July 10, 1996

Shooting at my brother's bar in Wilkes-Barre took forever today: a bar scene is an open invitation for lighting guys to knock themselves out, and each shot required hours of work. We had hoped to shoot at two other locations after the bar, but we cancelled one (the Laurel Run mine fires, which were pumping out less smoke than usual) and lost an opportunity to get ahead of our schedule.

I got a little edgy at the bar today: Edith was having trouble preparing for another crying scene, and we seemed to be doing everything we could to hinder her, making lots of noise while she was concentrating and then calling a lunch at the worst possible time. I closed the set after lunch, and we got the shot in a few takes. My agitation made me a little more authoritarian than usual when I gave the order to close the set, and I seem to notice that crew members like it better when I go that route. My usual nice-guy tone comes across as wishy-washy and confusing sometimes.

Bill arrived in Pennsylvania today after a few days away from the set, and made an immediate contribution, saving a shot for us by coming up with the idea to stop traffic on a mountain road so that we could get a quiet sound track. He feels as if his part-time status has made him a marginal figure in the production, but he always accomplishes a lot whether he is here or not. Alex is kept perpetually busy with the immense task of keeping everyone on set happy, and life gets easier when Bill is here to help her.

To my pleasure, the actors and I are getting along wonderfully and spending a lot of time together after the day's work. They can't participate fully in the end-of-day socializing because they need privacy and quiet time, and I can't participate because I haven't the necessary stamina and detachment, so the three of us wind up in a common psychic space. Edith and Dylan are both smart cookies; though they make an effort not to ruin their acting with too much intellectual probing, our conversations about the film tend to be fairly analytical, which is great fun for me.

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