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...