Friday, December 22, 2006

Listen Up! The best of 2006 [I think].

Okay. Music was released in the past 365 days [or there abouts]. And since this is my blog, I’m going to give you my opinion as to what the best of it was.

My top ten, in no particular order:

This is ridiculous. Every time this guy releases an album, it's, at the very least, outstanding. Often it's groundbreaking. Usually it's genius. And this time around, he casually put out a three-disc set — the sort of thing that’s usually reserved for retrospectives and The Clash, when they decide they want to put out “Sandinista.” And “Sandinista” was pretty uneven. “Orphans” is pretty damn close to perfect. I recommend paying close attention to his rendition of “Heigh Ho,” which he first recorded about 20 years ago. Those dwarfs were pretty fucking creepy and he sings it accordingly. Other than that, it’s just Tom Waits being Tom Freakin' Waits. And that, ladiies and gentlemen, is a very, very good thing.

I’ve been a fan of Belle & Sebastian for about ten years now, and they’ve almost never let me down. [Check out “The Boy With The Arab Strap.”] When I heard they had a new album coming, I just figured they were going to do the same thing they'd done in their past couple albums. And by "past couple albums," I mean "entire career." Not that that was bad. But this time around, they replaced delicate melodies with volume. I’d always presumed that it never would have worked. I was wrong. Sue me. G'head. G'head. My counsel says you don't have a leg to stand on.

Last year, Sufjan Stevens put out “Come On Feel the Illinoise!” which was probably the best of 2005. This year he released its outtakes. How is it possible that an album of outtakes can be this good? I ask you, how? HOW???? Don’t answer. It was rhetorical. No, really, how is it possible? Answer me. Why is it every time we start talking about this, you find an excuse to leave the room? What about MY needs? Is it too much to ask you to listen to ME once in a while?? Y’know what? Forget it. I’m moving to Fresno to live with my parents.

I'm a big fan of this one for several reasons. The first being that the tracks are just plain great. The second being that Neko Case has an outstanding voice. Maybe the second-best around. I say “second-best” because of the third reason this CD is so good. One of her backing vocalists on this one is Rachel Flotard of the band Visqueen, who, for my money, has the best female voice in rock. [Buy Visqueen’s catalogue on iTunes.] The combination of the two voices is deadly.

Not much to say about this one, except, damn! I mean… damn! A friend of mine sent me one of their tracks with the message, “this is your new favorite band.” And even though that’s not quite accurate…. DAMN.

Ms. Marshall has put together a yet another package of songs. It's hard to top "We Are Free," but this one comes close. One thing, though: if you have a seizure disorder, treat the cover art like it's the sun. Reflective hot pink. Smart thinkin'.

The first music I can recall as a kid was Johnny Cash. I think it was “Live At San Quentin.” My dad has always been a huge fan. Anyhow, this one is an excellent farewell gift from the Man in Black. Worth it for "God's Gonna Cut You Down" alone. As much as I love his earliest work, an argument can be made that some of his best recordings were made in the last dozen years of his life. There’s something about the fragility of his voice that elevates the emotion and the meaning of the tracks.

Phil Spector's wall of sound meets kilts, haggis, and the Loch Ness Monster. That big, shiny sound hasn't sounded this great in years. Infectious tracks, seamless production. Camera Obscura used to be the stepsister to Belle & Sebastian. Not anymore. If you like hooky, smart songs, this is the CD for you. If you don't, I recommend Dave Mathews. Why? Because he blows. [Hey, I just calls 'em like I sees 'em. Admit it. You agree.]

There’s a reason Bob Dylan is Bob Dylan. It’s because he’s Bob Dylan. I’m pretty open-minded when it comes to the bands of the 60’s putting out new music today. I don’t think age should make a damn bit of difference. That said, it’s safe to say none of them is exactly in danger of topping anything they did in their collective prime. Nevertheless, I give ‘em a shot. Then there’s Bob Dylan [who, by coincidence is Bob Dylan]. I’m not a Dylan fanatic. But I do like him quite a bit. I own most of his albums; I actually like his voice; I think “Like A Rolling Stone” was one of the most important songs of the 60’s and it was a ballsy song to play at the Newport Folk Festival. But I’m not a student of the guy. HOWEVER! This album is tremendous. It’s a shining example of why Bob Dylan is one of the greatest songwriters of any era. [In other words, why he's Bob Dylan.] Even if you don’t like him, chances are, you’ll love this one. It would be the best of the year, were it not for…

...this tremendous work of art. Okay. I lied. I guess there is SOME order to this list, because I’m ending with the very best of the year. This CD is remarkably good and unexpected. Completely different than any other album on this list. It’s a brilliant album front to back. And I’m proud to say that it features the track "A Method," which I used in the "Chloe" project. In fact, it's featured in the key scene. And I’m forever grateful to TVOTR. Hats off, gentlemen. Buy this. Now. Go to iTunes and buy it.

Honorable Mention:

Their first major label effort — often just what a band needs in order to suck. This one manages to escape sucking, and then some.

I thought "You Are the Quarry" was great. This one is better. Plus, it has the lyric, "Take anyone from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania just spare me." He hates Pittsburgh because we/they bitch about him. The problem is that we/they bitch about him because he always cancels shows there. But it still makes for a great lyric.

Great CD, but an even better title.

The track "Funeral" is featured in "I Remember Chloe" because… because… well, because I like it. This is a good'un. Buy it and you'll be happy.

I had no choice. It’s Declan McManus and he’s gonna make the list no matter what.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Without whom none of this would have been possible.

I’ve mentioned several times how tremendous Steve Parys, Jeff Garton, and the crew were, but I’ve never talked about the talent in front of the camera.

Eryn Joslyn, Alex Hooper, and Theo Allyn — three actors who made the biggest impact on the project, performance-wise. But more than that, they taught me how to direct. Yeah, I’d directed before, but they taught me more in twelve days than I’d been taught in the years since my time at Pittsburgh Filmmakers.

The point I'm clumsily trying to make is that great actors create great directors.
[Above, Theo, Eryn, and Alex on the set, prepping to shoot "Some Bad Fish."]

The single most important lesson I learned was that actors should learn their lines frontwards, backwards, and every other kind of wards imaginable. Then forget them. Given the option, I’d rather an actor go with his or her intuition than to follow the words I’ve written on the page. Unless, of course, I want mediocre performances. And given the three actors in question, a mediocre performance was highly unlikely. Had we the time, they could have created whole scenes only roughly based on the writing.

Having worked with her closest, my lead actress, Eryn, taught me the most. She knew exactly what questions to ask and how to ask them. She navigated the dialogue with seemingly great ease. And she always brought her own ideas to the the part and the set. In short, she became Chloe. So much so, I don’t even remember what my image of Chloe had been for the six years prior to production. She managed to erase that image and replace it with her own interpretation.

Eryn was the lynch pin to this whole thing and I’ll forever be indebted to her. I’d take her over any actor anywhere. Bar none. She was meant to play the role and the very fact that I found her when I did is beyond belief.

So let me give you some advice: the next time you want to make a movie, give yourself one week to find all of the actors, be dissatisfied with the choices for the lead role, search for a choice you can live with and do so during Fourth of July weekend (when the rest of the world is on vacation), go online to find someone you can live with, convince her you’re not a stalker, audition her, come to realize — within the first thirty seconds — that she’s exactly the actor you’ve been looking for, and give her the role on the spot.

Successful casting is that easy.

Los Angeles is a work of fiction.

Not just because of all of the augmentation, of which there is much. It’s also fiction because so many of the people are synthetic, which is in no way a shock, but it always makes for interesting viewing. Everywhere you go there are people posing as stars and selling themselves – or I should say, their souls. Everybody wants to be somebody. Somebody should tell them that they’re vapid, but somebody’s too busy trying to be somebody. [I think I just pulled a muscle.] There are a lot of people walking around with meaningful pouting on their faces, auditioning for the next U2 album cover. And that’s a lot of pouting — I mean, “The Joshua Tree” alone... The problem, I suspect, is that they don’t realize that “star” isn’t a respectable job. “Actor” is much more respectable and, on very rare occasion, far more lucrative.

Then there are what is referred to as “star-fuckers.” You, me, and most of the free world refers to these individuals as “ass kissers,” [it’s my understanding that the Swiss do not] but, hey, when in Rome, right? In any case, the star-fuckers are the ones who kiss up to Doogie Houser, whom I saw at a restaurant, surrounded by a group of people comprised entirely of the aforementioned type of individual. This said, I, evidently, am not a star-fucker, because I could have cared less. (I think I could take him in a street fight. No, wait— I KNOW I could take him. And if that little bastard would have so much has glanced at me oddly… well, let’s just say he’d have needed that medical degree. Fictitious or otherwise. Neither Harold nor Kumar could have helped him. [I’m like a wildcat. Don’t cross me.]

Fortunately, I’ve been meeting with genuine people. Managers, agents, and directors — people you’d expect to be fake, but, strangely enough, aren’t. It’s possible I could get work out here. To be more accurate, without going into detail — well, avoiding detail like the plague — things have gone unbelievably, insanely, ridiculously and outrageously well.

In fact, I’ve found my calling. And that calling is to be Neil Patrick Harris’ personal assistant.

I start the first of the year.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

more jolly in one place than i'm comfortable with.

You never know how you’ll react when confronted with a herd of Santas. But that’s what happened to me this morning. Didn’t expect it to happen, but there they were, standing on W 49th street, all jolly and gay. Some 20 or so Santas [real beards – none of that fake facial hair crap]. There was no visible explanation. They were all just standing there. Looking commercial; looking Christmas.

[I'm not sure, but at one point, I saw one of them go into his pocket, all Travis Bickle-like.]

So. I ask, “What’s up with the Santa thing?” One of them turned, and in a very thick Brooklyn accent said, “Heyyy, fellah. We’uh hee’uh foh Coca-Cola. Some soo’at of promotion.” I almost expected Father Christmas to say, “What that fock’s it to you??”

I’m now frightened by the prospect of him seeing me when I’m sleeping. And so should you.

But I was half-tempted to ask one of them about my Big Wheel. "What's the story with you making those things so cheap? After, like, ten rides, the damn wheel was cracked. And those elves? I say you can 'em. Sonsabitches. Get yourself a tribe of Oompa Loompas."

Sunday, November 26, 2006

war, money, and richard nixon.


I do love Johnny Cash. Being that my father’s a huge fan, it’s the first music I can recall hearing. Cash is also something I like to do with my checks. Having it around tends to be more enjoyable than not. And, believe me, I’ve been on both sides of the coin.

I mention cash because I’d like to share a position of mine, and I’d love to hear some feedback on it. (Unless you disagree. I mean, you think I really want to hear that?)

Anyhow, here's a thing: why the hell isn’t there just one currency in the world?

In my mind, if we tossed all of the national currencies of the world and embraced one global currency, the earth's population might — MIGHT — engage in fewer wars. That’s what it’s all about, isn’t it?

To put it into perspective, I gotta go back.

One theory on the war in Iraq — which I happen to agree with — is that it has much to do with Richard Nixon. Nixon was a well-documented asshole. Check the history books. It’s right there, in the pages between Sirhan Sirhan and Squeaky Fromme.

But while President Nixon was an asshole (mind you, given the current administration, he’s starting to look like Chester A. Arthur), he was also one smart bastard. ‘Cause in 1972, he made a deal with OPEC. In that deal, he somehow managed to get the oil guys to agree to use the U.S. dollar for all financial transactions, thereby keeping our greenbacks valuable.

A few years ago? Yeah, Iraq said they were going to use the Euro instead.

But I’m sure it’s all just a coincidence. No, really. I’m sure we’re there to give them the gift of freedom. Like Putin distributing polonium-210.

So — sorry, Bush supporters — the war is about cash. Don't look at me like that. The word "freedom" means about as much as the word "quality." So go back to Narnia and deal.

Okay. Back to my point. Does it not make sense that, if there were one shared currency, the new currency would become education, skill, and man-power? Would it not, in theory, decrease the desire to set up shop in other nations?

I’m just throwing it out there. I may be smoking crack and such an act may plunge us all into a global depression. So, by all means, tell me if you think I am.

serial quarterback.

Is it just me or does the name "John David Booty" sound like a serial killer whose victims are made up entirely of women whom Sir Mix-A-Lot admires?

(This would make him the second USC Trojan guilty of murder.)

post-production post.

I start off this posting with a random thought (as if the rest of it won’t be): you’d think that if you owned a restaurant called “Colony,” your first priority, signage-wise, would be to make absolutely certain that the big, neon “Y” would never burn out. Turns out not everybody thinks of these things. No one should have to look up and be faced with that.

Except maybe Kyle. (Everyone who knows Kyle finds this funny. And even if you don’t, you still might.)

It’s been a waaaaay long time since I’ve posted, obviously, and a lot has happened in post-production. We’re in what could be the homestretch. That is, until the executives have their say. And it’s my assumption that they will. It’s not a complaint, it’s the nature of the mechanism. But this could mean another few weeks of production. We shall see.

At just under 90 minutes, we’ve made a feature-length movie. One that is, in the creator’s opinion, a little uneven. Nevertheless, to shoot an entire feature in 13 days is staggering. It’s fast-forward and then some. As nobody I know would say, "it's wicked fast."

People have told me that our method of shooting was extremely ambitious. Hadn’t thought of it that way. But what they’re talking about is the fact that each scene is one continuous shot. There are no cut-aways. We shot no coverage whatsoever. What this means is that we had no safety net. If someone blew a line, we had to start over from the beginning. Even if we were on the last line of dialogue, we had to start from the beginning. And while this was, at times, frustrating, it also served the fly-on-the-wall idea this project has always been.

If you know me (and if you don’t, why one earth would you be here — though, most of the people who DO know me are asking themselves the same question), you know that I’ve never been entirely happy with anything I’ve done. Including many, many, many first dates. And a prom night. And my dinner selection last night. And many, many, many other things. The same applies to this project. Some nights I wake up a bundle of nerves, absolutely certain that I did my job poorly. Other times I feel what could best be described as satisfaction.

I’m sure — or at least hope — most of my concerns are within the details that only I, Stevo, and Jeff will see. But they’re there. In any case, the court of public opinion will judge.

But, I gotta say, give me the standard schedule for a film shoot, and good things will happen. So if you know anyone who can make that happen…

Saturday, November 11, 2006

This makes me laugh.


Is it because I'm a cold, heartless bastard? No, but I am.

No. It makes me laugh because when an American Nazi loses his job, I find it terribly, terribly funny. Even if it has an impact on his children. Sure, they didn't choose to be born into a life of white power. But they're still guilty by association.

Sounds awful. But it isn't, really. I just hate Nazis.

Monday, November 06, 2006


In 2001, I emailed Bertis Downs. Bertis has a pretty good job: manager of R.E.M. In the email, I explained that I had an idea that was a little different and I thought R.E.M. would be perfect for it. Two days later, he called me back, explaining, "I have no idea why I'm calling you. I get emails liked yours every single day but for some reason, I felt compelled to respond to yours."

By the end of the call, he was sold. "I think the band would be very interested in that."

And that's where it started. Bertis gave me a contact at the Network and, about a year later, I had my first meeting. Unfortunately, budget prohibits us from R.E.M.'s involvement, but special thanks to Mr. Downs. He gets the first in a long line of thank yous.

It makes sense that the pea at the top of the mountain that is this project was a conversation about music. It probably isn't exactly a shocker to anyone when I say that music is a thing for me.

A big thing.

And every time I'm in New York, the same musicians come to mind: Bob Dylan. Leonard Cohen. Monk. Mingus. Coltrane. The Ramones. The Velvet Underground. And, for this trip, since I have to pass The Ed Sullivan Theater every morning and evening, The Beatles. All pretty great, right?

Don't answer. I already know.

Nnn- I said don't answer. Man. Some people.

I usually want to walk around 52nd street, where Birdland once stood. However, I have no interest in visiting the former site of Minton's Playhouse, on 118th Street. But I never do. [For anyone who isn't sure why, just listen to "Across 110th Street." It should explain everything.] Instead, for one reason or another, I end up somewhere around CBGB's or Max's Kansas City — both of which give Minton's and Birdland a run for their money.

Then there's The Brill Building — also on the way to my temp job. ...What? "The Brill Building?" Phil Spector. Neil Diamond. Carol King.

Never mind.

Anyhow, it makes sense that, at some point, the topic of music should come up on this blog. Like, say, now.

Over the next few weeks, I'll be in the sound design portion of our program. [And playing the roll of Terrence McClusky will be the talented Mr. Omar Epps.] I know I say this about every phase, but I really do love sound design. With a few strategic clicks of the mouse — okay, maybe more — a brilliant sound engineer can create explosions, tidal waves, Beatlemania, the birth of a platypus, and moon landings out of nothing. And I've been fortunate to work with truly brilliant engineers.

This time round is no different. I had never met Michael Wolf until this project, but within five minutes I knew we were going to get along famously. Jeff Garton made me look good. Michael will make me sound good. As will the bands we're compiling for the project.

I'm excited to have bands like TV on the Radio, The Doves, and Sigur Ros involved, because it's been years since they've played in their parents' garage. And they're being heard, which is nice.

Just as exciting for me is the involvement of bands that really should be heard - bands like The Gits. Anyone who enjoys enjoying punk will enjoy them. Whether they like it or not. And Matt Dresdner — friend and Gits bass player — was good enough to let me use one of their tracks for one of the stranger installments. I won't go into the scenario, but much thanks to him for being open minded. [Get The Gits' entire catalogue on iTunes.]

Next up is Visqueen. I can't say enough good things about them. To describe — infectious power pop comes to mind, but it's more than that. Rachel Flotard has an incredible voice. She too has been great about using her music, despite logistical nightmares. [Get Visqueen's entire catalogue on iTunes.]

At this point, thanks should be given to my good friend Seif "Gooshmandzadeh" Hamid for contributing one of his tracks —which would be yet another favor he's done for me on this thing. Not the least of which being lending his name to one of the characters. [Goosh, Seif. Goosh.]

All told, we have about a dozen tracks lined up for the soundtrack, featuring IQU, Band of Horses, United States of Electronica, and The Bees (U.S.). And I owe all of 'em a debt of gratitude.

And the network owes all of 'em greenbacks.

Monday, October 30, 2006

signs of the times square.

There's something surreal about leaving the tranquility of a darkened editing suite and stepping out into buzz and lights of Times Square. It's like walking into New Year's Eve. Or somewhere where people might gather for New Year's Eve, wherever that is. And what makes this even stranger is when you hear the words, "Hey. Borat is here today." (These words, evidently, cause people to behave as if the Beatles have just reformed to play "The Best of Oasis." All one song of it.)

By the way, Times Square, in my world, is actually Seizure Square. ("Seizures really can come, true.")

We're well into editing the project, and the more we do, the less my editor, Rebecca, and I feel like we can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Still to come is sound design, color correction, and soundtrack - though, the soundtrack odds and ends are being handled concurrently.

There's no question that shooting is an extremely taxing, but enormously satisfying process. I love it. Particularly when I get to make the calls. (Who didn't see that comin'? But hey, when your calls are the correct ones... ) Even so, I've always loved the editing process too. Even though you have a video monitor on set, you don't really get to take in the detail of a shot until you're sitting in that suite, in front of several large monitors. And by "take in the details," I mean "dissect." And while dissection usually means that life thereafter is out of the question, it's just the opposite with editing.

The footage is just beautiful. Again, not enough praise can be showered down on the brilliant Jeff Garton. I couldn't be happier with the way it all looks.

I'm fortunate to be working with a tremendous editor. Rebecca is extremely talented, has an open and creative mind, and we dance well together. (It strikes me that I've had the same good fortune a number of times before, only to have the biosphere trashed by one arrogant colleague or another. Aaahhh... the ego-less world of advertising.)

Towards the end of our day, we discussed a new visual idea I'd had the night before as I trudged away from the bar where I'd just witnessed the Steelers get trounced right proper. It's one of those ideas that, when you put voice to thought, ends up beginning, "tell me if you think this is insane..." And by the time we left the suite about an hour later, I had a shot of adrenaline coursing through my veins.

Jeff and Rebecca are making me look pretty damn good.

Can't wait to get back tomorrow morning.

food stuffs.

I enjoy food. In fact, I try to eat it everyday. That's just the way I've always been. And if you, like me, consider yourself to be a food enthusiast, I recommend you come to New York City. There are a lot of restaurants here. And some of them are very, very good.

One of the restaurants I enjoy enjoying when I visit New York is Katz's Deli. Katz's is what I like to call, "The Church of Dresdner" - a reference to sandwich enthusiast, Matt Dresdner. Most of you don't know Matt, but he has a sandwich named after him in Columbus, aptly named, "The Matt Special." I do not, however, recommend that you order a The Matt Special when in Thailand. I won't elaborate, but suffice it to say, you've been warned. (In a strange coincidence, if you order "Matt's Special" at Cantor's Deli in Los Angeles, you get the same sandwich. I know. Try not to think about it. But I digress, as usual...)

Back to Katz's.

Made famous by Meg Ryan in "When Harry Met Sally, Katz's is best known for its food. And if you go, I have one word for you: brisket with mustard on rye with a sweet potato knish and an egg cream. [arc.]

I also recommend Pastis. I can think of no better French-inspired cuisine in the city.

My point?

Despite the quality and attention to detail for which both Pastis and Katz's are known, there is no better food establishment in New York than a place called T.G.I. Friday's. There are several throughout the city and I would argue that T.G.I.F. is the best reason to visit here. They have these things called "chicken sandwiches" as well as "cobb salads," and let me tell you, once you've had 'em, every other restaurant is wrecked.

So if you really want to experience New York, do as bus loads of seniors do - pile out of the bus, pull up a chair, and get the best pot stickers that American greenbacks can buy.

Mmm! You can really taste the gentrification!

Sunday, October 29, 2006

the view from up there.

some views from the brooklyn bridge.

the brooklyn bridge.

I've always had a problem with snapshots. This is because I'm a terrible snob. I'm a music snob. I'm a movie snob. I'm a food and wine snob. And I'm unrepentant because I LIKE The Clash. I LIKE "The Fog Of War." I LIKE the Venus Diner's coffee and pie.

Yeah. I'm a snob.

But think about it: YOU love the music YOU love. No one can tell you that Mr. Mister was a talented band. YOU love the movies YOU love. No one can tell you that "Titanic" is a great film. You, then, are a snob too. You just have to embrace it as I have, you freakin' snob, you.

Oh, yeah. I said it.

Anyhow, my snobbery, at times, is manifested in my approach to photography. Granted, I have no right to actually BE a snob. When it comes to photography I'm no Annie Leibowitz or Barry Goldwater. But that's what a snob does. A snob is blind. So I'm a blind photographer. (You'll soon agree.) I figure, when you're at a landmark known the world over, unless you're taking a picture of a friend or loved one, or you can calculate that you've got maybe ten good years left, at best, you probably ought to just buy the postcard. (In the case of the latter, you may want to take the snapshot AND buy the postcard. What? Don't look at me that way, you snob.)

This in mind, as I walked through Manhattan and Brooklyn today, I felt like a tourist. I wanted to tell people, "Look, I'm not like these other people. I'm from out of town and I'm taking pictures of famous New York landmarks with my camera, here. So then, you know... I'm... I'm not like these other people... See?"

In all the years I've visited New York, I've never once walked across the Brooklyn Bridge. I have no idea why. I guess it's never come up, really. So I thought today would be a good day to change that. I did, after all, have to visit Grimaldi's for lunch. (For those of you unfamiliar, Grimaldi's is arguably the best pizzeria in New York, if not the country — other than, of course, Pizzaiolo in Mt. Lebanon, PA. See? Snob.)

So below you'll find the fruits of my hunger and snobbery. And, yeah, I'm sure most who visit this blog will look at them and say, "Ew. This guy's no Barry Goldwater," but I like 'em. And it's my blog, so that's where I come down on the "ew-this-guy-isn't-Barry-Goldwater" argument.

There you have it. This is what I did yesterday.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Stevo and me, on the set.

Not for nothin' but there are three things that annoy me about New York City:

1. There's absolutely nothing to do.
2: There are no attractive women whatsoever.
3. People are entirely too polite.

My kingdom for a cubicle in which to work and a spots bar in which to eat wings.
I'm just sayin'.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

These are pictures of me attempting to look like I know what I'm doing. I think the actors are onto me...

If I live to be one hundred, I'll never tire of the view as you land at Laguardia at night. Maybe the only thing better is taking off.

So here I am, 14 floors over 58th street, just a block away from Columbus Circle. The hotel is one of those posh numbers, in a Manhattan kind of way. Angular. Clean. Shoe box-sized.

How did I get here? Well, Delta flight 3269. (Note to self: Don't read over the shoulder of the guy seated next to you, reading government documents about the Iraq War. You'll just end up hating him and yourself. Wait. That ship has sailed. Shit.) But also two weeks of shooting, which ended on Saturday night.

The two weeks spent on the set were both incredibly taxing and incredibly satisfying. Never have I slept so little and garnered so much satisfaction. (Unless you count prom night. Let's just say, I still feel filthy. And that mascot had it coming.)

I stood there at midnight (technically Sunday morning), in the 40° weather with enormous lights shining down on a parking lot in Pittsburgh's South Side, and realized that I, with the help of many, many outrageously talented people, was actually making a movie.

The most amazing and talented of those involved were/are Stevo Parys (my Co-Director) and Jeff Garton (the best Director of Photography anywhere). Without whom I would have been screwed. ("Screwed," for those of you who don't know, is an industry term. I think it was coined by Claudette Colbert, that hussie.) In the time Stevo, Jeff and I began talking about it, the project went from mine to ours. If I'm fortunate enough to do this sort of thing more often, I can't imagine doing it without them. They're brilliant. I'm an impostor.

For two weeks, I got the chance to instruct actors to speak the lines I had written. And there we were shooting the last of it. The actors' first position for the scene was just inside the entrance to a hall called the Sokal Club. About two minutes before our first take, I looked around at all of the crew preping at the far side of the lot and took it all in. I wanted to capture it in my head because someday I might be 70 years old. (Many of you, I'm sure, would argue that this is unlikely.) After soaking it up, I went into the building to speak to the cast.

I said, "So this is it, everyone. When you walk out this door, you'll be acting out the last of a dialogue that began in my head six years ago. It's been a privilege." And not terribly long after, Stevo uttered the words I had been both anticipating and dreading — "That's a wrap, people."

So here I am, 14 floors over 58th street, just a block away from Columbus Circle. The hotel is one of those posh numbers, in a Manhattan kind of way. Angular. Clean. Shoe box-sized...

Monday, October 23, 2006

Welcome to Common Terry

This is my blog. And there's nothing you can do about it, really. All you CAN do is stop reading. But you're still reading, aren't you? Yes. You are. So I guess you're just stuck with me. Wait— Are you trying to say that you think I look fat? It was just one cheese danish. What's so wrong with that? Hey, it could have been worse. They had those chocolate pound cake jobs. Those are dense, and dense equals fat. Lots and lots of fat. But, no, you go ahead and keep on judging me. I'm not sure who you think you are, coming round here, judging me, but I'll tell you what you're not —— tactful. That's what.

Look, ((((((sigh)))))) I think we got off on the wrong foot. Let's just start over...