With respect to J. G. Jones.

I wonder how many of my blogs have begun with "My mood has dipped considerably"?

My mood has dipped considerably, for no discernible reason. As anyone reading or talking to me lately might have noticed, things are going pretty well, and I have been pretty upbeat, especially when compared to how cheerful I usually am.

Likely culprit is, unsurprisingly, lack of sleep. I'm not sure about anyone else, and this is strictly x=1 of me, but insomnia tends to hit me in one of three ways. The first is just neglecting to sleep -- this tends to include getting busy with something and just losing track of time, and usually includes everything from choosing to not sleep, to "forgetting" to sleep [yeah, it does happen]. This first way isn't insomnia in the strictest sense, but I do lose a lot of sleep this way, and like traditional insomnia even when "choosing" to stay up, I rarely feel as though it something within my control. The second way is a general lack of feeling tired -- most people will recognize this as exhaustion but the inability to nod off, when you become easily distracted, your mind seems interested in anything but lulling off, and a great deal of this time is spent staring at the ceiling or the back of your eyelids. Sometimes this manifests with me physically, an itch from having my head on the pillow, a scratchy throat that induces coughing, or feeling like there's something in my eye when there really isn't. This was what hit me this morning, while trying to squeeze in a few hours, though admittedly, it's not the typical offender for me.

More often than not, what I'm struck by is a sort of pre-bed panic attack, the anticipation of, and the exhaustion after, not to mention the extend duration of the panic itself, being the chief reason for being unable to nod off to dreamland. Ironically, it is during these spells I'm most productive -- possibly because sleep typically isn't my goal, calming myself down is, and a lot of my notes and blog entries come from bedside rantings trying to reign myself back under control. Sometimes, it works.

Woke up this morning in the upright position, propped up with my back against the wall, in exactly the same position I remember being in the night before when sleep seemed so far away. Pretty jarring, since there were no dreams [strange for me], and it felt like no time had passed. A blackout? Doubtful, but I have been running on an hour less than usual for the past couple nights, so I suppose it's a possibility. There were definitely a few things done on my computer before I'd slipped off like that, because I don't remember typing what was on the screen upon waking.

Then again, it was mostly gibberish. Entirely possible I was sleep-typing, or I just don't remember the struggle between my brain and body while falling asleep. Worrying about this too much seems ill-advised.

Had a dream I was working with Ron Howard the other night. Weird. I'm not exactly a huge fan, but it was interesting. Very vivid. Strange.

Saw Kyle last Thursday. Justin and Staci took me with them to the movie premiere they were having for this little film they made for one of their professors. It was funny, though I imagine I was missing a few of the in-jokes, but it gave me and Kyle some time to talk about "Trendsetter," and a couple of the other people there chimed in too. It was also nice to share the news with everyone about my possible job, especially since I so rarely have any good news to share.

On producing, I thought I might get a little more informed. I graduated as a writer, after all. Picked up "The Pocket Lawyer for Filmmakers" by Thomas A. Cromwell, and the "Indie Producers Handbook" by Myrl A. Schreibman, partly for a refresher, and partly for self-improvement.

Back to "Trendsetter" for a minute. A friend I met through Glen [don't have many other kinds of friends back here anymore], a really down guy named Ian Nolte, had read the script [that glutton of a short], and had a few thoughts that he shared with me while we were all having dinner. All of it was helpful, especially the note that there was a bit of a separation between the movie's gimmick [the letters], and the film's plot [pretty much everything else], which was particularly striking to me because it has been on my mind a lot lately while doing re-writes, and I have been trying to work the gimmick into the movies plot in some way that really makes it matter. Regrettably, with my decision to take this movie in a less traditional way, and not make it your usual three-act with the weirdness at the center, driving the story, the "trend" becomes like one of Hitchcock's McGuffins. And my fear is that something this expansive might be too big to be a McGuffin.

Ian mentioning it at all makes me feel a lot less crazy for agonizing over it as much as I have been lately. Still a big decision. Seeing a problem and fixing it is hard. Trying to decide if something is or isn't a problem is a lot harder. At least for me.

Ian also called it a romance. He didn't mean it like I took it, but if I'm being honest with my little blog, that's been working on me since it was said. It's difficult to explain, but I always feel like I'm working so hard to get as far away from convention as possible. I can't get away from the subjects I'm dealing with -- connections, misery, relationships -- but the thought of "Trendsetter" in a video store with that little red sticker on the box that says "Romance?" Something to work on. Not a mistake I can let my audience make.

[Paused here, re-read last paragraph, shook my head.]

I'm getting arrogant. "Trendsetter in a video store." Going to Sundance with the closest thing to a male best friend I've ever had. Been thinking, even talking about doing "Un-Filmable" of all things. Thinking about the future -- living... not here, having a social life again. A girlfriend. Seems wrong, like I shouldn't be setting myself up for disappointments. Have plans, do my best to make them work out, but these fantasies are not good things.

One thing at a time.

Going to watch more movies, have to, self-imposed homework to get me on task at putting "Trendsetter" back together. I have a stack of DVDs I've gotten behind on. Last night was "Wristcutters" which hit me just right -- like "Thumbsucker" or"The Royal Tenebaums" did. Dark comedies, with something to say. A structure that doesn't quite fit what all the other movies have. The kind of movies I'd like to make, I guess. Because there aren't many of them, and they're the kind I like to see.

Really striking, hilarious bit in "Wristcutters" that I hate to spoil, but has stuck with me all night. After Zia and Mikal spend a night together, sleeping on the only beach they've found since they "offed," they wake up to find the rocky coast strewn with used needles and condoms. Great image, and they barely gave it to us at all, just a glimpse, enough for the disgust and hilarity. Amazing.

Also? Tom Waits.

Just read all of "Y: The Last Man" this past weekend. Justin handed it off to me, after borrowing it from Ally. Had it on my list of comics to check out for a long time, being a huge Brian K. Vaughn fan, and enjoyed reading it, even if the whole series only took me a few hours to get through. I liked it a lot, whole series was a really enjoyable ride, and I felt good when I finished it. Vaughn's dialogue wasn't as tight in this as some of the other stuff of his I've read though, but the characters were good, with a plot line involving an Israeli solider named Alter really grabbing my attention, and building to a final showdown between her and the main character, Yorick, which actually paid off in the end. Some of the scientific stuff was totally lost on me, as often happens when I'm reading science fiction, but it never bothered me, which was a rare accomplishment.

And there are little things that are still with me about "Y" too -- the beautiful girl with the scar from the church, the looks of rage and indignation on the militia women, the garish, anti-feminist message the removed breast of the Amazons managed to convey while knowing the characters were hoping for the opposite intention... the cover art is what's always talked about with "Y" but so much about Pia Guerra's work on the interiors seemed just perfect to me. No offense meant to J. G. Jones or Massimo Carnevale, of course.


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