Saturday, November 25, 2006

Robert Altman Could Write Better Cover Letters

May 22, 2003


Michael LePlae
Human Resources
Stehman\Diddle\McMickey
7436 Tacoma Dr.
Santa Barbara, CA 92323

Dear Michael:

I am writing in response to your listing on monster.com for an account services assistant.

As you can see from my resume, I have no prior experience in advertising. Unfortunately, my schedule over the past two decades—I have written, produced and directed several feature films—left little time for me to explore other interests. However, filmmaking is an organic process. You’re constantly picking things up along the way. I think I have picked up several things along the way which I think could make excellent antecedents to a career in advertising.

For instance, I once took a typing class, as preparation for my cameo role in “The Player.” I played a stenographer in the scene where Tim Robbins takes his pants off for Peter Gallagher (totally improvised, by the way). We ended up cutting the scene. I had second thoughts about appearing in the picture. We went a little “cameo crazy” on that one, as I’m sure you remember.

Incidentally, it was my cinematographer Tak Fujimoto who recommended me to Stehman\Diddle\McMickey. I understand he shot several Nissan spots for you last August. While working on my last film, Gosford Park, he couldn’t stop talking about what a great experience he’d had working in commercials. He suggested I contact you about entry-level opportunities. At first I pretended like I wasn’t interested. Why I can’t say. Maybe to save face? I may have made some comment about maintaining artistic integrity, to which Tak just smiled. Then, two takes later, he turned and said, “Hey, Altman. Head down to the corner store. See if your glowing Pauline Kael reviews can buy us a good cup of coffee.” Tak has a brilliant sense of humor. So versatile, too, as a DP. A real collaborator. Anyway, point was taken.

You’ll have to excuse me. I have never been good at writing cover letters. My agent (Lou Ackerman? At CAA?) is constantly hounding me about this. “Too colloquial” is what it usually comes down to. He tore up the last one I showed him, called it “sh*t.” “This will never sell anybody,” he screamed. “Where is your contact information? How can they give you a job if they can’t f**king find you, you vagabond hippy sh*tbag. And what’s with all these contractions! I’ve told you a million times, no f**king contractions in a cover letter!” I hadn’t seen him that mad since I gave Paramount that 4 hour cut of The Gingerbread Man.

Anyway, S\D\M seems to me to be a great opportunity, a chance to be a part of something big, fun and different, and I know I have a lot to offer as a candidate. I hope you can ignore the commercial failure of many of my projects, and accept my interest in the job as a genuine desire to learn and grow.

Thanks for your consideration. Let me say again, I think I would make an excellent assistant. Should you need to contact me, please call JaneƩ, my assistant, at 818-555-7856.

Sincerely,



Robert Altman
Enclosure (1)

The Rumsfeld Sex Tape: Real or Fake?

dupont77: It's the glasses that give it away.
internforever46: What? He's not wearing glasses.
dupont77: They're on the night stand. Go to 3:23.
dupont77: See them?
internforever46: I think.
dupont77: Look by the lava lamp.
internforever46: Okay, sure.
internforever46: Dunno.
internforever46: Still not convinced it's him.
internforever46: This guy looks like he's really in shape.
dupont77: It has to be him. The timing is just too perfect.
internforever46: Because he resigned?
dupont77: He didn't resign, he was pushed out. Bush fucked him.
dupont77: Really fucked him.
dupont77: Said it wasn't even a question before the midterms, Rumsfeld is staying.
dupont77: Then as soon as they lost the House and Senate, boom.
dupont77: Gone.
dupont77: Humiliating.
dupont77: One week later...
internforever46: Sex Tape.
dupont77: Sex. Motherfucking. Tape.
internforever46: Makes sense.
internforever46: What's the tattoo say?
dupont77: On him or her?
internforever46: Him.
dupont77: Best shot of it is at 20:23.
internforever46: Going there, hold on.
dupont77: I think it's a scarecrow.
internforever46: Maybe. What's it holding in its right hand?
dupont77: Zooming in.
dupont77: It's a bottle of Captains Morgan.
internforever46: A bottle of rum?
dupont77: Booyah, Rumsfeld! Confirmed!
internforever46: That is really creepy.
internforever46: Here's a question. Who's filming?
dupont77: Oh, yeah...really good question.
dupont77: Cheney.
dupont77: Gotta be.
internforever46: You're so right.
dupont77: Those guys go back.
internforever46: Way back.
dupont77: Bet the whole thing was his idea.
dupont77: Cheney's behind everything these guys do.
dupont77: The war was his baby.
dupont77: Warrantless wiretaps.
dupont77: Extraordinary renditions.
internforever46: Speaking of...
internforever46: Listen to her moan...
dupont77: Rumsfeld-- still got it.
dupont77: Like the '80s never ended.
dupont77: This is not your father's Rumsfeld.
internforever46: Come on, you don't think she's faking?
dupont77: Honestly.
dupont77: No.
internforever46: Dude, come on.
internforever46: The Bush Administration supplies you with a sex tape, and you take them on their word that the orgasm is real?
dupont77: I'm just going off what I'm seeing.
dupont77: I see a woman having an orgasm.
dupont77: She looks really flushed.
dupont77: Her brow, look at it.
dupont77: Her grip on that window curtain.
dupont77: You can't fake that kind of ecstasy.
internforever46: Whatever, Colin Powell.
dupont77:?
internforever46: Her furrowed brow is your mobile weapons lab.
dupont77: Ah, I get it.
internforever46: You're gonna have to go before the UN, stake your credibility on this orgasm.
dupont77: Fine.
dupont77: I'm ready. I'm confident. Most of all, I'm loyal to my President.
internforever46: Your funeral.
internforever46: You're gonna be on Barbara Walters in a few weeks, saying the orgasm is a "blot" on your career.
dupont77: Yeah.
dupont77: Hottest. Blot. Ever.
dupont77: Oh shit, did you see that?
internforever46: What?
dupont77: In the mirror above the bed?
internforever46: Where?
dupont77: Go to 45:32.
dupont77: See that?
internforever46: Oh. My. God.
dupont77: Do you see who I see?
internforever46: McCain.
dupont77: McCain!
internforever46: McCain is holding the boom mic. Sweet jesus.
dupont77: Courting favor with the extreme right.
internforever46: The extremely hot right.
dupont77: Making his bones.
internforever46: The Straight Talk Express.
dupont77: Unbelievable.
internforever46: He looks ashamed.
dupont77: He should be.
internforever46: Did you notice? This whole thing's being filmed on a camera phone.
dupont77: Typical Rummy.

Monday, June 12, 2006

I Really Want My Mechanic To Like Me

What’s what? Oh, that clicking sound? God, is it really that bad? I guess I’ve just gotten used to it. What is it? I don’t know, I think it’s the wheel well. Or something. Get it checked out? God, if it were only that simple.

Yes, I have a mechanic. I bought the car from him actually. Why not take it in? Well, it’s a long story. Normally I would take it in, but. See I got in this little fender bender, took out a headlight, damaged the frame, too. My mechanic said he didn’t feel comfortable trying to fix it. He said he couldn’t accept money to do what I wanted to do. Said he couldn’t guarantee it would be safe. God, he has such integrity. Anyway, I paid some body shop guy to replace the headlight, that’s it. All I could the afford. Since then the car’s been drivable, except for that noise. But you see why I can’t take it in, right? I disobeyed my mechanic. I went over his head. No, I can’t go to someone else. I wouldn’t trust them. I trust this guy. I know, but this is about more than the car. I really want my mechanic to like me.

You don’t understand. He’s such an amazing guy. He gave me a great deal on the car, was very upfront about its history, its previous owner. I liked him right away. He gave off this aura of honesty. He wasn’t a salesman. He loved my car, but it was a tough love. Rugged. Frontier love. Or the kind of love that exists on the battlefield, between a sergeant and a private. He could tell when I hadn’t taken it in for an oil change. He’d give me this look, quietly scolding. I want to please him, I can’t help it. I want to learn to be a better owner of our car. I mean my car.

It’s not just that I disobeyed him, either. See, he’s really into classical music. Last time I went to the garage he had some beautiful music playing, conducting with one hand while he changed my air filter with the other. I stood in the garage opening for fifteen minutes before I could bring myself to interrupt. When I did, I felt obligated to ask what the music was. He said some long German name-- of course I forgot it right away. “Isn’t it wonderful,” he asked. “Simple. Yet devastating.” I had no idea what he meant, but of course I nodded right along. Like an idiot! Before I could stop myself, I asked that he write down the name for me. Now I can’t go back until I’ve listened to it a bunch. I have to be able to understand what he meant when he said “devastating.” But he already thinks I’m incurious. Because one time he offered to explain to me how a sparkplug works, and I said, “oh come on, that’s what I pay you for.” The look he gave me-- well, I just can’t have him look at me that way again.

It’s not stupid. He’s just…one of the most amazing people I’ve ever met. First-generation immigrant. Born in Hamburg. Came over when he was five years old. On a freighter. Got a job working the ports at Long Beach. Taught himself English and Spanish. How do I know all this? I read it in the program for this play he wrote. Yeah, it’s been running at the Gracie for the past four weeks. See, that’s another thing. I can’t take the car in until I’ve seen the play a few more times.

How many times have I seen it already? Just a couple. It’s very dense. Or maybe I’m dense, what can I say? When? Last Thursday, why? What! That’s not true, is it? I thought your opening was this week! Oh, god, I am so sorry. How was it? High turnout? You don’t want to tell me. You know what, don’t tell me, you’re right. I should be punished. I’m such an selfish jerk.

God, I feel sick to my stomach. Yes, I can drive just fine. I just want you to know I feel terrible.

You know, maybe you shouldn’t do my taxes this year. Maybe it’s for the best. I know it’s your livelihood, but maybe it’s not worth the suffering? Filing an 1040 for the world’s biggest ingrate?

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Zacarias Moussaoui Has Some Thoughts on the "United 93" Trailer

People keep asking, "is it too soon to make a movie about 9/11?" I think that's the wrong question. The real question is, "will it ever be the right time to make this movie?" I mean, let's be honest, this is a suspense movie. It's not about understanding the motives for the attacks, or putting them into any kind of political or historical context, or tracing the changes within America society since they occured. The whole thing takes place on a plane. It's simply about scaring people, then ultimately entertaining them with a movie whose excesses and contrivances will be forgiven because it's intended to be a story of heroism. I mean, of course the families of the flight 93 passengers support the movie-- it turns all their dead relatives into big-screen heroes. Little Bobby gets turned into John McClane. Hooray! He didn't die in vain! This is about exploiting a horrific, terrifying event in history in order to make money, and whether or not you think that's right doesn't have anything to do with how soon it gets released.

That said, of course I'm gonna see the movie. I mean, Christ, I was supposed to be there.

Monday, April 03, 2006

"Get Out of My Dreams, Get Into My Car," An Early Draft

I'll be your non-stop lover/
Get it while you can/
Your non-stop miracle/
I'm your man/

Chorus:

Get outta my dreams/
Get into my car/
Extract your image and concurrent repositories of sexual desire from my subconscious mind/
Get into my car

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Jeffrey Dahmer Has Some Thoughts on Arctic Monkeys

Is all the hype justified? Are they really that good? I don't know. I think they're good at one certain thing. The single, "I Bet You Good on the Dancefloor," is that thing. Great single. Catchy as all get out. A powerhouse performed live. But seeing them live and hearing their catalog in totality, their youth and their one-dimensionality become plainly obvious. That said, still not the worst show I've ever seen. I danced. I howled. I got my money's worth.

Wanna know something funny? Whenever the singer says "I'll bet you look good on the dancefloor" in that song, I hear, "I'll bet you look good on the refridgerator shelf." Is that hilarious? Must be the accent.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Abraham Lincoln Has Some Thoughts on "Crash."

Didn't love it. Too contrived. Seriously, what's the chance that some racist cop is gonna end up responding to a car wreck involving the very same black woman that he molested on a traffic stop earlier that day? I mean, of course he's gonna try and pull her from the wreckage. That's his job. Know what I mean? It's like writing a movie where Mother Theresa has a chance to go back in time to kill Hitler as a child. Of course she's gonna do it. So, congratulations, you've proven that under certain circumstances, Mother Theresa could be compelled to commit murder. Here's your Oscar.

Then again, the acting was pretty good. Black people can star in movies, huh? I mean, no, that's cool. Just kind of took me by surprise. I'm just saying, like, why not get a white actor who's gonna be better and put him in black face? Is it a budget thing, because it's an independant film? Just curious.

Monday, March 06, 2006

"Hot In Here," An Early Draft

It's getting hot in here/
So take off all your clothes/
I am/
indeed feeling the rise in temperature/
I plan to disrobe, accordingly

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Alec Baldwin Addresses the Talent at Cash Money Records.

Baldwin: Let me have your attention for a moment! So you're talking about what? You're talking about...(puts out his cigarette)...bitching about that rhyme you dropped, somebody that doesn't want to hush that fuss, some hoe you're trying to freak and so forth. Let's talk about something important. Are they all here?

Slim Williams: All but one.

Baldwin: Well, I'm going anyway. Let's talk about something important! (to L’il Wayne) Put that forty down!! Forty’s are for closers only. (L’il Wayne scoffs) Do you think I'm fucking with you? I am not fucking with you. I'm here from downtown. I'm here from Mitch and Murray. And I'm here on a mission of mercy. Your name's L’il Wayne?

L’il Wayne: Yeah.

Baldwin: You call yourself a thug, you son of a bitch?

Juvenile: I don't have to listen to this shit.

Baldwin: You certainly don't pal. 'Cause the good news is -- you're fired. The bad news is you've got, all you got, just one week to earn back your props, starting tonight. Starting with tonights show. Oh, have I got your attention now? Good. 'Cause we're adding a little something to tonight’s battle. As you all know, first prize is a stretch Hummer limo with custom rims. Anyone want to see second prize? Second prize's a case of Mickey’s. Third prize is you're fired. You get the picture? You're laughing now? You got beats. Mitch and Murray paid good money. Write the rhymes to slay them! You can't slay the beats you're given, you can't slay shit, you ARE shit, mash that trash pal 'cause I'm a bet, hot enough to make the concrete sweat, fuck with me the wrong way and know you'll never forget!

L’il Wayne: The beats are weak.

Baldwin: 'The beats are weak.' Fucking beats are weak? You're weak. I've been in this business fifteen years.

Juvenile: What's your name?

Baldwin: FUCK YOU, that's my name!! You know why, Mister? 'Cause you drove a Hyundai to get here tonight, I drove a eighty thousand dollar BMW. That's my name!! (to L’il Wayne) And your name is "you're wanting." And you can't rhyme in time? You can't get your shine on. (at a near whisper) And you go home and tell your biatch your troubles. (to everyone again) Because only one thing counts in this life! Get that trunk to crunk to the bunk! You hear me, you fucking faggots?

(Baldwin flips over a blackboard which has two sets of letters on it: ABC, and AIDA.)

Baldwin: A-B-C. A-always, B-be, C-crunking. Always be crunking! Always be crunking!! A-I-D-A. Attention, interest, decision, action. Attention – can I get a what-what? Interest -- are you down with this? I know you are because it's slump or bump. You crunk or you flunk the hunk! Decision -- have you lunk the wunk?!! And action. A-I-D-A; now get bunk!! You got the DJ spinnin’; you think they came in to get out of the rain? Guy doesn't walk in da club unless he wants to bump thumps. Sitting out there waiting to give you their money! Are you gonna take it? Are you man enough to take it? (to Juvenile) What's the problem pal? You. Juvenile.

Juvenile: You're such a hero, you're so fly. Why you coming down here and waste your time on a bunch of suckas?

(Baldwin sits and takes off his gold watch)

Baldwin: You see this bling-bling?

Juvenile: Yeah.

Baldwin: That bling cost more than your car. I made $970,000 last year. How much you rakin? You see, pal, that's who I am. And you're nothing. TRU nigga? I don't give a shit. Pussy slaya? Fuck you -- go home and play with your kids!! (to everyone) You wanna work here? Crunk!! (to Birdman) You think this is abuse? You think this is abuse, you cocksucker? You can't take this -- how can you gonna fling rhymes make the trains run on time?! You don't like it -- step. I can go out there tonight with the materials you got, make the crowd say “Hey Hey, have my babey!” On and on! To the break of dawn! Can you? Can you? Go and do likewise! A-I-D-A!! Get Bunk! You sons of bitches! Get Bunk!! You know what it takes to crunk?

(He pulls something out of his briefcase)

Baldwin: It takes brass balls.

(He's holding two brass balls on string, over the appropriate "area"--he puts them away after a pause)

Baldwin: Go and do likewise, suckas. The money's out there, you pick it up, it's yours. You don't--I have no sympathy for you. You wanna go out on that stage tonight and crunk, it's yours. If not you're going to be slicking my trick. Bunch of suckas sitting around a BBQ. (in a mocking weak voice) "Oh yeah, I used to be a playa, it's a tough racket." (he takes out a CD) These are the new beats. These are the Glengarry beats. And to you, they're gold. And you don't get them. Because to give them to you is just throwing them away. (he hands the stack to Williams) They're for crunkers.
I'd wish you good luck but you wouldn't know what to do with it if you got it. (to Juvenile as he puts on his watch again) And to answer your question, pal: why am I here? I came here because Mitch and Murray asked me to, they asked me for a favor. I said, the real favor, follow my advice and fling that bling because a bitch is a bitch. Word.