The Day Before The Day Before

28 May

I almost never post here anymore, but I couldn’t figure out any other way to talk about what is happening. But to understand what is about to happen we have to go back, to what happened. To the beginning.

So I’m four months pregnant. Ben and I are strolling through New York sometime around Thanksgiving and we’re realizing all the stuff that is going to change when and if this baby actually comes out (we had some almosts… another story/another time.) And Ben is feeling a little down because he thought he’d make his first feature before he had a kid. He won all these awards and then didn’t make a feature and now it will be harder or impossible because a baby is hard or impossible. We think. We don’t know. We’re fretting and worrying and we decide, almost without considering any other options that we will cobble together some of our money and investor money and a cast we know and Ben will go to Chicago and make a micro-budget indie. We just decide. We never decided to get married like this. We never decided to have a baby. I don’t even know if we decided to kiss for the first time as easily as we decided to make a movie. For almost nothing. This is what that looks like:

2012-04-09 20.21.11

I know.. so glamorous. So off Ben goes to Chicago while I’m about 7 months pregnant, working full time on Bunheads and taking care of our dogs and our house and looking for a new house which we think we might get and talking to Ben who is working impossible hours with no money while living in his investors house. He comes home and we have a baby and move into a new house and he starts editing it because nobody else can and we spend three years trying to finish it. Hoping we will know when.

2012-04-20 20.37.27

And this is how it always goes. This is how it always will go. We will, for the next three years, work harder on this than on almost anything else. We’ll fight about it and cry about it and worry and put more money in and do an Indiegogo campaign and have a baby and buy a house and get jobs and lose jobs and fight and be in love and then we have this movie.

This beautiful, weird, lovely, sweet and funny movie. 87 minutes of it. Ready to show to a few hundred people on Saturday.

Our movie has no stars. Nobody you know is in it, though you may recognize a few faces, nobody is likely to get papped during our premiere on Saturday. We are working professionals in TV, everyone in the movie is an artist with a day job. Like us. So this is the last hurdle. Can our story, Ben’s script, his vision, the performances, the music, can any of it get through the white noise of celebrity driven indie films?

I don’t know. We grew up wanting to be Todd Haynes, Hal Hartley, Susan Seidelman. This movie is very much a part of that DNA. Movies without stars are hard. When you see Brad Pitt you know what you’re supposed to think of a character already. You have a shorthand and a relationship with great actors, hell with any actor who you know before you watch a movie.

I wish I had some great lesson to share with you, right now. Instead I only have the truth. It is possible that even though this movie is good and strong and beautifully made, that we will end up without a distributor and have to spend a year self-distributing it. That we will never hand this baton off to someone else. It is possible we don’t want to (we do.) These movies aren’t made for the industrial machinery of Hollywood distribution and every time a movie pierces through the veil it leaves behind a thousand brothers and sister movies, some just as good, and nobody knows why.

If you’d like to come see the other three year old living in our house, join us Saturday at Dances With Films. And come say hi afterwards.

This baby is going with us on our next adventure:

2015-05-22 18.31.25

Dear Bash

15 May

I wrote this 366 days ago.

Today we celebrated his first birthday and I wrote another letter. I’ll post it next year.

Until then…

Happy Birthday Bash

 

May 13, 2012

Dear Bash,

So it’s 11pm the night before you’re going to be born and I thought I’d just write you a note. A letter. I started to do this because I’m pretty scared of surgery and you’re coming out surgically so I thought, well if something goes wrong I want to be able to tell you some stuff. And then I realized even if everything goes fine, I still have some stuff to tell you.

First of all, we really want you here. We may not always act like it, we may act like you’re annoying (because you will be) and like you are loud (you’ll do that too) and that you’re needy (well, you’re a baby, needy is a given) but we want you here. Hopefully you’ll see that, and that we love you, through whatever dumbass things we do.

Second, I want to tell you about your dad. He’s pretty much my favorite person in the world (granted I haven’t met you yet) and he’s an amazing person. He’s smart and funny but I think the best thing about him is that when he dedicates himself to something or someone he dedicates completely. When he meets you he’s going to be devoted, and he’ll do anything, try anything, be anywhere to make you the best kid you can be. I know some people want someone around that makes them happy, but for my money the person you want in your life is dedicated to making you the best version of yourself. Your dad decided one day, completely out of the blue, that he was dedicated to making me the best version of me, and that makes me unbelievably happy and grateful. And he’s kind of amazing in other ways. Watch him with the dog. Or when he writes. Or edits. Watch him whenever you can. That’s a good man. And I hope one day you’ll be a good man too. He may get angry, but his anger is always from a place of commitment to a cause. That cause may be a movie, or a story, or you. But never doubt he is fully committed to you. And to me.

Now, your extended family. You have two amazing aunts. Sara is a mom already and she’s smart and tough but she’s also patient and funny. She’s a lot like our mom, someone I’m sorry you won’t get to meet. Our mom was pretty great and Sara is a version of her. And she keeps her friends for a long time. That’s an amazing gift. Then there is Rebecca, who is warm and can bake and cook and is an artist. She’s going to teach you a lot and she’s carrying your cousin right now, a girl cousin, who you will grow up with. They are both married to extraordinary men.

And your grandparents. Richard is warm and funny and he rides horses. Judith is passionate and she’ll be teaching you piano. Lee is quiet but loves you so much and if you can make him smile, you’ve got him. And he will teach you to sail. Your grandparents are going to spoil you. You’ll love it.

If for some reason we never meet, if you come into this world and I leave before we really get to know each other here is what I want you to know. The world is a weird place. It isn’t always fair or right. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be fair and right. Being good to the people around you, thinking about them and making sure that your happiness isn’t trampling their happiness is the sign of true character. A kind person isn’t weak, they aren’t soft. Some of the toughest people I know are also the kindest. If you walk through this world thinking people are out to get you, you’ll miss all the good stuff.

Make sure to travel and listen wherever you are to the people around you. Traveling is like trying on a lifestyle, going to a city and trying to blend in can teach you so much. Go places that scare you, places that fascinate you. Don’t rush through a city. Three weeks in Paris are worth far more than three weeks of seeing every city in Europe. Go to Paris, stand at the top of Sacre Couer and just watch. I promise it is worth it.

You don’t have to be an artist as your profession, but treat your job, whatever it is, like it is your art. Be committed, be passionate, be fully invested in creating whatever it is you create – plumbing or new medicines, or computer programs or novels. And don’t be afraid to change your mind if your passion flags. Everyone has their “Sistine Chapel” job – the great creation of their life and you’ll find yours. Be patient.

Rescue a dog and raise it. Do it yourself, don’t wait for a partner. Nothing teaches you more about how to prioritize your life than a dog. And dogs will love you and teach you to love. And get you out of your house. Walk a lot.  If you can walk someplace, walk there. Or at least, don’t drive everywhere. Driving is great but isolating. Eat weird food. Eat the local food and try things that scare you.

In fact that’s the biggest thing of all. Try things that scare you. Not because they scare you –some fear is well-founded but when something has low risk and your fear is “I don’t know” or “It might embarrass me” then try it. Do the things that might embarrass you because that embarrassment will fade, but the shame of not trying will never ever leave you.

Be happy, make people happy and stand up straight. We’re short. All we have is posture and quick wit to defend against the tall people in the world.

I love you kid. I haven’t met you yet, but I love you very much and I want you to have an amazing life. I’m hoping to be there for a lot of it. But whatever I miss, you’ll be surrounded by people who will remind you every day how much I love you.

I’ll see you tomorrow, okay?

Love,

Your Mom.

(that’s the first time I’ve ever signed anything “your mom” and it felt kinda good.)

Title TK and a Note To Future Me

23 Jan

There’s this thing growing inside of me. Okay, it’s not a thing. It’s a baby. After a couple of false starts I’m 6 months pregnant and due in May.

Don’t feel too bad about the false starts. I got a lot of frequent flyer miles paying for the hospital visits with my American Airlines card and now I’m a gold status member. So it was really win-win.

Pregnancy is odd. There’s a ton of pressure to feel fantastic about it. My husband’s mother keeps insisting this is the most wonderful, beautiful thing I will ever experience which is downright depressing. I feel fat. I can’t run. I sleep best sitting up which isn’t exactly comfortable. Sex has become a negotiation, where every move has as much chance of feeling bad as feeling good. I can’t drink, which I really miss. And really, I don’t feel great when my doctor says “you’ve only gained five pounds, good job!”

But listen, we get a kid at the end of this. A cute, probably short, definitely nerdy kid who we will no doubt embarrass even though we have spent a lot of nights trying to figure out how to minimize the humiliation. He has no idea what he is in for – he doesn’t know we want to take him out of school for 7th and 8th grade and travel the world. He doesn’t know that he isn’t going to be able to watch TV for awhile but he’ll be forced to play drums at an early age. Right now all he knows is that I like spicy food and he better damn well get used to it.

So why am I blogging this? Two reasons. One is that I’m about to direct a movie about virginity and the fact that I may be very very pregnant on set makes me laugh. And two, because I’ve been collecting some rules. Rules to Mom By. Or at least, Rules I Hope I Remember After This Thing Gets Out and Proceeds to Punish Us With Shit Filled Diapers.

The Rules I Will Try And Live By

1. Nobody “needs” to meet the baby. When people say that it kind of creeps me out. “You need to meet the baby!” Like he’s the only priest in the world with the power to forgive me for my sins. It’s a baby. If you wanna meet him, that’s awesome. But you will still be my friend if you never meet the baby.

2. People with kids don’t know that much more than people without kids. At least, not enough to dispense advice without being asked first. I get that I have never done this. But I should probably be able to post a video of a cute kid on Facebook without getting advice from people on how to sleep train the baby that hasn’t arrived yet. I know it comes from a good hearted place at least 54% of the time (the rest is just people being self-aggrandizing idiots.) But if you’re looking down the barrel of parenthood for the first time you know what you want to hear? Nothing. I want to believe that I will be fine, that I can get through it and that if and when I ask I won’t get judgement but help.

3. Pregnant Ladies Are Not Mentally or Physically Handicapped. So I don’t really need to know how bad the frozen yogurt is from a complete stranger (who was, incidentally, standing in front of the oreos). Mothers are not mentally or physically handicapped either so I don’t expect special treatment. And I won’t be dispensing any.

4. Don’t start any sentence with Just Wait Till You’re… unless it ends with drinking again. I’ll get there. Freaking me out about the shit rolling downstream at me is douchey. (also applies to “You’ll See”)

5. Pregnancy and Weddings. More in common than you think. When I was getting married it quickly became clear that the advice I got was not about me, but about the mistakes the advice giver got. Same with pregnancy. I’m guessing same with child rearing. Advice reflects the advice givers experience, and usually only that. One more way they are similar? I never wanted my wedding day to be the most important day of my life. Same with pregnancy. I want the kid to be the experience. The pregnancy is just a cruel joke on how we get there.

6. If you really want to stop teen pregnancy, show teenage girls the bullshit clothing options they have. It ain’t cute.

7. Not being considered sexy anymore is a loss. I don’t care how you cut it. Not that I was like Sexy in the go to the front of the line at a club way. But I had something. It was mine. And now… it appears to have left the building and I’m just hoping/praying I get it back soon. It is missed. I miss it.

8.  I love my friends because they are my friends, and I don’t want to change my friends because I’m joining the mommy cult. This one is hard. It may be the hardest. Like a lot of people I have friends at almost every walk of life and I love that about them. I love the single straight ones, the engaged gay ones, the married and childless by choice ones. And it seems like via parenthood/impending parenthood means I have some sort of obligation to change my friends. I don’t want to do that.

9. Holy Fuckballs The Mommy Cults Are Everywhere. Lactation obsessed. Montessori obsessed. Attachment Parents. Emotional Parents. They are all just waiting to tell you that their way is the only way and that to do anything else is child abuse. In California the lactation thing is INSANE, I have never had so many questions about what I plan on doing with my boobs. Which leads me to the final rule…

10. YDIWers ruin the party for everyone. Coined by Dan Savage (of course) YDIW stands for “You’re Doing It Wrong.” He was using it to talk about the super judgy BDSM people who were shaming some awesome person for the safe word but it has universal applications. Before you tell someone they are making the wrong choice, be damn sure. Double check your work. Has your kid graduated from Harvard at 16 and saved the world from a deadly virus while also maintaining a healthy social life? No? Then, I’m sorry but your data is incomplete.

And look, this blog isn’t going to become a Mommy Blog. There are so many women out there trying to talk about parenting and I hate crowds and long-lines too much to get in there. This is more a note to future Beth to remember the moment before the kid gets here when you could still think critically about your behavior.

My New Movie Is Called QATAR HERO

20 Dec

To be fair, I’m not sure that the whole set-piece at the end with the Hired Killers is gonna fly, but I think it will sell big.

This is Gen. Yahmet Salah of LIBYA who was among the Five Top Generals who Defected from Muammar AL-Qaddafi’s Regime since Mid-February 2011.
 
I have a business transaction for you which consist of twenty two Million United State Dollars ($22,000,000.00)USD which was part of the hidden funds of Late President Muammar AL-Qaddafi, which he put inside two digital consignment trunk boxes and asked me to ship the boxes to A Security Company in United Kingdom for safe keeping and he has made Every Financial institution’s paralyzed in the country at the moment, but he always use this method to move the funds out of Libya.
 
He told me to have the boxes deposited with my name and also tell the Director of the Security Company that the Boxes contains my Precious Family Belongings instead of money.
 
so in that way they will not  know that he is the owner of the boxes and they will not  know the  content of the deposited boxes,he ask me to use the name of his late son who also died along with him as the next of Kin to the boxes,which I refused,instead I put the name of my son as the next of Kin to the boxes without his notice on the  5th of January 2011,I have the whole rightful and Legal Documents of the deposited boxes here with me in the Hospital.
 
On the 15th of February Muammar AL-Qaddafi called me on phone and ask me to come to his office with the documents of the deposited boxes in the next 1hr.I did not know that he has already sent his Hired Killers to have me killed and get the briefcase which contain the whole documents of the boxes to him,so in that way nobody will know about the deposited boxes except him and his late evil son,Gaddafi always smuggles money from the country with the help of consignment boxes claiming to be containing precious family belongings and having them deposited with Security Companies all over the world,there are thousands of Qaddafi’s Consignment boxes containing large amount of funds which I don’t know where they are,except this two consignment boxes which I deposited with the Security Company by my self.
 
As Allah was on my side I called my driver to take me to the Mosque to pray before going to the president office,on my way driving out they killed my driver and also shoot me three times which I escaped with the bullet injuries on the left side of my chest and my spinal cord got broken,I survived with the help of Allah and now am on a wheel chair here in UNITED STATE OF AMERICA waiting for my heart surgery operation here in the Hospital.
 
The Hired Killers went inside my house to look for the documents which I have hidden very far from my house as usual,they didn’t find the documents,so they killed my wife and my only son and left the premises.
 
I have been on  exile treatment waiting for the punishment of Allah to fall on Muammar AL-Qaddafi, which has finally come and he died with his evil son,now that am here in the hospital can you help me to claim the boxes from the security company? if NO, please don’t reply,if yes, I will have 60% of the total funds, while you have %40 of the total funds,if agreed kindly E-mail me on.(hmdsaedsd@live.com) with your full details such as ;Full name,age,country of origin, private mobile telephone number and your nearest airport.
 
If you decide to positively help me,i will send you the information on how the boxes can be claimed from the Security Company, and i will also send you the documents of the deposited boxes.
 
 
 
Thanks
Gen. Yahmet Salah.

Teenage Romance

18 Nov

Over at the amazing Darwination Scans I found these vintage Teen Romance Magazine covers:

 

They certainly don’t seem any more ridiculous than a teenage girl saving herself for a vampire, getting pregnant after bed shattering sex, having a life threatening vagina-shattering baby and still being worried that she picked the wrong guy.

 

How I Imagine Graveyard Would Work in Movie Magic Screenwriting

18 Oct

Last week John August asked me to talk about How I Write (or at least, Where I Write) and I mentioned that I really wish Movie Magic Screenwriter had a Graveyard function so you could see which scenes you had cut and get to them without switching files but the inclusion would not impact the page count – like the Graveyard in Movie Magic Scheduling. People seemed intrigued and confused so I photoshopped how I would like it to look/work (click for full size.)

It would be a huge help for me, and I feel like it would be easy enough for MMS to create.

And yes, you’re getting a sneak peek at the first page of A Virgin Mary. Spoiler free.

Cripes, You Are Such A Ditzhead.

27 Sep

Ever wonder why people bleep instead of replace? Because here are the MPAA suggestions for language replacement in a movie to make it “safe” for television.

I Have Sex. And I Vote.

14 Mar

Some students at Wesleyan make the best Planned Parenthood videos I have ever seen.

The Internet’s Response To Charlie Sheen as of 3/2/2011

2 Mar

Europe According to Silvio Berlusconi

17 Feb

Europe According to Silvio Berlusconi