The Island

If I'm even reviewing The Dukes of Hazard and The Island back to back, you know Angie was playing tricks with me at the Hollywood Video...

The Island follows Lincoln 6 Echo and Jordan 2 Delta as they unmask their sterile, white protected world as an organ-harvesting clone farm for the well-to-do. Lottery winners do not go to the only contamination-free tropical island left after a global epidemic, they go under the knife and are disposed of. First, they escape. Having gained their freedom, they break back in to undermine the corporate plot.

I'm sure you all know how I feel about the Bay/Bruckheimer school of filmmaking. Not my cup of tea. Yet, this is the first one that I have viewed with a real critical eye. I have to say I am a bit conflicted.

Technically, this is a great movie. Every shot is a beautiful shot. Great cinematography. Great camera direction. So slick. So perfect. However, I have seen this movie before. It was called Logan's Run. It was called Coma. THX-1138. The Matrix. 1984. Heck, they even copped the speeders from Return of the Jedi. They took anything and everything that was great or unique about those films and glossed them up.

So, if the theft is so blatant, why am I conflicted? Because Logan's Run was horrible. Coma is badly dated (directed by Michael Crichton, BTW). It's not a terrible thing for them to get an update. THX and the rest are so iconic and influential, it's tough to avoid referencing them. I've done it myself. Some of the references are so direct (the rising Red sun form the end of THX), I'll give Bay the benefit of the doubt and called them homages.

So, at this point you might say it's a wash. A movie worth seeing once, but not worth owning. Writing breaks the tie, and that can be summed up in Lincoln's first encounter with the outside world. In a dive bar on the outskirts of Tucson, Lincoln tries to find his only contact in the outside world. He is told that he is "in the can," "taking a dump." "He's in a can?!" "Taking a dump where?" "I've got to go, he's in a can, taking a dump!"

Apparantly, so was Michael Bay when this movie was written.


The Dukes of Hazard

Did I actually just watch this movie?


The Interpreter

The promotional material was all emblazoned with the phrase "A Full-Throttle Thriller." That might be reaching a bit (there is one notable explosion). The Interpreter is much more of a slow-burning thiller, tightly focused on two characters and themes of loss and forgiveness, and all the better for it. There are plot holes, yes. No doubt the cumulative effect of too many screenwriters with their hands in the material. Yet, I believe these are more than compensated for in a number of good decisions that were made.

Kidman and Penn deliver superb and subtle performances, making up for any weak points in the script by not taking it over the top. The auxilliary characters are left largely undeveloped in favor of a more measured study of these two characters, the interpreter and the secret service agent protecting her, as they deal in their own ways with thier own losses.

The political intruige is smart, and takes us inside the guerrila political landscape of a small African country. Therein, liberators become corrupt dictators, opposition forces are branded as terrorists, and even the children are armed. It would be cliche at this point to insert Middle Eastern Islamo-fascist terrorists here. The approach here is a much more novel backdrop against which to understand the lead character, and one that lends itself to an interesting interchange of language and culture.

For the first time, the United Nations allowed a film to be made on the premises. This was an incredible production challenge, as they had only late Friday night until early Monday morning to work, including staging everything through the night on Friday and tearing everything down and getting it out by early Monday morning. They went through this process fix or six weekends from what I recall in the American Cinematographer article on the film. This was the challenge of director Sydney Pollack (Tootsie, Out of Africa) and DP Darius Khondji (Se7en, The Beach, and Wong Kar Wai's next film).

Great actors, great locations, great direction and photography, great use of language. The kind of film I'd be proud to make myself.



It has snowed on and off for the last two weeks, but today was the day the snow really hit the fan.

There were four inches on the car this morning on the way to work, and very little plowing had been done. It was a slow, dangerous commute.

When I headed out for lunch, I had to clear another four to six inches off the car, and just getting out of the parking lot was tough. By the time I was done cleaning off all of the windows, the first window was covered with snow again.

In the two hours after lunch, about six to eight more inches were dumped. The parking lot had not been plowed since the morning, and the cars were just jammed in. The parking lot was a mess, with people digging out their cars by hand and pushing each other out. We're talking about close to a thousand cars, and nearly everyone was stuck. I got out with the help of three people. I stopped on my way out to help an Asian woman get out of a snowbank. It took an hour to get home (usually twenty minutes).

It's wild. Just a cold, frozen world out there. A pain sometimes, but fun, too.

We met Jeremy at Teppanyaki for dinner. We shared two california rolls, one cucumber roll, a spider roll, and a spicy tuna roll. Jeremy added a Caterpillar roll (Eel w/ Eel Sauce) and a Spicy-something for his entree. Angie and I added full Teppan meals. We all had a little chocolate ice cream for desert (they were out of coconut). The highlight was Jeremy and Angie eating Uni (sea urchin roe, the pinnacle of sushi) on a dare. I feel like I'm going to explode.

After dinner, a snowfight in the shopping center parking lot where there are massive fifteen-foot high banks of snow. Icy!


8 1/2

Fedrico Fellini's 8 1/2 is one of the most outstanding films about filmmaking, and an outstanding film by any right. This is the first Fellini film I have seen, and is widely regarded as his signature film.

8 1/2 follows Guido Anselmi, a famed director who, in the thick of pre-production on a big-budget blockbuster, loses all sense of what he is doing. What kind of film does he really want to make? What kind of story does he want to tell? Does he even want to make a film in the first place? He's lost all sense of inspiration, vision, and personal motivation. Producers, critics, agents, lovers, family, cast, and crew are pressuring him from all sides.

Guido's breakdown is conveyed in a combination of narrative, flashback, and fantasy, all so seemlessly layered as to effectively cause disorientation in the viewer. Yes, from the opening scene of the film, in which Guido psychosomatically suffocates in his car during a traffic jam, then floats away only to be pulled to Earth by a dangling rope, we know to expect anything and everything to happen in this suureal world. Thankfully, it is a whimsical journey, not heavy-handed.

The direction and camerawork are superb. Nearly all scenes involve meandering camera moves where the points of interest shift from various layers of foreground and background and then back again, with characters constantly coming and going. It's dizzying and surprising and conveys the relentless demands put upon Guido, and his inability to stay grounded.

In the end, Guido finds redemption, and we are treated to one last bit of humorous cinematic absurdity.


Five More Films

OK, random mini-reviews from stuff we've seen in the theater or rented since we got here...

Walk the Line - A terrific film with great performances all around, great directing, great cinematography. John Cash was an original punk rocker and "I shot a man in Reno just to watch him die" may be the best punk rock lyric ever. This film is a fine distilation of his life. However, it cannot go unsaid that there are major similarities between Walk the Line and Ray. Or, perhaps it is more approproriate to say that there are a lot of similarities between the lives of John Cash and Ray Charles: grew up in the south, tough upbringing, death of a brother that impacted their lives, trying to write gospel music, accidentally finding their "sound," being accidentally discovered and somewhat exploited, drugs, drink, women, trouble on the homefront, getting busted, getting clean. Two iconclastic individuals, but all the high points chosen by the screenwriter and director are the same. In terms of look, they are both very dynamic and did a great job of evoking the period and including sincere and realistic performances. Heck, the time periods are even the same. Both films are superb. I come out feeling that Walk the Line is slightly diminished, and that if they were switched, Ray would feel diminished. They're both so good, the seqeunce is all that set's them apart.

Batman Begins - A worthy film and much less self-aware than its Batman predecessors. It seemed a very focused effort. Overall very well done, though I was disappointed that the last fifteen minutes of the film was basically just a rehashing of lines that had been delivered throughout the film, as each and every storyline was neatly closed and the repeated lines gained new and revelatory meaning. Where the older Batman films often seemed like a series of setups to bust out really campy lines, the current approach is to wrap lines around from throughout the story in a bit of transparent and gloating foreshadowing. Well, how clever! I lost a lot of respect for the film as a result. The darker and more serious approach to this film seems more cinematically grounded, but in the sequels that are sure to come will serve to preclude memorable and flamboyant performances on the lines of like Jack Nicholson's Joker. Sadly.

Good Night, and Good Luck - I really enjoyed this tight little film written and directed by George Clooney. It's a highly focused look inside Edward R. Murrow's televised strugle against McCarthy's anti-communism crusade of the 1950's. Or is it? Really, it's a jab at the Bush administration for their nationalistic scare tactics and a reminder that they are nothing new, but dangerous and wrong and something to bravely confront. The word terrorism gets dropped on a number of occassions. No firm sense that its use is historically accurate. Message aside, it's a tense, smoky, jazzy little black and white number shot in shallow focus. It was 90 minutes long, but felt twice as long. It was enjoyable, but perhaps a bit too educational?

Melinda and Melinda - Testament that Woody Allen continues to be Woody Allen, with or without mainstream attention. Here's a film that flew so low under the radar I hadn't heard of it, despite a name cast, and ends up coming out through Fox Searchlight, no doubt passed over for wide release because of its experimental edge. M&M is what starts out as the same story, told twice: once as a tragedy/drama and once as a romantic comedy, simultaneously, with different casts except for the title character. The stories diverge, but stay somewhat connected, and switch back and forth every few minutes, reveling in the norms and cliches of each genre. Neither story would stand on its own (each only has about 45 minutes screen time to develop), but both are admirable, and the premise and the contrasts it brings are quite entertaining. The comedy is easily recognizable as classic Woody Allen, with Will Ferrell in the role Woody would normally fill and with such gusto you'd think SNL was just a paycheck while he secretly coveted this role for years. The drama side had quite an odd tone, at least for Woody. Something like a Merchant/Ivory picture like Le Divorce, but with Mamet-speak dialog. It should be noted that the whole affair is elegantly photographed by the great Vilmos Zsigmond, A.S.C. I loved it.

Yesterday Once More - Where Woody Allen toys with the Romantic Comedy genre, this film is in the thick of it. It's an odd thing that film language cuts so distinctly across the actual language barrier. In style, pace, and look, this film is instantly recognizable as belonging to its genre in every respect. It's a film that I would no doubt spurn if it starred, say, Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan, but gets a shot for being Chinese. In the respect of its novelty, it was quite enjoyable and entertaining, and had just enough unique Chinese flair and sensability to keep it interesting, despite the largely formulaic presentation. Plotwise it's about an on-again, off-again, pair of thieves, who perhaps resent their own continued attraction and take it out on each other in a series of well-done Spy vs. Spy episodes, sometimes directed at each other, and occasionally teaming up. Generally very well done, but with a perplexing, unbelievable, and out of place twist that made the end less than satisfying.

Finally, I'd like to point out the image, in which Woody Allen attempts to audition for the role of Castro in our upcoming Matter of Chance production. Sorry, Woody, we already have our man.


No More Sunsets

My how things change, even in a small town.

Last night Angie and I had some time to blow after dinner, so we headed to downtown Franklin and settled on hanging out in the library for a while. OK, so we were basically waiting to watch Lost, which isn't on until 9pm on the East Coast. Marco would have you believe that we should have eaten dinner after Lost, instead of before, that we had eaten way too early. Yet, again, we are Americans, and we act like old people. Anyway, I have diverged.

So, we had an hour and a half, so we got some books on Cuba (and I got a book on Esperanto), and we read. It was while looking around that we noticed that all of the bins had been reversed in the archived magazine section. Instead of the nice greens and blues walls of bins, the various colors of the magazines had been exposed. There are some cool shots in Tim Nm, CPA that involve the bins set up the old way. It hasn't been a year yet, but things change.

On top of that, Campus Laundry Express, the landromat made famous in Days of Being Wrinkle Free, has been spruced up and painted a shade of blue-green. It, too, is very different compared to the last time we were there.

All of this makes me wish I was home, working on editing these two fabled unfinished films.

I have also noticed in myself a growing fascination with laundromats. I am starting to see them everywhere, and even seek them out. Even if I am driving, I gaze at them longingly as I pass by. I have a feeling that Days of Being Wrinkle Free will not be the last film I make in a laundromat. For that matter, AGTC will by no means be the last film I make in a library. The New Times article was oddly prescient.

Perhaps there is a legend of laundromat films in the making, much like the legend of Brock H. Brown's crazy films: I'm Not Crazy, Outside In, The Subject, and whatever else is to come.


The Monster

Here's a new old short film from the archives. The Monster was made around 1992 from what I can tell. Maybe earlier than that. Jeremy plays the Mad Scientist, I play The Monster, and Carl is running the camera.


Eric Legend

I just had to share my favorite news story of the past week. You may have seen this already, but for those who haven't: there's a new legend in town!



I'm working up in Greeley, CO for a few days. Not much here to see and it smells like cattle, and fertilizer. I did find a nice little Mexican restaurant, El Pueblito, and had some flautas for lunch. Mui sabroso!



Hey, have you guys seen this site? Some well-written and interesting essays on screenwriting.


The Protagonist Is Dead

ST. GEORGE, ANDREW - Andrew St. George, journalist and photographer, died May 2, 2001. He was born Andras R. Szentgyorgyi in Budapest Hungary; he was 77. His photographs chronicling the Cuban Revolution, many first published in Life Magazine, won the Overseas Press Club and Sigma Delta Chi awards in 1958. His work also appeared in Esquire, Harper‘s, Look, the London Sunday Telegraph, among others, and on network television. He was the beloved husband of Jean St. George (nee Hoopes), loving father to Andrew H. and Tom Szentgyorgyi, father-in-law to Nancy Brickhouse and Angeline Szentgyorgyi and grandfather to Nicholas Szentgyorgyi. Funeral 8:00 pm Friday, Edwards-Dowdle Funeral Home, Dobbs Ferry. Visiting Friday 2-4 and 7-8 pm. Contributions to Central Westchester Humane Society or charity of one‘s choice. EDWARDS-DOWDLE FUNERAL HOME, INC. 64 Ashford Ave., Dobbs Ferry (914)693-3330



I'm on Jeremy's couch. Hootie-hoo!


Mobile Blogging

I'm wi-fying this one in from sunny Southern California.

This post is being authored from the i-mate JASJAR device that I picked up at the Microsoft Professional Developers Conference. They hooked up conference attendees for a cool $149. Already I've seen them going on eBay for almost $1100. I'm still trying to decide if I should keep it or not.

Check out the specs for this thing on this eBay listing.

I was hoping that I would somehow hook up with some Arizona people while I'm out here, but it's just not in the cards. Molly has been spending her time in Beverly Hills, visiting the stars' homes, horseback riding by the Hollywood sign, etc. I have been spending long days learning about Vista, WPF, WCF, WWF, WinFX, WS-*, SQL and the like. We're off to MA saturday morning.

That's all for now.


Three Films

I've caught three films on this trip. Quick summaries only.

I was at the Bellingham Regal Theater on opening night for Red Eye. I didn't expect much going in, but was pleasantly surprised. It was goofy in parts, but overall very enjoyable for a thriller. Wes Craven did an excellent job.

Next we saw Charlie at the IMAX in Natick. Wow, it was great on the big, big screen. I think when I originally saw it it must have been a DLP digital projection, because I remember some digital artifacts and generally flatness of the images. The 70mm print was superb.

Finally, I caught War of the Worlds last night at the soon-to-be-closed Cinema Zeotrope. I was truly shocked and disturbed by some of the images. I actually really liked the dynamic, handheld camerawork towards the beginning of the film, coupled with a complete lack of score, it was very gritty. However, the whole film seemed pieced together and disjointed. Later, Speilberg would revert to his classic camera angles, and it seemed out of place. I'm thinking especially of the shots (twice) through holes in vehicle windsheilds, and especially the alien POV looking down at Dakota. I just stood out as a very different perspective than we had seen thus far. Tim Robbins was horrible, and the cat-and-mouse with the probe gag got old real fast, only to be repeated immediately with the aliens directly. Overall, I enjoyed it and it was very devestating in parts.


Leonardo, Part III

If I knew one thing about our Screen Wars Drama submission, Leonardo, it was that lead actor and friend Marco Galli was a lock for Best Actor. Tonight, at the awards ceremony and mixer, this proved true... and much more.

Congrats to Marco for his award, to Angie for winning Best Actress (for looking stunning in a picture, I suppose), and to the whole cast, including Brock, Joe, Bonnie, Eddie, Luke, Larry, and Tim, for Best Ensemble Acting.

Finally, we won for Best Cinematography. I say we because the lighting work we did required a lot of help and equipment. So, if not for Gabe, Ken, and Brock also assisting in this area, this award would not be possible.

Big night for Matter of Chance, wish I was there!



I'm here in Massachusetts through Labor Day working on a project. The work is good. The bed is hard, and there is no air conditioning at Big Momma's House. That's typical for the Boston area. It's almost 90 degrees with about 70% humidity right now. On the news last night, they had a humidity meter that went from Low to Hot to Oppressive and we were squarely between Hot and Oppressive. Nice. Went to the book study and then the gym with Jeremy last night. Ran a couple miles, did a few stairs (I don't think I weigh enough to make the stair machine work properly). If I go back, I'm working my shoulders, see if it does any good for my chronic shoulder pain. Not sitting in front of a computer all day every day bloggin probably is a better long-term solution, just not possible right now.

Anyway, I'm not going to do a daily log this time out, since this is business, not necessarily pleasure. Though, we will do some fun things. Hopefully hit the Water Hazard mini golf and play some basketball this week.



This week, I finally got the final cut of AGTC done. The big hold up has always been the ominous overhead announcements I had envisioned throughout the film. I just couldn't get them written. Well, they are now complete, placed in the film, with all kinds of minor tweaks, and the cutting of one scene.

Coming soon, two seqeuls: AG2C and AGT3!

Leonardo, Part II

Well, it's true, Leonardo went down in flames, at least in the realm of Screen Wars. Dealt a crushing blow in the first round of the Drama competition. Really, quite disappointing, based on the effort that went in to this film. The audience vote is a tough one to figure out.

We'll just have to look forward to the jury awards for some recognition. Now that all nine films have aired, it is safe to say that Marco has a great chance to take the Best Actor award home.


Moon Me

It's been a fun day.

It all started with
Google Moon.

It moved along to Google Earth.

Best. Application. Ever.

You have to download and install it to your local computer but it's well worth it.

Then I realized that my dream of mapping and categorizing every basketball court in New England was now a real possibility.

Here's a sample of the Best. Court. Ever.

I know there's probably categories that I'm missing. But what? A category for how good the competition is at a given court? I feel some database programming coming on.

So far I have the following basketball courts documented and pinpointed:
  • Texas Instruments Gym

  • Fidelity Investments Williams Street Hoops

  • Fidelity Investments Puritan Way Hoops

  • Johnson School

  • Coolidge Field

  • Joshua J. Provost Memorial Gym

  • King Street Memorial Park


Test Your Film Skill-Level

OK, guys, time to test your film skill. Let's see it!


Arizona Citizen, Part V

Congratulations to Brock H. Brown who took home Best Director for Arizona Citizen. Was it ever in doubt?

Also winning awards, Evangeline Provost Best Actress as The Visitor in the film of the same name, and Joshua J. Provost Best Actor as The Teller in Bandito's Way, and Best Editing for Arizona Citizen.


Johnny B. Naked, Part II

Now the moment you've all been waiting for, the final cut of Johnny B. Naked. More of a hard drive housekeeping task than a creative impulse, really.



Matter of Chance, The Next Twelve Months

If I don't make a list, I'll never get anything done. With that in mind, here is a Matter of Chance to do list, with tasks for all of us, in no particular order.

1. Submit last years films to select film festivals
2. Finish Tim Nm, CPA
3. Finish The Subject
4. Finish TMINM music video (woods footage)
5. Finish TMINM documentary
6. I'm Not Crazy, Pantomiming, and Inside Out Director's Cuts
7. Release MoC DVD
8. Intenser Math (Screenplay, Gabe?)
9. Tim Nm 2 (already conceptualized)
10. Wildlifeless
11. Young Castro (starring Gabe)
12. Brothers/California story
13. Songwriter?
14. Update MoC web site

What else do we have?

Matter of Chance, The First Twelve Months

We commented about it before, but here is a visual retrospective of Matter of Chance Productions first twelve months of operations. We've got more crazy stories in a year than most would have in a decade.

Anyone have a still from Inside Out or a better picture from Pantomiming? Send me a link.

Leonardo, Part I

True, there have been a number of posts already about this film. However, this is the first one in a while and the first one since Gabe suggested we just simplify and call the thing Leonardo, in honor of the main character.

So, here it is, our latest film, this one produced for the Screen Wars Drama challenge. While filling out the submission form yesterday, I was forced to write a one-line blurb for the film. I wrote: "Roma, 1958. A professional killer receives his latest commission and is torn between duty and desire." Too dramatic? Too much of the obsession/love angle?

I think this film is significant in a couple of big ways and many smaller ones. First, it's a first big step in making films for ourselves, instead of making films for challenges. The challenge requires a three-minute film, but we went ahead and made the film at our pace and to our liking, and it ends up being about six minutes. We knew we could always cut it down to qualify for the challenge, but first and foremost we did it our way. So, I don't look at the long version as a Director's Cut, but just the real cut, and the short cut is the Screen Wars version.

Second, it was super ambitious in a number of small ways, but I think we pulled it off convincingly. I mean, c'mon, an Italian period piece shot in Phoenix!? Get real! Yet, we carefully selected our locations and took great care to minimize the modern influences that would betray the time period: the cafe scene on the Tucchetti patio, the car scenes with an actual 1950's Alfa Romeo, the apartment scene at the Hotel San Carlos, the grocery scene at Calabria, and the store room scene in Gabe's garage. There are a few straggling modern items in the shots (e.g., digital scale behind Eddie Davis in the grocery), but these will be cleaned up for the final cut.

We filled the locations with great props that evoked the place and time. The espresso cups, the weathered looking folder and envelope, the black and white photograph, the car(!), the old map of Rome, the holster, the dominos, and the old hats, to name a few. The issue of the Italian magazine Tempo from 1958 came just a few days too late, but would have been a great touch sitting on Leonardo's desk.

This film was also an experiment in cinematograpy for us. Prior to the film, I did some actual research on cinematography techniques, made notes, and then executed on them. Visually, the film was inspired by Gordon Willis' work on the Godfather trilogy. I got some help from some real cinematographers in figuring out just what that style really entailed. In a nutshell: underexpose 1 1/2 stops and push back a single stop in post, medium to long focal lengths, don't be afraid to leave things in shadows, high camera positions.

With the help of Ken Beals and the extra lights he was able to bring along, we were able to light all of the scenes really well, and stop down to where we needed to be. So, we were shooting dark scenes that weren't really dark on the set, so we got darkness without the noise or less of detail. We had 3-4K of wattage on nearly every shot.

Another thing I tried was using daylight white balance with tungsten light fixtures. This was something I read that Vitorio Storarro used in a number of films, to simulate a golden sunset glow. This worked, but we just didn't have the wattage to make it work as much as I would have liked (we could have used a 10K fixture if we had one), but I fixed it up in post to get the look I was going for.

Now, I would be remiss if I failed to mention the acting. I didn't know what to expect of Marco as a lead actor prior to the filming. Heck, I didn't even know if he was into this, or would stick it out with us through all the long shoots in different locations over a number of days. Not only did he stick it out, but he was terrific. In a film whose story is mainly told through voiceover, he was doing some great and unexpected physical acting that really captured the thought processes as expressed in the screenplay. On a number of occassions, he had Brock and I looking at each other during takes with what can only be described as absolute delight over what we were seeing. In the end, he was explaining the characters motivations to us more eloquently than we could explain it to him. Of course, Brock was responsible for coaching Marco, and whatever he was telling Marco obviously worked.

The film has a really unique pace and feel to it. Very European and simple, observational of the characters and their lives. To give you an idea, I was able to cut the film in half for the short cut without removing a single story element. Nearly all of the original shots are there (I think I cut out a grand total of three shots), just cut shorter.

Thanks to Gabe for his hard work, Ken for his hard work and truckload of gear, Angie for the makeup and support, and Marco, Joe, Bonnie, Luke, Larry, and Tim for playing their roles. THe cooperation from people outside of the Matter of Chance family, including Scott and John from Tucchetti, Maria, Carlo, and Eddie from Calabria, Bill and Terry from the Alfa Romeo Owner's Club was outstanding! We can't thank them enough.

Arizona Citizen, Part IV

Arizona Citizen advanced to the final round of Screen Wars Western, and the voting is now closed. It's in the books! Nothing we can do now to improve it's chances of winning. Brock's interview, though delivered brilliantly, was edited in a way to suck the life and character out of him, making him seem almost normal. That is a shame. Perhaps if the film wins big, they'll dig up some of his great quotes for a longer interview.

As of right now, I am very much prepared for Bad Whiskey to win it all. It was a very impressive film, and it won in a landslide in week one, blowing away our other submissions. I guess I could pick nits and point out a few flaws and make ourselves feel better, but it did so many things so very well, it's not worth it. I'll admit it, I did the noble thing and voted for it in week one. I like it a lot. If we lose to it, I can live with that.

On the other hand, Arizona Citizen is very much a simple, understated idea, charming in it's own right, but not something that people will catch on to, most likely. I'm very proud of it, and very glad we didn't just pack it in and go home, but stuck it out to make this film in under a half an hour. Here's to winning some awards!



Get ready for The Moon Is No More - West. Last night the lineup was Brock H. Brown on drums (Wait, what's his name when he's playing music?), Evangeline Provost on bass, and myself on guitar. Most of the 12 Brothers songs were practiced. This private session was not recorded. Sorry, folks.


Anti-"And" "But" Domination

Just in case you think that my mind has wandered away from 12 Brothers: I just figured out how to fix a controversial line in Business. Here's what I had posted so long ago:

our father used to say
"the customer's right always
so stay open late
and make sure you get paid"

Joshua saw an issue with painting the father in a somewhat negative light by adding the "and make sure you get paid" part. Almost like it made him too greedy. Personally, that wasn't an issue for me. The man runs a business; of course he wants to get paid. Regardless, the father has both positives and negatives to him, just like any normal person.

Despite the lack of resonance with Joshua's argument, however, this line still bothered. Finally, while driving along and listening to the Business demo on my iPod, I realized what the problem is. The word "and." It doesn't work. The "serving of the customer" and the "get your money" pieces don't tie together neatly with an "and." I have the solution!

What it needs is a big "but." That's right. While you should do everything you can to make your customer happy, in the end it all comes down to the dollar. I know this paints the father in an even more unfavorable light, but I'm OK with that. By simply switching an "and" with a "but" great weight is added to this verse. Thus:

our father used to say
"the customer's right always
so stay open late
but make sure you get paid"

And Joshua did just so.


Shipping Yesterday

I received the above image from Carl yesterday. Carl will deliver the goods on Sunday evening at Gregg and Cindy's BBQ. Can't wait!


I Kill You Now

Il Diritto Uomo - Coming Soon


Watch 2046 Now!

You think I'm kidding? Wrong! Follow me.

I have to give the credit to Carl. He's the one who found this. He told me that he queued it up but I'm not sure if he's received it yet.


Lost In Translation

Jeremy, I know you will appreicate this. Here's a little tool to give your next screenplay a good working over.

Hey, there's more. I finally found a translator that includes pinyin, the English phonetic spellings of Chinese words. It won't translate whole phrases, but you can do things one word at a time.

Have you seen the trailer for 2046? Wow, what a trip. It's WKW, with hints of 2001 and AI. I have to see this movie!

Bella Donna

We have our "photo girl."


La Drogheria

Work on The Italian Film has continued, primarily scouting locations and looking for props. Tuccheti has agreed to allow us the use of the patio for the cafe scene. Last weekend, I got in touch with the President of the Alfa Romeo Owner's Club, and it seems we will have access to a classic Italian automobile. Wednesday, I toured the Hotel San Carlos and selected a room that will serve as Leonardo's apartment. All very good.

Thusrday, Friday, and today, we visited nearly every Italian grocery (drogheria) and deli in the Phoenix area. There were some good ones and some that were too modern. Here are some pictures of the better locations.

New Jersey Italian Grocery & Deli
Cave Creek Rd, Phoenix

The New Jersey had just closed when we arrived, so these pictures were taken through the front door. It doesn't look overly modern, except for the crazy Italian t-shirts hanging on the grocery racks. Brock liked the pass-through window looking into the kitchen. The path from the front door to the back door is fairly short and straight, but we could fake the door off to the far left and have Leonardo walk across from left to right and behind the counter to the back door.

DeFalco's Italian Grocery
Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale

We visited DeFalco's Friday and had a bite to eat for lunch (prosciuto sandwich). This store is more cramped, with lots of racks packed with fine groceries. The metal racks are a bit modern looking, but there were some great possibilities for through-the-rack shots, which would have looked cool. Plus, they have had film students working there in the past, and one of the Manager's produced a film, with quite a few films having been shot here.

Calabria Italian Grocery & Deli
3rd Ave & Roosevelt, Phoenix

We almost didn't visit Calabria. We couldn't find it the first time through. We went back today, on the way for a second visit to DeFalco's. Well, we never made it to DeFalco's. Armed with better directions, we found it today. We grabbed some canolis and talked to the Manager/Owner Maria, who is game to help us out. The shop is small and simple, but has nice rich colors on the walls, with neat racks of groceries to one side and a stocked deli case on the other. There is a long hallway between the two. This should work out very well for the scene we need to shoot.

Any thoughts on the locations?

Hey, bonus photos...