journal page 35

may 18 scrabble is only giving me vowels tonight and all i can spell are extended howls and moans. last month i bought my niece a glittery baby pop-up book of animals called "glittery crittery" and i repeatedly kept calling it "glittery clitory" in front of everyone by accident
may 1617
cut out 38 frames of wisdom teeth today and doing final colors and tweaks in burbank this week... while there i'll also finally see the 12 minutes-ish of chapter 3 ive shot so far. i'm all caught up with photography with that now and need to do more rewriting tonight before any more drawing. the other night i dreamt i visited someone who had arranged for the face of her dead spouse to be peeled off, preserved, and stretched over the face of a simple animatronic robot, so she could still sort of be with him. in the dream this was an unremarkable and common thing to do, athough the effect wasn't very convincing
may 5-6,
it looks like i'll be shooting the 4th roll of chapter 3 this weekend. i still havent actually seen any of the footage yet, for the past eight months ive just been sort of drawing and shooting and then putting the film cans aside. so far i've animated maybe just over half of the story, though i'm not sure i'm done writing yet. more drawing tonight + tomorrow and then to the camera. in the store there was a "punky brewster" dvd set with a price tag obscuring the title and at first i thought it read, "penis browser"
april 28 from sf
don hertzfeldtdon hertzfeldt
don hertzfeldt

april 25 san francisco you are beautiful but there is no sleep

april 13 i just realized that last post sort of seems like a dog wrote it
april 13 today there were women in the post office with ugly feet. ive been sad

april 12
quote of the day:
"i just remember her boyfriend (?) gave me a coors light and was super friendly like a big dog and showed us online photos of a human carcass after it was eaten by a bear"

april 5
don (11:32:37 PM): we are the worrrrld
don (11:32:39 PM): we are the childreeen
don (11:32:50 PM): we are the ones who make a brighter dayyy so lets start givinnn
don (11:33:04 PM): there are people dyiiiin blah blah blah blah blah blahh blahhhhh
j (11:33:12 PM): hate you.
don (11:33:27 PM): [chorus]: we areee the woooorrrrld
don (11:33:32 PM): [arms in the air
don (11:33:37 PM): we areee the childreeeen
j (11:33:38 PM): why???
don (11:33:50 PM): because,
don (11:33:52 PM): there are people dyiiiinn
don (11:33:58 PM): we're saving our own liiiives
j (11:34:02 PM): booooooooo
don (11:34:10 PM): something something make a better day just you and iiii
don (11:34:19 PM): [kenny rogers does something]
j (11:34:37 PM): im still hating you
don (11:34:51 PM): [kenny rogers]: i am the worrrrld
don (11:35:02 PM): [stevie wonder]: you are kennyyy rogers
j (11:35:04 PM): uggghh
don (11:35:16 PM): [flying around the room in spectral form]
j (11:35:20 PM): wow
don (11:35:26 PM): cyndi lauper looks cuddly

april 4 some days i can't manage to draw a straight line and other days i can animate the most difficult thing ever in my first try. i finally saw days of heaven. why is it raining tonight? don't step on the snails.
april 2 the left side of my head seems to be turning white

you gotta get to it if you wanna get through it
march 21 2010 woke up this morning and sat down and animated for almost seven hours without getting up... no phone, no computer, no sadly staring at the wall every five minutes. i need to do this more often. it's just the first few seconds of a scene, from a high angle bill opens his front door and shifts his weight as he walks through the doorframe, leaning to the other side as he closes the door behind him in one continued motion, then stands there smiling. and that's it. it's one of those very basic but difficult movements to get right that everyone takes for granted and won't notice unless you do it badly. next up bill has a lot of walking to do. til now chapter 3 has been a lot of effects, long takes, and close ups, so it's good to be getting things moving again. i haven't had any caffeine yet today though so i'm not sure how long this party will last.
hey, i've been finding old photos
1981?

1981?
pretty much the awesomest boba fett ever

yeah i basically peaked when i was 5

chewbacca and boba fett holding hands, galactic peace at last...
i will stop here so i do not blow out your cute receptors

march 16 i think ive drawn just under half the movie, at least of what's been written, and have shot a little less than that. i may need to take some time now to rewrite + sketch out the last half, it feels like i have a couple gaps to fill before forging on. it's been satisying to write scenes and moments that seem to improve the last two chapters... i like sequels that make the other films better from across the room. and so far work has been very smooth and actually kind of boring and easy... visually, "ok" was tricky because i was coming up with a new way of shooting and compositing as i went, "proud" was difficult because i was pushing everything further than i ever thought they could go, but with chapter 3 i sort of know what i'm doing now and everything seems much quieter and straightforward. even the new tricks feel comfortable in their skin right away. of course this just means i will probably go write something horribly complicated now with a thousand moving parts. the new joanna newsom is beautiful and squeaky.

march 8 1:21am i had to walk to the 711 and there was nobody else out and it was windy and everything smelled like flowers.
feb 21 on the road, a beautiful sunset yesterday. but tonight is sad sad, sad
february 19 no sun at the beach today. the water was stormy and brown and a dead seal washed up in front of me. his body was all black except for his face, which was missing, just eyeless white bone with whiskers on each side, like he was wearing a halloween mask. the waves slowly rolled him over, forward and back, forward and back, and each time his flippers would slap flat on the wet sand.

february 16 i have the flu, but i also have a plan
february 13 i've been watching the olympics on an italian eurosport stream and every time a skiier falls they yell, "disastro! disastro!"

"difficult, difficult, lemon difficult"
february 12 every day this week has been the same, a morning routine + errands, shoot all night, watch a film, sleep. when everything repeats, i've noticed the brain stops bothering to pay attention anymore and you have no memories, just sort of a slowmotionblur. but the movie's getting through the camera and after the weekend i'll have everything i've drawn up to now on film and it will be back to animating for another stretch until the next round. i'm usually only good for about 6 hours of shooting a night, that's about as much total concentration i can keep up before my head starts to dry and i risk making a little mental error that could wreck everything. i think i've maybe got some amazing images, though i've been totally guessing at the f-stops for some composites so it could just be remarkably bright mush. the new peter gabriel covers album is pretty, he sort of sounds like he's going to suddenly break down and cry during each song. a lightbulb exploded and i had to buy a new lamp. you had to install the lamp springs yourself and the springs came out of the box all wet. why were they wet?

february 5 didnt sleep much last night after shooting which seems to have cued the silver spoons theme song to play in my head all afternoon.
february 5 204am the studio tonight was so cold i almost wore a hoodie over a hoodie. roll 1 is out of the camera now and roll2 is going in straightaway tomorrow. when all is said and done in the next couple of weeks i'll have shot maybe close to 5 minutes of the movie... been very tired but awake. the first few scenes are heavy on backlit effects which have kept me in a darkroom for six hours a night staring at little points of moving light. for the first few days i was only getting through one shot a night and went home feeling as though lights were coming out of my face. it is starting to feel a bit strange to be finally closing out bill's story, though it's easily flung from my mind when i think of the solid year of long nights and grinding routines ahead. how am i still doing this? i'm taking a break to go to a james cameron interview tomorrow night where i hope to ask him to quit horsing around and just make another aliens movie. meanwhile as my manager i've asked jeremy to set me up with a beautiful starlet, model, or singer. don't you think it's time i was in a celebrity couple? uh.... i mean, with like the other person as the celebrity?
"my actions make me beautiful, and dignify the flesh"
january 30 spent the afternoon cleaning out the studio to the sounds of freewheelin, mopping, sweeping, dusting, giving the camera a backrub and a mint. it felt good to clean and still looks pretty terrible in there but i made a good open area around the camera stand free of spiders and clutter dust things. i am in the meantime suddenly single, for the first time in something like four+ years, which is sort of depressing and exciting at the same time in a wide open/terrifying future sort of way, though i guess the future is always wide open and terrifying and most of the time we're just not paying attention to it. i'm not sure anymore what will happen this year
letters of note
january 28 i don't know who gets credit for making this but it sums up so much:

gonna start shooting this weekend.

january 26 i really like it when i get a business letter from a foreign country that ends in, "yours faithfully,"
i still havent found a new place to live but i have a big pile of blank rental applications from places i don't like because i didnt want to hurt their feelings after taking the tour.
january 25 i was trying to text someone on AIM today but every time i typed it froze and said "an unknown failure occurred." what a great phrase, what a great running theme for life. whenever i try to do anything there should be an apologetic little subtitle appearing just under my head reading, "an unknown failure occurred." and as i stand there failed and confused, people could sort of half-smile sympathetically and maybe give me a little treat. as i mentioned i'm not at sundance this year but my friend jeremy is and i hear wisdom teeth has been going over very well, in fact i just got a message from him that reads, "It Played SOOOOOOOOOO well!!!!!!! Seriously. Amazing." so i guess that's good! it is certainly an encouraging number of OOOOs.
january 20 lightning struck outside the building early this morning - BOOOOM - scaring the bejesus out of me and setting off all the car alarms. i could see the room light up even with my eyes closed, two more big strikes within the minute and then instant heavy torrents of rain and storm rattling the windows. when i woke up hours later i found a blanket wrapped protectively around my head.
january 15 lots of times when i've lost something or can't find where i put my glasses i have a weird initial impulse to google it.
january 14
i'm coloring another scene with sidewalk chalk tonight and i think it's making my nose run. i'm chalky. if i am murdered tonight my body will create a perfect chalk outline for the police.
but i think i'm ready to begin shooting next week., i have a few minutes or so of finished movie so far and it's getting a bit exciting. this week i got stung by a bee
scientists have successfully retrieved a single memory from the brain of a deceased person. it was fished out blindly and at random from a single neuron and it looks like this:

january 6 2010 coloring sparrow eggs with sidewalk chalk, charcoaling backgrounds, ordering lithograph negatives for special effects... it's almost like i'm making a movie!
january 5 2010 getting things done and checking things off my list. my ipod started playing the knight rider theme because it knows i'm being awesome
december30 2009 all things considered this was not a very good year. it had many good moments and flashes but we can do much better than this. let's all agree to roll this year up into a very large carpet and drop it into the sea. the weather here is moody but warm sometimes and very lazy progress continues drawing chapter 3 and i ought to be shooting the first roll somewhere in january ... meanwhile, "wisdom teeth" will make its official naked debut at sundance next month which is cool but i'm afraid it will be the first time i won't be able to attend the festival to support a film. i think it might play better without me around anyway, and what a relief to not have to answer any questions about that one. so with the new decade right around the corner and because everyone else is doing it, here's a short list of some of my favorite movies from the past ten years. maybe it will give you something new to netflix. in no particular order:
the pianist
touching the void
the assassination of jesse james by the coward robert ford
eternal sunshine of the spotless mind
the fog of war
the diving bell and the butterfly
zodiac
master and commander
perfume: the story of a murderer
(i can't explain why i was the only person who liked this, but i think that means something good)
also very good : a certain kind of death, lost in translation, michael clayton + maybe pans labyrinth or old boy? united 93 was kind of underrated too.
been feeling slow and dissatisfied all month, kind of hard to work, hard to get active. and my head gets stuck on the same repeating useless things again and again. im ready for something new, aren't you? +wars, climate failure in copenhagen, sociopathic corporate self interest business as usual, people being miserable to each other... etc etc etc.....2009 what happened? let's get it right this time. i'll see you around the bend. happy new year!
december 21 we're making snow globes!

december 4 when i was maybe six i overheard somebody make a joke about sylvester stallone's new movie and said he must be "laughing all the way to the bank." i'd never heard that expression before and to this day whenever i'm around my family's old bank building i still picture sylvester stallone walking inside, laughing.
november 28 i had ten years of classical piano lessons when i was little, never missed a day of practice after school and then knocked around with it a bit more in high school... recitals, weird music theory tests at the community college, the whole works. but since 1994 i've found myself around a piano only very rarely... maybe i'll be able to sit and play something here or there once a year, but it's mostly been 15 years of abrupt silence. it never really crosses my mind anymore, sometimes i sort of forget i played once at all. yet when i do find a piano, these cascading sonatinas come pouring back out of nowhere. i don't know where they've been hiding and i look at my hands and wonder what the hell they're doing. every note is still in there somewhere. it's like someone in a vague past life worked extremely hard to make me sound good. there are dogeared old books of music and pencil marks i haven't seen in 20 years yet it all comes raining back like it was yesterday and suddenly the ending to chopin's mazurka in a-minor is the most satisying and perfect thing in the world, forgotten and remembered at the same time, and playing it over and over again in amazement saying, "how can i have never noticed how beautiful this is before??" is greatly irritating to anyone within earshot.
november 14 on my walk there's this old blonde with a tired expression always awkwardly crounched in the same position outside a closed door, a cigarette in one hand and a giant styrofoam cup in her other. sometimes she is staring at children on the sidewalk, sometimes she is alone. but she is always crouching. ten shots now into drawing ch3 which i'm sort of amazed by because it hasnt even sunk in yet that ive started the movie, so i think the more i can get done before i wake up, the better. progress is very slow and drawing anything with the new remastered beatles albums playing just makes me want to close my eyes with a blanket over my head. the other night i dreamt i needed to get to LA and was going to get a liftfrom a fighter pilot. we talked about fighter pilot movies and then i think i played metroid and they made bacon and toast and i cropped my hair really short and looked pretty great
november 6

oct 31 3:25am i guess it's official, i'm a few shots into drawing chapter 3. i started yesterday. right now i am animating dust. the material seems friendly enough so far but it's kind of sad and weird to think about how many very long nights are ahead of me now. i found this great postcard from about 100 years ago that has glitter glue writing on it and i can't tell if it's supposed to be critical or inspirational? it smells like a basement

oct 28 it's turned gray and cold here, with tree branches and light heads. this is an amazing old photo i found at the bottom of a basket in austin

oct 27 the final montreal screening was the most satisfying audience experience in a long time, a wonderful city of wonderful people and a really great way to end the unofficial 2009 tour, which is now unofficially over. we talked for over an hour and somehow didn't even really repeat anything from the ottawa shows. walking around town i felt like i was in the northern italy of animation and graphic novels, so much history has come out of there. even their graffiti was all artistic and discerning. and now, after 20-something tour dates through four countries, my heroic sixty dollar k-mart luggage set has finally retired.. mercifully dragged home one last time with busted zippers, a bent skeleton, and torn openings that look like bullet holes. i also have miniature airport cuts all over my right hand that i dont know where they came from but i can make them sing by making them open and close
here are pictures from the last ten days on the road. at a signing someone said i am so proud of you gave him a nervous breakdown and was "like a cheese grater being rubbed on my face, but in a good way."

don hertzfeldt
don hertzfeldt
oct 17 hello from a chilly ottawa.. ive never seen maple syrup sold on street corners before. sprung the new cartoon on the audience last night as a surprise premiere at the end of the program.. there were equal parts laughter and horrified screams... might do the same tonight... i think i have a cold so don't drink out of my drink.
sept 30 a switch has been flipped overnight and everything outside has decided that summer is over and now we all have sore throats. been making some very good breakthroughs with the graphic novel but am taking out as much old stuff as i'm putting in so the new work hasn't really amounted to a satisfying fattening of the book.. in fact i think i might have gone backwards. been rotating between that and polishing this cartoon's soundtrack while nervously wondering when i'm going to actually start drawing chapter 3 which from here still looks like a very scary big pile of impossible work. on a side note i only just realized the other day - because i am a bit dim - that i've been writing in this journal for over ten years now.. ten a half actually. let's all pause and look at each other awkwardly for a moment. okay. someone wrote that this is the longest-running film-ish related blog on the internet and if this is true, let me be the first to apologize. speaking of ten year anniversaries i was thinking of doing a special thing with a film festival next year to mark the ten year birthday of rejected... but then last week the festival lost all of its funding and is shutting down, which could not actually be more appropriate. underrated movie of the week: the unknown. because lon chaney + creative arm removal


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