Photos at my Feet 2

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Three months ago, I shared some photos that I snapped at the beach – of the world as I see it unfold at my feet. I mentioned at the time that the whole exercise reminded me of some shots I took at the Louvre when we were in Paris in 2009. (My wife thought I was crazy then too).

And here they are:

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Nothing like a nice parquet…

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Unless it’s another parquet.

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Then we moved on to the hard stuff.

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In the Egyptian exhibit, I discovered that I was not the first one by a long shot that was interested in what you can find at your feet:

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(Another curiosity was this representation of Egyptian astronauts waiting for lift-off. I think they’re Klingons)

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Oh, and they had a bunch of broken statues…

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Perhaps a subject for a future post.

Trying Out for the DGA

Trying Out for the DGABefore my encounter with Walt Coy, I had explored a couple other avenues to making films. The summer after my graduation from Seattle University I enrolled in a film class at the UW. As with any college course there were books to read and classroom lectures, but precious little hands on instruction. Our main assignment for the quarter was to make a film. I shot some footage (8mm) around campus, but with no story behind it, it was never finished, (nor for that matter, did anyone else in that class, I believe).

The other track that I explored was a little out of the ordinary. I came across a notice about a film school in Paris, France – the Institut des Hautes Etudes Cinematographiques, or IDHEC for short. With a major in French, this seemed to be an appropriate possibility for gaining hands on experience in an interesting location. I took their contact info and wrote out a query letter – what did it take academically to be admitted, what were the costs, etc. And sent it off to them.

I received a reply, but I cannot remember what it said exactly. I have looked for it in my records, to no avail. (I did find a cache of junior high materials, high school and college notebooks, etc., and other correspondence from that time period). I am certain that it came with no offer of scholarship, otherwise I would have delved into it more.

Anyway, life intervened. I was married, and holding down my assistant manager position at the Fifth Avenue theater in Seattle, and was content.

Then, either my friend Pat, or myself caught wind of another opportunity to break into the other end of the business. We learned that the Directors Guild of America was accepting applications for their assistant director (AD) training program. We put our heads together and decided we both would make the attempt.

We sent our applications in, with the required extra stuff (photos). We were both notified that the applications were accepted, and made plans to fly down to LA for the entrance examination. So come that particular weekend, we left our significant others behind, (me – my wife, and Pat – his girl friend Wendy).

After our flight, we drove to Hollywood and checked into our hotel down the street from the Capitol Records building. It was one of those structures with the rooms opening onto the pool in the center. We didn’t swim. We had no time, nor swimsuits.

The next morning, we checked out and drove straight to the USC campus where the exam was to be administered. We didn’t even stop for breakfast. (We probably didn’t have time – Pat always flew by the seat of pants, a fact that would get us into more trouble later). I remember being quite hungry, so I was glad to see some donuts left out for the attendees. A pretty good size crowd milled about the square, grazing on the pastry.

A couple hours passed with number two pencils and the test sheets, then we were free for the rest of the day. Obviously it would be a while before we heard any results.

We drove back into Hollywood to see the sights. We had lots of time to kill before our flight out that evening.  For the most part, we just stayed in the car and rubber necked. We wanted to cover as much ground as possible. Besides, we didn’t have any money with us for tickets to any of the attractions – Mann’s Chinese or the Wax Museum. Ours was the real cheap tour (we didn’t even buy one of the Maps to the Stars).

We did pick up some lunch, but that too we ate in the car. We parked on a little side road somewhere, near a playground. I know it was past the noon hour for the light was coming in at us at an angle that signaled that it was well past the meridian. It had the look of one of those odd things you always remember, for it is so out of the ordinary.

I had been keeping a wary eye on the clock, and was glad when at last Pat pointed the car towards the airport. He misjudged the time needed to negotiate the LA freeways. We got to the airport okay, but we missed our flight. And the next flight to Seattle wasn’t until the next morning. Not having the wherewithal for anything else, we spent the night in the terminal, hungry.

We did get back to Seattle the next day, and waited for our answers.

Neither of us made the cut. Not long after our paths diverged and I lost contact with Pat and Wendy.

Years later, I heard that Pat had continued to go down to LA for the yearly exam, and eventually he did move to LA. But it was his girl friend Wendy who was accepted into the DGA program. She was the DGA trainee on the Barbra Streisand film “All Night Long,” and later the second second assistant director on the Nick Nolte, Debra Winger starrer “Cannery Row.”

[Aside – Wendy once told me that she was related to the inventor of a submachinegun. And I believed her. After all her last name was Thompson].

Rebel Treasure thirtieth post

Rebel Treasure thirtieth post

EXT CHARLES DE GAULLE AIRPORT – NIGHT

The airport tug tows the 757 to a halt at its parking bay and immediately SECURITY OPERATIVES swarm in from all points of the compass, covering each section of the plane and all the hatches or possible means of egress.

INT CHARLES DE GAULLE AIRPORT – RAMP

Uniformed and plainsclothes SECURITY PERSONNEL fill the ramp forming a gauntlet through which the passengers of the flight from Dulles are forced to pass one by one.

With the final passenger departing, HENRI LAZCAR, an officer from Interpol, speaks into his phone.

HENRI LAZCAR
Peter, your package did not arrive.

EXT NATIONAL ARCHIVES – WASHINGTON DC – DAY

An agitated Peter Sadusky holds the door for Agent Dawes and passes it off to the next two agents in line.

ABIGAIL’S SECRETARY’S OFFICE

The SECRETARY, on her feet, faces down the four FBI agents ringing her desk.

SECRETARY
I am sorry, Mr. Sadusky, but Mrs. Gates has left on a trip.

SADUSKY
How long ago?

SECRETARY
Is this official business?

Agent Dawes’ cell phone rings and she steps away from the group.

SADUSKY
Seriously official. We’re at the point of issuing a fugitive warrant for Mrs Gates too.

SECRETARY
Oh, dear. But I’m sure she’s in the air by now. Her flight was scheduled to leave ten minutes ago.

SADUSKY
Where to?

SECRETARY
Canada. She’s scheduled to speak tonight at a symposium.

Agent Dawes rejoins the group.

AGENT DAWES
That was Sileski in the office. Benjamin Gates’ name has just come up as a “person of interest” in the case of a body discovered in Oklahoma.

SADUSKY
So we add murder to the mix. I tell you all hell is breaking loose in this case.
(to a YOUNG AGENT)
Take her statement.

Unceremoniously, Sadusky, Dawes and the third agent take their leave, leaving their comrade talking to the secretary.

INT COACH OF AN INTERNATIONAL FLIGHT – NIGHT

Ben, laptop open, plays a game of solitaire.

PILOT (O.S.)
The seat belt sign is now lit. Please buckle up and return your trays and seats to the upright positions. We are on approach to Bern Airport, Switzerland, and about ten minutes out.

Ben obeys the order and pokes Riley awake.

BEN
Your program really delivered the goods.

RILEY
Good. Where to next?

BEN
To Paris by train where we’ll pick up a car. Then Nantes.

EXT PARIS – GARE DE LYONS – DAY

Ben and Riley gawk in amazement at the miniscule car they’ve just rented.

RILEY
What a cute little French car! Where do we put the luggage?

BEN
I think we’re supposed to sit on it.

ACROSS THE STREET

Rance has angled his rearview mirror so he can keep watch as they fold themselves into the tiny vehicle.

INT THE CUTE LITTLE FRENCH CAR

With a TOOT of his horn and a GNASHING of gears, Ben pulls away from the curb and speeds away from the station.

RILEY
Let’s see what’s on the radio.

BEN
You sure? I wonder if this car has the power to run both the engine and the radio.

Riley punches the button and Ben backs off on the gas, resulting in an immediate slowdown. He gets the look he wants from his friend and with a laugh stomps on the accelerator.

EXT THE CUTE LITTLE FRENCH CAR

As the car picks up speed and pulls away, we hear their radio blaring the traditional French ACCORDION MUSIC.

Then, a button is punched, changing the channel and FRENCH RAP pulsates, as we fall behind the cute little car.

BEN (O.S.)
I don’t think so!

Another button is punched and COOL JAZZ, French-style, issues forth, as we fall further and further behind.

Until we are in the front seat with Rance who has them in view, traveling in DEAD SILENCE. He is a dark shadow passing through the French countryside.

INT. THE CUTE LITTLE FRENCH CAR – LATER

Ben looks up to the rearview mirror and the road behind them is completely empty.

RILEY
Nantes, next exit.

A sign also appears for Mont St Michel. Riley longingly stares at it as it passes by.

RILEY (CONT’D)
Ben?

BEN
No. No time. Now we need to find a cemetery, somewhere to the south. But let’s look for an internet cafe first and check in with Abby.

[next pt 31]

Rebel Treasure twentyeighth post

Rebel Treasure twentyeighth post

INT BEN’S STUDY – NIGHT

BEN
(very frustrated)
For crying out loud!

Abigail comes in on the run.

ABIGAIL
What happened?
(not seeing a cause for his outburst)
What’s the matter, Babe?

BEN
(holds up the journal)
Lon was just about to describe his new command. And he switched ciphers.

ABIGAIL No key?

BEN
None. Zip. Nada! I got to go over there.

ABIGAIL
What?

BEN
I’ve got to go to France. She’s there. I know she is.

She gives him “a look.”

BEN (CONT’D)
I’m serious, Abigail!

ABIGAIL
I see. Is there any thing I can do to help?

BEN
An extra pair of eyes would be handy.

She picks up the journal.

ABIGAIL
I’ll scan these pages and convert it to a text file and between us we should be able to crack it. Meanwhile, you get some sleep, we’ve got that meeting in the morning.

BEN
Hon, I’m not a two year old.

ABIGAIL
No, you’re not, you just sound like one.

THE GATE’S KITCHEN – EARLY MORNING

Ben picks up his coffee cup and drains the last drop, sets it down and strikes out five words from a column on a paper full of keyword combinations. Abigail sits across from him, also in her bathrobe, hard at work on her laptop. A news program drones on from a TV set installed under the cabinet.

BEN
(refilling his cup)
What about you? Anything?

ABIGAIL
Making progress. I’m just rechecking the text file now for scanning errors. Maybe Riley can program something to hack it.

TV ANNOUNCER
A report just in this morning – a gold heist–
(both look to the screen)
occurred overnight at a local museum. Details when we return.

Riley enters.

RILEY
What’s this? A pajama party? Why didn’t you tell me?

As the program is resuming, Ben holds up a hand to hush him.

TV ANNOUNCER
The curator of the museum Mr. Conrad Toombs —

ABIGAIL
Hey, that’s–

TV ANNOUNCER
–tells us that an exhibit had been broken into last night and burglarized. Stolen were 16 crates of gold ingots. The gold had been found —

BEN
Oh, crap! I’m going now!
(shuts the TV off)
I’m not going to get caught up here in any investigation.

ABIGAIL
Do you think that’s wise? You’ll end up a suspect for sure.

BEN
As if I’m not one already. You know I didn’t take it and I know I didn’t take it.

RILEY
Actually I don’t know if that’s true or not, so you better take me with you.

ABIGAIL
If you’re going to France, I’m going to Mexico.

BEN
What?

ABIGAIL
You heard me.

BEN
What are you talking about?

ABIGAIL
Lon was there after the war. He says so in your first journal. I did some checking and the KGC was headquartered there then.

BEN
(realization sets in)
And the perfect spot to look for a paper trail, perhaps their archive.

RILEY
I’ll go with her if you like.

BEN
No, I need you along with me.

ABIGAIL
Don’t worry, I won’t be alone. I owe a visit to a colleague at the Mexican archives.

RILEY
I’ve always wanted to see Paris. When do we leave?

[next pt 29]