Wednesday, January 31, 2007

David Lynch's Catching the Big Fish

David Lynch's new book, Catching the Big Fish, is a series of short essays on his creative process. His ideas come to him through either transcendental meditation, which he's been practicing since 1973, or by accident.

Lynch describes how he became a painter, and how until he decided to try to make a painting move, he had little interest in film. Here, in an excerpt from the essay "Ask the Idea," Lynch talks about an accident on a set that turned into a good idea:
New ideas can come along during the process, too. And a film isn't finished until it's finished, so you're always on guard. Sometimes those happy accidents occur. They may even be the last pieces of the puzzle that allow it all to come together. And you feel so thankful: How in the world did this happen?

During Blue Velvet, we were shooting a scene in the apartment of the character Ben, who is played by Dean Stockwell. At a certain point, Dean was going to sing "In Dreams" by Roy Orbison. He was going to lip-sync to that and sing it to Dennis Hopper. In the script, he was supposed to pick up a small lamp from a table and use it as a microphone.

But right in front of him on the set -- and Patricia Norris, the production designer, said she did not put it there -- was this work lamp. It had a long cord and its bulb was hidden from the audience, but it illuminated Dean's face. And Dean just snatched this up. He thought it was placed there for him. There's so many of these things that come along.

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