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Ray Pride

By Ray Pride

Blogging the slog: Levy on the cricketical life

In the Oregonian, cricket Shawn Levy blogs the critical slog, being kind enough to omit meals, daydreams and tummyaches:
What Do You Do For a Living? Part I
So it’s about 5:15 pm on Monday and I’m slowing down a little. Here’s what I’ve done so far today in my capacity as film critic: 1) Written [2] items to run inside of the Living section during the week, one recapping [a] just-concluded… Festival, the other previewing a show… by local filmmakers Bill Daniel and Vanessa Renwick. About 600 words total. 2) Written two full-length film reviews for Friday… The Greatest Game Ever Played and Thumbsucker. About 1400 words total. 3) Began work on my Sunday feature story… About 800 words so far, with another 1500 or so to come. 4) Did planning for… issues of Oct. 7 and 14; answered e-mails and telephone calls from readers, publicists and colleagues; conferred with a couple of editors about the workload for the rest of the week and a few little problems that arose. 5) And, of course, produced a couple of entries for this blog. Right now, I’ve got about a half hour before I need to go across town for a screening of Serenity. I should be home by, I don’t know, 9:30 — on a day when I began writing at about 6:30 And tomorrow is the real crunch day this week….
What Do You Do For a Living? Part II
It’s Tuesday at 4-ish pm. Thus far today, I’ve 1) Finished my Sunday feature story… adding about 1600 words to yesterday’s 800. 2) Written the first half of a review of Serenity for Friday… About 400 words. 3) Transcribed the tapes of two interviews that I conducted back in January at the Sundance Film Festival with the star and director of Thumbsucker.” (I hate transcribing more than any other part of my job and maybe my life: not only is it time-consuming—about 75 minutes to transcribe 25 minutes of tape—but I have to listen to my own donkey voice asking questions in the most idiotic fashion and ignoring obvious follow-ups.) About 1500 words. 4) Seen the new Pride and Prejudice with Keira Knightley. 5) The usual e-mails, phone calls and check-ins with publicists, freelancers, colleagues and editors. In about two hours, I’m off to see another adaptation of a nineteenth century classic, the new Oliver Twist, which was directed by Roman Polanski. Again, pretty much constantly going from 6:30 am to 9:30 pm.
Tomorrow I catch a break, though….”

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It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
~ Hampton Fancher

“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon