We continued our shoot of Brad Warner: The Enlightenizer this past weekend in New York City. It was a really pleasant shoot. We talked about snake oil charmer spiritual salesmen, artistry and Zen, and favorite places to get french fries.
Our second day of shooting took place in Washington Square Park. Well, at least it started there. I wanted a backdrop of the city and Washington Square has always been one of my favorite places to sit alone when I've visited. I also like the "Arch de Triumphe" action. For me, the "Arch" immediately lets me know I'm in the city and that McDonald's golden arches would be much cooler if they looked like this.
Mark Parsia was our producer and camera operator this time around. We used a Panasonic HVX200 and a couple Senheiser wireless lavaliers. The set-up was simple and easy. No lights were used since we were shooting outside. And, aside from lugging the equipment around the city and how cold it was, everything moved along effortlessly.
Grace Jung came out to help on both days. She even guested as an interviewer and drove Brad and I around as we listened to her John Lennon box set. That was a nice way to spend an afternoon. She only almost crashed twice.
Lancelot Bourne was visiting from South Korea for an art gallery show he had created. He called me the night before to see if he could come and help out. He needed some rest time between takes, but, of course, he was a rock star and made a very early morning shoot after being up all night on a flight.
On the second day, we walked around the city. It was bitter cold. We took a break at midday and went to a diner. Brad found this sign interesting.
"The 134 is painted," he said.
I like these kinds of signs, so I figured I'd take a picture. Maybe it could be a painting in the future.
We went to the East Village on the last day to mimic the Bob Dylan record on Jones Street. I took a pic. I don't know if I got the angle right. Hopefully, Finn took a better picture.
Hmmm...I would say the documentary is turning out really good. We shoot in Akron in a month. I'm excited to rock it.
(The picture above is the new thinking man - Sohee in drag!)
We are weeks away from a final cut of the film. We have submitted works in progress to several film festivals already, including Sundance, Slamdance, and Ashland Film Festival. We will be submitting to dozens of other festivals in the coming months.
A theatrical trailer and updated Sangha Films website with relevant content will be up by the end of December. We will have two premieres for the film in Ohio and NYC in March/April. We will have exact dates as the months come closer.
BRAD WARNER: THE ENLIGHTENIZER
Things went well for our shoots for our documentary on Zen Buddhist teacher Brad Warner. We will shoot later this month in NYC. Then we'll try and do an Akron shoot in January. (Anyone want to help in Akron for the shoot?)
LATEST - Brad and I are working on 4-6 faux commercials for "Enlightenizer!" that will appear periodically throughout the documentary. We will potentially film the brunt of this in LA, but film Brad's segments as the over-the-top spiritual teacher (Gumbo Roshi style) in NYC to save on costs. Of course, we are still probably two months away from shooting the commercials. Still, we may be able to finish shooting for the doc by February.
FUTURE SHOOTS for BW:
LA - shooting B-roll of Hollywood Blvd with Josh - Nov. 30th - 9am
NYC - walk & talk; interview with Moby - Dec 17-20, 2010.
Akron, OH - Zero Defex Show and walk & talk near childhood home - TBA???
We are all done with the Hollywood shoot with Brad Warner. Last night we filmed at the Bodhi Tree Bookstore on Melrose. We got some interesting interviews and discussions about sin and Buddhism. Then we went to a taping of the Suicide Girls Radio Show. Brad, Sam, and Nicole talked about Tibetan Buddhism, sin, and Tommy Lee.
We will shoot again at the end of December or beginning of January in New York City and Akron, Ohio. Then we'll have a documentary on our hands. I'll give you more details once I figure out specific dates. Who knows? Maybe you could come help us film, or volunteer to donate to the adventure. I'll be giving more details in the coming weeks.
I wonder what Matt Lauer's intention was when he put Kanye under the coals for his past outbursts on live television. Did he think he would get more ratings? That President Bush and America would congratulate him for it? Was it a bad taco the night before? A personal vendetta?
It just seems strange to me.
I wouldn't have made it so difficult for Kanye. I would have made it easier for him to talk.
I think Kanye picked the wrong venue. It would have been better to go on Oprah.
It just may have been better to not do a public interview at all.
(Brad Warner & Nina Hartley on Documentary Shoot, 2010)
The documentary is going well. Brad is a real nice person. Some people have said working with a Zen master would be hard, but it's been really refreshing. I've enjoyed interviewing him on Hollywood Boulevard, and listening to him and Nina Hartley talk about Buddhism and sex.
On Sunday, we'll be filming at Bodhi Tree Bookstore on Melrose. Then we'll head out and film a radio show about sex with the Suicide Girls.
I told Brad tonight that this documentary is filled with sex.
"Yeah," Brad said.
"We're going to have to have you talk about your past a bit."
"I can do that," Brad said.
We're going to shoot another day in Hollywood. Then we'll shoot some more stuff in Manhattan and Akron. We're hoping that we can make the documentary fresh and different. There's talk of some animation, SKYPE chats, and visiting a clothing store for women where CBGB's used to be.
The last few weeks have definitely been busy. I am now working four jobs. It's not that bad because all of them are part time, so they equal out to me working one full time job. At least that's the way Sogee puts it.
"You are working a 9 to 5 basically," she says.
I appreciate her putting things in perspective. I would rather be working the one job though. Of course, I know that's not possible. I have to work this way to create the right amount of freedom for making and finishing the films on the horizon.
As it stands now, THE HUMAN WAR will be completed within the month. We are literally weeks away from submitting the film to get color correction and sound mastering completed. Once we get those final elements, we will be able to concentrate more fully on what festivals we'll be submitting to in the next couple months, and how we can potentially create some premieres in Ohio, NYC, and Los Angeles.
The other day when I was watching a cut with Tom, I felt overwhelmed about bringing this film into being. I think I might have even cried a little if I let myself go there.
"Looks good," I said to Tom.
"What?" Tom asked.
"The movie is looking good."
"Yeah, it's getting there."
I kept talking after that and making myself a little more overwhelmed. Then my mind wandered to the next movies on the horizon. I will be shooting footage for a documentary about Brad Warner in November and January. This will be my first time making a documentary. I am fairly nervous and not really nervous at the same time. I guess it's the rush before going to film that I'm feeling. I never know how these things will turn out. Sometimes it goes nice and easy. At other times, it can be really hectic.
I am hoping for nice and easy. I am also hoping that the progression to see SHOPLIFTING FROM AMERICAN APPAREL the movie come into being is the same way. As it stands now, I've finished the screenplay and I'm now starting to form the LLC and get investments going. I am hoping to raise between 40-50k. That would see me through filming and post-production.
We'll see if I can raise the funds for a summer shoot. In all honesty, it may take longer to raise all the money. I've got a deadline though. March 20, 2011. If I don't raise at least 25k by then, then I'll postpone filming until the winter. I'm hoping to get it all squared away now though. I think it's possible. I have friends and family. I have a good script. I will also have a couple TV stars in this film. It just might all work out. Who knows? Time will tell.
On a completely different front, I'm going to be even busier in the next couple weeks making my PhD submissions to University of Denver and USC. I will only be applying to two schools this year. Sogee is still in grad school at CalState, so that limits my mobility. I also don't have an interest in too many other schools because they simply don't have a digital media studies program that leans on creation rather than scholarship exclusively.
It looks like Denver may be able to accommodate a joint venture between the English and Media Studies program. In contrast, USC already has a media studies program that is right in line with my goals.
As most of you know, I have been interested in combining comics, film, animation, and text into panels that would be made available as interactive web-based content or in an e-book format. By doing either of these programs, I would be able to continue to pursue my interests in technology, media, and writing. It seems like the right move forward because I'm more interested in exploring the effects of media along with the actual knowledge and creation of artistic projects simultaneously. This mode forward also allows me to continue to make films, music, artwork, and write. We'll see if I am successful with my application. I have not had much like with PhD programs in the past, but maybe USC and Denver will open their doors.
Sohee and I have spent the day walking on the Promenade. We didn't expect to wait 7 hours for the car to be ready. I looked for Elijah Wood. I couldn't find him. Sohee counted the steps she walked with her mathematical brain. 12,746.
I saw Interpol with my brother the other night. I had not ever listened to the band. They had some great bass lines. I really liked the rhythm section. I didn't think much of the sparse, delay-soaked guitars. The vocals were also poor. The lead singer's range was two notes and his delivery was dependent on the bpm of the track. The lack of variety and fairly muted performance - other than the guitar player hopping on one leg occasionally in his best imitation of James Brown on acid and Mike Tyson swaying before a knock down - would make a person think that the band was absolutely horrid; however, the salvaging point for the group is the consistency in fashion and musical aesthetic that go together nicely and help forge a certain attitude, rather than a definite sense of musicianship (most songs were made of tasty bass lines with two textured guitars repeating similar chord structures from one song to the next). The consistency and aesthetic being sold was definitely admirable from a marketing perspective; it also creates a strong urge for me as an audience member to suddenly wear a tie and pull-over cardigan (not really, but you get the point). I would call this group a fashion designer's band. They will be a band that holds sonic dependency for people who listened to them at a certain age, and thus, need to return to those emotional pathways in the brain in later years when their early 20's are long gone. I suppose that's why it was no wonder that Chloe Sevigny was in line to get tickets in front of us.
"They're going to steal your identity," she told my brother when he hesitated to sign for his tickets.
Later, as we were walking into the Greek Theater, my brother told us more about the exchange.
"She seemed cool. Fairly down to earth. She talked to me, right?"
"Sounds like she was hitting on you," I said.
"Maybe she was."
I looked at her legs as she walked by us. She had nice legs. I would put her in a movie for those legs. I also like her in BIG LOVE. I think she's a talented actress and I like her choices.
"I like her fashion sense," Sogee told me later.
A Will I. Am song was playing in the car as we were driving to Garden Grove the next morning after the concert.
"Did you hear that Will I. Am is producing the Korean pop group, 21?"
"Okay," I said.
"He said that he likes Korea because it's exotic. You go to Europe and it's the same alphabet. You go to Korea and you can't read anything."
"That's the stupidest thing I've ever heard. He must be retarded."
"I'm just telling you what he said."
"I'm not putting you down or Will I. Am. I like some of his songs. I just don't want to hear him talk about anything. That just seems stupid."
"Yeah, I know. That's what I was saying too."
"I guess we speak the same exotic language."
I have no interest in hearing about how stars view the world. I just want to watch or hear what they do. End of story. I also have no interest in meeting movie or television stars except for Haley Joel Osment and Elijah Wood. I want to see if they'd be interested in doing some acting for SHOPLIFTING... It'd be better to talk to them in person about doing the movie rather than going through an agent. I'll take a walk around Venice Beach. I heard Elijah Wood lives in the area. Maybe I'll run into him. We can talk about Frodo. Maybe we can shoplift...
I told Jim I didn't have time to do a cover last night, but I couldn't help myself. I kept messing with the image for three hours. Messing with the fonts was the most fun. I hope this is something Jim's publishers will consider. I think it's hot shit.
I am almost done writing Shoplifting. At least a rough draft of it. I really like it. I read some of it to Grace and Ken. They didn't seem to really like it. Or maybe they liked it, but couldn't seem to make out what was going on. It's definitely a different kind of movie. We'll see what happens as a finish. Only a couple more days.
This is a YouTube movie Ken sent me. It's of a girl getting a beat down in Korea. I can't understand what anyone is saying. If you know someone who is Korean ask them to translate. If not, pretend this is what they say:
"Give me your seat!"
"I'll teach you a lesson then!"
I don't know what to make of the suicide or what you would call this next video. Please don't watch if you get easily squeamish.
Michael helped with the filming of this video. It was shot in HD on a Flip cam my brother got me for my birthday. I filmed some other stuff on another camera. That camera didn't shake too much. This one shakes at times, but I like the video quality better.
Tao and I talked about the SHOPLIFTING FROM AMERICAN APPARELL MOVIE before the reading. He sounded excited about the concept for how we would do it. He also handed me a mini-keg of Heineken and walked in circles in a supermarket while I followed him and talked about it. Then we went to dinner after the reading and I chatted with Sandy and another of Tao's friends.
I also got to meet Ken Baumann for the first time. He was a nice person. I hope we can hang in the coming weeks. I'd love to have him act in SHOPLIFTING.
I WILL BE POSTING A PAGE A DAY OF SOME EXPERIMENTS I'VE WRITTEN IN THE FUTURE.
Janet thought that she would have gotten up by now.
She was still sitting on the ugly brown couch with her cell phone in her lap. Her tube-socked legs were crossed and propped on the ash-blonde coffee table. They were shaking slightly to an internal rhythm of Nirvana’s “Scentless Apprentice,” which was on a perpetual loop in her mind whenever she contemplated what to do with her life, or if she would ever get a job worth doing if she ever found out what she was good at in the first place.
“Chocolate,” she thought. "I like chocolate."
The dishes from yesterday were still in the sink. The remaining blotches of brown and black from the German chocolate cake she had served for dessert from Bing’s was now partially dried out and moderately wet in the two inches of water that had been poured on the top plates but not any of the others. Cleaning the dishes could have potentially been an excuse to show her overly nosy mother and herself that she was good at something besides the absolute uselessness she currently felt about another uneventful day searching Internet sites for a job making more than $12.16 an hour.
Phil had been with Janet since the first divorce was finalized. He hadn’t been a permanent fixture in the house, until recently when his roommates had banded together real-world-style to confront him about several lively parties and an improper use of the vegan-only-fridge. “WTF?” was the only response that Phil had offered to his roommates via text during the intervention. Then he grabbed some clothes and headed out. He didn’t even bother to pack the rest of his things. He called a moving service the next day and moved in with Janet.
It was now Tuesday. It had been six weeks since his self-administered banishment. He was half-dressed on the bed with the comforter pulled underneath him and the remote control cradled between both his hands as he watched the evening news.
“Stocks in Blockbuster have plummeted after executives announced a closing of all 300 retail stores later this month. Moving out of physical DVD sales, it is Blockbuster’s hope to bring its competitive edge to the market of video on demand..."
Phil had been in the bedroom during the whole conversation. Had he heard Janet’s gasps he might have gone out to see what had happened. He was not as insensitive a person as his vegan roommates had made him out to be.
"You've got some good qualities," Antonio had said flirtatiously.
"Yes, some," Gary agreed, nodding towards Phil's crotch. "But your love for Philly cheese steaks and Korean BBQ doesn’t give you free reign to pollute the refrigerator with the death of animals."
"That's true," Antonio said. "We agreed before you moved in that we would put meat products in a separate fridge. We didn't say we'd mix. That's not okay."
"We definitely didn't say mixing was okay," Gary said.
Gary and Antonio had given Phil an intervention and a lecture about animal products. Phil's response aside from the text was only slightly obscene. He didn't consider it insensitive.
"Kicking a guy out of an apartment for eating a cheese steak and throwing a party that's insensitive."
What do you call throwing tobacco spit on their cars?" Janet had asked.
Last week, Phil had saved the swill from his first experiment chewing tobacco for a neighborly gesture and poured out the contents of the blackish grit onto the front windshields of his ex-roommates’ cars.
"Do unto others," Phil said.
Janet had found Phil’s act to be childish. She had challenged him to go back and clean it up or move out after he told her about the whole affair, but she chickened out when Phil actually began to pack his bags.
"What are you doing?"
"Are you serious?"
"Just because I don't agree with you throwing spit on people's cars?"
Janet wanted to tell him about the phone call. She thought about how she would bring it up. She could write a note and bring it to him with breakfast. She could smack him in the face and scream at him. She could even let him threaten to leave again. Those were all possibilities. But somehow it was easier to envision herself doing house chores and tabulating the big life questions she had yet to accomplish because the ugly brown couch and talking to her mother had sucked her into a time warp of nothingness yet again.
I WILL BE POSTING A PAGE A DAY OF SOME EXPERIMENTS I'VE WRITTEN IN THE FUTURE.
Samir looked down at his Blackberry. 10:31 p.m. His cousin and wife were supposed to meet at 10:00 p.m. They were officially beyond being fashionably late. He had warned Rohit that if he were late for his birthday, he would officially fire him from existence. “What does that mean?” Rohit asked. “It means be on time.” Samir enjoyed humor that was often times preposterous. He would join completely disparate elements together in adsurdist impromptu off-key torch songs, or better yet, respond to someone’s quizzical stare with his favorite catch phrase to disguise his humor’s ineffectual punch lines with a rather loud and knowing shout of “It’s cubism!” “On time for what?” Rohit asked. “My birthday, asshole.” “I have to pick up Lotti. Then we’ll be there.” Samir was now texting on his Blackberry. He had finished the “are” in “Where are you?” when Rohit and Lotti arrived behind him. “Haaappy Birthday, Saaamiir!” Rohit cooed in an overly sentimental way. “Fuck you.” “Samir!” Lotti said with a frown of dissatisfaction. “We got stuck in traffic for godasakes.” “You could have texted,” Samir said and held up his phone above his head. “I was driving,” Rohit said, and narrowed his eyes at the phone in his cousin’s hand. “I cant’ text and drive.” “Why can’t you–” “I told him not to,” Lotti said, and pulled her husband away from Rohit towards the front of the line at the club. They walked a few steps before one of the bouncers with a black Kangol hat, stopped them by putting his hand up. The bouncer put his other hand to his ear. He tilted his head down to whisper into a microphone in his collar. He looked back up at Samir and Lotti. He then motioned to the two of them to come forward. “ID,” the bouncer said. Samir and Lotti pulled out their ID’s. They were frisked by another bouncer and then lead into the club, where another bouncer took a ticket, and then another bouncer stood a few feet in the club and said, “Have a goodnight.” All the bouncers were dressed in black and over 220 pounds. “It’s like a military base,” Lotti joked. “Yeah,” Samir said, and looked at yet another bouncer within the club.
I promised a version of "Tootsie Pop" by The Slipshod Swingers. Here is a rough version. Panauh made me re-record the guitar and vocals yesterday. He says we need to listen to it for a week and then come back to it. That means he's going to listen to it for a week. I know how I like things. I like having UFO sounds and kids screaming, but Panauh says things like "I can't sell this thing with morse code at the beginning. It's too cheesy." This is a case where you have a person with an absolutely different creative vision than yourself. In collaboration, sometimes it's better to concede than to start arguing. I am also aware that "selling this" is not the top priority on my to do list. Like Cush from JERRY MAGUIRE, "I just want to play [music]."
I have started work on the new Slipshod Swingers album. The first song is being edited now. It's called "Tootsie Pop." I think it sounds okay so far. It might get better with age.
I will put up a version tomorrow.
Working on this album has been okay so far. Panauh is producing. I just write the songs and he tells me to keep playing or stop or try it again or says things like, "Yo! That was pitchy!" and that makes me feel like I'm on American Idol, so I'm cool with that.
This coming Sunday I'm supposed to do something with this song I wrote a couple months ago. Panauh said he liked only one portion of the song and I'm supposed to write a song with only that portion. I liked the whole thing, but you can't argue with Panauh. He's too cute.
The song we work on next week is called "Shanghai Cowboy." Here is the rough draft. Panauh likes from 2:33 onwards.
I WILL BE POSTING A PAGE A DAY OF SOME EXPERIMENTS I'VE WRITTEN IN THE FUTURE.
Some people can write without thinking about it. Other people need to stare a long time at a blank canvas. I have to make it a performance. I imagine a stage. My words appear on a screen.
I can see imaginary friends in the audience I talked to when I envisioned myself as a winter fly dead in a cupboard of a Jack Kerouac haiku. Old chums with tacky names like Gupta, Sven, and Roger. That is one possibility.
If science fiction that dealt with robots and time machines was doing better these days, I would probably invite a man named Gupven (photosynthesis) who had a robotic brain to come and discuss the finer points of quarks and other pseudo scientific topics without any firm basis in theoretical physics because I have no background in science and I’m too lazy to find out the inner workings of Stephen or Gupven or whatever’s digital mainframe.
Without getting too meta on the data, or dodo on the DADA, or dido on the doo-doo, let me say that while I stood on this stage of the mind, I motioned to a young maiden who compelled me to speak to her from a shared perception of the world as a constant distribution scale dictating how much any variable or human being might desire or want me and how my life depended on this approval or attention because of my insecurity and jaded hipster or post Generation X lifestyle.
The devastating truth of the matter is that my conversation with this woman I often envisioned as being on a stage in my mind was not actually a figment of my imagination, but a real live American housewife of 36-7 years old with a love for Lindsay Lohan, and a slight distrust in me as a narrator, since I would be telling our story – and notice I say our – when, in fact, I am not the narrator of the story, but a character who is speaking through the narrator in a very confusing manner.
To bring this horrendous opening to a close and offer the first segue into a reality readers can accept, let me offer a few specific details to help ground us in the X, Y, and Z of our American housewife and the main character of our story.
My name is Glen. I am a script doctor for Hollywood movies. I don’t live in the past or the present. That means it could be the future by now, but how am I supposed to know when you’re reading this, or if you’re in some movie theater, and some jack-off hack of a writer has decided to use voice over done by some droning asshole with a voice like Christian Slater, and you’ve got me getting to the punch-line and I say something stupid like “Greeting and salutations” in that bad cop movie he did. Jesus, that was a bad movie. Anyway, I’m Glen. This isn’t some crazy story or anything. It’s just some bullshit that happened when I got my heart broken by an American housewife. It’s reality, you know? Every once in a while I’ll try and make things more interesting and get you all confused with some fancy footwork about how I’m not me and you’re not you and blah, blah, blah, and who is Glen, and who is Veronica really, and we’ll all feel a little bit smarter or more confused based on how smart or confused we already are. So, Veronica...
I am really happy with the stupidity of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. If he continues this hard line approach, and the U.S. and other countries continue to bring sanctions against Iran, the country's government will crumble internally.
Will President Obama be pressured to respond angrily to Ahmadinejad's rhetoric, and therefore make the Iranian President a martyr, or will he be smart and continue to pressure the country with kindness, justice, and sanctions?
The Iranian government is due for a huge unravelling in these next few months. It will either be catalyzed by more sanctions and lead to the removal of Ahmadinejad, or the United States will have to take a more extreme approach and encourage other countries to boycott Iran. The latter is more likely before the country implodes.
Tough negotiation on the world stage! I hope President Obama continues to make wise choices on how to handle this delicate situation and it does not lead to war.
We just finished a 24-hour session - well, more like three-week marathon and a 24-hour session - to get our still work-in-progress film of THE HUMAN WAR passable for a Sundance and Slamdance submission.
Tom and I were chatting on SKYPE and iChat until about 4 a.m. my time. I am not sure what happened after that. I remember putting together a rough press kit and dragging the Adobe Illustrator file to an e-mail. The rest is a bit of a mystery.
I am now here on my living room floor. It is 6:41 a.m.. I feel a sense of elation. I am excited to see what will come of the final edits (including a new ending!) in the coming month as we prepare to go to color correction and an audio mix - the final stages for a feature film.
At this point, I would like to give a special shout out to Gabriel Cassia, our Editor, who sat with me for 11 hours straight yesterday, and did the same a day before with Tom. We truly appreciate your hard work, willingness to sing songs with your three-word Persian vocabulary (in an Italian accent), and bring such a strong ending ("Goodbye Mickey Mouse!") and moody pacing to a film that would only come from such a unique and talented human being.
I would also like to thank Daniel Brothers, our Post Production Supervisor, who not only helped edit when we had no editor, and then helped again while Gabriel was working Fashion Week, but also for all the hard work downloading the huge files, setting up an FTP site and all the other 1,001 roles besides his own during the pre-production, production, and post-production of this film. (Tom only told me how fantastic you were before I met you two years ago. Now as our work on this first feature is coming to a close, I can truly say I am glad to see the brilliance Tom spoke of, and bear witness as you embark on your first feature.) Thank you for your hard work, generosity, and creative spirit.
Another expression of gratitude goes out to Sonny Mishra, our Composer, who was willing to put up with Tom and I as we jumped back and forth between different song choices. You were able to point us towards a possibility, and guide us gently. That gift, along with all the amazing material you have given this film, has made working with you a true joy. Thank you for the encouragement, patience, and hard work. We look forward to the sonic palette you will create on the next film.
It is a little early for Tom and I to thank everyone in the world. We still have a couple months to go before we're officially done. In two months time, we anticipate a unique film that will reflect the wit, terror, melancholy, and bewilderment at play on the day of March 20, 2003 when the Iraq War was declared and Noah Cicero's fantastic novella began. We are under no illusions about the competitive nature of the film festival circuit, and we understand that chances our slim to major festivals, but we are both happy to have had this opportunity to work with so many talented people, succeed and fail at bringing our visions forward, and watch as our ideas become reality.
Now I will try and sleep a bit. Who knows? I might just watch the 20th version of our movie
I have been trying to come up with a new way to view literature, film, and comics. I just need to learn how to insert videos into something like this. I think that would be the new way books could possibly proceed.
We are still editing the movie for Sundance. We are at it everyday.
After next week, I'll probably have to get another job. I also need to start raising money for SHOPLIFTING FROM AMERICAN APPAREL, the movie. I guess I need to write the adaptation first.
Sogee is in school.
I got hemmoroids. Supposedly it happens from sitting too much. I have been sitting a lot. Now I am trying to battle it with leafy vegetables and lots of water and fiber. I feel almost a 1,000 years old, but not quite.
Aside from anal pain, I feel fine. I am reading Charles Yu's books. I'll start interviewing him next week. I think that'll be fun. He's an amazing writer with a lot of humor in his work. It reminds me of the past and the future simultaneously.
Nothing. I am alive. I would put pictures of my trip to NYC and hanging out with people, but I didn't take a single picture. I thought about it, but then I was like, "What's the point?"
I think I need a camera that excites me a little more than the point and click digital thing I have. You don't really have that many options.
I did get a digital tablet though. I thought I could do comics or drawings on it. It's really hard to use. I will draw a comic now though. I will post it with this message. It'll probably suck though. Drawing on paper and a tablet are two different things.
Arranging a fake radio show for THE HUMAN WAR. Anyone want to be a fake radio caller to the program and give your opinion on the impending war on March 23, 2003. You'd have to be time sensitive. Just email me at piroozkalayeh[at]gmail.com.
(James Roehl walks across deserted street in Manhattan)
Some people have been asking for an update, so here's the nitty-gritty. As it stands now, we're rushing to finish a final edit for Sundance submissions in September. If luck will have it, we'll be premiering at the festival this January. Keep your fingers crossed!
In other news, we're hard at work finalizing a final movie poster with comic book artist Jeffrey Brown. Once we have a final version, I'll be sure to give you the first sneak peak.
Here are some pics from this summer's theater class. We had a good time practicing acting with Paula Wilson, learning a bit about screenplays from Jaeho Lee, taking speech lessons from Kenneth Drennen, and learning the inspirations behind being a director of photography from Tommy Upshaw.
I started off the class bold and brave. Thinking about illustrating the importance of voice, I pretended to be Robot 7.632, as I typed verses from my mainframe. Then the class was encouraged to write their own robot narratives.
Many of the more timid in class expressed their dismay at having to perform so soon.
"You want me to do it in front of the class?" a student asked innocently.
"Yes," I said diabolically.
As classes went by during the summer, students got more and more brave with each other, making critiques, and putting themselves into performances and writing exercises.
By the time we got to the end of the course, students were performing their own scenes from Julia Cho's BFE (see above).
The performances were so good that I think I'll have students start scene studies earlier, and drop the Shakespeare study. If we had more time, then maybe we could talk more about William, but, for now, I think it's time to say goodbye.
I really liked watching the students problem solve. That is the basis of creativity. In one performance, students had filmed performances, and then presented the piece as a retrospective from the guise of a talk show (see above). In another, students used flashlights, fake mustaches, and backdrops in the room to help transform a classroom into a convenient store. Both were solid pieces and showed who the true stars of the course were - aside from our celebrity guests - the students. Regardless of the exercise, or fear of performing, they were willing to offer their best everyday. I found that particularly impressive, especially when a majority of students were biology majors, and more interested in earning "credit" initially (as was confided to me).
"What inspired you to take this course?" I asked one medical student.
"Honestly, it was for credit."
"Yes," he laughed, and then quickly added: "But I like it now."
The class responded with more laughter.
"F for you," I said with a smile.
I'm glad students who were less inclined to perform found an avenue towards performance. I'm also happy the class got so close. On the last day of class, as I left the classroom, I could sense that the class was still going. No one was leaving. I got a few waves. Some nice smiles.
"Uh, professor," one student said. "I'm going to stick around and chat with everyone."
"Sure," I said.
"That's okay, right?"
A bunch of students were sitting on desks reviewing the performances they had just completed. A few others were standing in semi-circles off to the side in open space, practicing some acting exercises Paula Wilson had shown them earlier in the semester. The class had become self-sufficient. That's when it hit me. The class will continue without me.
That's what theater is all about, right?
I'm in Long Beach now. Tomorrow I go to L.A. to visit Stacy Dacheux and talk about art. Then I'm off to New York to finish editing the film and hang with friends. It's nice to have so much to do with buddies here in the states, but I can't help but miss all the amazing students who became my friends in Seoul.
Just a short while ago in Korea, I had the pleasure of eating Korean BBQ with our friends from Sweden and China. As is typical of a visit to Korea, we showed folks how to roll up pork and beef in lettuce, pick-up kim chi with chopsticks, and drink soju.
Usually, the first indicator that you've gone too far on the soju is pictures with people's heads cut off.
Drinking should end there.
But if you let other people take pictures from then on out, maybe it's okay.
What else are best friends supposed to do?*
*This is the end of cutesy posts. Tomorrow it's all about pain and terror.
I've been so busy with the move back to California that I haven't been able to put up photos in the last couple weeks. That's why we have a whole slew below. We'll start with the Jeju Island photos and then progress to others.
Here is the family playing a game of horseshoes meets arrows and a bucket. Sogee won, sending her father and brother to drink copious amounts of alcohol. I stayed out of the escapade. I could sense doom. She had a certain swagger about her.
While we were in Jeju Island, we stopped by a folk village. It had wax dummies in traditional huts.
It also had crazy bugs I've never seen. Apparently, there are several species of animals, insects, and plants that are found on the island and nowhere else.
We also stopped by a waterfall that my in-laws went to on their honeymoon.
The prime spot to take a photo was a major clamoring pool of tourists. I thought that was more interesting than any photo of a couple, but there was an insisting father-in-law who got a shot of us before we were pushed out of the way by an older couple who had been waiting too long to wait another minute.