Saturday, April 29, 2006

It Didn't Kill Me

Saw Cam Archer's Wild Tigers I Have Known at the PDX Fest last night. It blew me away. I was tired and certainly had some fidgets, but what a mindblower. I liked it so much. I found so much emotional truth in it. So many memories. Nick Peterson was there and I ran down to chat as soon as the lights came up. Though it was more stylized than Nick might usually go for, I had the feeling he would share my love for the film . I was right -- he loved it as much as I. Nick said the film made him feel as if his films were but technical exercises. He mentioned relating to the exact things I did, one of which was the phone calls. I'm not going to say more, you should find a way to see theis film. An unexpected turn was the body graffiti IT DIDN'T KILL ME.
So so so much in that.
This morning I rehearsed a song with someone. We're preparing a duet of Sister Morphine as a lark. I am not a singer. Nor am I a guitar player. My partner is and it was immediately obvious he thought I was bringing more to the table than I am. He was patient as we found a way to strum chords and alternate lines, coming together as we felt it. So cool. I let myself use what limited skills I have. I trusted it would be good enough. Of course it was. It was not good in a way that I'm thinking of charging admission. But I can tell you this:
It didn't kill me.

Only one thing will and that's not for me to determine.

Signore Direttore

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Full Circle

Another Spring and another script from the author of High Desert Psalmist. The synopsis he handed to me a week ago didn't grab me. Someone told me the script was worth a read. I found out what the writer wanted from me prior to reading it. I sensed he had learned some things since our last attempt to work together, so I agreed to read his latest.
If your eyes move side to side as you scan the page as they do when reading a book - it's no good. A screenplay is not a novel. Its non-prose format is not arbitrary. The form serves the medium as a blueprint for film construction. The beats are articulated in a certain manner. Dialogue is concentrated. The white of the page offers the subtext its unwritten place on the page. Visualization occurs as the eyes fly down the center of the page. Turning page after page, scene after scene. One flowing into the next.
I can get through a well written script of 120 pages in 45 minutes. I spent an hour and a half on this 111 pager and didn't make it to the third act. The second act started on page three. Its dozens of pages went on and on, going only to places I've seen before. Places that weren't that interesting the first time around. Situations to which I do not connect. Stories that I do not want to tell.
I really like this guy. I would love to work with him, both for the experience and to give him the opportunity to see his words come to life. But for me, the words have to come off the page. If ain't on the page, it ain't gonna be on the screen. Liking someone or wanting to be part of a film getting made doesn't a good screenplay make.
I'm going to have to pass on this one.
Oh well.

Signore Direttore


I've been practicing the following:

Thinking about film and seeing films critically without being a critic. Rather I am seeking to advance my own understanding of the art form as well as my own process.

Allowing myself to dislike films without indicting the filmmaker.

Trusting the generosity of audiences without judgment.

Allowing whatever happens to inform my experience of the here and now.

Being gentle.

Asking for help.

Accepting help.

Admitting that I am wrong.

Believing stones can float.

Letting go.


Buona Sera,
Signore Direttore

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Matt's Manifesto

"This is not the entertainment industry," it reads, but "folk art for a high tech society" that represents "a small victory over the monopoly that Hollywood and the corporate media have on our culture. . . THIS IS THE INTERNATIONAL CINEMATIC UNDERGROUND."

Matt McCormick

Sunday, April 23, 2006

You Are My Sunshine

There's a magic thing that happens when people get together. I mean really get together. I've been hanging around all kinds of people in all kinds of places for many years and remained very alone.
Suppose I was protecting myself. In some cases I was protecting others from me. Over time, more so recently, I've been letting the armor fall away bit by bit. It certainly is a vulnerable thing. I scare others. Especially when I myself am scared. Which I am when I strip away the things I have relied upon for protection.
I am intense. My mind moves very fast. Way way way ahead of my mouth. My mouth tries to keep up. Frustration. Don't yell, keep talking. It will come out. This will take practice. People tell me that though they trust I won't be violent, they feel as if they're in danger of being hit.
For many years I did exactly that - lashed out verbally and physically. Worse yet, I ran away or rejected. I was often like an animal.
Raw. Intense. Unpredictable.
It drew people to me. It scared them away. It excited people. It hurt people.
Though I keep my hands to myself and my voice moderate more often than not, this thing is still present.
This came up with a friend yesterday morning. I tried to own my behavior while acknowleding the progress I've made.
Last night one of my students said this to me, "You're our teacher. We look up to you for your wisdom and your experience. We don't understand that you might suffer from any self-doubt or inadequacy when we put ourselves in your hands. I've seen you struggle. I've wondered if we were on the same side at times. But I've trusted and we've always come through in ways that have been intensely rewarding and exciting."
I asked him if it that type of intensity is not present in any project that's worthwhile.
He simply said, "No, not really."
That really went to my core. I refrained from judging the merits of the many projects on his resume. Something I would have done in the past to protect myself. Instead I accepted what he said almost as simply as he said "No, not really."
"You remember when you said to me, and you were joking, but as with all jests there's truth in it - This thing is going to go a lot better if you can read my mind." I recall saying it in an attempt to make light of the tendency I have to get ahead of myself. To assume others are with me. Or even ahead of me. I don't give myself credit. I'm waiting for someone to call me an idiot at every turn. I feel like I'm playing catch up. Getting left behind. I rush to keep pace, leaving others in my wake. In trying to catch up, I pass them by.
This kind of stuff is tough to admit. Tough to face. It would be nice to ignore it. To excuse my intensity as an artist's temperament. To point fingers. To avoid. To go to extremes. Rash judgments. Move to Mexico.
Speaking of the land so far from God and so close to the United States: I ran into an an old friend last night. He told me the letter I sent to him from Mexico in 1995 broke his heart. I didn't remember the letter. He said, "You don't remember. Do you remember living in Mexico?" Of course I remember living in Mexico. What do you think? That I'm some kind of idiot? (Oh, by the way - Here we go again.) Apparently the letter I wrote informed him I wasn't coming back, that I was going in a new direction. That I wished him the best in finding a new mentor. "It ripped my heart out. You had the light in you and you turned it out."
You know, the turn I took in Mexico was very selfish. Extremely so. Me, me, me. Yo, yo, yo.
I'm coming around to the light. I am showing up in places where I meet my old friend Mark. People who knew me when. I'm listening when H reminds me to allow others into my process. To be gentle. I'm listening when D tells me my authoritative presence is overwhelming. That I've changed but I'm not in the clear.
There's no place to run. No place to hide.
Might as well come out into the sunshine.

Signore Direttore

Friday, April 21, 2006


I'm seventy or so hours of work into this week and Friday is just getting started. I'm working Saturday morning as well. That's about fifty Gearhead hours so far, five teaching acting, two in meetings, three in screenings, eight writing and two coaching tee ball.
I'm feeling restless, irritable and discontent.
My brow is knit. My back is hunched.
I saw this woman on the set of a music video this morning that I used to spend a lot of time with in NYC circa 1997. I really hope she is up from LA for this thing and not living in town working in the same sphere as I.
I'm looking for a day to take off from Gearhead next week. I've been riding my bike(s) this week. The retreat is coming up. And a family trip to Bend to see Beck and stay in a condo up at Mt. Bachelor for the long holiday weekend.
I'm reading Sometimes a Great Notion. I'm happy about that.
What it really comes down to is that I'm very tired. I need some rest. Until I can manage that, I'll have to take it easy on myself and others.

Signore Direttore

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Circumstantial Evidence

The other day I wrote of suspiscions regarding a colleaugue's interst in working with me. Today that friend is in town. We had breakfast. It was great to see him. There was no need for me to even bring up my allegations, because they are in my head. Unsubstantiated reactions to a change in circumstances.
My mother died from a gunshot wound to the head. At the time, her sisters and her paramour strongly believed my stepfather was the shooter. Eleven detectives and two FBI agents investigated the case for six months. My step-father was interrogated but never arrested. Nothing more than circumstantial evidence was uncovered. The Distict Attorney would not accept the case because of the lack of hard evidence.
I'm not drawing any conclusions here. Just saying what comes to mind.
I am, however, drawn to the idea that my willingness to make a case for the injustices I suffer in every day life is born out of an inner need to solve the big mystery of my mother's death. Intellectually I say I have let go of the answer. Perhaps that is not entirely true.
I honestly do not know.
Again, more will be revealed.

Pasta and Bagels,
Signore Direttore

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Yesterday ...

... all my troubles seemed not all far away.
Started the day without hearing from any of the players I sent emails to regarding an upcoming collaborative project. Next I met with a payroll accountant and discovered that I'm paying 80% of my Gearhead wages to our nanny and my new assistant. Since both do tasks that are far from thankless - taking care of my children and my projects - I am posed with a bit of a conflict. I had to eat lunch on the fly out at Freightliner dealing with an electrical issue with one of the Gearhead trucks - so no lunch writing happened yesterday. Then because that fiasco took four hours out of my day I had to go back to Gearhead after teaching class. So as I'm all stacked up -- overworked and overextended -- I get four phone calls in the two hours before class letting me know that I will have four students without their scene partners in class. In spite of reasonable and understandable excuses for missing class, whenever such a mass absence coincidence occurs I get a bit skittish. I begin to question the commitments of actors. Whether or not I should bother trying to keep the studio going ... blah blah bleck What's worse is that as I write, I often do so for actors I know. When the actors in class, the actors I work with most regularly, demonstrate what I percieve as a lack of commitment, I feel threatened. A good example is a student commited to the retreat next month has a job as a receptionist at a hair salon. They may not grant her the time off, even with a month's notice. If this young actor is commited to acting, why is the crappo job the subject of so much of our correspondence? Next I got an email form the guy that's been fucking around with me for a year regarding the sound for London Calling telling me he is leaving for a job until September.
In this state of mind, I am not at ease. Focusing on the negative begets more of the same. Soon I was focusing on the fact that since I told MC of my humility regarding the direction of OG, I seldom hear from him. Whereas I heard from him every few days prior to my admission. I quickly had a lot of judgments of him running through my mind.
So I worked until two am at Gearhead after teaching class. That made it a nice and long eighteen hour day. At the end of it and at the beginning of today - I tell myself this: The only thing left for me to do is do the next right thing. I can't figure it all out. I can only do the work ahead of me. Which is not as complicated or as difficult as the bullshit above. It's a lot more seductive to focus on the negative. Perhaps with practice, focusing on the work becomes more habitual. I know this to be true. Because even a short time ago, I was unable to access anything but the occasional inspiration inorder to work at all.

This too shall pass.

Signore Direttore

Sunday, April 16, 2006

(Movie) Folk Wisdom 005

A successful movie is only ever about two things: the script and the cast.

Un Poem 002

it seems a terrible way to live:
wanting someone to listen to
other than the voices in my head
too scared to tell them to shut it
afraid no one else
will have a thing to say

i stopped looking at my shoes for once
and raised my eyes to the stars
on a clear cold night in the woods
they were up there shining bright
as they always are

if only i raised my eyes more often
maybe the voices in my head
would stop bickering
about the nonsense i rely upon
to feel in control

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Folk Wisdom 004

Consider the work of God;
  who can make straight what he has made crooked?

Ecclesiastes 7:13 (RSV)

No More Yucky Stuff

Tonight we were watching Six Feet Under Season 4, the one where David gets abducted by the crackhead. I love SFU, but I was really not into that episode. I said aloud, what's Claire doing? Let's go find Claire or Mother Fisher. I wanted to get back to the stories and their characters.
Last weekend I felt similar feelings watching a film at Longbaugh. There was a rape scene and a couple of other desperate sex scenes. I didn't like them. I felt exploited along with the actors.
I'm outlining yet another screenplay this week. It was on a course to be a noirish thriller, but I quickly reined it back to something exploring the characters' deepest needs and the ways they try and fail to get them met. I suppose the better films noir do the same. That's not where mine was headed.
It feels better. Not in any moralistic way, it's just something I can connect to and would want to watch.
It's both more challenging and yet easier to accomplish. Probably because discovering what is kind and loving in me is closer to me than icky stuff.

To the discovery of to thine ownself be true ... huzzah!

Signore Direttore

Friday, April 14, 2006

Folk Wisdom 003

Life is a mystery to be lived not a problem to be solved.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

The Master Says 026

We cannot change anything unless we accept it. Condemnation does not liberate, it oppresses.

Carl Jung

Spring Cleaning

Last Fall was a busy time for me - moving house, starting a day job, teaching, final rewrites of Original Glory and having our third child. So when we moved, my office was the last priority. It was tossed into a forgotten bedroom downstairs and ransacked over the past few months when something was needed. But today, oh glorious seventy degrees and sunny with the cherry blossoms in full bloom day that it was, my office was put in order. The editing suite is up and running.
My new assistant Jordan Karr-Morse started today. I think we'll be doing great things together in the coming months. He's a very talented DOP, as they call cinematographers in Britain where he was trained and has been working. Even if the greatness extends only to finishing some long-neglected unfinished short films, we'll be well ahead of the current status quo of dusty tapes.
One of the things Jordan is scheduled to assist me with is the Spring Actors Retreat taking place next month. We've rented a lodge up at Mount Hood and will be going up there to rehearse and shoot some scenes. The group commited to go is a dedicated and talented bunch. I'm sure we'll learn a bit and have a swell time in the mountain air.

I really love seeing all the cherry blossoms, especially the heavy, dark pink ones.

Signore Direttore

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Pop Quiz 2006

1. Would you know a great script if you read it?

Yes. However I am often eager to be generous and therefore forego asking some tough questions of scripts. I'm learning more about identifying story structure.

2. Have you ever raised money for a dream?

Yes. Moreover I have earned huge amounts of money on events that I created based on nothing more than personal taste.

3. Can you make people believe in you?


4. Are you anal and meticulous?

God yes.

5. Is saying no easy for you?

Not consistently or cleanly. I'm working on it.

6. Are you ready for an emotional marathon?

No. I'm working on it. I can say that I am improving significantly in regards to not adding unnecessary drama to stressful situations.

7. Are you really creative?

Yes. It's tough to acknowledge that without some humility or self-doubt.

Gun :: Briefcase

All you need to make a film is a girl and a gun.
- Godard

You can steal more money with a briefcase than you can with a gun.
- My father

All you need to make a film is a briefcase and a miscreant for a father.
- Me

Friday, April 07, 2006


Today marks the one year anniversary of this weblog. I can not adequately express the importance of maintaining a public record of the process of the tremendous growth and change in my professional and personal lives, which are inextricable.
There are a number of people that I have had the privilege of having in my life this past year. I will try to remember them all.
I want to especially thank David Millstone for inpsiring me to get this started and for his dedicated blogging and readership.

My wife Nicola
Dave Hansen
Philip Kenney
Zach Sherman
Michael Cassidy
Andrew Dickson
All of the wonderful actor-students I have the honor to have in the studio
Steve Doughton
The cast and crew of London Calling
Derek - High Desert Psalmist
Joey Boyd
Greg Schmitt
Joel Stirnkorb
Peter Kahn
Zach Mortensen
Tommy Pallotta
Heath Lourwood
Greg Foley
Travis Huntington
The cast and crew of Uncle Tom's Apartment
David Walker
Ryan Artists
Jeffery Hasseler
Lounne Moldovan
Chris Hornbecker
Jack Dahl
The cast and crew of The Color of Ambition
Robert Hicks
Gearhead Studio Rentals
Michael / Koerner Camera
The anonymous Finding Fellini readers
The Gersh Agency
Larry T
Sandra L
Jim Barrett
East Side Sunrise
Book Review
Neil Kopp
Simon Max Hill
The cast and crew of But A Dream
The cast and crew of Pretty
Nick Peterson
Shawn Sundby
Dennis Brenhaug
Peripheral Produce
The Masters
Federico Fellini

I could not have done it without you.

Thank you, thank you, thank you ...
Neal A. Corl
Signore Direttore

The Master Says 001 - Anniversary Reprise

There is no beginning. There is no end.
There is only the infinite passion of life.

Federico Fellini

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Living the Dream

Today I got to do something quite profound on my lunch hour. I picked Henry up from Kindergarten and took him to a sporting goods store to buy him a baseball glove. I got one for myself as well. We had lunch after that.


The Master Says 025

We do not grow absolutely, chronologically. We grow sometimes in one dimension, and not in another, unevenly. We grow partially. We are relative. We are mature in one realm, childish in another. The past, present and future mingle and pull us backward, forward, or fix us in the present. We are made up of layers, cells, constellations.

Anais Nin

Tug of War

I'm wondering as I sit and ponder the idea of getting pulled in one direction by the Kazan quote immediately below and in quite an opposite direction in the opinions of the last crew I worked with. I don't think it comes down to absolutes. That's a new idea. Nor do I think I am as far removed from the violent struggle suggested by the title of today's entry as I would like to think I am. It would be quite foolish for me to think that I will soon be in harmony with a crew, that I will magically surround myself with sycophants. Yet I think it worthwhile to pursue a balance of preparation and sensitivity to schedule, while retaining the integrity of the director's primary task.
I'm tempted to start throwing the Kazan quote around the gaffers, grips and cameramen with whom I routinely work. I'm quite certain it would be anything but an invitation to discuss the virtues of taking one's time on set and feeling your way through subtle material.
They admitted to me that they had never worked with actors that got better as more takes were shot. In the commercial world, the first take or two is all you get before the actor has nothing left and starts pushing it out. I've seen this to be the case with inadequately trained actors. Even with that admission of seeing the actors go deeper under my direction, they remain convinced that I worked very inefficiently. I have to admit that it stings. I'm being careful of jumping entirely over to their way of thinking. Doing so would drain much of the life from the work. However, understanding that keeping the crew behind you through respecting the limits of thier patience, particularly when they are not getting paid, is essential to building a career as a filmmaker. In any case, I could certainly sharpen my previsualization, shot planning and set communication skills.
Stumbling across the Kazan quote the other day got me thinking in terms of vindication. I don't really need to be vindicated. Though I must admit that I really would like everyone to get together and love the hell out of me, praising my genius and hailing my body of work.
Back to the metaphor of this entry's title -- I'm not letting go of either side of the rope, I'm trying to let go of being the rope.

Signore Direttore

The Master Says 024

A good director's not sure when he gets on the set what he's going to do.

Elia Kazan

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Sycophant No More

The quotes below seem to contradict one another, at least for many years I heard their polarity. I think it is quite clear that there are distinct differences between a Cassavetes film and a Hitchcock film. Especially in the manner in which they were concieved and produced.
The danger with Cassavetes for me is much the same as with Mamet's manifestoes -- their iconoclastic bombasts prompt sycophantic behavior in me. Remember, I'm trying to leave the purist box unchecked.
Fact is, I love movies from both directors. I learn and am entertained by both. (In spite of JC's proclamation that he doesn't seek to entertain.) They were true to themselves in the making of their films. Hitch was neurotic and needed order. He found the yellow of eggs creepy and the red of blood comforting. John was a narcissistic drunk and needed chaos in which to justify himself. (I wish I knew something about him like the eggs/blood thing to keep this parallel sentence structure going. Oh well.)
In any case, I love their films precisely because they adhere so strongly to their own point of view.
What is my point of view?
More will be revealed.

On the path,
Signore Direttore

The Master Says 024

I'm full of fears and I do my best to avoid difficulties and any kind of complications. I like everything around me to be clear as crystal and completely calm.

Alfred Hitchcock

The Master Says 023

All my life I've fought against clarity -all those stupid definitive answers. Phooey on a formula life, on slick solutions. It's never easy. I think it's only in the movies that it's easy ... I won't call (my work) entertainment. It's exploring. It's asking a lot of questions of people ... A good movie will ask you questions you haven't been asked before.

John Cassavetes


Originally uploaded by Signore Direttore.
Primary Location

Folk Wisdom 002

When they take your smile away they might just as well shoot you.

Violet Hensley

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

The Master Says 023

I didn't have that much confidence. Maybe it looks that way. I'm glad it does.
Elia Kazan

Checking the Box

Over the past few weeks I've been trudging through a swamp of truths about myself and my abilities. It's been a taxing, though rewarding journey. I've given up some old ideas about myself and have therefore made room for some new approaches. As I've blogged, I've had to be careful not to fill in the blanks too quickly. While I can't say I have the patience of a saint, I have kept my eyes open as much as possible. I certainly haven't needed to completely reinvent myself. I have done a tremendous amount of work over the years and I have talent to be sure. Letting go of expectations and of waiting for others to legitimize my talent has actually helped me see my strengths more clearly. In fact the weaknesses that were so glaring to me a few weeks ago feel more like exciting challenges than sources of shame at this point.
I was listening to James Mangold speak about the beginnings of his career recently. He asserted that you can't wait for someone to tell you you're ready or that it's time. That call won't come, he says from experience. You have to write the film you want to make. If you write a film that is too expensive for an inexperienced director to obtain financing for, write another film. He was talking about genre pictures heavy on special effects primarily, however this is the trap in which I've been falling for years regarding Original Glory. I've actually complained many times as I've had the script accepted to prestigous markets and optioned by a production company that it's too bad I wrote this one first.
Boo hoo. Poor me that I wrote a story that I believed in and in turn inpired others to believe in enough to take a self-taught writer and help him develop the script, teach him about dramatic stroytelling and the business of making movies in the process and pay me for it. What a goddamn bummer. Bet you feel really sorry for me.
In realizing and admitting that I may not currently have the necessary experience to direct Original Glory, did I make it clear that Original Glory is the first complete screenplay that I've written, I have become willing and ready to write my second completed screenplay. Back when I finshed the first final draft of OG, I optioned a book to adapt, I signed a contract with a producer to adapt a novel he'd optioned, et cetera. I was ready! Then I learned what is meant by the koan that screenwriting is rewriting. That's when the producers at Ghost Robot, namely Zach Mortensen, took me to (re)writing school. All those other writing plans were put on hold. Thankfully, because I re-invented the wheel with Original Glory. To my credit, I wrote about what I knew and some amazing characters emerged. But I didn't know a thing about structure. Initially I took those notes with scornful scoffs. But when you hear the same thing from people making a living in the industry over and over again, it tends to break down the denial that you're a dyed in the wool genius. Gradually, over the span of years, I became teachable.
I've written over fifty drafts of Original Glory, not including somewhere around a hundred revised drafts. All the while I started a dozen screenplays. Do you think I started those screenplays any differently than I started OG back in '98? Hell no. I'm sure one of the reasons that not a one has written itself is a subsconscious fear that it will require the same amount of work as Original Glory. If I grafted ideas about events and people onto an arbitrary armature as I did with OG, it's likely that I would have to write fifty drafts again. If I were lucky.
There's a better way. There is more than one better way. Start earlier with the structure. From the beginning. Baby steps. Check the box as you complete each one. Follow directions. Ugh.
Don't you know who I am?
Here's what I'm doing differently:
Week 1
Day 1 - Write the title. That's it. Stop. Done for the day.
Day 2 - Write the theme. Do my best. Write a few. Be wrong. Trust the process.
Day 3 - Write the logline. Starting to get harder. I have it my head what I want to write about. Why can't I just start writing? Hard to stay with this part. But I wrote something that I could get me through to the next day.
Day 4 - Write the treatment. I wrote the beginning and the end as instructed. The logline was bothering me. Maybe because I didn't know whose story it was. I wanted it to be about the dad, because he is the one transformed in the end. I went back to the logline and reworked it. The process forced me to understand whose story it is.
Day 5 - Still working on the logline. Something is not quite right. I talk it out with a trusted colleague. Got it.
Day 6 - Rest and reflect.
Day 7 - Outline the middle of the treatment. Go back and read the plan of action. Something about five pairs of uh oh's and oh shits and two oh my gods in every good movie. Resistance to this was strong. Fucking formulaic bullshit ... So I tried it. It was hard. I mapped it out. I deleted, cut and pasted, rewrote for a long while. I labored. Guess what? It helped me develop the tension, the rhythm and the structure. The story is not more formulaic as a result -- it's stronger. I better understand where we (the characters and I) need to go.
All the while during Week 1, I was telling the story to myself and others. Trying out the logline. Suffering blank looks. Fighting the urge to type FADE IN:
I took a class a long time ago that asserted typing FADE IN: was the first thing to do when starting a screenplay. I wholeheartedly disagree.
Week 2
Day 1 - Finish the treatment. Several prose pages amassed under my flying fingers in a very short time last night. Maybe this following directions crap works.
Day 2 - Write an outline. I'll get to it at lunch.

I tell actor-students to get off the fence about whether they're an actor or not. Check the box, I tell them.
I'm checking the box today.
Screenwriter - check.
Director - check.
Hyphenate - check.
Purist - it's hard, but I'm going to leave this box unchecked for now.

A River Dertch,
Signore Direttore

Sunday, April 02, 2006

First Ladies of Cinema

Jules et Jim
Originally uploaded by Signore Direttore.
Jeanne Moreau

First Ladies of Cinema

Hanna Schygulla
Originally uploaded by Signore Direttore.
Hanna Schygulla

First Ladies of Cinema

Monica Vitti
Originally uploaded by Signore Direttore.
Monica Vitti

First Ladies of Cinema

Isabelle Huppert
Originally uploaded by Signore Direttore.
Isabelle Huppert

First Ladies of Cinema

Maggie Cheung
Originally uploaded by Signore Direttore.
Maggie Cheung

The Master Says 022

Many of us achieve only the semblance of communication with others; what we say is often not contingent on what the other has just said, and neither of us is aware that we are not communicating.

Desy Safan-Gerard

Saturday, April 01, 2006

The Master Says 021

The poem is a little myth of man's capacity of making life meaningful. And in the end, the poem is not a thing we see --i t is, rather, a light by which we may see -- and what we see is life.

Robert Penn Warren

Un poem 001

dear juanita

from you
all the things that the letter said were true
it was over we could both so clearly see
you from

in a car
driving through chicago in the hazy summer
i remembered those yellow bicycles
in sacramento and milan
where the wedding pictures were taken and
left in the bottom drawer of a desk under the window
you told me to jump out of one morning
i wasn't awake

pale yellow mercedes
one hundred and eighty kilometers per hour
falling asleep at the wheel
talking about abraham lincoln
explaining him to you
how fucking strange
that someone didn't know who he was

you disappeared
when i found you in a cafe
quietly flirting
with the entire room
you laughed at me
for worrying
i got you back
in the shower
before you moved in with the priest

and before you fucked shelby
he told me one morning
in a sacramento dive bar
the last city in which i ever saw
either of you
unlikely sister cities
milan and sacramento
i was living in san francisco
stole a car one night
a convertible
1965 Buick Special
white with a red interior
needed somewhere to go

your mother told me, allesandra
she needa college
no marry my allesandra
she needa college
she said that over
and over
while you were upstairs
with your little sister

it was seven am
hadn't seen him since milan
he called when he moved
back to the states
he called here the states
such the expatriate male model
that shelby
he said he would look me up sometime
but i looked him up first
at seven am
in a stolen car

i went running in naples
after we drove down from milan
to meet your family
she needa college
she needa college
running through my brain
running through your filthy naples
the shower was great
until rebecca reached inside the curtain
and let go of
that bird

i took him downtown
and made him
drink wild turkey
he told me he knew
about the bird in the shower
he asked me if i knew
about you two
he said he was sorry
but that he couldn't
help himself
you were so

birds make greek boys like me
too many omens --
aunt catherine
athens 1974
so many candles
i got scared
her wrist i pulled
into the shower
the bird flying around
her clothes wet
they came undone
and i
and she
and the bird

i could tell
that you were the
absolute conquest
of his life
we went swimming
in his pool later that morning
i asked him if he ever met
your little sister
he said no
then you don't know
about the bird in the shower
now do you?

it was so clever
the way you returned
my letter to me
crossing out your name
at the top
replacing it with mine
the name that you gave me
your father showed me what you
wrote in the margins of his
when you were
a little girl

crossing out my name
at the bottom
and writing yours
the name you gave yourself
in its place
i especially admired
the lack of a post-script
neat and clean, no fuss
that was you
juanita: god's gift to men
just like it says
in your papa's

Thoughts on a Friday Night

Watched Thumbsucker and Belle Epoque tonight. Belle Epoque is a sexy farce, Spanish, not so great. Thought Thumbsucker was pretty good. It was relatively dismissed by critics. I certainly didn't find it riveting, but the acting was pretty good. Low key and truthful. I know a lot of people that worked on it. Which isn't that big of a deal. I normally read the credits of any film I see, recognizing names from other films or even a friend now and again. But I know about twenty of the folks that worked on that one.
What else?
Designed a t-shirt for the acting studio.
Fantasized about shooting this Rope-esque film on 35mm. Three takes for a ninety minute film at .42 a foot for recans of Fuji works out to about ten grand for film stock. Not in the cards right now.
Had a long chat with David about Pendleton. (Which isn't Rope-esque at all) That was encouraging and exciting.
Someone sent me a manifesto of sorts regarding making low budget films as we were about to go to lunch. I brought it along and checked our ideas against it. It made a good point for shooting on film and using name actors. However I asserted that we didn't have to follow that because we're not trying to break into Hollywood with this film. We're making a film to get better at something we love doing. We don't plan on making our money back. What a relief.
Painted the interior of our front door just a few minutes ago. When my wife used to work in Japan every couple of months I would stay up and rearrange our loft in NY. Henry would wake up to a new environment, sometimes not so happily. The first time I ate mushrooms I experienced that when Dan Eccles's step-sister came into the room and moved a guitar. "Put it back! Put it back, now." We used the word tangent a lot that night.
Cancelled my rough cut session tommorow with Melissa Henderson, the editor, because I didn't have time to adequately prepare. It's not like me to refrain from pushing for something. I'm really trying to take it easy. Aside from painting the door (which really wasn't that difficult) I've done exactly that today.
Tomorrow I'm going to put a little time in at the studio, but lounging as much as possible this weekend is the plan.
I belong to a fellowhip that proclaims, We relax and take it easy. For the longest time I thought that was some lazy bullshit. Lately, I'm starting to get the hint.

Buona sera,