Can I Get a Witness?

An offer has been made on my condo.  Yes, I’m in escrow.

I’m not exactly sure what “escrow” means other than a ton of paperwork to sign and a heightened awareness of rental notices around my neighborhood.  I have thirty days to find my next living – and, hey, working – space, so I’m trying to be mindful of what will provide me with the best environment for the anticipated (i.e. hoped for) productivity ahead.  Plus, I have to make sure it’s a place that Lucy and Sophia will like.  Those four-legged creatures have discriminating taste.

Is there a dishwasher and washer/dryer hookups?

As the year speeds along and my 2011 “Sabbatical” approaches, I find myself thinking a lot about what this interval is going to be like.  I’ve been working steadily for almost two decades now and soon I will have the luxury of time.  Total.  Unstructured.  Time.


Priority number one will be re-establishing some of that structure.  For it gets a little scary to envision one day blending into the next…and me camped out on my sofa glued to marathons of The Real Housewives of Atlanta while monitoring my Facebook newsfeed.  If I become a disciple of the Mighty O, I’ll know I’m really in trouble.

Add Oprah and I've entered my own private Hades...

After all, I do have things to do.  I have a film to make!

And I know the first few months will entail the continuing recruitment of investors.  Phone calls, e-mails, general schmoozing.  But I don’t think it’s going to fill up entire days.  So I need to set some goals – get that list going, DLB!  1) Write another screenplay in 2011…maybe two; 2) Workout regularly – even on those cold, dark mornings when I’m snuggled cozily in my nest of a bed; 3) Attend/watch more movies; 4) Volunteer frequently – you get what you give; 5) Visit more museums – heck, the Norton Simon museum and the Huntington Gardens are practically in my backyard!; 6) Do a better job of keeping in touch with faraway friends. (Consider yourselves warned, Nicole and Wendy and many others!)

So much culture, so little time...

In general, I will try to better myself as a human being.  I need to savor this upcoming freedom.  I’m a very lucky lady to get this gift of creative independence, so I promise not waste it.

And being the movie nerd that I proudly am, I do have to offer up another cinematic gem for your consideration.  Today’s thirty-minute treadmill tango had me scanning the cable channels until finally landing on a classic that I’m going to assume we’ve all seen: WITNESS.  I was at the height of my Harrison Ford crush when the film came out and I just happened to be celebrating birthday number sweet sixteen.  It was the perfect storm of teenage hormones mixed with hunky actor mixed with filmmaking greatness.  So seeing it again this morning, if only for a brief period of time, had me in awe of its effective simplicity and emotional authority.  Understandably, the film is often sighted as a great example of compelling cinematic storytelling.

John Book = My Bestseller List!

So many of the movie’s stunning visuals reminded me of some of the Dutch Masters I studied in art history class.  Director Peter Weir used a lot of stark composition and limited light sources to capture the austerity of the Amish lifestyle.  He also chose to shoot some key character moments from behind, which I found very interesting and, ultimately, powerful.  We don’t see detective-in-hiding John Book’s face when he calls back to Philadelphia and first hears the news that his police partner has been suspiciously killed “in the line of duty.”  But Weir’s tight close-up on the back of Book’s head still cues us to know that the character has turned an emotional corner and is not long for the straw-hat-wearing, barn-raising, milking-cows-at-four-thirty-in-the-morning lifestyle.  No matter how yearningly a radiant Kelly McGillis stares at him.

Seriously, dear readers, instead of renting some mediocre “I-heard-this-was-okay” Netflix offering, why not revisit a film-watching experience that’s guaranteed to be satisfying?

Wait a minute…I think I need to start following my own advice.  Add it to the goal list!

How many more stairs do I need to climb?

NEXT UP: Speed Dating Hollywood-Style.  Hello, Los Angeles Filmmaker Forum!

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