december 13 2013 while continuing to wait for the feature film to take its first steps, about two weeks ago while painting a bedroom a few ideas started to latch together and i began to develop a small thing on the side to keep me from getting bored.... i wrote about half of it in the next few days and it continues to grow. it might be good for me to have something to work on, and
if this gets made it needs to be done fast, cheap, and with minimal fuss. the weather has been freezing all month, unseasonably so, and there have been lots of fireplace board game nights and beer that tastes like gingerbread. |
"the end of the world" is here and it is glittery and strange. the book's cover has gold foil printed on it and every time a new box of them is unwrapped, gold dust flutters everywhere. for some reason during production i was worrying about the book being too bulky like some ostentatious coffee table art book thing, but for the first time in my hands it now seems more like a weird little hardcover children's picture book. i think while making it i only ever physically held it with the proof pages printed single-sided only, and that dumbly attached itself in my head to always picturing it twice as thick. i'm not sure if anyone will like this thing but it sure looks pretty.
"You won't sleep
very much tonight.
When you do, you'll fall asleep
with strange fish all around you."
november 25 a flashy opening scene immediately followed by, "___ days / weeks / months earlier...." is the most horrible screenwriting trend in years. it's in almost every film now. i can't avoid it.
november 20 "Baffin went ashore to take the distance of the Portuguese fort and received a shot into his belly, wherewith he gave three leaps and died immediately."
november 18 this product review is also the opening sentence to your next novel: "The coat rack began to tilt after eight months."
"the end of the world" is being published in december, bringing to a close the strangest creative exercise i have been a part of and i'm a little surprised it's finally going to be released at all.
the very first scraps of it showed up in 2003, and for maybe one week out of each of the following few years i'd remember it, stare at it from different angles, add a new thing or two, wonder what on earth i was doing, throw it back into the sea, and return to whatever film i was making. until this year, i think the longest time spent on it in one sitting was a couple of months in 2009 when i revised everything significantly and added several new sections... before abandoning it all again.
it was growing into a place for all the spare parts that didn't work in any of the films to trickle down into... and in the other direction, often a place to steal things from. at one point someone says, "dad, no, wait, the bike's still chained to the truck," a line appearing in "wisdom teeth" in 2010, but actually written for "the end of the world" the year before.
there are even moments written many years ago for the book that are finding their way into projects not even released yet.
so while the book does not represent ten years of work by any stretch of the imaginaton, it does represent ten years of buried ideas: homeless scenes, dead ends, stories too strange to tell elsewhere, things drawn in the dark and soon forgotten. it was an enormous non-linear puzzle of stuff to finally try and shape into something legible, in the early years more mood piece than anything, then a sort-of narrative surfacing enough to chip away at, and in 2009, a main character. i threw out enough content from the now-216-page book to fill another book the same size, added significant sections to it only a few months ago, and was still rearranging the order of everything only a few weeks ago.
if the films were albums, i guess these would be the b-sides. reading it all back now, i have as many memories of creating it over the years as i have memory gaps... so many lonely late night sparks in santa barbara when i needed a break to do anything but animate. it is sad and jazzy, occasionally much funnier than it maybe deserves to be, and reminds me of something sort of lost and ghostly that i can't quite put my finger on
things people say to me around town:
are you in line?
excuse me are you in line?
come on man get up off the floor
is he in line?
i forgot the word for dishwasher and thought, it's time to run the kitchen laundry
i have a heavy cold that seems to have shut down parts of my head and made me a better piano player. it is very peaceful
october 15 so.... here we are, with another day
had to drive across town early this morning and spotted a small middle aged woman quietly going through the trash of the strip club, her children playing obliviously nearby, and had a sudden memory of one of the few faces i remember from santa barbara, oddly, a skinny old asian man i'd see almost daily wearing a gigantic sun hat and surgical mask hunting through the neighborhood dumpsters with a four foot pole in search of cans and bottles, whenever he'd pass you in the parking lot he'd say, "HI!" in sort of a proud shout
ive added a strange little prologue to the new screenplay and i think i like it but i'm not sure yet.
it's still the calm before the storm of preproduction so i have been wandering around shooting handguns, rowing kayaks, and riding bikes.
i found myself in a very empty acapulco last month, stormy deserted beaches with riptides that swallowed my sunglasses, people are too afraid to travel there now because of all the crazy gang violence but i only saw one guy get killed with machetes in the restaurant.
there is thunder right now and the cat has flown under the bed
also i want to release an album called "flinching in the darkness" but i'm not sure what would be on it
august 11 this dumb cat keeps throwing up on the white carpet and i yell and he goes to a corner and looks sad and then i feel sad and then we're both sad
i was in guanajuato last week where we drunkenly salsa danced with strange women every night, battled raging insomnia, climbed down a secret graveyard staircase to view a gallery of corpses at midnight, had my jacket stolen, ate like pigs, found films on dvd that don't exist, swam in the sun within white cave walls, drank strange things on the side of the road, and lost my glasses in the mud of an underground laser tunnel party, trampled by a thousand people. not in that order. i did not see any films at the film festival. but i did an OK job answering questions after my own. at the end of it all i extended my trip for three more days without knowing where i was to stay, without a flight home, or any way of seeing objects at a distance. sometimes this sort of thing needs to happen. i found "song of the south" in a bootleg dvd shop but was disappointed to learn it was dubbed. drunkenly watching him sing "zip a lee looo laaaaah" in out of sync spanish late at night in a mexican hotel room is a unique experience and i had a sad vision of the end of the world.
i came home to friends from out of town aNd an immediate birthday party where i woke up to find the little mermaid's pinata head impaled on a pike in the backyard. in the night it slowly spins in circles. it's been hard to settle back into quietly working again after all this but i'm almost through with this book thing and am able to push it a little further each day. but mainly it's just strange to be back.
also mexico travel tip: if you don't speak spanish, mezcal and mescaline are two very different things to ask for
july 14 "the act of killing" is an amazing documentary that's going into limited release this summer. find it if you can
"her flesh was the colour of rough concrete"
july 13 hi, sorry i've been away. it looks like the new feature film will be taking its first big steps forward into previsualization and preproduction in just a couple of months and i'm now beginning to feel that old familiar exciting blend of suspicion and dread. while waiting for all the details to be worked out with funding, ive been polishing up and finally finishing this book thing that has been floating around for so many years i can't even remember anymore. it may be released before the end of the year. "book" is a word i use very loosely here. this all sounds like it's been a busy summer so far but really ive just been floating around in the backyard and reading books and looking at this cat sit around in different rooms.
the other day i visited the harry ransom center here in austin and uncovered some buried treasure in their archives, heaps of original edward gorey manuscripts, notes, and sketches. i took a few pictures on the fly
in regards to ants: it is not their fault that they are ants
movies, please stop beginning with a scene that's immediately followed by, "____ months earlier..."
the best places to eat while on the road are those in which your menu is a placemat
"they are females in the morning and become males at night. their method of pollination is unknown. some sort of beetle is suspected."
may 15 right before you die you will be feeling really terrible
may 14 from now on this journal will be nothing but complimentary sound effects. please note, they are royalty-free but may not be used commerically.
may 9 a cat will be sitting on something you want to read
may 8 there are fireflies
may 7 have a drink tonight for ray harryhausen, whose name on a film made it required viewing
some creature landed on the roof the other night and tore out several tiles. i'm not sure to what purpose as it seems to have given up once it reached the wood of the house and tomorrow i will climb up there and try to patch things up. it is warm and summery again and there are fireflies and swimming and the cat throws up a lot.
i've been trying to train myself better at the piano but i will never be able to play this difficult chopin piece as it ought to sound. i am just good enough to know i will never be good enough.
going to give the script another run through the wringer this week. we're at a strange stage right now where the movie has already potentially landed good producers and finances, surprisingly quickly, but with nobody quite knowing yet how exactly to proceed... the picture is so unusual i think everyone involved will experience quite a learning curve.
"it's such a beautiful day" had a really great opening in london this month, the uk critics were incredibly kind and bestowed an unusual amount of national coverage to what was basically a one-site screening... so its run has been extended and now also spreading out to other spots in the uk. if we'd had that kind of press support in every city on the US tour i would probably still be out on the road with it, getting fat and handsome in a las vegas sort of way.
a few weeks ago
the national film board of canada asked me to do a short little thing to help promote their upcoming app, a tribute to norman mclaren than simulates his scratch on film process. the app has little needle and razorblade tools that i sort of fingerpainted with on an ipad over the course of a couple days. i'm not sure how i feel about the result but the ipad has been sorta fun to scribble around with
in general, i've never drawn on a tablet before. haven't tried with a stylus yet. sadly, i think animating so much over the years has pounded a lot of the joy of drawing out of me... the thought of picking up a pencil and paper to draw something is a bit stressful now. in fact lately i think you can probably sense a lot of the stress in the lines. but scrawling little things on a tablet with my fingers feels like a bit of a vacation somehow. in my usual 20th century style i am the last person to learn about these things
before i forget, next month i will be returning to the bonaroo music festival to show some things in the cinema tent saturday afternoon. paul mccartney has graciously agreed to open for me with a set on friday night.
april 30 a bald child with shit in his pants shall toddle over your grave, oblivious as your head bursts apart with insects below
april 29 after watching "that's so raven" did people used to go, "ha ha ha, that was SO raven"
april 28 there was a grey spirit outside your window this morning making this face :< before disappearing forever
april 27 good morning! today you have little dog feet
april 26 "unwanted life-changing spiritual experiences"
kool tip: forgot your laptop charger? a laptop can be recharged on wind power by swinging it around violently in the air
april 21 "sleep, those little slices of death. how i loathe them."
i think i'm finally going to dust off and finish this graphic novel that is not really a graphic novel. it has been on and off the shelf for ages, i think the earliest primitive bits came around in 2003 and as i worked on the films over the next decade i would half-heartedly add or subtract until i'd give up on it again. but i have the time and the patience for it now, and i think i know what to do
it's been interesting to draw this thing without being able to use sound or movement or editing. a film is the least immediate way to tell a story, drawing thousands of pictures in slow motion over years, but it is the most immediate way to experience one. a comic book is the most immediate way to tell a story, draw it once and it's done, but it is the least immediate way to experience one.
april 20 on tuesday, everyone on the planet will turn 47 years old
april 19 you will pull a weed from the driveway and have a sudden, jolting memory of your sister margaret, who you haven't seen in twelve years
april 17 if you have a dog, he will momentarily turn into david bowie at 4:30. if you do not have a dog, you really should have gotten a dog
april 12 in 100 years, crime scene photographs of your murder will be sold in coffee table art books
april 10 most people from the future are not alive yet except for walter and xarrefnof
april 9 balloons are the offspring of ghosts and tires
april 5 eventually someone will paint over the walls of your house, wondering what you were thinking
april 5 i am going to try and return to the drawing desk today if i can remove this cat from the chair
march 29 the new screenplay is done. mostly.
march 28 the moon is enormous and the night smells of play-doh
march 21 2013
devouring more research and trying to enrich this script before a self-imposed april 1 deadline. rewriting is always a strange thing, you will do something good and get quite excited, and the next morning feel like it's still a big depressing mess, do another good thing and get excited, later decide it's still a depressing mess, and repeat daily. all the while knowing that the version of the script you'll have in another month will put this one to shame but later, in turn, be in itself, a big depressing mess.
but i'm at the point now where a few more rounds of this will straighten it up, give it a lunchbox, and at least allow it to be ready to wander out the front door and be read by people who are not me.
sara is crashing in the guest room indefinitely and when she goes to work in the morning it is quite strange and suddenly feels like everyone is off to school and i am sitting at home sick or something. even though it's just like all my other days alone here it feels odd to be left behind now and i have to remind myself what it is that i actually do. the guest room also needs a new bed in there and i think i might get a racecar bed so in the middle of the night i could go SCREEECH and run in the room and throw a cat and ketchup all over the walls and turn the bed over