Work at the casino has filled me with melancholy. But our meetings and progress on the film this week have filled me with hope. So I guess, basically, I'm full
...We're approaching our optimal budget...generous donors and intrigued investors are popping up out of the woodwork...but we still, as they say on PBS, have a Way To Go. So in case you're lurking on this blog waiting for me to sound desperate, I'll reiterate, Even One Lousy Dollar will make this movie better, and 10 Lousy Dollars will make the movie, perhaps not 10 times better, but certainly 10 times the increment of "better" that the one dollar enabled. I know, you're may live in LA and yourself have stumbled onto one of those catered post-private-screening receptions and thought, with your mouth full of pumpkin-flavored ravioli, "is THIS where that 100 million dollars went?" I know. I know those ravioli. But with our movie, your buck actually buys entertainment value. So really, how can you refuse! Especially when you probably aren't even reading this!
...Saw Master and Commander last night, and they had some fine ravioli. The movie itself was a refreshing mesh of special effects and non-assaultive, non-MTV storytelling, with a nice balance of cannon fire and people taking the time to look at exotic lizards. There also seemed to be a whole lot of references to Star Trek II going on, right down to the music. Right, lads.
Note to self: need a shot of the aliens appearing in the crowd at LAX. Should be a fun thing to try and steal. If not at the baggage carousel, perhaps in the parking structure.
....I'm trying to figure out what is the best Hollywood equation way of summing up TA91. Yknow how every movie in development has to be something meets something. I've been telling people that it's The Breakfast Club meets Signs. But "Signs" is a generic word which kinda ends the equation weakly, so occasionally I saw it's The Breakfast Club meets Close Encounters. But then I get sick of saying The Breakfast Club all the time so I say it's Men in Black + Afterlife. But who's really into Afterlife except the Japanese and the indie culture-vulture sect so I go with Harold & Maude times Third Rock from the Sun via They Live. It's really quite a bit like They Live except not really, and what is gained from a comparison to They Live except someone's inevitable imitation of Rowdy Roddy Piper's famous line....s? What I really want to say is that it's Neon Genesis Evangelion plus Rushmore, except it has nothing to with Rushmore, and is not animated, and it probably will remind you of the Breakfast Club, especially in that part that is exactly like what happens in the Breakfast Club.
...How any movie with a pedigree of references this ridiculous could possibly fail to make a 100 million trillion dollars is totally beyond me. Especially if you consider that it will be huge in Korea.
Feeling a little stressed out by the casting and pre-production, but then a few things happened that put it all in perspective. One was I almost crashed on the freeway when the van in front of me's hood popped up, causing the driver to brake and swerve frighteningly into my lane. Then I read that Elliot Smith died. Poor guy. I used to not like his music, like I used to not like Prince, and then, as with Prince, Gaby's highly informed musical opinion helped him grow on me. His miserable futile love songs helped carry me through a bad year. What is it with the depressed musicians and self-inflicted death?
Woo, as they say, to the hizoo. We got out first unsolicited, completely goodness-of-the-heart donation from someone I've never met, which will enable the rental of some extra light or the employ of some extra qualified crew person for a day, and will make the movie that much better. Thank you! I'm trying to think of goodies with which I can reward these special true believers...a ticket to the premiere is definite. Hopefully also a T-shirt and a bag of gummi bears. Don't worry, in the catastrophic likelihood that this film doesn't happen or there is a surplus, any excess collected monies will be given to Amnesty International or some similar worthwhile cause. Heck, maybe my whole LIFE will be redirected towards Amnesty International. But that's the Droopy talking. The project is reaching, for lack of a less apocalyptic metaphor, critical mass.
....I've gained an absurd attitude towards money from my job and from living in LA. I see people fingering stacks of $1000 chips at work and think, "Hey look, everyone here has a car or a camera package in in their hands. They're throwing it away gambling, why shouldn't they cast it towards my cute little movie?" Or, "I got a $40,000 budget to do a motivational infomercial for a pharmaceutical marketing team. I guess I can finally pay off the balance of my plasma-screen commode-mounted entertainment unit." Well not really, but you know what I mean. It's a totally subjective inanity. The amounts of money thrown around discussing movie budgets sound absurd when you consider that a sunset is like, free. But a $40,000 movie that doesn't suck sounds pretty good when you consider that there are movies made for 500 times that whose express purpose are to make you puke and buy cell phones.
Still casting. Now we have more than one likely candidate for all of the major parts. It's hard not to just go by what people look like, all other things being roughly equal. Those wiley actors are trained to impress you in the auditon, yknow. I had an experience years ago where a waify model-type actress really nailed the audition, got the part, and turned out to be the most psychotic element of the whole I'm very big on knowing something about the person before inviting them to be in the cast. And even then the things you know are so random and unrelated to whether the person is right for your movie that the whole casting process becomes really arbitrary. So you end up having to trust yourself with the decision, and trusting myself is not among my favorite activities.
Well here's what I think we need and we'll be okay: a Panasonic 24p DVX100 camcorder, a lawyer, a storyboard artist, a life-size dummy, a web designer, a large selection of delivery menus, someone who knows how to take care of fish, an extremely large hard drive, a safety cable, two or three catchy songs, a widescreen adapter, one or two inconspicuous vans, a few bright objects, a few producers, a large amount of love, several pairs of glasses, and an adept hairstylist. That and a few bucks and we'll be just a-ok.
I really want to make a movie that "only" costs about one year's middle-class salary because it seems apparent that most of the money spent on films is completely wasted. I mean, crane shots...digitally-enhanced exploding explosions...individual Pringles packets at the craft service table....WHATEVER. In my perfect world, most of the movies would be like the Blair Witch Project, and by that I don't mean boring and manipulative, but clever and mindful in their use of resources, and with a populist entertainment angle. I also would love for this movie to be full of the summer-camp love and not hampered by too many people worrying about their careers. Oh, and having the movie turn out well would be nice, too. Note to self: research whether "All Your Bases Are Belong To Us" might be a viable title.
Jen was wondering aloud, "How can the people in California be smart enough to vote against prop 54 but dumb enough to elect Schwarzenegger?" I dunno, man. Maybe all the Democrats like being governed by idiots so they can feel smarter.