Tuesday, May 16, 2006
Rainy and warm
Yesterday was pretty much a lost day. I was out of sorts and didn’t feel like doing anything.
I did, however, manage to cough up three short articles and get them out; one’s already come back with a small edit, which I did this morning and returned.
It’s official – the television show on which I worked this past season was cancelled by the network. I suspected it would be, but was still hopeful. And, without it, I’m still in mourning. It was a great group of people, and I will be sorry not to be around them regularly in the fall. I wish what we shot was actually what ended up on screen – this is a piece I feel was butchered in post, which is usually where a lot of creation comes in.
Ironically, my last paycheck from the show also arrived yesterday.
So, I’m mourning, and then I have to get going and find other work. I’ll miss that television money terribly. On a long day with overtime, I could earn in one day what I earned in nearly a week of theatre.
The pilot I worked on last fall, just before I landed the series gig, was picked up as a series order, but pushed back to midseason. They’re shooting now, so they’ll have a chance to get the entire season shot before it ever airs. It will be interesting to watch the pilot, on which I worked, and then the actual series, handled by a different team.
As a crew member, it’s much easier to just show up, do the gig and go home, because you have the department heads and creative team (if they’re any good) shielding you from the politicking so you can do your job without interference. I don’t know how the creative team can be creative with all the crap that goes down. That’s where having an excellent producer comes in handy. A truly good producer is involved in the creative element, yet trusts his creative team and protects the vision they all (hopefully) share. At the same time, he or she is a master people-handler, so that the moneylenders feel included, but aren’t given enough access to completely destroy the creative product. Which, nine times out of ten, they hurt it anyway, even with a good producer. The producer has to run interference and do damage control more than anything else.
I did a mountain of paperwork in reference to the Situation and am nowhere near finished. I wish I could stay home and do more today, but let’s not kid ourselves, I still wouldn’t finish. I’d just wander around being pointless.
I’m pretty sure I have to cancel this weekend’s trip to Massachusetts and Maine, since the area is underwater. Even if the roads were clear, by traveling, we’d get in the way of Emergency Services personnel. We’re better off staying here – where it well may flood today. My grandmother will be very disappointed, and, with the Situation escalating as badly as it is, I have no idea when I can get back up there again.
I did a couple of pages on Real, which were a struggle. I’ve messed up the Florence section. I got the geography right, I’ve got the plot right, but there’s no sense of place, so I have to go back and make the location a character – which is the reason you shoot on location in the first place. I still haven’t fixed the Monaco bit, either. Usually, I’d just move on and not worry; in this case, I’m wondering if I have to fix it before I move on, since I seem to have hit a pothole in the creative process.
I started reading a biography of Charlotte Perkins Gilman. I had no idea she was related to the Beechers, and that Harriet Beecher Stowe, Catherine Beecher, and Isabella Beecher Hooker were her aunts. Talk about a family that was brilliant and dysfunctional on enormous levels all at once. Shows how organized religion can warp even intelligent people.
Speaking of organized religion, I don’t understand why there’s so much fuss about The Da Vinci Code, book and movie. If someone is secure in personal beliefs, that person doesn't have to yell and scream "blasphemy." The person can sit down and calmly discuss the beliefs and offer reasons and proof, not just "the Bible says so" and "that's the way it is." The book is fiction, for crying out loud, and it’s talking about theories that have floated around for hundreds of years. Few of the ideas in the book are new. Well over twenty years ago there was a flood of information on all of this, when Holy Blood Holly Grail and The Gnostic Gospels got a lot of attention. And, if you go back and read some of historical documents used in both of the above, it’s far more interesting than the fiction. Whether one believes it or not is a personal choice, based on a combination of belief and historical perspective. I didn’t think the book was that good, although I’m interested in how it translates to film, and I think it was really amazing and wonderful that they shot in the Louvre. I read the book on a plane to Houston a few years ago. It was a decent plane read, but I was ahead of it the entire time (probably because I’d read the research materials over twenty years ago) and knew where it was going, and wasn’t that surprised or impressed with how it got there. I’m glad that the author’s made enough money from it to do whatever the heck he wants from now on, more power to him. But there are plenty of books out there that I find more powerful, on many levels. It’s a piece of fiction, the author has the right to his point of view, people are fascinated. I wonder how many people who are fussing about blasphemy even read it? It’s that always the case, though? Those who howl loudest are the ones with the least information and the least interest in doing the homework to find out if there’s actually a basis for the howls. Mind set of a herd of sheep.
The History Channel has an interesting documentary on it all, with extremely articulate and intelligent historians and theologians discussing both points of view. I was heartened to see that they found a strong balance for both points of view, instead of simply searching out raving lunatics for one side or the other. The points where history and fiction split are always interesting. And no one charged anyone with being “wrong” or “blasphemous” – it was simply, “here’s historical evidence, here’s my interpretation based on this, this, and this. This is of the time, this is a more modern viewpoint. Here’s where they are similar; here’s where they diverge.”
That sort of balanced presentation and discussion is what’s needed, because it gets people thinking and talking on their own, and hunting down pieces of history that interest them. In that vein, I think the fuss over book and movie is quite positive.
I better go eat something or I will be one cranky person at the theatre.