Genius is the ability to gain free psychic access to past experience.
~ Thomas Mann
Is not memory the artist's most precious possession?
~ Erich Segal, Doctors
* * *
Took Tickle's online Classic IQ Test on Friday.
Don't worry, at 129, I'm safely below the range of genius.
* * *
A busy week.
Little time alone. Not much work completed on the novel. Other than thinking about it. And that doesn't count.
* * *
My co-writer, on the other hand, has been making progress on The French Inquisitor.
That self-imposed house arrest? Apparently, it's working.
* * *
My life has turned a corner, financially. My personal reaction surprised me.
Suddenly, I'm making concrete plans to direct again. And produce.
This time on screen.
* * *
I've watched three films since I arrived home on Friday at 3 PM.
~ The new Tim Burton film Corpse Bride in Westwood's Mann Theatre. Maybe it's just me, but once you get past the wonder of stop-action beauty, the story is pretty lame. During the fourth act, I fell asleep. Woke up just in time to see the story end happily with the bad guy dead., the right lovers united, the restless spirit at peace. Oh, did I give away the ending? Oh. You're welcome.
~ Alfred Hitchcock's I Confess on DVD. Loved it. God, that man was obsessed with the idea of being accused falsely. I'm in the process ofworking through 25 other Hitchcock titles that Netflix carries, which I haven't seen. I love his cinematic style.
Just for the record, the director whose management style I admire most is Clint Eastwood. He schedules 40 days for a shoot and completes it in 32. I like that kind of efficiency, the well-oiled machinery made possible by loyal collaborators. My aim is to attract that kind of a film production team by the time I'm ready to shoot my first feature film.
~ In Cold Blood this afternoon. Good film. Black and white used effectively. The minimalism of the early part of the film. That moment when it looks like tears are running down the killer's face, but in reality, it's the reflection of the rain. Brilliant.
* * *
Decided to submit a five-minute television pilot for Channel 101.
Not sure what the story's going to be -- something comical, that goes without saying.
Tentative interest from a writer, an editor, a producer, and several actors.
* * *
My instincts were confirmed when I picked up a digital video camera this week.
I ended up spending several hours with it.
Four things occurred.
First, I discovered that I love working with a digital video camera. Addictive stuff.
Rapid improvement -- I can see it in the first four clips -- thanks to the guidance of a friend/film editor who was with me. One day.
Next, that experience (about three actual hours of filming) has already changed the way that I'm viewing the world around me. I'm starting to see the world as if through the lens of a camera.
Finally, I'm noticing the shots used by the cinematographer to tell the story -- in the movies I've watched since yesterday afternoon.
* * *
I spoke of my weekend love affair with the video camera to my co-writer.
"What's this?" He became facetious. "You're taking on the low production values of an independent filmmaker?"
"If I have to, yes. What can I say? I fell in love with shooting."
Now he was amused.
"So now you plan to be your own DP?"* Steven asked.
"No, of course not. My hands aren't steady enough."
"Besides, when have you ever seen me do things myself? I always recruit people more talented than I to do the actual work."
I was speaking the truth. In theatre, the first thing I always do when I decide to direct a show is to find a very patient stage manager. Someone logical and calm who can keep me grounded when I shift into total right brain.
So I need to find a good producer.
Ted Isue, a principal I once worked for in North Canton, Ohio, put it best. "I hire the best teachers I can, and then I get out of the way and let them do their job."
He was speaking of himself, of course:
My friend John made this observation about me: "You recruit the best talent you know, and you push them to do more than they ever thought they could."
* * *
But other than watch movies, I really didn't do a lot this past weekend.
Finally, Saturday night, I decided it was time to get out of the apartment. So I went to the 50's Cafe in Santa Monica. Took Erich Segal's novel Doctors with me. I've read the book before, but I love it, and it called for another read.
Grabbed a place at the counter. Ordered a hamburger and fries. Ran into a good friend of mine, a woman who acts and hosts a Spanish talk show.
When I told her about Channel 101 -- and the fact that they're looking for women to get involved in directing and producing submissions -- she was interested enough to attend tomorrow night's screening.
Who knows? Perhaps we'll work together. She describes herself as "a control freak."
I prefer to call her detail-conscious.