Wednesday, Jan. 16th, 1979 —
I’m going insane! Nothing makes any sense! I can’t keep my mind focused on a single thought! My mental processes have no continuity at all! I just want to have one uninterrupted day of thought, but “Book of the Dead” will not end!
Thursday, Jan. 17th, 1979 — [year crossed out] 1980
We’re presently watching rushes (I was, but I’ve escaped to the W.C.) and I don’t much care (aside from the very few shots I did or lit).
Yesterday, out at location, I began going crazy. I felt it coming, then awoke with the same persistent headache of the past four days, felt my stomach gurgling and wound up breakfast with a twenty-minute, gut-wrenching bout of diarrhea. The rest of the day was spent trying vainly to focus my mind on some thought other than “B.O.T.D.”, but it was impossible. Everyone thought I was acting nuts so I played it up a bit and practically did nothing the whole day.
My psyche is damaged. My health is damaged, and for what? $50.00 a week?
Certainly not. Fame? Even if this thing hits huge I won’t get any notoriety.
Companionship? possibly, however they have their projects and I mine and I just can’t see them really coming together.
All day yesterday I was thinking of resigning and both Pam and Rick called telling me that mom and dad were gone, the house is ours, school is great, etc.
However, if I quit now both Rob and Sam will label me as they have everyone else — an asshole for abandoning them. This shouldn’t bother me too much, but I want to make movies too and these guys could help me a lot, but not if I’m an asshole.
I can’t go back to the cabin, though. I would if I were doing just this or just that, but that’s not how things go. The only person who gets any personal enjoyment is Sam and what he enjoys tortures the shit out of me.
What to do?
And now, after watching rushes, Sam has even more things to re-shoot, aside from all that need be shot. Two more weeks of this will ruin me.
The bulb on the projector blew and Bruce and I went to get a new one. On the way I told him of my feelings of bitterness and hostility and that I simply did not want to go out to the location anymore. He said he’d bring it up when we returned, which he did, like this: “Josh wants to leave,” the topic immediately changed to: who can we get to replace him.
I broke in and explained just what was on my mind — again — said all that I needed to say, which was mainly directed at Sam and was agreed with, although first Sam got pissed, then insulting, then quiet. Sam has some splendid arguing techniques, but I was right and mad and he backed down.
And so, we’re leaving next Wednesday (they say) and we have sixty shots to get and things as Sam says (for about the fourth time) are going to move.
Why is it that it’s always me that locates and elucidates the problems? Everyone else surely knows them, they just won’t say anything. So why do I?
Tuesday, Jan. 22nd, 1980 —
Things are coming to a close here on “Book of the Dead.” Tomorrow we are supposed to be out of this house, although we may not. The plan is to shoot until Friday. I was pretty sure this evening’s shoot would merge with the next three, but luckily it hasn’t.
As of Jan. 18th I have been in charge of lighting and have been having a swell time.
I’m trying a lot of extremely directional lighting and keeping everything at 5.6. This footage I can’t wait to see.
Wednesday, Jan. 23rd, 1980
I just can’t seem to keep it in mind that it’s actually 1980. Maybe after we leave Tennessee it’ll become real.
We have almost exclusively exteriors to shoot and it’s raining. Very poor luck. As things stand the shots we lack are all seemingly necessary for the film to cut.
It’s rather interesting, although I’m not exceedingly versed in the art of lighting, what I’ve done so far does look visibly better than Philo’s work and it plainly tortures Rob that it all could have looked better. Fine, he ought to be tortured.
We shall be leaving Friday or Saturday, I assume, but I’m not sure I can remember what life was like previous to “B.O.T.D.” and I’m not sure I want to find out.
Even though Sam and I agreed I would assist him in editing (and we shook on it) I’m still a little skeptical as to whether I’ll be editing or not. We’ll see.
Anyway, I’ve got $116.00 in my possession, and about four weeks pay coming (if they have the money) which would be $200.00 and I’ve got $75.00 at home = $391.00. That should get me a little way.
Today’s shoot was plain stupid. In about ten hours we got two shots. One shot took one hour, the other took nine.[These pages are folded and crinkled]