This morning's Defamer Attractions was gravely remiss in omitting Thomas Kinkade's Christmas Cottage from its assortment of hot new DVD releases. Our consciences ache even worse after today's revelation of a fascinating production memo by Kinkade himself, the evangelical "Painter of Light" whose 16-point missive for achieving the most faithful adaptation of his woodsy cornball nursing-home art wound up leaked to Vanity Fair.In the video above, featured modestly on the Christmas Cottage Web site, Kinkade promises an autobiographical family classic featuring Peter O'Toole, Marcia Gay Harden and Jared Paladecki, and which holds its own against It's a Wonderful Life. Bold claims all, especially considering Cottage went straight to DVD. Still, considering the explicit directions excerpted here, what could possibly go wrong? Apart from the Kubrick references, that is:

3) Create classic compositions. [...] Utilize traditional eye levels for setting the shot — that is, no high vantage points, off-kilter vantage points, or "worms eye view" vantage points. Generally focus on a standing adults viewpoint of the scene at hand. 4) Awareness of edges. Create an overall sense of soft edges, strive for a Barry Lyndon look. Star filters used sparingly, but an overall "gauzy" look preferable to hard edge realism. [...] 6) Hidden details whenever possible, References to my children (from youngest to oldest as follows): Evie, Winsor, Chandler and Merritt. References to my anniversary date, the number 52, the number 82, and the number 5282 (for fun, notice how many times this appears in my major published works). Hidden N's throughout — preferably thirty N's, commemorating one N for each year since the events happened. 16) Most important concept of all — THE CONCEPT OF LOVE. Perhaps we could make large posters that simply say "Love this movie" and post them about.

Yes, lets! Just above the pull quote from cinematography great Ellen Kuras, who tells VF that Kincade's definition of "cozy" imagery sounds like "a prescription for a bad ’60s porn movie." But that hardly seems fair — even '60s porn screened in movie theaters before disappearing forever into video oblivion.

  • Article NameThomas Kincade's 16 Guidelines for Making Stuff Suck [VF]