The Trickster Diaries/Chapter 48
The day the concept for the script materialized was the same day I realized I already had all the technology. Casey was very excited about the project. The idea of making a feature film fused my skills as a visual artist, my skills as a writer, my experience as a business owner. And potentially, we each believed, it could take me out from under a poverty level income.
So the immediate task at hand was to assemble a cast. Jones and Jan and Jan’s friend, Patsy, agreed to play relatively small roles. Sets would include my property and Jones’ and Jan’s. But the main players…
I called the High Desert Playhouse in Joshua Tree, left a message. They returned my call and set me up. I didn’t expect much. Instead I got a film noir Robert Mitchum look-alike in Greg; the enormously talented Allison—a petite, black haired beauty; and Candy, a girl so straight out of a 1960’s era Playboy centerfold I could barely speak upon meeting her.
Opening sequence: Black screen, credits in a white jazz font with beautiful, a cappella harmonies by Candy and her sister of the jazz standard, I Fall in Love Too Easily, only hummed, backwards; a slowly materializing shot of vertical bamboo poles in an unknown interior lit by changing sunlight through Venetian shades with low, barely audible, heavily reverbed bamboo wind chimes slowly replacing the ladie’s voices. Then a voice-over by—god, I forget her name—reciting a poem: “Cloud, snow, tea. One dreams the other… “ Crossfade to a high camera angle scene through a six panel, revolving wood framed window of Candy, (a huge white flower in her hair, black background, a glass of Absinthe on a table, soft overhead lighting, erratic blue strobe), dancing seductively, alone, singing: “’Cause I’ve been fooled in the past… “ also backwards.
The scene is interspersed with shots of her—as a sultry nightclub patron—and myself, sitting at a table, watching the performance. Song ends. Freeze frame. A walking jazz bass takes over, then piano, then drums courtesy another new friend and, arguably, the greatest living jazz drummer in the world, Bruce.
Freeze frame of Candy in dance pose slowly swallowed by a scene following the double yellow line in the center of a highway.
Then Candy, again, as yet a third character, (hair, wardrobe, make up changes, etc.), alone near Ryan Mountain in JTNM. A close up of her contemplating three small stones, then picking them up, placing them in her shoulder bag. She stands, throws the bag over her shoulder, then walks away as the camera backs up and elevates to follow, revealing a panoramic view of desert wilderness.
Bruce closes the scene with a beautiful array of soulful cymbals.
That opening 7 minutes took, quite literally, 7 weeks to capture. EXcluding anything at all in terms of post production. It was madness. Still, for me as writer/director/cinematographer/set designer, etc.—and for the actors—it was the most thrillingly intense experience we’d ever known. And, as I would discover in the weeks and months to come, a fabulous way of scoring teenage pussy.
May the bardo giggle as it beholds my chaotic soul.