July 16, 1996

We started shooting the nude scenes today. In a way, it was probably a mistake to save them until near the end--they include many of the emotional climaxes of the film, and the actors might have benefitted from playing them early on. Anyway, whatever nervousness we had about the nudity seemed to go away pretty quickly. I didn't have much of a libidinous reaction--sex goes out the door when art comes innuendo, as Groucho might have said. My identification lay with the actors, as usual, and I only felt uncomfortable when they felt uncomfortable.

The cinematic effort required to keep Dylan's penis out of the frame is taking up a lot of my filmmaking energy. I'm more upset at having to change my compositions than I am at the sexual evasion. This problem will be magnified when we start the bedroom scenes.

In a moment of frustration today, Edith and Dylan told me today that I was giving them direction in the wrong way. They don't like to hear what emotions they are supposed to feel; they want to hear what goals the characters have, and then let the emotions develop from there. I was a little surprised to find that I'd been goofing up during the entire shoot, and I immediately became self-conscious about talking to the actors. Even after they'd told me what they wanted, I had the greatest difficulty translating their needs into my language. I think I'll just have to muddle along in my present mode until film's end, and then take coaching from Edith and Dylan. Right now, they won't want to complicate the acting process by taking time to instruct me.

Today is Dave Park's birthday, and we had a little party for him after the day's work. Initially I felt sorry that the shoot prevented him from having a real birthday celebration, but he loved our party and said it was the best birthday celebration he'd ever had. A lot of film professionals seem to love movie set life and feel emotions more strongly within that microcosm.

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