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4:03 PM - Mon 3.11.19

"Warts And All" VS "All Warts"

(Just looked - It's moving toward a month since I last wrote. But I don't want to get lost in recriminations here, so "onwards and upwards"...)

For the past week-and-a-half or so, I've spent the bulk of my non-work time with Jane R., working on the documentary (Acting Like Nothing Is Wrong, for anyone not in the know).

It's the longest concentrated period we've spent on the film - up till now, it's basically been a weekend in Sante Fe here, a couple days in L.A. there - and as a result, it feels as if a lot got done (Everything from me dancing around in various locales, to my being interviewed on various subjects - at various locations in Jane's Air B&B loft downtown and, to my chagrin, in my apartment - to going "on location" at Cary's house in Santa Clarita, to doing a Zumba routine with Carlos and Salta, to talking to a "fan" who turned out to be Wes Studi's son Kolon (sp?), to B-roll footage of this, that, and the other thing).

While it's been clear for a while now that we're doing something, this hasn't felt quite "real" to me as a film/documentary until this past week or so, when we started bringing other people into it.

I'm not sure why, exactly, except that, the big "dance club scene" in Sante Fe notwithstanding, prior to this recent bit of shooting, we'd been operating in two modes - "Me dancing" or "Me being interviewed".

It just seemed - I don't know -, a little "thin" perhaps?

But now - and we're a long way from done - we have multiple "locations", me interacting with other people (talking to Cary went very well, I thought), the Zumba thing, a bit where me and Kolon (sp?) perform a very sloppy/improvised "blues", and a fair amount of B-roll (Jane spent a chunk of her time here scanning photos I gave her, along with bits of my case file. They also took a lot of stills in my apartment of various things, and filmed a lot of me walking around downtown LA).

I still don't really know what "story" we're telling here - I was a foster kid and now I'm a (kinda) working actor, but so what? - but it is starting to feel like we're making something,

And I have to acknowledge the same thing I'd be acknowledging if I were acting in a movie (Instead of just playing "me") - I have my perspective, but I can't really "see" the project the way Jane and Seth are seeing it.

It's something I said to Jane when she called me out for routinely saying "If you're happy, I'm happy" when she's asked if I'm happy at the end of a day's shooting - She referred to it as a "cop-out".

But it's not, because I've spent a good chunk of time since we started this reminding and re-reminding myself, "I am the subject of this documentary - But this is not my documentary".

Jane's running the show. And that being the case, it really does feel like my job is to have her be happy with what she's gotten at the end of a day's shooting. That genuinely feels more important, more meaningful, than however I'm feeling at day's end.

For the record, I have been pretty happy overall while doing this. I've had days where I'm tired or a little distracted or what-have-you (And some of the subject matter, while not exactly unexplored terrain, still has "taken it out of me"), but I've enjoyed being busy, the camaraderie of doing this thing together, becoming better friends with Jane R., being front-and-center on a project the way that I never am as an actor, etc.

But me being personally "happy" with what's been shot on a given day is a complicated proposition - I might be happy because I thought I said something smart or witty, which gratified my ego, but that wasn't really that impressive (Or that wouldn't make the cut for some other reason), or I might not be happy because I felt I fumbled around and rambled and "didn't sound smart" and that might be very telling at a given moment (For example - I felt some chagrin when Jane asked me what my definition of "love" was and it brought me up quite short. But while it's embarrassing that I'm a 57-year-old man who apparently doesn't know what "love" is, that's probably a more interesting moment in a documentary than if I'd given her some pithy Hallmark-card sentiment).

Jane has said, more than once, that she has appreciated my candor and vulnerability. And for the record, I do think I have been very forthcoming.

But that doesn't mean I'm still not wrestling with the fear of "coming off badly" somehow - I don't think Jane will let that happen, but just the nature of what we're doing here means revealing myself, warts and all.

I just hope this thing doesn't reveal me to be "all warts".

Till next time...


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