Saturday, February 28, 2009

quality is synonymous with the spirit in which something is made.
- h.hoffman

Thursday, February 26, 2009



Tuesday, February 24, 2009

lord above,
lord below...
castrate my fear
or throw me out to fend for myself

i like to sorta think about what you might look like inside (of me).

Monday, February 23, 2009

shrimp cocktail - screenplay (start point)

I. David Cleaning and Preserving A Prom Dress.

[Also a Trailer for the film that we can shoot and edit before the whole film is actually made (or even scripted).]

An overhead shot in which the camera spins around a decorative saucer depicting two lions on either side of a shield. The design is etched in sapphire. The camera slowly pulls back as the rate of its rotation retards. The camera is slightly off-axis in relation to the center of the plate.

a tight shot of a hand using a huge, sudsy loufa sponge to scrub a pink prom dress.

a series of shots of hands engaged in all manners of carpentry.

A shot of David, from below (or, to be more precise, from the perspective of the materials he is working with), as he is working, staring intently over his nose, downwards, in the direction of the camera. All that we see is his head, a cigarette hanging languidly from his lips, and shoulders (intersected by the partial-sleeves of a "wife-beater" undershirt). His frame is surrounded by an almost artificially-black background, with smoke from the cigarette infusing the foreground.

Over the same shot: David's VOICE, sounding slightly uncomfortable: "Don't you want a milkshake or something?"

A series of shots of green velvet being stretched, cut, manipulated.

A series of extremely tight shots of the pink material of a prom dress appearing from off-camera, revealing the bizarre, microscopic patterns of its fabric. All shots are treated in the following manner: we see the surface of a table, and suddenly the tight shot becomes filled with the pink hue of the dress being pulled, violently, into the shot from off-camera. It is like this mundane space suddenly becomes vibrant with the dynamic pink of hope and innocence. (But this impression is at odds with the fact that it is created by the baffling activities of some 30-something shut-in working alone in his apartment -- who believes, somehow, THAT MAKING A PINK PROM DRESS IMMORTAL WILL SOMEHOW UNITE HIM WITH A LITTLE BOY FOREVER -- which is another way of saying "I AM THE MASTER OF SHRIMP COCKTAIL".)

Another shot of David's face while working.

Over the same shot: A child's VOICE (that of Kiki): "No, not until the killing starts."

Cut to a shot of a cleaned, preserved, and framed pink prom dress filling the entirety of the shot, in dead-center. The frame is oak; the dress is pressed against a background of green felt. it is lit, dramatically, like something in an suitably-pretentious art gallery. The camera pulls back, toward the right, to reveal David's back, arms folded, while he watches the dress approvingly. Seamlessly, the camera continues to pull back further and to the right, to reveal more of the white wall that the dress is hung on. The camera stops. In the left-third of the frame is the framed prom dress; in the middle-third is David; in the right-third is the blank wall, save for text that reads: "I am the Master of Shrimp Cocktail."

II. In some manner, the screen will read:
"The Secret Thoughts of Chrome Sheriff'

A wide, tall shot. A green, wooded area representative of the sort of refuge offered by the Pacific Northwest. Near a formidable tree, there is a white desk atop of which there sits only the necessary number of accoutrements to make one believe that some actual use is made of the desk. The extraordinary and improbable tidiness of the desk -- not to mention its surrounding environs -- serve to contradict this impression. Everything on the desk is white, sterling. Staring straight ahead, Chrome Sheriff, in his ubiquitous gas mask, wide-brimmed white helmet, and flowing wizard's robe, is seated at the desk, hands out front and resting flat on the surface.

The same unflinching shot. What appears to be a woman approaches the desk, from opposite Chrome Sheriff. As she takes a seat opposite Chrome Sheriff, he immediately rises from his seat, emotionlessly pivots 180 degrees, and walks toward the tree. The pace of his gait matches that of the woman. She sits still as he evades her.

Cut to a tight shot of the seated woman, fully frontal, from where the Sheriff was seated until a moment ago. She has the appearance of a bespectacled, no-nonesense professional of the purest order. Her hair is black. She casually sets a black briefcase on the desk,opens it, and immediately and un-self-consciously attends to its contents. She has done this a thousand times before.

Cut to a tight shot of Chrome Sheriff -- more or less a zoomed-in shot from the woman's perspective -- as his body faces the tree, his gas mask turns slowly back toward the camera. The gaze of the mask quits turning just shy of looking directly at the camera. Chrome Sheriff is clearly uncomfortable -- he is both vulnerable and guarded. His right hand -- covered in a tight-fitting glove of sapphire that one might find on a cheerleader -- enters the shot from below. Slowly, Chrome Sheriff touches his right cheek with it -- gently, foppishly, reinforcing his uncertainty. The gas mask is emoting.

The shot lingers. The voice of Chrome Sheriff begins: "How can a successful man die?"

Cut to a series of shots of Chrome Sheriff putting the finishing touches on a sculpture of the pieta (depicting jesus suffering in the lap of the virgin mary). This consists solely in rubbing the statue with fine sand-paper; blowing on the granite; needlessly caressing the statue with his hands.

Over the same shot, the voice of Chrome Sheriff: "A love of beauty."

Cut to a shot of Chrome Sheriff, naked except for his gas mask and helmet, staring straight at the camera. The camera slowly zooms in to his solar plexus. This involves full frontal nudity.

Over the same shot, the voice of Chrome Sheriff: "A robust, dynamic sexuality."

Cut to a shot of Chrome Sheriff sitting in a cafe, sharing some tea with a priest. Chrome Sheriff is wagging his finger while the priest, sitting opposite, nods his head in shameful consent, despite himself.

Over the same shot, the voice of Chrome Sheriff: "A spirituality unfettered by the constraints of organized religion."

Cut to a shot of a beige silky bantam: a breed of hen that resembles a hybrid of chicken and lama. This silky is foppish and belligerent. The shot is difficult to describe: imagine the interior of a rather large box lined with a strange pattern of golden linoleum -- like you'd find on the floor of a kitchen designed in the seventies -- only it surrounds EVERYTHING. The camera is in the box, and so is the chicken. The chicken is fucking insane, and acting the part.

Over the same shot-- after a bit of a delay-- the voice of Chrome Sheriff: "Of course, perfect sanitation is absolutely essential."

Cut to a rather tight shot of the head of Chrome Sherrif. He is wavering a bit, like some reptile in a subdued, mystical trance. His frame is surrounded by an almost artificially-black background, with smoke infusing the foreground.

Over the same shot, the voice of Chrome Sheriff: "Up until a certain period, success had been my only trouble in life."

A beat.

"Now I have others."


III. The Real-World Appearance of Chrome Sherrif:

The car with David and Kiki pulls up alongside the curb at an intersection. On the right side of the framne is the front of the car, with David and Kiki visible through the windshield. On the left, on the sidewalk, is a group of white-collar types waiting to cross the street.

Cut to a hyper-tight shot of two suits sharing each half of the frame. We see their solar plexus'; we see their hands gesticulating. From behind them, two hands part their bodies (think Moses parting the waters). In the space created in-between, we see the guilded solarplexus of the real-life Chrome Sheriff. He is not so much chrome as rust and filth. The camera pans up to reveal a sheriff's star and more rusty filth. Finally, the camera settles on the face of the Sheriff which is obscured by a corroded hub-cap -- the only evidence of humanity behind the mask is a pair of anxious eyes peeking from behind two holes in the hub-cap where bolts would typically reside. The eyes stare intently at -- if slightly above -- the camera, from the zoomed-in perspective of Kiki.

Cut to a shot of Kiki, staring out the passenger window at Chrome Sheriff.

Cut to a shot of Chrome Sheriff, staring at Kiki.

Cut to a shot of Kiki, suddenly and mysteriously wearing a cartoonish Indian head-dress -- feathers and all -- with his face covered in war paint.

Cut to a shot of Chrome Sheriff, who is suddenly greatly agitated, and makes haste for Kiki.

Cut to the original wide shot, only now the pedestrians have the green light, and are crossing the street toward the camera -- and in the process, completely obfuscating our view of the Chrome Sheriff. Along with the pedestrians, David's car accelerates, and zooms out of the shot, toward the right-lower corner of the frame.