Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Marion Dougherty’s index cards

[Click any image for a larger view.]

The casting director Marion Dougherty, in the documentary Casting By (dir. Tom Donahue, 2012): “I would keep the three-by-five card. I would put down anything that hit my mind.”

The card for Dustin Hoffman (whose first screen appearance was in an episode of Naked City) notes Bob Duval’s (Robert Duvall’s) judgment that Hoffman is “v.g.” — very good. Notice the name of Blair Brown in the third screenshot. The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd is an Orange Crate Art and Musical Assumptions favorite.

Casting By feels a bit scattered. The film focuses mostly on Dougherty and Lynn Stalmaster, but each is on screen for just seconds at a time. I’d like to see more of and about them, and fewer of the overly predictable sequences of talking directors and stars and brief clips from film after film after film. Even a ten-minute sequence of, say, Dougherty going through cards and talking about actors would have been a priceless addition. The things I took away from watching: the lack of institutional recognition that casting directors receive and the great regard that actors have for good ones.

Related reading
All OCA Naked City posts (Pinboard)
All OCA Route 66 posts (Pinboard)

[Bonus feature: notice the exchange name on Dustin Hoffman’s card. EN: ENdicott.]

comments: 2

Chris Aldrich said...

I've been spelunking through your posts from roughly the decade from 2005 onward which reference your interest in index cards. Thanks for unearthing and writing about all the great index card material from that time period. Have you kept up with your practices?

I noticed that at least one of your posts had a response by MK (Manfred Kuehn, maintainer of the now defunct Taking Note blog (2007-2018). Was it something you read at the time or kept up with?

Have you been watching the productivity or personal knowledge management space since roughly 2017 where the idea of the Zettelkasten (slip box or card index) has taken off (eg., Sonke Ahren's book How to Take Smart Notes,, Roam Research, etc.?) I'd be curious to hear your thoughts on them or even what your practice has meant over time.

Thanks again.

Cheers! -CJA

Michael Leddy said...

Chris, I use index cards all the time — there are Twinings tins of 3 × 5 cards all over the house. I can’t claim to have a practice though — I use cards for jotting things down on the spot. There’s nothing archival about my use. I also like pocket notebooks, larger notebooks, legal pads, and for whatever will go online, Byword, iA Writer, and MarsEdit.

Yes, I followed Manfred’s blog, and I’m glad it’s at About notetaking: I think I learned everything I know when I sat in (with permission) on a class I had already taken to get all the notes I had not gotten the first time around. And in teaching, I found that one way to encourage notetaking was to keep in mind (unconsciously) Howard Nemerov’s joke: “A good teacher says everything twice. A good teacher says everything twice.” (Not mindless repetition, but restating in a different way.) And I’d sometimes ask students to repeat comments that were especially perceptive: “Could you repeat that? I want to make sure everyone gets that.” Hint, hint!