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...