Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Shipping Out

WEDNESDAY MAY 25--A journalist, with a photog in tow, show up at the set from Harrisburg, the state capitol. They had been nosing around the night before, but stayed through until morning to see the cherry picker shots for the open and close of the feature. But the cherry picker never arrived, and everyone seemed disappointed except the unflappable Mark Polonia, (who has seen more b-movie disasters than Irwin Allen) who simply said, "We'll move on." I had been keeping my eye on the photog, hoping he would get a picture of me in full William Goldman mode, nodding in approval at the Polonias from a discreet location, instead of a shot of me going to pick up the pizzas or picking up all the trash in the church. I really didn't expect to be interviewed, so I was surprised when the journalist climbed into my van as I headed down the road to our lodgings to boil some hot dogs for the cast and crew's lunch.
I was chatting along, trying not to talk out of my butt too much, when the reporter asked me if I was interested in going to Hollywood. It seemed like a dizzying anomaly for a moment. I was in our rented rooms above the local general store, boiling hot dogs. That morning, while I was drinking coffee with the locals downstairs, I learned a group of them had chased a mother bear and her three cubs down the main street of town the day before. It was not the William Goldman moment I had hoped for.
But I was reminded of a shelf of free paperbacks in the store below, alongside the video rentals and the Polaroids of hunting adventures and the fresh coffee. I had found a Philip K. Dick book I wanted, a welcome find, and left a paperback I had brought. This brought me more happiness than almost anything else all week. I remembered an interview I had given a while back where I recalled that as a child I had never thought about writing the New York Times bestseller but instead thought about my Great American Novel being on a dusty shelf in some out-of-the-way place, and a kid finding it and reading it and thinking: I could do better. I think about my movie experiences the same way. I have always been drawn to the underground, the unheard voices, the photocopied 'zines, the local bands with their homemade cassettes, and so on. Let my movies exist, not under the searchlights of Hollywood, but on a shelf in Germania, Pennsylvania, and let some disenfranchised youth from our great Flyover Country between the two coasts find it for rent, and be inspired to go on the same long, crazy trip I have taken.
That great, beautiful country sang by my windows as I took my leave of this latest cinematic adventure and pointed my car towards home.

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1 comment:

johnc said...

The only reason I'd think you'd want to go to Hollywood is so that instead of being a "Fiber optics network manager by day, screenwriter by night" you could make your living making movies and do all that fiber optic managing as a hobby.