John Truby screenwriting class

The Worlds Deadliest
Fighting Secrets

By Floyd Webb

What a timely article. Your 10 Ways Filmmakers Manage Their Online Reputation is right on point and good advice. I have been dealing with Trolls on the internet for 4 years now, since I started my search online for information sources for a 50 year old story on martial arts I have been pursuing. Not only have I been slandered on-line, I am in Federal Court in Boston defending my right to fair use for images from a 1968 book by one  Count Dante called The World's Deadliest Fighting Secrets.

5 years ago I started a film I never imagined I would want to do. It is a documentary on a martial artist who proclaimed himself  "The World's Deadliest Man,"  aka Count Juan Raphael Dante.

Here is the trailer:

The synopsis reads as follows:

Count DanteIn the 1960s and 70s, his scowl was unmistakable and his kung fu pose conveyed a menace that went beyond martial arts mastery. He called himself Count Dante and he claimed to be “The Deadliest Man Alive” in garish comic book ads and gruesome instructional manuals. While his name and title may have been more show biz than lineage, his drive to live up to his fearsome reputation left one man dead and a promising career in ruins.

Count Dante’s real name was John Keehan and he grew up in a posh section of Chicago. In the early 1960s he was one of the most intriguing figures in America’s nascent martial arts scene. Bruce Lee and Chuck Norris were his contemporaries, but Keehan’s appetite for self-promotion was greater than a movie star’s. When he wasn’t putting on karate tournaments, he was styling hair and courting Playboy Bunnies. He was one part “Black Belt Jones” and one part Warren Beatty from “Shampoo.” He challenged Muhammad Ali, tested his hand speed against a quick draw artist, and kept an African lion as a house pet. You can find out more at my website and blog.

I ran into opposition to my making this film from his distant relatives but they did not interfere. The problem came from the son of the "chosen successor" of the Count Dante fighting system, William V Aguiar, III.

I tried to work with Mr Aguiar when I first started research on the film back in 2005. I was aware his father was the chosen sucessor and I was curious about what archives they might have available that might be useful in the film. Dante was born, lived and died in Chicago. Most of my research was being done here, Fall River was not where the story ends, it is a stop along the way. Well, of course Mr Aguiar did not see it that way, he claimed ownership at that time, of all things Dante. He felt that his father's relationship to Count Dante should be a main feature of my film and my research was yet to show that was true.

Being a hardcore indie filmmaker, I was like thought 30 secs about stopping and not being bothered. Then I was like, hell, this is part of the story.  I kept right on stepping. I did my research on fair use and continued to attempt to negotiate fairly with Mr Aguiar to get his cooperation on the film by allowing me to use anything that might be appropriate.  I already had photos, I already had interviews, no one in those interviews, person friends of John Keehan/Count Dante knew very much about  Mr. Aguiar's father at all.

Count DanteClaiming ownership of all intellectual properties related to Count Dante, Mr Aguiar wanted me to pay him $10,000 for the privilege of looking at his archives and he also want to be paid for an interview.  Meanwhile, one of his minions, a John Creeden III, sold an associate of mine some rare footage of Count Dante fighting a wrestler and showing moves from his "Dim Mak Dance of Death."

When I did not agree to this preposterous $10,000 to look at an archive sight unseen, and after the footage Mr Creeden sold my associate for $1,000 ended up on the internet on the channel of their archenemy, the dreaded internet ninja, Ashida Kim,  Mr Aguiar did a Digital Millennium Copyright Act takedown (DCMA) of my YouTube trailers. He then proceeded to use the DMCA to shut down my website.

My research lead me to The Stanford University Fair Use for Documentary Film Project. Attorney Anthony Falzone, got my trailers back online with YouTube and my website back up.

Mr. Aguiar then filed a Copyright Infringement law suit against me in Massachusetts Federal Court and sought an injunction to stop me from making the film.

That injunction was denied and I am still in court. I continue to do work on the film and I continue my research and fund raising. It has been difficult but I have not stopped the film and most recently my efforts have born fruit. More on that later.

In the midst of this, I have been in an online propaganda war with these "gentlemen" regarding my research for the film. I was  blogging about the film as I did the research. They used to trash me and the film, by now there are 6000+ posts in the William V Aguiar III sues Ashida Kim and Floyd Webb, Part II board.

These characters have threatened my life, the lives of my family members, and had supposed "hitmen" accompany them to Federal Court in Boston. Don't take my word for it. Look at publically available transcript at the link above.

They have spent the last 4 years trying to damage my reputation, dispute my  research findings and observations on my blog and then proceeded to harass and insult  people I mentioned in my blog. Mind you, these are people who were either children or were not born during Count Dante's time. This is all just a simple case of trolling for a payday at someone else's expense.

Elliot Grove's 10 points are right on point. The last thing you want to do in play the same vitriolic game as these Trolls do. I spend most of my time keeping my posts acerbic, witty and well documented for accuracy about any given issue they raise. Trolls have a habit of repeating the same things over and over again until they get a bite on an inaccurate bit. That has to be stopped in my opinion. Do it with well ordered facts and move on. People get it.

There have been 158,288 views of that Thread on and 6,448 posts over the last 3 years. I made a point in the thread of making it clear that I would never say anything I am going to be ashamed of 20 years from now. The vitriol, obscenity, and racial insults directed at me when I disprove any of their claims tend to be a bit hilarious to me. There have been challenges to fight, but my tormentors never show up for them. They then claim victory. It all shows how delusional and hopeless it is to engage people like them. But engage them you must, to defeat the attempts at disinformation.

Ironically, they have attracted a lot of attention to my project with the intensity of their vitriolic opposition.
It was through one of the threads that I got investors for the film.

Trolls are a part of the landscape of the internet. Envy, jealousy, and a keyboard are supposedly and delusionally powerful weapons in the hands of these sad individuals. The trick is to not fall for the baiting, to not respond emotionally and negatively. Remain courteous, but you don't have to kiss any ass and witty retorts are more than acceptable. If I am guilty of anything with trollz it is sarcasm.

i look forward  to presenting my film at Raindance, maybe even this year.  I am completing my funding negotiations and signing contracts this week and when it is announced there will be some surprises in store.

Best of luck to you all.

Yours in that independent spirit.,

Floyd Webb

"Everytime I make a film, I want to reinvent film. When I make films I make sure that there exists this sense of reinvention and this is very difficult to do. I prefer walking like an elephant than making films like a hyena."  Djibril Diop Mambety (1945-1998)
Floyd Webb
9 W. Washington St
Chicago, IL 60605
w: 312-233-2780
c: 708-704-1482

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About The Author

Floyd Webb Floyd Webb is an independent filmmaker who has worked as a producer on a number of projects over the years including the 2006 American Masters program, The World of Nat KIng Cole, by director Ian Hunt for Double Jab Productions , UK; 3D effects and animation producer for Wesley Snipes' Amen Ra Productions on the documentary, Dr. Ben; apprentice to documentary filmmaker St, Clair Bourne and director Charles Burnett; associate producer of Daughters of the Dust, directed by Julie Dash; researcher on The Last Angel of History, directed by John Akomfrah.

In the late1960s through mid 70s Floyd was active in the martial arts community in Chicago. He attended numerous tournaments and saw Keehan/Dante at the events he held at the Coliseum. He may have even spoken to him a few times. Floyd's tournament participation was undistinguished, yet he was steeped in the lore of the times and has begun to seek out his old contacts from the early days of kumite in Chi-Town. Sensei Gregory Jaco (father of rapper Lupe Fiasco) was but one of his instructors among the many. He participated in many backyard ,Mas Oyama-book-learning, basement brick breaking, late-night gymasium encounters, street challenges, beat downs( and eventual evolution to soft styles and adopting Taoist philosophies.

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Worlds Deadliest Fighting Secrets