Tuesday, October 31, 2006

HAPPY HALLOWE'EN!


Happy Halloween! We've had our first official PRODUCTION MEETING, gathering together all the relevant department heads -- production design, wardrobe, production manager, computer effects team, my first assistant director etc -- at the ungodly hour of 8 30 am. I don't know WHO chose this ridiculous time for a meeting, but they are going to get the sharp edge of my tongue when I find out.

It's not that i don't simply ADORE waking in complete darkness and hauling myself off to the YMCA at 5 00 am for my daily workout - heaven knows there's nothing more effective than doing aerobics before your eyes have completely opened.

Speaking of which, the Montreal Downtown Y is a beautiful structure and well worth a visit, even if you are not, as the French say, "sportif". But take my advice and just get a Regular Membership. What they don't tell you at the front desk is that the ONLY people who can afford the Plus Membership with its separate carpeted locker room and daily newspapers are old, hairy and vulgar men who sit saggy and naked in the TV lounge and give themselves amateur pedicures while they watch the hockey game. Not a terribly inviting idea, even if it costs only twenty bucks more per month.

No, my advice would be to save your money and hang out in the locker room with the financially disadvantaged -- yet extraordinarily well endowed -- younger French men ALL of whom, I have been told, are genetically pre-dispositioned to bisexuality. And even if nothing "untoward" happens to you in the sauna or steam room, at least you're not in danger of being blinded by flying toenail clippings.



Needless to say, I was not in a particularly good mood as I was driven to one of Montreal's more windswept corners, where several large and abandoned airplane hangers have been strung together and turned into a rough approximation of Hollywood soundstages. While they are utterly garish on the outside, calling far too much attention to themselves and their owner in a rather Freudian display of Size Compensation, they seem perfectly functional within. I wish the same could've been said of breakfast.

Several rather euphemistically labelled "sandwiches" made the rounds of the table, literally dripping with animal fats and lard, and they were in turn washed down with "coffee" which would make Juan Valdez put a bullet in his brain. The meeting proceeded along the usual lines of film production, with all hands voicing their various concerns - nothing we haven't heard before of course, as this is - to quote Ms. Faye Dunaway in her sadly-overlooked-at-Oscar-time role in "Mommie Dearest" - not my first time at the rodeo. My first AD however is another story; for the uninitiated, he is my "right hand man", as it were, charged with keeping the production rolling along smoothly on the set. Usually a cool head is required in this position, someone who can temper the creative madness of filmmaking with the clinical efficiency of a Columbian Hit Man.

However, far from coming up with solutions to problems, our Chicken Little continually whined about how he didn't see anyway to make the movie in 22 days, as his schedule clearly required 30. I kindly, but firmly, reminded him we only HAD 22 days and while his opinion was valued it was not, in the end, the one that mattered. I know we can make a very good film in 22 days - perhaps not the one he sees in his head, but then it's not his name over the title now is it?

He seemed mollified, but I have a sneaking suspicion I may be finding a new glove to wear on my right hand.



And speaking of "not my first time at the rodeo", one of the Canadian pay movie channels is running a week of horror movies to celebrate All Hallow's Eve, and to my considerable mortification they devoted an entire night to the PROM NIGHT series of films, two of which bear my name as either writer, director or both. While I managed to see several of the erstwhile "highlights" shown in commercials for the event, I couldn't bring myself to watch either HELLO MARY LOU (2) nor THE LAST KISS (3) in their entirety.

Having your earliest cinematic efforts dredged up and splattered across television screens 20 years later is humbling, to say the least. It's rather akin to having your very first sexual experience recorded for posterity and then once a year, just after Christmas dinner say, somebody shows the videotape to your entire family. You try to protest, but of course EVERYBODY wants to see.

So you sit there, transfixed at the macabre spectacle of your own earnest past, watching your awkward fumblings, your inadequacies and all your horrible mistakes play themselves out again and again...and the worst part of it is THERE'S NOTHING YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT NOW. No matter how much better you think you are today, no matter how many skills you feel you've picked up over the years, you will always be judged by your very first lay...

But, as they say, there's no sense crying over spilt...uh...fluids. The best I've been able to do in these situations is just put on a brave face and remind myself that the money I made from my first time has long been spent...

The same goes for the movies.

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