“The fire has to be right for stew. Too low, and it’ll lack taste. Too high, it’ll scald. There’s a lesson in that.”
I finally saw The Grandmaster, and now I look at everything in life through the eyes of a wise, old Kung Fu master.
Meliza and I are six months today, and to celebrate, we decided to go have overpriced dinner in complete darkness. No phones. No watches. No cameras allowed. Locker provided.
Before going in, I accidentally slammed the door of the locker against my finger, and for a split second, it was the most painful thing in the world.
Less than half an hour later, the pain was completely gone.
In the dark, with four infrared cameras looking at me, I told Meliza —
“Half an hour ago, I smashed my finger and it was the most painful thing in the world. Right now, I don’t even remember which finger it was. There’s a lesson in that”>
I love the music video for Macklemore’s Can’t Hold Us; it’s grand in a way very few music videos today are. Having said that, there’s something about it that really bothers me: the description below the video, in which Ryan Lewis wrote about credits, the people involved in the video, and how basically — directing a movie is a very overrated job.
I find that people who say things like that have either zero respect for their audience, or a fundamental misunderstanding of what a director actually does.
A film (commercial, music video, or whatever) needs a vision, and that’s provided by the director. Without a vision — the single lens with which the entire project is viewed through — the project would be pointless. An incomprehensible piece of crap.
Or as it’s known in France, art.
Granted, sometimes the person holding the title of “Director” might not necessarily be doing any of the actual directing, but that doesn’t mean that the director is useless; it just means that the wrong person was credited.
The ingredients of the souffle are not the souffle…
Just like Chungking Express looks nothing like The Limits of Control looks nothing like the new Ai weiwei music video, the director — whoever that may be, regardless of what the actual credits may say — is the person responsible for the final look and feel of the film. Or commercial. Or music video.
The director has a responsibility first and foremost to the project, then to his/her cast and crew, and then to the audience. He/she is entrusted to make the decisions that will result in the best possible outcome for the project, so it’s perfectly okay for the director to receive all the credit. Not because he/she did most of the work, in fact, precisely the opposite.
Because it’s not about actual work-done, it’s about responsibility.>
I read in an article somewhere that what brings people together — the glue with which the bond we call friendship is held — is not similar interests, but common problems. That’s why single people lose their married friends, the writer argued, because their primary problems in life are no longer similar. One guy is looking to break his dry spell tonight, the other is looking for a good pediatrician.
Earlier tonight, Matt was telling me how the friends he made over at his previous job are some of the closest people in his life. The way he described the job, it wasn’t just a job, it was war —
“Us against the man,” he said.
— which was what reminded me of the aforementioned article.
I can probably count on the fingers of one hand the number of people I consider very close friends. One, two, three…
Yes I can. I just did, and Rita was on the index — the only person on the hand whom I’ve known for less than eighteen months.
The “How” was simple: We’re roommates; that’s how we became acquainted in the first place.
What boggles is the “Why” — why did we become friends? We have very little intersecting interests; the lenses with which we view the world are vastly different; and our primary problems in life couldn’t be farther apart. And yet still…
I love this woman like a big sister — a best friend and a confidant — which is why I was horrifed a couple of months ago when we ran into a little hiccup with the apartment and were at the verge of getting kicked out. My biggest fear at the time was that we’d stop being friends if we stopped living together. Thankfully, the issue got resolved and we managed to keep the apartment.
Today — even now — that fear is still alive, lurking somewhere in the shadows of the universal set of my non-intersecting venn diagram. But for some reason, it’s a lot easier to deal with now. Maybe it’s the fact that the whole hiccup with the apartment was a shared struggle, something that bonded us and brought us closer than we’ve ever been. Or we’ve both grown to a point where we don’t need each other as much as we used to. Or I’m just starting to see the fear for what it really is — irrational.
Maybe it’s just the simple knowledge that even when your big sister grows up, gets married, and moves to a different state, she’s still going to be your big sister.
No amount of distance can change that.>
Thinking of having a shot from inside the fridge/safe/cabinet looking back at your subject? No. Kindly wheel that idea back to the nursing home where it belongs. A person hitting the alarm clock early in the morning? Just stop. Moving clouds sped up?
Matt and I went to see the new Fast and Furious movie today, and while it was a lot of fun (I highly recommend it if you enjoyed the last one), I was also reminded of at least one more scene that needs to be retired from movie screens forever. It’s the let-me-tell-you-how-badass-this-badass-is intro scene.
You know the scene I’m talking about —
A guy walks into a room full of computers and he looks at another guy, usually a guy with glasses sitting at one of said computers, and the guy with the glasses starts telling the first guy how badass the guy whose picture they’re looking at on the giant LCD screen is.
“He graduated top of his class, MIT, and then joined the Marines. He was one of the best; stationed in Iraq, Afghanistan and Croatia. And then in 2010, he suddenly went off the radar. No one has seen or heard from him since… until now”
Jack Reacher, I’m looking at you.>
My relationship on set with Sergiu is that of push and pull: he pushes for something he wants, and I pull it away.
He’ll say something like —
“No sir, with the resources we have at hand, you can’t have that shot, but how do you feel about shooting it like this instead?”
And then we reach a compromise. We almost always reach a compromise.
You see, I come from the Robert Rodriguez school of film where if you have a bus, you shoot a movie around a bus, and not the other way round. It’s a very pragmatic way of filmmaking, which by definition is very limiting.
Sergiu is not like that at all. He is unrestricted. His imagination goes far and wide; homeboy comes up with some of the craziest ideas and I just sit and look at him, contemplating whether or not some of the ideas are even filmable.
He pushes me to the edge of my comfort zone and then just a little bit further, at which point I pull him back so we can actually make the video a reality.
It’s a mostly good relationship.
But every now and then, Sergiu surprises me. Like how he told me he wanted to shoot a scene in a hospital for this video, and I told him we couldn’t.
“Let’s just get a bed and some white sheets and fake it in your living room”, I said.
Lo and behold, he made it happen. I don’t know how he did it, but homeboy made it happen.
My neighborhood is photogenic at night, if I may say so myself.>
That old myth about saying “yes to life” and landing a dame like Zooey Deschanel… it’s a lie. A con orchestrated by Hollywood in cahoots with Jim Carrey to part you with your hard-earned dollars.
The power of “Yes” is overrated.
I’ve wanted a tiny camera to carry around for a long time now, so when I found out that a colleague of mine was selling his, I asked to try it out. He gave it to me for a day, and I walked with it home from the office.
I like this camera a lot. It’s tiny, light, and shoots raw — exactly the kind of carry-around camera I’m looking for. A month ago, I would’ve bought this camera in a heartbeat despite it being a very financially irresponsible thing to do.
But not today.
I’ve been saying “Yes” a lot lately, and my life is as devoid of a manic pixie as it’s ever been. So I’m changing things up a bit.
I will not move your dining room table. No, I will not edit your long overdue school project. No, I will not shoot your marketing video. No, I will not talk on the phone right now. No, I will not come to your open mic gig. No, that’s not a bloody rat hanging from my backpack — it’s a fucking kangaroo!
Also, when I return the camera tomorrow and my colleague asks if I would like to buy it, I will politely say No. Sorry, no. Really, I love the camera, but no. Sorry. No.
Because “Yes” is overrated, and good things happen when you say “No”.>
Late night at the office working on the new Carla’s Dreams music video. And Ghis is my accomplice.>