June 29, 1996

We actually managed to get out of our first location on schedule, without going much over a twelve-hour day. The big problem of the day was that Dylan, who was supposed to play phone scenes with Edith from his apartment, had to leave for work at 5 p.m., and Edith was forced to do the final phone scene with no conversational partner. But she pulled it off beautifully.

Today was the first scene with sexual subject matter, in which Edith had to masturbate while on the phone. She was understandably nervous about it, and it's possible that she softened the scene a bit in the playing. But we closed the set to everyone but the DP, the boom operator, and me, and the scene went off without a hitch. Strangely, I wasn't nervous at all during the take, which is a marked contrast to the last time I directed a sex scene, eleven years ago.

Dave Park and I continue to clash over the visual style of the film, but he and Frank are lighting the sets beautifully; both today's scenes were gorgeous to look at without being too fussy or elaborate. I think we're starting to accept and accommodate to each other's tastes. Near the end of the shoot, I was feeling a little tired, and Dave practically directed a few of the final, dialogue-free shots. I don't think the film will suffer for it.

Sometimes I feel like an interloper on my own set. Dave and Frank are strong personalities, and it takes effort on my part to hold my own with them. I still try to control the framing, but I've been more or less leaving the lighting to the crew. Most of my energy has been going to the actors - for the first time in my filmmaking life, I feel ready to understand and appreciate their process, to work on the performances with them from the inside. And I'm getting satisfaction from it, though I have a lot to learn.

When the shoot was over, we restored Sue Raffman's apartment to something like its original state. Having a film crew in your apartment is like having Cossacks or Huns in your village, and I always feel terribly uncomfortable being part of that invasion. Well, at least we have insurance this time.

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