Category:script notes

It's all in the book, so you could definitely buy it and read about it in depth, but it didn't occur to me until Brian Dupont tweeted about it ["Aspen : #OccupyWallSt :: St. Barts : Canal Zone. Every apocalypse needs a last stand."], that there might be a connection between the Occupy Wall Street protests and Richard Prince's movie pitch.

See, in defending his Canal Zone paintings against Patrick Cariou's copyright infringement claims, Prince and his lawyers repeatedly cited The Pitch, a 1.5 page text for a post-nuclear apocalyptic movie called Eden Rock in which Cariou's Yes Rasta photo subjects were one of several tribes. The strategy--failed so far--was apparently to demonstrate how completely Prince had transformed Cariou's work, thus obviating the infringement claim.

prince_canalzone_cariou.jpg

Prince included the The Pitch text in Eden Rock Show, a brief 2007 exhibit of a large collage/painting made up of pages from Yes Rasta at St. Bart's Eden Rock Hotel. It was included in court exhibits in Cariou v. Prince and, like I said, is in the Selected Court Documents &c. book.

When I started typing this, the way I had remembered The Pitch had me thinking it is occasionally starting to sound like a future documentary, minus the global thermonuclear war part, anyway. Now that I've re-read and typed it all in I don't think that anymore. But I'm not so sure Prince agrees with me. But as the view from his position as a pessimistic artist in the lower reaches of the 1%, but not of the 1%, it does have a certain authenticity, and so I thought The Pitch is worth posting:

The Pitch

Charles Company, his wife, son and daughter arrive at the St. Barts airport, late afternoon two days before Xmas, he's meeting up with his brother and sister-in-law... staying on the island for a couple of weeks...vacation...

As he's landing, he sees out the window a lot of people running around...general commotion.

As the plane taxis up to the gate he asks the pilot what's going on...
As the Company family disembarks the plane, there's more pandemonium...
People grabbing, shouting, some hysterical...it's a tiny airport, but there's an overload of people waiting to get thru customs and many people literally "crying"...they're "crying because there are no planes going out...no planes returning to St. Martins...returning to Miami...returning to NYC...returning to London...returning anywhere...
There are no returning flights because these cities and many other major "areas" in the continental U.S. and Western and Eastern Europe have just been obliterated by nuclear attack.

Charles Company and his family are informed of this fact and seemed to melt into the tarmac under 88 degree temps...holding their bags, their backpacks...what will come to be as all their worldly possessions.

They hook up with Charles's brother, who will fill them in with a bit more detail on the events "round" the world. "What are we suppose to do?" is Charles's wife's first question...

"There's nowhere to go", is the first answer.

A good part of the world, "most" of the world, has been nuked and they are here on a tiny French island in the middle of nowhere...which in a year's time will become part On the Beach, part Lord of the Flies.

Background: Charles is 55, has no military background, is pretty much out of shape...makes his living as an architect.

To make this pitch even shorter I'm going to cut to a year later...

People on the island have broken up into "tribes"...most of the houses have been ransacked and all of the hotels occupied.

Charles Company is now Charlie Company. He has been exercising. Hes also learned to load a weapon, field dress a wound, cook without a fire. His daughter is the #1 scavenger...

He his wife, son and daughter, brother and sister-in-law, (along with several followers) have taken over the Eden Rock Hotel. It's headquarters.

Stockpiled. A Mini-Mart. As best a fortress as can be under the circumstances. Everything is rationed, everything is "used"...

Next: Charles's son is standing lookout. Thru his telescope out in the ocean he sees what appears to be a periscope...he sounds the alarm...

The movie is called Eden Rock...

[from an October 2008 email prepping for the Canal Zone show at Gagosian]

Additional Eden Rock/Pitch Material written MARCH 2008--

More on Eden Rock

1. Rastas and Reggae...they escape from one of the Cruise ships, (they were the band aboard the ship) three days after the bombs went off. They go to the Hotel Manapany. Six band members, two roadies and a manager.

2. The Backpackers...these are college kids, use to spring breaks, know nothing of responsibility or the real world.

They gather first in bars then take over a small hotel just above Shell Beach. They keep partying, drinking, smoking..they are the first to "go native"...the first to smear "war paint" on their bodies...they're also the first to get wiped out...

3. The Amazons...Four Lesbians who escape a second Cruise ship, who bring along part of hte crew and take over the Guanahani Hotel. These are large well built women along the lines of Shena Queen of the Jungle, Wonder Woman, Cat Woman, think Raquel Welch meets Linda Hamilton in the Terminator. Their outfits, hair and make-up remind us of Road Warriors...

4. The Ultimate Ones...this tribe is made up of rich, affluent masters of the universe...these are guys who own the huge private boats parked in Gustavia...they have the loyalty of their crews, they have their own weapons and in the beginning access to food and water. They quickly make deals with the local St. Bart police force. They stay on their boats at first but then take over the Ill de France hotel...these guys are use to privilege and shaping the future...they don't take "no" for an answer...they believe they "own" the island and everyone is their subject...several come to be assassinated, held hostage, and hanged upside-down...in an opening scene one of them is pictured buried up to his head in the sand at Saline Beach with the tide coming in...

These are the four main tribes along with Charlie Company...

Charlie Company represents "family"
Rastas and Reggae represents "The disenfranchised"
Backpackers represent "alternative"
Amazons represent "sex"
Ultimate Ones represent "power"

Richard Prince

----- End of Forwarded Message

[spelling and punctuation original]

Previously: Canal Zone Richard Prince Yes Rasta: The Book

What's that, dear? Oh, nothing, just some legendary but unknown drafts for the first film adaptation of Ian Fleming's Casino Royale, by veteran Hollywood screenwriter Benjamin Hecht.

After reading various references to the early 60s script, Jeremy Duns decided to go looking for it, and whaddyaknow, there it was, sitting in Hecht's archive, which is at the Newberry Library in Chicago. Apparently, in the intervening decades, no one had ever bothered to actually look for it:

[T]hese drafts are a master-class in thriller-writing, from the man who arguably perfected the form with Notorious. Hecht made vice central to the plot, with Le Chiffre actively controlling a network of brothels and beautiful women who he is using to blackmail powerful people around the world. Just as the theme of Fleming's Goldfinger is avarice and power, the theme of Hecht's Casino Royale is sex and sin. It's an idea that seems obvious in hindsight, and Hecht used it both to raise the stakes of Fleming's plot and to deepen the story's emotional resonance.
It's exactly the kind of mind-boggling, serendipitous archive find that keeps me going on this Johns Flag hunt, even when the more skeptical part of me is saying, "Seriously, how could Jasper Johns' first flag painting have been stolen, and missing, and then resurface in his own dealer's office, and then disappear again, and no one knows where it is or even what actually happened to it?" But the more I dig and ask around, the more I find that, though plenty of people gossiped or speculated, almost no one has ever actually searched for it.

UPDATE/CLARIFICATION/APOLOGY/&C. Ha, ha, I guess if I think about it, yeah, my meant-to-be-exciting-thrill-of-discovery-in-uncharted-archives anecdote below could make actual archive professionals cringe. And I guess I didn't think of that. OR mean it as any kind of criticism of the way the AAA works, just the opposite, in fact.

Fortunately, Barbara Aikens, the Chief of Collections Processing at the Smithsonian's Archives of American Art took the time to correct some inaccuracies and clarify some of the wrong implications in my account. Which, I didn't really-- I mean, it was really meant to be kind of an amusing offhand story, not a transcript, which-- Anyway. My bad.


A few trips ago, while researching at the Archives of American Art, I opened a white cardboard box, indistinguishable from all the others on the outside. But instead of the neatly labeled, acid-free folders, I faced a mishmash of giant envelopes, ragged edges, and old, manila folders. And a rubber banded brick of old AmEx bills. And some matchbooks. What a mess. It was more time capsule than archive.

In the middle of a sheaf of clippings and tear sheets, interviews and reviews and feature articles about Robert Rauschenberg, I came across an odd little card. No, it's a transparency showing an Apollo alnding capsule. No, there's three. Blue, magenta, cyan, waitaminnit, this is taped together by hand. It's an object, maybe even a work, made of layered transparent sheets, similar to Rauschenberg's editions made from multiple sheets of plexiglass. Shades (1964) is one; I have a similar set of plexi discs somewhere from 1970-1, in a boxed set of multiples titled, Artists and Photographs. Here you go: Revolver.

rauschenberg_whale_detail.jpg

The other day, i recognized that space capsule image as the one in the Hirshhorn's big Rauschenberg screen/painting, Whale, which is also from 1964. Maybe Bob sent that little objet home after a studio visit or something. But should it really be in here, in the archives, hanging out with greasy-fingered riff-raff like me? Maybe I should say something.

A couple of folders later, I carefully extract a large, tattered, manila envelope with something about a group show or benefit scribbled on the outside. The first thing I pull out is a signed Jim Dine drawing. Then another. The next one is an Oldenburg. I pull out a piece of black paper, which turns out to be a chalk drawing. A little dust gets on my hands. At which point--I mean, fingerprints, right? I'm totally busted--I call the attendant over with a hearty, "Uh, did you know there's a bunch of original art in here?"

No, she did not, but yes, that happens, because, in fact, budget, priorities, low demand, &c., &c, some of this collection's boxes had not been processed yet. I was probably the first person to even look through this box since it had come in over 25 years earlier. She gave me a stack of acid-free paper to slip in between the various drawings, and I decided that, though it looked like a blast, the stuff in the packet was obviously not related to my research--at the very least, if Johns' Flag had been stuffed inside, I would've seen it--so I put it all carefully away.

I guess I'm just saying, there's stuff out there. And no one's been looking for it, so get cracking.

UPDATE I thought I was being helpful by not identifying the collection I was using here, but of course, Barbara knew right away what it was: the Alan Solomon Archives. The Solomon material had come into the AAA in waves, and the unprocessed box had actually entered the Archive in 2007, not, as I misunderstood, 25+years ago.

The presence of art, drawings, sketches, etc., while not a collecting goal of the Archive, is also not unheard of, and such material typically remains in accessible within the collection, where it is to be handled with care.

Barbara points out that while I made it sound like there I worked through a stack of acid-free paper, in fact, I only inserted three sheets between a couple of drawings. This is true. I was given a stack, but after replacing the works I'd taken out, I figured I'd leave the rest of the handling to the professionals, and so I closed up the box.

On the point of processing, I can't do better than Barbara's statement:

On average, we process and preserve about 500-700 linear feet per year; this includes writing full and detailed electronic finding aids that are available on our website. In addition, we are the only archival repository in this country that has a successful ongoing digitization initiative to digitize entire archival collections, rather than just selected highlights from collections. To date, we have digitized well over 100 collections, totaling nearly 1.000 linear feet and resulting in 1.5 million digital files. Archival repositories from across the country regularly consult with us on our large scale digitization methodologies, work flows, and infrastructure.

I would hate to think that users will think less of our major efforts here at AAA to increase access to our rich resources, or, worse, think that we do not care about the stewardship of collections. It is one of our ongoing mission goals and we devote considerable staff resources to our processing work. However, the work is never done to be sure.

And thank you for it. And for the clarifications. Carry on.

Casino Royale: discovering the lost script [telegraph.co.uk via daringfireball]

Palin screenwriters take note: the industrious reporters at Newsweek have spotted you an easy 100 points on your Scene and Dialogue Plausibility Test. Also, bonus shower scene!:

  • "At the GOP convention in St. Paul, Palin was completely unfazed by the boys' club fraternity she had just joined. One night, Steve Schmidt and Mark Salter went to her hotel room to brief her. After a minute, Palin sailed into the room wearing nothing but a towel, with another on her wet hair. She told them to chat with her laconic husband, Todd. 'I'll be just a minute,' she said."
  • McCain aides say the reported $150,000 figure was only the beginning of the Palin family's GOP-funded shopping spree: "An angry aide characterized the shopping spree as 'Wasilla hillbillies looting Neiman Marcus from coast to coast.'"

    Hackers and Spending Sprees [newsweek]

  • A scene from Livin' Strong:

    LANCE: Yeah, me too. Hey, Matt.

    MATT: What now, amigo?

    LANCE: How many buttons you gonna leave unbuttoned?

    MATT: Well, my friend. I’m fixin’ to go four deep tonight. Give the ladies a little taste.

    When will E! stage a Jackson Trial-style re-enactment of the Paris Hilton deposition transcript? Because seriously, there hasn't been a 200-page, skank-related legal document this readable since the Starr Report:

    Q. Let me just take a step back because I didn't ask about what Val Kilmer had said about Zeta, if anything. did he speak negatively towards her? You might have said something.

    MR STEIN: She reported that he said she was a crazy bitch.

    THE WITNESS: That she was insane. She was a bad person.

    MR BERRA: Did he ever provide any specific things that she had done or was it just a general--

    A. No. We were just like walking in the lobby of the hotel. No, it wasn't the lobby of the hotel, it was the lobby in the boat.

    Q. There is a lobby in the boat? [Paul Allen's boat, anchored at the 2005 Cannes Film Festival]

    A. It's like a 500-foot yacht. It's insane.

    ...

    Q...Do you recall sending Rob and e-mail before this one?

    A. Maybe. I don't even remember.

    Q. Okay.

    A. That was the whole thing. I needed a dress-- I mean, I needed jewewlry and a dress.

    Q. You had a dress, though?

    A. Yeah, I did have a dress.

    MR BERRA [the questioner, attorney for the plaintiff, Zeta Graff]: Marking the next exhibit in order, No. 6.

    THE WITNESS: (Witness yawns.)

    MR. BERRA: We have to do this every day.

    THE WITNESS: I'd kill myself.

    ...

    Q. [In an e-mail about a Graff diamond necklace, publicist Rob Shuter] refers to it as the "biggest f***off necklace you have ever seen." Do you remember receiving this e-mail?

    A. Yeah.

    Q. And you received it right around the same period of time?

    A. Uh-huh.

    Q. And then you responded back, adn correct me if I am wrong, "Love it! Zeta Graff will be so pissed." Do you recall writing that?

    A. Yep.

    Q. What was your--what was the reason that you wrote that?...

    A. Just paris told me -- Paris's maid Kula told me that she knows all the jewelry and she would, like, freak out if I was ever wearing Graff jewelry. She had said that at some point. And then wehn i told paris, I was like, "Graff is bringing jewelry over." And was like, "Oh, she's going to be so pissed."...

    Q. Okay. Can you read that back, Pam. (Record reads as follows: "Answer: Just Paris told me-- Paris's maid Kula told me that she knows all the jewelry and" --)

    THE WITNESS: Not maid. Can you take "maid" out. That's rude. She's not a maid. Sorry. I don't want her to think that I called her a maid. She's not. Assistant.

    MR STEIN [Hilton's attorney]: A keeper.

    MR BERRA: Now she's not going to do any more housework.

    ...

    MR BERRA: I believe that's it. Just give me 30 seconds.

    (Discussion held off the record.)

    MR STEIN: We will stipulate that the original can be delivered to our offices and if not signed and returned--within 30 days?

    MR BERRA: That's fine with me.

    MR STEIN: --it can be used as if it were signed for all purposes.

    THE WITNESS: This is not going to the media, right?

    pdf's of the deposition and email transcript are available in the sidebar at tmz.com

    August 1, 2005

    On The Train From Tokyo

    Around 7 o'clock on a crowded Sunday evening train away from Tokyo's destination-filled southwest side (Roppongi, Aoyama, Shibuya, etc.), a couple in their late forties/early fifties sat quietly in the car's corner seat. They were dressed, but not dressed up; he held a slim, pink, rather glossy shopping bag on his lap. They didn't speak, but just sat quietly and contentedly next to each other. When you know someone that long, that well, a silent train ride home is barely a punctuation mark, an almost imperceptible breath in a decades-long conversation. Is that what it's like to be old and married, I wonder?

    Mamonaku Touka-Ichiba ni tsukimasu. Touka-Ichiba desu. They announce the next station, and the train begins to slow down. The man quietly hands the shopping bag to the woman, and they match glances and slight nods, or was it just the swaying train? No. Eyes forward, he gets up and joins the dozen or so people pressing out door. The woman, bag on lap, looks, not after him, but away, out the window. Not following his exit, she's a woman who went into the city for the day. Maybe I--no, there's a ring.

    She adopted the precise mid-ground-focused gaze of Tokyo commuters; surrounded by people and ads and scenery and stuff, she expertly looked at nothing. She didn't move much, except for the rocking of the train, until Machida, when we all shuffled onto the platform. She held the pink shopping bag and a small black purse in the crook of her arm as she left for home.

    January 5, 2005

    All That And A Bag Of Chips

    Who needs Vanity Fair? Sometimes a surefire pitch is just waiting for you on the side of the road: two Long Island women were arrested for selling hookups in the back of their hot dog truck, which they parked on the side of the Sunrise Highway.

    "'We've never seen hot dogs mixed with prostitution before,' Deputy Inspector [and aspiring screenwriter, who'll settle for story credit and a low-five option, I'm sure] Rick Capece said. 'There are so many jokes, so little time.'"


    'Hookers' Relish Wieners
    [NYPost]

    January 5, 2005

    Hey, It Worked For Kinsey

    The must-have vanity project for 2005: your own biopic.

    Andy Towle reports that the NY Post reports that W Magazine reports that Bill Condon's developing a script based on a 2001 Vanity Fair article for Tribeca Films. The subject: Pepe and Alfie Fanjul, the socialite sugar overlords.

    Which makes sense, because that NYT article a few weeks ago about Castro stealing Pepe's painting seemed like such a brazen movie pitch.

    "Katie Hepburn was a great friend of mine," Ms. Bacall said. "Cate Blanchett had her mannerisms, expressions, everything."

    Oscars?

    "Don't ask me about the Oscars," Ms. Bacall said. "I don't give a damn about the Oscars."

    A young woman went by with a tray of crab cakes.

    "Hey, hey, why did you pass me?" Ms. Bacall said. "Where are you going? What are they? You got some nerve walking over there."

    -Actress, Legend, and former Hampton Jitney Spokeswoman Lauren Bacall, appearing in a scene from the The Aviator premiere party, as quoted in Boldface Names.

    But it did enable her to be briefly airborne [NYT]

    David Nash, described by his mother as an "aspiring artist," seized control of Governors Island in New York Harbor yesterday and held it in the name of the Blue Tulip Party, at least until 6:40AM, when somebody spotted the pirate flag he'd hoisted on the island's flagpole.

    Being a non-cutthraot sort of pirate, Nash ordered the harbor patrol cops who arrested him to "Put [their] weapons down, and go in peace."

    He has been exiled, at least temporarily, to his own personal Elba, on the Island of Bellevue.

    Man tries to seize Governors Island [NYDN, via TMN]

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    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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