1997. Paul Thomas Anderson
What an opening: slow music over black. Then, hit it! with music and title in lights
how ’bout that opening crane shot?
all main characters in opening shot!!!!
intro main characters by having minor character greet them (say their names)
why’d you come to Mesena? Couldn’t you have gotten a job like this in ____________?
17 year-old piece of gold
lots of long crane, pan, follow shots.
introduce sub-story: Amber has a son. She wants to talk to him.
camera man’s house is quite a contrast (char. development!)
camera 360 in Dirk’s room. He does Bruce Lee in teh mirror.
His mom working in the kitchen: the mundane-ness of suburbian life. There’s no excitment. No life.
Why is his mom so tense.
with OC voice: CU’s of classroom: chalkboard, flag, PeeChee. camera moves over class to heather.
everyone has thing, I think. I mean everyone’s given one special thing. everyone’s blessed with one special thing…. I plan on being a star.
music. building the scene with Heather and Dirk. slow. patient.
the scene in the diner. the camera pans a little. this scene is good! some exposition, some char development (Amber’s expressions, Heather’s expressions, hangs head. Burt’s leadership)
camera moves around, then stops with the moment. How do you shoot four people at the diner table? Camera pan or move around.
mom freaks out on son. we see dad listening in his room.
you don’t know what I can, you don’t know what I’ll be.
I have good things you don’t know about.
a real family feel to the group.
What is the scene between Mark and ____. What do you squat?
I’ve always wanted to work out a Vince’s.
funny camera/editing when producer gets out of car.
little side chatter. Don Cheadle and girl at pool. Mexican and Amber. Amber is motherly.
handheld camera follows and passes off.
mild competition between _____ and Mark. Keep suspecting something bad to happen when Mark dives, then when ____ dives.
There’s no Maggie here. Who was that? Oh, some kid looking for his mom. Then push in on Amber. Who is watching Dirk.
Poor Bill. His wife…
yeah, yeah, I know… I want to talk about the shoot. (then they talk about shooting). Poor Bill is stressed.
Then the guy walks down to where Bill’s wife is!!
There are a LOT of people there.
The guys so nonchalant about the ODed girl.
We don’t hear all the directions producer gives because guy starts crying.
Iris in on Mark!! “Hey Eddie!” Whip pan to direction of sound.
Keep diving into pool. Pool lights come on. Water begins to wave.
IT’S ALL THE CHARACTERS. Mark’s, Phillip’s, Burt’s, Julianne’s, Heather’s,
You don’t need a rehearsal? Then we’ll shoot the rehearsal.
The build up to shooting the first scene!! Fantastic.
Everyone is really nice to each other!
The “acting” in the scene. Everyone’s reaction!
To the camera during the scene: the lens, the guts.
Sure enough, he’s a natural.
buying his clothes! and then when he talks about his clothes with Heather!!
A dance scene, but not like QT’s. No CU’s. Nat lighting. a couple of pushes-in on Dirk.
“Those are great names.” He really is into it!
Phillip keeps getting left out.
Mark steps in front of the light (between light and cam. creates sillouhette) after receives award.
Burt loves making films: we can tell my the way he talks about them, his demeanor when making them, the way he talks to his editor as he edits: offering suggestions, instructions.
Will something bad happen when they take off in teh car?
This is the best work we’ve ever done.
IT’s a real film, Jack
IT feels good.
Thhis is the film I want them to remember me by.
… the start of the change of the industry. The end of Jack’s ideal.
Does Jesse really like him? Is there innocence in this industry? And what id Don wearing? Don trying to find his look??
Jesse does great job of acting. Ditzy, doesn’t keep up with conversations.
Then it will be 1990, 2000. I mean can you imagine.
Do you think I look cool when I do it.
New producer comes. Talks video. Floyd. His motivation revealed: I want to make a dollar and a cent in this industry.
Phillip gets him when he’s high.
something’s always happening. there are a lot of little sub-stories constantly playing out (the large cast facilitates this) but the MAIN story (the end of porn as film) keeps moving forward too.
Phillip reaches the end. Bill reaches the end. As Jack’s vision of porn is reaching it’s end.
Jack’s world slowly unravels. tiny threads. Amber seems to have fallen for Dirk. The Colonel is arrested. The story twists and turns. Something keeps happening.
Now Dirk’s life begins to fray. A new guy is being prepped. Amber talks to new guy. Dirk does too much drugs.
PT gets everyone on camera. Getting reactions in almost every big scene.
Soo much happens as the story moves along. to move the story along. so much in the story. THE STORY KEEPS GOING AND GOING, BUT WE CARE ABOUT THE CHARACTERS. WE KNOW THEM.
Amber and Heather do too much drugs, too.
Look at all the tapes in the warehouse!! And the change in Burt. He doesn’t love it anymore. NO ONE DOES!!
we finally here Maggie addressed by her name.
SHOW, DON’T TELL: before judge:
when was the last time you were arrested and what was the charge?
Cut to: Maggie sobbing outside a building.
We’re gonna make film history… right here on video tape.
Look how far Dirk has fallen. Dirk’s right where he began. $10
The film doesn’t work with Rollergirl. Dirk’s trick doesn’t work.
Whoa!! Jack beats the student. Dirk gets beat.
They all hit the bottom. Bells chime throughout scene. Tension in Don’s donunt scene is unbearable… because of what just happened.
WHOA!! the gun scene!! Don covered in blood and brains. The bag of money on the floor (push-in on bag, push in on Don)
title: “The Long Way Down (One Last Thing)”
camera circles the three guys… as Scotty circles the table.
tension: the guy is gonna test the baking soda. It’s taking him a long time.
CU on Dirk’s face. He smiles. He’s thinking. He’s tense.
PT always has something happening. Over the course of the film, he turns up the heat/intensity of those happenings, bring his characters down and down.
WOW! Maggie finally gets to be a mom!
Buck gets his story. Maggie directs the commercial. Cameraman at camera. Scotty at sound. Heather in school. ____ doing illusionists.
…we revisit everyone–get the update. Scotty filming the birth. Irony: she used to be a porn star.
It’s a family again. It’s smaller (some are no longer there), it’s bigger (there’s a new baby). Jessie is painting. We follow Jack through his house. He’s still the director.
We’ve all done bad things. We’ve all had those guilty feelings in our heart…
It’s easy to identify what each character wants. But it is not cliche or cheesy. They all really want what they each want. They don’t get distracted.
Made Dirk Diggler story. around 30 mins. I made other shorts. but no one remembered those. when I was 19, 20 I wrote a feature-length documentary. But then the Spinal Tap idea was getting played out. a couple of years later, I wrote a 300 page draft. Then I shot Hard Eight. Rewrote Dirk story, down to 180 pages. Saw documentary on John Holmes–a love letter to him. John does goofy karate. A lot taken from John Holmes life, Shawna Grant’s life, a lot taken from celebrity life. kids who get in the bag (drugs) and go haywire.
HEY. PT is just telling his story, or what he knows.
He (Mark W) GOT it. He got the gag. He got the sadness.
It’s just… I think cowboys are funny. I think black cowboys are funny. from Bob Downy’s movie Buck Swope. The black cowboy who sells stereos in The Valley. Came from a photo _____ tore from a magazine.
Heather is really beautiful. As is the case with beautiful actresses. I love what she does with her voice.
Some of this movie comes from me. I’m never gonna be able to make a movie that doesn’t. It’s just in the detail stuff. The horses and posters in the room. You have a girlfriend, a sister. Things you remember.
I was embarassed because I didn’t have the history of Howard Hawks, etc. I remember: horses, ribbons. I guess that’s what I have to make movies about.
I basically write for friends or actors I want to work with. Honestly, it was about actors. And knowing this is a story that can accomodate a lot of characters. I think everyone gets covered pretty well, because I want to write them MOMENTS. It may not be best for the storytelling, but it’s a kick for me and a kick for the actor. And in a selfish way, that comes first.
Mark’s char is kinda confident.
I had trust in him as an actor and that the script was strong enough.
“It’s clear you’re great with actors.”
Burt’s character was strong enough.
It’s hard to get people to pay attention to people talking. I blame it on storytelling, filmmakers getting lazy. structure the movie in such a way that if they want to have a moment where two people talk it’s not really gonna flow with the movie. it’s all about how you tell the story. there’s not very many good storytelling. LA Confidential is so great and it’s all talk. It’s set up that way. (in movies today) you don’t see much talking, and you don’t see much silence.
I look at the mother scene, I wish I’d put more in. I wish it was longer. There is some stuff that is very clear to me, but not clear to audience. It was just coming from a personal place. I didn’t do the best job as a storyteller. I’d just put more about them. try to figure out better where she’s coming from. it’s too easy to say she’s crazy. But why is she crazy.
(from closed door–mom slams–to open door–Burt greets Mark.)
John C Reiley… so much that we come up with just hanging out goes into the movie. This whole conversation, making the margaritas is me and Reiley hanging out one summer. And the stuff by the pool. I met him because he was one of my favorite actors. I saw him in____. and I said, “That’s my guy”. followed every movie he made. wrote Syndney for him. through Sundance lab, got the script to him. I wanted to meet him.
Bob ______. Friend of my father’s–from some strange cult. part written FOR Bob Ridgely.
(mexican talking to Julianne.)
shot with pool party comes from movie “I am Cuba” wonderful Russian, Cuban movie. lot of very long, full mag takes. Experiemental film. Shot that starts on rooftop, down an elevator, into pool. I’m proud we came back up out of the pool for dialogue. I am Cuba is remarkable to work. I didn’t want steadicam. wanted harder and looser. created camera rig: like a pig on a stick (x-ref: Cohen bros: Raising Arizona: shot that goes over car, up ladder, into room: camera mounted on 2×8, carried at each end.
I gave Julianne one direction in the whole movies.
You didn’t give me a part that was safe.
Macy is similar. He comes from the Mamet school of dialogue. He’s so wonderful at talking. most actors forget their speaking voice.
(we can see Macy’s anger rising.)
everything you write, you better know what you write. he looks at every punctuation. he’s all about finding out what the script means.
** follow shots: in front of group, then behind group.
actor just gets the job done, they don’t aks questions. it’s just about putting the camera in the right place. it’s hard to act. piecing up the emotional flow. it’s about being a good dad, making sure they conserve their energy. I am proud of my writing, not directing. the script is the director.
I’d make shot lists… a lot of it is planned out beforehand. a lot. it’s that much easier to get there and be open to stuff. rather than try to figure it out
the most specific camera moves are written in the script… if there an aid of storytelling or letting the studio know: don’t panic when dailies come in.
also for actors: they can gear up.
I do make shot lists beforehand, I’ve been pretty lucky never having a conflict: what I want.
you know you set-pieces. the big scenes. I love this scene. very proud. love the way Macy runs scene
its real easy to accomodate, make changes when they come up when you have a plan. it’s hard when you dont’ have a plan. then you’re shooting right, down, up, left.
***a lot is different from the script. All of it better, more real.
1st porn saw: The Opening of Misty Beetoven. Pygmalian story. PT remembers a lot about this movie. the kind of movie Burt’s char talks about.
(he talks about pron movies that influenced this story, porn in general)
Julianna hoe didi she do it: she made herself uncomfortable with her hands.
in this scene: just get cool shots. follow through on great ideas. tyheres a series of blooper tapes from porn. i got a lot of stuff. guy____ basis for Jack. talks about a lot of porn influences. TOO MUCH PRON!
always loved CU
1st time I saw a CU that looked exactly like I wanted a ECU to look like: Silence of the Lambs. Guy’s nipples, applying lipstick.
anamorphic zoom lens great. everythinng falls off of focus. idea: there would be a lot of ECUs cut to real WS. it felt right, seemed cool.
Sequence A and B. (after the first film) “The Good Times” sequence. a riff on that. “The Pretty Woman” sequence–she’s trying on clothes. split screen idea: from a Holmes prono.
the tone change: jump to riding in the truck. I never selfconscious about it because I knew it was gonna be a big sprawling epic. it’s gonna be long. i’m writing it for myself. not pretend it’s ever gonna be made. at the time, i didn’t care. 1st movie taken away. I was just entertaining myself. for me, right now in this moment. i might have lucked on a good way to do movies. maybe that’s a good place to be coming from
these tone changes are just a result of me entertaining myself, telling the story in a way I think would be interesting. usually the best stories are full of tone changes: funny, sad, etc. isn’t that the way most stories go: they’re all over the map.
my favorite movies are: Sunrise, Dead Serious,
if you’re just telling that story, you can switch gears. I really write it for myself, but directing it for the audience.
i’m pretty egotistical and proud of this movie. i love this Brock Landers stuff. No one has to watch this movie more than me… i got to entertain myself.
showed it to Newline 1997.
People just liked it. it was a fun summer: editing this movie.
you make a movie, you want people to see it in a theater.
Philip Baker Hall’s entrance: I’m gonna shoot you walking in 4-5 times. I don’t want you to walk in just once. Met him on PSA, as PA. ‘I love you” gave him script “Cigarettes & Coffee” Made it together. Wrote Sydney for him. Gave it to him. He is my favorite actor. Maybe it get in a space where I’m thinking of a specific actor for a part. it’s the way it starts in my brain. (helps define the character??)
**PT talks about the actors A LOT.
Scene with Philip, Burt. “Godzilla vs Mothra” differences between acting styles.
thinking about porn in the 70’s
PT: “…a business that’s so degrading so quickly…”
Dirk Diggler: 17 years old. 21: Cigarettes & Coffee. Called in favors-as a PA. “Can you help me? Get me a camera? Standard stuff. Michelle: Sundance Institute. Took two years to find the money: Hard Eight.
Macy’s story: like the girl who gets on the bus in Iowa. New Yorker article. Not based on that. Porn story.
1st audience felt Macy-gets-the-gun scene was funny. “I’ve guided this toward being a funny moment somehow.” I panicked. Then Macy shoots himself. They shut up. My subtitle: “it’s all fun and games until someone gets hurt”. OK, now we’ve gotten hurt.
in the first half of the movie, you realize you’re in this Busby/Berkely structure: this rise of the kid behind the scenes. every time you see it, you know it will go wrong. when and how. this is the when and How: Macy walking through the party at New Years.
Whole documentary based on: Exhausted (John Holmes). Mark saw Exhausted once. I interviewed him as if I were Amber. I’d written a couple of things. I’d written it out, but thought: let’s just shoot a lot and sort it out. We had a 16mm on set. We could just shoot stuff for the documentary at any time.
We made up our own aspect ratio. Rounded, blurred the left and right edges.
Julianne looks at Mark all the time. Her eyes are on him… that’s how it is when you are in love/idolize.
Bob Ridgely in jail. I get choked up. he’s real. emotional. Burt’s just reactionary–watching someone else get all the good stuff (lines, moments).
he’s good a ECUs. ie: flash bulbs.
I really like the wedding scene. all the actors together. they had formed a kind of click. after 1st cut, I did 10 min take–full mag–let them improvise
scene with Todd and Dirk: heads on wall. searaching for house. had to look at so many. searched forever.
dissolves instead of jump cuts when Dirk is trying to get ready for scene.
It’s fun: the faceoff between Burt and Mark. older generation, newer generation always look at each other sideways. Mark’s more vunerable, ready to go. Burt has defenses up, he’s been mistreated by so many people in the 40 years.
Micheal Penn–family of actors. “The goal is to terrorize Micheal.
it’s about porn. no, it’s about family. my interest in porn only took me so far in the story. the real concentration is on the people. like making a special sci-fi film with too many special effects.
jump cuts, with swish pan. Todd comes in twice. caused confusion.
Julianne and Heather doing coke, Julianne talks about her two sons: PT’s favorite scene. when there’s a dolly-in. it’s a lot easier to do each in full take. reset to “0”
Robert Downey Sr. : owner of studio. made Putney Swope: stole firecrackers scene: throwing firecrackers around indoors.
***PT HAS SEEN TOO MUCH PORN. IT AFFECTS. IT DISTORTS. RETARDS. CHANGES. EXCESSIVE EXPOSURE TO ANYTHING DOES. HIS LANGUAGE AND PERSPECTIVES ARE CORRUPTED. HE THINKS IT’S OK, BUT IS IT?
scene in bank: camera on banker, dolly right behind girl and Don Cheadle. The girl plays dumb.
for every character I could draw a straight line to real person who inspired it. most of the people stay in the industry (porn). if they do, they find Christ, or they die. but most of the people stay in the industry.
shot of Mark snorting, cut to Jack in warehouse (of a real porn house). what i love about this: listening to the melody, being played on a chamberlin: pre synthesizer.
I’m terrible having to take out scenes I like that I know aren’t good for the movie. I’m egotistical and in love with the actor. “Whoa, look at that actor. I’ve got a moment there.” But you know at the end of the day what should come out. a million times: guy meets girls in porn, he’s turned on, then he begins beating her. (all the stuff in the script). it was just too much. the second half was too punishing, too much bad stuff happening. I was in a different place than when I had written it. I had felt that the characters needed to be punished. I felt they all should go through damned arc. But wanted be give them some happiness. Wanted Becky to end with kiss with husband.
we all know what will happen when we walk out of the movie theater, their lives will be exactly the same.
real reason took out scene with Becky and her husband: that scene used to come between Jack walking in warehouse, and courtroom scene. I loved both those scenes. the natural flow of the story. we see Dirk doing line of coke, then Jack, then Amber. we needed these three people. the nucleus needed to be remembered.
everyone represents a story I’ve heard or witnessed in porno.
even today, porn doesn’t worry about AIDS. in 1984, they weren’t paying attention.
it was more interesting to not cut to CU of newspaper article.
(guy doesn’t do it sexy)
in back of limo: based on On the Prowl. The setup is so exciting, but it does downhill. it becomes very sad, very perverted. it depresses. Rollergirl: try to talk to real porn girls. try to talk to them, nothing you can learn from them. they don’t talk. (you know someday it’s gonna come out. you’ve got some boyfriend saying, “shut up”. that’s how I looked at Rollergirl. one of the “You know” girls. one day they’re gonna snap. “This is my moment”) I feel I fulfilled my obligation to the people (girls) I met in porn. showed it to Veronica _____? she said, “Yes, that’s how it is. You got it.”
the influneces are pretty clear. Jonathon Demme, Martin Scorsese, Robert Altman. those are the three guys, alive, that I really look up to. people liking my work will challenge me
there’s this notion: the first two creative works you present come out of revenge… of whatever happened to you in high school. now (after the first two), it will come out of revenge of: “you don’t think I can do it again? well watch what I have up my sleeve.” and that’s OK.
Long Way Down: written title card: “one last thing” weird writer thing: I knew I was coming to the end. near teh end: when everyone looked coked out, beat up. we’d say, “it’s a long way down” Micheal Penn song: long way down. look what the cat dragged in.
i was aware of the John Holmes thing… in the best way: I had read the article, but didn’t remember all the details. I’d only read it once. there was a great Rolling Stone article: describing the guy “with thin sheen of sweat” i remember guy said “Do you want to play baseball.”
that much coke, that much porn is gonna lead into a scene like this: firecrackers, Sister Christian. Everyone gets in a situation like that: how did I get here? shooting this scene: we rehearsed. it wasn’t really right. something is not really right, let’s just shoot one. we shot the first take of the master. he lit off a real firecracker. then I knew what had been missing: the firecracker. alfred doesn’t flinch (earpiece playing the song)
the only scene where we used smoke. I don’t like using smoke.
***PT DID WHAT I WANTED TO DO WITH “MY HOPES AND FEARS”: SPEND TIME IN THE INDUSTRY, TALK WITH THE GIRLS, TELL WHAT I SAW. FIELD RESEARCH (X-REF: “REBEL W/O A CAUSE” SCREENWRITER’S COMMENTS ON STATESMAN JOURNAL.COM
love Quentin, love his work. i’ve certainly been influenced, but not this scene. what i like/learned from him: changing gears so quickly. such an homage to Bob Downey. this scene: the definitive Vally scene: the houses up in the hills, with the rocks on the wall. a lot of the structure, shot selection, and rythym has to come from the music. planned out like musical. you know the music’s gonna be playing. listened to music over and over. me and alfred. didn’t plan on shot of Mark when he blanks out. why’d you hold that shot? but then it worked out: got to the bridge for the shootout. I plan shots good, but not that good.
I pride myself on knowing actors, their performances. the actor: Todd. other actors pick up on a performance. an inspired performance that inspires. he’s always touching his crotch. there was a foolish thing I’d done in writing this movie: everyone escapes, but we go back in alfred’s house (in script)
PT describes that scene: he knows
originally: watched every one’s end. showed the end of everyone. it interrupted flow of movie. treat more like real life: they’re gone, they’re gone. that flow worked better.
in this world: there’s a political, socialogical. there’s a hierarchy. that’s the kind of stuff I wanted to approach. didn’t want: the big socialogical picture porno vs the world. I wanted: what’s it like at jack’s house. what are the rules at that house. by that pool. what’s Buck’s relationship like with Jack. what’s Jack relationship like to Amber. what’s the little social structure by the pool. that’s our focus. not the supreme court, the cops. from teh front door of Jack’s house to the back door. that’s what we focus on.
(PT GETS EXCITED TALKING ABOUT HIS STORY, CHARACTERS, WHAT HE WAS TRYING TO DO.
that’s how movies go that tread in this kind of world that’s further from normal, everyday stories. they have to have a tragic ending. i think there’s been enough hurt in this movie.
Bob Ridley would have wanted to go out like that. it’s truer to real life: shit will just go on… being the same, kinda boring, painful. I look at Riley, him, my friend, doing magic, makes me happy. I think it’s truer. in porn, yeah there are people who are in and out. there are a lot of people who have been doing it 25 years. they’ll create families.
God Only Knows (the song) that’s how i feel about it. listen in the headphones of Rollergirl.
Burt’s walk at the end.
Burt’s walk: works for me. I said, “you’re the best walker”. a kind of waddle. it’s so paternal, wonderful, this strut, like a dad.
Burt walks into Julianne getting ready. final lilne
here’s the shot of Julianne which I counted on. counted on Julianne being as good as she is: end everyone’s story on her look.
Mark’s monologe: I’m writing: Raging Bull: Eddie Adams, thinking he’s Dirk thinking he’s Brock Landers. thinking he’s Robert DeNiro, thinking he’s Jack LaMota.
this guy thinks he’s a movie star. he’s so far gone.
always planned to end with Livin’ Thing (by ELO). this is a movie I came up with when I was 17 years old. the time it was written dictated the look. it wasn’t written as a 70’s movie. the story dictated the time. the kernel of the story: the transition between film to video.
Ghoulardi: a character my dad created on local TV in Clevland. he would introduce bad horror movies, and set off firecrackers. one of first guys to chromokey himself into movies and comment on movies. it was really huge in Cleveland. it was really cutting edge. kids responded to. my dad died. next day, Bob Ridley died. they died right after first preview. I went to Cleveland when I was 12. mobbed at airport. “you’re my dad. what is this?” it means something to someone.
after dad died: helped me attack the movie: it wasn’t life or death, it was just this wonderful thing i’d done.