"It is difficult to make changes for two untalented son-of-a-bitches"
- Dan Curtis, creator of Dark Shadows
The day begins with rain. The crew scrambles to get any shots they can as we have no cover set to go to or a studio, due to the fact that there are no such spaces in this small town. Another tactical error by the producers.
And according to my sources, another Kaplan error in judgment is making the show run over budget. Evan Mahon has publicly expressed her anger at Kaplan's ineptitude, no doubt fueled by the frustration that he has more power than she does.
Mahon continues to behave like she's on meds during production meetings, mostly playing those computer games on her laptop. Then, out of nowhere, she stops and interrupts the meeting by saying we can't shoot in some particular location. We remind her that we're not talking about that scene and she goes back to her computer game.
I write a joke line into a scene where a female ranger is preparing for a date and asks another ranger where she can find a curling iron. He answers "in the barn". It's a Monty Python-type joke, no real punchline, just the question why a curling iron would be in a barn.
Mahon hates it and Kaplan vetoes it even though the others like it.
Later I work in the writer's office trying to fit in Mahon's and Kaplan's notes which are usually meaningless. They don't understand that changing one line on Page 3 can affect the entire script later.
And what makes it harder is that the actors and director like the script, as did the Assistant Director, Jorn the cameraman -- and the network.
One problem came from Mahon's inability to grasp the fact that a scene we had written for an airstrip was to be included into a scene at the base of a mountain. This would eliminate the need for a crew to move to another location, a savings of time and money. The Director, the AD and I had discussed this at a previous meeting at which Mahon had attended. Yet she didn't seem to remember.
So now she entered and asked when the script would be ready. I said when it is ready. She kept returning, interrupting my writing. The director was also lurking around but had the smarts to let me write. Not Mahon.
On about the 6th time, I finally lost it. She was saying I had screwed up by including the airport scene. (the one we discussed and agreed on).
As much as I can remember, it went like this:
THE F...KING AIRSTRIP IS OUT! EVERYBODY KNOWS THAT BUT YOU, IT'S OUT!!
YOU WERE AT THE F...KING MEETING WHERE EVERYBODY AGREED INCLUDING YOU AND IF YOU DON'T REMEMBER THEN IT'S YOU WHO'S THE PROBLEM.
IF YOU WANT THE GODDAM SCRIPT, LEAVE ME ALONE!!
And that was it. Mahon was stunned. For someone who constantly yelled and humiliated others, she didn't expect anyone would do that to her. She had no answer and turned around and went to the door.
But I wasn't finished.
I grabbed the huge phonebook from the city and heaved it at the door. It slammed just inches away from her head as she ran out.
Needless to say the entire production team had heard this and nobody wanted to find out what it was about. Two people later said that it was time someone stood up to her.
I finished the script, handed a copy to the director who smiled, and to the production team.
And that was that.
It takes a lot to get me going, but after a long walk in the mountains I was just looking at getting out in a few weeks when the show would be over.
(Next blog will be Wednesday as I'm traveling)