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Monday 29 June 2009


A lot of people say "I can always watch any film" and "I have never walked out of a film." I am not one of these people. In fact, right now, I'm not watching any films at all.

It's really interesting looking at personal patterns - they tell you a lot about yourself. I have a pattern where I can sit for a couple of months and obsessively watch films, but then I tend to really struggle to write screenplays. But then, sometimes I am writing and writing and I don't even have time to watch movies. I feel like I watch a lot of movies, and then start to feel dissatisfied, often by their lacking quality -- and then my writing stems from that, I try and bring to the page what I feel has been missing from what I'm watching.

I'm not saying it's the only way I write, but it seems to be a pattern.

I hear a lot of filmmakers, writers, film-lovers, and random-pretentious-people saying how they can watch any film, and people wear this badge that they've never stopped a film before the end. I don't wear that badge, I've stampled the badge and thrown it in the bin. I give films about five minutes, if they haven't got me, I'm out, because two hours is a lot of time, I'm not going to waste it watching something I don't find interesting.

I've noticed also, that the writers and directors I admire tend to have similar patterns. Somebody who can watch any-film-any-time-because-they-love-films can also, often, write any-film-any-time-for-anyone-who-needs-a-script; and that's great, what a wonderful talent to have; but there are many who can only write and create when their patterns allow. What this means is, they can only create when they know what they're doing, when they know what they have to say. Basically, yeah; when there is no block.

The subconscious is a crazy place. It's a place where your memories are, it's where your ideas are. It's where you accidentally steal scenes from films you remember but don't remember you remember, and it's a place where you have the potential to write something amazing. And to truly access that wonderful place; you're going to be dealing with these patterns.

And I guess that's why it's often at the breaking point when you begin to write; that brief moment when you're transforming from viewer to writer, or from depressed and suicidal to inspired. It's those moments when you suddenly remember a moment from your teens and then you link it to this feeling you have now, and that manifests itself as a character on a page. That's real writing.

Saturday 27 June 2009

Why We Do What We Do - The Importance Of Leaving A Legacy.

Something really beautiful has come out of Michael Jackson's passing. As I walked down the street yesterday, every car that passed had his music booming out of it. There were black people, little chinese old people, teens; everyone was doing the same thing. On the train, heaps of people had headphones in and it was clear we were all doing the same thing. Some of us even did a very subtle acknowledgement of each other. It was like a telepathetic, subtle nod to each other. Maybe that didn't happen, maybe I just felt it.

Either way, despite people reading about what drugs may have killed him and being reminded of what he may or may not have done to children -- what stood out most, what we were all reminded of, was the indeliable mark he has left on the universe with his art. When you really think of the power of that, it's enormous.

What really hit me - was his message. It was one of peace, one of love. I have always loved 'Man In The Mirror' but always heard it on a simplistic level. The message to me was 'make a change and improve your life!' But that really isn't the message, the message is about improving everybody elses lives by getting past your own ignorance.

"I see the kids in the streets,
with not enough to eat,
who am I to be blind?
pretending not to see their needs"

This message is in a lot of his songs - 'Earth Song', 'History', 'Heal The World' - in fact, it's probably in nearly every song. Even going back to 'I'll Be There' by Jackson Five; a song about being there for each other, about togetherness. The themes he cares about - if we all cared about them a bit more, the world would be a better place.

And I began to realise exactly what his legacy was. This is a man who, without his existence, without his creativity and his passion; there would have been a lot less dancing in the world. A lot less good times. I began to recount LOTS of memories of my childhood where his music played a central role - and I'm sure you could do the same. Whilst we can often get distracted by his controversies, underneath all that is this beautiful, moving music - this guy really cared about us. He really cared about the world. He did a lot to improve it.

That's really important to me. It makes you realise the effects of your own work. I know a lot of writers who simply want to 'get hired' and get paid. They'll take a job anywhere, because they want to be working screenwriters. But I think people at least need to be aware of the effect of their work. When you write an action film with lots of violence and little meaning; this has a knock on effect on the audience, and on the world. You are responsible for what you write, for what you do.

"I'd like people to remember me as someone who was good at his job and seemed to mean what he said"
-James Stewart

There's another quote I've been trying to find, but I can't find it - or at least, who it was by. It was "It's never too early to have principles." That's so true. Some people talk about doing whatever they have to do to 'make it' and then they will write the more meaningful stuff. I find that hard to accept, it's time to build our legacies now.

One of my favourite singer/songwriters is a man who has never had a record deal. We struck up a friendship after I found his music online. Sometimes he posted beautiful video versions of his songs on YouTube and they average only a hundred views. But this music is his legacy, and it's amazing - and it means more to me than so much of what counts for popular music today.

As creative people we get to do exactly what Michael Jackson did. We get to let our imagination play. We get to create. When we write a script or direct a film or act in something; we are bringing into existence things that don't even exist yet. When you think of that, it's really amazing.

"Be the change you want to see in the world"

I only began to truly understand that quote recently. For me, relating to this industry, it's about not moaning about what films are out there, or how meaningless things are or how movie studios keep ruining films -- YOU CAN BE THAT CHANGE. You can be the exception to the rule. You can do things that are beautiful.

What is your message? What do you feel? Where is nature leading you? Be the change that you want to see in the world. What is your legacy?.

If you keep writing what people want to read; i.e. if you keep worrying about what the BBC want from a writer, or if you keep worrying about what is expected of a director; you will never reach your potential and you will never be happy.

Some of us do what we do for money, or for fame, or to look cool; but we can do something far more powerful; we can bring amazing material into the world that will have a positive effect on peoples lives. Let's do that, let's start today.

Even if you are caught up in the machine; maybe you write for the studios or you're writing a film about a serial killer, or you and your friends are making a short film with lots of blood -- but I'm sure, even in these films, you can find somewhere to put the humanity. Even if it's by writing a secondary character differently, or by putting more beautiful blue sky shots in your zombie film -- let's start thinking about who we are, and how we want to be remembered.

Thursday 25 June 2009

RIP - Michael Jackson.

It's strange, but he's been on my mind a lot recently, I don't really know why. Weirdly, one of my most listened to songs these past few weeks has been his song 'Will You Be There' from the 'Free Willy' soundtrack. I love that song. I loved it when the film came out, I was only young. I kind of forgot about it until recently; and then found it again-- and I find it really moving, really sad. And the song had been really hitting me recently. I guess it will even more now.

Michael; I don't know what you did or didn't do in your personal life. It's a grey area I think a lot of people are going to find hard to deal with when they think about you over the next few months. But I want to focus on your work -- because your work was incredible -- you are the biggest music star in the world today and you are loved by near enough everybody. My whole life is littered with memories and feelings that are linked to your music. Thank You. Rest In Peace.

"In our darkest hour
In my deepest despair
Will you still care?
Will you be there?

In my trials
And my tribulations
Through our doubts
And frustrations

In my violence
In my turbulence
Through my fear
And my confessions

In my anguish and my pain
Through my joy and my sorrow
In the promise of another tomorrow
I'll never let you part

For you're always in my heart. "

RIP - Farrah Fawcett.

She was never quite on my radar. It's weird how some actors, even actors you like; are just not people who's films and TV shows you seem to watch very often. That's very much how Farrah was for me. And it's a bit odd that now, as her career and life come to a close; I remember her most for a guest role she did in 'Ally McBeal.' - but then, she was great in it.

Of course, she was extremely beautiful too - and that is one of the main reasons she'll be remembered. There's not many people who'll do a nude shoot for Playboy, aged 48 - and fewer still who'll be able to have sold as many copies as hers did (it was the best-selling copy of Playboy in the 1990's).

I don't have a lot more to say - I don't want to rehash biographic details about her, no doubt you'll be reading those everywhere else -- I just wanted to use this space to pay my respects to an actress who I should know a lot more about.

'The Glory Of The Long Train Journey'

The great thing about sitting on a train for hours is that you get to make the soundtrack for it. Your mp3 player is packed full of your favourite records; you've got those dodgily recorded Dylan bootlegs, those rare Oasis demos that aren't rare anymore because no music is rare since the internet. Except that beautiful recording you've got of your friend Tina singing 'Tiny Dancer', it's the most beautiful song in the world and only you have it. And you ripped the YouTube video of that bald guy covering Eminem. You have everything you need. Between the towns passing by in your window and the tunes dancing into your ears - you have everything you need to convince you that life is wonderful.

You start off with 'Miami' by Counting Crows because it is exactly about one journey ending and one beginning. Then you listen to Springsteen who you're pretty sure got into making music just so that he could give you this moment right now as the night busts open and you feel these tracks. Could. Take. You. Anywhere.

We all like to make mix tapes and CDs for people but the problem is A) it's your ego wanting to prove it has great taste and b) the person you made the mix for never *quite* gets it.

But right now this playlist is just for you. You can dance to disco without moving an eyelid, you can sing along to Hanson without embarassing yourself.. Nobody is in this moment but you. And that amazing girl/boy is sitting opposite you but you don't even notice them because you're in the crowd at Woodstock singing Neil Young's words back at him.

By the end of the train ride you realize your problems are just problems - but none of them hurt you as much as Joni Mitchell breaking your heart, or Ryan Adams fixing it, or Aretha Franklin making you focus on your soul instead.

The journey ends. You've arrived, location: everywhere. You have arrived at life.

Saturday 20 June 2009

My Day.

I was doing some work. Work which isn't film industry work but something else. It doesn't pay well and I don't like it. It isn't really me. But there are bills to be paid. On my lunch break, I headed towards the shops and by the shops was a good friend of mine, who also happens to be an incredibly talented Director Of Photography. But he wasn't shooting a film today, he was handing out leaflets. Because that's his job, that's what he does. And we talked for a little while about the project we'd just shot together; we're both really happy with it. And we found it strange that weeks ago we were shooting a movie at 4am and today we're both out in some part of London that could be anywhere and we're doing jobs we don't love.

And then I head back to my work; and I see this girl there I know who's an actress; but when I saw her she wasn't acting she was standing on a stand in an exhibition selling cocktails to people. And it seemed strange because this girl is great when performing brilliantly on a stage or looking beautiful on screen. And it seemed weird that I was standing there doing my job that is barely a job and she was selling cocktails.

And on the train home I saw this dude who I know but don't really know but okay I guess I kinda know. Actually, we went to the same school when we were like 7 except he's a bit older so when I was 7 he was maybe 9. Anyways we never really knew each other but I knew his brother, at least I think I did, all I remember is that me and his brother used to love 'Steptoe and Son' except maybe I'm wrong about that at least I don't think I am.

Anyways, the dude who I bumped into who has a brother who likes or at least used to like 'Steptoe & Son' is also a musician, and has also expressed an interest in making film scores. I know this because he told me this on Facebook just after he added me, which came just after I accepted a friend request after being unsure whether to accept because we're not really friends I just once knew his brother who used to like watching 'Steptoe & Son.'

And it just seemed weird that it all happened in one day. And it made me realise just how much talent is out there handing out leaflets and working in supermarkets and in bars. And it seems weird that the world is created like that, created in a way where creative people don't always make a living from being creative but instead also make a living from saying "that's 3.99 please".

So I could be depressed about it but instead it kind of excites me. Because I realise that there are more out there. There could be a great painter working in that petrol station, and there could be a really great film producer who's working in that car repair shop, and maybe that random dude on the bus who talks to himself is the next big actor. Because you just don't know. And luckily, I know the secret - and the secret is that one day, us --- the secret society of extremely talented and underpaid geniuses, are going to unite and demolish everything in the world apart from creativity - which will then dance around the world and inspire everybody to be, feel, think and believe.

Tuesday 16 June 2009

What do you want Mary, you want the moon?

"We came out of the cave. And we looked over the hill, and we saw fire. And we crossed the ocean, and we pioneered the West, and we took to the sky. The history of man is hung on a timeline of exploration, and this is what's next"
-Sam Seaborn, 'The West Wing'.

'In The Shadow Of The Moon' is a very simple documentary about something that to this day is still incomprehensible and unbelievable to most of us. It's about going to the moon.

I don't really want to say too much about it, and I certainly don't want to review it - I just want you to watch it. It's an inspiring documentary. Not only does it remind you of the most incredible achievement of mankind, but it makes you aware of many things you may have not given thought to before; how it happened because of the big dreams of John F. Kennedy, how the Astronauts felt guilt that they weren't in Vietnam because they were instead heading to the moon.. and many other fascinating insights into this small, incredible group of men who proved that anything in life is possible.

What I love about the documentary is how it doesn't over sentimentalise, nor is it too congratulatory; it just does what it should -- it documents.

It's really touching to hear the stories of this select group of men who are the only people in history to have seen the planet Earth in its wholeness from an alien land. What touched me most was Apollo 11 crew member Michael Collins talking about how fragile the Earth looked from space; how it's just this tiny circle hanging there in the middle of blackness, and also Jim Lovell talking about how you could hide the Earth with your thumb (as we see Tom Hanks do in the film 'Apollo 13', as Lovell) and you see the whole of life as you know it just disappear; Lovell realised doing this how incredibly insignificant we all are.
It's no surprise that the astronauts are all heavily religious or spiritual people. They have left the earth and adventured out into space -- and nobody has been back to the moon since. What an incredible group of people. 'In The Shadow Of The Moon' is a documentary that I definitely recommend; filled with archive footage and informative interviews with the people who were there, the people who made history.

Sunday 14 June 2009

Not a lot slips through the net of Hollywood. But if you're lucky you can sneak in about Seven Pounds or so.

Having the flu has its benefits. It allows you to rent movies guilt free. Nobody is going to be suggesting you should be doing anything else, because you're ill. And when you're ill - you're allowed to watch movies.

My being ill has given me the excuse to basically do nothing for a few days -- but I did summon the energy to go down to the rental store and pick up some films. One of those films was 'Seven Pounds' - a film that I had written off; or had perhaps been forced off by the unrelenting bashing in the media, online, everywhere. But let me say this now; 'Seven Pounds' is one of the more wonderous films I have seen in quite some time.

How did this film slip through the net of Hollywood? It has subtlety, it has restraint, it's heartbreaking - and it's very moving. HOW? How did they manage to get someone in Hollywood to say 'Yes'??? Well for one, 'The Pursuit Of Happiness.' The team of Gabriele Mucino and Will Smith was clearly a golden ticket; having returned in gross quadruple the amount of Sony/Columbia's $55million budget. So if Will and Gabriele had told Columbia that for their next project they wanted to make a web series about an impotent donkey who runs the 100m at the Olympics, they probably would have got a go picture.

Luckily, rather than 'Donkey Gold' (which I claim ownershp of here and now) they came forth with 'Seven Pounds' - a film filled with something that is extremely rare in Hollywood. Namely, a beating heart.

This film had me confused, it had me guessing, it had me thinking, and it had me sinking in. And even though I figured out what was to come, it still had me gripped by the beautiful performances and the crushing complexities of the relationships. It was at some points inspirational, at some points upsetting. It was everything I want a film to be. I felt myself wishing I had written it. I'm a bit worried by the fact I continuously wish I had written the box office flops, butt that's a discussion for another time.
Rotten Tomatoes gives the film 28%, with typical opinions saying things like, "Soppy romance and excruciating piety cling to the film like bindweed, summoning the ghost of sobfest Pay It Forward, with the divine parallels of self-sacrifice taken to extremes of righteous absurdity." and "The worst movie ever to star Will Smith, this is a morbid drama which is meant to reduce its audience to tears of empathy, but reduced me to groans and helpless laughter."

I'll be honest, I didn't even know this word, mawkish, until just now. 'Characterized by sickly sentimentality' is what tells me. It seems like a lot of reviewers have jumped on the 'mawkish' bandwagon. But for me; it seems more likely that the people who found it overly sentimental or, worse, funny - are people who are not as in touch with their emotions as they might think. Some people just can't let a film bleed into them. For those people, we make 'Hancock'.

What's strange to me is that I feel this might just be a subtle masterpiece. But it's not the type of thing audiences want, or what they've become accustomed too. They say 'sentimental' like it's a bad thing. So what now? Should we settle for Will Smith saying 'Mothafucker!' and get Rosario Dawson getting her tits out for a glorious sex scene whilst Smith shoots a few bad guys; meanwhile Muccino can replace his beating heart with plain beatings; as Will Smith hits a few people and shoots a few others. The sad thing is, if Smith and Mucino work together again; they'll probably have too. Because after the long haul in cinemas, 'Seven Pounds' just about scraped in enough money to cover its budget. Which means that now when the team go to Columbia for money, they'll say "Maybe, we'll see. Does Dawson do nudity? Maybe We can get Anna Faris for the role. Maybe Will Ferrell is free too. We can put in some roller-blades."
Go rent 'Seven Pounds'. Rosario Dawson gives a stunningly beautiful performance; and Will Smith is as good as he's ever been.

Saturday 13 June 2009

Pass me a bottle, Mr Jones.

I was just deleting some notes from my iPhone. There's lots of film ideas that make no sense to me now, they say things like "man. fruit stall. Bosnia. woman in jeans. ending fire, confusion" - I have no idea what they mean. But I found this one note; and I wrote it when I first found the note function on my iPhone. And I kinda like it, so I thought I'd share it.

It's a bit naive, and cheesy. But then, I'm just a kid sitting in the front row, so I'm allowed to be naive and cheesy. Here, unedited - is the note from my iPhone.

"I want to write a screenplay about coming of age. I want to write about the difficult choices you make and how your choices define who you are. I want to write about how heartbreaking it is when people never find out how you feel. I want to write about the bittersweet pain of life. I want to write about how magic life can be.

I want to write about people who dream. I want to write about people who hang out all night. I want to write about people who are special. People who are magic. I want to write about beautiful girls. I want to write about friendship. About loyalty. About wisdom. About never giving up.

I want to write about how tough life can be and how it's almost not worth bothering. But more than all I want to write about why, without doubt, it is actually very, very worth living."
And that's all I have to say about that.

Wednesday 10 June 2009

Why British Television Is A Bad Model For Upcoming Actors in the U.K.

It's not often you hear the word 'subtle' next to 'American' - but when it comes to acting the Americans know how to do it. Whether it's a little indie film or a big Hollywood blockbuster; by and large, the actors know how to stay within the context and the reality of the film they're in. Films are the American art form, they're experts at it.

In England of course; the history is one of theatre. And it's something that bleeds onto the television screens in everything we do. Rather than be a role the British tend to act the role. This concerns me because in my experience most of the young actors I meet don't watch a lot of films, but they are quite up on their television.

And as I discuss 'good acting' with actors - we both have an idea of what good acting is; but they're based on different models. My idea of a good screen actor is someone who becomes the role. Someone who doesn't act with a capital A. They just submerge into the part. On British television however, you see the actors acting the role. When the script calls for them to be sad, they pull a sad face. Whereas when you watch a great Hollywood actor; they just access the sad within themselves, they internalize it. They instinctively know that if they can find the emotion within themselves it'll be released into the ether - the camera will pick up all the subtleties. It reminds me of when I was watching the 'Making Of' documentary on the 'The Green Mile' DVD. Frank Darabont was talking about how he had to keep the camera on Tom Hanks because so much was happening; even though nothing was happening, he was just looking at and reacting to Michael Clark Duncan's character. But that is what good acting is - listening and reacting in the moment.

When I look at British television; be it the soaps or the one hour dramas - the acting is all very laboured, very false. The actors are not attempting to find the reality; they are merely acting the emotions on a outward level. Their facial reactions and tone of voices change just like when you were made to do drama exercises in school. But when you watch this on screen; it is not in any way believable.

Now, this is generally fine. I don't really care about television in the UK. It's not important to me how people act on these shows. However, the problem for me is when it influences the films in this country and in the actors we produce in the UK. And it bothers me because they are influenced by the people they watch the most - on the television. When upcoming actors look at who is successful and doing a lot of work; their frame of reference is the people they see on TV. Therefore it is understandable that they see these in-work successes as models of how to be an actor.

So now we get to the split between what I want and what a British actor wants to do. When I am casting I see Morgan Freeman in my head. But the actor sees the guy who plays Phil Mitchell in 'Eastenders.' The PROBLEM with this - is simply that we are both aiming at different points. I can be the best director in the world; but the level of truth and performance I lead them too can't be like Morgan Freeman, because that is not their reference for good acting. They don't see him as the role model; they see television actors. Therefore when the actor is at their VERY BEST; they could potentially be as good as the guy from 'Eastenders'; but that is no good for me as it is not what I view as good acting.

This is a difficult thing to fix. Our country is steeped in the history of theatre. Of ACTING. Performers have a tendency to get anxious about their screen performances if they are asked to do less. When you give do less as a direction it tends to make the actor quieter or their actions change slightly; but they are still doing a role rather than being the role. And it's a fundamental difference.

What I love about American actors is that when I audition them I can never hear what they're saying. Why? Because they're not 'acting' in auditions, they're just mumbling away like their character realistically would. And that's when you know you have a great actor, when they are comfortable enough to be unnoticable. When they can just be real. It's priceless.

Of course there are exceptions to these rules - I know many fabulous British actors. However, as a generalisation - I think it would be great for actors who are training or recently finished training to really define WHAT good acting is to them. Find a frame of reference. Therefore - you know what you're aiming for. And I don't mean to act like another actor; I just mean that you need to know what good acting looks like to you. Not so you can imitate it, because that would be disastrous.

As for my frame of reference - I leave you with a clip of Morgan Freeman in 'Shawshank Redemption.' In a scene packed full of pain and emotion, Morgan plays the moment perfectly. There isn't even a blink of an eye out of place; he literally IS Red (his character) -- and every beat, every frame, every mannerism is completely in the moment. I think this is possibility the finest and most subtle acting I've ever scene.

This is perfect acting. Perfect being.

Tuesday 9 June 2009

bit of an apology.

Hello All,

So basically, not many people liked my last blog. And I can kind of see why. Discussing the notion that men are more interesting as leading actors than women is tricky enough, but I did it with a bit of an argumentative and perhaps even condescending tone at some points. Which is not really me and not how I meant to come across.

However, I'm not one to delete or change the things I write - best to keep things out there and honest. So now, I'm just apologising if the blog pissed you off. It was more like a blog by a middle aged bitter idiot in the middle row than the ramblings of an excited kid in the first.


Sunday 7 June 2009

For The Record..

Moving on from my non film related and overly wordy entry yesterday - I thought I'd get back on topic and state a few things, just for the record.

My all time top five films are:

1. Cinema Paradiso
2. The Apartment
3. A Guide To Recognizing Your Saints
4. Jaws
5. Beautiful Girls

My most watched films of all time are:

1. You've Got Mail
2. Seven
3. Jaws
4. Shawshank Redemption (which is, I think, the greatest film of all time. So why is it not in my top 5?)
5. Manhattan Murder Mystery

For me, the greatest Writer/Director's are:

1. Billy Wilder
2. Charlie Chaplin
3. Woody Allen
4. Cameron Crowe
5. Guiseppe Tornatore

My Top 5 actors are:

1. Tom Hanks
2. Jack Lemmon
3. Jimmy Stewart
4. Robert Downey Jr
5. Jack Nicholson

My top five places to set a movie are:

1-5: New York

I'd love you to answer these too on your blogs and post them back to me :)

Saturday 6 June 2009

June 6th.

A Short Story.

I logged on to Facebook. I was kind of hoping that Sally would have messaged me back, but she hadn't. Although she did write on Paul's wall so she had been online. Aggh, I'm so depressed. Why won't she message me back? Should I write on her wall? Poke her?. Not only that, but my boss keeps giving me shit because I keep showing up late. Fucking idiot, doesn't he know I've got enough problems? I logged back on to Facebook, Sally has deleted me. OMG. How could she block me?.

He was in the middle of the sea. He was probably freezing cold, he was probably scared - but he didn't really notice because he was so focused on the task ahead. And what was ahead, he didn't really know. He wanted to look into the eyes of the men beside him but he couldn't, because he was in the darkness of night. The horrors that were only hours away were too big to think about. He took comfort in knowing that his best friend Timmy was on the same boat as him.

I messaged Jane and asked her why Sally deleted me. I didn't understand. I am also looking for new jobs but it's so hard with the recession on. I took comfort in my Xbox 360. But then midway through a game it FROZE! This is why I don't let my Brother play my Xbox. Obviously he's broken it somehow. I just about managed to stop myself going insane and throwing the console out of the window. Fuck it, I just need comfort food. I made myself a sandwich. Actually I didn't - because there was no chicken left in the fridge. How can there be no chicken left in the Fridge? I tried phoning my brother to find out if he'd stolen my chicken but I couldn't get a reception on my phone. My phone is crap, I need a new phone.

He couldn't help but notice the eerie silence around him. The only noises were the occasional cough, or some guy at the back being sick. Everybody felt sick. Most wouldn't admit it. The night was nearly over and the beaches were ever closer. He instinctively knew that what was to come was going to be a lot different to everything he had experienced before. He thought briefly about Mary. He wondered what she was doing right now. He hoped she was sleeping.

I did a google image search for Scarlet Johannson. Life was suddenly great again and all my stresses were gone. After about fifty pictures of her I moved on to Meagan Good. Maybe life wasn't such a drag after all. My friend Charlie came round and we ordered a pizza. Charlie's my mate but to be honest, he annoys me. For example, he blatantly always tries it on with Sally, right in front of me. And he always belittles the things I say. AND, the dude owes me £50 from like three months ago. I wanna smash his face in. I can't deal with a friend owing me money and hitting on my girl.

He didn't quite get time to have a thought pass through his head, because the bullet flew right into his helmet before he even saw the enemy. Luckily, his helmet managed to hold out. Little Bryan wasn't as lucky, it sliced right through his shoulder and took him down. Within seconds, they were all in the water, fighting to get to dry land. Not that dry land was any better-- the onslaught of German fire was non-stop. He saw a small dip in the sand that could be used as cover. He headed for it but another soldier got there first. Good job the other soldier got there first because his arm got blown off just as he touched the ground.

I was meant to go to JJ's party tonight but instead thought I'd stay at home. I logged onto facebook and looked at some pictures. Pictures of Sally that her friends had tagged. I had reached the point of official devastation. Maybe I should just kill myself. Nah, I think I'll just throw on a DVD and drown my sorrows.

He could almost burst due to the sheer pressure in his head. Everything was happening at once. The water behind him was a sickening red, and the beach before him was a sea of men falling. It was too many things to take in at once - the smells and sights were indescribable. He would have taken more time to be dazzled by all this but there were still Germans shooting at him. Suddenly, a soldier dived on top of him-- they both fell to the ground. "What was that?" he asked. The bald comrade who wasn't wearing a helmet said "Keep moving, you nearly got your head blown off". Before he could say thanks the bald guy was already saving another life. As for our hero, he never saw the bald guy again. He never saw Timmy again either, but he didn't have time to think about that.

I think the world is falling apart. Seriously. Apparently, they think that maybe too much coffee can now cause mental issues. So I'm fucked! And I've just found out they're thinking of making a new Back To The Future movie, why Lord, WHY? Nothing makes sense anymore. Even Ronaldo is thinking of signing for Real Madrid!. I left Sally a voicemail. I know I shouldn't, but I did.

His uniform was ripped on one side from shrapnel and the other side was covered in blood. Although it looked brown. He thought blood was meant to look red. They were shooting at him again. Everyone was exploding. One guy was on fire, he didn't know how that happened. It was at this point he realised he needed to kill some Germans. He nervously hovered behind some tall soldier he'd never seen before and another guy who might be Mikey J but he can't be sure because his face was half blown off.

I logged off of Facebook and I ignored JJ's missed calls. My life was becoming more than stressful, I'm too old to be dealing with this shit lol.

He turned to look at the boy who was giving him instructions. He really was a boy, he looked 14. The boy didn't get to finish giving instructions because his head got blown off. All around there were boys crying, boys screaming, boys dying. But more common than that, were boys coming together. Boys focused. Boys advancing on an enemy that had to be stopped. He suddenly felt a jolt of confidence, a reminder of his purpose. It was all he needed. He wasn't going to go down without a fight. He pointed his gun at the tower above and took aim.

Friday 5 June 2009

Yes Yes YES!!!!

This is what pure joy looks like.

Wednesday 3 June 2009

Why Struggling Actors Should Produce Their Own Work

If I hear one more actor say "there's just nothing out there at the moment" or "I don't have anything for my showreel" I am going to scream.

When you're starting out in the industry it's hard, I get it. But the industry doesn't owe you anything. And that can really frustrate me about young actors; they feel like they are owed acting roles, owed great showreels, owed everything. But the industry owes you nothing. And the thing most of you don't realise is that there are thousands of actors out there working harder than you. You need to catch up.

Acting, like Producing and Directing, is creating. Something didn't exist and now it does. If you do a short film TODAY, then you have put something out there into the world. It is a part of your legacy. Now it may suck, so you may not want to make it. But what's better, a film that sucks or a film that doesn't exist? To begin with, just by making something that sucks, you wipe out 50% of the competition, because the other half is sitting in offices and supermarkets saying "I want to be an actor".

Most actors get a bit scared when they get DVD's of their performances. It's usually "oh God, I wasn't as good as I thought". But imagine if before doing that film; you had made five of your own shorts and acted in them-- chances are your performance in the DVD you just received might be a bit better.

There is no need for an actor to wait for roles, CREATE the roles. If you want to play a nurse, make a film about a nurse. You want to be an astronaut, be an astronaut. You want to play a whore, play a whore. "But I have no money!" you say. Okay, well - how about you and two other struggling actors make a short film set in one location. 'An Astronaut misses his last day of training due to being caught with a whore by his girlfriend - who uses her nursing skills to help the whore who's struck down by a fever.' - there you go. Grab a camera, shoot it. You have a film.
Make a mockumentary about an out of work actor who has a fear of leaving his house. Make a film about a man who keeps watch over his garden as he's convinced the pigeons are Nazi's. Film a bunch of your acting friends talking about their fears and hopes and put it on YouTube, it's footage of YOU.

If you have showreel footage, you immediately overtake 80% of the actors currently doing the short film circuit.

Back to creating. Maybe you're scared by the term 'Producing'. A producer takes nothing and turns it into a product. He finds a story and finds the people needed to make it end up on the screen. You can do that. You can do it by borrowing your Aunt's camera, getting a friend to press record whilst you perform.
"But it doesn't look professional," you say. Casting Directors don't care. Whether it was Patrick Fugit in Almost Famous or Katie Holmes in Dawson's Creek; the industry is full of cases where some struggling nobody who lived in a farm in nowhere managed to win a role by showing Producers/Casting Directors who they are. Tom Hanks on 35mm is Tom Hanks. Tom Hanks on your Aunt's camera is still Tom Hanks. I was watching a behind the scenes video of 'Vanilla Sky' yesterday; it was just Cameron Crowe and the crew messing around-- but every time Tom Cruise and Penelope Cruz are on screen; they steal the show. Why? Because they have that thing. In their eyes, in their movement, in who they are -- they are great personalities, great actors. It shines through. YOU WILL SHINE THROUGH if you create video content of yourself, being yourself, and showing the world your talents.

There is no need to be distraught if you are not getting roles, or if Directors everywhere are ignoring you or saying "I may be casting next month," who cares; a lot of their films will be terrible anyway.

Go watch 'Ellie Parker' - it's Naomi Watts in a horribly rough and cheaply shot feature film; but what she does in the film is show off every aspect of her acting skills. She proves to the world how great she is. You can do exactly that.

Some of the best short films I have seen have been terribly shot. But if you can act, you should show people. You want to know what is worse? Terrible acting with beautiful photography.
It will ruin you. If a casting director sees you on TV or in your showreel or, even worse, in the cinema and your performance is wooden and stagey - then you're screwed. So go pick up a camera; this is the most freedom you'll ever have as an actor. Go create, go and become the very characters you want to play. The ball is in your court - and you need to smash it right into the Casting Directors face so he can't miss you.

"I am getting my reel together soon" should not be a sentence you ever utter.