In Albuquerque for the weekend. My wife is attending an astrophysics conference here. Lots of dust and wind. And lots of murals, too, for some reason. There must be a "1% for murals" ordinance in force, because practically every building in town has an uplifting, figurative mural. Sure enough, here's a site with a collection of Albuquerque's murals, and here is info about the City's Mural Program. I guess it could be painted cows, so they should be grateful.

If ONLY this moviemaking experience was as annoying as Groundhog Day... Final Cut Pro seems to be disintegrating before my eyes, and taking the project with it. EVERY time I open the master sequence, the same dozen or so clips show up as missing. The infuriating thing: it's supposedly because the audio (not the video) file isn't being recognized (even though they're both clearly present), and almost all the *&#$'ed up clips don't even use audio. They're insert shots where we use only the video and lay another audio track over it. [While I've posted this plea/rant to the 2-pop.com discussion board, I haven't gotten any responses yet.]


Right now, I'm recapturing the offending clips in video only, hopefully avoiding the missing audio syndrome. Considering I currently have no movie to submit to any festivals, I can't even say what festivals I'm missing (except for the ones like the IFP Market in NYC where I already applied but haven't sent in the tape (obviously).

Editing: Final tweaks over the weekend to get a distortion-free output version has now deteriorated into a major structural problem with Final Cut Pro. If I didn't have so much other stuff to occupy my mind, I'd be worried sick. The program shows that a dozen+ audio files are missing AND that they're required to play the finished sequence, even though they're not in the sequence. IDGI. Anyway, I've started going through every file, recapturing those that are in the movie, and deleting those that aren't. It's going to be a long week. And the submissions clocks are still ticking.


Submissions: Got a dear auteur fax from Quinzaine Realisateurs. Maybe I don't want people who don't know me to see it after all...


As I'm sitting here working, Rushmore is just ending on Comedy Central. Freakin' amazing. What IS that movie? I'm glad I didn't see it right before meeting Wes Anderson last week; id've been a blubbering idiot fan. As it is, I'm no more likely to EVER make a movie like that (at one end of the spectrum) than I am to make Weekend at Bernie's II (at the other). No prob.

Issue of 2002-04-22 and 2002-04-29
Posted 2002-04-15

COMMENT/ TWO STATES/ Nicholas Lemann looks at the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through the lens of post (US)-Civil War reconstruction.
STRING SECTION/ SLAVA AT SEVENTY-FIVE/ Charles Michener basks in the effusive presence of Maestro Mstislav Rostropovich.
INK/ THE TIMES, V.O./ Adam Gopnik lets us know that, even though Le Monde began publishing an English-language insert from the NYT, he buys it for the French articles.
THE BOARDS/ MAN IN TIGHTS/ Eric Konigsberg previews right-wing muscle daddy/blogger Andrew Sullivan's Shakespeare debut.
THE FINANCIAL PAGE/ TAX CHEAT, INC./ James Surowiecki explains why offshore tax dodging is illegal for you, but fine for Ingersoll-Rand.

I ended up making screening tapes from the DV master, since I have been having the same problems with output that we had before (ie., skipping, frozen frames). The movie may have found the maximum processing capacity of the G4 we're working with. Moral: don't go halfway on the memory or processing power. You'll use it all, so make sure it's enough.


Jean and I drove from DC to NC for the weekend, and talked through the rest of the Souvenir series. I'll post some of those notes after I get them typed up. Some general ideas around which stories may develop: remembering and returning to specific places, the differences between peoples' memories of the same event (more Chuck and Buck than Rashomon, though), remembering as talking vs. remembering as "experiencing," and a few more. Abstract enough for you? After hearing a 1992 interview with John Cage on WNYC yesterday, I'm pretty sure he'll have a role in the movie somehow. (besides the music in Souvenir November 2001, that is) Anyway, everyone goes to bed early in NC, so I'm outta here.

Making screening tapes: Groundhog Day all over again (which may be redundant, I know). I've been working to swap out the shot that annoyed Jonah and me (shooting into the sun=super-blown out exposure), finding one that (except for some coke can/coke bottle discontinuity) is way way better. Now, though, the same popping and frame snagging problem that nearly derailed us last week is back, even worse.


MoMA Benefit: what a laff riot. Spent hours in the afternoon rehearsing with David O. Russell, Lily Tomlin, and a posse of movie and museum people. It was a blast. My co-chair, Muffy, didn't want to do any of the jokes I'd written for us (we were the fifth in a chain of intros and thank yous, and we introduced David and Lily, who interviewed him). Instead of Ben Stiller opening the evening, it was a clip from Flirting with Disaster, the one where Mary Tyler Moore lifts her shirt and shows off her aging-yet-still-firm breasts (let's see what search engines do with THAT description). So after four refined, diplomatic, but slightly uptight intros by other museum dignitaries, my joke about Russell making movies for a TV generation that grew up wanting Mary Tyler Moore to take her shirt off went over fine. As did the line about thanking my lawyers and my manager who got me this job (people were just about thanked out). Ben Stiller's appearance later, via "live" satellite hookup, was hilarious; he acted like he was accepting the award, then got confused and hurt when he was told it wasn't for him. Finally, Will Farrell showed up, as James Lipton, and pulled all the actors onstage to fawn over them strangely. I laughed, I cried, it became a part of me. Then we all ran upstairs for dinner (and, for the LA crowd, an American Spirit) and the party.


Here is a list of my new Hollywood friends (in Hollywood, if you hang out for a night, mentioning your respective projects, you can claim friendship.): Spike and Sofia (very nice. sat next to them.); the Leguizamos, Wes Anderson (very popular with the ladies, btw), Alexander Payne, and Glenn Fitzgerald. The agents were thick as thieves (in a good way), but, true to form, they don't have entries in IMDB, so no linking. Anyway, my friends'll understand if I have to get back to work. Let's get together for breakfast.

Been working on my schtick for tonight, where I am introducing David O. Russell and Lily Tomlin at a MoMA film benefit. MoMA is acquiring Russell's films for its permanent collection, and the fundraising group I co-chair is hosting the program/party. Given the crowd and the committee (almost all of whom are going to be there), I'm (Spike) Jonzin' to work the movie into the intro, no matter how tenuous the connection. Can't see it happening, though. And with Ben Stiller opening for me and the crowd of comedians in the program, I think the best I'll be able to do is not be a complete idiot. Paul Thomas Anderson'll be there, as well as Wes Anderson [a Wes Anderson blog, yet not by Wes Anderson.]; hopefully, we're seated somewhat alphabetically...

Apropos of nothing, (or everything but what this web log is about, to be more precise), this political analysis weblog, Talking Points Memo, is fascinating and engrossing. Fulfills the promise of the web of bringing to the surface news and information that media mega-outlets try to ignore. Living in DC can be exciting, it seems.

Details, details.

  • Worked on the dialogue transcript, which will morph into subtitles, which I assume I'll be able to put on after some book reading.
  • Need to add another screen of credits and acknowledgements. Right now, we just have one screen with the crew and principal cast. But since there are another nine people in the movie, we gots to get them in. AND, there are sponsors and people who helped out to be thanked. I learned how to do that, though.
  • There's one clip from inside the car, during one conversation, one line of dialogue, where the exposure's all whack. We'd shot it early in the morning, and the sun is coming right in the window. The problem is, I'm pretty sure that's the only take with that exact line. I've gotta go through all the tapes again and look for a better shot.
  • The sound needs to be remixed, I think. Basically, it's all there, and pretty good, but levels aren't quite right, there's some noise in places (although most of it's gone)...a real audio expert'll be able to do wonders, I think.


    That said, after rewatching Kieslowski's Dekalog--where there were tons of car interiors with overexposed landscapes and/or harsh shadows from a sun gun spotlight inside the car, and after seeing Y tu Mama Tambien, where the narrator's voiceover cuts abruptly into the ambient audio of the story, I'm a little less hung up about the last two. Our light's better than some of Kieslowski's, and our sound's better than some of Alberto Cuaron's. That's something. Not that I'm not going to fix these things, though, obviously.

  • I'm listening to Studio360 on WNYC, talking about artistic depiction of the Holocaust.


    For some odd reason, this poem by Andrew Marvell came to mind. Or more specifically, the first line: "Had we but world enough, and time." I don't know why, but it was interesting to reread the whole thing. Not what first popped into my groggy head, but quite nice in a different way.

    Since 2001 here at greg.org, I've been blogging about the creative process—my own and those of people who interest me. That mostly involves filmmaking, art, writing, research, and the making thereof.

    Many thanks to the Creative Capital | Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Program for supporting greg.org that time.

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