Another way things have changed: I made the bed. Pulled the long, blonde hair off the charcoal wool blanket. It’s just like the one on the floor. On that Jil Sander coat over there. On the seat belt strap when I got into the car for the first time in a week. Ubiquitous little signals of a life shared. And now I think of them as potential sources of DNA. Such as those the families of the missing only wish they had more of. [NYTimes, full article requires purchase]
License plate spotted out and about yesterday in NYC: WTC TWIN
Spent the last few days reworking the script, adding New York scenes. As Jonah suggested, it would be stronger to show the wife’s own search as well, so we set out to find an actress who would do well on camera, not just via voiceover.
Yesterday, I scouted out some friends’ apartment, which is perfect; they graciously have agreed to let us shoot there this week. It’s in Tribeca, and they have a great art collection, so it’ll shoot really well, I think.
v2.0 of the script is available, which will be substantially the same one we shoot from next week. Here is a corresponding version of the location and shots list, where most of the scene/shot numbers changed after I added NY scenes. It’s another heinous MS-generated html page.
Friday night we went to another friend’s opening and then to dinner following. At dinner, MoMA Architecture Curator Terry Riley told us about speaking about the history of the WTC rebuilding debate recently in Colorado (story from Denver Post).
Last night I went to the opening of German painter Gerhard Richter’s retrospective at MoMA. Over 500 people shoehorned into dinner, while another 1500 or so poured into the galleries. It’s the last major exhibition before the museum closes for a three-year renovation. In his speech, Glenn Lowry, the Director, likened the show (and the artist) to the museum’s landmark exhibits of Cezanne and Picasso.
Even at such a weighty, important, and exciting occasion, it didn’t take more than one course before our table was engrossed in sharing personal experiences of September 11. (Don’t look at me; I was talking about Nazi-stolen art and the growing imperative for schools to ban dodgeball.) The stories were familiar, similar to ones we all had/heard, but it didn’t matter. We apparently still need to remember these things.
Found this on Slate: An interesting proposal for a World Trade Center memorial by Fred Bernstein, an architecture writer (for the NYTimes, among others, it seems). Basically, it’s twin tower-sized piers with the names of those killed placed on the appropriate “floor.” The piers would be oriented toward Ellis and Liberty islands.
While I’m dubious of the mirror-like conceptual similarity to Maya Lin’s Viet Nam memorial, which we visited last weekend (i.e., the orientation, the name placement mechanism), the simplicity and outside-the-Bathtub siting/thinking are very welcome. [q: Why is there no search function on NewYorker.com?] I will not discuss (or link to) the hothouse proposals on display at Max Protetch Gallery.
I got on the web in 1993. So what? In my almost nine years, I have never published an uglier, more bloated, less web-credible page of html than the one created by MS Office, the location & shot list, which originated as an Excel spreadsheet. This maps all the shots/scenes from the script to their respective locations. I’m using it to build the shooting schedule, which is tight. very tight. I may have mentioned that before.
Had the first reading of the script with the main actors (more about them later) to see how they fit/relate to the parts. It was unexpectedly nervewracking to hear the words I wrote being read by someone else as their own words. Would it suck? Would it sound likeme talking to myself?
Turns out, it felt and sounded good. As they settled into the roles, and we talked about the characters between readings, they kept getting better and better. By building familiarity with the characters, not just the words, the actors started getting into the roles. Interesting process. And the presence of outsiders (i.e., people other than me) who didn’t cringe or seem to struggle for something to say was also encouraging.
On another front: I put together a detailed list of locations and corresponding shots. It included time estimates for each setting and getting each shot. THIS then rolled up into a shooting schedule, which is D*#M tight! We’re looking at shoehorning 30.5 hours of shooting (including setup) into 4 days. Given the sunrise/sunset in France in February, and the difficulty shooting outdoors when the sun’s at strong angles (early and late), there’s not really 7.5 hours/day available. It’ll be close. stay tuned. Fortunately, we don’t have any Project Greenlight-style swimming scenes.
My daily Baz Lurhman and Martin Scorcese encounter: They’re both in this NYTimes article about rampant botox injections “playing havoc with facial expressions.”
One of many priceless quotes, this one about the only-temporary effects of treatment:
“You could marry a woman with a flawlessly even face,” one doctor said, “and wind up with someone who four months later looked like a Shar-Pei.”
The writer, Alex Kuczynski, formerly of the Times’ business beat and the NY Observer, which first broke the Botox story (to me) five or so years ago. She’s turning back the clock on her writing subjects, and she’s never looked better!
Update: Met with DP two nights in a row, discussing casting, scheduling, the script (which may go through another revision very soon), and some ideas for adding a shoot day in NYC. We’re also going to do some readings/camera tests to help finalize casting. Alice, friend of Jonah’s was along tonight; look forward to her joining. She’s got some good experience, connections, and her french is excellent. The script’s been downloaded far more than I expected (I never download pdf’s).
Other: DV audio tips search turned up another film weblog, this one from Dallas-based Bare Ruined Films.
And it turns out the master of the no-budget blockbuster, Robert “El Mariachi” Rodriquez, beat us all to it with his book, Rebel Without a Crew, which includes his daily production journal as well. There’s a webring around here somewhere, I can feel it…
10 downloads (and a few failed attempts. the link should work now.) And I just broke out a separate index for highlights from the short. New visitors, thank you for your confusion and comments.
YIKES. Within five minutes of posting the script, I see the opening scene of IFC’s With the Filmmaker: Martin Scorcese by Albert Maysles, where The Man says:
The worst thing when you’re preparing a film, is the endless stream of opinions and suggestions you get; people talking and talking. You can’t concentrate and hear the one voice you need to focus on–your own.
My automatic (deadpan) reply: “Are you talkin’ to me? Are you talkin’ to ME??”
Considerations made in posting the script for this short, called (for the moment) Souvenir:
Anyway, here is the first complete shooting script in pdf format. [note: I fixed the link; ome people with old skool browsers reported problems. Also, I noticed that the title shows v1.4, not 1.5.1, and the footer is screwed up. OTOH, I converted this .doc to .pdf for free on Adobe’s site. Thanks, Adobe.] Do with it what you will (as long as it isn’t appropriation, unauthorized publication or use, outright mockery, or plagiarism).
Making this film means keeping “artist hours,” means watching the Australian Open semis live on ESPN2 while storyboarding.
Updating the storyboard means ftp’ing on the site, means checking my logs. it’s been a while.
Favorite search engine query bringing me a visitor (from google): “I went to high school with Ben Affleck”
I’ve found a DP (director of photography, or cinematographer, variously), Jonah Freeman, a brilliant artist who works in video and installation. Very excited.
The last week has been spent rewriting and looking for a lead actor, who’ll have to carry the whole thing, basically. The actor I wanted first, Ed Norton, just started shooting a new Hannibal Lecter film two weeks ago, so he’s out. Jonah and I are meeting with some people today who he’s worked with before. Stay tuned.
FWIW, I started a storyboard based on the latest version of the reading script. (See a brief discussion of shooting and reading scripts here,) As we start blocking out the scenes and building the shooting schedule, detail will increase. I’m using Google Images Search to approximate the composition of shots I have in mind. Never seen this done before; if you have, please let me know where.