My Wife is the strongest woman I ever met.
wentdog asked: Hey bro! I was curious as to your Oscar picks? And I hope for all humanity that 'Captain Phillips' gets shut the fuck out.
Hahahahaha how awful was tom hanks in that? Haven’t had time to think too much about the awards as I’m doing a tv pilot and it’s kicking my ass. Pretty sure Gravity gets best picture based on politics otherwise not sure.
If you hadn’t heard, Sarah Jones died tragically while working on a film set last Thursday. She was a second assistant cameraperson on an independent film shooting outside of Savannah, Georgia. The production was shooting a dream sequence involving an actor sleeping on a mattress placed on train tracks mid-span on a railroad bridge. I’ll forget the artistic bankruptcy of such a ridiculously tacky shot for a moment to focus on the circumstances that caused her death.
Nothing has been determined relative to cause or blame at present, but lots of people are scrambling to position this as an unfortunate accident. Various producers and publicists are claiming that the production was permitted to be on the tracks, that schedules had been checked and safety procedures were in place. They claim that there is no fault to be found; that it was one of the many random tragedies that befall people on a given day. According to these people no one is to blame.
Bullshit. Bullshit, bullshit, bullshit, and fuck those scrambling to cover their asses.
The train that killed Sarah was operated by CSX, and they own the tracks where this tragedy occurred. It was just two months ago that I approached CSX with a request to film in their rail yard, not far from where Sarah was murdered. I was on the biggest of studio films, one with hundreds of millions of dollars to spend and the very top professionals filling every position. The type of film that gets exponentially more access and permissions than the pissant little indie she was unfortunate enough to be working on. My request to film on their property was immediately denied. I repeatedly lessened my ask, starting with a proposal to do a full-on action scene and revising it down to the point that all I asked was permission for me alone to access the property with a still camera for research photos. Request after request denied.
Now mind you, I am a persistent type. I not only repeatedly scaled down my request, I went over the head of the man who initially refused me. When his boss also declined I went to his boss, and then his boss as well. I researched the corporate structure of management and worked my way to the top. I made the request as risk-free as possible for them. Offered them full indemnification should anything occur. Asked if I could take railroad safety certification courses at my companies expense, expressed willingness to pay for whatever safety personnel they felt necessary to accompany me. All to allow me, one single person, the permission to take still photographs in a train yard. I was denied permission at every step of the way.
So CSX refused permission for a very high budget film staffed by some of the top professionals working to allow a single scout to take photos in a rail yard. Yet we are asked to believe that they permitted an entire crew of a poorly funded indie staffed by inexperienced filmmakers to lay a mattress down mid span on the tracks of an active railroad bridge? Fuck you. Fuck you for insulting our intelligence by making such a ridiculous claim. Fuck you for believing your stupid little bullshit film was important enough to cost someone their life. Fuck you to the numerous people responsible who allowed this to happen. There is a lot of pressure on film sets to get the shot, and I have moved heaven and earth to make it happen. But at the end of the day you have to be strong enough to say no when you know it’s the right thing to do and damn the consequences.
We need to mourn Sarah’s passing. The best way to do so is not only to hold those responsible accountable but also to do the right thing when faced with tough choices. I am personally speaking to my fellow professionals in film production but also to those in any walk of life. Be righteous, be strong. Stand up for your colleagues and don’t allow the pressure to perform compromise anyone’s safety. The real tragedy here is that no one stood up and said no.
Cannot get over what a wonderful day yesterday was. Harper was baptized, receiving her first sacrament and officially becoming a Catholic. As joyful as that was the real payoff was being amongst such wonderful friends and family. My closest friends from high school all made the trip to join us which nearly brought me to tears. My best friends from college were there with their families as well, and my Sister stood up as the Godmother. My mentor and his wife attended as well as most of Elaine’s lovely family. The reception dragged on way past the scheduled end as we all had such a nice time eating, drinking and socializing. I had times in my younger days where I was estranged from my family and felt like I was completely alone on this planet. All the more reason that yesterday was one of the happiest in my life. Being surrounded by people you love is a wonderful thing indeed.
Her business is really kicking ass lately. She picked up two new clients that are somewhat similar. One is a shop where women can drop in and get a full professional makeup application in 20 minutes. It’s called Pucker and is great for urban women on the go. If you don’t have time between work and your evening plans (who does?) you have the ability to look even more stunning. The other client is called Blow and does the same thing but for hair. They blow you out and style you professionally. As proud of her as I am (and I really am) someday I have to explain to my daughter that Mom became successful by convincing women to pay money to pucker and blow.
At this point I watch each episode four times. Sunday nights are drowsy times for me so I watch the first run and absorb as much as I can. I wake up extra early on Monday morning and watch it again over my morning coffee to really absorb it. The third time I watch it with closed captioning so I am sure not to miss a single word of dialogue. The fourth time I watch in a blacked out room to make sure I capture the subtleties of cinematography, art direction and performance.
There’s a world of praise deserved by this series but most of all, McConaughey. That guy is conducting an acting clinic on this show. He makes twelve moves you don’t notice for every two that you do. Damn.
You may remember that we ordered Christmas Cards from Tinyprints this year. Either because you received one, or perhaps you just witnessed me waging jihad on them after they repeatedly delayed shipping our order. The delays were quite frustrating for multiple reasons. It was our daughter’s first Christmas and we wanted to share her with family and friends via a card bearing her picture. We chose Tinyprints largely based on their prompt guaranteed delivery which it turned out they clearly had no intention of honoring. Worst of all, though, their customer service rep blatantly lied to me at one point, claiming she had personally put our box on a pallet and watched it leave on a truck. We delayed our travel plans based on her word which turned out to be a complete fabrication.
So I went to work on them. I flooded their Facebook page, trashed them on twitter and called them out on Yelp. Reported them to the Better Business Bureau and filed a complaint with the Department of Consumer Affairs. i tracked down their corporate directory and individually emailed every executive at the company. I made LinkedIn connections with several of their execs and castigated them there. I complained to my Senator, I shit you not.
Eventually they agreed to waive all charges and got the cards to us just in time to get them out. We had to do our entire run in one evening and many people got them on December 23rd or 24th. I wrote off the experience but still bore them ill will. Today I finally received a nice letter apologizing as well as a fifty dollar gift credit for their services. Fair enough, then, TinyPrints, I no longer hate you. You’re off the enemies list. I still think you’re incompetent and would use any other company on the planet before you but we are no longer enemies.