Well, for all of you Deadwood fans out there, I hope you don’t mind my title, which quotes Swearingen from Episode 10, Season 3. It’s also my facebook status update today. The thing is, it doesn’t sound like much, this line of Swearingen’s, until you put it into context. It got a roar out of both Steve and I when watching the show. In typical deadpan Swearingen style, our man delivers it after passing his cook on the stairs – he stands there for a moment and watches her as she slowly descends – but she is physically challenged and so it takes her a little longer than it took him to descend. Our man is a sarcastic, dry, unfeeling a-hole, it would seem, to deliver such a heartless comment. But in truth, since Steve and I have gotten to know Al Swearingen, his comment takes on a whole new light. Strip off the layers and you will find that Al’s seemingly heartless observation instead rang true on so many levels – for the cook, for Al, for the world of Deadwood, for the absurd events of the day in which he found himself, for life. What I liked best about the way it was delivered was the pause beforehand, an almost uncomfortably long pause for tv land, which seems to always be in a hurry to fill in the silences. I believe it was daring on the filmmakers’ part to include both the seemingly insignificant line as well as the pause. But that is the beauty and brilliance of Deadwood. Its dialogue is witty, sarcastic and daring on every level – pair this with a story line of similar characteristics, unbelievably stunning acting, ‘ to die for’ lighting and cinematography, and lo and behold, what can I say except that I am dragging out the viewing of the last two episodes of the final season because I don’t want this ride to end. I am in awe (although sometimes I am also disturbed) of this brilliant feat of kinetic historical storytelling, and as a result I just don’t think watching any made for tv programming will measure up.
I have been up to more than just drooling over Deadwood these days. I had a topsy turvy type of summer – lots of lovely sailing in Bedeque Bay with sexy Stevie, a few beach visits, and way too much dairy bar ice cream (it’s a PEI thing). I was in a hurry to fit everything in before having shoulder surgery on August 18th, which put me in both a sling and a cranky mood for a few months. Being laid up also took the wind out of my sails in terms of filming anything. Funny how physical infirmities also play havoc with your mental state. But on the plus side, as luck would have it, the new Island Film Factory in conjunction with the Island Media Arts Co-op recently held a series of workshops that reinstated my desire to get out there and film something. Lighting, editing and web marketing and distribution were supplemented with some shoots for short films – they were all terrific, and this weekend I will be camera operator on the final Digital Media Workshop short, my friend Louise’s film, which will be a blast since it is a green screen spoken word project. Recently I also had the opportunity to shoot a day on another friend’s short – it was an ode to zucchini in the end, and was hilarious to work on. Steve came along and camera assisted, and more than one zucchini joke made the rounds of the set. Congrats to Joe Zanetti for writing a fun little short and for being such a great guy to work with.
In terms of my own projects, even with the sling I tried to work every day but there are limits to what you can do when you are one-limbed. I’m happy to say that I feel re-energized and keen to finish the drumming edit, and have a new project in mind that is in the initial stages of planning. This is something that is affordable and practical, not a Feature, but just as much fun and should do well in web and / or tv land. As far as Features go, the Film Factory is starting to think about these, and I will be on board, but our first project is a web series for pre-schoolers that I am happy to be a cam op on. We go to camera October 18th for a minimum of eight days, so it will be November before I really settle into editing mode again. Last month I also helped my friend Kari on a doc she is shooting on Therapeutic Touch, and over the summer I shot a day with my buddy Kat from Vancouver, interviewing MP Wayne Easter on the decline of family beef farms in PEI. I wish both gals the best of luck with their projects!
Also in November I am hoping to get out west to see my long lost son, Christopher. He’s going great guns in the specialty coffee biz, is managing two shops at this time and is opening another, on which he will be building up part ownership, in Calgary in 2011. His music continues to amaze me, and you can hear some of it in the drumming preview which is now available on youtube. My demo reel is also up there – google Susan Rodgers Demo Reel 2010 and it will take you to both videos.
Well, no other news for now, except that oh yeah, I have also started my second novel, Seasmoke. May take a few years to write unless someone ponies up some cash, ha ha, but I will say that it is the tale of Molly, a young Mom with a bad habit, and an 85 year old former nun who shed her habit, Clara, a gal with a zest for life and a painful secret in her closet.
All the best to all of you and let me end with this –
‘America!’ (Wu – you Deadwood folks will get this, the rest of you are SOL, sorry!)
bye for now,
– Susan 🙂