Derry, Northern Ireland

Derry, Northern Ireland
A book I'm working on is set in this town.

Thursday, September 4, 2014


Okay...I finally made my pilgrimage to Point Dume. I try to come out here every time I'm in LA to walk in the sand and let the Pacific mess up my pants. I don't know why I keeping doing it; I just know if I don't I feel incomplete. Maybe it's because I want to remind the muse or the fates or god or whatever that this is where they lied to me...or let me lie to myself; I'm not sure which.

This begins 15 years ago, because this is where I'd come to call a friend of mine who was dying of cancer. He was deteriorating fast, so I described the ocean's waves to him...and the rocks and floating gulls and the elegant breeze and the colors of the sky and the vivid silence. He was too weak to hold the phone to his ear so his son was doing it for him, but he heard me. He whispered so. He died two days later, and I swore I'd go all out to get my career in film going.

There was already talk of a Project Greenlight 2, so as soon as the rules were laid down, I arranged to shoot a scene to submit for consideration. I got some good actors, called in come favors, shot plenty of footage to work with, knew exactly what I needed to do, and I'd even taken into account some possible problems so had worked out a way around them. So after everything was transferred to an external hard drive, I drove out here to, in effect, say thanks...and show I was keeping my promise.

It was night, and the drive to Point Dume's parking lot was chained off, so I walked the mile to it. No moon, but a billion stars overheard and the incessant rumble of black waves rushing onto the sand. I got to the rocks and held the hard drive aloft, and I saw a couple of shooting stars. I whooped.

I also came out here to make the promo-video for the project I wanted to shoot, and stood on a moss-covered stone to plead my case. But that was during the day and much easier to do.

It was the next morning that the lies began to reveal themselves. To start with, the video had crap sound, but no problem -- I'd recorded the actors reading their lines onto a DAT tape. Only that tape vanished. Completely. I never got good sound for it. So even though the editing went exactly as I expected, my scene sucked.

Not that it would have mattered. I'd chosen the worst scene possible to present -- 4 guys getting ready to go on a hunting trip. No one liked the characters and I didn't even make the first cut, thanks to the negative reactions. Good sound would have been moot.

Then it turned out Project Greenlight was just an excuse to do some reality TV, that Ben Affleck & Matt Damon never intended to make good movies this way; that's why they kept choosing not only projects that were questionable (A Christian boy convinces a dying Jewish boy that he has to prove he's worthy of heaven; an underage boy falls in love with an older girl and makes it with her, even as she's about to get married) but let directors do such stupid crap, you had to wonder who was in control. And don't get me started on how every one of the winners of PGL had connections to them or their production company.

Here is where I began to back away from film, in steps and stages. Not consciously, at first, but looking back I can see the difference in my attitudes. Here is where I returned to writing books and short stories as well as scripts...and slowly began to lose my dreams about film. I do still dream, sometimes, but it's more from a sense of nostalgia than need.

Because on that night, as my hopes and prayers filled the sky and I thought I'd been given a sign that all would work out...I was just being set up for another fucking. And part of my heart disintegrated, once I finally caught on.

So maybe that is why I go to Point Dume whenever I can -- to remind the fates that I'm still here...and I'll never be there...and ask them if they're proud.

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