March 8, 2005
So I had the heart. I had a beginning and an end. Now I needed the spine, the story, what happens. And so I filled it in with characters from my childhood. The boy’s “retarded” best friend, Pappass, played by Robin Williams, was loosely based on a neighborhood “slow” man who used to play with us kids—stickball, football, whatever, and sometimes beat us up cause he was a man and a sometimes very frustrated man. He was one of us but not one of us. And I knew he could function in a Puff the Magic Dragon role–one of those childhood protectors that loom so important but cannot make the crossover journey into adulthood with the boy. So he, too, became an unlikely source of wisdom for the boy. Wisdom that the boy did not quite get until much later when it was almost too late. The boy would want to seek him out too. To thank him. And I had a delivery boy job when I was 13, delivering meat (is there a more embarrassing job for a 13 year old boy than to have to ride a big ugly silver bike around the city saying “here’s the meat”?) and I thought—they could have that job together. Money, kids always want a little money and independence. For what? A bike–that’s what you want before you want a car or a girlfriend. But it’s the same freedom and speed. A nice bike. A sexy green bike. Okay. But then a girl gets in the way. A girl in a dress the same color as the bike. The story started coming into focus.
I like this new trend of directors blogging for their films (Zach Braff etc). Hugh had some stuff about movie blogging awhile back, but I think this is really the only way to do it–to be a central figure in the making of the film. To be the writer/director, to be specific, and especially if it’s an independent film. Who wants to read a blog written by some hack who’s just paid to be interested in the film? And I can’t imagine any blog about a big-budget Hollywood film being at all interesting, even if it was written by Spielberg or Scorcese or Mann or whomever. I can’t imagine any of them being willing to get to the heart of it and reveal anything anyway. And that’s what blogs are about. The big guys are too entrenched in old-media publicity to warm to blogs. And a blog written by someone other than the central figure in the film’s creation is just a boring marketing blog. It will have no heart.