Friday, April 01, 2005


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.


Blogger Jenni said...

I can't believe you spoke to him. Kick ass. I want to hear all about it in full detail. I'm missing you.

Saturday, April 02, 2005 2:17:00 AM  

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