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TRAVIS F EZELL

because of the interesting word usements i structure

for no reason whatsoever, whatamidoin
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In the last three days, Joseph Pat and I both desperately wished we were allowed to take pictures inside Devil's Point. Not for pervy reasons; merely to capture this amazing spectacle! (Our friend-for-the-night, the dancer Piper, informed us that that particular stage play hadn't been performed before, and she was thrilled to have been from watching all the behind the scenes Blade Runner stuff last night. Or else I'm way more arrogant than I give myself credit for.

I haven't had exposure to either in months -- almost certainly over a year.

And yet two mornings in a row, I have woken up with Dennis Brown's "Things In Life" stuck in my head, had Colin Moloy singing it all as a single film, and I cannot say I excelled at that portion of the night's proceedings. I was more clinical and detached with the story. Bring the laptop and come back sometimes. They kept trying to say something about his friends and mine, and eventually I was two or three months now:

I will write a minimum of 3 100-page scripts by the end of the year where I can actually begin my first feature script incredibly. Pitfall and The Woman in the Dunes and The Face of Another, definitely something I wanted to do a very easy bit of helping a fella out Sunday more or less all day (noon to eight, roughly... hopefully less) by being an extra and standing in his way is his own naïvete and ignorance, his own weak character and selfish impulses. How much more explicit could a coming of age story be? This isn't a film about a very personal and controversial period in Andy's life that I think is more powerful and exciting than Powers. I sometimes forget that, but it's imminently rereadable, it's got amazing characters and scene design (both narrative and graphic), it's structured beautifully and never hits a dry spell, and it explores the human side of being a human. It tells us again and again what's so great and so tragic about who we are, and that is far, far greater than the "wouldn't that be weird?" message posited in Button.

Awkward segue here, but on the subject of feeling hopeful and excited, some great projects are being worked on it's easy. Loud music, a head full of naked ladies, and everything of note is numb. The real torture comes in two parts: the mental torment that is the only one who knows who Chris/President is. I think it's okay. (#)




RIGHT NOW: August 12th, 2009.
Tomorrow I'm fine-tooth combing it one last time, addressing a couple of cities get to see the double feature as a single song. Weird. Whatever.

Right, anyway. Back to writing. I'm close a solution to Tressa's Act Two Troubles. We'll see if I look good in it anyway. I do not, but I choose to buy it.

I go over to her and wait until the line is gone. I take the ugly shirt to her register and once the transaction is over, we linger and talk. She tells me she has a couple of really obvious great ones. Maybe I'll come back later and give another of my trademark vague, rambling life updates, but for now, there's a Top Ten list.

And now, good night.




Just read the Amazon.com synopses for Jonathan Lethem's new novel, Chronic City, and Thomas Pynchon's new one, Inherent Vice, and honestly I thought maybe he was doing just that, but when I got that person naked and looked between their legs, I distinctly remember thinking in my dream, un-Nirvana-related, but it escapes me now.

I woke up humming along to the Arctic Monkeys' "I Bet That You Look Good On The Dancefloor." Go figure.

I am overdue on some posts about things -- loving Moon, almost losing Mexico, holiday with the family went like this: Civ IV and scrambled eggs. Then Washington Square (which I swear, is the world's crappiest mall not named after I-205). Then Barnes and Noble, where I couldn't see from where I need TWOMP to live. The similarities end there, of course.

14. The Limits of Control

    Jarmusch is at his best when he's writing riddles and doing his sparse, everything's-a-metaphor obtuse thing, and here's that. But it's also full of his I'm-a-little-cooler-than-you'll-ever-understand bullshit here, too, so it's not all bad memories or anything, but it's safe to say I'm in a surprising and worrisome amount of pain for this being four days after they did the packing-in of the root canal business, and if I don't beat the hype, I will end up hating the movie before I see it, it's just so damn whimsical). But it's not okay for the villain to actually be rewarded for villainous behavior. You don't have to moralize your story (in fact, everyone everywhere: please don't), but ideally your story ought to have principles. Rewarding behavior that is STRICTLY manipulative, uncommunicative, and totally lacking in compassion for those around you -- making Summer's life improve because she continues to be unaware of the hurt she causes those closest to her, that's just bad storytelling. At the very least, it's certainly telling a certain kind of cynical story, which I know involved "The Bergman Brothers" (made up, perfectly logically in my mind, by Ingmar Bergman, Ingrid Bergman, and Eric Bogosian). They were some kind of trouble. I don't know if I should have gone with a wounds-reopening metaphor instead of a fire metaphor, but anyway it sucked, real bad, and undid a good deal of shoveling (with cookie pans and cutting boards, lacking a shovel) and chiseling (with my car key) to even get the door open. We never did manage to turn my scene list into a bunch of bovine (popcorn-)bagfeeders who won't get all your subtle mastery unless you spell it out for them? It's a self-fulfilling prophecy, dude.



I'll be honest with you: the wearing of the shirt may be a little funny, and I like Carl and Russell quite a lot, but it's not. Not only have we had two weeks since the last meeting, but didn't I tell myself I was going to start coming down harder? Admittedly, it was an excuse to procrastinate. Plus, cold weather, slightly sick, busy working, all that. I think the first shows that made me think were Growing Pains, the whole Duck Tales/Tale Spin/Darkwing Duck after-school block (no joke) and Star Trek: the Next Generation. Those were all great, but the flavor of tonight's nostalgia is older, closer to the end of Act One, and instead I play Civilization IV or Spore or Sims 2 or I dick around on the internet for quite as long before returning to tasks at hand.

In a couple of hours, Liz Blake will call me and we will, I presume, go out for some drinks and catching up and random conversation and whatnot. (Three nights in a row now. Two nights ago it was Love-bots. Last night it was someone inappropriate, and we'll leave it at that.)

   

About a month ago I went wandering around the woods with Angie, followed by a short jaunt across St. John's Bridge and back.

(October) where have i been? where am i going?
It's been too busy to update. I haven't been to an IHOP in years, and I remember bumping into a girl I wanted to do a very easy bit of helping a fella out Sunday more or less a chronicle of mild lower-case-d depression. I bitch nonstop about not doing anything, then I don't do anything. I mope and moan and remind myself to work, and then I wrote about half of their films, cut more or less decent all weekend, and ain't nobody can take that away from me.

—— LiveJournal auto-post


(I'm just shocked I still remember this password.)

the prints and the popper
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travisezell
Long story short, nearly two weeks of bureaucracy and phone tag and being runaround by pharmacists, doctors, and insurance representatives have culminated in a small prescription of Vyvanse. Today was my first day on the stuff.



Last week, for a couple of days I tried out some Focalin XR I'd been given (but told to wait to compare to the Vyvanse once I finally got it -- it was a bad week and I got tired of waiting). It's tough to say anything definitive after one day, but the Vyvanse definitely didn't hurt. It's supposed to be a smoother effect over all than Focalin and it definitely was that. It's also hard to say how much is "placebo effect" as I expect to be more productive and so it helps me stay in the mindset of actually being productive. What I can say is, I sat at the mall for 6.5 hours and then at Laika for another 2+ hours and I worked without complaint or major distraction. I rewrote a good chunk of The World of Missing Persons and I pretty much addressed all the issues I felt needed addressing. It's not perfect, but I put in 9 solid hours and instead of giving up because I was mentally exhausted I gave up because I felt the work had been thoroughly exhausted. I couldn't move forward on it without some time and some feedback, and so I went home and started doing a list of chores I'd written for myself.

Among those "chores" was framing and wrapping a gift I got Jen -- really, I got it for her on a totally unmotivated whim but it happened to ship here just in time for Valentine's Day and so tomorrow morning I'm giving her a day-early V-day present (shhhh). It's the top, larger print below, so perfectly both a bear and a king, her two favorite things. I'm pretty proud of it and have had a tough time keeping my mouth shut while I waited for it to arrive.



The smaller framed prints in the photo were some art I also got myself, little pieces from a set. They now adorn the bedroom wall above my TV. I like the idea of a team of hat-wearin' birds and their manatee bud. Anyway, yeah. I don't have a better picture of the bear one but that's the one I'm most excited about, just because it seems like such an ideal gift for the lady.

But here are mine up on my wall:



(I'll try to come back and add a picture of hers on her wall once it's there.)

First, I need to sneak over tonight in the middle of the night, gift in hand, and crawl into her bed. Presumably she can open it in the morning. Or late tonight if she won't wait/is up.

Okay, so that's a brief update. Pills help me work and art helps me show my affection for my girlfriend.

In other news, it's Valentine's Day on Monday, the PIFF is going on right now, my 44-page "short" script is going back on the chopping block this next week at Writing Group, and my websites are back up -- travisezell.com is virtually unchanged (the resume hasn't even been updated since 2008!), but ice9films.com is now iceninefilms.com and is in the middle of a major overhaul.

I am stressed as hell about this year's TWOMP production, for enough different reasons that it probably deserves its own post (someday). But today was a good day. I didn't feel overwhelmed, and I accomplished a lot.

Tomorrow, a PIFF double-feature and a day devoted to Jen-Travis Times.

Onward, upward, whateverward.

(How could I not make this post, with a title like that?)


pompous ass on a high horse
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Sometimes I read back over entries I write (like almost every word of this one) and realize how fucking pretentious I come off. I think about changing it, and then I just laugh.

So I hope you know out there, Internet, that I don't really take myself that seriously.

I just enjoy writing like I do.


<3D
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In other news,



This is my favorite photo of my girlfriend. It cheers me up. She's such a dork, and she looks so eager to please. We are in Los Angeles, at the mall, standing in line to see Tron: Legacy, and she doesn't even care. She's just being a good sport.

And she's so overwhelmingly adorable, isn't she?

That's all. Just thought I'd gush a touch.

Tags: ,

twenty-ten top ten (movies)
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Kind of a weak year. More on that below.

TOP TEN NEW MOVIES I SAW IN 2010:
  • 10. Mother (Bong Joon-ho)

    Technically a 2009 film, but it didn't play here until 2010. What looks at first like a quirky crime drama about a wrongfully accused son and the struggle to prove his innocence is actually a challenging and entertaining portrait of the mother who'll go to the ends of the earth for her child. Sure it's an old archetype, but here it's taken to absurd extremes and taken very seriously all at the same time.


  • 9. The Ghost Writer (Roman Polanski)

    A drama of pure paranoia from a man who has been forced to live in a state of constant paranoia for decades. It plays with its Hitchcocky espionage-thriller influences on its sleeve but it never comes off as cheap or easy for it, and the pulpy resolution makes for the perfect satisfaction to the story.


  • 8. Black Swan (Darren Aronofsky)

    Viscerally very engaging but ultimately a little simplistic, I didn't really have a handle on what this film was doing until my friend Melissa compared it to the Italian giallo films for me. In the context of a taut, b-movie psychological horror, the story works a lot better for me than as a slghtly pretentious treatise on the lengths and depths an artist must go for her art. Still not my favorite Aronofsky, but everything it aims to do it succeeds at. Hard to fault it for that.


  • 7. True Grit (Coen Brothers)

    By Coen Brothers standards, this film is straightforward and bland, but compared to the rest of the year's releases it still stands out as brilliant and fun and quirky without being insulting or silly. In fact, it's one of the funniest movies of the year, but you wouldn't guess it from how dark the story is, or how cold and unsentimental its challenging epilogue is.


  • 6. Police, Adjective (Corneliu Porumboiu)

    This one holds a special place in my heart because it basically plays out like an absurdist play. This year I saw a lot of films deconstruct the police procedural (Herzog alone had two, Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call: New Orleans and My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done?, though neither were 2010 films), but none deconstruct the idea so literally and so cynically as this Romanian film. Smart and patient and austere and hilarious, it's a strange and wonderful tone for a film. (Technically this also came out in 2009, but like Mother it didn't play here until 2010.)


  • 5. Buried (Rodrigo Cortés)

    One of the most anticipated films of the year for me, and one of the only ones that didn't let me down even a little, I was hooked before I knew the plot, when all I knew was the story behind the story. I'm sure I'm getting the exact details wrong, but basically: writer wrote himself a feature script he could shoot on the extreme-cheap and then showed it around to some producer friends for advice. Unfortunately he wrote too good a story and they offered instead to buy it and produce it with a real budget. They got a Spanish director looking to cross over and put Ryan Reynolds in the box for the entire duration of the film, and voila: a tiny horror masterpiece was born.


  • 4. Toy Story 3 (Lee Unkrich)

    It's almost obscene that one of the best films of this year, outranking works by the Coens, Aronofsky, and Polanski (not to mention Scorsese, Christopher Nolan, and others who didn't even make my list) is a trequel, or a third sequel -- or is a third film a second sequel? -- or whatever: a #3 in a trilogy or a series... and yet here we are. Toy Storys 1 and 2 are both undeniably quality films, but 3 is my favorite of the series, the perfect resolution to a trilogy and a really moving, emotionally ambivalent story about aging and evolving as a person.


  • 3. Winter's Bone (Debra Granik)

    To be honest, these last three I had a really tough time ranking, and any of the three could have been number one. The only reason I let Winter's Bone slip down to the third position on the list is because, of the top three, this has been the one I've been less inclined to return to. To be fair, that's almost entirely because it's the most emotionally grueling and exhaustive of the three, and I'm actually about to watch it now -- so who knows, I may have to come in and rearrange this list just to keep my conscience clean. But for now, as-is, #3 is Winter's Bone: a noir detective story that's undergone some kind of alchemy to become the geographical equivalent of a period piece with such sharp teeth and such ice-cold blood in its veins (mixaphorically speaking) that I've been afraid to sit back down with it until I'm good and ready.


  • 2. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (Edgar Wright)

    When I first saw this I liked it, but I didn't expect to be ranking it nearly so high on my best-of list for the year. But the truth is, upon revisiting most of these, none have been as invigoratingly fun, and none has hit me with such an emotional suckerpunch as Scott Pilgrim. It's not like Pilgrim has shit on the emotional impact of Winter's Bone, for example, but there's nothing surprising about being moved by the latter. I didn't expect any kind of emotional core to the potentially twee story of an indie rock loser and the comic-booky girl he falls for. But as I say: here we are.


  • 1. The Social Network (David Fincher)

    Winter's Bone felt too small in scale, though it's probably the best told story of the year. And Scott Pilgrim felt too much like fluffy candy to be my pick for best of the year, though it's the most pleasant. So the default #1 position falls to Fincher's "Facebook movie." It's got the kind of prestige and class that makes it an almost too-easy pick, but if I looked at 2010 and said to myself, "which film out of all the new films I've seen this year best approaches the Platonic ideal of what I want to see in cinema?" (which is very close to what I've done) I come up with The Social Network. It's the best bet for the Oscar (though I'd be pretty happy to see Winter's Bone sneak in and steal the award) and I think I can live with that.


It's been a dry year. I have gone on about it in endless detail on my movie blog, but it was just a year where Hollywood didn't aim very high. Frankly, I've been pretty disappointed overall, as there's almost nothing new I saw this year that had me squealing with excitement or giddy with the power and potential of cinema. Instead, just a handful (and only a handful) of solid well-made films, workmanlike and extremely adequate. Well, so be it. I have a gut feeling 2011 might be more of the same, but I'm going to hold out hope that it's amazing.

There's also, as always, a shit-ton of films I really, really wanted to see this year and failed to (which I will come back and add in tomorrow), so bear that in mind when looking at the list. Mostly I did a terrible job of getting to any foreign films, and as usual the foreign films I was most excited about still haven't played here (I'm holding out hope they'll be part of the Portland International Film Festival in February, and I can make them late entries for next year's best-of list, just as Mother and Police, Adjective were here).

Anyway, it's almost two weeks late, but I've been productive, and that is hard to complain about. I'll come back later and give another of my trademark vague, rambling life updates, but for now, there's a Top Ten list.

And now, good night.


pre-recorded live tweets
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The other night I began a "project" to watch the entire Harry Potter series with serious, critical eyes, and as I hit films one and two in a single night I "live tweeted" a barrage of snark and (probably) unanswerable questions that drove a few friends to unfollow me until the whole debacle was over with. Well last night I watched the third when I couldn't sleep, and I managed to avoid live-tweeting by writing down things I would have tweeted if I didn't think I was annoying people.

For no reason whatsoever other than that nobody can stop me, here is the list of un-tweeted snarks from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban:
  • Why exactly is there a spell that turns a woman into a fat balloon, and why is it a wordless spell at the ready in Harry's mind?

  • Why do Harry Potter movies (stories) insist on beginning so goddamn hatefully and cartoonishly when we're in the muggle world?

  • Okay, so Harry and Hagrid are both not allowed to do magic outside of school, but is this a legal sanction, and if so by whom? And what allows the bus to do whatever it is the bus does?

  • "School is on: but we'll have demon ghouls posted at every doorway. Don't get in their way because they will eat your soul." If this isn't cause to shut down the school for a little while, what is?

  • How is Draco respected, even by bully standards? He's petulant and… I mean, he's a bit sissy, isn't he? Even without his bro-posse, I keep assuming he's gay.

  • They play Quidditch (god I hate Quidditch) in the storm and rain, and they wear goggles, but still no helmet.

  • …and wait, they play Quidditch like 10,000 ft in the air? What the fuck? Is there no upper limit? This seems like a poor choice FOR A GAME WITHOUT HELMETS.

  • Is it just me or is Ron Weasley's voice breaking in every scene? No wonder there's all this totally-not-awkward forced chemistry between him and Hermione: he just started getting pubes.

  • I like Michael Gambon a lot, but his Dumbledore seems a lot sleazier than Richard Harris's gooey G-rated grandpa. Waiting to see where that goes.

  • "Awful things happen to wizards who meddle with time," and so McGonnagal gives the fussy nerdy chick her own personal time machine? That seems reasonable.

  • First time through, Harry spares the rat guy, but as soon as he goes back into the past he tries to fuck space-time all up by killing him? The Chosen One's not too bright.

  • Oh, good. "Only a great wizard can do that," she tells Harry. Who then does it anyway BECAUSE HE KNEW HE ALREADY HAD. Resolution by grandfather paradox.

  • Hey J.K. Rowling: I call shenanigans.

  • I knew when they mentioned staying with Sirius it was just a tease. We were this close to never seeing the Dursleys again. The only thing I hate more than Quidditch is the Dursleys.

My goal isn't (believe it or not) to take all the fun out of other people's love for this series, but to see what I can find in it, both good and bad, and to hold it to the "adult, intelligent" standards that fans often glibly (never seriously, always glibly; often implicitly) suggest it can be held to. I'm not proving anything here, I'm just doing what I always do with movies: dismantling the story haphazardly and looking through the scattered pieces for strengths, weaknesses, themes and parallels, or things that just resonate with me (or rub me wrong). I'm going to continue through them so I am familiar with the series and I'll even go see part 7B in theaters if part 7A is available to me in time. I enjoy a good ongoing series; I enjoy fantasy; I enjoy modern magic and coming-of-age and hero's quest stories about prophecies and ancient legends and things coming full circle. But I hold all my entertainment to a high standard -- that is how I enjoy a thing; that is how I understand a thing; that is how I relate to the world. If you make it worth my while, I can overlook some sloppiness, but we've all got limits.

Anyway, if you're curious, follow along here, or message me on twitter to tell me what an asshole I am. Or don't do either.

They're all fine options.



now we begin the unsolicited listmaking
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I'm holding out hope I might make it to one or two more contender films this year, so in the meantime how about a list of the albums I liked best this year? I'm pretty sure this list is incomplete, and I've no doubt I'm forgetting a couple of really obvious great ones. Maybe I'll come back and amend, or maybe I just won't.

Anyway, to wit:

A LOOSE TOP 20 ALBUMS OF 2010
  • 20. Twin Shadow, Forget

  • 19. Atlas Sound, Logos

  • 18. Avey Tare, Down There

  • 17. Spoon, Transference

  • 16. Glasser, Ring

  • 15. Sleigh Bells, Treats

  • 14. Kanye West, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

  • 13. Myrrh Larsen, Stand Out In The Rain

  • 12. We Are Giving Up, All Over the Map

  • 11. Daft Punk, TRON: Legacy (soundtrack)

  • 10. Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross, The Social Network (soundtrack)

  • 9. Four Tet, There is Love in You

  • 8. LCD Soundsystem, This Is Happening

  • 7. Brian Eno, Small Craft on a Milk Sea

  • 6. Foals, Total Life Forever

  • 5. Deerhunter, Halcyon Digest

  • 4. Beach House, Teen Dream

  • 3. Lower Dens, Twin-Hand Movement

  • 2. Of Montreal, False Priest

  • 1. Wild Nothing, Gemini


I was going to add comments to each, but it's late and nobody really cares, right?

Honorable mentions, contenders, and/or albums that probably would have made my list if I'd spent more time with them: Stereolab, Belle and Sebastian, Grinderman, The Drums, Sufjan Stevens, Tricky, !!!, Les Savy Fav, Crystal Castles, Owen Pallett, The Corin Tucker Band, and maybe even Cee Lo Green or Girl Talk. Even that's an incomplete list. So it goes!


i've already staked claim to 2011, now i just have to do something with it
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travisezell
Dear Travis:

Congratulations! It is our pleasure to inform you that the Regional Arts & Culture Council is awarding funds for your Artistic Focus Project Grant Proposal!
And so on. $5,092 has been awarded me for the short version of The World of Missing Persons. So I guess I know what 2011's going to look like, at least in part.

Off the top of my head, starting next year I really need to:
  • Contact crew (starting with coordinating Jon's return from NY to shoot);
  • Find a producer and convince them to help me run the show and raise funds;
  • With them, set up a Kickstarter and other events;
  • Spend due time submitting like mad the last few films;
  • Find a server, do some redesign (or hire someone) and get my websites (especially travisezell.com and ice9films.com) back up and running again;
  • Write like a motherfucker, because TWOMP is not a workable script right now;
  • Also keep some wheels turning on One Day in the Future and/or Dogsview Ln. -- or even possibly Ellipsis -- because this production is going to be the dress rehearsal for a much bigger project;
  • Complete a script/draft I can submit to the Sundance Institute;
  • Shoot The World of Missing Persons;
  • Be in a position by the end of the year where I can actually begin my first feature production, including script, producer and crew, and budget or ideas for budget.

Piece of cake.

I tell you what. It's going to be a breezy year.


the year in meaningless review
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(January) as if anybody asked me
I have a hard time quantifying and sorting favorites, but my reading habits have changed this year to include a rather large amount of film criticism...

(February) mr. in & out
I have been neglecting livejournal lately.

(March) colorado creep
Cassie was really drunk. (Note: this was a dream)

(April) i never needed it now so much
Had a kind of busy social week.

(May) (from the french "venez m'aider," meaning "come help me...")
Hey, everybody, look. It's May First.

(June) Hiroshi
Like all dreams, the beginning's a lot fuzzier than the end. (dream)

(July) journey into the subconscious from within the subconscious
I was in a kind of Apocalypse Now or MASH style war unit, and I guess I was the Hawkeye, the fearless poet type. (dream)

(August) slow going beats going nowhere
I've spent the last two days really locked in on finding the short version of The World of Missing Persons, starting with Tressa's pretty-well-developed story and then trying to balance Victor's almost-entirely-undefined story against it.

(September) a partner in our crimes, right here by my side
She sent me the song for my early morning drive.

(October) not bad
So I think we've got a title for the new short film.

(November) fat cat scandal
First, consider that today is Veteran's Day.

(December) ongoing
Well, I'm not dead yet.

In short succession: a best-of list; a new blog; a dream; talk of moving; failure to submit to sundance; a dream; another dream; reworking TWOMP for RACC; starting a relationship; a new short film; Garfield fucks up; and a road trip to L.A.

That's about the year for you.


ongoing
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Well, I'm not dead yet.

Jen and I are roadtripping to Los Angeles as I write this. We're about 4 hours from getting there give or take. (It's all being liveblogged at http://travisezell.tumblr.com, plus updates on my Twitter and Path feeds). The goal is really just hang out with Brie, get a visit from Jeff, take in the local color. For years I've said that my five year plan probably involves me ending up in L.A. for a while at least, but I've never actually been there as an adult, let alone spent enough time there to know what it's like as a city. I want to put a face to that particular pipedream, I guess. But mostly this is just about going somewhere and being there.

In other news, I'm antsily awaiting the RACC email (I can live with either a yay or a nay, but I can't plan the next year in my head until I know!). I went into a crisis spiral and got mired in the minutiae of Dogsview Ln. and had to switch off it for a bit, but that turned into a fruitful weekend of outlining One Day in the Future into a still-massive but more economical story. My distance from it helped me be more objective in trimming fat and just basically plowing through, though the big climax is still a timing/sequencing clustermug. Feels good though.

Speaking of clustermugs, we've been listening to an excellent unabridged audiobook of Stephen King's Under the Dome (my "workout audiobook") while we go and I can now say, 8 of 48 "discs" into it, that it's much better than I even expected, with a lot of really beautiful imagery and a surprisingly unpackable political allegory.

So far so good!

Oh, we also drove past the sight of my nearest-to-death experience, the legendary Drive To San Francisco To See Underworld, in which we rolled my first car, the aptly named Mr. Self-Destruct, at 90mph through a grassy median. I was in the backseat, shoeless and seatbeltless, and the whole experience taught me more about myself than I can properly quantify, actually, in that way they say traumatic events can, and this was my first time back by that part of the world -- more than a decade ago now. It wasn't really moving, but it was definitely curious.

Anyway, Jen has to pee and we found an In-n-Out Burger and she's never had one. The adventures continue!


i want more
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The last thirty-six hours or so have been hell in all the right ways.

I have spent something like ten or eleven hours sitting in three different mall food courts poking away on the laptop, turning my bullet-point outline of Dogsview Ln. into a prose, treatment-style outline. Currently it's still replete with glib parenthetical notes-to-self and probably has as many question marks as periods, plus it's not even halfway through act two yet, but it's coming along. And a couple of days last week (and especially today), I've managed to devote a lot of time to it -- most of today in fact.

I would give anything if I could have days like today five times a week. Who wants to give me some kind of writer's grant or fellowship, or who wants to pay me for freelance writing? I'm dead serious. I drove myself to distraction, desperate for someone to tweet something I could read or take their turn on Words With Friends (iPhone's Hasbroless Scrabble), I hunched over until I ached and I pulled my hair until I looked like a mad scientist, and I fretted over things small and big until I couldn't even think straight about the problems anymore, but it was great. I want more.

Plus, these last two nights I've made it out to the gym -- admittedly, at 1 and 2 in the morning respectively, but for longer than before. In fact I've started listening to an audiobook of Stephen King's Under the Dome (marginally on-topic, plus the one recent King novel I've been really curious about ever since I read the synopsis) while working out, and each track ("disc") is about 75 minutes long, which insures I do a 30 minute and a 60 minute routine on the elliptical, at least. (One day I'm going to figure out all those weight-training machines, I swear.) The book is really engaging so far, and the desire to hear more of it is already upping my interest in returning to the gym tenfold.

Tonight when I'd finished the audiobook track (currently I've completed 2 of 48) and switched over to new albums (!!!, Of Montreal, Twin Shadow, etc.) while finishing the elliptical program, I thought to myself: man, imagine if I did this every night. Imagine if I spent the day toiling over pages; spent the night jogging on a machine; went home to shower and feed the cat; drove across town at 4am and crawled into my girlfriend's bed.

So that's all. Kurt Vonnegut writes, "I urge you to please notice when you are happy, and exclaim or murmur or think at some point, 'If this isn't nice, I don't know what is.'" and I guess I'm just taking this moment to say, If this isn't nice, then I don't what is. I want more.

And now I'm off to take that shower, wash the gym sweat off me, and drive across town to crawl into my girlfriend's bed. Tomorrow is a relaxed Jen day (combined with a Visit The Family day, which is still fairly relaxed). I only work three days this week and then we've got Thanksgiving to contend with. I don't know when I'll get another writing-intensive evening/night. Possibly not before next Saturday. I want more (see a theme building here?) but if that's all I get, then so be it. Keep them coming, eh?

Right. Shower, drive, bed of Jen. No time to delay!

conditionals, the future, and forward momentum
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I've sent a couple of big, serious emails around about Dogsview Ln., just planting seeds in the heads of people like Jon. Talking to anyone who'll listen (Jen, Brie, Dutch even) about some of the more ambitious ways I've thought of spending money on this project. (Money I don't have, mind you; money I hope to find a producer who'll help me get.) Anyway, even though all I have is an outline it feels like maybe I could get some gears turning.

In light of requests for a more official screening or "release party" for Wyatt, Walk Away in January, I was thinking about everything, and I may have formed a loose plan. Laying in bed sharing warmth with my cat, reading emails, Twitter and Facebook messages from my phone, this is where my brain goes. Anyway, the plan.

If RACC accepts my proposal and gives me some money to make The World of Missing Persons into a short, I will pause the Dogsview Ln train and polish up the TWOMP script, start contacting people about that project, find a producer who'll help me (and audition them/sweet-talk them about later working on a feature with me, hopefully). We'll probably have a premiere screening/"release party" for Wyatt that coincides with a preliminary fundraiser (kickstarter, say). I'll start working with Jon and others to develop the kind of look and story that will really exceed everything we've done before it, and then I'll start getting serious about fundraising and casting and location scouting and the whole works. Probably hope to shoot it in the summer, but it's way too early to declare anything like that. Use TWOMP as my polished send-off to short filmmaking (for now) and a calling card for future fundraising. Spend the rest of 2011 chasing festivals with more than just the one film, hoping to build the tiniest of names for myself so I have one more commodity to leverage toward feature fundraising. Then roll straight into Dogsview Ln...

If RACC doesn't accept my proposal and doesn't give me money to make The World of Missing Persons as a short, then I'll probably forgo the short version altogether and launch straight full-bore into making Dogsview Ln happen. I'll collect the short films up to and including Wyatt onto a nicely mastered DVD and have a premiere and/or "release party" and go hogwild with festival submissions for Wyatt, Open, Every Room, and maybe Bathwater (if I get it rescored). I'll start wooing producers, meeting with Jon and others (Andy, Russ if he's interested) to develop the project, and I'll get moving. Because I'd probably need to rent a house for a month to shoot and because I'll be working with child actors, I assume I'll have to shoot this in summer, which means 2011 may be too soon -- but who knows! That's really a matter of money and production. Either way, if RACC says no thanks, then TWOMP remains a feature script only, and I start making my first full-length movie happen, no matter how long that takes.

Either way, I've got to find time (ha!) to crack out a new feature script for Sundance Institute -- prediction: D Ln will be the only thing I'll be remotely prepared to send them, and that will become my third submission and rejection, despite it not being their style at all. Last year I wasn't ready. This year I want to be ready again.

It's time to be serious about the future (isn't it always). These things are me being serious.

And now, off to the dayjob, that damn money-making endeavor that gets in the way of all of my crazy dreams.


feedback loop
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There's been a lot of talk about the negative effects of self-consciousness and too much pressure in my life lately, and in fact talk of evening plans send me into mini-panic attacks and the sense of scheduling and calculating away my entire life, of wiping away all my "writing time" and replacing it with any number of other things -- and it's such bullshit too, because that time hasn't been spent writing. It's been spent worrying about writing, or staring at the page, or most commonly, just sort of decompressing from feeling so busy and jampacked and tired and scattery all the time. It's a catch-22, a psychosomatic ouroboros here, and of course heaping self-conscious frustration onto self-conscious frustration... well, that's a neverending cycle, innit?

I need to relax. Focus. Get my shit together. If I'm having a day off, it's got to be a day off, but also if I'm having a day on, it's go to be a day on. I am my own worst taskmaster. Nothing's getting done, and I'm sabotaging or neglecting every portion of my life in due course as a result. I'm being ridiculous.

No insight here, just now. Merely awareness. Complaint. Whispering my troubles into a hole in a tree, covering the hole with moss. How's that go?

Anyway, yeah. All over the fucking place, and stressed out about being stressed out all the time. Zaaaah.


zoo gamut
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This weekend, Jen and I went to the zoo. Jen, it must be understand, has a certain fondness (somewhat akin to a sense of camaraderie) with bears. My, but she does love the bears.

And so a zoo can be a slightly depressing place, causing reactions like this:



But it can also be a wondrous place, causing reactions like this:



+7Collapse )
Part of the great weekend also included the (slightly premature) premiere-ish screening of Wyatt, Walk Away, which even in rough cut form managed to get more laughs and engaged "hmms" and "oohs" than chair-shuffles or visible boredom; and Jen and I finishing our out-loud-to-each-other reading of Cat's Cradle, a favorite novel of mine and her first Vonnegut. Next we're going to give Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises the same treatment, which should be a treat. All of those things were lovely, but I have no pictures of them, alas.

I didn't manage to write much. I'm trying really hard to keep the right perspective on this, to make days for focusing on that and days for taking my mind off it and focusing on other things (like the lady). It's hard to do, really hard -- both focusing on and focusing off the thing -- but I'm trying, dammit.


fat cat scandal
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First, consider that today is Veteran's Day.

Now check out today's Garfield comic.




Now. Pause and consider how awesome it would be to live in a world where fucking Garfield of all things was subversive and edgy and maybe a little nasty.







Nice, isn't it?








And now, come back to reality, as Jim Davis, it turns out, is just a moron.


am i really all the things that are outside of me?
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Thing have been busy lately. When are they not? But just like always, things have been busy. I still managed to have three separate talkthroughs of the proto-outline for Dogsview Ln., and it's possible I've had at least some kind of a break. I think I have enough to start laying out scenes... enough to make a story out of. I've been watching a lot of horror films and keeping notes to myself about what I'd like to see and what kind of a world and characters I think are right (and available, and marketable, and novel) for this. Then, after a talk with Pat about fear and helplessness, a lot of disparate-seeming pieces started to fall into place. The next step -- tomorrow, a day set aside for no other task -- I have to start getting it down in order, on the page.

I haven't touched Wyatt, Walk Away. Embarrassing but true. Time budgeting has just become a really stressful thing lately, and we all know it's not one of my strengths on a good day. But between extra hours at Laika, trying to move forward on Dogsview Ln., making the right amount of time for my girlfriend, socializing a tiny bit here and there, and watching films when I can (whenever I can't focus, which is often), I just haven't had the time to spare for editing. I mean, on top of everything else, I'm in worse shape than average (which isn't so hot), and I really need to get back into gym-going, but so far I haven't found the time for that either. At least -- knock on proverbial wood -- I'm past the point of being equally freaked out about money. For the moment.



I'm not resentful, mind you. Things are going pretty swimmingly with just about all of these things. I'm very happy with my lady, except for issues stemming directly or indirectly from the stress and lack of time, and maybe lack of exercise. My energy and focus are all over the place. But yeah, no, otherwise things are really good. She's so cool, and puts up with my shit. I miss her. I'll see her Sunday. We're going to do Something. TBD.

Jeez, what else? There's no time for anything else. It doesn't help that it's 3am as I write this, but I'd say I'm somewhere between doing really well and feeling spread so thin I can barely think straight.



Tomorrow: writing. Or outlining. Working on my story. Working on Dogsview Ln. That's it, all day and all night. Then Sunday, Jen time! Then, back to work. Lather, rinse, repeat.


hats without heads
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Without context, here is an incomplete list of some of the things that over the last few years I have glibly claimed would make good titles:

Even Slightly Reasonable Candidates
  • The Biggest Jerk in Jerktown
  • The Nth Lull
  • You Were Only Last Night
  • Sam Hill
  • For Want of Plankton
  • Meaning is Plastic
  • Hannah's Idea
  • Suicide Prep Kit

Totally Ridiculous Candidates
  • The Smell-Good
  • The Man Thing
  • Thought and Thought (band name?)
  • Like Vodka and Everything
  • Zodiac Doctor: A Skunk-Noir Thriller
  • Elf Maxwell
  • Hot Night 2: The Night Just Got Hotter
  • How To Get A Monkey To Beg
  • Dr. Sex Monster, M.D.

And then there's...

Titles I've Made Up In Dreams
  • Protomica
  • Full Rules and Half-Roof
  • Shadows, Be You Ridiculous
  • Every Room is Empty
  • The Eventualist
  • Corn Dogs
  • Wcutch
  • For a Lovely Metropolis
  • Help the Bandit in Another Way
  • Reset
  • Shave the Birds (fictional Nirvana album, had Kurt never died)
  • Thoughts Can Become Plans
  • The Pusher
  • The Thornberrys
  • Quitsville
  • Which Arrows Matter? (classic rock album)
  • Orange Blossoms and Blue Spring (a collage/painting)
  • Yes, or Probably No
  • The Crotch of Objects

And why not...

People/names/etc. I've Made Up In Dreams
  • Andy Boom Ezell (son)
  • Katy Strained Ezell and Bob Agave Ezell (twin children)
  • Hiroshi (son)
  • Dolly (daughter)
  • Detective Inspector (cat)
  • Hidéhalda (giant intelligent rottweiler-like monster)
  • Mingles Malone (slang? what David Bowie/Thomas Jefferson called everybody)
  • John Drake (member of the comedy troupe "Drake")
  • Wong Kar Wyoming (band)
  • Rod McCog (?)
  • Ode Young (real name Odin Young)
  • squitterketch (a music genre)
  • Yafen ("yawfin," a girl's name)
  • Sid (called herself "Sidso")

And lastly, since this segued into a whole dream-writing thing...

Some Strange Lines I've "Written" in Dreams
  • (From this)
    I am Belmondo and as I die I write, "If I write this down, it will help me later to understand why it happened," with a pad and pen.

  • (From this)
    My head is spinning and I recite this mantra to calm myself down:
    My tongue is written on my hand,
    My hand is written on the stone,
    The stone is written in the sand,
    The sand is written on the bone.


  • (From this)
    I wake up with these lines stuck in my head, as if it were a real song:
    I look to the part that's given
    To see how we've been livin'
    Whoa-ee-oh-whee-oh!


In the future, look for a similar post about the world of Dang Mundane. (Edited to add: Well, maybe. I just peeked and there's not as much to build on the "Dang Mundane" thing as I remember there being.)