah, it’s odd enough. Send it over.”
I watched it and thought it was a diamond in the rough. I liked all the irreverent humor and the basic premise. We had a meeting, and afterwards I typed up thirty pages of notes and sent them over to see how he would react, and it was great. I decided to jump in, collaborate and finish it off. At that point I thought it would be a six month project, but of course we went three times over the budget and it took two years.
DG: What was unique about making this film as opposed to WTB?
WA: When we made WTB, I was very immersed in the subject matter. Betsy, Mark and I were all students in Ramtha’s School of Enlightenment and [spirituality] was a subject I had been interested in for thirty, forty years.
With Ghetto Physics, the actual premise of ‘the pimp and the ho’ was something that I had never thought about, but as soon as I saw it, I recognized it as a great metaphor in which to get a lot of ideas out. Plus, it’s much more irreverent; it’s in your face – like being the troublemaker or the trickster. I really enjoy raising eyebrows in a way that people respond with, “Wow, I never looked at it that way,” and then they begin seeing the world in a different context.
The other thing that I really enjoyed about working on this project is becoming immersed in the African-American culture in America, which I never had really experienced before. For us normal white folks, we don’t really talk about pimps and ho’s much, but it’s a very common part of the hip hop culture. Although that culture can seem very different, all in all, they’re very much the same because when it’s all said and done, it’s just people.
One thing I really noticed was that in the hip hop culture it’s rare for people to just brush by you. When you greet, they take the time to look at you. People would stop and say, “Hey, how you doing?” and there was a moment created that you’d have to connect with folks. It was great.
The basic premise of the film is that when you see the pimp and the ho on the street corner you know what’s going on, you know what their game is, but that on the world stage it is exactly the same game happening on all levels of politics, government, religion, and advertising.
SC: How did the dynamic between you both play out as a result of coming out of different cultures?
ERB: Will and I would go back and forth about how much rawness to put into the film. Will was committed to not watering it down and I wouldn’t have it any other way. But sometimes he would want to include things like the “intrigue” behind assassinations. I was like, “Oh my God, Will.” He’d want to put stuff in, and I’m like, “OK Mr. Bleep – you know what you are doing.”
But when it came to the pimp slapping the ho’, there was a conversation about whether or not we should have that in there. We agreed that the level of violence is nothing compared to what people experience in war torn parts of the world like the citizens of Iraq and others who are dealing with all kinds of injustices. That slap was nothing – it was patty cake.
Life is raw for a lotta people in the world. The film serves as a Trojan horse so that when we see the pimp saying, “Just to get the bitch motivated,” and “You might have to lie a little bit to get her up to the track,” and then we cut to George Bush or a Cheney, it becomes an archetypal exploration.
SC: What are some of the other important ideas you wanted to convey?
WA: The basic premise of the film is that when you see the pimp and the ho on the street corner you know what’s going on, you know what their game is, but that on the world stage it is exactly the same game happening on all levels of politics, government, religion, and advertising. It’s a power dynamic when a company is out there selling toothpaste by saying, “If you buy our toothpaste you’ll have sex.” That’s just a pimp job.
When we start seeing things that way, a lot of the double talk and sophistication is taken out of the equation, and it becomes a very basic, very straightforward thing: “That politician or company or whatever is pimping me.”
People in control always want to have people under them feel powerless so that they can manipulate them. Much of this film is just saying, “Please stand up. Wake up. Don’t allow people to take away your dignity, your power and your choices. It’s yours.”
The other important concept is the notion of creating reality. We convey that everyone is creating their reality, but what the pimp does is try to basically convince you to create the reality they want. The message becomes, “Look, do whatever you want, but if someone’s pimping you, it’s okay. Go along with it if you want, but don’t do it unconsciously. Be aware of the game going on all around on all the levels. In the end you choose, and choose with the awareness of what is going on.” Whatever we choose is fine; there’s no moral judgment, no ethical thing from our point of view.
Another thing we talk about in the film is empowering people to be aware of the victim mindset. People in control always want to have people under them feel powerless so that they can manipulate them. Much of this film is just saying, “Please stand up. Wake up. Don’t allow people to take away your dignity, your power and your choices. It’s yours.”
SC: Here’s the game, and this is how it plays out.
WA: Here’s the game and you decide where you want to plug into the game, or even if you’re going to plug into the game. You decide what you want to create.