Sunday, April 29, 2007

The Master Says 169

I'm not religious, but I believe that what I have is a gift, and I respect it and live up to it.

Sugar Ray Leonard

Saturday, April 28, 2007

April Short - Production Notes

Lumberjack Storytime - a young woman's personal fairy tale expresses her need to reclaim her sexuality.

I'm sticking to my commitment to shoot a short every month this year. I'm four for four. I'm tempted to say I cheated this month as it is primarily a scene I extracted from Made Crooked. But it did require a certain amount of reworking, rewriting and reshooting and I am going to give myself a break from my purist bullshit for once.
The lumberjack sequence we made for Made Crooked was pretty cool and I didn't want to see it go unseen. It needed something to help it stand on its own. A little context. So we came up with a little intro and an outro. And the voiceover needed to be tailored to what we actually shot. It was close, but I am so much happier with the rewrite and the dialogue Tara and I improvised.
We had to wait for Tara to come back to town to shoot it. It was good to see her and it made me miss having her around, especially now that we're shooting so much.

We're shooting Dangerous Writing in thirteen days over May and June. A feature will have to satisfy my monthly commitment for a couple of months.

Signore Direttore

April Short - Production Still

Thursday, April 26, 2007

First Rehearsal - DW

Nobody knows anything and that includes me. I'm not saying that we're stupid. No way. No how. I will say that we are afraid. We want to know. We want to possess all the knowledge necessary to feel safe. It is fortunate that that is an impossibility. Nothing new is going to come out of our plans and preparations to protect our fragile egos. We can not feel truly safe until we allow ourselves to trust in one another, in the process and in the moment.
Last night we tried to do this. The we was a large - sixteen people in the room giving up their notions of feeling safe, each to the best of his or her ability. I appreciate the trust. It's comforting. It makes me feel good about the process as it is only through trusting in it that I am able to continue to show up to not know.
I didn't know how things were going to work out last night. I didn't have a master plan other than to get a bunch of people in the room together and let them know the origins of my ideas, share with them some of my previous work accomplished by not knowing and to discuss some basic logistics.
I didn't have anything up my sleeve. Though it seems my reputation as a bit of a trickster has some people wondering. I like the way that supports not knowing, though it was never part of a master strategy. I'm just following my nose, hopefully into the same unconscious competence that I'm inviting others to explore.
I certainly don't want to figure it out - I've probably said far too much about it already. I am grateful to find myself here. I truly enjoyed last night. I was excited to have so many different faces and minds in the room. To feel their abundant energies and to experience my own kaleidescope of responses. This is fun.

Signore Direttore

Monday, April 23, 2007

Busy Busy

7 - 8 - Sunrise Meditation Meeting
8-10 - Study SDX900 Goodman Guide
10-11 - Go to DTC for gear and chat with Don
11-12 - Brunch with Cassidy's at Doug Fir
12-12 - Office Depot for Printer Ink
12-3 - Create Shoot Schedule Dangerous Writing with Dennis
3-3 - Drop off HD monitor for rental to an Ad Agency
3-5 - Meet with Potential Composer for Made Crooked
6-7 - Dinner Interview with Key Crew member for Dangerous Writing
7-9 - Meet with Photographer to review stills from Blowing Up
9 - Blog about incessant meetings on busy monday or busy week
10 - Good Night

Sunday, April 22, 2007


On Houston Street there's a place that sells caviar cream cheese. I had just driven from Kansas City to New York in twenty-four hours. I was tired but couldn't sleep. I met my friend at Russ and Daughters for bagels with caviar schmear. My friend owned a club where I promoted parties. It was a boite of the moment and we were making loot hand over fist. I had been away for over a week, which was a long time to leave the fickle club promotion business to chance. It was Saturday of Thanksgiving weekend. I was eating caviar for breakfast after flying across the country in the silver Mercedes I had gone out to Portland to pick up. I stopped in Kansas City to eat Thanksgiving dinner on a lawn chair in front of the television with my father and his wife. Life was good yet filled with that uneasiness common to young succesful people in New York City that eat holiday meals on tv trays when they go home -- I was waiting to be found out. How do you tell your dad that makes ten bucks an hour that you take home thousands of dollars a night hosting parties for celebrities and the pretty people that spend a lot of money to be around them? How do you tell the pretty people that you saw them on tv while eating Thanksgiving dinner?
In those days I wore custom suits tailored in a late 1930s cut -- high-waisted, double-breasted, pinstriped things of beauty. Spectator shoes year round. And a fedora to match. I was known to many as Big Daddy, Wiseacre, Two Caddy Daddy or any combination of the three. My suits cost more than my father made in a month. Each. And I had a closet full of them. I suppose that helped keep the pretty people off the scent that I was the son of a nobody. Maybe they wouldn't have cared. That was a notion I never considered.
Most nights I walked through the crowds projecting an air of mystery and danger, pretending not to notice the people that whispered to each other as they watched me pass. When I spoke to someone I leaned close and whispered in their ear. I had a group of male friends that dressed like I did. We greeted each other with a kiss on the cheek, acting like gangsters from another era. We put on a show that we seemed to believe more than anyone -- the suits, the hats, the shoes, the music, the dancing, the tattoos, the vintage cars, et cetera. I had two Cadillacs -- a 1950 sedan and a 1968 convertible. The Mercedes was my driver. Crazy to own a car in Manhattan? I had three of them! How's that for overcompensating?
The first night back at the club was a long one. I was tired from the drive and it turned out to be slower than usual because of the holiday. I didn't get the usual rush of adrenaline that a packed house gave me. I felt mortal. Which was no shape to be in for who was about to give me her attention. I don't remember how we got to talking, but we had met before and I certainly knew who she was. All you had to do was check out a Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue to see a lot of her. I bought her a Lychee Martini. We chatted through that cocktail. When I noticed she was empty, I hesitated to offer her another for fear it would open the door for her exit. Any other night I would have given the signal to the barman and kept 'em coming on the slick and cool. But, as I've mentioned, I didn't have it that night. She might even have had to ask me to get her another drink, god forbid. Some way or another we got another drink in front of her and our conversation continued. I remember thinking there was no way I was getting anywhere with her but I was happy to get the free publicity. I played it real cool, so that it was obvious to anybody that saw us together that I was not hitting on her. I did that as a preventative measure to make sure it was easy for all to see I hadn't failed to woo her as much as not having had tried in the first place.
After the second lychee martini she told me it was too bad I couldn't leave and go somewhere else with her. I made sure she knew I didn't punch a clock and could leave whenever I liked. And away we went. Things we looking more optimistic than I had originally thought possible, but I was still playing it cool. However, my next move was sure to inspire envy as I crossed the bar to my partner and leaned to whisper in his ear of my early departure. He asked me if I was coming back that night. I could definitely say no because even if my next stop with Miss Lychee ended with a handshake, I was going straight home. For some much needed sleep as well as to aid the perception that my night was a success.
Back to the table, helped her into her coat and paraded out the door, stopping along the way for introductions and goodbye kisses to the fellas. Lots of twinkles in their eyes that night. We strolled arm in arm to the next spot. It was there that things turned a bit south. She started talking a lot about a guy that I knew -- one of the owners of the joint we were sitting in. He was there. Came over and chatted, bought us some Champagne. Nice guy. Good looking in a French sort of way -- longish hair, open-collared shirt. I got a straight razor shave and a haircut every Wednesday at a barber shop on St Marks Place by a barber called Danny. After the barbershop I went to see my friend David at a bar on First Avenue for the most perfect Bourbon Manhattan known to man. I wore ties. Always. So what could I say about this guy? We smoked different brands. I had nothing bad to say about him and it wasn't going to do me any good anyway. Besides it quickly became obvious she invited me to come along so she didn't show up at his bar by herself on a Saturday night. Something she had no problem doing at my place. I was ready to go, not so much so as to make an abrupt exit, but the writing was on the wall and my head needed to be on my pillow.
After not too long we left. She asked me to walk her home which was close by and on the way to my place. She invited me in. Things happened as they should for a romantic evening to progress. I was surprised, but I didn't show it. I had written the opportunity off and lost whatever energy I might have had, but this was the kind of thing that I couldn't pass up. I rallied and made like it was all part of the plan. I was as perfectly non-chalant as I imagined a man that routinely sleeps with super-models should be.
She slipped into something more comfortable while I made drinks. She played some music. We sat together on the sofa and sipped our drinks. We moved closer. And closer. We kissed a little. We put our drinks down. We kissed some more. We got really close. Something didn't feel right. I wished I wasn't so damn tired. She noticed my distraction, said something to me about it. What did she just say? I heard her, but I asked her to repeat herself. Maybe I was tired and I didn't her correctly. What's a matter, Frankie? That's not my name. You look like a Frankie, she cloyingly back-pedaled. I gave her an I'm not buying it look. That's what everybody calls you, she grasped at straws. No dice.
Had she been a random drunken girl in Kansas City and not a well known goddess in the big city, I probably would have let it slide.

Friday, April 20, 2007

The Master Says 168

I never came upon any of my discoveries through the process of rational thinking.

Albert Einstein

Thursday, April 19, 2007

The Master Says 167

Is he related to something infinite or not? That is the telling question of life.

Carl Jung

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

The Master Says 166

I always entertain great hopes.

Robert Frost

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

The Master Says 165

A human being is part of a whole, called by us the Universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, as something separated from the rest a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circles of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.

Albert Einstein

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Sounds Like a Klepto

Finally making some progress on getting Klepto finished. I found a guy through Craigslist that's tackling it. Turns out that he's using my sound effects library exclusively so far. I would have gone out and recorded it all were it up to me. We'll see how it turns out doing it this way. Sounds pretty good so far.

Signore Direttore

The Master Says 164

I shall tell you a great secret, my friend. Do not wait for the last judgment, it takes place every day.

Albert Camus

Friday, April 13, 2007

The Master Says 163

I want to stay as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all kinds of things you can't see from the center.

Kurt Vonnegut

Light and Shadow 006 - Zurbaran

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

The Master Says 162

I'm always having the feeling that I don't want to do it [make films] anymore at all, that I'd like to take a break for a year or so, and then, when the first week of that year is up, I can't endure it anymore after all....

Rainer Maria Fassbinder

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

The Master Says 161

If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.

Abraham Maslow

Monday, April 09, 2007

The Master Says 160

My way of joking is to tell the truth. That's the funniest joke in the world.

Muhammad Ali

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Word Count

It's rumored that the novelist Thomas Wolfe (Look Homeward Angel, et al) roamed the streets of New York at night shouting his word count for the day. I always remember that when I've had a productive day at the keyboard. "I wrote five thousand, two hundred and sixty-four words today." Some say the free-flowing Wolfe owes his career to his editor Maxwell Perkins, the great editor of the Lost Generation. All the more important since most of his novels were published post-humously. Anyway, I'm writing a new screenplay this morning about a writing teacher that preaches brevity. It didn't stop me from writing twenty pages so far today. I'd still be going if i didn't have to make lunch for my children.

Feels good. To get so much writing done in a morning. And to brag about it.

Signore Direttore

Friday, April 06, 2007

The Master Says 159

Don't part with your illusions. When they are gone you may still exist, but you have ceased to live.

Mark Twain

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Spring 2007 No-Budget Feature

Dangerous Writing: A creative writing teacher's encouragement to live and write on the edge leads to blurring the boundary between fact and fiction.

Shooting commences this month on another quasi-improvisational digi-feature. In full HD this time. We'll shoot no more than 10 full days and spend no more than $500. Should be fun. I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

It's Called Gratitude

I've had a cold for the past couple of weeks. I got it when I was working non-stop and it still hasn't gone. Once I stopped the tough work of gripping and juicing, I have had time to think. Which is to say that rather than peaceful contemplation, I have been worrying and drumming up self-pity. I have no set work on my schedule, so I'm certain that I will NEVER, EVER get another day on set. Which means I have to COMPLETELY RETHINK MY LIFE.
My antidote to the despair of such thought is to do what's in front of me and to express my gratitude for all that I have. For one thing, I have a lot of writing, editing and producing work to do. I've been dying to have some free time so I could get to that. I've been writing this morning and I love the flow of new ideas. And becuase I wasn't working on a regional spot for a tire company, I also helped my son find some info on the interweb about navigating his Pokemon video game. I'm learning the exclusive language of his obsession and his eyes show me how much he appreciates it.
I've been feeling bad about adding anything new to my busy life, which has thwarted some of the excitement I'm feeling regarding an idea that is bubbling. I spoke to - ugh how do I say this: I want to refer to the producer that I'm working with instead of "my producer". I hate that. My DP, my Producer, my film. Me, me, me. I think I stumbled onto it: The producer that I'm working with. He and I spoke over lunch yesterday about my new idea. He's into it. Doesn't think it's a bad idea at all. Neither the pitch nor proceeding.
Here's the rub, I'm in an excellent place right now. My storytelling skills, directing skills and experience, equipment, contacts and resources are all in place to create, create, create. That's certainly something to be grateful for. Yet I'm letting something hold me back. Fear is the most likely culprit. Let go.
Let go of free-lanceritis. Let go of financial insecurity. Let go of bourgois concerns. Let go of self-obsession.
Allow yourself to embrace all the wonderful things in your life. (I'm talking to myself here, but if it applies to you, go with it) The magnolia blossoms, the daffodils and tulips, little league games, the people eager to work with you, the freedom and the tools to make films for next to nothing, a baby learning to talk, the many films that you have to finish and learn from and share, the beautiful city you live in, a beautiful and valuable home, many books and the time to read them, a beautiful daughter that tells you she loves you so so much fifteen times a day, perspective, meditation, spiritual growth ...
That's not all, but it's enough for now.

Signore Direttore

Light and Shadow 004 - Hopper

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Monday, April 02, 2007

The Master Says 157

The writer should never be ashamed of staring. There is nothing that does not require his attention.

Flannery O'Connor