July 23rd, 2004

pod

Self doubt until morning

I don't know what I'm doing, maybe I should shoot myself. I'm trying to work on my scripts and everything's coming out all...muddled. The one is too confined, but I can't take it out of the box because the box is the whole point of it. Neurotica is stalling because it's totally outside my experience. What do I know about sexual encounters (although I know enough to write an encyclopedia about awkward neurosis.) My whole "thing" around women is to be as non-offensive and removed as possible. My natural casual personality is agressive with hostile humor and lengthy in depth discussions. I can also be somewhat morose and serious, and am a decent person to discuss difficult subjects with. What I can't be is unobtrusive and...normal. The closest I can get to that is utterly withdrawn and basically silent, something that fakingsincerity can attest to. I don't know how to hit on women and I have absolutely no clue how to initiate any sort of romantic contact. I'm fine with doing faux gay joking flirtation, but totally insecure in a situation where the context is anything but humor. What's there in the writing is okay, but it's a struggle to make the progress natural. It's funny, the hook and the meat of the piece is the naration, the inside the head part, but that's not where the problem is for me. It's like I'm trying to paint a mural on a poorly built wall. Other work stuff is coming along slowly and misdirected. Basically I'm still floundering.

Of course floundering is to be expected and it's okay. I'm still hanging in there, doing the things that I have to to keep going, and making an effort to work through the blocks and my disgust at my own work. Other people like a lot of it, but they don't have the same standards as I do or as much riding on it. What I really need is an objective voice to rip me to shreds and force me to fix the problems. No mercy.

The whole no porn thing is working reasonably well. I sort of broke the vow when I showed (and then gave) some to Matt, but that was about him, not me. I don't like watching porn with other guys, never have, probably never will. On the other hand, sex has been on my mind much less, and I've felt a little better emotionally. It was a good choice. The throwing away will probably commence shortly.

It's getting hot in NYC. My mom said I should buy an air conditioner but I don't really want to. I somewhat like dealing with the heat. I'm less fat than I was and it doesn't feel unbearable to me. There's something, nice, about sitting around with sweat pouring into every crevace of your body, your shirt clinging to you, and the only relief coming from crisp, cold water. Maybe I'm just weird. Not maybe.

Man I hate those BP advertisements that say "We're horrible, but we're very self-aware about it." What kind of an ad is that? It's this new "Therapy" culture of ours where confession equals absolution. That's bullshit. If you know that you're a horrible company that's destroying our society then DO something about it. None of this "It's a start" bullshit. I raped you, but I drove you home afterwards...it's a start?
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pod

Halle, BUBBIE, she looka like a man

There is absolutely nothing worse than auditory hallucinations as you're falling asleep. They are creepy and scary and they jar you awake. It's that pseudo-dreamstate where the world is going on inside your head but feels like it's outside. I hate that so much.

I have a friend who invited me to come downtown with him and gorge on tacos. I can't believe that he would be such an asshole. Would you invite a smoker who was trying to quit to go to a cigar club? How about an alcoholic in treatment, would you come over to their house with a bottle of Vodka and a couple six-packs? If so, you're such an irredemably self-centered asshole whose existance could be improved by a few sharp tire iron blows to the head. I'll probably go down there, but I won't be gorging on anything and I will be delivering sharp words and accusatory glares.

I just turned on the TV and Pastor Benny Hinn was on. A woman actually said that you should send in your savings, your CD, your vacation money, It actually made me physically ill. She went on to say that if you don't go ahead and send the money in you are disobeying, and even denying, the lord our God. It's well beyond sick. It's disgusting and perverse.

I've been watching bad movies in order to understand what makes them bad, and how they get made. How is it that nobody catches lines like "I got more trouble than a blind guy in a minefield" when a film is going into production? I mean I understand putting the line in as filler in the screenplay, or even hoping that you could pull it off, but at some point you need to recognize that it's beyond dysfunctional, and should be swapped for something else. That's something I'm paranoid about, that I might actually get a chance to make something and it will turn out as stomach churningly bad as these films are. I think one of the main problems in films (other than sheer incompetence) is bad expository dialogue. Yes, you need exposition. A film is 2 hours long (90 minutes being more common today, although that used to be a European thing) and you can't show everything in 90 minutes, you need to tell some things. The trick is to do it well. There are a number of ways to do this, like the barked command. When people are angry they are more likely to point out the obvious or what's already known (like when someone's nagging you to hurry up because the movie starts at 7:00. You know the movie starts at 7:00 but they are implying that you're acting like you don't). The barked command is also swift and heavy with conflict and drama, so there's less time for the viewer to go "HEY! This is exposition!" It seems more natural. Another typical way to do exposition is through introducing an outsider to a group. Naturally he must be filled in to what's been going on with them, and you learn along with him. This works fine and usually feels natural, unless they are overly anal about explaining EVERYTHING. Finally there's narration, which is okay if it's not overused. If you can't figure out how to get your exposition in via normal dialogue then just go ahead and let there be a narrator. At least that feels honest and respectful towards your audience, unlike having someone say "Hey, bro, do you remember the time when we went down to the shore and met that girl who you fell in love with? What ever happened to her? I just hope she doesn't show up now, before your wedding, as you probably still have feelings for her and wouldn't that provide a clear conflict which one could base a piece of mediocre drama around? Gee, it's sure unlikely that she'll show up though, unless, you know, she's an old college friend of your new girlfriend. Wouldn't that be an odd but humorous coincedence?"

That brings up another useful point. When being expository LET THE VIEWER FILL IN THE BLANKS WHENEVER POSSIBLE. You can mention the old girl in a sentence or two, but let the viewer wonder whether she'll show up and explode the wedding (although it's likely the damned trailers will give it away regardless. Sometimes I wonder how much of modern moviemaking is fucked over by the trailers.) Drop enough hints so that the film makes sense and the backstory is fleshed out a little, but it's amateur hour when you draw a big crayon arrow in the direction you want your viewers to point. The only excuse for big crayon hours is in clever misdirection, or if you're a big fancy stylist like Quentin Tarantino faux misdirection, where you make the audience think you're fucking with them while you're being totally honest and open (and thus doublefucking with them.)

Apparently Halle Berry's stunt double in Catwoman was a man. I think that is a horrible betrayal. The only purpose of that movie is to show her cleavage and make her look like a bag lady (I'm not sure why making Halle Berry look like a bag lady should be the purpose of anything, but you've seen the pictures.) One review calls the movie like the Special Olympics for retarded film makers (directors, actors, writers, costume designers, costume designers, costume designers) Its only purpose is to serve as jack off material for underage boys who aren't allowed to get into R-rated films. Now they put a MAN in AND make the action scenes choppy and shitty to diguise it.

The French guy who directed has one name and is a gender traitor. I'm glad Lance is pissing him off by winning his precious race. (As for that, he's just....Wow. Jan Ullrich is like a German Dreadnaught, unflappable and unstoppable, but Lance just dances by him like he was nothing, executing his own bicycle blitzkrieg to blow Jan away. If you aren't paying attention...you probably have a job. But if you DON'T have a job and you aren't paying attention, shame on you. Biking is one of the most strategic and interesting sports out there. Learn something. Ya bums.)
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