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.