Lemme 'splain... 

Nobody knows, What kind of trouble we're in. Nobody seems to think, It all might happen again. [guitar solo!]





My Overflow






Ted Barlow




This Modern World

Talking Points Memo

The Onion



Sisyphus Shrugged


The Poor Man

Nobody Knows

River Tech Review


Monday, September 29, 2003

Oh man.

I've never seen the Texas Chain Saw Massacre.

Jebus Cripes. What a fucking movie. Oy vey.

I saw Cabin Fever last week and it was really disgusting and OK overall. But holy crapatollah khomeni... what a freak fest Chain Saw was. Good gord.

I'm not really into gore movies but I am into low budget movies that are effective, and great imaginary star-being that movie is effective.

I've been trying to watch more good, low-budget horror films because I'm planning on making a series of Sexy Zombies movies. One of the guys who was in it is real excited to help me make a whole bunch of them. They're not horror movies really, they're comedies primarily- absurdist comedies in the vein of Kids in the Hall or Monty Python I suppose- but, the premise is a horror premise so...

Anyway, what a fucking movie. It creeped the hell out of me. If you don't like horror movies, this is the movie for you. Why? Because it's effective and there's actually not a whole lot of gore, just creep-outs to no end.

Almost ready to capture all the documentary footage, all I got to do is finish backing up my current flik and then clear my harddrives.

That's what she said!

Oh yeah, apparently I am an asshole, the folks over at dv.com, where the little discussion below happened, all decided if you can't say something nice that doesn't jibe with their petty little egos than don't say anything at all unless of course you want to be an asshole.

Sometimes... this cosmos.

Tuesday, September 23, 2003

Funny little mood

This is one of those days when I vaguely feel like either killin' or dyin'. I read this post at World O' Crap (via tbogg) and... if you could see my face while I read things like this you'd think I was watching a grandma slowly and methodically french kiss a dog. Or something.

From Dennis Prager at townhall:

Single women, especially single women with children, tend to vote Democratic, while married women, especially married women with children, tend to vote Republican.

Why is this?

There are two primary reasons.

One is that women's nature yearns for male protection. This is a heretical idea among the well educated whose education is largely devoted to denying the facts of life.

I'm so confused.

How could anyone believe this? What I mean is, how could someone be the sort of person who believes this?

So that, along with excerpts from Bush's UN speech and excerpts from his interview with Mr. Russet Potato Head, has put me into a classic "am I the subject of a cruel experiment by aliens" spiral of dispair, for which I am known for.

I really, truly sometimes feel like it's worse. You know, whatever you think about the world, whatever cynicism you have, whatever paranoid delusions usually you come out of it with a "it's not so bad!" But sometimes I'm almost convinced it's worse and someday will get so bad we'll all be living like a bad B-movie starring Michael Ironside about a totalitarian power that controls the world and the only free people are the Toggs, rebels who live below the cities in abandoned sewers and rec rooms and one of us will fall in love with the general's daughter and before it's all over we'll have lost 5 of our best warriors because you chose the love of a bourgeois oppressor over your comrades!

I don't write here too often any more. I'm just too busy. But all the time I'll come across stuff I want to share just because I worry I'm the only person who thinks it's insane.

Like, some dude who comments at Calpundit, who said he thought sacrificing a large west coast city to a nuclear attack by North Korea would be worth it if it would make everyone wake up and realize just what a big deal North Korea is. A few days ago he said Clinton's lie about the blow job was worse than Bush's lies about Iraq because Clinton was lying about something personal while Bush was just lying in order to do what he thought needed to be done about Iraq.

He's the crazy one, right?

Anyway, it's the little things that get to me because it's the little things that order our society, it's the little things that are the foundation for how we as a nation interact, communicate, judge, consider and rationalize, those things that form the basis of just what sort of people, and country, we are.

So when a guy runs a stop sign and has a big grin on his face because he likes being a jerk, you might see a jerk, I see the slow destruction of the social fabric.

We're a very self-absorbed nation and I think that that is the negative basis for all our problems. Seriously. What I mean is that is the root from which all pettiness and meaness and jerkness springs, and it's all of those things swirling all around, bumping into eachother that causes... well, for instance, it causes republicans to defend Bush and elect people like tom DeLay. It causes Dean supporters to threaten to not vote for any other nominee in the election. It causes people to shoot abortion doctors, it causes people to feel like they're being persecuted if not given the license to force their religeous beliefs upon others, it causes people to think life is something that you're supposed to win.

So all the little instances of self-absorbed pettiness and meaness I see indicate the fall of Rome to me, when I should be able to just shrug it off.

Here's how dumb this neurosis I have is: I sometimes post at a site called DV.com, from DV magazine. I ask questions about video related things mostly. They sometimes have topics that are off topic but I try to stay out because it's usually extrordinarily ignorant people talking about politics. Sometimes there will be stuff just for fun, like last week there was a "What's the worst film you've ever seen?" post that got about 105 responses. Someone put up "what's the saddest film?" and that got 40 or so. I'm always interested in what films people dislike that are considered "great" films generally so I put up "most overrated film?".

Here's my post:


A film considered a "great film" by the majority of critics and popular opinion's hindsight but nonetheless is not all that and a bag of chips to you.

Please note- box-office success does not make a movie "great". For instance, The Blair Witch Project, a terrible, terrible movie, was very successful but not considered a great movie, so you won't see any mention of that horrible, awful movie here.

Mine are:

Harold and Maude (gosh, maybe it was just a little too subtle me [sarcasm alert])

American Beauty (it sure was convenient to have that repressed homosexual marine move in next door with his misunderstood-pot-dealer-with-a-heart-and-soul-of-gold son to sort of move the plot along, wasn't it? Also nice for Spacey to turn in the best oppressed yuppie white male cum self-satisfied jerk performance of the year.)

The Unbearable Lightness of Being (was the point to bore me to death or make me not care about the characters so much that I didn't mind some or all of them dying?)

Adaptation (it got soooo far off track but apparently no one else noticed)

Being John Malkovich (take a step back from the audatious "originality" of it all and it sort of sucks for the last half hour or so)

Boogie Nights (take a step back from the nostalgia of it all and it kind of sucks for the last hour or so)

Oh Brother Where Art Thou (take a step back from how light and easy it is and you realize all those 21st century liberal values all them early 20th century southern folks seem to have are a bit ridiculous)

Donnie Brasco (every fbi agent who's all up in Depp's face is funny looking and made to look like a real idiot. Lots of character depth there.)

Erin Brokovich (Soderberg was so focused on crafting cool, sepia-toned desert shots he failed to notice the movie was boring as heck. Also, this film clearly illustrates why Julia Roberts is America's best pretend actress)

OK, I could continue to go through Rotten Tomatoes database and pan fliks but I'll spare you.

Just harmless snark, right?

Well I get one guy telling me American Beauty is one of the most magical films for him but I'm entitled to my opinion even if it's wrong and a BIG SMILEY FACE icon to show me he's just "joking".

Then I get this:

The trouble with calling something overrated is that you are essentially telling other people that they are wrong to like something so much.

I may or may not like something but it would be difficult for me to tell someone else they were wrong for liking it. I'd just leave it to a difference in taste.

Certainly, though, there have always been films, books, plays, etc. that were prematurely declared "classics" the instant they arrived, only to be lose their luster over time (and sometimes only to regain it again given enough time.) And there have been films declared by important people as to be truly bad only to be considered classics over time. Look at all the bad reviews of "2001" for example.

I remember avoiding "8 1/2" for years because friends had told me it was dull, stupid, etc. and when I finally saw it a decade later, I was so amazed by the film that I'm sorry I took so long to see it (but then, maybe I wasn't ready for it when I was younger.) "Vertigo" is another film that I like more and more over time.

And I'm sure that "2001", "8 1/2", and "Vertigo" are no doubt on someone's list of top overrated films!

Which basically translates to: "The problem with your post is you're mean and in this mean context you really have no place to criticise because you probably also just don't get it.

I hate this. Why oh why? It's stupid, harmless time-wasting and this guy needs to scold me, so:

Oh, OK. I see.

Worst film is a fun and light topic, but overrated film crosses some sort of line to become arrogant or something.

So even though they're both just the meaningless airing of personal opinion there's something, say, impolite about calling something overrated because somehow, someway you're insulting everyone who likes that thing...

Got it. Thanks for politely educating me.

Am I crazy? Maybe a little bit this time, but it's the little things, man. So I get this back:

Sorry to sound condescending. You're free to talk about overrated movies of course. I just tend to wince a little when these conversations turn into bashing other people's favorite movies -- I'm not sure it is productive or even fun, unless you like arguing for the fun of it.

I mean, I liked all of the films you listed as overrated except for "Donnie Brasco", which I never saw. I certainly don't see why it's a problem that "O Brother Where Art Thou?" has a modern sensibility in a period setting. I'm not sure if the characters in "Spartacus" were particularly true to their period in terms of their values. Films tend to reflect their own contemporary culture's values more than the periods that they portray.

And even if that weakens the accuracy of the period recreation, "O Brother Where Art Thou?" is not a serious drama but a FARCE so where's the harm in some anachronisms here and there? It's not like the movie is realistic, after all.

The first two-thirds of "Being John Malkovich" is more brilliant than most movies ever are, so even if it falls flat in the last act, it still ends up ahead of the competition.

Being off the track is the entire point of "Adaptation"...

"Erin Brokovich" was actually more entertaining than I thought it would be -- I had avoided it for months and months, like the plague. Certainly more fun than the similar story of "A Civil Action", although I think that's a really well-made movie. Julia Roberts did everything that the part required of her; it was a textbook "star performance". Not that overall, it's a movie that I want to see again and again.

"American Beauty" and "Unbearable Lightness of Being" are great movies, period, especially the second one. My only problem with "American Beauty" is that the problems of the upper middle-class living in nice homes are hard to get too worked up about, but that's just my hang-up.

What's appropriate at this point is a "you fucking tool", but I let my neurosis rule my hand and sent this back:
It's harmless, meaningless snark that needs no decontruction and I think it speaks more to your self-absorbtion that you feel the need to be so pendantic than it does to my lack of cooth, or whatever.

Because, pardon me, it was not directed at you or anyone else for that matter, and to take such personal exception to something so trivial... good g-d. Why would you characterize it as "bashing other people's favorite movies"? Why would go so far as to scold me with "I'm not sure it is productive or even fun, unless you like arguing for the fun of it"? who's arguing? What am I arguing? Why would you bother to explain to me how all those films aren't worthy of my humorous pan?

I found it interesting that some people's worst movies were movies that were considered good by a lot of people, I was curious what "great" movies people thought weren't so great and why. Why? Why not?

Productive or fun? Gee, do I get to go out at recess?

Geez louise... forget I was ever here.

Yeah, I know, I need to take a deep breath of this wonderful Los Angeles air and let it go... but goddamnit, this is end of empire stuff, people!

[oh yeah- I saw "Cabin Fever' and it was so disgusting it added to my malaise.]

Sunday, September 21, 2003

Jumbo's Clown Room

Is a strip club in LA where Courtney Love danced when she first moved here, apparently. A friend from Seattle was in town from Milwaukee (see, he's there now) and we went to Jumbo's, which was my first LA strip club outing.

Not bad. Nice, family place where I wouldn't hesitate to take small children. Actually it was OK because not only did they have young beautiful women shaking it for money, they also had/have older women shaking it for money. It was a more democratic strip club, so I enjoyed it.

I still have yet to view the footage from the documentary. I just know I'm going to have to go back to Seattle and damnit, I hate Seattle.

Fuckin' rain for 7 months, usually only 3 months of intermitent nice weather, everyone's a white hipster for which everything is either ironic or beautiful and perfect, there's basically 7 neighborhoods to hang out in and they're about as different as night and a slightly different night. There's nothing to do but go to bars and come out saturated by smoke. Yeah, some bars have music and there's plenty of shitty theater but, come on, that's not enough to sustain a man.

Man, here's how it works. You spend 7 or 8 months getting rained on, or almost rained on, and you can't do anything outside unless you invest in a few hundred dollars worth of gore-tex, and even then you still get soaked. So for 7 or 8 months, unless you snowshoeing or something in the mountains all you do is go to bars and get smoked out. Then one weekend when you have to do something inside somewhere the sun comes out, and you know it's going to be 2 or 3 weeks before it comes out again and the anxiety overcomes you. Or, it's been 7 or 8 months and you got to work the day the sun comes out. Or the sun comes out and you just wanted to sit on your fat ass and eat cheetos and drink beer all day but you better get your ass outside cuz it's going to be a long time before you can ride your bike again.

The only thing good about Seattle is the Cascade mountains, and Seattle ain't got nothing to do with them except be somewhat near.

Alright, alright... some people love it there. Good, good for them. Me? I don't know. A city filled with nothing but pasty white hipsters drinking coffee and pretending to like shitty poetry and metal "art" made by some guy who got rich as Microsoft... not my bag.

So, I don't want to go back. Also, my brother can be a real jerk and though he offered all kinds of useful help prior to my arrival in the emerald city, it turned out he was only interested in lecturing and scolding me about what lights to use in a house he hasn't seen in 10 years. The dude knows very little about video and without being familiar with the setup of the house, the layout of the windows, etc., he had the gall the berate me and tell me I was fucking it up.

It was a shitty week of hell piss crap. Even when my girlfriend flew up all the same shit conspired to make it suck. Oh yeah, the one good thing about Seattle, apart from the fact that it's easy to get around by bus, is the reclaimed wetlands behind the UW stadium. I used to go there every day when it wasn't raining to hang out with the ducks and greibs and coots and cranes and turtles. You can rent canoes there and paddle around so we wanted to do that, but there was a husky game at the stadium. What that means is RUN AWAY FROM THE UNIVERSITY DISTRICT! When the game ends all streets are blocked so you can only drive out one of 2 different ways. If we would have been down there when the game got out we would have been stuck there for 2 hours or more waiting for traffic. When I lived in the U-district games meant basically you couldn't leave the house all day.

Feh. Enough already. I don't want to relive it.

Friday, September 12, 2003

The Man in Black

Just another thought about Johnny Cash.

I don't think it can be stressed enough just what a great man he was. He was a Great Man, one for the ages, writ large across history. He played guitar and sang, but man, that's all he needed to do.

He surpassed and transcended. He lifted up and out of the mediocrity most of this world's mired in and never came back down.

We're all just a bunch of insignificant specks. People who chase power and money are just specks trying to lord over other specks. Men like Johnny Cash... they've done something. They've made something, accomplished something, reached for something that's floating over all our heads. Something with permanance that has its own life outside its creator. Something that has to be made, you can't buy it, man.

And goddamnit, he's one of ours. With no irony he sang for the working man and the downtrodden, he felt for the oppressed and the cheated. If you don't believe me listen to Cash singing "The Ballad of Ira Hayes". All the greats seem to have a heart. Maybe it's a prerequisite.

100 years from now they'll still be listening to the Man in Black.

Take that, uncaring universe.

It had to happen someday...

I guess. When I was a little kid my parents listened to Johnny Cash and the first song I got stuck inmy head was "A boy named Sue", naturally, because it's the sort of song a tiny kid would dig. My first impression of Johnny Cash the man was seeing him in a TV movie called "Johnny can't read", I think, about a grown man who couldn't read. I still remember the scene where he was being taught the letter "B", I think. He was being shown a picture of a boy with his arms raised over his head and the person teaching him said, "what do you see here?" and he said "Well that's a boy with his arms raised over his head" and I remember thinking (little kid think), how could he know that is he can't read? I sort of thought if you couldn't read you couldn't speak or anything else.

For years I thought Johnny Cash was illiterate.

Doesn't it seem odd that so many good people have died in the last couple years? Mr. Rogers, June Carter Cash, Warren Zevon... I think I'm forgetting a couple people. Why now, in such a compressed space of time? Could it have anything to do with the pall of despair hanging over this nation and the world thanks to the shittiest president we may have ever had? I don't know... I'm serious though, it's not exactly a great time to be alive. [That sounds really dumb. I don't mean to imply, like some idiot, that I blame Bush for Johnny Cash dying. I would have to be a complete fucking idiot. It's just that it seems like a number of good people are dying at a really depressing time in our recent history, that's all.]

Sucks, sucks, sucks. I hate that I only really started to rediscover Johnny Cash just about 6 or 7 years ago, I never got a chance to see him. I'm running out of heroes.

Thursday, September 11, 2003

My 9-11 memorial contribution

Inspired by the wonderful, creative ideas for the new WTC site sent to CNN by regular people (you have to look at them, you really, really do... oh my god go look at them now), found via the wonderful, inspiring Tbogg, I've come up with my own proposal for the rebuilding of this most holy of sites. I think it incorporates everything everyone seems to want in a more perfect way than all the other submissions.

I haven't had time to draw it up, but it's pretty descriptive. If anyone wants to shot at drawing up this wonderful, majestic proposal of mine, let me know, I'd love to see it in 2-dimensional glory.

I really hope it gets built.

Without further adieu, my design for the rebuilding of Ground Zero:

Because only things that are spelled out in enormous letters have any meaning, and because people forget anything that isn't memorialized by huge structures covered in words and obvious symbols, there should be 4 new buildings at the WTC site and they should have these messages written upon them, one for each tower: "GOD BLESS THE USA. 9-11, WE WILL NEVER FORGET. USA #1. And, FIREFIGHTERS, POLICE AND SOLDIERS ARE HEROES."

Each of the buildings will be similar to the original towers in basic structure, connected by a circular bridge encompassing the exact levels at which the two planes struck. The buildings will be built around the original footprints of the twin towers, not upon them. No on should ever walk upon the original footprints ever again because they are hallowed ground. The footprints should be encased in a solid Lucite dome.

Inside the dome, encased for all eternity lest we forget, will be memorial representations. On one side of the dome some debris from the original towers will be positioned inside the Lucite as a mock up of the original towers. Two plane mock-ups, constructed out of any debris that's left of the original planes that struck the towers, will be positioned to appear to be impacting the tower mock-ups, symbolizing the moment the planes struck. Though the planes struck a few minutes apart, both planes inside the dome will be depicted as impacting at the same time, since this is a still-life. There can be kiosks explaining that they struck at different times if need be. That, or big, bronze, inscribed plaques suspended in the Lucite for people to read. However, the diorama will be somewhat two-sided. The side opposite of that depicting the planes striking the towers will depict the burning of one tower and the first stages of collapse for the other.

Statues that are physically identical to some of the victims will be depicted as dying horribly on the impact side. On the burning and collapsing side people will be depicted falling from the towers, at the point of impact, laying dead on the concrete below, and running and screaming from the site in sheer terror -- so as to never forget. They will be nearly life-size, which means they will be much bigger, scale-wise, compared to the towers than in real life. This will symbolize humanity. They will be made out of bronze, but their faces will be painted as realistically as possible to preserve their memory. Perhaps one hundred will be able to fit. Whom is represented will be decided by a lottery, or presidential dictate.

Every firefighter and police officer who perished will be rendered perfectly in 12 foot tall statues with their bodies made of titanium, representing strength, and their heads made out of gold, representing the preciousness of life. Their names will be written across their backs with the words "WE WILL NEVER FORGET".

Floating throughout the dome's solid lucite, but not so to obscure the view, will be American flags, to symbolize America.

On the other side of the dome will be two scenes, one depicting President Bush's triumphant speech at ground zero when he visited the workers, the other will depict him bravely pointing toward the horizon as all the US soldiers that have been killed in Afghanistan and Iraq up till that point rush toward the unseen enemy. President Bush will be rendered in gold, the ground-zero workers in bronze, and the soldiers in silver. The President should be at least life-sized while the workers can be smaller and the soldiers too as long as their names are written largely on their backs.

Suspended over this side will be symbols of American military might, like bombs, missiles, F-22s, etc.

Around the dome will be large plaques suspended in the Lucite with the victim's names. A way should be devised to be able to add plaques to the inside of the Lucite whenever an American is killed by terrorists, whenever an American soldier is killed, or whenever a firefighter or police officer is killed.

The top of the dome will have an eternal flame. It should shoot flames at least 50 feet into the air, anything less would be an insult to the people who sacrificed their lives to the towers, and without a sufficiently large eternal flame we will surely forget.

Care will have to be taken to ensure the Lucite doesn't melt.

A new state-of-the-art laser protection system should be developed to protect the dome and the new towers so if the terrorists try to strike again they won't be able to come within a mile of it wihout being vaporized. The dome will be open to the public, but the bases of the towers will be enclosed in solid concrete and titanium so no damage can be done by the terrorists.

There will be 4 entrances to the towers, they will radiate out from the center of each at least 100 yards. They will be made of 10 foot thick concrete with titanium support. People will be able to enter single-file only, each having to undergo a series of screenings (metal-detector, X-Ray, etc.) before being allowed into the towers. If anyone complains about the procedure a guide will lead them around the Lucite memorial until they appreciate the sacrifices all those people made by being killed by terrorists.

There will be one other entrance, connected to all the towers via reinforced, underground tunnels, that will be reserved for the families of the victims, our President and his guests, and any heads of states of countries that agreed to fight the war on terror with us.

The towers will be 911 stories tall, symbolizing 9-11, and will be the tallest buildings in the world, symbolizing the fact that we were not cowed by the terrorists but instead built the tallest buildings in the world.

They will contain offices and shops.

At the top of one tower will be an American flag, 911 feet long, symbolizing 9-11. Another tower will have a massive illuminated cross, symbolizing God. Another tower will have a huge golden angel praying for America, symbolizing how angels pray for us.

The last tower will have an anti-aircraft battery.

The cross and the angel can also act as HDTV antennas.

Every day at the exact times the planes hit the towers the angel's mouth will open and a wailing cry, loud enough to be heard across the island, will emanate.

The circular bridge, being some 10 stories tall or so, will contain an interpretive center explaining the tragedy; the fact that some people hate freedom and why the US is the greatest country on the earth. There will also be busts of all the fallen firefighters and policemen, and acid-etched photographs on metal for every victim.

Actors will be made up to resemble victims and wander the halls of the interpretive center in a ghostly, thoughtful way. They will approach visitors and tell their personal story to them, like, "My name is Juan Martinez. I worked in the kitchen on the 30th floor. When the planes hit..." etc., so as not to forget. The actors will rotate whom they depict so that every victim gets at least 1 day a year. The families will be notified when their loved one is going to be walking the halls, so they can come visit and remember.

The windows in this area will be alternately cross and angel shaped so as to create "light crosses" and "light angels" on the walls, symbolizing the healing light of God.

There will be efforts to make the visitors imagine what it's like to be a victim. For instance, at certain spots the floor will be glass so you can see through, and next to the spot will be a plaque that reads "Would you like to fall from this high up?"

There will be "Weeping Rooms" available for the victim's families so they have a place to come and weep for their loved ones. There will be "Never Forget" rooms where huge video screens will cover the walls with footage from the disaster in a constant loop. There will be "Praying Rooms" for people of all denominations, Christian, Jewish, and Muslim, to come and pray for the victims. These rooms should be dimly lit with pews facing the front with a statue of Jesus surrounded by angels.

The elevators in the building will be programmed with a voice to tell you whenever you're entering a floor that approximates the floor a victim worked on previously. For instance, if you go to the 85th floor and a person who died named Joe Smith worked on the 85th floor, the elevator will say, "85th floor. Joe Smith, who died in the attacks worked on the 85th floor. he was a commodities broker and had a son, who will never see his daddy again" -- lest we forget.

On the anniversary of the attacks, the entire complex should be lit up by a golden light, and holograms of angels should be flying all around, weeping loudly -- if that doesn't happen, we will no doubt forget the tragedy of 9-11.

I hope this gets built.

Monday, September 08, 2003

Oh anxious me

The subject of my flik didn't want to talk about a lot of things and the things he would talk about, some of it he didn't feel important enough to talk about so would either not talk about it or gloss over it.

It was a difficult, incredibly draining 3 days of shooting, and good god right now I'm trying not to obsess about the fact that it might all turn out for naught.

It's difficult to explain, but basically the subject had a couple of things stuck in his head that he couldn't let go of no matter what I said or did. Namely:

He was convinced this doc would either attract "sponsors" or make its way onto the Discovery channel.

He had an image in his head of what the final product would like (along the lines of something from the History or Discovery channel) and tried to speak to that end.

This sort of adds up to him seeing himself as a small part of a documentary about Merrill's Marauders and the CBI (China Burma India) theater in WWII. He thought the aim, well I should say he wished the aim was to explain the CBI theater in the same way that "Secrets of the Luftwaffe" would seek to explain, well, secrets of the luftwaffe, and the formats would be the same.

I'm not an idiot. I made it very clear, many times, that this was essentially a character study. The audience would learn about the Marauders and the CBI theater via his experiences plus additional material, but mainly the purpose was to foster an impression of what he and others like him went through. He was supposed to be the conduit for a general understanding and appreciation of things no American near my age can really understand, military or not (in my opinion).

We talked about it and talked about it. "Don't think of this as a film, we're just talking, that's all. "Don't think of the final product, there's no way either one of us can control the outcome at this point." "I just need you to talk, in as much detail as you want, for as long as you want; the more material the better."

I knew what was happening, and we talked about it. His wife encouraged him to just let go of worrying about what he might say and just talk. But in the end, he couldn't let go of the idea that he could control the final product by only speaking to certain things. I've got about 6 hours of footage, and I should have 10 or 12.

I dunno, right now I'm so beat and filled with dread I don't really want to think about it. All this time and money and the last thing I want to do is watch the tapes. It's a horrible, horrible feeling to think I invested so much and might have nothing to show for it. What's worse is I don't know if it's completely my fault or not. I don't think he trusted me when I told him all I needed was for him to talk and I'd take care of building the film around that. He was real preoccupied with having a linear chronology dictate everything and specific, definable categories to work from, as if the final film would be broken into different, titled sections and play more like a grade-school filmstrip than a... well, a film.

I thought that was just something he was doing to organize his thoughts, but he went so far as to recite something he came up with explaining, in a very just-the-facts manner, his timeline of service. Basically, if he was directing his own documentary it would have consisted of a 20 minute explanation of where he went when, and that's it.

It's hard to say if I'm angry or not. I'm angry at myself, but beyond a couple techinical things I know I could have done better, I don't know exactly why yet. I'm a little angry with him because if he didn't want to tell any stories (I pried a few out of him) or go into any real detail, why did he agree to do the film? Oh yeah, because he had it stuck in his head that this would be "The 35th Pack Troop", tonight on the History Channel. I tried to explain over and over that this would not be nor could not be anything like that, but he either didn't understand of never believed me.

I think he didn't believe me. I worked with a woman in her 70s on my first film, and goddamn was she the biggest pain in the ass. I wrote the script, produced the film, was directing and starring in it, and if I'd change her line or modify a scene she would go on and on about how, "that's not what it says in the script!"

Get that? I wrote it, produced it, directed it, and she would argue and argue and argue everytime I'd change something, even slightly.

"That's not what it says in the script!"

Lady! I wrote the script!

She wasn't senile at all, she was very intelligent and mentally agile, she just didn't know anything about making movies and it wasn't something that was ever part of her life (in the way any 12 year-old now knows how to edit DV on a computer). Same with this guy.

He actually believed it would naturally find its way to the Discovery Channel, or saving that, that I'd be able to sell hundreds of VHS copies to history buffs.

And see, here's the thing about that: he's writing a book about his experiences, mainly intended just for veterans and history buffs who seek out obscure WW2 stuff, and he was convinced if he talked too much it would detract from the book. How? I don't know. But I suspect part of it was he didn't want me to profit from his very personal stories that he wants to share in a specific way for specific people.

I totally understand that, I really do. From his perspective he didn't do anything special, he just did what all of his buddies did, some of whom didn't make it, and that's at the forefront of his mind. To him that's how he shows his respect. Me? I know very few people around my age give a rats ass about all these WW2 vets dying every day, their stories being lost forever, stories of a time and place that don't even remotely resemble the 21st century. I know that dry history doesn't foster anything but boredom in most people and many will never know or understand that the world was a different place back than and there are lessons to be learned in history. I know that this guy was just a regular guy, one of thousands, and he was just doing his job... but that's what's extrordinary about it- "regular guys" ain't what they used to be, apparently out turd president is a "regular guy"...

but good lord... I'm a friend, I'm not doing this to sell anything, and for chrissakes I'VE SPENT OVER $3000 AND MORE THAN LIKELY I WILL NEVER, EVER SEE ANY OF THAT MONEY BACK. I took this on fully knowing that even if I accomplished what I wanted to accomplish artistically I'd still most likely never profit from it in any way. Doesn't that speak to my good intentions?

Shit. I don't want to think about it any more right now. Perhaps everything will be good and I'll be happy with the results, perhaps I can change the thrust of the film and salvage what I think is missing... the problem is I'm broke, and I can't spend any more money expanding the scope of the film at all...

So if you have a suggestion that I find other vets from the same theater and make it broader- save it. Unless of course you care to give me a thousand bucks or so.

Alright, I'm tired a cranky. It may not be that bad. We'll see.

Next time on Lemme 'splain- How Seattle's incredible suckitude and my brothers incredible jerkitude contributed to a very, very stressfull week. Plus- surely more hysteria.

Sunday, September 07, 2003

What word to describe the documentary shooting?


Unmitigated disaster?




Ah fuck don't ask me about it?

More later...

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