making movies


the camera is over there

you know exactly where it is

first rule: ignore it

second rule: there are no other real rules except this:

listen to the director.

that’s you.

the lighting is not right

and the set designer does not feel something

so we all have to wait around and do nothing.

that’s life in the movies kid. Look busy but don’t busy yourself.

I don’t care what you do but try not to think while you’re doing it.

You never know when that lens will be ready; for that reason,

It’s very important to try to stay in character.

With me so far? good. now let’s try an exercise while we’re waiting

for something to happen

Throw an ice cube down on the floor

and try to pick it up with your bare feet

Steve McQueen did this on the set once….

(I forget the name of the movie)

to pass the time.

Only one other actor could do it

she was a complete failure as a human being

in real life

But she lived beautifully in film.

I can’t tell you who she was. trade secret.

We do a lot of waiting around here

for the right moment

so just wait.

that is the hardest part about making movies.


rolex and rolaids in montana


in a few weeks it will be time to launch the drift boat

 into a back eddy of the bitteroot to float and glide

past the trails of deer and bear but today is spent indoors

with my friends


anton chekhov and mark twain got up a game of cards

with william faulkner, kathleen o’connor, JFK and golda meir

while silvia plath emptied the contents of emily dickinson’s purse

in a desperate search for rolaids.


hemingway showed off his new rolex while entertaining nabakov

with stories about hunting in wyoming.

norman mailer would not come out of the bathroom

because marilyn monroe could not keep her hands off of miles davis

who ignored everything that dosteyevski had told him about women.


the kitchen was taken over by jimi hendrix and stephan crane

telling lewd jokes to everyone who would listen

and janis joplin slipped out the back door

to smoke some good weed with jim crumley, truman capote

and charlie parker.


and me? i am content to watch the show and sip good whiskey

while listening to merle haggard, U2 and tom waits sing the real life

we all know.