• April 2008
  • PRODUCTION JOURNAL by Joe Swanberg and David Lowery

    Friday, April 18, 2008

    Fate, Or Something Like It

    I began packing my bags for New York this past Tuesday without quite knowing where I was going to stay upon my arrival. We were all in the same boat. E-mails to friends and acquaintances were going out, feelers in search of vacant couches and empty floor space. And then, at the last minute, serendipity struck. All the pieces fell into place; I got on the plane Wednesday morning, and when I got off at JFK, I gave the cabbie the address to what was going to be our home for the next month. An amazing apartment in Williamsburg: the homebase for Alexander The Last.

    The 'we' I keep mentioning thus far consists of Joe Swanberg, Jess Weixler, Barlow Jacobs (pictured above in his 'office'), Justin Rice and myself. All of us living together in one apartment, making a movie - it's like a sitcom! Wacky hijinks are bound to ensue. We've been here for three days now. Production officially begins on Monday, but as far as we're concerned, we've already begun. Everyone's thinking about the film, talking about it, letting it seep in. Getting familiar with the characters and themes and the points where they converge. To this end, Joe brought us some reading material, including:

    Barlow brought his own inspirational viewing material: Everybody Loves Raymond, the entire series, on DVD. Here he is, explaining why Ray Romano is one of the most vital and important artist of the 21st Century:

    Walking to dinner that first night, we turned the corner and randomly entered the Twilight Zone when we saw:

    This dude was painting a mural on the side of a building, advertising a new season of IFC Online, and he was about to begin to fill in the pencil contours of a representation of our humble director, whose Young American Bodies, Season 3 is about to begin its internet broadcast. This accidental connection between subject and representation created a rift in the space-time contiuum. Also, Joe's head temporarily exploded.

    After marveling at this historical public work, we went to eat at Bliss, a vegetarian restaurant, where we all crammed together on wooden benches around a tiny wooden table. It was very rustic and cozy. The food was also really good, although as Barlow pointed out, it's no Spiral Diner.

    Then we went home and hung out and talked until three in the morning. Par for course. Bright and early the next morning, Joe and I met up with Jess for a location scout at the Rattlestick Theater in the West Village.

    An inciting element of the film's story is a play that that the characters are acting in, and we need a theater for those scenes.

    Regardless of whether or not we use Rattlestick, this scout proved to be fortuitous for an entirely different reason - for had we not embarked on it, we wouldn't have encountered the lovely young woman who was busking at the 14th Street Station, playing a Melodica, singing classic Dylan tunes and dancing as if there wasn't another soul around.

    We watched her, momentarily enchanted; then the train came and we left with the vague sense that some opportunity had been missed. But not an hour later, we saw this same chanteuse passing through the turnstyle at another subway stop. Now, I don't believe in fate, but let's just pretend that's what this was; or let's go stick with what's already worked in our favor and call it serendipity, striking down for a second time. Whatever flavor of chance it was, Joe took it and ran; he went and introduced himself to her, and now she's going to be in the film. Her name is Jo, too, and she's from Australia, and she's in a band called The Shivers, and this is one of her songs. This movie just got that much better.


    Blogger jmj said...

    Amy quote "I wanna live in New York with Barlow."

    My reply "New York's great but it's no Texas."

    April 19, 2008 9:53 PM  

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