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So, it's been a while, so I will make this brief. Movie is moving along, working on special fx, had a great, wild time shooting. I appreciate all those people who helped me out. I'm in the process of writing another script called The Quest. I'll explain more later because this article is about Cash for Clunkers.
I understand some of the dynamic of how it works. Government buys old cars which burn fuel "inefficiently" through auto dealers, and auto dealers apply the money towards a newer, more fuel efficient car. The middle and upper classes will benefit from this by getting rid of their old cars in exchange for buying a newer, better car that has better gas mileage, and fewer emissions. The auto dealer sees a great influx of business, thus stimulating the economy further. The clunkers are then destroyed.
There are two problems I have with this process. First, destroying these clunkers is NOT good for the environment. Second, this only benefits the upper and middle classes. I and many others propose something I'm going to call the Missing Ingredient to this recipe. Let's help out the poor and non-profits who help the poor.
There is not a great reason why these clunkers need to be destroyed when they could be given to a non-profit so they can sell them for rock bottom prices to people who could use a "new" car. There are several benefits to this Missing Ingredient.
For one, the environment can be temporarily spared from so many cars being destroyed at once. Two, there is a great chance that the current cars poor people use are of even worse fuel economy than the current "clunkers", and getting one of them would be a step up. This would take vehicles that might be even worse than these clunkers off the streets. Maybe an exchange can be made, and the REAL clunkers can be taken off the streets. The reality is, a poor person, who has a clunker of clunkers, isn't going to exchange it for a car they can't afford at an auto dealership. But they might if they receive a car they CAN afford. Three, non-profits can make some money off it, which can be used to further improve the lives of the poor. Four, it adds a bigger incentive for the middle and upper class to turn in their clunkers, because not only do they buy a cheap, new, fuel efficient, environmental friendly car, that they know that the government is paying for, but the auto dealership is benefiting from it, and on top of that, they know that their old car is going to benefit some poor person somewhere, and also help keep non-profits afloat in this ever stingy economy.
The Missing Ingredient is making a Cash for Clunkers for the poor. Don't just leave it at the middle class and upper class. Take it one step further. Donate these clunkers to non-profit organizations who can sell them for rock bottom prices to poor people, who can use these cars to get to their jobs, to take their kids to school, to replace their horrible vehicle that's on it's last breath, and so these non-profits can use the money to further improve what they do to help the poor, say improve food banks with the proceeds of selling these clunkers, essentially making it so a poor person not only gets a car, but the money they spend on the car goes into the place that also feeds them. This will also spare the environment a little bit by not destroying a million cars at once.
Why do all that for the poor? Because many of us who used to not consider themselves poor, are now poor. Many of us know people who were once middle class and upper class, but are now poor. This economy is brutal right now, and there is NO reason why a good idea needs to be overlooked. We can't afford to. Add this Missing Ingredient to this recipe for economic recovery, and you have a real winner. Politicians will eat that up. So tell your local politician. Lot's of people win with this strategy, and it can give you some warm fuzzies.
So, I didn't know where else to say this for maximum effect. Blog it is. I admit that I am not perfect when it comes to tipping people, but honestly, I don't feel as if everyone really deserves to be tipped. But there are a few jobs that I feel really deserve it. Hair stylists, of course, not just because my wife is one, definitely deserve to be tipped for performing such a hands on service; touching the public's sweaty, oily, nappy, flaky mop tops, and turning them into artfully sculpted head decor is not deserving of minimum wage. So you get a haircut and land that new job? How do you think you really got hired? I'm not saying anything... but yea, that's right. Pizza delivery drivers, deserve to be tipped. They waste lots and lots of gas, and they risk being jumped daily by some thugs some where. Yes, I used to deliver pizzas, so I'm biased. Waiters/servers, deserve to be tipped, because they put up with the most ridiculous customers on the planet... the ones who want to get fed. There is nothing worse than dealing with customers who want to eat something, and if it's not cooked just right, or the server isn't constantly around, or sometimes, if they are around too much, then all of a sudden it becomes grounds to not tip. Another good reason to tip servers, frankly, not to threaten the public, is to assure the food to saliva ration on your platter remains leaning heavily towards mostly food.
So, those are a few people who deserve to be tipped, among others. I won't get into who doesn't deserve to be tipped, other than impersonal physicians. Imagine sitting on that stupid paper sheet covering the off white reclining pleather chairs for thirty minutes, Doc walks in, yaps at you, while never breaking eye contact with the outdated computer screen, then finishes and holds out an empty palm, waiting. Yea, that doesn't count, so, the title of this blog is, cash or credit, and here we go.
You can tip with credit, sometimes. Some places are refusing to allow tips on credit because of whatever reasons. I assume it's because of hidden credit card charges from banks and lending institutions, partially, and possibly because extra amounts credited to the company might possibly increase how much they 'make', therefore making it possible that they might have to pay more in taxes... who knows if that is the case, I don't. All I know is, you should tip in CASH.
Why tip in cash? Because it's cleaner. Many times tips don't get credited until you leave a restaurant or store, and sometimes, amounts change here and there... if you know what I mean. Basically, once you pay for meal, or haircut, or whatever it is you have paid for, you will receive a receipt with a spot to add tip to the charge. This written amount will be charged later on, usually at the end of the night. That leaves a window open for shady business. How often do you keep account of whether or not you were charged $3 instead of $5 on your bank or credit card statements? I know most people aren't that incredible. However, when you charge your card, and the receipt returns for a signature, and you decide to leave cash, you leave an instant, 'here's your part, no need to steal' incentive. Cash is quick, and it's easy to not go through the trouble. I recommend paying for the whole meal in cash, personally, when possible, because when you leave cash, you don't leave any valuable bits of economic information about yourself behind to an underpaid employee, but that's another discussion. There are laws, and people do get caught, but not always. So that's one precautionary reason.
The other one is, again, some places won't allow you to tip in credit. If you use that as an excuse to not tip, then you deserve what you get. People keep tabs on who tips or not, and since it's a social norm, you will be widely regarded as a jerk if you don't tip. Don't expect to be treated the same when you go back, regardless of corporate policies and company practice, you can complain to a manager about poor service, but if you don't tip, don't expect to ever be treated like you gave one. It's a social law in American society. The idea is to follow that social law, and paying in cash helps you do that in the safest, most compatible way.
Also, tipping in cash will help you most effectively 'pay it forward'. It's a cliche right now, but the point is, being kind to others and tipping might help them get through medical school, so that this server can, in twenty years, perform bypass surgery on you when your heart gives out for eating out so much. Tipping might help a hair stylist afford her insurance. Tipping might help a pizza delivery driver afford gas to go to film school, so that in the following years, you can watch his incredible movies. :D Point is, tipping is less about the money, and more about the willingness to go beyond the corporate structured pricing before you in an business, and showing good will to the actual people who work there, in our city, in our neighborhood. Tipping is your way of peeling back the layers of big business, and identifying the humanity in front of you, the hair stylist, the server and the humble pizza delivery guy, who might eventually be hiring you for whatever it is you do someday. What goes around comes around, just keep that in mind.
No Ambition is going swimmingly! I'm almost done with the rough edit of the movie, and I think the movie is going to be "good". That by no means is a guarantee at my level of the game, so that's one small victory I suppose. However, it isn't finished, and I have yet to show to the public, who will ultimately let me know what the movie is worth. I suppose I can't get my hopes up too high with a movie called "No Ambition".
I will say, that it's been a great process. Despite all the hurdles, I have come a long distance from where I started. I have to admit, I never doubted that I would. I suppose that could be arrogance or insanity, but I have a feeling it's simply insanely arrogant ambition spawning from every day boredom that I went through between 2002 and 2004. Maybe I can call it, when I grew up.
I have been working hard with Anthony Peters, the Co-Lead of the movie. He did a great job, as did all the cast. I have been hard pressed because Mr. Peters is leaving in about a week and half for Iraq, and he will be gone for at least a year, supposedly. He didn't find out until a couple months ago. That means, I have been working overtime to get this edit done. I did have an editor lined up, and she is still lined up to edit, however, she just so happens to be Jazmin Jamais, one of the producers of "Streets", a movie directed and written by my good friend Isaac Escobedo. Considering "Streets" began shooting the day after Christmas, and preproduction enters the busiest stages two months before the first day of shooting, which a producer is obligated to attend to, Jazmin was extremely busy starting October, a month before I found out Mr. Peters was heading out.
Editing was going to start after Streets was done shooting, but since Anthony is leaving, I had to start the edit in late November, myself. I've never edited a feature film before, but... it's been a cool process. It's been very long hours because I have a day job. Also, I co-produced Streets as well. So, there were days a couple weeks ago, during the production of Streets where I would be on set for 10-12 hours, then go edit all night, then sleep a couple hours, then go back to set. Also, I would sit and write when I could, not because I'm a some super over achiever, but because if I didn't I probably would have slipped into a coma of some sort. It's all very satisfying to see all of this come together.
I will say this, it's hard to make movies. To me, it has very little to do with the actually process, it has to do with the expectations built into this 'industry'. There were many people close to me, or around me, who I felt didn't actually believe I could make a full length movie, let alone make one that might have a remote chance of being good. I think what I experienced might have been the fear of others which came out as subtle discouragement. I think sometimes people try to spare others and themselves from failure by small nudges such as, 'well if that doesn't work we will still love you', or 'sure, go for it, you can only try', or other things such as 'you? you're a joke!'. I suppose an example would be this; let's say I wanted to be a painter because I thought I could do it, and the people around me hear what I'm trying to do, and point out the works of Michaelangelo, Picasso or Rembrandt, and make qualitative judgments on my possible success rate based off of those masters divine talent, stating things like, you will never be as good as them, or, why bother, it's all been done? In response I say, so what?
Why do I sound like a haggard old sour grape right now? Maybe because I'm about to turn it all around. What I am trying to say is, so what if others don't think YOU are good enough to do the ambitious things you say you want to do. So what if there are certain standards out there in the wide world? Aren't many of those standards propagated and embellished by people who have never tried to do anything related to the various fields of interest you are trying to pursue? For example, I could easily discourage a kid from wanting to be an NFL star, or be President, no problem. I would cite the statistics and tell them that it pretty much is not going to happen. But why would I do that? In my perspective, it's wiser to encourage a kid, or even an adult, to take their dreams seriously, to aspire positively towards something they find meaningful, with the assumption that most likely, if they have any sort of encouragement, they will be forced to arrive at a moment of truth. This moment of truth is the point at which they start to actualize their dreams, and many times, usually, in my opinion, these dreams are released, because they are not at all what was expected. The moment of truth might arrive after years pursuing a dream, but realizing it's not going to happen, but in trying, they might have learned great skills along the way, which might be applied to something else. So what if they failed? Failure is a part of life. Fear is the problem.
Fear doesn't need to be a part of life, or at least, not such a big part of society. I understand putting your hand in a bonfire hurts for a reason, and there's a reason why fear is built up around it. But sometimes people need to risk "life and limb" so to speak. Sometimes people need to go for broke. Life can't be all safe and secure, if it was, all infants would opt to stay inside the womb, rather than face the cold world outside it.
I suppose in this county, and in this country, at this time of life, we need to overcome our lack of ambition. We are going to need to work. Hard. VERY hard. And we deserve it. We have been irresponsible for too long, decades. I'm talking about Americans spending habits, and the American governments overzealousness. I believe it's time for a purpose, to create a new level of responsibility and create a level of ambition in everyone. So, that's why I make movies.
That's why I made No Ambition. That's why Anthony Peters is going back to Iraq again. I wanted to inspire people to see themselves and maybe prick their hearts, maybe make them want to do something with their lives. Something they have a say in, not something they are forced into by any social structure. Anthony joined because he wanted to defend America, and that's why he is doing what he is doing. He wasn't drafted. Symbolically, I hope people lay down their video game controllers and pick up a shovel. That's my goal.
But I have more work to do right now. Expect to work harder for what you have, but expect to get more for what you do, through how you do it.
I have a very strong intuition. I don't know why. Maybe it's all the news about the markets and housing. Maybe it's all the spending on the wars. Maybe it's because the dollar is dying slowly. Maybe it's because Americans save NEGATIVE money. That means, Americans SPEND more than they make. I have been growing more and more concerned as time goes on.
I know I'm just a filmmaker, and I don't know much about the economy in reality, but for some reason I have a very strong intuition that something big and bad is coming. Although, I feel that if people my age (I'm 26), would be a little wiser about their finances, then America could be saved. I think the dollar is a promise. The dollar is a promise of responsibility with finances; a guarantee that our government, which represents us, the People, will make good on all things we spend money on.
Personally, I don't think our current spending policies are sustainable. I have a feeling it's much like in physics, as you approach the speed of light, you start becoming infinitely massive, therefore much harder to move (learned that from Mr. Gelpke at Fairfield High). You can't expect to continue growing an economy so insanely fast and not have a time where it slows down massively. I call it feast and famine.
There will be times when we as Americans can feast, and Americans feast well, but there will be times when there will be famine. In all honesty, I don't know how well Americans would do with famine. For the most part, Americans my age seem to be very used to having everything they need almost at any time they want. Food, shelter, security, it seems to be a fairly common standard in America. Of course it's not true for everyone, but only a small percentage go without, and for those who lack food, shelter and security, it is usually only very temporary and not enough to kill them (as it is in other nations quite often).
Americans NEED to be wiser with money. It's so very important to the world in my opinion. If our economy tanks, then we are basically powerless in the world. And if America is no longer in power, then what is going to fill that vacuum? I don't really want to think about that. Personally, not that this will be the answer to everything in the world, but if people were wiser with their money, and had an attitude of humility about what they actually need in life, then much of the world would be better off. I have to admit, thinking about all this has definitely grown my respect for the generation who went through the Great Depression. Frankly, I wouldn't be surprised if it wasn't the frugal attitudes of that generation that helped spark the post-war economic boom after WWII.
I know of several people, one of them being Pat Stonsby who lives in Fairfield, in her 70s, who still save and collect various containers, and who never throw away leftover food. I think part of me really respects that. I know that in my own life, it's been a very common thing to throw away food that I know I just spend a lot of money on because I couldn't finish it. Not to mention that I throw away bottles and cans all the time.
I think wisdom in finances is key for another reason too, and this might sound a little too scary to people, and maybe a little crazy to others. Personally, I think the rise of the credit score monster is a new and scary occurrence. New meaning, the last few decades. Since when does a three-digit number determine whether or not you can buy a house or not? What the crap is with that? Since when does someone keeping track of your financial reputation, whether it is accurate or not, matter so much? I don't think such surveillance ever existed before now. Since when can't we buy, sell or trade without this stupid mark...
To me, credit is another form of slavery. I call it "in-debt-ured" servants. We enter into a contract with a financial institution, at which point, we are forced to spend our money, which we receive in exchange for whatever work we do, on paying the financial institutions back. Essentially, we work to pay back what we owe financial institutions, and we don't have much choice. Why? Because everything is so expensive, and we don't have a choice but to copy everyone else and take on a bunch of debt in order to make a living. And if we don't pay, the credit demons will get you.
That's why we as Americans need to live within our means. We can't be so stupid. Frankly, it's shameful, and our own ridiculous ways will lead to our destruction if we don't start getting smart. We need to do what we can to save money while we can. I'm talking to myself to. As someone who has failed to save anything substantial, I need to do this just as bad as anyone else. But as a whole, Americans can't seem to hold onto money for long at all. This needs to change. We need to start living like money is actually worth something, and therefore, worth holding onto.
So, how do we live in a world of credit without using it? I don't know yet. I haven't been able to do that since I went to college in San Diego. I would love to find out, believe me. I love old used cars, and spending cash on anything feels great. I know it's not completely practical in this world, especially if you intend to buy a house, but I would love to learn how to operate in this world without credit. I would feel so free. I suppose I need to save as much money as I possibly can.
You never know when the next famine is going to hit.
I was postulating why we are in the current mess, and my research has led me to the above act. It was repealed Nov. 12th, 1999 "by the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, which passed in Congress with a 343-86 vote in the House of Representatives, before being sent to conference committee; the final bipartisan bill (Senate: 90-8-1, House: 362-57-15) was signed by President Bill Clinton."
"The argument for preserving Glass-Steagall (as written in 1987):
1. Conflicts of interest characterize the granting of credit – lending – and the use of credit – investing – by the same entity, which led to abuses that originally produced the Act
2. Depository institutions possess enormous financial power, by virtue of their control of other people’s money; its extent must be limited to ensure soundness and competition in the market for funds, whether loans or investments.
3. Securities activities can be risky, leading to enormous losses. Such losses could threaten the integrity of deposits. In turn, the Government insures deposits and could be required to pay large sums if depository institutions were to collapse as the result of securities losses.
4. Depository institutions are supposed to be managed to limit risk. Their managers thus may not be conditioned to operate prudently in more speculative securities businesses. An example is the crash of real estate investment trusts sponsored by bank holding companies (in the 1970s and 1980s).
The argument against preserving the Act (as written in 1987):
1. Depository institutions will now operate in “deregulated” financial markets in which distinctions between loans, securities, and deposits are not well drawn. They are losing market shares to securities firms that are not so strictly regulated, and to foreign financial institutions operating without much restriction from the Act.
2. Conflicts of interest can be prevented by enforcing legislation against them, and by separating the lending and credit functions through forming distinctly separate subsidiaries of financial firms.
3. The securities activities that depository institutions are seeking are both low-risk by their very nature, and would reduce the total risk of organizations offering them – by diversification.
4. In much of the rest of the world, depository institutions operate simultaneously and successfully in both banking and securities markets. Lessons learned from their experience can be applied to our national financial structure and regulation."
It was finally repealed with the leading of Citigroup.
"The banking industry had been seeking the repeal of Glass-Steagall since at least the 1980s. In 1987 the Congressional Research Service prepared a report which explored the case for preserving Glass-Steagall and the case against preserving the act.
The repeal enabled commercial lenders such as Citigroup, the largest U.S. bank by assets, to underwrite and trade instruments such as mortgage-backed securities and collateralized debt obligations and establish so-called structured investment vehicles, or SIVs, that bought those securities.  Citigroup played a major part in the repeal. Then called Citicorp, the company merged with Travelers Insurance company the year before using loopholes in Glass-Steagall that allowed for temporary exemptions. With lobbying led by Roger Levy, the "finance, insurance and real estate industries together are regularly the largest campaign contributors and biggest spenders on lobbying of all business sectors [in 1999]. They laid out more than $200 million for lobbying in 1998, according to the Center for Responsive Politics..." These industries succeeded in their two decades long effort to repeal the act."
More stuff to read from the research.
"The second Glass-Steagall Act, passed on 16 June 1933, and officially named the Banking Act of 1933, introduced the separation of bank types according to their business (commercial and investment banking), and it founded the Federal Deposit Insurance Company for insuring bank deposits.
Literature in economics usually refers to this simply as the Glass-Steagall Act, since it had a stronger impact on US banking regulation.
The Glass-Steagall Act has had influence on the financial systems of other areas such as China which maintains a separation between commercial banking and the securities industries."
I will continue to read and find more stuff, maybe you, the public, can help me out.
"In 2002 there was an interagency review of the effectiveness of the 1995 regulatory changes to the Community Reinvestment Act and new proposals were considered. In related 2003 proposals, the Bush Administration recommended that a new Department of the Treasury agency should supervise the primary agents guaranteeing subprime loans, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Congressional support was approximately split along Party lines, with many Republicans in support of the changes and the Democrats against, and the proposal eventually failed due to the many republicans that sided with the dems.
Frank, the ranking Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee,
voiced his opposition to the changes, saying that "these two entities --
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac -- are not facing any kind of financial crisis. The
more people exaggerate these problems, the more pressure there is on these
companies, the less we will see in terms of affordable housing." Representative
Melvin L. Watt (D) from
Barnie Frank is the Democratic representative from Massachusetts with the comedic lisp who poked fun at Republicans who voted "nay" today.
I'm not a republican or democrat, but it sure seems that the major issue at hand is that politicians simply lack the intelligence to make the correct decisions to properly guide our nation into the future. Sounds harsh? Read more about the CRA. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Community_Reinvestment_Act
Frankly, from what I have read, it has been Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton who brought this trend of subprime mortgages upon the nation. I understand it was done out of compassion, but I believe that a deal needs to be a just deal. And even though I don't like the Bush's, both George H. W. and George W. seemed to recognize that the CRA was having incredibly destabilizing effects on our economy.
But ultimately, it wasn't just that. It was
Americans want to just point the finger at the government, lenders, and Wall Street, but what about the consumer mindset of greed? Why is it that as Americans, we must always be discontent, and that we must constantly consume bigger and better things? Don't we see that staying in debt constantly should not be normal? What possible use is currency when we are spending our futures? What possible use is currency when the flow stops? The current current is neither in the now nor is it fluid. It's planned ahead of us and it's static. We have no future because we sell it in order to live in the now.
We as a people need to put responsibility above our desires. We must live within our means, and not live off of a fictitious balance sheet. We need to stop being such a consumer nation, where we see the problems prevalent almost everywhere from energy shortages, water shortages, obesity, and now the fundamental issue which seems to cause humans to get up in arms without fail; real estate. How many wars have been fought over land?
The point is, maybe now if we, the Americans, can see that American immaturity when it comes to finances and global resources might cause us to lose our home, we will fight the war against our own selfish nature, a battle that will pay great dividends for our children and grandchildren. We will reclaim our identity, and we will make the stock in our nation skyrocket, and this stock will stay steady and calm, as good as gold, and that stock is most commonly called the Dollar.
The Dollar is a promissory note. A promise to make good on an offer. The value of this promise is as good as our word as Americans. If we live in debt, and fail to pay what we promise to pay, collectively as a nation, what good is our promise? What good is the promise of the American government? What good would it do for other nations to invest in our promises if we don't keep them?
Securities? What at all is secure about a group of mortgages that
people are not paying? What possible incentive would there be for
Of course, we need to live justly, but at the end of the day, we need to learn from our mistakes, and show ourselves, if not the whole nation, mercy. We need to fix ourselves. We need to bail ourselves out. But then... we need to keep our promises. Be responsible. Don't be greedy. Look out for the needy. These are all things that would correct the problems that we face because it would unite us together as a people as opposed to dividing us. The CRA was an attempt at that, but clearly the government can't force Americans to be responsible, so therefore we need to do it on our own.
We need to secure our way of life, using our liberty, so that ultimately we can pursue happiness. We shouldn't pursue happiness using our liberty as a way of life.
We had a break from production today, and my wife Julia wasn't in school, so we took the opportunity to do some errands, and hang out and just have fun. We grew hungry after a while, and I just didn't want another "out to eat" experience at a typical restaurant. I just had this strong desire to consume something that I couldn't just get in any city, like Red Lobster, Applebee's, Chipotle, which I love for sure, but just wasn't going to satisfy me today. I wanted something unique. There are some great places around here, Joe's Buffet, which catered our wedding and did an amazing job, but I'd been there a lot. I couldn't think of anything, so I started driving around, and I finally settled upon going to the newly developed Waterfront District http://www.suisunwaterfront.com/ in downtown Suisun. I realized that it was the only truly unique place in the area that spared my gas, and offered a refreshing atmosphere, and, of course, unique dining options.
We went to La Cabana today, which was very satisfying, I got a large carne asada burrito with Mole sauce, and Julia got a chili relleno and a chicken tostada, and then we went to Pad Thai to get dessert, where Julia got her absolute favorite sweet rice with mango. She took my phone away while we were there, because I had a lot of production calls to make, and other business to attend to, which was appropriate at the time because she wanted my undivided attention, however... once that beautifully adorned sticky sweet platter was set before her, I had trouble making eye contact with her because it appeared as if she was praying over her treat, which in reality, had it not been for the fork in her hand scooping nibble by nibble into her mouth, seemed to be the case. So, after attempts at some more conversation, I decided to take my phone back until she was finished. I got one phone call off.
Honestly, I was never a person to try unique things like sweet rice with mango, I like pie, but Julia has always had a more exotic taste, and one thing I took away from today was a feeling of melancholy when she fretted to me that she "just wouldn't know what to do if there wasn't a Pad Thai here when she needed it". I didn't either, and frankly I started to daydream about that exact sentiment immediately after, but moreover I was concerned about the fact that there were very few people in the place at the time we were there, and in fact, we were the only customers, everyone else was behind a bamboo barrier with an "employee only" sign watching Pierce Bronans rendition of James bond-- rather loudly. I imagined a bustling crowd in there, mostly lovers at night with authentic Thai music, sitting at tables, enjoying the cuisine, like my wife and I enjoyed in La Jolla on our honeymoon at a Thai place even smaller than this, and I thought to myself, "why not here?"
I still don't know that answer to that for sure, but I do believe that it will happen. Honestly, the Waterfront is the perfect date waiting to happen. It's close and affordable, it's clean, it's got unique food so you in fact seem unique, as to stand out to whoever you might bring along. It's not phony. Plus the walk around the actual waterfront is magical. I can only imagine more. I imagine the whole stretch filled with art shops, trinkets, an awesome place to buy fudge, a kiosk to pick up tickets to a play at the local theater on Main street, any style of band playing, Indian food, a shop for African spices, an awesome Slavic restaurant of some sort, a bright clean ice cream parlor with authentic splits,
a museum, maybe even catch a tour of the Suisun marsh on that awesome steam boat down there, to boil it all down, Solano culture, which to me means, every culture imaginable all combined into one.
Of course it wouldn't be like London, the ultimate melting pot, or New York, it would be the melting pot for everyday people. To me, I look at four neighbors and nod with approval. Pad Thai, a restaurant featuring Thai cuisine, AJ's Pub, one of the busy local bars for Suisun, which in my observation seems to be full of medium aged hard workinn people of Suisun, Sunset Bay Kayaks, which to me seems almost opposite demographics of AJ's Pub but what do I know, and the Waterfront Comic book store, which seems to somehow also be the opposite of everything else there. They are all within ten seconds on foot and they are all awesome additions to the Waterfront, and that's an example of what makes the potential the Waterfront so cool.
Fairfield is great, 100,000+ people live here. You can get what you need in Fairfield. It's where people live. But, it seems to me that the Waterfront is that bit of culture that isn't readily available in Fairfield. I don't know much about city dynamics, but I picture Fairfield getting a lot of money from people actually living there, but I picture Suisun getting a lot of money from people spending their money there. I don't know how to explain it, but maybe we can say the relationship would be similar to La Jolla's relationship with San Diego. People live in San Diego, but they eat in La Jolla. And if they live in La Jolla, wow. Frankly, I do think the Waterfront would be a nice place for a renaissance.
I'll post some pictures soon, but the shoot has been going great so far! It's been a lot of fun and there has been a lot of hilarious footage taken. My main impression so far is that scheduling an indie movie is pretty difficult, mostly because the actors and crew all have day jobs and are under the thumb of commerce and managers all over northern California... sigh. I do what I can.
My main impression so far after that... man, I miss my wife. She goes to school and I'm shooting a movie... she makes it out to the set sometimes, but not nearly enough. I miss her.
But other than that, I love this stuff! I can't imagine doing anything else with my life and enjoying it this much. Although, with movies like Dark Knight coming out, it's hard to imagine reaching the pinnacle of this business any time soon, but in the meantime, I can enjoy myself and hopefully make a living doing what I love. I'm not in this to be the best, just the best I can be. But don't get me wrong, of course I'm going to be the best ever... :)
I have secured the services of David Fine (Rent, Pursuit of Happyness) and George Maguire (Fight Club, Pursuit of Happyness), who have both agreed to play roles in the movie. It's pretty exciting to get such experienced and talented actors in the mix, and it will be great seeing them work with the young new actors in their scenes. Be sure to check out Burn Notice this week to watch David's role as "Baranski" in the episode entitled "Trust Me". Also, if you are interested in becoming an actor yourself, make sure you enroll in George's excellent acting training at Solano College. He's amazing.
There was one change in the cast, playing the role of Eric Craig is Anthony Peters, who is an Army vet from Iraq and a purple heart winner. He and Travis Straw, who plays Dustin Broderick, are hilarious together, and I couldn't have picked any better for this movie.
We've been shooting quite a bit in the Waterfront District in Suisun, which is awesome. I don't think I could have picked a better location to shoot the movie, the place looks amazing. As far as I'm concerned, Suisun is the SPOT. All people reading this should go eat every meal you can down there. You can eat at Chili's or Red Lobster in any city, but you can't eat at Bab's, or The Joy of Eating, or Athenian Grill or Uncle Bong's pizza where you can listen to killer karaoke or watch a game or something, anywhere else but Suisun. Try it, you will fall in love with the Waterfront district. There truly is a renaissance going on down there.
Anyways, enough raving, I need to go to sleep. I have a long day tomorrow. Again, pictures soon!
Josh Cook is the A.D., assistant director, for my first feature film No Ambition. He is also a writer for CBS 13 news, and an up and coming filmmaker. He also writes screenplays, poems, and is working on his first novel. I sat down with Josh on my awesomely soft sofa in my new apartment and we chatted it up.
Josh Harris: What’s going with you right now?
Josh Cook: Dude really, I have nothing to say haha.
JC: I work at CBS 13 west in
JH: So you could basically make them say anything like Ron Burgundy?
JC: I could technically, but every story get’s previewed by a Producer. Plus our anchors aren’t like the other guys from News10 and Fox40, we got some smart ones. But seriously, all the anchors are friends with each other, it’s weird.
JH: What’s the most interesting story you’ve covered?
JC: Well did you hear about this wild fire in
JC: Yea, I cover basic news and breaking news around the area, I don’t do the investigations like a reporter or anchor.
JH: So you do film stuff too, what experiences have you had?
JC: I worked with this guy named George Lucas once… just
kidding. I’ve worked on a few films and
a few music videos out in
JH: You’re the first A.D. on my film No Ambition, how do you feel about that?
JC: It’s exciting. I love new opportunities to advance my career. As long as I’m staying busy I’m happy.
JH: I heard the director doesn’t have a clue what he’s doing.
JC: He doesn’t, honestly. Like seriously, I’ve been wanting to tell him to just hire me to direct the film.
JH: I don’t think he has enough money.
JC: I’m not cheap.
JH: I am.
JH: So, where were you born and how long have you lived in Solano?
JC: I was born in
JH: What international spots have you been?
JH: What are your plans for the future?
JC: I’m going to film school in
JH: Really? Tom Cruise?
JC: Well he’s not that bad of a guy, he’s just coo coo.
JH: Coco Puffs offered him a sweet endorsement I hear...
JC: I think I’ll just start my own religion someday, I need the money. You only need 10 people I think.
JH: Can I sign up?
JC: Yes. You can be Pontifex Maximus, that’s the chief of the Pagan priests. That’s what the Pope’s title is. Look it up on Wikipedia.
JH: Mmm, no, but I’ll be that if you want. So anyways… big plans. You gonna be a director someday?
JC: Hopefully. Probably. I’m pretty much in charge of the world already, so yea I’m sure.
JH: So everything is your fault.
JC: It is. I take credit for everything.
JH: I think I’ll hate you then.
JC: “In vino veritas.”
JH: “Age quod agis.”
JC: Anyways man, I got to go.
JH: Ok. Peace.
Josh Cook is moving to L.A. most likely in early September, and will embark on his long and illustrious film career down there. I will periodically interview him and others in this blog. Stay tuned for more details on No Ambition. Also, visit Suisun's waterfront and spend lots of money this fourth of July! It's going to rock!