Saturday, April 30, 2005

The Village

What should I write about today? Maybe about how one of my closest friends is terribly hurt over a decision I made and feels betrayed by my choice. No. While I do regret hurting him it’s something that we’ll both have to live with because I’ve made up my fucking mind.

I’m moving into the city this August. Hopefully into the West Village. I love the Village. This is my New York. The area is teeming with artists. People walk with purpose in the Village. It’s an awfully expensive area but totally worth it. I can’t afford to live in the Village by myself. Luckily I’ll have a roommate--J. Our sensibilities are similar and that should make for fun times. I’m tired of coming home to an empty apartment. It’s lonely. And New York can be a cold place. Very cold.

My love letter to my NYC experience will be the year I spend in the Village with J. It’ll strike the right chord before I trek cross-country to Los Angeles.

Friday, April 29, 2005

What I Wanted To Say

To my touchstone,
So things are different now. It happened suddenly and without warning. You’re involved with someone and our time together has dwindled as a result. We both knew this would happen. I was in denial about it. Can I tell you though that this guy is a jerk? I know I shouldn’t say that but he is. He doesn’t care about you. He’s in it for one thing and when he gets tired of it he’ll dump you. He’s the exact opposite of what you need. I want to say these things to you like we used to…lying in bed, phones attached to our ears, late at night or without the phones altogether when we’d be together. But those days are gone. There’s a hole in the day now without you and I’m having trouble with that. I want to tell you everything that’s in my head but I can’t because I’m a vested interest. I care about you. Maybe too much.
Good luck with this guy. I want only the best for you. But I know this guy isn’t it.

Love,
B

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Enjoy

A friend turned me onto a new website that's wonderful. Go there and enjoy.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Flattered

Last night, I walked into the other restaurant that my chef owns and sat down with him. It was after hours. He handed me a beer without any prompting. I drank it nervously. I knew what was coming. My heart was racing.
“So you know that the GM is leaving.”
“Yes.” I knew this before he did. My General Manager and I are very close.
“I think you should take his job for a short time…until I find a permanent replacement.”
“Wow. I’m honored that you’d even ask me.”
“No I think you’d be great at it.”
The conversation sort of jumped around after that. But I told him I’d think about it and I am. It’s a tough thing becoming a manager. This isn’t the first time the manager seat has been pulled out for me. I’ve always turned it down. It’s just not my bag. I like being a soldier with a limited scope of responsibility. But I’ve been bored with my job as of late. And after a month of this added responsibility I’d have the choice to go back to being a server or stay on as a manager. I don’t know what I’m going to do.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Home Sweet Home

I’m back in NYC. Principal photography is complete and my week in LA is over. And thank God. There’s nothing I like about that city. I had to drive everywhere. Food isn’t great there and it’s hot. I hate hot. Becca and Chris, my two leads, pitched me on the idea of moving out there as soon as I saw them. And they were relentless. They love me and part of their pleading was based on their desire to have real friends amidst the artificiality of their surroundings. But something about what they said that night really stuck with me. I’ve been in NYC for over a year and I have nothing to show for it professionally.
“You’d do so well out here.” I can hear Becca and Chris say that over and over.
So on Monday I made a decision. I’m moving to LA. I’m going there to jump start the career that I’m destined to have. After which I’ll move straight back to NYC.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Best/Worst

It was the worst of days it was the best of days. I got up feeling a little sick. Worn down like a flu is how I felt. I took some medicine and felt a little better. Returned some useless electrical wiring to Best Buy and bought the correct one. Then I went to work. Things are going my way. I’m good at work. While I’m folding some napkins I see something or should I say someone. (Have I mentioned I believe in omens?) Campbell Scott and Patricia Clarkson walked by. They’re a couple and I’m a huge fan of both of them. And readers of my blog will note my fascination with OFF THE MAP, Campbell Scott’s latest directorial adventure. Without any hesitation, I run outside and yell out his name. They stop, puzzled and then I introduce myself…kindof.

Me: Mr. Scott. I wanted to tell you that I saw OFF THE MAP twice in the theatre.
Campbell Scott: Twice! How many people were there with you?
Me: 12 or so I guess? Anyway, I wanted to tell you that I can’t get it out of my head. It’s something that haunts me. When people ask me why I like it, I can’t explain why, but I know that it affected me.
Campbell Scott: That’s fantastic! Have you told people to see it?
Me: Everyone.
Campbell Scott: What’s your name?
Me: Bernard.
Patricia Clarkson: Are you an actor?
Me: No. I’m a writer/director.
Campbell Scott: Well that’s great.
Me: You probably don’t remember me but I drove up to Williamstown to see you in DESIGN FOR LIVING last year and we talked about FINAL (his first solo director job). I saw it in the theatre.
Campbell Scott: Ah yes. I remember now. You’re the FINAL guy.
Me: You said that “So you were one of the twelve!”
Campbell Scott: Do you know anyone else who saw it?
Me: Well….
Campbell Scott: I think people should just forgo seeing it and send me $9.
Laughter from all.
Me: I can’t wait for THE DYING GAUL to come out.
Campbell Scott: Let’s see if it gets released.
Patricia Clarkson nods.
Me: Alright. Thank you so much.

And then I came back to the restaurant totally psyched for the night. It went fairly well. I made minor mistakes but nothing that would be noticeable to anyone beyond myself.
Before I left, my chef took me aside and said, “Everything you’re going to do this week, comes from here.” And he touched my heart. I was blown away. Michael came in after his show and sat with his fiancé and a bunch of friends at the bar. On the way out they wished me well.
Then I walked to that restaurant that I mentioned yesterday and sat at the bar. My friend who owes me money eventually comes up to me and explains that the money doesn’t exist at the moment and she’s sorry. And then it happened. She got defensive. She started making me feel bad about stuff that I had no idea she was mad about. She made me feel very small. And part of me wanted to make her feel the same way, but instead I left. I left because it’s not worth it to get upset over, even though it was terribly evident I was. I walked to the subway stop and got on the 2 and then something surprising happened. A young girl, aged three, started talking to me. And she cracked me up. She made me feel better. I got home and now I’m about to begin packing. I leave in less than seven hours and I’m scared. I guess I’m equal parts scared and exhilarated. We’ll see if the film can be done on the smaller budget, but I’m sure we’ll squeak by. Wish me luck. In fact if you would I’d appreciate any verbal support any of you could give. Leave a great voicemail.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Money For Nothin’ And Your Chicks For Free

I wimped out. Last night, I went to a restaurant to visit a friend of mine who owes me money. (Film=lots of money) She avoided me until she couldn’t any longer and then talked her way out of conversing with me about the situation. Now this is a person I considered close. But a true friend wouldn’t avoid the me. They would tell me what’s up and deal with me. Ever since I gave this person money, it’s been nothing but empty promises. And our friendship won’t survive it.
On the other hand, on the exact same day several months ago, I lent money to another friend and he was fantastic about returning the money in a prompt manner. Even if he hadn’t, it wouldn’t have been okay. He kept me updated about his financial status and paid me in installments. The guilt of having to borrow from someone propelled him to pay in a timely fashion. Whereas with my female friend has let her guilt make her dodgy and evasive.
What is the lesson to cull from this scenario?

Friday, April 15, 2005

Doc

I’m beginning to film the documentary about the making of THE COURAGE JOURNAL. Yesterday, Young Nicholas interviewed me and that was fun. (I’m actually watching the footage right now.) It’s sort of odd to see yourself on tape. My voice doesn’t sound like that does it? I look strange. What the hell am I doing with my hands?

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Drink And Dial

I was drunk a couple nights ago. The kind of drunkenness that leaves you without memory of the events of that night. Apparently, in this state, I called Molly. She remembers the conversation with ugly detail. I listened to her recall every bit of this dialogue last night. And I was horrified. Drunk Bernard is not cool. I don’t like that guy. I'm not giving up drinking, but definitely giving up being drunk.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Mannying

When I get back from LA I might pare down my work schedule and pick up a couple days of mannying. (You see what I did there? I conflated the words MAN and NANNY to create a new and funnier sounding word.) While I don’t think I’d make a good parent, I do think that I could be a fantastic nanny. It’s been something I’ve been considering this for a couple weeks now and I think it would be nice to have a schedule that was more variant in activity.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Stunned

A friend of mine stunned me the other day. Over dinner, he looked at me and without any prompting said, “I want to put a ring on her finger.” Whoa. That’s big. That’s big considering that the girl he was referencing is his on-again off-again girlfriend. They’re currently off-again. (She’s currently seeing a guy with a ponytail and chin hair, who happens to sprinkle the word "dude" into every sentence. We of course don’t like this guy.) My friend has always been very adamant about his feelings about this woman (she’s the reason why they aren’t together at the moment), but for him to make this sort of declaration is revolutionary. He loves her and he is willing to finally admit that he's in it for the long haul. It’s the first move. And I pity the extreme sporter she is currently dating, because he’s got no idea my boy just checkmated him.

Monday, April 11, 2005

I've Got A Fever And The Only Prescription Is More Cowbell

Saw FEVER PITCH tonight. Not a great film but Drew Barrymore and Jimmy Fallon have wonderful chemistry and Fallon’s performance is worth the price of admission alone. Without giving away too much about the plot, I will tell you that at one point in the film there is a pregnancy scare. This is something I’ve wanted to write about for some time. Pregnancy scares the shit out of me. I’ve only had one scare and it shook me to the core. I was 19 and my then girlfriend was 18. Of course, she wasn’t pregnant and we were relieved, but the hell I endured in-between her declaration and the arrival of her period was unbearable. I had no true income. I had no degree. I had no idea what I was going to be wearing the next day let alone what I was doing with my life. One thing was for sure, I didn’t think raising a child was the direction I wanted it to go. Not much has changed for me since then but at least now I have goals. I never asked my girlfriend what it was like for her and I'd like any of my female readership to post a comment in regards to this subject.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Anatomy Of A Handshake

What’s up with guys who have weak handshakes? It’s like they’re fish. Did their fathers not show them how? A strong handshake indicates a person of substance. It seems like something so obvious but I guess it’s not.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

People I Don't (Want To) Know

This morning I am woken by someone ringing my buzzer. I am expecting a package so I let this person into the building. As I open the door, I see two men with bibles walk towards my door.
“We’re here to spread the New Testament.”
I instantly close my door and lock it.
--
After work tonight, I had a late repast with my co-worker Jackie. Let me explain briefly what my relationship is with this woman. I don’t like her. I mean nothing about her particularly irritates me and I mean her no ill will, but she’s not on my favorite people list. She’s rude, moody and strange. I can never get a handle on how to be around her. But tonight she asked me to join her for some food and I said yes. I have a morbid curiosity with people, what can I say. So after a couple burgers and almost all work-related conversation (and a couple Stella Artois) we left each other’s company. I found out very little about her and hopefully will never have to endure that again.
So now I’m at the subway station and I’m sitting there waiting patiently for the train. I’m a little buzzed. And then I hear it.
“Bernard! Bernard!”
I turn and see Claudia. Let me explain briefly what my relationship is with this woman. Claudia is Molly’s roommate. Molly calls me frequently to bitch about their co-dependent relationship. Claudia is also someone I know from Cleveland. In fact we worked together once on a short I did entitled HETEROFLEXIBLE. She was a pain then and she’s one now. She’s manipulative and mean and worst of all, makes Molly feel bad on a fairly regular basis. I dislike this woman intensely. But she doesn’t know that and I have to pretend like I am excited about seeing her for Molly’s sake. We have this strange conversation where I don’t really look at her and it goes well enough.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Black and White

Yesterday, for the first time in my life, I had a black and white cookie. After work, my co-worker Young Nicholas and I walked to this little deli off of 6th St. and had two cookies. He’s funny in that quiet and centered way. But he insisted on us having cookies and I wasn’t in the mood to argue with him. And it was good. I’m not sure it was as good as he thinks it is, but it’s good. The key is to eat equally from the white and black frosting.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Risk

I dumped my savings account today. It’s getting down to the wire and the film budget just keeps getting bigger and bigger. So I emptied my savings and while that is somewhat terrifying, I’m excited as well. You have to risk it all to reap the rewards. As my good friend Derek once said, “No balls no babies.”

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Fuck You I'm Tired

Saw OFF THE MAP with Molly tonight. That makes two times for me. God I love that film.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

DVD Hell

It’s Tuesday and I had to send some revisions to my four actors. I needed the pages copied, so as that was being done, I went to Barnes and Noble. Now for someone like myself, this is the worst place to be at the moment. The film is quickly approaching and the budget is growing everyday. I can’t spare any money because I’m putting up all the money for the film. People have offered, but I’ve never felt comfortable accepting, mainly because it puts even more guilt on my shoulders and frankly, as a Catholic, I’ve got enough of that. So as a result there are sacrifices to be made. Things I want, I can’t have. Two of those things are available today: the DVDs of SIDEWAYS and the fourth season of WEST WING. And I’m looking at these two things I most certainly want and I put them both down. I didn’t get either. It’s a sad day for me. I hear that the commentary track on SIDEWAYS is pretty badass and the WEST WING Season 4 would complete the Sorkin era. But that’s the price of doing business.

Monday, April 04, 2005

Portion Control

“You look thin.”
I’ve heard that a lot recently. Due to film-related stress and my general nervous nature, I have been losing weight. And that’s okay. I’m still healthy looking.
Something struck me about this past weekend in Cleveland. Food portions in the Midwest are vastly bigger than NYC’s. They’re not even close. I’m used to eating an appetizer, entrée and dessert and I couldn’t do this once the entire weekend. Example: the wedding reception on Saturday had a five course meal. I love multi-coursed dining. But it only works if you adhere to The Law of Diminishing Returns, which says that with every subsequent bite you become less enamored with it, thus making every course small but focused. The same amount as an appetizer, entrée and dessert, but now it’s spread out between more courses. Instead, my wedding reception dining experience was just a waste of food. We started with a salad with Italian dressing. An Italian wedding soup (but they added chicken for some reason) followed. Now comes the pasta course, which was rigatoni with tomato sauce and sausage. Our last savory course had steak with a red wine demi-glace, sautéed mushrooms, sugar snap peas and carrots AND redskin potatoes. And we haven’t even gotten any wedding cake yet. It’s simply too much food. I guess it’s all about value out in the Midwest.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Wedding Day

I wake up and Cleveland is covered in snow. Welcome home. I quickly get dressed and drive to Molly’s. She’s wearing this tiny black dress that is very fashionable but not smart given the unexpected winter storm. The ceremony was long and Molly read a couple of things, which she did well. Something struck me about this ceremony early on. Why is it that people want children involved in a wedding? I mean I know they’re cute and all, but they’re uncontrollable and play by their own rules. And if they’re really cute, don’t they steal attention from the bride and groom? I thought maybe it would be funny to have old people doing the job of ringbearer and flower girl. They elicit the same response from us: “Awww.” And as Molly mentioned, “And they’re just as ornery as kids.”
In between the ceremony and the reception we went to Molly’s parents’ house and hung out with them. We are pizza, cheese and drank some beers. We learned that the Pope had died which was terribly sad. My whole life I’ve only had one Pope. My world shifted a little bit.
The reception was wonderful. I smoked a cigar with Fred, danced the Twist with Joan and drank rum and cokes. It was the best time I’ve ever had at a wedding.
Post reception activity consisted of a trip with Molly and others to BW3 for another couple drinks. After which I drove home, even over the objections of Fred, Joan and Molly. The weather was awful (it took me two hours to get home) but I had an early day Sunday and it didn’t help that I lost an hour because of daylight savings.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Coming Home

So tonight (or should I say at this point yesterday) I went to dinner at FAT CATS with my parents. It’s nice to go home and see everyone that I know working. I drank Great Lakes Brewing Co. Dortmunder Gold because I can’t do so in NYC. My parents are happy that I’m home even if it’s just for a couple days. Dinner was nice and conversation was light. After dinner, my parents jetted home while I stuck around waiting for some friends. So I drank and reminisced with the crew. I even pitched in a couple times. The new server broke two wine corks so I had to bail her out. Eventually Jill and her fiancé Bobby come in and they tell me everything involving her wedding. They’re a wonderful couple and I’ll definitely be attending their wedding in July.

Friday, April 01, 2005

Transcendent

I got to BAM at 5:30. I began to prepare myself for the reality that I wouldn’t get into see this film. I brought enough cash to cover any reasonable offer and even some more to cover the unreasonable one. I really wanted to see this film. And at 6:00 something happened. I overhear a couple tell the ticket booth that they had two more tickets than they needed and I sprung from my spot. The gentleman was very kind and offered me the ticket free of charge but I insisted on paying. I gave him enough money for both tickets just so he could break even and also to show my extreme gratitude. “It’s a karma thing,” I explained. He reluctantly took the money. I wanted to hug him.
As I entered the large auditorium I became very edgy. I’m a nervous person to begin with, but I’m shaking from excitement. I get a fantastic seat smack dab in the middle of the theatre and try to calm myself down. About ten minutes before the film begins, I see Mr. Nichols enter. He ends up sitting three rows behind me, three seats to my left. I’m giddy. My palms are cold. I’m having difficulty breathing. Luckily, the film begins and I am able to let all that tension go. Watching this film on the big screen was a transcendent experience. Films of this caliber are the reason I want to make films. I’m not afraid to tell you that I almost cried I was so happy.
Afterwards there was a Q&A with Mr. Nichols led by Rolling Stone film critic Peter Travers. Mr. Nichols regales us with stories of the making of THE GRADUATE and other films and I am taking vigorous notes. I can’t write fast enough. I feel like I’m in junior year English and Mrs. Kenny is talking way too quick for me. I’m missing stuff that I want to preserve forever. I’m leaning forward. His presence demands it. And then Mr. Nichols starts taking questions. I raise my hand. The woman in front of me stands up and asks a question. Ugh. It’s a pretentious question, which is even more so because she’s got one of those effected British accents. Mr. Nichols answers and then it happened. The next question is mine. I’m a little flummoxed because I wasn’t altogether ready but I did okay, given my nerves.

ME: Hi. I came late to the idea of being a director. I know I’m not that old, but in any case, I remember when I was growing up my father showing me Cary Grant films and telling me, “Everyone wants to be Cary Grant.” Well I’m here to tell you that I always wanted to be Mike Nichols.
MIKE NICHOLS: Thank you. That’s very kind.
ME: Anyway, I have a question about directing. You’re a genius and yet when I read your thoughts on directing, you’re very simple about it. You’ve said in regards to scene work, the only thing to keep in mind is question “What is this really like?”
MIKE NICHOLS: Yes that’s right. “What is this like in real life?”
ME: I think that’s what makes something like THE GRADUATE so poignant. It has it all…it’s funny, dark…just like life. In any case I’m here to learn and I was hoping you would relay some more information about directing. Maybe something you haven’t mentioned before.

And he answered me. It was a very long and informative answer but he looked at me the whole time. I just couldn’t stop smiling and taking feverish notes. It feels so much like a dream to me. I can’t believe it.