12.29.2003

Well missing Xmas was more of a bummer than I thought it'd be....I didn't feel like I got to do anything but work at the casino and work on the script, which was as intended, but then the script just started to throttle me screaming "Fix Me! Make Me Wonderfully Moving and Funny!" and it was like, leave me alone, I just want to have some mulled eggnog or spiked cider or something and then there was nothing mulled nor spiked to be had and I'm all, like, boo.
....But it's okay cos now I'm listening to a Margaret Cho mp3 ranting about her mother and sexuality and such, while catching up with some of the other life stuff like bills and late xmas cards, and enjoying a minute, let's give it an hour, of not thinking about the movie. Movie? What movie? Peace on earth.
....I kept having dreams of people giving me money and waking up. Sucks! But as Jen points out, these even out with the dreams where you find out you have AIDS or someone dies horribly, and then you wake up and it hasn't happened. Either way, much better than dreaming about something indifferent like paying bills or blogging. What's worse than being bored by your own dream?

12.23.2003

A few thoughts on giving, since it's the season of giving. Giving is a lovely thing, but it can be dangerous. In the anime "Spirited Away" there's a character called No-Face who pathetically offers gold and treats to whomever he meets...and if you take it, he opens his fanged jaws and eats you. Only one girl, the hero, avoids being eaten, apparently because when No-Face offers her something, she politely refuses....whether it's because she was taught not to take candy from strange shadow monsters, or because she simply doesn't need it, it's not clear. Anyway, it seems there's some comment on the politics of giving and receiving going on here, albeit fantastically exaggerated. The problem here is obligation; the perception of a debt, whether it's felt by the giver or the receiver. "True" gifts given out of generosity and love ostensibly won't have debt attached, but many cultural systems from Hollywood to the Mafia to Chinese extended families work on the system of mutual obligation for "solids" performed. The difficulty is telling when you're inside one of those systems. It seems like a simple thing to say that giving is just giving and shouldn't cause drama, just like tasteful begging shouldn't....but it does. I don't know if it's living in LA, or the economy, or just people getting a bit older, but I never in my young life imagined that the past year could be full of so much friction and heartache and general baloney over things like a) people giving something and feeling like they weren't getting anything back b) people giving a gift they felt wasn't appreciated c) people needing something but not wanting it given as a gift for fear of obligation d) every other damn situation you can imagine.
....I'm guilty of it too. I guess the policy should be to give out of love or general empathy and forget about it immediately, so that the political significance of the giving doesn't become more than it really is, for giver or receiver (of course, both have to agree to forget, so....scratch that).
....In any case, in this season in which I am particularly needy (though only in the sense that I *need* to make my indie film which is way different from needing food or clothes), I'm resolving next year to practice only healthy, responsible, giving and highly respectful receiving, 'cause really, if you've ever seen that kid in the movie "Better Off Dead," you know what I'm talking about. $2.

12.22.2003

Had our second rehearsal with the two leads today, mainly just talking background about the characters so they could have some foundation to build on. Besides being good actors they are two of my favorite personalities, and easy to communicate with. It's nice to get into the characters' backgrounds because then you can consider the sociological stuff as opposed to the diagrammatic planning of beats, actions and reactions which is of course equally important (and harder). But knowing where the people are coming from will hopefully give the story a lot more life. The trick I think will be to not let the moments gather too much psychological weight when it is basically a comedy. I'm used to working with people who are instinctively funny and are uncomfortable with dramatic bits 'cause they can't tell if the audience is enjoying it. Now it's a bit reversed, not saying that the cast isn't naturally funny, but they may not be used to the ERP-style humor, which was kind of based on the constant threat that if you didn't say your line fast enough, someone would hit you in the face with a pie or start taking a guitar solo or something.

12.06.2003

But just to keep this at the top of the page....Please Invest in TA91 & Give Yourself The Gift Of Cinema (next year)!
....What can I say? I work next to people who pick their noses in public and steal money from their sisters. I lack shame.

12.05.2003

I'd just like to have it in writing so there is no confusion: I HATE TALKING ON CELL PHONES. It's expensive, uniquely impersonal, detrimental to the social fabric, and probably a health hazard. It has none of the excitement and sexiness of talking on land lines (probably the lack of ritual, and possible interruption by someone else picking up the line, has something to do with it). If it weren't for its insane usefulness for certain practical functions (yknow, calling to say you'll be late for work, finding each other in a crowd, that sorta thing) I'd throw mine the heck away.
....In other news, the crazy Korean player Janet today wore a hat that read "Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. Authentic Since 1975." I just thought that was funny.
...I also made a teaser promo image for our movie. I made it out of a postcard ad from Abercrombie & Fitch, which they send me on a monthly basis. Apparently they confused my email complaining about their racist t-shirts with a request to be on their mailing list. Smiley face. So I saved all their stupid ads in case I could use them later in a parody. Hopefully this falls under protected speech.

12.02.2003

Wow. Some people have really been quite nice in supporting this project. We're getting a lot closer to what we'd need to begin shooting. Not close enough yet that we can make up the difference through shoplifting, but almost. Thank you.
....There's a lot of pressure in this near-holiday time to try to make people happy. And also to create perfect moments. 'Cause the holidaze are the only times you can plan, and shop for, a perfect moment (or perfectly-realized ritual if that is your thing). And that perfect moment starts to crumble if Uncle X doesn't have the right chair, or Cousin Y gets bored, and someone's unhappy....anyway it's a lot like the anxiety I have over making this movie. Making people happy and also coaxing out their full potential for perfect cinematic moments.
....Sorry, went with a bowl of the pretentious porridge this morning. I'll stop now.