In the second half of September, a line-up of big-time screenwriters will be speaking in the UK as part of the "BAFTA and BFI Screenwriters' Lecture Series." It's the second year this has been held, and Charlie will be speaking on the last day, Sept. 30, 7pm, at BFI Southbank. The bad news is, tickets for the general public have frickin' sold out already. Maybe there are still seats available for members? I dunno. But if any of you happen to attend, maybe later you can give us a quick rundown of how it went?
Researchers at the University of Washington came up with a kind of computerised celebrity facial puppeteering method. You take a whole stack of digital photos (of celebrities, for example), load them into a database, and you aim a webcam at your puppeteer's face. The puppeteer then changes his facial expression a bunch of times, and the computer mimics his face by choosing digital photos of identical facial expressions. Or something. MINUTES OF FUN. Given a large enough database of photos, you could conceivably rig a fake video of a real celebrity saying something that they didn't actually say. You know? And you'll never guess which celebrities' faces they've used to demonstrate this stuff.
This interesting clip from the World Science Festival gives us two stories that show how lousy the human memory really is, and how easily it can be tricked. The first anecdote is about a guy who held onto the memory of an incident that occurred at a birthday party, only to learn that the incident never happened at all; the second story is about a woman who unintentionally confused a TV program with reality and almost sent an innocent guy to jail for rape. (And I think it's bad when I have trouble remembering where I put the remote...)
Meanwhile, in this piece for Scientific American, Greg Boustead points out that your memories aren't reliable, even when they concern dramatic/traumatic events you think are seared into your skull.
So I was in kind of a mood (long story - in real time it takes about 34 years and 3 months to tell), and I went moseying around YouTube as a means of distracting myself from Googling up "noose making", and in amongst videos of a cat who needs an exorcist and a rather in-depth look at squiggling techniques, I came across this cover version of "Little Person" (the jaunty tune from Synecdoche, New York), which song perfectly suits my mood, and I figured I'd share it with my CK homies.
And I am still in that mood. (But I'm kidding about the noose.)
What I need is sleep and a time machine. And pizza. Mmm, pizza.
Here's a video from the aforementioned Festival, in which Alda, Kaufman and neuroscientist Giulio Tononi discuss consciousness, dreams, self, and whatnot. Alda was the moderator, but he does more talking than Charlie. In fact, Charlie barely gets a chance to say anything, which is a bummer -- but the rest of the discussion is good, which is good. And it clocks in at 81 freakin' minutes, which is long. It's from June last year.
GQ currently have a neat article online: 'An Oral History of the Rise and Fall (and Rise) of 'The Dana Carvey Show.'" It's really long.
Charlie was a writer on the short-lived sketch show, working alongside (to quote GQ) "Robert Smigel, Louis C.K., Stephen Colbert, Steve Carell, Spike Feresten, 30 Rock showrunner Robert Carlock, Delocated star Jon Glaser, and Community writer and supporting player Dino Stamatopoulos." The piece is divided into sections, one of which features the Carvey staff talking about Charlie. Here's a snippet:
Tucked away in his office, mostly keeping to himself, was a writer named Charlie Kaufman—a writer who would go on to write and direct some of the most surreal films of the last decade.
Smigel: His writing submission was not fantastic. He had written on a show called The Edge, which was a not very successful Fox sketch show that I know he was disappointed in for not taking enough chances. His submission packet was up and down, but kind of interesting. There was one sketch that was a very meta treatment of Unsolved Mysteries and it was one of the most brilliant sketches I had ever read, and it was enough for me to hire him.
Chott: He definitely kept to himself, but he would always have the funniest stuff at the table reads. He would always have this stuff that was really far out there. (Source)
If you don't read the whole article, the Kaufman section is definitely worth checking out. (It starts near the bottom of page 5.) They also mention the "Weirder Al" sketch that he wrote, which BCK posted about a while ago.
Kevin James is the latest name being mentioned in the same breath as Frank or Francis. Twitch, who got the news from Playlist, report:
... there is a part in the film for Kevin James to play - in true Being John Malkovich style - Kevin James. He would appear as the star of a film within the film titled Obese City as well as appearing as a presenter at the Academy Awards. (Source)
Twitch also notes that this should be treated as speculation only.
Moviefone posted an interview with Steve Carell a few days ago. It's mostly about his new flick Crazy, Stupid, Love, but right at the end they ask about his involvement with Frank or Francis:
And you're going to be working with Charlie Kaufman on 'Frank or Francis'? You two worked together on 'The Dana Carvey Show.' Yes! Potentially. That's not a done deal but I'm hoping to. So, I would and will jump at the chance to work with him. I hope that all comes together. It's a really great script, so I'm excited about that possibility. (Source)
I really like Carell - aside from being talented, he strikes me as smart, and a nice guy. If he's in it, I kinda hope he plays Frank - the film director. It'll be confusing for me if Cage plays Frank, given that Cage has already played Charlie, and Frank is kind of another Kaufman doppelganger, y'know? It'll be like Adaptation 2. Which it sort of is anyway. But not really.
That clears that up, then.
(OR IS JACK BLACK FRANK? Surely Black is Francis, the blogger.)
BCK visitor "Anonymous" says he/she has read the Frank or Francis script, and she/he posted a short outline of the story in a recent comment. COOL. I haven't heard much on this from any of BCK's long-time cloak-and-dagger informants, so until we get the official word on anything, it's VERY VERY WISE to take stuff like this with a shovelful of salt and healthy skepticism. So consider this a rumour and nothing more, for the time being:
This script is just pure insanity.
Frank Arder is a director who is touring with his current film, You, an ensemble drama in which he plays all the roles. Francis Deems is an online blogger who hates all films and especially Arder's. Eventually Arder signs up and they argue but then a woman steps in to the argument, Habitat. Through online conversations Arder and Habitat fall in love. Even though they both claim to be people they aren't. All the while there is a robot head, Robert, that is being programmed to write a script based on everything good in any movie, ever. [...] There is also a character referred to as emcee, who hosts the oscars at the beginning but his career is going downhill so he is looking for help to breakout of his known role as "Fat Dad." Everybody sings and it is undeniably a work of the Mr. Charles Kaufman. I could say more but I don't want to give anything away. I can't say I'm as big a fan of it as I am his other works but I do love the way he makes fun of the entertainment industry in it and if it gets made I would be incredibly incredibly surprised. (Source)
[Update: You can reduce your salt intake. This is a legit outline of the plot. At least, a first draft.]