Sunday, 20 December 2009
Friday, 18 December 2009
Have a Jimmy Stewart kind of Christmas (I don't mean suicidal, jumping off a bridge, I mean everything else.)
Thursday, 17 December 2009
Tuesday, 15 December 2009
Your friend who's an actor tells you everything is great, brilliant, apart from the acting, which is really bad and "by the way, I played a drug dealer once and you should have cast me as the drug dealer." You remind them the drug dealer in this film is 9, with a moustache, which is different to the actor giving you feedback who is a 24 year old model. But they say "I can play a drug dealer." So anyways, you say thanks and off they go and you begin to cry because your film has really bad actors.
And then your friend, the composer, says everything is great, especially the acting, although the music is really bad and drowns out all the action, and then the composer reminds you they won 'Best Music In A Short Film 2008' as well as 'Most Likely To Be Good At Composing, East Frimley School Contest 1986'.
So you consider cutting the actors and keeping the music, or maybe cutting the music and keeping the actors. You settle on cutting the actors and cutting the music, and suddenly your film is only eight seconds long.
So you find alternate takes and alternate music and put them all in. And then you show it to your best friend, who politely says "What the fuck? Aren't you famous yet? Hasn't Spielberg phoned? After all these years nobody has really cared about what you do so isn't it time you got real and did something productive with your life?" You take their feedback constructively, and fill out a McDonalds recruitment form.
And then you show your family the film and they say "This is amazing! You're our little star. It's wonderful. You're special!" - so you immediately feel confident and loved again, and ignore the fact that anything less than special that you do from now on will make you feel inferior and a failure to your family for the rest of your life.
So now you're rolling again and ready to release your mini masterpiece. And then you show it to the dude on Facebook who wants to make a movie, and he says "I really liked it. I especially like your liberal use of film language, and the way you playfully made things nonsensical and abstract, I especially liked your use of bad wind/microphone noises and I loved the way you wrote really bad dialogue and were okay with that." You say, defensively, "when did you ever make a film?" - And he says "Shut the fuck up, it's been four weeks and McDonalds still haven't got back to you."
And suddenly you realise that nobody knows anything. Especially you. And that actor you love, it turns out they may be really fucking awful. And that actress who couldn't act, turns out maybe she's the most realistic one in the film.
Nobody knows anything. If you show the film to thirty people, there'll be thirty people to tell you what's wrong with your film, and thirty people to like things about it that you didn't even think of. Aside from 'The Godfather' and 'Shawshank Redemption' - it's been the same for every film in history. So all you can do is take one final look at it and then declare it as the final cut.
Then it's time to get those pennies you earned at McDonalds; get some envelopes and stamps, and enter some film festivals. And then, eventually - something good might come of all this.
Saturday, 12 December 2009
As I began walking I saw an interesting clothing store wedged between two Starbucks', which were themselves lodged between another two Starbucks. I began pondering why there were so many Starbucks but soon grew tired and needed a coffee. I asked the man inside if I could use the coffee beans I bought at the store, a whole giant bag for £3.95. He said no so I bought a cup of coffee from Starbucks for £3.95.
I was greeted by a beautiful girl who was missing at least 70% of her clothing. She told me that there was 50% off all items that used to be 150% but all other items remained at 100%, unless there were no labels in which case you'd be charged 200% but only find out after you've left the store.
I decided to buy the black polo shirt which is a lot like the one my Grandmother wears except it had a little bird label on it so the beautiful girl said it cost 300%. I asked if there were cheaper ones without a small yellow label and she said "Do you want to look like your Grandmother?" - the girl then turned to a group of teenage men who were trying to get with the girls who were in the make-up store. The woman said they should cover themselves up in polo shirts with yellow labels or the ones with green labels as green labels will be 'in' from January.
The boys all bought polo shirts with green labels, and went to look for the girls they were trying to get with. The girls were also trying to get with the boys so they asked the lady in the make-up shop what they should spend their money on. The lady in the shop said they should cover themselves in make-up and tanning lotion that will make them look a slight shade of orange. The girls decided to become orange as they trusted the girl working there who was the first white woman ever to be also completely classified as 'an orange person' on her drivers license, passport, and Facebook. The girls admired this and immediately reapplied for passports.
After this the teenage girls and boys went back to the food court where they originally agreed to meet up. Despite all waiting by the pizza place and intermingling, they failed to recognize each other and instantly hit the Gap store for some retail therapy.
I walked up and down for many hours, stopping to pick up various bits of clothing, and things that make me smell different, and ornaments to put by the lamp in the bathroom. I began buying ornaments to go near the lamp in the bathroom after I realised everyone else was doing it. Everyone seems to be buying them because their wives say "Honey, don't you think that would look good by the lamp in the bathroom?" I don't have a lamp in my bathroom so every time I buy an ornament I have to find someone who has a lamp in their bathroom.
After buying the polo shirts with labels and pleasant ornaments I realised I needed to buy some stuff to make Caroline smell a bit different, because that's what she wanted, for her birthday. She said that if I couldn't find her the one she wanted I should just get her a voucher so she can come to the mall to buy clothing with labels and ornaments and coffees from Starbucks or Starbucks. This makes her happy.
Eventually Caroline and I got married and had a kid. We had a kid so we could come to the mall with a kid because when you bring a kid you can shop in the stores that sell toys and barriers to stop them getting to their toys, and barriers that stop them getting to the barriers that stop them getting to their toys.
I love my life.
Friday, 11 December 2009
It's also incredible how brave the directors are (Andrew Jackson and Lucy Bailey). When you meet Lucy Bailey, she's a small, energetic and delightful woman who you wouldn't imagine being someone who would film without permission or safety in a country where all international media is banned. If that seems like an assumption or sexism on my part -- I guess it is -- but my point being, she's got more balls than I will ever have. It's inspiring and incredible what her team has achieved.
A criticism that this film will get is that it is not level handed. It does very little to provide general audiences with a wide understanding of the historical background to this conflict. And the film has a tendency to make you feel that Whites in the region are being oppressed by black people for completely wrong reasons. This is true, but-- at the same time, there is a lot of history and a lot of feelings, and at the very-base of what's going on, there are very legitimate regions why poor black people in the region feel oppressed and angry, and more could have been explored as to why people were acting the way they were to Campbell and his family.
But this film isn't a historical document, nor should it be- it's a startling, thought-provoking and important documentary about what is happening right now. And if the Academy recognizes what a huge achievement this film is - it could propel it internationally in a way that NEEDS to be done.
It's time to take down the curtains covering Zimbabwe. The film has the potential to have a huge impact on the country, and it is something that the World would no longer be able to ignore if this reaches the audiences it deserves, and NEEDS. Zimbabwe is a place without democracy, and more importantly - without the rule of law. As someone in the film mentions (I think Ben Freeth) - Zimbabwe is like a football or rugby match without a referee. It's a free for all, and innocent South Africans, of all colours, are in a game with no rules, except- it's not a game at all. There is violence, corruption and death in a way that myself and most of the people reading this could never imagine. We all have a duty, I feel, to be more aware of what is happening. We have the privilege of sitting here with a nice cup of tea and a sandwich, whereas the people portrayed in 'Mugabe and the White African' don't have that privilege - and I feel, at the very least, we should all watch this stirring, emotional and heartbreaking documentary - I have never been this moved by a documentary, nor more sickened.
Let's hope it gets the Academy Award Nomination it deserves. And let's hope it has the impact on the World that it is aiming for.
Wednesday, 9 December 2009
Tuesday, 8 December 2009
Sunday, 6 December 2009
Saturday, 5 December 2009
Have you seen 'Où Se Trouvent
Le Jambon Et La Yaourt?'
Really? You must have! It's
directed By Jean-Luke La Mer.
Is it the one with the Jamaicans
and the bobsleigh?
Um, no - it's the one shot in
1934 in France, it stars Mary
Une Trousse. How can you not
have seen it?
I've never been able to
see films before I've watched them.
You call yourself a film director
but you haven't seen it?. TELL ME
you've seen 'Une Bouteille D'eau Du Pain?"
Then how can you call yourself a
film director, when you're watching
films about Jamaicans who bobsleigh?
Because I watched the film about
Jamaicans who bobsleigh and I still
managed to direct a film.
Yeah but how can you call
yourself a director?
Because I directed a film.
Yeah but you've never seen 'Où Se
Trouvent Le Jambon Et La Yaourt'
You've never seen the one about
the Jamaicans and the bobsleigh.
Why would I want to?
I don't know, I thought we were
naming films we haven't seen.
No I'm saying you can't call
yourself a director if you haven't
seen 'Où Se Trouvent 'Le Jambon
Et La Yaourt'
But I didn't direct that one.
I'm saying, look-- I-I I'm saying
that you can't call yourself a
director if you haven't seen 'Où Se
Trouvent Le Jambon Et La Yaourt.'
But I directed a film, in fact many films,
and I've never seen that film.
The Filmy Person begins shaking, and looking completely lost. He has no idea how to feel good about himself, he's only able to do it when putting others down.
It's like that famous quote, 'No one can make you feel inferior without your consent' - by Eleanor Roosevelt. It really takes two to tango with these conversations. Being CONFIDENT with the fact that you think GHOST or JERSEY GIRL are the greatest films ever is far more impressive and amazing to me than someone who oppresses others through judgement and pretentiousness. I have more to write on this topic, and will, tomorrow. But right now I need to go and watch WILD WILD WEST and SHE'S ALL THAT.
And lastly, here is something a little bit special. Symphonic Discord is a wonderful blog, co-authored by various Muslim Girls who offer their interesting perspectives on the world. As their blog title explains, "These are the voices of different Muslim girls. We disagree, we argue, and each of us is unique with different opinions. In the hopes of teaching you something and making the world a little bit more open minded, we present to you our Symphonic Discord."
Anyways, the girls got together to collectively write about the stories of One Night At The Movies Long Ago. Read their great stories HERE.
Friday, 4 December 2009
We begin with Nurse Julianne's beautiful story of seeing 'Titanic' with her family. And I have a feeling, after you all read her story, she'll be having a lot more than two blog followers.
But that night at the movies with my family taught me to grab life, hold it tight, cherish it, and hold on to the bitter end. To keep on playing like the band, to hold out my hands like the priest, giving all i have to offer. To carry on making every day count even when loved ones pass away."
But if you're looking for the most memorable of movie going experiences. A first kiss story would be pretty hard to beat.
-Michelle Goode over at Solfluid
Around the time of your first kiss, you were probably also sneaking into movies you weren't allowed to see. Oliver J. Hunt remembers it vividly.
New Film Blog.
Enough of this polite, charming stuff. We can rely on Alyson to take us on a different journey.
“You ruined the movie!"
-Other Worldly One
To wrap things up - a few of the bloggers were unsure of what to write, or struggling for memories - but managed to write fascinating articles anyway. Vanessa Weinart, of TheMovieNess shares the buzz of being at the Cannes Film Festival, "It is a very strange feeling standing in a sort of cage next to the red carpet while Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt and George Clooney walk past you, followed by a herd of extremely well dressed photographers"
CrazyCris is literally Here And There Any Everywhere with his post, with two many memories to choose from. "Halfway through the movie I realised my brain was automatically replaying all the original dialogue in my head and I wasn't really hearing the dubbed dialogue at all! Nope I was hearing the real voices of Luke, Leia and Han!"
Similarly, Greg at Cinema Styles have plenty of different memories - "Or spending most of Top Gun smoking in the lobby (you could do that back then) and then returning to my seat to have my friend Jake lean over and start to explain what happened while I was out only to be abruptly cut off by me announcing, "I don't care.""
And finally, Kate Gabrielle over at Silents And Talkies admits that she's more of a DVD girl, "I've always been underwhelmed with the theater-going experience, but maybe that's just because I don't usually go with anyone who is as excited about the films as I am. Or maybe it's because I am more self conscious about crying or laughing aloud than I am in my own home, watching the films on television."
I think that's everyone. If anyone is moved to continue on this theme, please email me a link to your blog and I'll get the word out here. Also, in case you missed it, here is my original - about Henrietta choosing trainers over 'The Apartment.'
Thursday, 3 December 2009
Note For Americans: In the UK we don't say 'sneakers' we say 'trainers'.
It was my birthday, and I was meant to go for a meal with the family. But The Apartment was screening in London, and my family didn't want to go see The Apartment in London. Maybe they did, but I didn't. I mean, I didn't want to go with them. It's not that I didn't love them it's just that I didn't want to go and see The Apartment with them so I rearranged my birthday for another night. I didn't rearrange my whole birthday, just the part where the family sits in a restaurant and eats together. To change my whole birthday would take a lot of forms and I'd probably need a lawyer. At the very least, I'd need a brand new birth certificate, which is much harder to find as you get older.
So I moved my family back a day, or forward a day, I can't remember which -- and I decided for my birthday to go and see The Apartment. I didn't want to go alone, I wanted to go with Henrietta. Just because her name was beautiful and she was too. For that reason, I knew she wouldn't come. But I asked her, anyway, because there's nothing better than being rejected on your birthday. I decided to play it cool and ask in a really smooth way, not in the way I normally would - you know, in which I get all weird about my love for black and white movies, thinking girls will think I'm a nerd with no life. So I said to her, "I don't want you to think I'm a nerd with no life or anything, and I don't want you to think I like you, or anything, but I'm wondering, do you want to come and see an old movie with me tonight? Um, you don't have to, but you can do, if-- like, I don't know. Um, so- yeah. An old movie. Me and you. On my birthday."
She looked at me like I was a nerd with no life. I expected a verbal response but she just held the look.
"Do you think I'm a nerd with no life?" I asked her. She said, "You want to go and see an old movie on your birthday?"
And I said "Yes."
And she said, "okay."
And I said "Okay, you think I'm a nerd?"
And she said "I think you're a nerd and I will come and see the movie."
And I said "That's great, but can we stop putting 'And I said' at the beginning because it's getting repetitive now?"
And she said, "It's not us that's doing that, it's a blogger a few years from now."
And I said, "Let's go see the movie."
So we went to see the movie. But not straight away, because I asked her three days before the screening was due to start and I doubt they'd have just played it when we got there.
I should explain to you that 'The Apartment' is my second favourite film. In fact, it's possibly my first, depending on my mood. In this mood, it's my second favourite, in my other mood, it's my favourite. That's the best I can explain it. The crazy thing is that I'd never seen it on the big screen before. I was desperate to! It's my second favourite, sometimes first favourite film-- so I had to see it on the big screen.
It suddenly dawned on me that life was awesome. I was about to have a birthday, and I was about the see The Apartment on the big screen and this beautiful, wonderful girl, Henrietta, was coming with me, despite her thinking I was a nerd with no life.
The day finally arrived and with a burst of energy I jumped out of bed. It was still about twelve hours until the screening so immediately after the burst of energy and jump out of bed I simply made a cup of tea and switched on the TV. Eventually, the evening came-- my second favourite film, FINALLY, on the big screen - with a girl who I liked more than I had liked anyone in weeks. Perfection.
It was time to meet - I don't remember what time it was but I remember Henrietta getting things slightly wrong and being slightly late. Anyways, we jumped on a train a bit like how I jumped out of bed earlier except we didn't make a cup of tea and switch on the TV after. We were on our way to the cinema to see THE APARTMENT on the BIG SCREEN. What could be better than that?
I was feeling pretty confident by that point. I remember thinking, "Hey, maybe beautiful girls do like old movies."
And she said, "Are you talking to me?"
I decided to play it cool, to be like one of those super confident guys who knows exactly what to say to women.
I said, "Um, so like - do---do you think I'm a bit of a nerd with no life for going to see an old film on my birthday?"
She said, "I think you're a nerd for going to see an old movie but it make no difference if you go on your birthday."
I thought she was being playful and enjoying my self-deprecating, self-hating nature.
So we got to London. I suddenly realised that time was flying by. I looked at my watch, obviously. I mean, how else would I have realised time was flying by. The film was due to start in fifteen minutes time and it was at least a ten minute walk, eleven with the shoes she was wearing. But I had comfy trainers so I set us the task of making it in nine.
"I just want to buy some shoes," she said.
"What?" I said.
"White things. Leather. Laces."
"I want to go see the film." I responded.
"But I want to get some trainers quickly, there's a Fred Perry shop over there."
"But I want to see the film."
"I'll be quick." She said.
I tried my best to say No, we MUST see this film, but she was really pretty and there was no way she'd listen to anything I had to say. So I said.. actually, I didn't say anything, I just had this sunken look. So she went to buy her shoes and I went to sulk next a guy who was playing Cat Stevens songs on his guitar. Well, I assume it was his guitar. It's not the sort of thing you bring up in the middle of 'Sad Lisa.'
Henrietta reappeared like seven minutes later and I was livid. Well, not really livid, because I was young and she was pretty, so I couldn't really show my disdain. So instead, she said, "you okay?" and I just nodded and felt sunken.
So we ran to the cinema. Well that was the plan but she wasn't wearing her new trainers because she didn't want to get them dirty, so I kind of walked with reasonably fast-pacing whilst she scuttled along in her shoes that added an extra two minutes to our journey.
Finally, WE ARRIVED! But the film had started twelve minutes ago. Henrietta said something about how the trailers would be showing now. I said there wouldn't be trailers because it's an old film and she said maybe we should go see something else. I stood there feeling sunken whilst she stood there feeling happy that she'd bought new shoes. We walked up to the box office just to check if the film had, luckily, not started.
We did, luckily, get to the box office when there was no line or anything. But then, unluckily, we were informed that yes, the film had started. Fourteen minutes of my second favourite movie had gone by.
"Let's go in." said Henrietta. I looked at her, and she looked a little different. Not quite as beautiful as she did before.
We went back to Covent Garden. We drank some tea. We chatted, we laughed, the night was not all lost. But I couldn't help but feel a little sunken. It was my birthday, and I never got to see The Apartment.
Come back tomorrow to find many more 'One Night At The Movies Long Ago' stories from some of the best writers on the internet. If you are a blogger and want to write on this same theme, please email me your blog address and details -- and I'll feature your story tomorrow.
Wednesday, 2 December 2009
Tuesday, 1 December 2009
"I want it to be morning! I want to be awake and I want to get back to editing. Wow the actors are so good. Oh! I should email Sally with those ideas for the things she's designing for me. Ooooh, meeting with John and Abby tomorrow, I must tell them about that book. Short story idea!... Must write a story about two camels who fight for the right to buy lottery tickets. Do I write it now or after I wake up or in my sleep? I want tea! I want to keep editing! I want to write a long long email to Sally, but she must think I'm insane because last night I wrote her four paragraphs on why Bob Dylan is similar to a good coffee. Ooooh, idea for my feature script. Must have scene where Hank accidently gets breast implants. Hmm, i must comment on Alyson's blog soon. Ooooh blogging idea, I should arrange for all my blogger friends to write a one sentence story about Tiger Woods, using only letters from the first half of the alphabet."
With this in my mind, how can I sleep? I realize it may not seem like creativity, more like insanity. But whatever it is I'm not sure where it's come from. Maybe from Spain, flights from there are cheap right now.
I recently wrote and directed a short film which I am now editing. It absolutely blows my mind how amazing the actors are. There's one particular actress whose scenes are so gripping and emotional that they make me want to cry like the little girl in the shop yesterday after I told her the cast of Twilight New Moon had been killed in a giant car accident.
Another thing that's helped is having positive people around me. I don't befriend negative/destructive people anymore. Whenever I come across these things, I get right to the issues, I tear the walls down. If someone questions or judges me-- I delve right into it, get right to the heart of matters right there with them. That way I don't need to sulk and moan and complain and judge for weeks after, it gets resolved in the moment. I have also recently, after many years of battles and sleeping with each others girlfriends, become friends with my inner critic. I no longer allow the fat chump in my head to make me feel inferior. He has no authority, he's been demoted.
So all that negative, angry, judging horse poop that used to come from my critic, is now positive energy. Or just energy. Crazy energy. I realize now that my critic probably helped me sleep. Either that or he just didn't want me awake.
I want, I want, I want.
I am now poised for a full on journey of screenwriting and directing for the rest of my life -creating films that matter. That make people laugh, think, blog and snog. That's the ball game. People keep telling me the stats, you know the type of thing, "writing is tough. A million scripts are written every year, only three and a half get made and two of them are Twilight movies." I don't care, I didn't get into this work because of my interest in stats. My interest is in Marylin Monroe, and Charlie Chaplin and Tom Hanks and Jimmy Stewart and Otis Preminger and Cameron Crowe and Gordon Willis and Dianne Wiest and Aaron Sorkin and Natalie Portman and Peter MacNicol and Walter Matthau and in telling great stories. My interest is not in statistics or in being polarized or ruled or dictated to by anyone who thinks they have any kind of say over what I can or can't achieve. You may say I'm a dreamer. I have reason to believe, I'm not the only one.