Tuesday, August 31, 2010

First 20 mins.

I have a rough cut of the first 20 minutes of the movie, minus a kind of prelude I am using to open it. I am very pleased. I like the way I'm stirring the pot of the story thus far. Even more twists coming up, an IRS agent looking for my brother, the grand daughter helping with a mysterious project, and so on. I'm a good hub of everything and my video diary is a decent device to keep focus.

I'm looking for the journal I kept in 1959 when I hitched, as a teen, from Berkeley to Louisville, my first road adventure, and an adventure it was. I'm having the director with a similar experience, which he then retraces as an adult, just an the actor took a recent motorcycle trip over old Rt 66. I love finding out personal experiences of the actors and figuring out how to use them in the story. Rick, the actor, has great photos of this trip, so I can use some as cutaways.

The wake itself remains the challenge. I want to use 3 or 4 cameras and only have to go through most of it once. We'll see how that works out.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Award-winning teachers dole out advice on fixing public schools - CNN.com

Award-winning teachers dole out advice on fixing public schools - CNN.com

The dismal state of American education needs all the help it can get.

"So if you asked me, Wayne Morse, name 
the one thing in our country that you
think will do more to strengthen
American foreign policy in the next
half century, you might be surprised
at my reply. I would say, Do something
to protect the educational standard of
American boys and girls. Do something
to protect American brain power.
Because the only sure and lasting
defense of peace is a highly educated
and enlightened citizenry. "


Rec'd two cameo vids for my film in email today, both really funny. Love it! Things moving right along.

Damn knee really bothering me today. Glad I'm not doing any shooting until Wednesday.


For the past year, it's been my right knee that bothers me, the aging arthritis syndrome -- and then a week or so ago, without warning, the right knee stopped hurting and the LEFT knee began, hurting worse. Now this make no medical sense to my amateur mind but total sense when one has an appreciation of the humor of the gods. What will they pull on me next?

A new office computer

I have a new computer in my office at the university with the largest screen I have ever used. Pretty impressive. I had given up on the old machine here before, bringing and using my netbook instead, but now this is a fast and very usable machine. How nice.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

George Fox University tries out the iPad on arriving freshmen | OregonLive.com

George Fox University tries out the iPad on arriving freshmen | OregonLive.com:

"NEWBERG -- Alex Ebersole picked up his George Fox University-issued iPad Thursday and joined the vanguard of students tapping a new technology that may dramatically change the academic life of professors and students."

Lodro Rinzler: Buddhism and Alcohol: Is There Such a Thing as 'Right Drinking'?

Lodro Rinzler: Buddhism and Alcohol: Is There Such a Thing as 'Right Drinking'?

Tom Krattenmaker: Nuclear Disarmament and 'End Time' Theology

Tom Krattenmaker: Nuclear Disarmament and 'End Time' Theology:

"A new poll from the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press finds that roughly four in 10 Americans believe the Second Coming will happen by 2050."

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Scrapple experiment

Ran out of scrapple yesterday, so it's time to make more. However, I didn't have everything I need for my usual recipe -- and no wheels. So I wait or I make do. I decided on the latter, making some substitutions for a genuine scrapple experiment. I have no idea how it will turn out -- so far, cooling, looks like it will be okay. Maybe not the best but okay. We'll see. If it is okay, then I'll share the new recipe.

Now have two rough cut files, the first five minutes and the second eight minutes, so I'm 13 minutes in with lots of other little scenes gathered. But it's nice to have a master file of chronology to keep the story straight.

My problems almost always are relating to audio. Nature of the beast with these minicams and nothing else. But I don't want to trade up, as it were, since in the end what I do works for the net and there is no other destination for these.

I am really delighted with what I have so far. Some fine performances.

Lightning in Humid Regions Could Be Harvested for Energy | Wired Science | Wired.com

Lightning in Humid Regions Could Be Harvested for Energy | Wired Science | Wired.com

Clean People Feel Morally Superior | Wired Science | Wired.com

Clean People Feel Morally Superior | Wired Science | Wired.com

The 10 Healthiest Ethnic Cuisines

The 10 Healthiest Ethnic Cuisines

Eric Deggans: The Frightening Prospect of Seeing Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin Use Big Media to Rewrite Civil Rights History

Eric Deggans: The Frightening Prospect of Seeing Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin Use Big Media to Rewrite Civil Rights History

Ah, slow

This weekend should be a relief because everything will be in slow motion compared to the past week. I have some solo shots of myself to shoot ... mowing the lawn, calling my brother and leaving a message, getting the mail where the new AARP mag has a review of the new Duvall film, which is about a guy who stages his own funeral (true! talk about convenience, we shot CD's reaction to this yesterday) ... fill in the holes kind of clips.

Meanwhile, H decided to give her van, which she's had for 25 yrs, to a boys' home in Washington where she has a grandson, where one of the activities is working on cars -- so in a small way, there will still be a connection via her grandson to the van, which needs over a grand of work to be road worthy and we didn't think it's worth it. Now we'll try being a one-car family and see how that works out. Actually it would work out fine in my usual routine. Shooting the film, though, I have to coordinate wheels to get to locations, but this shouldn't be a problem most of the time. An actor graciously offered transportation help if I need it.

Now that I've seen "the lead" on video, I'm jacked more than ever. Lots of hurdles yet but this project definitely has possibilities of being special.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Important shoot

The most important shoot yet is this afternoon because I finally address the spine of the story, the relationship between me and my brother. So I'll know more about the big picture after this afternoon. I am optimistic about how it's going to go.

I look forward to a weekend off so I can start doing some editing of sections of the story.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Slowing down

Yesterday, shooting in both morning and afternoon, was a bit much, especially getting to locations without wheels. I'm going to try and schedule so I don't do that much in a day, shooting day or afternoon but not both. So far everything is looking good though I haven't yet shot any of the "meat" of the story.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


Getting to my two locations via the bus today, with the van still in limbo, and I don't mind this as long as I don't have to hobble too far from the bus stop. Today isn't bad at all, so I should be fine.

Made rough edits of the shoots yesterday, looking good.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

"An interesting day"

  • So I drive to the location of my morning shoot and as I'm parking, the van goes dead. I push it into the parking place and do my shoot. The car is still dead when I'm done.
  • Thank the gods for AAA! I call. They arrive, do tests, I need an alternator.
  • I get towed across town to our mechanic. Waiting for an estimate. If too high, we are letting the 85 van die a peaceful death.
  • I take the Chevy to my afternoon shoot, just making it.
  • Conclude shooting at a bar. The bartender asks me if I'm Charles Deemer. Yep. You used to hang out here 30 years ago, right? Yep. Drank Jamison's? Yep. I was your bartender. He has been working at the same bar for over 30 years!
  • After the shoot, while the actress is finishing her drink, I get started on war stories about hyperdrama, the Army, the drinking life ... ah, me. She laughs and assures me she had a good time.
  • I come home and try to figure out how to get to the rest of the week's locations. It all works out: when I can't use the Chevy, the location is near a bus stop. The week continues uninterrupted, and we wait for news of the van and our subsequence decision. If we retire the van, do we then get a 2nd car or become a one car family?
  • Today's clips look great. I do a rough cut of a cameo. I am exhausted.

Busy shooting day

Shoot both morning and afternoon today, a total of 4 scenes. Yesterday my scene with "a critic," played by an actual critic (dance these days, mainly), Martha Ullman West, resulted in great footage. Better than I had hoped for, in fact, a very nice cameo indeed.

Well, time to prep.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Three strikes and the Portland Beavers are out | OregonLive.com

Three strikes and the Portland Beavers are out | OregonLive.com:

"City commissioner Randy Leonard still struggles with the reality that professional baseball will come to an end in Portland in 16 days when the Triple A Beavers play their final game of the season."

This week's shooting

This week I shoot Monday afternoon, Tues morning and afternoon, Wed morning and afternoon, Thur morning and Fri afternoon. That will give me a lot of scenes to edit and a sense of where I am along a timeline. Looking forward to getting started. Meanwhile have been re-editing the two and a half minutes opening I have, which would come after a jazz song, as I see it now though of course everything can change along the way. My biggest fear is that I miscalculated the story and I don't have enough for a feature. I definitely do not want to pad anything. I think I'm okay but I'll have a better sense as I get some scenes shot.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Listen to this man

The Great American Play is ...

Thornton Wilder's 1942 The Skin Of Our Teeth. I just revisited the extraordinary 1983 televised production at San Diego's Old Globe Theatre, in which one of Portland's finest actors, Diana Bellamy, has a role, and it's striking how contemporary, how utterly in the present tense, this epic story is. And how thoroughly American in its thematic irrational optimism. I love this play. It's right up there with the Brecht/Weill opera Mahagonny for dramatic work before which I stand in complete awe.

In a smaller arena, I worked on the opening sequence of my film, introducing the narrator and setting up the brother, and have a rough cut I can use, about two minutes.

Friday, August 20, 2010

John Mellencamp Likens Internet To A-Bomb

John Mellencamp Likens Internet To A-Bomb:

"It's destroyed the music business. It's going to destroy the movie business.'"

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Web Is Dead. Long Live the Internet | Magazine

The Web Is Dead. Long Live the Internet | Magazine

The Front Row: Truffaut’s Last Interview : The New Yorker

The Front Row: Truffaut’s Last Interview : The New Yorker

Typo of the day

Revisiting movies

There's great pleasure in revisiting films that you admire, and I revisited two today, one in  the morning and one in the evening, breaking up a very busy day.

A Friday adventure

Think I'll go funeral hunting tomorrow. Found a gravesite service in the country in Scappose in the morning, and a Catholic mass in Pdx later in the day, I can shoot crowd footage at both for my film, which might be better than the stuff I found on YouTube.  Also, while I'm out, I might be able to get some footage of myself visiting my wife's grave. I think this is all an excuse to grab the dog and hit the highway!


Trying to set it up so I shoot a few hours every day next week. We did manage to take a van full of stuff to Goodwill yesterday, part of our downsizing, with much much more to go.

And I am determined to play a lot of banjo today!

15 Most Underrated U.S. Cities (PHOTOS)

15 Most Underrated U.S. Cities (PHOTOS)

Hey, Portland made the list. But so did Albuquerque, with all that wonderful dry heat and desert. Sigh. Will I ever get out of Puddle City?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Rick Moody Rips Author Blogs

Rick Moody Rips Author Blogs

Salinger's toilet up for auction -- seriously? | Jacket Copy | Los Angeles Times

Salinger's toilet up for auction -- seriously? | Jacket Copy | Los Angeles Times

Scheduling the shoot

Meet with actor this morning and anticipate officially completing my cast. Will come home, print calendars for next 3 months, and start scheduling the shoot, beginning next week. Maybe do 2 hrs a day to start as I have other chores to do as well.

House chores all afternoon today, for example.

Robert Lanza, M.D.: Does the Past Exist Yet? Evidence Suggests Your Past Isn't Set in Stone

Robert Lanza, M.D.: Does the Past Exist Yet? Evidence Suggests Your Past Isn't Set in Stone:

"'We must re-think all that we have ever learned about the past, human evolution and the nature of reality, if we are ever to find our true place in the cosmos,' says Constance Hilliard, a historian of science at UNT."

Sarah Palin Said What? The 15 Craziest 'Palinisms' (PHOTOS)

Sarah Palin Said What? The 15 Craziest 'Palinisms' (PHOTOS)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Interactive Infographic of the World's Best Countries - Newsweek

Interactive Infographic of the World's Best Countries - Newsweek

Newsweek ranks U.S. #11. Finland, Switzerland, Sweden, Australia top the Best Countries list.

The cast

Here is the cast for my feature. Only some characters are named yet (I'm letting actors pick names with my approval).

RICK ZIMMER ... Conor Dean "C.D." Yarowski, notorious avant garde director

CHARLES DEEMER ... Robert Yarowski, his older brother, a retired high school business teacher and amateur photographer, who makes a video record of the wake and its process and is the story's narrator

 JOHN SOBOTKA ... his son, who does special effects for his father's projects

 KASEY THORNTON  ... Yarowski's favorite grand daughter, who secretly is taping his memoirs

 DYLAN LAWRENCE  ... Colby Ryan, the grand daughter's jealous boyfriend

JOHN DONNELLY   ... Yarowski's ex partner, who holds a grudge to this day for being cheated

AMY TEMPLE HARPER   ... Han Soo Jin, a former performer with Yarowski who now is his chief rival in avant garde performance circles, who believes Yarowski stole the wake idea from her and will make him pay for it

RON HANSEN   ... Yarowski's accountant, who has made him rich with secret investments in online pornography, making early investments ahead of the curve

 ROBERT PROJANSKY  ... Yarowski's shrink, who stole away one of his wives

 *LOIS FEUERLE  ... the ex wife who ended up with the shrink (* pending)

 STEPHANIE LEHMAN  ... the only ex wife who still "likes" Yarowski -- but couldn't live with him

GERRY BIRNBACH   ... Martin Weiner, a former young filmmaker for Yarowski, now an IRS agent investigating his finances

 DEBRA LEE  ... a singer, discovered by Yarowski, who encouraged her to "go for it" -- which she'll always remember fondly

KATE MURA ... Yarowski's protege, a dancer with her own avant garde company with international reputation, also in Yarowski's debt

TODD PHILLIPS   ... Brendon Waters, a stand up comedian who uses Yarowski in his routine

 KIM BISSETT  ... Andrea "Sai" Raynor, an actress recently planted as a spy in Yarowski's company by the rival director

ANDREW HARDER ... Ross Tanner, one of Robert Yarowski's former high school students

CLAIRE FOSTER ... another of his former high school students

   ... various cameo roles by ex wives, ex performers, theater critics and academicians, both "live" and on Skype

The storytelling style will be a cross between Christopher Guest and Michael Moore. I suppose its "genre" would be called mockumentary.

Special foods

H just made some "shrimp grits," damn it's good! Wanted to use up the leftover grits I had made for breakfast. Also for breakfast, along with scrapple of course, I made fried squash blossoms, the first from the garden. Delicate and wonderful but in this case overpowered by the scrapple, I think, they deserve their own feature.

Jack London's many sides emerge in James L. Haley's Wolf. - By Johann Hari - Slate Magazine

Jack London's many sides emerge in James L. Haley's Wolf. - By Johann Hari - Slate Magazine

News Desk: Bob Dylan, the Beat Generation, and Allen Ginsberg’s America : The New Yorker

News Desk: Bob Dylan, the Beat Generation, and Allen Ginsberg’s America : The New Yorker

Monday, August 16, 2010

Stability issues

Had portable external hard drive problems, which freaked me out because all my recent video work is stored there, but I managed to get everything transfered to my computers downstairs, though I still can't get the drive to work with the netbook. Blessing in disguise. I decided to do my editing in my office, with the larger screens and more powerful computers, and use the netbook more as a computer in the field, ultimately transferring files downstairs.

I shoot a cameo this evening. I have two edited, probably too long, but easier to trim than to pad.

Haven't touched the banjo today. Until I had drive problems, it was going to be a banjo day. Instead it turned into a geek day.

Getting organized

I added a short preview to the Shaw video page for those who don't have time to watch the entire hour documentary.

Only two video shoots this week. I want to spend a lot of time organizing the future shooting and also spend time catching up on various chores since last week was so much focused on auditions.

All in all, a great week last, and hoping for another.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Saturday, August 14, 2010

2 cameras, 1 person

Here, the bottle tripod is on a shelf behind me.

I have a cast!

Well, essentially so. I have the director, I'm his brother, have his son, his grandson, his granddaughter, several ex wives, his accountant, his shrink, his ex-creative partner, ex students of both him and me (retired high school teacher) ... some fine tuning to do but it's essentially there. The better the actor, the bigger their role, of course, so now it's time to think about story movement and fine tune the outline.

More auditioning

Today is my fullest day of auditions, downtown at the Pioneer Square Starbucks, on a very hot day, I'll love it. At the end of the day, I should have my cast except for the avant-garde director, down to two actors. I will take next week off and then start shooting, working with actors one on one to start. My own character, the brother, continues to evolve and today I jotted down some possible opening lines, "It was the season of funerals and retirement parties, but I'd stopped going."

Friday, August 13, 2010


An actor I'm eager to see has to reschedule, so I'm here with time on my hands before the next appointment. This morning I landed a first rate actor, however, which makes the day fruitful no matter how it goes from here out. Two women to see this afternoon, hoping both work out.

Got a good cameo appearance from Tom, my old friend who is visiting.

I could use a nap but alas, not possible.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Brazil UFO Sightings To Be Documented, Made Public

Brazil UFO Sightings To Be Documented, Made Public


Audition three actors this morning. The feature begins in earnest.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Shaw video

All the hard work is done. There is a sequence from Kidnap Caper I want to add but otherwise, I think I have it. In the nick of time, it is non stop auditioning for the feature starting tomorrow, plus a guest. Busy, busy.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


So far I have a cast of 4, including myself, and I think I have 2 more, and I audition 15 new faces this week. From this I should be able to get my cast. I can use some older women, however, and so today made a special craigslist post, which resulted in one audition thus far. I need some ex wives of the director.


Man, have done nothing I set out to do. Busy all morning with management, scheduling and email chores relating to the feature. That's the way it goes. Obviously I'm spread too thin to do everything on my plate. Better than its opposite, oh yes.


Need to spend time on banjo and music theory today since I am behind in both, esp the former.

Do a shoot at 330, then rush to class.

Taking tomorrow off for a gallery trip with H.

Right now, I have cast 2 actors for my feature: DL as a jazz singer, which she is, and RH, an experienced actor, as his accountant. I've asked another actor to be his lawyer but haven't heard back yet, and I anticipate asking another to be his shrink.

There will be a 3-tier cast: major, minor and cameo. Major and minor come to the wake, cameo do not. Majors have developed personal subplots, minor not. I hope these are developed collaboratively. I hope to get 3 or 4 majors and the same minor, and any number of cameo.

Monday, August 09, 2010

What a quitting governor thinks about teachers

Shaw teaser

One of the joys of putting together this remembrance of Tom Shaw is seeing some of the fine actors that were in town then, like Rick Jones, the fed agent in this clip. Wonder what happened to him? (This is not the actual opening of the film, and the sound track comes from a different Shaw movie.)

Cameo teaser

Terry Simons as the poet Buddy Dooley.


Finished rough cut edit of part 3 of shaw video, lots of fun stuff in it. what a character, and good memories being recorded. Also have first cameo together, it works.

Non-stop since early morning. Getting tired.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

The Reality Tests � SEEDMAGAZINE.COM

The Reality Tests  SEEDMAGAZINE.COM:


Dreaming like a director

In the dreamlike brooding of waking up, I suddenly saw how to shoot a difficult, critical scene at the wake, which will be located here. It not only is cinematic but solves some problems of story exposition in a clean dramatic way. I'll definitely use it since, ha ha, I even remember it. Once again this points out the difference between screenwriting and filmmaking since this "shot" was of no concern to me while outlining, or even during writing, the script. It's a practical problem about how to shoot a certain scene on a certain deck at a certain house with a certain floor plan and window placement. Very practical stuff.

I am hoping that a week from Monday, when I'll have auditioned most of the actors, I have a cast. The biggie is Friday when I see the most actors and also when I see the actor who I hope will be "the lead," the focus of the story, the avant-garde director. If not him, I have one other possibility, someone I've worked with, who has the look but I'm not sure I can get him to have the attitude, which is more important.

This afternoon, an important interview for the Shaw project. Tomorrow, my first cameo shoot for the feature. Onward, onward.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

TCA: Why Marty Scorsese Is Doing TV… – Deadline.com

TCA: Why Marty Scorsese Is Doing TV… – Deadline.com

Cameron Talks ‘Avatar’ Novel & Sequels: Probably Makes #2 And #3 Back-To-Back – Deadline.com

Cameron Talks ‘Avatar’ Novel & Sequels: Probably Makes #2 And #3 Back-To-Back – Deadline.com

Enormous Ice Block Breaks Off Greenland Glacier | Wired Science | Wired.com

Enormous Ice Block Breaks Off Greenland Glacier | Wired Science | Wired.com

Colleges With The LEAST HAPPY Students (PHOTOS)

Colleges With The LEAST HAPPY Students (PHOTOS)

Super Bowl XL Referee: 'I'll Go To My Grave' Over Blown Calls

Super Bowl XL Referee: 'I'll Go To My Grave' Over Blown Calls

Rare Color Photos From The Great Depression (PHOTOS)

Rare Color Photos From The Great Depression (PHOTOS)

Anis Shivani: The 15 Most Overrated Contemporary American Writers (PHOTOS)

Anis Shivani: The 15 Most Overrated Contemporary American Writers (PHOTOS)

Says who? Lists are silly but fun, kind of.

A day off, sort of

Looking at my schedule, I shoot each of the next 7 days starting tomorrow! Wow. Some on Shaw, some auditions for feature.

I scored a huge actress talent, who also may be the best jazz singer in town, so most definitely I will have her singing. In fact, a sultry moody song by her might be a way to begin. At any rate, she's the girl friend of a playwright friend who will have a cameo part. Man, this is coming together nicely.

Friday, August 06, 2010

Stephen Hawking to Human Race: Move to Outer Space or Face Extinction (VIDEO)

Stephen Hawking to Human Race: Move to Outer Space or Face Extinction (VIDEO)


Edited the shoot this morning into pretty good shape.

Taking the day off tomorrow from creative work to get caught up on chores around here.


NO SCRIPT FOR YOU! Actors Vying For Big Parts Can’t Read Full Screenplays Anymore – Deadline.com

NO SCRIPT FOR YOU! Actors Vying For Big Parts Can’t Read Full Screenplays Anymore – Deadline.com:

"EXCLUSIVE: The writer/director Wachowski siblings have begun to invite actors to meet on their new film Cobalt Neural 9 about a taboo gay romance between an American and Iraqi soldier. But agents are telling me it has become yet another 'top secret' project they and their actors can't read."

Is this heaven?

In Portland I forget how much I like Oregon. Taking the river drive west out of the city through Scapoose to St. Helens, I remembered. The gray day turned sunny just in time for the shoot on the houseboat, a gorgeous location, and Ron is a great subject to interview, lots of energy, the clips look great. I used a 2nd camera for the first time, securing it with a bottle tripod for a long shot across the deck -- and damn it the little camera, far away, didn't pick up our dialog! Amazes me. Anyway, terrific stuff to add to the Shaw project. Next interview on Sunday.

Lots of actors to talk to on the 13th and 14th. Maybe I can cast the week after that.

Churchill Ordered UFO Cover-Up, Archives Show

Churchill Ordered UFO Cover-Up, Archives Show:

"Former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill ordered an alleged UFO incident in the 1950s be kept secret to prevent 'mass panic,' according to claims made public in the UK on Thursday."

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Resistance Forms Against Hollywood’s 3-D Push - NYTimes.com

Resistance Forms Against Hollywood’s 3-D Push - NYTimes.com:

"LOS ANGELES — A joke making the rounds online involves a pair of red and green glasses and some blurry letters that say, “If you can’t make it good, make it 3-D.”"

Gallery: Literary last words | Books | guardian.co.uk

Gallery: Literary last words | Books | guardian.co.uk:

"Terry Breverton selects some of literature's most memorable farewells, from Samuel Johnson to James Joyce"

Moon Water Dreams Evaporate | Wired Science | Wired.com

Moon Water Dreams Evaporate | Wired Science | Wired.com:

"The inside of the moon might not be all wet after all. A new study suggests that, contrary to recent work, the lunar interior is as bone-dry as scientists thought 40 years ago, when NASA astronauts lugged home the first moon rocks."

Lemonade stands get reprieve: Multnomah County Chairman Jeff Cogen apologizes for health inspection shutdown | OregonLive.com

Lemonade stands get reprieve: Multnomah County Chairman Jeff Cogen apologizes for health inspection shutdown | OregonLive.com:

"No need to jack up the price of a glass of lemonade. Turns out kids won't have to shell out $120 for a health permit to run their lemonade stands after all."

Standing room only

The international women's art exhibit, on which H has been working so hard, opened this evening with a huge crowd. Looks like a hit to me.

On a roll

Asked the city's best two dramatic critics to make cameo appearance, evaluation of the director's work ... just got a Yes from the first, which will do, but two will be better, I think he'll say yes too. This gets more outrageous by the minute. And I haven't gotten into the basement yet.

Quotation of the week

From a poet who will make a cameo appearance in my feature.

This time when I get angry in the mirror I'll call it rehearsal. --Terry Simons, Round Bend Press

The feature begins

Even before having a cast, I am shooting for the feature on Monday, a cameo by a poet friend ... who will refuse to attend the wake, therefore he's not seen any more. I'll have a number of cameo appearances like this.

And I, behind the camera, am the narrator, which gives me a lot of control to keep the story coherent. This is going to work! Man, this is exciting. I've already got a great hook in my mind.

Thank you, Mark and Dan, for putting this insane idea into my brain.

How I forget

Dan sent me this photo of Tom Shaw -- a magazine cover that I set up! I was, in fact, Managing Editor of this magazine and central to its transformation (along with Art Director Rob O'Lenic) to Oregon Business Magazine. This format was its second transformation, the first being from a newprint right wing Christian rag for salesmen. Yep. But the publishers wanted to turn it into a statewide business magazine because none existed at the time. We hated this title, which was the publisher's idea, and it took us over a year to convince him to change to something more professional, like Oregon Business Magazine. Duh. But it was exciting to be on the ground floor of all this. And this, believe it or not, was the last regular full-time job I had in my life! After that, I existed on grants, free lance work, royalties and part-time teaching. This is why my Social Security sucks today ha ha. But it was a great employment ride, to be honest. Never a dull moment.

A day to catch up

On various chores, many happening in the basement. And I've started to schedule actor auditions, beginning next Friday. I may have struck gold. A retired college theater director with tons of experience, acting and directing, stage and film, including improv work, is available. If he works, he'll be the main guy (in terms of story center), and I see this central character now as an arrogant, brilliant, selfish avantgarde theater director who put hyperdrama on the map, among other things, and staged far out environmental pieces at the UN and other places, a national artist of controversy.

What I like about the structure, too, is there is room for cameo monologues, people who get the invitation to the wake but decline to attend ... hope to use my visiting actor friend this way, my wife, others. Lots of room for comic and eccentric moments at the edge of the story.

Google and Verizon in Talks on Selling Internet Priority - NYTimes.com

Google and Verizon in Talks on Selling Internet Priority - NYTimes.com:

"WASHINGTON — Google and Verizon, two leading players in Internet service and content, are nearing an agreement that could allow Verizon to speed some online content to Internet users more quickly if the content’s creators are willing to pay for the privilege."

If you look at the history of media in this country, it doesn't take a genius to see that it would be highly likely that the Internet eventually would be controlled by corporations. This is a significant new step in a direction that already had begun. The great chaotic days of the net are already over and now it will become, like everything else, a territory in which there are haves and have-nots. It was fun while it lasted, and I'll probably be dead before the worst happens. Old age has many advantages.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

British government moves to dramatically cut public funding for the arts

British government moves to dramatically cut public funding for the arts

Portland lemonade stand runs into health inspectors, needs $120 license to operate | OregonLive.com

Portland lemonade stand runs into health inspectors, needs $120 license to operate | OregonLive.com

"The Heirs" at Blackbird

Andy has done a wonderful job with Blackbird Wine Shop. Such great ambiance, atmosphere, wine and cheese and good jazz always playing. First rate.

Showed "The Heirs" as part of First Wednesday. Went well. I must confess, however, that the older I get, the less I gravitate toward the social trappings of the arts. Readings, gallery openings and the like don't engage me the way they did when I was younger. I'd rather be home or on a location doing my own work.

But tonight was short and sweet, and I enjoyed it. Left quickly when it was over.

The nuts are everywhere

Check out the two stories below.

Dan Maes, Colorado Gubernatorial Candidate, Warns Of U.N. Plot To Destroy America With Bike-Sharing Programs

Dan Maes, Colorado Gubernatorial Candidate, Warns Of U.N. Plot To Destroy America With Bike-Sharing Programs

Sharron Angle Says Democrats' Agenda Violates 'The First Commandment,' Frames Reid As Dark Overlord

Sharron Angle Says Democrats' Agenda Violates 'The First Commandment,' Frames Reid As Dark Overlord

Unexpected strokes

H is very busy all week with an International Women's Art Exhibit in town, hosting various Korean ladies, leaving the house at 9 am and returning after 9 pm. Anyway, yesterday I made a huge tuna casserole to help her out, figuring she could eat on it all week -- but it ends up, she was supposed to make a potluck so used the tuna casserole, and she just called to say it was the hit of the lunch, the Korean artist ladies loved it. Which is strange since I thought it was a bit weird, had okra in it, for example, but what the heck, saved H some work and it was a hit, so everything turned out right.

I still can't believe I spaced out my music theory class.

Getting lots of responses from actors, so spending grunt time replying and sending them the story outline etc. I will start making video auditions next week. Some very very experienced actors applying, which always floors me since NO PAY is very clear in the notice, as well as using a minicam, which limits its distribution -- but the advantage here, on this project, is that I've constructed the story so there are no extras, it has a hyperdrama's strategy making every role the lead.

How did I get so ridiculously busy all of a sudden on projects that were not on the summer list?

Senior moment

I don't believe this. Yesterday I was so obsessively involved with the Shaw project that I spaced out my theory class. Need to catch up now.

History's happy pawns


The horror is too great to embrace,
to accept, to comprehend. JFK,
King, Bobby, Malcolm X, the list
so long, so goddamn long,
and the red dots begging for
connection, a red line to lead us
into the abyss.

Masochists may proceed. The rest
of us live in a dream, not
that the horrors didn't happen,
but that oh well, it's all too
extraordinary to comprehend,
far beyond our powers to fix,
when a mad dog goes wild
you lock the gate and hide.

And so we live our small lives
in denial, history's happy pawns.

--Charles Deemer

Oliver Stone's JFK

Instead of going to the basement, been answering email from actors -- so decided, as backdrop, to watch Oliver Stone's JFK again. I like it more than I remember, perhaps because I'm seeing it as a political thriller, not history, and so am focusing on its intrinsic drama, not its theories. Very gripping story, as drama and a character study.

Down memory lane

A very old friend I haven't seen in years is passing through town, retired, looking for somewhere to settle down. He played the lead in the first play of mine ever produced, a one-act "Above the Fire," in grad school, which went on to place in a national contest and confirm my move from fiction to drama. I hope I can talk him into an improvised monologue that I can use in the upcoming feature. Not sure when to expect him. He's headed to Moscow, Idaho, where I told him to look up Crooks' sons, then to Seattle, then here on his way to Salem. Maybe the weekend or next week?

Sean Penn in talks to play famed literary editor

Sean Penn in talks to play famed literary editor:

"'Genius,' the story of literary editor Max Perkins, is getting another shot at the screen."

Man, I'd love to see this.

p m carpenter's commentary: Striving for mediocrity

p m carpenter's commentary: Striving for mediocrity:

"we now rank 12th in the number of college graduates (having once led the world); and soon, 90 percent of all engineers will be working in Asia. Translation: Goodbye U.S. manufacturing.

Oh, and of course 'within five to ten years we could be a second-rate power.'"

12th in college graduates! American anti-intellectualism on the rise.

The Facebook posts Palin doesn't want you to see. - By John Dickerson - Slate Magazine

The Facebook posts Palin doesn't want you to see. - By John Dickerson - Slate Magazine:

"How much work does it take to keep everything so sanitized? To help me find out, my colleague Jeremy Singer-Vine wrote a program to capture comments to Palin's page before the clean-up crew could arrive. (Here's an explanation of how Jeremy's program works.) All these posts were initially public, if only for a few minutes. We looked at the comments to 10 Palin posts over 12 days, capturing the deletions in the 24 hours after the posts were live. In that period, a rough average of 10 percent of total posts were deleted."

Amazing. Hackers can do anything.

The ball is rolling

Just sent off story outlines to ten actors, the first to respond to a Craigs list posting. Also going onto an auditions board. And I've also contacted actors I've worked with before, three of whom seem ready to do something.

If I could cast this before the end of the month, then meet with actors through September and develop characters, then shoot in October ... that's the fuzzy plan at this stage.

First Wednesday tonight. Today, though, I am spending MUCH TIME in the basement, where all my neglected activity gets done, such as downsizing and composing.

I really like the rough cut of the first ten minutes of the Shaw piece. I am shooting Ron Hansen on Friday at his houseboat, so I can open part two with a nice river scene. I am shooting a sound man on Sunday and BJ on Tuesday, and I think that's all I'll need.


Up with a story outline in my head, now back to bed. Worked out the plot points for an improvised feature. Very doable. Want to find and meet with actors as next step. Improv exercise on tape, see if I actually can build a cast. Story requires at least 8 and up to a dozen would be good. Or even more if the talent is there. Hope to schedule this in the fall, shoot in a week after some prep work. October might be target date.

Story concerns an old guy who wants to attend his own wake so throws a "farewell wake" to say his goodbyes ... and ends up dead. Or does he?

Two people got me thinking in this direction: Mark, who got me thinking of the possibility; and Dan, who made one and showed me it can be done.

Though of course I have my very own take on how best to do this. We'll see if anything happens. I see possibilities. But it all depends on the actors, in my view. They are the clay from which to build.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

A poem by Mark Marchus


I renounce my white appearance.
Underneath I am aboriginal -- red -
Maybe. A man in search of dignity
Without identity without a land.

The aboriginal red men had their own
warped and whittled dreams - caught
in their dream catchers - then interpreted
by their shamans -- hucksters to the core.

And so what is one to be before death?
Shakespeare never answered. Perhaps we can only
loooong - that is stretch out or reformulate our enigmatic
being into a mountain or a spirit swirling around the universe.

It is hard to be really alive today. I miss the demons that
lurked in the shadowy forests. I miss the dancing dervishes who
occasionally came out of the desert night screaming loud
profane things and drawing symbols of lost empires.

Imagine a lifelong circus that refuses to travel. A circus that
only plays inside the nervous system -- me the clown. It was so
many years ago that I started the Marchus Follies in hopes that
before the show closes I’d morph into something called a “human being.”

Wilderness toilet

Clipped from a wilderness video by Mark Marchus. Imagine if Haiti had had a few million of these around! For complete video and more info, go to Wilderness Toilet Website. (By the way, that's yours truly playing banjo on the sound track! My first banjo credit.)


On August 3, 1959, I joined the Army in Oakland, California. I was living in a makeshift tree house I had built in Strawberry Canyon in Berkeley. I had my one meal a day on a free meal ticket from the recruiting station in Oakland. I hitched from Berkeley and visited every recruiter, took every possible test, trying to stretch out my free meal a day for as long as I could. Finally it was time to put up or shut up. No more meal tickets. I joined the Army, even though I was a Navy brat, because it was 3 years, not 4. I went wherever my recruiter wanted to put me, which happened to be into the Army Security Agency because I had some college background. I became a Russian linguist. With another recruiter, I may have driven a tank. In fact, the Army was the most intense educational and intellectual experience of my life, primarily because I was in a small company in which I was one of 3 without a Masters degree in the Humanities. I had 98 Big Brothers who kept giving me books to read. It was incredible. I thank that Oakland recruiter often. He changed and shaped my life.

My mother almost had a heart attack when she learned I'd joined the Army, not the Navy. Dad got it, though.  And his three brothers, all Army guys, loved it.

Good visit

Had a very nice visit with the couple now living in what was Shaw's house in the 80s. The basement bar and office, however, are significantly smaller than I remember. Have I grown that much ha ha?

Driving home, the day finally finally sunny after morning grayness, I reminded myself how blessed I am and how much I love what I'm doing, making these little digital movies for the internet, even if only interviews with writers, but especially something more creative -- and a new project will happen in fall, I'm sure -- I wouldn't want to change a thing.

Then someone suggested I start a screenwriters' group and I almost threw out my back from laughing so hard. Why o why o why on earth would I fuck up a good thing, doing my thing, to do something like that, which inherently is full of social politics, aesthetic oneupmanship, marketing stress, and all manner of distractions from the Good Life I have today, a marketplace of one, doing my thing, great great fun, and nobody, not a single solitary soul, intervening between me and the good work, which has a home, which means existence, and so what about the rest? If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

University of Oregon ranks No. 1 in gay-friendliness | OregonLive.com

University of Oregon ranks No. 1 in gay-friendliness | OregonLive.com

Today's shoot

Tom's old basement office. Won't take long. 3 more interviews to do, then I think I have enough.

Monday, August 02, 2010

The TOP 10 Party Schools (PHOTOS)

The TOP 10 Party Schools (PHOTOS)

Cal-Santa Barbara at #8 is only west coast school.

Gulf Dead Zone The Size Of Massachusetts

Gulf Dead Zone The Size Of Massachusetts

Summer evaluation

Good time for a reality check, expectations v. accomplishments.

  • Downsizing. I give myself a D. Desk in good shape, everything else in my basement office is the usual chaos. Need to get cracking!
  • Banjo. A when class is in session, C when not. Definitely can improve, the sooner the better, with no class on the horizon.
  • Opera. B. Good recent progress on animation. But less in work on the vocal score. Another area needing quick improvement.
  • Video. After a slow start, A grade recently. 2 new interviews up, 2 new projects for the review in progress. I think the Tom Shaw video will be special, an important addition to the net archive.
  • Overall grade ... hard to say ... B- maybe because I'm so far behind on downsizing.

Dairy Queen on Southeast Division Street going strong after 41 years | OregonLive.com

Dairy Queen on Southeast Division Street going strong after 41 years | OregonLive.com

Only mention this because 30+ years ago, DQ being down the road from Tom Shaw Productions, I spent some time here. Today TSP is a vacant lot and DQ still goes strong. Fast food 1, film 0.

U.S. To Account For Just 30% Box Office – Deadline.com

U.S. To Account For Just 30% Box Office – Deadline.com:

"Overseas income will continue to rise, according to consultants Screen Digest. The US share of box office will fall to 30% by 2014."

The trouble with obsession

All my other projects get neglected. Sometimes it's better to a little on each rather than a lot on one.

Celtx Script for iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad on the iTunes App Store

Celtx Script for iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad on the iTunes App Store


Age hasn't stopped my obsessive work patterns when I am fully engaged in a project -- in the Shaw video at the moment. Have a good rough cut of the first 10 minutes. This may be a 30 or more video. Great fun and also looking good. I have shooting lined up every day this week now! And an important one to schedule for next week.

First Wednesday

I'll be showing my short film The Heirs on Wednesday. Also on the program are Dennis McBride, Elizabeth Archers and Nina Lary. It's at Blackbird Wine Shop as usual, on NE Fremont, 7-9 pm, always well attended, always a good time. The shop has cheese as well as wine now. A great spot. This will be my public appearance for the year ha ha.

Shaw progresses

So much help and info on Tom Shaw coming out of the gray skies ... someone should do a "real documentary" for the screen on him. A few are disappointed this is not what I am doing.

A busy week ahead!

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Deepak Chopra's God 2.0 | Big Questions Online

Deepak Chopra's God 2.0 | Big Questions Online:

"The 'quantum flapdoodle' of the New Age author is a failed effort to update medieval theology."

What a great day

First, the usual invigorating conversation with MM at breakfast at Joe's. Then I met Dan Yost at the vacant lot where once Tom Shaw Productions had its small office studio, and I got quite a bit of footage of Dan remembering his experiences with Shaw. There will be a ton of negative commentary on Shaw, so it's good to get Dan, myself, and a few others who will have positive things to say as well. Tom was no director, which pretty much doomed all his projects, but he also had good qualities and talent as an inventor.

This project has a good start. Got an email from Penny Allen that she'll get back to me -- she's shooting a movie. I don't if this is in Paris, where she mainly lives, or in the States.

I feel like screwing off the rest of the day. Play with the dog.

H is busy with an international arts conference, this all week, and I'll shoot the opening Thurs night at the PSU gallery.

The summer has finally become what I had hoped, except for the weather.

Tom Shaw

I'm going to do a video piece for the review on Tom Shaw, quite a character in the film community here in the seventies and eighties. I worked for him from time to time. He was the area's porno king who made terrible action films, two of which got distributed. That's him on the right. He had no directing talent but considerable inventor talent and mainly had a heart of gold, helping out many young film artists here, including Penny Allen and Gus Van Sant. Yost and I agreed he is a forgotten figure.

Brooding about chamber opera

In that creative state between sleep and wakefulness, this morning I found myself brooding about my chamber opera video, not about content but about methodology. I came up with a new approach. The challenge, in Alice, has always been synchronizing image and music. This is easy to do in the video editor -- so why the hell try and do it in Alice itself? This means a different approach to Alice, a different activity, now using it largely in two ways, primarily to build "sets" which then are activated in the editor, or to create types of movement, such as a rotating camera, that are easier in Alice than in the editor. But all synchronization happens along the timeline in the editor.

I created some quick images in Alice and imported them into the editor and saw immediately that this is the way to go, I have much more control. This is damn exciting!

Also, I decided to return to my earlier chamber opera, Morning/Mourning, because it has only two characters and is shorter than Life Is A Nice Place To Visit. Do the easier project first.

But this new methodology has my juices flowing.

I also like the stark look of the set. I want it to look like a basement theater space.