Saturday, November 24, 2007


An awesome word. I suffer from it and I suspect most people do from time to time. I had been flown into Atlantic City to take over the job as 1st Assistant Director for Louis Malle. They were three days into the shoot and the person doing the job was not working out. I arrived about noon and after a quick stop to drop my luggage at the motel was driven to the set. It was a restaurant and I hardly sat down to read the script when Vincent Malle came to me and said I would have to read later as he was too busy to run the set. I met Andy who was the focus puller earlier this week when I went to a set to sell some Pocket Packs. He is an operator now and loves it. Well I met Louis Malle and Bert Lancaster, Susan Sarandon and Wally Shaun who was playing the waiter. He told me he was going to do a film with Louis. Fat chance I thought looking at this small round funny little man going bald. Little did I know that he was talking about "My Dinner With André."
The third day there we were to do shots in a parking garage where the cars were driven onto a platform which was on a revolving chain so the cars moved up until there was a circle of 8 cars. Robert Joy was to be killed as he tried to escape on the revolving platforms. The sun was not bright enough and so we had to go to cover as they say in films. Cover in this case was Burt Lancaster walking along the boardwalk and meeting someone in front of the shop. I had two policemen and 4 Production Assistants who knew very little about film making. Louis and I walked the half block to the boardwalk and I asked him what he wanted to see. He said the whole boardwalk in both directions. Impossible I said for I did not have the people to expedite the pedestrian control. Louis went away and I looked at it all to see what I could do. I realized I could give him enough boardwalk on either side of the store front so he could bring Burt in and out of the scene with the feeling of seeing lots of the wooden walkway but still be under my control. When I turned to suggest this I could see Louis sitting on the street curb with his head in his hands in despair. I could feel his energy all gone. It is a horrible feeling to sense your leader is in a hopeless state for it is like looking at a dead person: no evergy is coming off. I went over and in the a gentle but positive way asked him to come with me for I thought maybe we could do something that would satisfy him. Reluctantly he got up and went up onto the boardwalk again. I showed him my plan and he said that is what we would do. Despair comes to us all at times and along with it comes angels who want to help move you away from the feeling of hopelessness that surrounds despair.
The cold has come with the beginning of winter and Christmas is looming and I must now use all my energy to sell my Pocket Pack which is a perfect Christmas gift. I have used incredible energy up getting it to the market in the 8 weeks that it took me to design and create all the written material and make all the deals with the suppliers and measure my paltry bank account so everyone got some little bit of money for what they did to make it all possible. But this morning I despair of my task and so in writing this blog I gain some energy to realize that even great artists can despair and I can be a good angel not only to him but to myself as I coax myself back to action.

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