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January 7, 2020:

WEARY, BLEARY EYES

Bruce Kimmel Photograph bk's notes

Well, dear readers, we now have the Bleary Eyes Syndrome (BES) from typing all day and into the evening, having done another forty pages – might be more – I’ve kind of lost track.  I have no idea if this book will interest anyone for any reason, but I’m having fun despite the length it’s going to be, which is probably not as long as I think once it’s spaced properly.  I will cut it down if it’s not holding interest, but right now it’s holding MY interest, so that’s good.  But I have to give it to Muse Margaret to see what she thinks about it.

Yesterday was a weary, bleary eyes day.  Weary, Bleary Eyes – that sounds like a country and western song.  I was up at eleven, having gotten almost eight hours of sleep.  Once up and once coherent, I began the futzing and finessing.  Because I hadn’t done that yesterday, I had almost ninety pages to do, which took a whopping three hours.

Then I went and picked up some packages, then went to Taco Bell, got stuff, came home, and ate it.  Then I began with new pages and wrote all afternoon until I finally had to take a break – at that point I’d done twenty pages already.  Then I sat on my couch like so much fish.

Last night, I watched a DGA screener entitled 1917, a film of Sam Mendes, inspired by a family member’s remembrances of World War 1.  It’s a bit of a slog, mostly because you know nothing about anyone in the film, so you’re just kind of watching at a distance.  It is involving but the style he’s chosen is just weird and I’m not sure it works – when you take away one of the key tools of filmmaking, some would say THE key tool, the editing, then you’re limiting just about everything.  The conceit is that the film is just about real time and all shot in one take, although there is one point in the film where the screen goes black and there’s a slight passage of time.

Of course, it’s not one continuous shot, so all this talk of bravura filmmaking is rather silly.  You can pretty much be sure if the camera is tracking and something suddenly appears in the extreme foreground while the camera tracks by it, that that’s where the shot ends and begins, and that happens a LOT, including one really poorly done CGI shot.  The fact that it took three months to film will tell you what you need to go.  So, I’m not sure what this one take stuff buys, but I found it robs the film of pace and dramatic impact.  Hitchcock, of course, without digital tools, did this very thing with Rope, but he had to really do it.  When Orson Welles did the astonishing opening shot of Touch of Evil he couldn’t cheat with foreground objects or other trickery – he had to choreography every second of that amazing shot down to the smallest detail, which is why it always takes the breath away.  Birdman also did this same thing, and I didn’t think it helped that film all that much.  And De Palma always has to have at least one sequence all in one take.  The film is well made and clearly personal for Mendes, but in the end, for me, it was just a movie and not one I need to return to.

Then it was back to writing.  I had a couple of English muffins for my snack.  And I also almost finished choosing songs – only two left to go, so that’s good and I managed to get everyone their music.  And we found a pianist, so that’s good.  And that was that and I was so bleary-eyed by that point I had to stop everything, put on some music, and relax.  Of course, typing these here notes isn’t really helping matters.

Today, I’ll be up by ten-thirty, I’ll futz and finesse, then at noon o’clock we’ll have a short rehearsal for the Bernstein concert.  After that, I’ll grab a quick bite, hopefully pick up packages, and then write for the rest of the afternoon, until it’s time to mosey on over to the theater for our first rehearsal of Doug’s play.  That goes till ten, then I’ll come home and write some more.

Tomorrow, we have to do a podcast for the concert here at eleven, but that will be done by noon and then I’ll write and rehearse in the evening.  Thursday, the entire day is mine and then we rehearse.  Friday is another one-hour rehearsal for the concert, and I think a work session for the Kritzerland show.  Then we play our final three performances of The Man Who Came to Dinner.  We also have play rehearsals on both weekend days, but they’re just four hours each so I will have most of those days.  Then comes crazy week – attending the Ovation Awards, play rehearsals, Kritzerland rehearsals, play rehearsals, stumble-through, and then sound check and show.  And writing.

Well, dear readers, I must take the day, I must do the things I do, I must, for example, be up by ten-thirty, futz and finesse, have a rehearsal, eat, hopefully pick up packages, write, and then have our first play rehearsal.  Today’s topic of discussion: What are your favorite war movies? Let’s have loads of lovely postings, shall we, whilst I hit the road to dreamland, hopefully resting my weary, bleary eyes.

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