Saturday, Dec. 8th, 1979 —
I just returned from seeing “Star Trek: the Motion Picture” and am exceedingly unimpressed, however I did get off from work for a while so I’m still rather pleased to have seen it.
Ivan and Rob’s sister and another fellow arrived today and are presently out at the location filling Don’s and my shoes — fine, I need a break.
Shooting continues with increased fervor now that the horror scenes have begun and for most of it the contact lenses are in. Out of necessity we must begin shooting this film rationally.
I finished “Nine Stories” by J.D. Salinger and they were terrific. I’ve heard rumors that there are more of his stories available, I must check it out.
I have an inkling of an idea as to how to adapt the Glass family stories into a single film
— something to think about.
Sunday, Dec. 9th, 1979 —
After shooting all day and night we all came home and watched our movies. Only Tom, Theresa and Ellen saw “Holding It,” but they liked it. The big success was “Happy Valley Kid,” which it ought to be.
Monday, Dec. 10th, 1979 —
I spent today watching and logging the rushes. It took me eight hours to watch eight reels (three remain) and after that my mind was numb. The ulterior motive for my spending the day watching the rushes is that 1200 feet of film is missing. I did not locate any of it.
Anyway, I slept for four hours, felt amazingly refreshed and have been up since reading “Altered States” by Paddy Chayefsky.
I dreamt last night that I was in love and holding her close. Upon awakening I attributed this woman to Robin [my former girlfriend], but I’m not so sure it was.
Yesterday Dart came up to me out of the blue and said, “Stop trying to get even, get ahead.” He didn’t seem able to explain this comment very well, but related it to things I had said to him and repeated it a few times. It’s stuck with me. I am trying to get even a lot of the time; to do and outdo what Sam has done, to prove myself. But I really can’t do it alone and those I want help from won’t do it. They’ll let me work for them, but not with them. I will not work for them ever again. It’s been a gainful experience, but also a compromising position. Next time it’s either with them or without them. I’ll work with Cameron if I have to.
Saturday, Dec. 15th, 1979 —
I skipped out of the shoot this evening without asking and with no particularly good reason. Ivan and his friend came back down here and are playing P.A. so I’m less than needed, I’m in the way. Well, I won’t intentionally be in the way, that’s for sure.
Things are progressing at an increasingly slow rate (since all of the difficult things were saved for last) and the quality seems to be dropping, although Sam continues to come up with a lot of interesting shots. It seems apparent to several people now that the final film will be rather short, or, as Tom Sullivan said this evening, “Short of an hour,” which is very short.
Sam seems to be going through some kind of phase in which he has to prove his manhood. It’s done seemingly in jest, but not in totality. For instance, last night we were shooting Betsy popping her hand out of the grave and grabbing Bruce’s arm.
Aside from the fact that it’s too much of a rip-off to deal with, it was an insert of a hand grabbing an arm and we actually buried Betsy. To compound this stupidity it was 15 degrees out and piercing and Sam once again went into a hyper-meticulous state and spent 5 hours shooting the insert.
Monday, Dec. 17th, 1979 —
Soon we’ll be leaving for the location again and once again I’m dreading it. Last night was unquestionably the coldest yet, possibly zero and just absurd weather to be doing extensive exteriors in. Aside from the fact that it’s awful to be out in personally, both lights and cameras resent it, too — the Arriflex BL freezes up regularly now and has to be thawed by the fire.
The night before last the tension between cast, crew and head honchos almost came to the boiling point. I can’t finish this now, Sam just told me I have to go.
Tuesday, Dec. 18th, 1979 —
I’m not exactly sure it’s Tuesday or the 18th, but anyway…
Yesterday’s filming was dreadful: it was astoundingly cold, long pauses between every stage of filming, then Sam did another of his fourteen takes a shot business.
When everyone got home Sam, Rob, Bill (their friend and ex-professor from MSU) and myself sat around smoking pot, discussing LSD and movies. When everyone else had retired and I was attempting to draw Sam’s storyboards (this was 8:30 A.M.) Sam decided to let me in on how to make it in the directorial world — “make a ten-minute gem.” This is to show everyone that I can direct. He said that he and Rob and Bruce would gladly help me.
I was awakened today at noon and just ignored whoever did the waking and was not re-awakened. It’s now 10:00 P.M.
With all of this unexpected time on my hands I read Strindberg’s “The Stronger” (I finished “Altered States” last night), then watched Sam’s “ten-minute gem” “Clockwork” which is fun, has one terrific shot and is immediately forgettable. I also watched his Shakespeare film, which I had never seen, and was very impressed; it’s very funny.
Even though I haven’t got the money I think I will do as he says. Now to think it up.
Several hours ago Betsy called from the location to get Ellen out just as Tom was completing her make-up. Betsy had mentioned that she had had her contacts in nine times already, four more than allowed, and there were still shots to do. I called and spoke with Rob about it and was told to mind my own business. Tom went out with Ellen to straighten things out and has yet to return.
So, with all this time on my hands I read “The Jaws Log” by Carl Gottlieb which was interesting.