Friday, Dec. 21st, 1979 —
This filmmaking epoch draws to a close tomorrow for many of us in “Book of the Dead.” Ellen and Betsy both left today, Sunday Rich, myself, Don and Tom will leave. I’m kind of sad to see it end even if it has been a major source of grief it’s also been very educational. And of all of Sam’s drawbacks and inabilities as a director he never forgot the point of the film and may very well succeed on technique alone.
Early this morning after we had watched “Holding It,” Sam’s “Shakespeare Film” and some rushes, Rob, Sam and I smoked some pot and talked and Sam related filmmaking to being a magician. He said the only thing a magician is thinking about while performing is, “do they know how I’m doing this trick?” If they don’t, he’s succeeding — period. The point also isn’t to just make the film, it’s to amaze yourself and everyone at the same time. If you think what you’re doing is neat, chances are everyone else will, too.
Nothing says I have to leave Sunday, I could stay the next two weeks, but I don’t think it’s a real good idea. My services are not particularly needed and feeling unneeded I become aggravated and despondent, so maybe leaving is the best thing
— but going home certainly isn’t.
If everything works out right I’ll be going to the movies tomorrow — hopefully I’ll catch two. Sam and Rob asked me to stay on and run sound and I agreed. I have no reason to go home, so why not spend Christmas and New Year with the boys.
And they asked me.
Saturday, Dec. 22nd, 1979 —
I’m presently seated in the Capri Terrace in Knoxville, Tenn. awaiting the beginning of “The Black Hole” which is in about a half hour. Surprisingly enough this isn’t a bad theater: mildly large screen, reclining seats, decent sound system, this should be okay. After this I’m going to see “1941,” then I’ve got to get to the airport at 10:00 P.M. to get a ride back. Because of the late date I may be better off calling in my reviews to Rick and have her transcribe them.
Scott Joplin rags are playing pleasantly as I wait out the purgatory of sitting in a movie theater before the film.
I’m sitting on the side of the road in Knoxville waiting for Ivan Raimi to pick me up.
The instructions on how to get here were pretty easy, but Ivan’ll never find it. Aside from having no sense of direction he didn’t pay much attention to me when I explained. I’m sitting here for naught.
Sunday, Dec. 23rd, 1979 —
Early this morning Rich, John, Don and Tom all left for home and now just the rot-gut cast and crew is left — and Ted Raimi. What he’s doing here I couldn’t say, however within an hour of Ted’s arrival I wanted to kill him. I was vainly attempting to re-write my reviews and Ted did almost everything within his means to distract me, and thoroughly succeeded.
At this point I still have two reviews to do and my only recourse will be to read them to Rick over the phone.
So now I’m sound man. Although I haven’t yet used the mixer, everything else is fairly simple. The stuff I did last night sounds fine.
Dec. 28th, Friday, 1979 —
Another long night of shooting. It’s 8:00 A.M. and I’m just going to bed.
Cameron and Ditz are here adding a new, dryer flavor of humor to the scene. John isapparently very bitter about this and has said that he hates Sam.
Interestingly enough, Sam and I are getting along rather well. He’s a zombie, of course, bearded, dazed and confused, but he keeps it all going.
Tom Sullivan returned, a fresh, self-produced contract in hand demanding the rights to all his creations, $100.00 a day for being here after his old contract expired (although that was amended) and an assurance that he leaves the 29th. After that we do our own make-up and effects.
Saturday, Dec. 29th, 1979 —
Lately Tim Philo has been rather pointed with me and any others who don’t immediately respond to the call of duty with sarcastic quips. Several times I have found appropriate moments to use his quips right back at him, which always makes him smile. He and I just went out to breakfast and talked and happily there are no hard feelings at all.
Tom Sullivan leaves today, which should add some major obstacles to filming.
What’s left is almost all special effects and make-up and the most difficult aspects of both. Although I almost totally agree with Tom’s P.O.V., his leaving us in the lurch with his effects on the line rather self-defeating. His point that this film is an “effects film” and he wasn’t entrusted with his job until the last minute is valid, he should have been in on the proceedings from as early as possible. Anyway, his departure is going to make this last bit of filming a bigger chore than it already is.
And, this just occurred to me, if my reviews do not appear in this month’s
“Magazine” I will be compelled to quit.