Reversal of Dark Shadows

We were watching Reversal of Fortune, the 1990 movie with Glenn Close and Jeremy Irons…

Here’s what a lunatic Diane is: at about 1 minute and 54 seconds, she notices a large house in the opening helicopter shot looks very familiar– shot along the Newport, RI coast, she notices one of the gargantuan houses is “Collinwood” from Dark Shadows. Have I mentioned she’s seen all 1200+ episodes multiple times?

This gets better… there is actually a deeper connection between Dark Shadows and Reversal of Fortune. Reversal of Fortune is about Klaus von Bulow (played by Jeremy Irons), who was accused in the 1980s of murdering his wife Sunny von Bulow (played by Glenn Close). Jeremy Irons won an Oscar for his performance…

The real Klaus von Bulow was having an affair with a young actress, played in the movie by Julie Hagerty, who most people know as the stewardess from the Airplane! movies. But… in real life the young actress was Alexandra Isles… formerly Alexandra Moltke. Who played Victoria Winters on Dark Shadows.

VICTORIA: My name is Victoria Winters. A grim pall decends on Collinwood, and this morning I’ve convinced my boyfriend to inject his wife with insulin.

So, based on the helicopter shot, we used Google maps to pinpoint the exact location of Collinwood.

There are actually other crazy connections in this movie, which I’ve only half followed… Fisher Stevens has a small part in this movie, along with his mentor, Uta Hagen. Hagen was at one point married to Jose Ferrer, who in turn was married later to Rosemary Clooney… which connects them all to George Clooney.

So, just in case you are playing a particularly wicked version of the Kevin Bacon game, and you need to connect George Clooney to Dark Shadows, there you go.

Shepherd’s Magic

It’s the season: we’re watching “A Christmas Story.”

You know the fake swear words Ralphie’s dad says? I am convinced that if you transcribe all of them, you’ll get a magic spell. Maybe it makes everything taste like Ovaltine, or freeze your target’s tongue to something. Or shoots their eye out.

Crappy vinyl covers for your laptop

I was looking at this ad for ApplePeelz, which is a kind of nasty plastic film which you use to pollute the pristine beauty of the nice clean matte finish of the MacBookPro…

The ad says:

In geek terms, it’s like a force field for your warp core.
(Don’t you hate that you understood that?)

Arrogant little marketing proles: don’t try to fake geek. “Did I understand that?!” Here’s what I understand: you are not one of us, and you are patronizing me.

Is the field that surrounds the Warp Core called a “force field?” Have you ever heard a Trekkie call it that? No? That is because it is not called that… it is called the Containment Field.

Good work, you guys just made yourselves look like the poser kid who tries to fake cool, or like your parents using street slang they heard on Matlock or Diagnosis Murder or something.

And how could this have been avoided? Maybe by asking like say one Trek fan. You stupid elitist assholes. Nice plastic wrap for your laptop, loser!

YouTube Bubble Garbage

I love the new YouTube “bubble” interface.

In full-screen mode, your completed video is a little floating bubble… hover over it and many more related bubbles appear, each representing a video. Hover over another one and that one spawns more bubbles…

The problem is there is no way to choose whether to expand a bubble or not. As a result it quickly fills your entire screen with absolute garbage. Which is sort of the YouTube philosophy, if you think about it…

Sort of frustrating if you were looking for something worth watching, of course.

I Dream of Alan

I was moving a bunch of stuff into a friend’s place, maybe my mom’s… A strange-looking, very tall woman arrived at the door, dressed in black.

My mom was expecting some computer parts she bought on back-order, and this was the person coming to install them. The computer itself was something like an old Mac SE. I looked at the delivery/installation person, and it was Alan P from Casa Zimbabwe!

Wow Alan, I say, are you dressing in drag now? He’s wearing what looks to be those traditional black robes girls wear in Iran. I blame the recent release of Perseopolis…

Alan looks sternly at me and says, it’s not really drag. So I ask him what that means, and he looks at me meaningfully. He then gives me a lecture on all the new words there are for “transgendered people” and “fractally-gendered” people, and how I should be more sensitive… when no one is looking he shows me that his penis has been cut off.

Then Alan mentions he had to do it himself in a ritual surrounded by his family. He also show how his “breasts” are actually flaps of skin folded over into triangles, like little hammentaschen… fastened with safety pins, because in his new super-orthodox religion, they don’t believe in surgery or anesthetic or seemingly sutures.


We wrapped on Principal Photography today for “The Artist.” I think it’s going to cut well.

This is the first film I’ve directed that I’m not editing. It’s sort of weird giving up that control… I’ll still be monitoring Jennifer, our editor, but she is the editor. Yikes!

This is also the first film I’ve directed where I had an actual camera operator and a DP. I definitely need a camera operator. A DP, not necessarily. I usually have a definite visual look I want for every shot.

Extras! What a pain in the ass. I definitely need a PA or AD or something to wrangle extras. Just figuring out who you are going to use for which shots, who would create a continuity error, etc, is very taxing.

I came up with a system that I will definitely use next time:

  • all the extras must show up at the beginning, at the same time
  • only extras who have signed a release may enter the set
  • You leave, you can’t come back!
  • on arrival, every extra is given a ticket with a number.
  • The lower the number, the more desireable the extra’s presence in a shot is (better looking, better fits the setting).
  • More appropriate extras will be in more prominent positions in shots
  • that means that latecomers get lower priority…
  • the shot list has these numbers on it, decided in preproduction.
  • So when a shot comes up, the AD just reads the numbers of the extras that will be in the shot. Like “Shot 6.2, extras 12, 18, 47, and 54 please get on set.”

Gold Leg

Thieves cut off man’s ‘holy leg’

Police in southern India are hunting for two men who attacked a Hindu holy man, cut off his right leg and then made off with it.

BRAIN: hey, you don’t eat a leg like that all at once!

SAMIR: so the messed up thing
SAMIR: is I’ve met this guy

BRAIN: you missed your chance
BRAIN: shoulda cut off the leg while the getting was good

SAMIR: and if I remember right
SAMIR: he got a ton of donations
SAMIR: and money
SAMIR: just for… being holy

BRAIN: now there’s a racket

SAMIR: so they made a leg of gold
SAMIR: like a solid gold leg
SAMIR: molded off of his
SAMIR: and donated it to the temple
SAMIR: you’d think THAT was the thing to steal

BRAIN: don’t be silly
BRAIN: can’t eat a gold leg

Cranabolic Amphetamoid

If anyone wants to be a hipster extra this Saturday evening, we’ll be shooting in West Oakland from 3pm-8pm.

In other news, Dimesmeric Antiphosphate (a bisturbile cranabolic amphetamoid) stimulates a part of the brain called Shatner’s Bassoon.


One of my coworkers just received the Veganomicon in the mail.

Apparently it was written by a Mad Arab just after he vowed not to exploit animals. After writing of his new, forbidden knowledge that was destined to DRIVE HIM INSANE he WANDERED INTO THE DESERT!!! Never to be seen again.

Or maybe it was the idea of never being able to eat cheese again that drove him mad. There should be a special edition bound in the skin of celeries or something.

See? Cthulhu reference? Two different subcultures? Yeah.

Bad Santa

SAM: what no one considers
SAM: in the santabot scandal
SAM: is that perhaps they patterned it after the real santa?
SAM: how do we know he’s not an oral fiend?
SAM: think about it: he hires ELVES…
SAM: he could have taller people. what are elves good for?
SAM: they’re perfect blowjob height

BRAIN: this is why you never get presents