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August 31, 2004

I caught up with some Soderbergh films I hadn't seen over the weekend. First up was Schizopolis, which in 1997 was his first big jump into the avant garde (not counting his early shorts). It's very Full Frontal-ish, but far more experimental -- and I really liked it. It took me about twenty minutes to figure out what he was doing with it, but right around the first 'Generic Greeting!' conversation, it clicked. I think it was sort of a cleansing experience for him; it's very personal, full of self-hate, and it's really damn funny (Full Frontal, on the other hand, only seemed to have marginal amounts of the second and third of those elements, but I'm sure there are those who would tell me I just need to see it again). The running time is 97 mintues, but if you get the Criterion disc you should just go ahead and allot a good three and a half hours to it, so you can watch it again immediately with the commentary track, which is an essential extension of the film itself. Soderbergh interviews himself, and it's a riot -- especially if you're a filmmaker: you'll know exactly what he's talking about when he explains his "theories" on "artistic liberty," even if you don't want to admit it.

I then backtracked to The Underneath, which was good but not quite outstanding enough to qualify as underrated. It's worth taking a look at it if you want to see how his personal style was developing -- his evolution from film to film is really quite remarkable -- but it's nothing too exciting in and of itself (unless you also want to take a look at the charming performance from one our leading Deadroom actors).

Here are a few more links to some good Brown Bunny interviews: one from AICN, another from AICN, and of course Ebert's long awaited piece: The Whole Truth From Vincent Gallo. They're all worth reading, if you're into that sort of thing. I promise, this will be the last time I mention the film until I review it myself. Which I'm about to do, having just returned from seeing it...

Posted by David Lowery at 1:15 PM | Comments (1)

August 30, 2004

I ran into some Perl MySQL problems (I don't know what that means either) which prevented me from posting all the things I've been meaning to post lately. Now I think I've managed to fix it, and one of the things I meant to comment on, pertaining to Deadroom, is:

Hope is nice; having a reason to hope is even better.

Although it's still not enough to get me out of bed in the morning before 11am. Hopefully the screening I think I'm going to tomorrow will do the trick in regards to that.

Last Friday, I went back to my old high school, where the drama department was putting on Les Miserables. Preamble: I was obsessed with Les Miserables, both the musical and Victor Hugo's novel, in my formative years. I listened to the cast recording endlessly (echanted by the emotion of the music, blissfully ignorant of how terrible the lyrics frequently are), and read the book three or four times (and the unabridged version at that). So anyway, I wouldn't have expected much from a high school presentation of a Broadway musical, especially from the high school whose drama department consistently frustrated me when I tried to be active in it. But this performance was amazing. I've seen the 'official' show, and it was just as good as that one; someone must have sunk a lot of cash into this, and the talent of the cast was astonishing. It was pretty inspiring, and I somehow felt cheated; why didn't I get to participate in something like that when I was there? All I ever saw that stage used for was inspirational speakers and students who saw in the high riggings a good place to skip class. All through high school, I had the pervasive sense that I was wasting time; and I was, but I wish I'd had a chance like this not to.

I saw two of my English teachers there and wanted to say hi to them (but didn't). Particularly the one who read my first feature length screenplay and at the end of the year bought me a copy of Gabriel Garcia Marquez's 100 Years Of Solitude because I think she knew me well enough to know I'd love it.

I'll have some things to write about films shortly; in the meantime, I need to check out my bank account and see how badly in the red I am.

UPDATE: the answer to the above query is negative sixty four dollars. Score! Although I wish those pesky automated bill has been deducted after Bjork's album hit stores. Now I'll have to wait until Thursday to get it.

Posted by David Lowery at 11:27 PM

August 26, 2004

I've been reading with admiration and some envy (okay, make that a lot of envy, but, as always, the good kind) the journeys of the Dear Pillow crew at the Edinburgh Film Festival. It's great to see their film take off the way it is. I probably shouldn't be reading about it, though, because it's making me really impatient. We did get contacted by a small theatrical distributor the other day -- a minor but welcome bit of attention which nonetheless doesn't compare to the attention of audiences watching your film in exotic locales.

If you're in New York or LA this weekend, you know what movie you need to go see. But if you have to wait until next week or the week after, then you should go see the director's cut of Donnie Darko this weekend. I saw it tonight and was astounded, freqeuntly enraptured, etc. It felt like a movie I'd never seen before.

Before Jim got on the plan back to La La Land today, he entrusted me with one of the DigiBeta master of his film, just for insurance. It got me thinking: I have all of the Deadroom footage, the hard drive with every cut, and basically every other possible element of the film within a five foot radius in my room. I need to parcel that stuff out. You never know when your house might blow up

Posted by David Lowery at 3:06 AM

August 24, 2004

I watched Nicholas Roeg's Walkabout this evening; given the nature of script I'm working on, I felt the need to see some people lost in wide open space. It was a stunning film, and not at all what I had expected from the synopsis on the Netflix sleeve. Not that I had expected anything lesser than what it was; but I thought perhaps it would be a more subtly ironic film, which it is not at all, and I did not anticipate its tremendous sense of sadness. I kept thinking while watching it how it could not be made now; partially because of the numerous animal killings, which like the oxen slaughter in Apocalypse Now are appropriate but very troubling (Roeg mentions this on the commentary track, saying that he's not vegetarian but that he wanted to comment on the obscene amount of waste in our society); but mainly because of the nudity on the part of the sixteen year old actress, which was very innocent, but very sexual at the same time. Then I learned that those scenes had been cut when the film was first released in 1971, and only restored eight years ago. Our culture is so frustrating/confusing/etc.

"He was very honest in terms of the story he was telling, and told me in detail his sense of it all. And not all of it fixed in my mind because it was hard to understand what he wanted to do. It was only actually seeing the film -- the film is really what he described to me...the vision that he had inside his head was on the screen. It's something that was actually quite difficult to describe."

--Actress Jenny Agutter on the Walkabout commmentary track.

Lovely.

I felt offkey all day today (technically yesterday); at a certain point, I started working on Rocketman and got twenty slightly revised pages written, which left me so depressed that I had to lay down for a while. I hate it when that happens. I used to just give up when those moods hit, but now I'm self aware enough to be able to force myself to get back up and keep working.

Posted by David Lowery at 2:29 AM

August 23, 2004

Also just out is the very elegant trailer for Jonathan Glazer's Birth, the one I saw a year ago. Rumors of post-production difficulty and swirling controversies haven't deterred my anticipation; it's such a wonderfully odd premise for a film, and the trailer gives me the impression that Glazer made quite a few great choices in his execution of it (not the least of which is the casting of Danny Huston). I predict that if it has any faults, they'll be in the third act, which is where good films with odd premises always seem to falter.


I went to the grand opening of Spiral Diner (congratulations again, you guys) on Saturday and ended up staying out until late Sunday night, running through my orbit of close friends and creative collaborators who I'd forgotten I hadn't seen in months (or at least since I shot that video). Well, not forgotten really -- I just get set in my solitary ways, and am generally happy with that, but it's always wonderful to spend time with everyone again and talk about things. I almost never miss people until I'm actually around them and realize that it'll probably be another few months until I see them again. Which is kind of silly, since we only live thirty minutes away from each other, and I imagine these are people I will know for most of the rest of my life, more or less (getting a sense of that foresight is an odd but somewhat comforting thing).

The longest I've ever maintained a friendship is eight years (as of this week).

I received some feedback from two close confidantes on Henry Lee; one very positive endorsement, and another that was more...unsure, I guess, although I think it was a mostly good kind of unsure. The script relies now and then on the intuition of the reader, just like the eventual movie will require that of the audience, but I might have made some things a little too vague. I read through it again myself, though, and I'm very happy with it; the last act goes by far too quickly and there are lines here and there that could be cut, and I'm not sure which of the two epilogues I've written will end up being used (probably a combination of both of them), but overall I have a good feeling about it.

I talked to Jim quite a bit this weekend about future projects; he told me about his and asked to read mine, and I started making plans and hatching ideas about how to bring things to fruition. Little things that won't work, most likely, because they all involve making phone calls. For now I'll just finish up Rocketman. The thing that was troubling me, I realized, was not the ending but the beginning. I've unstopped that dam, and it all seems to be working now, narratively speaking, although I'm still retyping the whole thing from page one. I watched Garden State again over the weekend, and wondered if anyone would ever call me out on the few minor similarities between that film and Rocketman. I hope they do, actually, because that'll at least mean the movie got made.

I've been watching on average two movies a day for the past three weeks, one in theaters and one on DVD. It was great at first, but now it's starting to feel like an excuse to get out of something.

Posted by David Lowery at 1:16 PM

August 20, 2004

The first trailer for Wes Anderson's The Life Aquatic was released the other day, to much online acclaim. It looks like a great movie, but I wasn't really hugely impressed with the trailer; it was cut almost beat for beat to the template of the Royal Tennenbaums trailer, which was great the first time around but here feels a bit perfunctory. I wish there had been more of Seu Jorge's cover of David Bowie's Starman in it; I hear he sings a lot of Ziggy Stardust in the movie, which will be beautiful to hear.

Far more enthralling is this perfect trailer,for David O. Russell's I Heart Huckabees. I have no idea what to expect from the movie after seeing this, except something completely different.

Amy and James finally stopped procrastinating and are re-opening their restaurant in its artsy new location tomorrow morning. If you're in DFW, or anwhere in Texas or the surrounding states, you should come out for the Grand Opening whatever. If you don't know what to order, ask for the thing that David ate on Thursday, because it was seriously the best thing I'd eaten since the bowl of cereal I'd had the night before.

Posted by David Lowery at 12:15 PM

August 19, 2004

I had some things to say about music I listened to and movies I saw. Then I decided I was tired, but then I changed my mind about that.

I went to a press screening of Mean Creek this morning (thumbs down) and since I was going to be seeing a screening of Finding Neverland later that night, I figured I'd just stay at the Angelika until then. I saw A Door In The Floor, which was okay, and then decided there wasn't anything left that I hadn't seen or felt like seeing, so I went to go get some coffee and listen to some music next door at the Virgin Megastore. They've got those headphones, you know, and I'll always listen to fifteen or thirty seconds of songs by artists who I haven't listened to before or have heard about or whatever. I saw this album at the end of the aisle and I'd heard good things about it so I put the headphones on and pressed play. The volume was all the way up and I don't know if it was my mood or what but it seemed the most incredible song, that first one on the album, and I just felt lifted up all over. I didn't know what to feel. I told myself that if the second track was as good as this first one, I'd buy the CD right then and there, even though I technically couldn't afford it, because life's too short to pass up things this good. That second track wasn't as good, though, and neither was the one after that. I listened all the way through the fourth song before deciding to be responsible. Maybe I'll buy it some other day. But that was some moment right there, with those headphones. I don't know what it was. I don't remember what the song really sounded like now; I don't even know if I care about the song; I just care about how it made me feel.

Anyway.

Finding Neverland primarily reminded me that Peter Pan will always get to me emotionally, whether its read aloud in E.T. or performed in this film or realized so magically in last year's adaptation. The movie itself was decent. Not Marc Forster's best. He was there, and I had my Monster's Ball DVD in case I felt like getting it autographed, but he was hounded afterwards by fans who seemed only to want to know what it was like to work with Johnny Depp and what Johnny Depp was like in person and whether Johnny Depp had any plans to direct his own film, etc. So I left. Forster had some good things to say about filmmaking, though.

Last night I watched Truffaut's Two English Girls and was very greatly impressed. It didn't have the sucker punch audacity of his first three masterpieces, but aside from that, it may just be my favorite of what I've seen of his oveure so far. It also seemed oddly familiar. It had a love triangle, a printing press, subtle eroticism, bloody bedsheets and a shot I was disappointed to learn was actually a composite shot, since the single element from it used in the trailer was so stunning that you could have sold me on the film with that alone. It was of a red haired woman, staring at the camera, tears streaming down her face, against a background of complete black. In the film, that black is gone and the girl is superimposed over another shot. Which is actually good for me, because it leaves the image in the trailer mostly open for me to 'pay homage to' at some point.

Posted by David Lowery at 2:08 AM | Comments (4)

August 17, 2004

Things I will be spending money on soon, even if I don't have any:

The one I'm looking forward to most is only two weeks away; just looking at that cover makes my heart fill up with love. I'm pretty sure it will occupy spots one through nine on my list of the best albums of the year; everything else that's good can share the last slot. Matthew Barney is a lucky, lucky man. And if you joined me in frustration over the criminal truncation of Ms. Guomundsdottir's performance at that grand Olympic opening ceremony, at least you can hear the song she sang here, along with the official music video.

I don't know when Mr. Cave's album will come out in the US (September 7th is the date in the UK), but you can listen to a few terrifically rousing arrangements at his official site. It's a double disc set, so I hope that means there's room for a few raw blues-fueled musical rampages, or something of that nature, to compliment all the lovely balladry.

Posted by David Lowery at 3:39 PM | Comments (1)

August 16, 2004

Without anything to write this weekend, with aimlessness beginning to set in, I turned my attention back to Deadroom and went through the ten hours of behind-the-scenes footage. I digitized a lot of it, edited some of it, and as a result there are now six behind-the-scenes featurettes available on the website. As promised. They're not as exhaustive as our eventual DVD documentary will be (or at least we hope it will be), but they offer a nice insight into the production of the film. My personal favorites are the ones with Nick and Yen directing.

Oh, and here's a really good interview with Vincent Gallo from the NY Times. And a good review of his movie can be found here.

I've spent so much time on that script these past few months that it's weird to wake up and not have it hanging over me. So -- time to pull out Rocketman. Actually, it's already open on my desktop and I'll be typing in it momentarily. I think I might've found that clarity of mind for which I put it away in the first place. I went out to eat with Amy and James last night and, while discussing screenplays, Amy asked how many I'd written. Good question. I guess since 1998, when I wrote my first feature length piece, I've completed 12. Doesn't sound like much when you say it like that. A handful of those I would be very eager to disown now, but that's practice for you. I've got hard copies in cabinets with DO NOT READ scrawled in magic marker across the front pages.

Posted by David Lowery at 3:14 PM | Comments (3)

August 13, 2004

Finished!

Actually, I finished it late Wednesday night, but today I went back and added a few scenes to tie up some loose ends.

The second draft of Henry Lee is 114 pages; the first draft was 121 and far less coherent. This version was headed towards the same place until one of my regular critics, and the only person to see the work in progress, made me aware of the folly of that direction. For that, I'm quite grateful. I feel very good about the finished product. I think it's unlike anything I've ever written before. It's got so many themes running through it, but it's still rather intimate and personal.

The frustrating thing is that, after page 50, this second draft is 100% new material, so it's basically a first draft all over again. But I'm putting it away for a while -- at least until I get some more feedback.

So: I need to make my Virgin Suicides, and then my Lost In Translation, and then I'll have the clout necessary to make my Marie Antoinette. Okay, that was a lame way to link to that bit of news, but whatever.

Posted by David Lowery at 3:14 AM | Comments (1)

August 12, 2004

Watching Deadroom last night for the first time since the DMA screening (Yen's got the whole story on his site), I found myself agonizingly aware of every passing minute. I still think it's great, and I love how that's something that surprises me every time I see it; I'm always expecting the worst, I guess, unwilling to believe that we made a good movie, and I always end up impressed. But at the same time, it's rather painful to watch it because I just know it so well now. Every single beat; I can practically count the seconds remaining in every scene and it just starts to drag interminably after 30 minutes. But of course that's just me. Peter Jackson mentioned on the Two Towers commentary that he wished he could hypnotize himself into temporarily forgetting he made the films, so he could look at them with an outsider's perspective, and that would be really helpful for future viewings of our film too.

Yen also brought up the interesting point that a movie like this works much better with an audience. I agree, although I'm not quite sure why. Probably some touchy-feely reason that I'd rather not think about.

There are a lot of great films about to come out; fall movie season must have started early (the weather, too, has dropped down to the 80s -- I can actually go running during the day). I'm not expecting the new Exorcist movie to be anything special, though, especially after reading this absolutely must-read article from the LA Weekly. At least Paul Schrader seems to have a good attitude about it, and at least we may get to see his movie someday -- it sounds horrifyingly good.

I found this article via the site that I'm now reading first thing every morning, Green Cine Daily. Seriously, there's so much good stuff here on a daily basis that it could keep you busy for hours if you followed every link. If you're trying to write a screenplay right now, maybe you shouldn't check it out. Oh, and they're not the only ones who've kindly plugged Deadroom lately -- Dark Horizons, the first site I ever bookmarked when I first got the internet back in the nineties, gave us a small but welcome mention in yesterday's update.

Posted by David Lowery at 5:34 PM | Comments (3)

August 11, 2004

Looking to procrastinate? I know I am, especially since I just wrote a really good line of dialogue and thus deserve a break (that's how my insidious mind works, and I hate it). Here are some things worth checking out today.

Yen ruminates on his personal history with the films of Wong Kar Wai.

Matt Clayfield wraps up his exhaustive visit to the Brisbane International Film Festival (over 70 films in ten days, which puts my past festival experiences to shame many times over) with a look at, among other wonderful things, Im Sang-soo's A Good Lawyer's Wife, which is a film I want to see more and more every time I read something new about it.

MTV News(of all places) has an excellent report on Gus Van Sant's new movie, Last Days, which still inspires pangs of jealousy in my bitter, blackened heart.

All right, back to that conversation.


Posted by David Lowery at 3:38 PM | Comments (1)

August 10, 2004

Blowup, on the other hand, I found more thrilling with every passing minute. It was my kind of mystery, no doubt about it. It's like L'Avventura in that it's not really about what it's about, but I think Antonioni's approach here is far more a.) masterful and b.) deceptive. And more accessible, perhaps. Again, I know I'm no authority, but that's my first impression. I loved this one. I'm about to listen to the commentary track, and I want to track down the short story it's based on too, which from what I've read has nothing to do with a murder. Not that the movie does either, when it all comes down to it.

I wonder when Eros, the anthology Antonioni (at the age of 92) spearheaded with Soderbergh and Wong Kar Wai, will be released.

Another bit I wrote today as I inch my way towards the denoument:

I ain't the law. You've done more here than I ever have; I've never even killed a person. That's a hell of an accomplishment out here, you know? And I'd hate to -- I mean, honestly, you have to push me pretty far the wrong way to get me to even look sideways at you. You know what I mean?

It's probably obvious that I'm getting anxious to show this to a few people.

Oh, and John Cameron Mitchell's new movie has, if nothing else, a title.

Posted by David Lowery at 11:56 PM

A nonessential scene:

EXT. TRAIN STATION -- DAY

The nameless TEENAGE GIRL walks with her parents out onto the platform; they all carry bags over their shoulders. She looks back down at the street, her eyes darting here and there until she catches sight of her boyfriend, watching from the corner of an adjacent building, shuffling his feet. His hands jammed in his pockets.

She sees him and offers a little wave -- diminished so that her parents don't notice -- and mouths a silent goodbye.

He waves back, watching her from the corner of his eyes.

Posted by David Lowery at 3:04 AM

August 9, 2004

I just saw Bertolucci's Last Tango In Paris and Michelangelo Antonioni's L'Avventura -- wait, first of all, let me just say that I hate my car and it better not break down again for the next six months to a year; it's constantly obstructing my creative freedom. Okay, back to those two somewhat complimentary odes to emptiness. The greatness of Last Tango, for me, had little to do with the explictness and everything to do with Brando. It was also interesting to see what sort of story Bertolucci was interested in telling at the age of 32, with that mature but youthful anticipation (fear?) of growing older, as opposed to The Dreamers 34 years later, which now almost seems like a sequel (or prequel) to the earlier film; many of the shots and locations in the two films, not to mention themes, directly echo each other. It must be common for storytellers to get more optimistic as they get older; sometimes I wonder why I constantly write about such depressing subjects, and then I decide that I should enjoy it while it lasts.

L'Avventura captivated me for the first hour -- it reminded me at first of Weir's Picnic At Hanging Rock, which I love -- and then steadily left me colder and colder, as if it was trying to evade my grasp. After reading several reviews (including this one, found in the increasingly invaluable Great Movies series from Roger Ebert), I gather that this is an appropriate reaction, especially for a first viewing. It was also my first experience with an Antonioni film; putting a short end to my inexperience, Blow Up should be arriving tomorrow.

I've found many interesting things, aside from the obvious, in the new Filmmaker issue; it's the 25 New Faces Of Independent Film issue, and that's always a fun list to peruse. I think James and I made it a goal to be on it by 2003; oh well, add that to the list of goals we don't make. Yen will probably beat all of us to it (deservedly so). There's also a giant picture and short article on that crazy genius Takashi Miike, whose new film Gozu is described therein as "a surreal odyssey of repressed sexual desire that would leave even David Lynch awestruck." I'm sold, although I didn't exactly pick up on those themes from the trailer, which looks awesome anyway. I think it's already out in NY.

A goal I will make: finishing this screenplay by the end of the week.

Posted by David Lowery at 7:13 PM | Comments (1)

August 8, 2004

I'd strongly suggest that anyone interested in the creative process go to see Berlinger and Sinfosky's masterpiece of a documentary, Metallica: Some Kind Of Monster.

I'd even more strongly recommend it to my three fellow Deadroom directors, who may see in its look at a collaborative struggle something very familiar; I know I did. All those months where we sat through our meetings feeling completely uninspired, the times that tensions rose or egos took over, and all the deep satisfaction that eventually results from the struggle; that's all in this documentary. The only difference is that it's about millionaire rock stars and not poor filmmakers, and creatively speaking, that's a very minor difference. Also, we've never yelled at each other, but that's just because we're all so passive.

I wonder what happened to my copy of the Black album; that's the only record of theirs I ever had, but I must have given it to my brother or something. I kinda felt like listening to it last night.

The new Brown Bunny trailer played before the movie; it's online, but it's not in Quicktime so I hadn't seen it yet. Starting it off with that Lisa Schwarzbaum quote ("no one in America will ever see a frame of this movie," or something like that) was a brilliant touch. I think a lot of people are taking the marketing of the movie very seriously, but there's a lot of tongue in cheek going on as well, which I think is clear if you've ever read more than one or two interviews with Gallo. He blends pomposity with fragile sincerity in such a wonderfully disarming way; you can never tell if he's serious or not when he says that the movie is a personal piece of art.

I haven't linked to anything from The Guardian in a while; here's a fantastic and insightful interview with another self loathing auteur, Woody Allen.

Posted by David Lowery at 12:53 PM | Comments (1)

August 7, 2004

News at last! Re: paragraghs 3 through 7. Thanks to C&C.

Posted by David Lowery at 12:36 PM

I went to Barnes & Nobles today and bought four copies of the latest issue of Filmmaker Magazine. That's one expensive magazine, but it was a necessary (and long awaited) purchase.

In other news, I did some minor maintenance on the website, and also made this page accessible from an additional address. Before you go and accuse me of developing an ego problem, consider how annoying it must have been these past few years, telling people to visit road dash dog dash productions dot com. This is merely for purposes of concision. It'll fit better on business cards, too; I have a feeling I should probably have some of those made pretty soon.

Posted by David Lowery at 1:07 AM

August 6, 2004

While waiting for Collateral to begin this morning, I thought back to Mann's Ali and came up with a better way to say what I was working towards with that post the other day: time can turn a film's flaws into assets, if the film has enough integrity to it. My review of Ali was negative, but it maintains a stronger presence in my mind than many film which I've given positive reviews to initially. Would I give it a favorable review now? I don't know. I probably wouldn't give a positive review to The Village if I saw it again in a few years, but I know I'll recall it vividly. Genius, however misguided, still leaves a stronger impression than mere competence.

I've been wondering about that lately in regards to my own work; what's more important to me, a strong first impression or a stronger lasting one? They're both a gamble, but I almost feel like I have a better sense of the latter (and I'm not just saying that as a means of excusing flaws in my work that I'm too lazy to fix). Of course, having both would be just fine with me, too.

Regarding the 'controversial' image below -- it didn't even last a week in Los Angeles. But still...putting up a racy billboard for a month? 50 grand. Publicity gained from having it taken down after a matter of days? Priceless.

Posted by David Lowery at 5:49 PM

August 4, 2004

If I had $50,000, I would put up one of these billboards in Dallas ASAP.



Although if I did, I have to admit I'd feel conflicted about little kids being exposed to it. I'd have to make sure to put it up in place of some other billboard that's actually offensive -- say, a Coors Lite ad or something.

UPDATE: After reading numerous articles on Wellspring's marketing campaign for the film, I discovered that I was unaware of the film's new official site, and have since confirmed that it'll be opening here on September 10th at the Magnolia. My plans for that day have now been set in stone.

Posted by David Lowery at 12:12 PM | Comments (1)

August 3, 2004

I got a haircut today, shorter than usual, but it grows fast so that's okay. The lady who cut my hair was really nice. This is the first time in years that I've had two haircuts in less than three months, not counting shaving my head last year. It made me feel good, real sharp, for about an hour or so. Then on the way home my car started choking on something, so I took it to the shop. Later in the evening, I watched Cold Mountain again because my dad and brother wanted to see it, and I was surprised by how much I liked it. There were two points where I felt tears in my eye that I didn't remember being there the first time I saw it (those Sacred Heart Singers sure helped, so now I'm listening to the soundtrack, which is terrific and which along with that Loretta Lynn album finally convinved me a few months back that I needed to start listening to the White Stripes). I had a point to all this, or at least to the Cold Mountain anecdote, but it was one of those points that fell apart once I started writing it down.

I also watched Stranger Than Paradise this evening, the one remaining Jim Jarmusch film that I hadn't seen. Rather than provide my own short review of it here, I'll instead (slyly) link to this post from Green Cine Daily, which offers a quote from the director of Last Life In The Universe, Pen-Ek Ratanaruang, about how he felt when he first saw it, which is pretty much how I feel, minus the cigarettes.

I really sympathized with the guy who wanted to take Eva to the movies; I think I've been in that position too many times before. Once this Cold Mountain soundtrack is through, I think I'll listen to 'I Put a Spell On You,' although I've only got the Marilyn Manson version.

I think I might be finally almost done with this second draft of the Henry Lee script. It's taking way too long. I'll set aside a day to work on it and that day will disappear like nothing else. But it's almost back to page 90 again, and it's good. I went back and looked at the first draft, though, and it was almost unrecognizable. It read like something I would have written three or four years ago...except for the last scene, with the random voice over narration, which I liked so much that I'm wondering if I should use it in this draft after all.

I need to get back to finishing that rewrite of Rocketman, though, since that's something I could feasibly makes for a low budget. I don't think any producer, independent or otherwise, is going to watch Deadroom and think "hey, this guy could make a helluva western!"

Posted by David Lowery at 2:56 AM

August 2, 2004

That music video I worked on back in March is online. I'm personally not a fan of videos that just show bands playing their songs -- it just seems like a wasted opportunity -- but this one is notable to me for two reasons, aside from the fact that I worked on it: one is that it was shot by DP who shot Before Sunsrise/Sunset, and the second is that I think I'm actually in it for about three frames. Look for one dolly shot that goes past a brightly lit window, past a guitarist, and then cuts off right as a face appears in the shadowy corner on the lefthand side. That's where I was operating playback on the DAT and trying to stay out of the path of the constantly roving dolly.

Regarding my own music video directing deubt...I'm guessing I didn't win, but that's okay. I know it was good enough to win and that if it didn't, it probably came down to a matter of taste. I'll put it online soon, and keep it up until Hollywood Records issues a cease and desist order.

Posted by David Lowery at 10:37 PM

August 1, 2004

So this is the new version of an old thing. Update your bookmarks if you've got any. I'm still figuring out this CSS stuff, so there may be some changes in the future to the design or functionality, or some unanticipated bugs that may need ironing out. But at least it looks prettier.

More impressive revisions have occurred at the Deadroom site; that's the one I was sweating over so extensively last week. It's 100% brand new, a lot more visually appealing (especially on Macs, but isn't that the case with everything?), and more dial-up friendly. I'd say it's definitely worth visiting again, but maybe I'm just overly proud of all the work I did on it, in which case you can expect me to badmouth and redesign it in three to six months.

Also, the teaser trailers have all been changed. Mostly in terms of music and color correction, although I did recut the ones for my room and James's room a bit more substantially. I think they'll probably be the only trailers we'll have for the near future, although I may put a clip or two from the film itself online at some point.

We haven't gotten into any film festivals yet; Yen's submitted to nearly twenty, maybe more than that, and a good portion of them are major, hard-to-get-into festivals; thus, the two rejection letters we've received in the past two weeks aren't too discouraging. Once we start sending it two smaller festivals and receiving rejections from those ones, I'll start to get scared. Although hopefully by that point we'll all be so distanced from the film that it'll all be an afterthought, regardless. Actually, I shouldn't hope that -- feeling as distanced from the film as I already do can't be a good thing.

But at least I'm still happy with it, and proud of it. And I guess every now and then I'll even let stars cross my eyes.

Anyway, check out the new site if you have the time...or at least the first page, which is graced with our lovely new poster artwork, created by Neu LeBlanc.

Posted by David Lowery at 7:26 AM | Comments (1)