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This blog tends to wander from its main purpose -- updates on my fiction. I do have updates and excerpts of my work. But I also write about my obsessions -- food, friends and pop culture and my weird life in Los Angeles. Enjoy!

Sunday, August 31, 2008

On Glamour and Ranting

Warning: If you find yourself here via a google search for such things as TV shows or films, recipes or cities, this blog has some facts. However, this blog is one author’s very twisted musing on many weird things. It is sometimes graphic in content. If you read on, don’t write to yell at me.

The Glamorous Life

This week has been strange and exhausting. We’re at that point in development where we have to do a lot more work on the film, but we’re not in a position to leave our day jobs. This happened in the weeks before Demon Under Glass started production. A commitment for funding doesn’t mean that we’ll have the funds in hand immediately. For Demon it was about a three-week lag between the green light and quitting my day job. I was working an overnight shift then. I had to have meetings in the morning and do some logistical work before I could go to bed. That was not a happy time. It’s not quite that bad this time, but it still means a day that doesn’t end until 4 o’clock in the morning.

Thankfully, we’re mainly working on the re-write of the script. I’m also working on the initial shooting schedule, because I’m the only one who knows what new scenes are being added and who is in them. Otherwise, the 1st AD would be doing it. I do have some logistics to do. I know the central coast and North Jersey fairly well, so I’m working on where our base will be hotel-wise and the fact sheet for the incoming cast and crew (where to shop for almost anything, where the good restaurants are, neighborhoods to avoid, etc). We have a production company partner in New Jersey handling the locations and most production support. They’re very good. We’ll have several choices of locations to look at when we fly out to scout. And they’re all into music. But they’re all guys. It takes a girl brain to ferret out where to find feminine necessities at three am when we’re wrapped for the night. And guys also think that any hotel with a number in the name will suffice to come home to after a 12-hour day. That’s fine for an 18 day shoot – just barely. We’ll be there for six weeks shooting. Jon and I will be there for a couple of weeks before that. For that amount of time with those hours, everyone will need accommodations that have some space to spread out and a small kitchen, at the very least. Thus, I’ve been working on that bit of logistics.

Jon wryly observed that we were in a constant state of fatigue and noted that yep, feels like a shoot’s about to begin.

There-write has been fun for me to watch. Jon is at that point where the characters have found voices and are trying to do things on their own. Unfortunately, they’re either doing the things that he doesn’t want them to do or they’re doing the right things when he doesn’t want them to. I told him not to fight them. A piece of writing develops it’s own internal logic when it starts writing itself. It took some hours of frowning alternating with many rounds of web sudoku, he started re-arranging the scenes to fit where the characters were taking him. There’s been a lot less frowning and muttering since then. The new script is shaping up nicely. It’s been fun collaborating with Jon again. And it’s great to work on something that is primarily light-hearted. Everyone else involved would like to see it completed like, two weeks ago, but that isn’t likely while we’re still working full time. We were compelled to chrash out a detailed treatment for the actors we’re negotiating with in its stead. That was the cause of one of the 4am nights. It turned out well, but that next day’s work was brutal. During such mind-numbing fatigue and physical pain, I am reminded of a producer friend, Melissa Balin, who was the casting assistant on Demon Under Glass said while working with us. We were engaged in something extremely tedious like rippring open thousands of manilla enevelopes containing head shots when she said “Motion Pictures, dahling, isn’t it all fabulous?” I am very exciting about the prospect, but the irony in her voice uttering that question still applies.

Fall Preview
Warning: possible spoilers for CSI: Miami, CSI, Law and Order, Law and Order: Criminal Intent, Dexter and any other show I might decided to blither about.

Alas, the summer TV viewing season is almost over. There won’t be many more episodes of Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations, The Closer or Eureka. This year, all three have performed beyond even my high expectations. For a travel show, No Reservations has morphed into an extraordinarily profound experience with other cultures and our own country. I thought the Beruit episode couldn’t be topped, but the Laos episode this season featured a visit to a family near the plain of jars whose patriarch had been crippled by ordinance left during the Vietnam War. They fed him graciously while humbly telling him of their suffering since the bombs fell on the country decades ago. It was profoundly moving, because it seemed that they just wanted an American to really hear their story. There was no anger only profound sadness and a need to be heard. Each show this season has been an amazing gem with widly divergent tones.

The Closer continues to amaze us with it’s range of the tragic and comedic while remaining unflinchingly real. They just did an episode that is a cliché cop show theme – the brother of one of the valued detectives is murdered. They did every scene that you’d expect in such an episode, but how they were executed and performed turned that hackeneyed plot on it’s ear while nearly ripping my heart out. Kudos to Kevin Bacon (Philly boy) on his second spin at directing.

Eureka is a clever, charming show with really strong character work. It’s mostly funny, but it, too, has managed to break my heart this season. I’m pleased to see it’s getting a lot more than the usual run of episodes. While it’s not the wrenching experience that watching Galactica is, we really enjoy the show.

From the sublime, we go to the ridiculous. The Fall TV season is nigh and we are bombarded by commercials and billboards extolling the genius of the new and returning offerings. My particular favorite are the ads for Showtime’s line-up which includes the extraordinarily revolting phrase ‘Dexter, the serial killer everyone loves.’ I have had problems with the concept of this show from the outset. First off, serial killers just do not function this way. They have their own twisted little bent and that’s what they focus on. It’s why there is always a pattern to their crimes. Decades of research support this. Secondly, no matter what the potestations from Showtime and the show’s creators to the contrary, it is the nature of a TV viewer to idnetify and emphasize with a lead character. Inevitably, there would be viewers watching that are, de facto, rooting for Dexter to kill someone and fearing that he will be caught. This lates slogan proves that Sowtime has embraced the notion. Why this isn’t distrubing to critics (they love the show too) or media watchers is simply beyond my comprehension. But most of the rest of their current line-up is chocked full of reprehensible characters, why not cheer on a serial killer? Geesh!!!

It’s almost a relief to turn to my usual soapbox. Almost. I’m adding some unexpected rants to my usual tirade. It is with a heavy heart that we turn away from Law and Order. It’s been a very long run that we’ve enjoyed emmensly, but the show has jumped the shark. Jack McCoy has a nemisis. I barely tolerate a nemisis in shows like CSI: Miami. I won’t tolerate it in a show I’ve highly respected.I’m on the verge of giving up on Law and Order:Criminal Intent. Lead Detective Robert Goern has been through all things geared to give the actor a chance to ACT to the rafters. It’s been particularly annoying last season. The only repite we had were the Dect. Mike Logan episodes that often were twisted with dark cop humor. Alas, Chris Noth was written out of the series at the end of this season. We’ll wait to see what Jeff Goldblum brings to the show, but I think I’m done with it. I think I will be relieved to return to yelling at CSI: Miami and it’s hot new coronor. She’s only 25. I don’t think you can get your license at that age let alone have enough experience to be a coronor. But she’s cute. Geesh!!!

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