Saturday, April 28, 2007

Out of character

(Argo is sitting quietly, staring into space. Bellboy enters.)

Bellboy: Thinking about something, Argo?

Argo: I'm thinking about my screenplay.

Bellboy: You're writing a screenplay?

Argo: I'm thinking about a screenplay.

(Nina enters)

Bellboy: Did you know Argo was thinking about writing a screenplay?

Nina: I didn't know you were a screenwriter.

Argo: I'm thinking about a screenplay. I'm not writing anything.

Nina: What's it about?

Argo: It's one unbroken shot, the whole thing. It opens on a guy, or a girl, it doesn't matter, sitting at a desk. There's a lamp on the desk, and he must be in an otherwise dark room. He's writing something with one hand. His head is in his other hand. He's thinking very hard about something.

Bellboy: What's he thinking about?

Argo: It doesn't matter. We watch him for a while. He writes for a few seconds, then stops. Then he writes for maybe a full minute. He takes his glasses off and rubs his eyes. He leans back and stares at the ceiling. We watch him for another minute. He sighs and stretches his arms. Maybe he squeezes his eyes shut. We notice a weird shudder in the image, like the cameraman must have stumbled or something. Also, periodically there are these flashes, like there are blank frames inserted into the film. They're random, but there's at least one or two every minute.

Nina: This sounds like a fascinating movie. Does anything actually happen?

Argo: This is just the beginning.

Bellboy: When did you decide to make a screenplay? You haven't gotten tired of making sandwiches, have you?

Argo: This may be related to my lack of interest in sandwich making, yes. But I'm not sure. I need something to think about when there's nothing else to do.

Nina: So, does anything happen, other than the guy sitting at his writing desk?

Argo: It does, do you want to hear it?

Bellboy: Sure, entertain us.

Argo: I'm not sure it's very entertaining.

Nina: I'm pretty sure it's not, as the opening indicates.

Argo: Okay. So, we're watching the guy at his desk, right? And we sort of assume that he's in a room, like a study or something, right?

Bellboy: I guess so.

(Nina shrugs)

Argo: But he's not, see? The camera creeps back, slowly. The guy leans back onto his desk, starts scribbling again. It should be obvious to us that he thinks it's very important, what he's writing about. The camera keeps creeping back, and we realize he's surrounded by darkness, like he's in a huge soundstage or something. The contrast increases a bit, and we can see that the darkness surrounding him seems to be speeding past. He seems to be surrounded by something, like a dusty bubble, and the bubble is set on another dark spot, which is speeding across some black surface. Somewhere, in another corner of the frame, we can see another light.

Nina: This is fascinating, Argo.

Argo: So, the camera swings over to that other light, and zooms in on it. It's a ballet dancer, spinning around on a hardwood floor. There's music coming out of a portable stereo off in the corner somewhere. It's something a ballet dancer would dance to. This is the only music in the movie. The camera doesn't linger here very long, and starts to pull back. As it does, it drifts down toward the floor, and we see the threshold, between hardwood dance floor and blurred, rushing asphalt.

Bellboy: Is this still the beginning of the movie?

Argo: No, we're well into it. As the camera reaches the threshold, it slows, then pauses- and begins to drift upward, and we can see that it's tracking along a transparent bubble, which encases the room the dancer is in. It's clear, but there are specks of dust and stuff that make it just barely visible. This is shown just long enough to be apparent to the audience, then suddenly the view retracts sharply, speeding away from the dancer, into the darkness. Only, it's not darkness.

Nina: Are you depressed, Argo? I don't think this is something you should be thinking about all by yourself.

Argo: It's not darkness, because as the camera pulls back, we catch glimpses of hundreds of little rooms, little carts-

Bellboy: Hundreds?

Nina: How are you going to to that? It's got to be a really, really long pullback.

Argo: It's a few minutes, I guess. There's a lot of noises. Like, train noises, and lots of whooshing and in the distance you think you can hear crashing, like when there's a garbage truck out in the alley early in the morning.

Bellboy: So, we're in a giant soundstage, with hundreds of little pod-rooms driving across the floor-

Argo: Ah, they're not driving, they're falling. There's a slant to the ground. They're all rolling downhill.

Nina: I don't like this movie.

Argo: Kids will like it.

Bellboy: Does something happen next? Does anything change?

Argo: Right. Finally, the camera slows, passes through a final bubble, and we find ourselves inside another room. The pullback continues beyond what we see was the source of the images we were viewing, some sort of telescope contraption. It continues behind a person, guy or girl doesn't matter, who is sort of staggering backwards, obviously shocked at what he's seen.

Nina: I like your gender neutrality.

Argo: It's only because it doesn't matter. I'm not trying to prove any point.

Nina: Anyway, I have to get back inside. I think your break was up like 10 minutes ago, Argo.

(Nina exits)

Argo: You like it, Bellboy?

Bellboy: I think you spend too much time here, Argo. You need to find a new job, or go on a vacation.

Argo: I don't think you like it.

Bellboy: Am I supposed to like it?

Argo: If people will watch the Matrix, they will watch my movie. It'll be short too, so they can show it ten times a day in the theaters if they want. Or, they could show it as a double feature with something else, like a documentary on kids playing in the park. Maybe they find a weird looking caterpillar, or make a kite.

Bellboy: That might help to cancel out the dread of the black soundstage movie.

Argo: Anyway, I've got to finish so I can get back inside.

Bellboy: Go ahead.

Argo: So, the guy with the contraption, he's sort of staggering backward, like he's just seen something terrible. We see his face, and it's pale, and he's sweating like crazy. We look around and see that he's in a room like a laboratory, with white floors, and a bunch of workbenches and white counters with junk piled everywhere. It looks like the contraption is something he built. He wanders around for a few minutes, looking it over, walks around the front of it and looks confused, puts his hands on something. We realize, of course, he's looking at a solid wall, which is all he sees. He doesn't see the bubble, even though now he knows he's inside it.

Bellboy: That's heavy, man. This will appeal to a certain crowd.

Argo: It get's better! He goes back to the contraption, sticks his face back into the view-hole, and we zoom back out of the bubble. He seems to swing it around, pointing it downhill, zooming and zooming. We see something looming in the darkness. Zooming. Zooming and looming. We approach it, and hear terrible crashing sounds, louder and louder, screeching, and we can see that the looming something is a pile of trash, a pile of crashed pods.

Bellboy: I saw this coming.

Argo: You're like the guy with the thingie. You can empathize with him. Anyway, we see the giant, looming pile of doom, and see pods crashing into it at super high speeds. Crash, poof of dust, crash, crash, crash.

Bellboy: Argo.

Argo: The camera swings a bit, and next to the doom-pile is a gaping void, and pods are racing off into it, zooming right off the edge.

Bellboy: You need to see a doctor, Argo.

Argo: We focus on a pod, zoom into it, and see that it's a guy, sitting in a car, and he looks terrified. He's clutching the wheel like his life depends on it. He's all strapped in like it matters, and suddenly he's clutching at the belt, trying to pull himself free. We zoom out, in time to see him shoot over the edge, into the void. We keep zooming back, until we're back at the contraption pod, we zoom past the guy, stumbling back again, we zoom away from the pod, just in time to see another pod collide with it, and they both explode into a pile of auto parts and plywood.

Bellboy: Isochrony, Argo, did you ever get that figured out?

Argo: We keep zooming back, right past a guy, and then the zoom slows, but doesn't stop. The guy is striding right across the blacktop, toward one of the bubble things. He stoops and crawls through a hatch or something, then it takes off, slow at first, but accelerating, as we continue to pull back.

Bellboy: Is there another guy with a contraption?

Argo: Maybe, but probably not. It doesn't seem likely that too many people could invent one of those.

Bellboy: So, the movie is about mortality? Or inescapable fate?

Argo: I wish. It's really about my cool idea for a blacktop soundstage crash-pod derby.

Bellboy: You mean demolition derby.

Argo: I couldn't think of it. I gotta go back inside.

Bellboy: Okay, see you later.

(Argo exits)

Bellboy: ...

Bellboy: I could write a screenplay.

Monday, April 23, 2007

A poem by me:

My hair is cut short,
We steamed a fish and ate it,
We walked downtown to see fireworks,
I moved some data around,
I typed a letter,
This was a weekend.
We also fried some tofu,
and stuffed it with heavily salted limburger cheese,
and it was pretty good.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Going to the grocery store and buying almost nothing

The original post was much too long. I went to the grocery store and didn't buy anything but a quart of heavy cream. Went back later that night, and still didn't buy groceries, just bought some weird cheese. Finally went back again today, and bought groceries. Idiot.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Nice things said by a nice man:

When the last living thing
has died on account of us,
how poetical it would be
if Earth could say,
in a voice floating up
from the floor
of the Grand Canyon,
“It is done.”
People did not like it here.

Tiger got to hunt, Bird got to fly
Man got to sit and wonder, "Why, why, why?"
Tiger got to sleep, Bird got to land
Man got to tell himself he understand.

We do, doodly do, doodly do
What we must, muddily must, muddily must
Muddily do, muddily do, muddily do
Until we bust, bodily bust, bodily bust.