Friday, August 26, 2011

On the Set

I got to lurk around the set of King’s Faith – a feature length motion picture being shot in and around Rochester, NY - for a day, watching Director Nick DiBella and his crew work. Accent on work. These people moved like a hurricane was in the forecast. Which, in a way, it was. Outdoor scenes were scheduled while hurricane Irene built up steam in the Atlantic. Rain isn’t even the primary problem. Mottled cloud cover can be just as debilitating, throwing down ever-changing shadows. Consistency, I learned, is key.

This is something every writer knows. Consistency in your chosen grammar, tone, characterization, whatever rules you’ve given your world, basic logic – it’s all critical to a clean reading experience. You never want the audience to see your seams.

Unlike the author, the director can’t easily go back and fix things. Do-overs are not just costly, in many cases they’re quite impossible. Every moment, no mater how much control you have, is unique.

I wonder if directors learn to cherish moments and lead happier, more efficient lives? Are they more fulfilled than writers? Or jealous of the chance to go back and fix things right.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Wrong Perry

I wish the other Perry was running for President. Not Rick Perry - a 00s reboot with attitude – no, I mean Steve Perry, the former lead singer of Journey. I don’t know anything about his political views. I’m quite sure it doesn’t matter. George Bush the younger ran as a compassionate conservative and proved real light on the first half of that phrase. Barack Obama allowed the impression of his practical progressivism to linger through election day and no longer. So, in politics, you don’t get what you pay for. Making any prior knowledge of Steve Perry’s leanings irrelevant.

Here’s what we do know about Steve. He won’t stop believing. I can get behind that. He’s also got open arms and claims to do things faithfully. Both are big pluses in my book.

Steve Perry is a celebrity. Already. He’s not trying to become a celebrity, with bus tours and reality shows and crazy statements about how his state should secede or how Jimmy Carter is to blame for the swine flu. Rolling Stone named him the 76th greatest singer of all time.

Which is another plus in Steve’s column. He’s a true entertainer. They tend to be much more honest. Entertainers want to entertain you. That’s their nature. There’s no hidden agenda or behind closed doors cigar smoking. There’s applause or no applause. Regan understood this.

Steve Perry’s got nothing to do but try to be a decent president. If I could have it any way I want it, I’d go separate ways from the current line up and follow my foolish heart. Steve Perry in ’12.

Sunday, August 14, 2011


Every one should have to sit on the other side of their desk once in a while. Whatever desk you happen to have. I’m working on an advertising campaign and this week participated in the casting call for the central talent. It’s not exactly playing editor for a day, but in some ways maybe a little worse. Watching people try out, smiling laughing, frowning – basically doing anything you ask them to do, and then deciding, nope, next, within seconds, is surreal. Nearly any one of the people we viewed could’ve done the job. Deciding exactly who plays the part best becomes a matter of slicing things really, really thin.

Of course, in the end, it’s all about me. How often do my stories end up tossed immediately? How often to they end up on the floor with the other split hairs? All the people I’m about to cast out into the dark will be left wondering, too. Just like I spend most of my time. I wish I could say I felt a surge of compassion, but this is the way things go. Rejection comes in silence.

You only ever get the details of success.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

I don't usually like writing tips, but . . .

I like this little piece. It validated a lot of things I already thought, but had never heard from anyone else. Like "Don't be boring." Of course, I don't agree with everything on the list. I never agree with everything, not even my own stuff two hours after I've authored it. "Get a routine and stick with it." Really? People can do that? When it comes to writing I'm more of a lion, waiting for the right wildebeest to stroll by. When the opportunity comes up, I take it. I can only dream of a proper schedule.

In fact, I do sometimes. While other people yearn for vacations in the Greek Isles, I long for days in a big chair with my laptop and endless cups of coffee. We all need our dreams.