i just finished my movie– yay!! well, i finished shooting it anyway. (big grin) oh, how could i forget, more great news: i was accepted into the lincoln center theater director’s lab. this year’s focus is political work, which couldn’t be more needed and on the ball.

i am absolutely thrilled and now a different kind of fun starts– editing! i’m cutting, but first, i’ve gotta tell you about this shoot. we shot the performance interludes for the doc. the talent was off the hook. aside from a few pre-pro snafus, every single performer came through in a huge way. i am so proud of each of them, and urge everyone to read about (and hire them) on the talent link of the ‘knives in my throat’ section.

i also had a really creative and supportive dp and production designer. if folks are willing to come out and work hard for you for free, then when there’s budget, these are the first people to call. we even had fabulous p.a.’s– the super enthusiastic tal, fabrizio, steven, and john were standouts.

i broke my virginity on 2 fronts: (a) i directed a close friend and (b) i directed myself. one of my rules had been to never hire best friends– they don’t take you seriously, and feel like they are helping a friend vs. doing real work. i broke that rule and was very pleasantly surprised. my buddy did her thing! then, i had a performer flake on 2 rehearsals the week before the shoot, and dusted off the old acting skills to replace her. of course, this scene was the last of the day when we had to be out of the space, and there was no time for playback. go figure, the still photographer is in the shot. however, there’s more than enough to work with and despite all of the self-criticisms that i’m biting my tongue on, it was well done.

of course there are always headaches, diary, so i’ll spare you those, and instead tell you about the migranes. the night before the shoot, i had a crew member basically extort money from me. now, every single ad that i ran for this shoot said non-union/no pay. as we grew close and still couldn’t find sound (definitely not somewhere to skimp), this crew member suggested a friend who was very on the ball, and i was definitely grateful.

then, the night before the shoot, this crew member called and said, “well i need my day rate, since other people are getting paid.” the only person getting paid throughout cast and crew was this person’s friend! i was so nauseated by this negativity that at first i started to explain to this person my dire financial situation, then i made a quick decision: reach into my lunch money for the rest of the month, pay this person so that they will actually show up as they’ve got their own bad karma coming to them.

another crew member totally missed meetings and disappeared from the radar a couple of days before the shoot– no calls, emails, or returned calls. assuming that for whatever reason, the awol crew member had quit, we tried, as best we could, to fill in gaps caused by this person’s absence. then, the night before the shoot, i get an email saying “i need someone to pick me up on the corner of x street at 5am!” the excuse, “oh, i just got caught up.” (no apology!) when i called her, she said, “telling me you made other provisions is just a passive aggressive way of firing me.” firing you!? how can we fire someone who appears to have quit? ai dios mio, i’m laughing out loud, now…

i’m cutting on avid xpress dv, but taking a 3 week hiatus first so that i can come to the project fresh after a year and a half. during this ‘break,’ i’m putting gas into some other projects: re-cutting an old short, packaging 2 book projects, and starting a script i’ve been co-writing.

i’ve gotta go stock up my homeland security closet, being that we have a john wayne wannabe running the oval office into the ground, and all of us along with him. artists, now more than ever is your time to flex your muscles as public intellectuals. please. the hottest places in hell are reserved for those who remain neutral in times of conflict and controversy. who said that originally?