Friday, October 29, 2004

Another Head Birth

Brooke showed me this magazine spread on the seven steps of being a director. Step one: purchase a rubik's cube. Step two: jumble it up. Step three: get on a roller coaster and attempt to solve the rubik's cube over the course of the ride while everyone watches. Repeat step three until complete. It went on from there.

I finished shooting film three the night before last and Jebus if the metaphor above ain't damn accurate. Every shooting cycle for these films is traumatic and stressful. It's a full moon to my werewolf. The adage of 'all that matters is what gets on film' (or in my case, DV tape) is correct, but man, getting that stuff on film, it's like rolling a boulder up a mountain (well, actually, my reference there is slightly off, because maybe if there was footage of Sysiphus getting to the top he wouldn't have to roll the boulder up every day?).

Anyway, the process of figuring out where your legs need to take you to so that you can point your magic movie box at something or someone so that eventually it might add together with something else and mean something is, yeah, a mountain.

For this past film, I had other stuff in the can from the weekend, but I was pretty sure a bunch of Terrence Mallick shots wouldn't get this project off the ground alone, so the bulk of my story I shot on Wednesday night with two actors. Whatever could have gone wrong that day more or less did, from the time I woke up (4:30) onwards (and I was whistling in the dark with no real plot or story for my actors; just a situation) but somehow, when it came time to shoot, everything fell together into one beautiful, nine-minute take in which the world sang in harmony for my camera.

Now I just need to wipe the ambiotic fluid off this screaming infant of a film and blanket it up into a bundle and put a little hat on it.

So that in three weeks I can do it again.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Fall On My Sword

Oh crap. It's raining like a mofo right now. And it's supposed to keep raining, and raining and raining, well into tomorrow night, which is when I want to shoot a movie outside.

Hmmmmm. Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

Damn, what am I going to do?

Monday, October 25, 2004

Mom, Mail Me Some Sweaters

I got a pamphlet from my bank, a SoCal bank, that suggests I should "think bigger this holiday season and upgrade the heating system to protect against bitter California winters."

Yes, I know. I laughed a lot at that too. However, it actually has been a bit chilly here these days, or maybe I'm just exhausted and being tired all the time has brought on the shivers.

On Friday I stayed up all night with my trusty crew filming things: railroad tracks, power stations, electrical poles against the light-polluted sky. Then we drove out to the hills of Malibu to film the sunrise. We had breakfast in the Valley at the most awesome diner ever. All the waitresses looked like they'd been beat around the head with whiskey bottles all night and then put some eyeliner on and came in to work. I had pancakes that arrived with, I swear to god, at least 3/4 of a cup of margarine skating around on top of them.

My next film is a bit of a crazy experiment for me, compared to the first two. I've been more than a little disorganised throughout the planning and exucution of it. This is intentional because I want the film to spring up from what I managed to gather, rather than having a very clear cut gathering plan. I don't really sew with patterns anymore, or cook with recipes often, so why not shoot without a clear script? I will never end up shooting exactly what I envision, so I'm trying to detach myself from trying to capture something intentional and specific and instead be delighted at what turns up.

Continuing the exhaustion thread, I got four hours of sleep during the day on Saturday and then forced Jordan to give me a ride to Sarah's pumpkin carving night of festivity. Much fun was had and I think some incriminating photos were taken. You'd have to check with Sarah, though. Good times, better company. TJ and I carved a brilliant Gollum pumpkin. Brilliant.

Then, last night, because the film I'm making is set at a train station in the middle of the night, I went to a train station in the middle of the night. Clay, production manager extrodinaire, got us in with his trademark earnest sweet-talkin' and I got a bunch of shots of, uh, ties and rails and benches. (And I had yet another moment of panic that this haphazard way of filming is doomed for failure) Plus, I really thought were going to get arrested and sent to Guantanomo Bay. The place was deserted and Clay was rocking some incredible Buddy Holly glasses, that with his beard and handlebar moustache, make him less than inconspicuous. But we managed to get out unscathed.

And now I think I'm going to bed. Cause the heat just switched on. Brilliant. Night.

Sunday, October 17, 2004


Very perfectly, it is raining right now. I am excited at the prospect of going to bed in a few minutes and falling asleep listening to the rain.

It's been an autumnal weekend.

After a fun but excruciatingly busy week involving shooting movies (or, well, one movie: TJ's) up at a horse ranch in Malibu all weekend (with all the dust you would expect in such a venture in hair, nose, etc.) then mad mad mad editing frenzy of trying to edit my own movie into a kind of shape for Thursday while hurdling one midterm on Tuesday and a second one on Thursday, this weekend I've allowed myself to unwind (unravel?) a little. (Actually, the active kind of unwinding took place Thursday night singing karaoke at a dive bar in Silverlake called the Smog Cutter while being berated by a smart-assed, foul-mouthed lady by the name of Sunshine)

So I got to run all the kinds of errands that are fun to run for oneself this weekend: buying groceries, washing the soild inch of grime and dust off my car, laundry, sleeping in, making muffins, watching movies (yes, watching movies counts as an errand--I'm in movie school!).

Best of all, it's been a little chilly this weekend; there's a bit of a nip in the air. When I went to school to watch a movie this morning, it was rife with the collegiate celebrations of parents' weekend/football game. Not a fall thing I'm used to, but very much like something out of the back of Martha Stewart Living. The library smelled like bonfire during my entire viewing of 'In The Mood For Love'. The house across the street from mine (the one with all the little doggies) has great Halloween decor on the porch.

And now, oh blessings from the sky, it is raining. I can't wait to go outside tomorrow and see what this world looks like with slightly less dust.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Hello Navel

I'm getting better at churning out ideas for things to film. Good ideas, too. For a while, this was the hardest thing ever: come with an idea! make it a good idea! okay, good, now: shoot it! now!
But the most common thing to blurt out to yourself or others these days in Cinema-Television Production class is, "that's a film".

Stories about how you broke certain bones, friends who get attacked by knife-wielding maniacs, who said what in the bread aisle at Ralph's (oh Ralph's, knowing you now makes me understand The Big Lebowski that much better). It all adds up to movies.

It's getting a little obsessive for me. Can I make a film based on the Smog song "River Guard"? Can I shoot a non-sensical story based on what happened today as I was biking home at dusk (I rode past two people on bikes talking about how biking to and from school was their favorite part of the day and one person said, "I love riding my bike" and I said, "Me too".)? How about a mockumentary? Oooooooh lemme at it.

I'd shoot a movie about Derrida getting a haircut, but someone already did that.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004


Ongoing observations include:

1) Most freeway entrances are controlled by stoplights during rush hour. There's a light that turns green every few seconds and one car goes at a time. So, you know, there aren't big globby clots of traffic flow on the freeway. Oh wait, there are anyway. How totally mad crazy would it be without those things? The good thing is that everything is usually moving so slowly anyway that you don't really have to worry about going from zero to eighty on just a few yards of asphalt.

(notice how I said "yards" there? did you like that? that reminds me that I probably should note down kilometer to mile conversion for my dashboard so that I can figure out how fast I am going. alternatively, I could just stick to driving in LA. traffic and I would never need to know.)

2) There's a handy thing in my shower that allows you to turn the water on and off without changing the temperature. Genius. They should have these everywhere.

To depart from the stated topic, or maybe not, you decide: I really don't have an accent-- everyone else does. I have been enduring some razing lately for saying "sorry" too much (and for saying "sorry" instead of "sahrry") and also for my pronounciation of the word that means the opposite of "in". You know what I'm talking about (oops). It's good-natured razing, but it's starting to give me a complex, nonetheless. Anyway, discovering cultural divides is always a little shocking: don't people know that "elastic band" is another way of saying "rubber band"? Or that a Caesar is a Bloody Mary? Or that "phone" can be a verb?

So many moments of surprising foreigner-ness; unexpected.

Oh, and that's "ash-falt".