Robert Altman: It’s true that I dreamed [3 Women], but it was not the content of the film or any emotion in it, just that it was about personality theft. I had a film cancelled on me at Warner Brothers. I needed to make a film badly, and then my wife Kathryn got very sick. We took her to the emergency hospital at four in the morning, and it seemed very serious at the time, though it all turned out fine in the end. But I returned to my house on the beach in Malibu and went to bed feeling kind of desperate, and I dreamed I was making this film. I dreamed the title, the location and that there were three women, and I knew two of the cast, Shelley Duvall and Sissy Spacek. Part of the dream was that I kept waking up and writing these things down on a notepad. And then I told two of my production people, Tommy Thompson and Bob Eggenweiler, to check out Palm Springs. When I really woke up, there was sand in the bed, because my son Matthew, who was eleven then, had joined me, and he was spending all of his time on the beach. So that’s probably where the desert location came from… I had no story at that point, just the ambience and an atmosphere.
Sissy Spacek: I remember he told us about his dream. I did little drawings, little sketches about his dream. Bob would get the seed of an idea and he would let the people he was working with become a part of that… He told me everything he knew about my character, Pinky, and then it was like he would give actors a track, a blueprint. ‘Now work within these parameters and put yourself into it.’ He didn’t need to have all the answers. He didn’t have that disease where as a director you have to know everything. There was a lot of improvisational stuff. He would give us a scene in the morning and then it would grow. It was so freeing working with him after having worked with other directors. The way he works is all very naturalistic. Everything is natural and the sets are happy and relaxed and he seemed to always be the happiest and the most relaxed. I don’t think I ever knew what the film was about. I remember Bob would say, ‘Well, if you confuse people enough in the first twenty minutes they’ll give up trying to figure out what it’s about and they’ll just go with it and enjoy it.’
Shelley Duvall: I wrote all my own monologues. Bob would say, ‘Why don’t you write a monologue just in case we can use it?’ And we’d use it. He knows I always do my homework. I had been reading Apartment Life, Redbook, Readers Digest, and Woman’s Day. It’s easy to write. Monologues just came out in 15 minutes. Well, I put a lot of myself in, but I’m not a consumer like Millie. I played her like a Lubitsch comedy—people taking themselves very seriously. It is great fun to watch, as long as it isn’t you.
[social sandbox] visual stories, tools from Knight Lab, structured journalism
I was at NLGJA last week and sat in on a session about visual design. I thought I would pass along some of the interesting takeaways and links.
StoryMap helps journalists craft stories where location is key to the narrative (Think about field reporting trips!)
Soundcite allows reporters to seamlessly drop inline audio into a story (It was designed by our own Tyler Fisher)
Also of note:
4. I noticed two things this weekend. Buzzfeed has a version of the Quotable Tool that allows them to put words over images. (Vox has one too. Their code is here.) I love these, in part, because it makes it easy to socialize stories on Pinterest, Instagram and adds more info to a Facebook/Twitter post.
5. Also: props to Eric Deggans and Madhulika Sikka for having a conversation on Twitter. I love seeing when people who work here converse outside of here on social. It makes us look human! Also: it lets more people know about us. Have conversation on twitter!
As he writes, without looking at the sea,
he feels the tip of his pen begin to tremble.
The tide is going out across the shingle.
But it isn’t that. No,
it’s because at that moment she chooses
to walk into the room without any clothes on.
Drowsy, not even sure where she is
for a moment. She waves the hair from her forehead.
Sits on the toilet with her eyes closed,
head down. Legs sprawled. He sees her
through the doorway. Maybe
she’s remembering what happened that morning.
For after a time, she opens one eye and looks at him.
And sweetly smiles.
Back at Northwestern, I was fortunate enough to meet the excellent writer Dan Chaon, who came and talked to our writing class. I remember turning in a story to him that was way too long, some twenty-two-page mess about a lady who had a huge starfish and could see the future. I think the character was abducted by these two brothers—I don’t know, I’ve repressed the rest of it.
But Dan was so kind to me about this story, and he told me I should be reading Kelly Link, George Saunders, Kevin Brockmeier. He alerted me to these contemporary writers who were writing weird, inventive stuff. They were New Wave Fabulists, he said.
And I owe them a huge debt; I went on to become a blood-sworn fan of those writers. I felt a sort of tail-wagging joy, you know, reading these story collections. A recognition. It was like Dan rode through town and handed me a literary family tree.
9 of the best '90s bands you didn't think were the best '90s bands and the awesome stuff they're doing now
by Andrew Sacher It’s no secret that the ’90s are all the rage right now. The internet (and maybe even your real life) is filled with nostalgia for everything from Pogs to Nickelodeon cartoons to Tamagotchis and this reality check…
Check out a nice write up on Harvey Danger in this new 90’s piece over at BrooklynVegan.
Nice to see HUM on the list, too.
In recent weeks, the managers, employees, and customers of a New England chain of supermarkets called “Market Basket” have joined together to oppose the board of director’s decision earlier in the year to oust the chain’s popular chief executive, Arthur T. Demoulas.
Their demonstrations and…