Google+ Followers

Sunday, 20 December 2009

Brittany Murphy - and her performance in 'Spun'

Brittany Murphy really stood out for me in 'Spun' - a film I saw on a whim one night with two of my friends. I remember us getting to the cinema, having no idea what to see, and settling on Spun, knowing nothing about it. I also remember that we were alone in the cinema - and guess where we sat? You guessed it, in the front row. In fact, we sat on the floor - leaning back on the front row seats, and staring up at the screen. Murphy's performance really got me.


Murphy is great in it because she gets to be funny, attractive, unattractive, insane, silly, weird. She gets to be many things. The film was full of over-acting, but within the context of the film, it worked. Murphy was the best of the bunch (along with Mickey Rourke, one of my favourite roles of his).

I also found Brittany extremely sexy, despite her being completely fucked out of her head on drugs and looking completely rough for most of the movie. She pulled it off. Or maybe I just like them battered, rough, and high as a kite.


And it's a shame, because she never captured me in the same way again, acting-wise or sexy-wise.. and I don't really know where she's been the last few years. Whenever I did see her she looked pretty thin, unhealthily so - and I've not seen her on the screen in quite a while.

RIP Brittany Murphy.

Care to share?

Friday, 18 December 2009

I Guess It's Christmas Coming Down

I'm signing off - have a bitchin' Christmas and a Happy New Year. I'll be back in 2010. I need a break from the filmmaking malarkey, film blogging malarkey, and other things, malarkey-wise.

It's been great. Last Christmas, the Kid In The Front Row didn't exist. I mean, I did exist, I don't mean I'm less than a year old. But my blog is. Yet, here you all are, readers, bloggers, filmmakers, lurkers, stalkers. Thanks for sticking around. It makes me feel loved and wanted, which is why I'm abandoning you all for the Holidays. I'm cold like that.




Have a Jimmy Stewart kind of Christmas (I don't mean suicidal, jumping off a bridge, I mean everything else.)

Care to share?

Thursday, 17 December 2009

Screenwriting Festival Winner!


The Kid In The Front Row Screenwriting Festival 2009

BEST SCREENPLAY

Patrick O'Riley
'Hypo-Whatever'

Thank you to all who submitted. I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of entries - each script had original ideas and distinct voices of the writers. It fills me with joy to know there is talent out there capable of doing such exciting work under such strict conditions! You should all be very proud.

Patrick's script, 'Hypo-Whatever' showed some real imagination and originality - where the idea came from, I have no idea. With his permission, I'll be posting the screenplay very soon.

Also, when I get a chance - I will talk more about the other entrants and dish out a few awards - but right now, let's all congratulate Patrick on a well-paced, funny and dramatic script.

Care to share?

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

My Views On Life Expressed Through Movies #1

Scarlett Johannson - On How It Really Doesn't Matter.


JOHN
Would you-- Would you
please stop smoking?

CHARLOTTE
I like to.
I don't really smoke that much.

JOHN
It's just so bad for you,
though.

CHARLOTTE
Well, I'll stop later.

Care to share?

The Rough Edit.

So, you show the rough edit to a few choice people to get some feedback. You show it to your friend who's an actor, you show it to a composer, you show it to your family, you show it to some dude on Facebook who keeps saying 'I wanna make films!' and you show it to your best friend.


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.

Care to share?

Saturday, 12 December 2009

A Trip To The Shopping Centre - A Short Story About English Malls.

A Short Account Of Shopping By Lenny S. Hipton.

I didn't have any interest in paint-balling until the man came up to me and asked if I had any interest in paint-balling. I still didn't but he gave me a piece of paper and said that me and eight friends could go paint-balling for only £200. I told him I only had a twenty and that was to be used to buy Caroline a very small bottle of perfume. He reminded me that paint-balling is only £200 and that the booking line is open 24 hours a day, except for weekends and when trying to get a refund. I refused to budge, which is probably why he kept talking to me, so I swiftly moved on and crashed into a girl who was selling pictures of people I didn't know in wooden frames for only £24.99.

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.

After I left I again noticed the interesting looking clothing store which promised that all items were 50% off. I didn't know what this 50% was off of but I knew it'd be 50% cheaper than when it was more expensive.

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.

Care to share?

Friday, 11 December 2009

Mugabe and the White African - An Oscar Worthy Documentary - and something everyone should watch.

'Mugabe and the White African' is a documentary that everyone should watch. You might, like me, not have put much thought into Zimbabwe. You may, like me, have found yourself skimming over articles about Mugabe in the papers as you flick to the pages where some blonde girl is getting her breasts out or some golfer is fucking cocktail waitresses. But sometimes something comes along that really hits you in the gut, in the head, in the heart and in the mind. If any film is going to do that, it's going to be this one. I can't remember the last time I felt so aware of my privileges. Namely, the privilege of being in England, of being white, of having the rule of law, of having freedom. And yes, I know, you all know of a million reasons why we don't have actual freedom, but when you look closely at a place like Zimbabwe, you realize we're doing pretty well.


This is a very personal story. It's the story of Mike Campbell, a white South African, and his family. They purchased a farm in Zimbabwe after independence, when Mugabe and the government had little use for it, and then in the proceeding years the government wanted it back - and went to disturbing means to do so.

I absolutely stink at summarizing films, that's not what I do, so here's a word from Variety.

"Mugabe and the White African" compellingly documents the struggles of Mike Campbell and his brood to hang on to their Zimbabwe farm in the face of President Mugabe's "land reform," which apparently consists of kicking out whites and redistributing their property to his ministers, cronies and relatives. Braving intimidation and beatings, Campbell and his son-in-law, Ben Freeth, take their case to the international African court, charging racism and violation of human rights. Potent mix of suspense, pathos and indignation"

From the minute this film starts; you realize how at risk everyone is. Mainly, of course, the family who the doc focuses on are majorly at risk-- they're wanted out of their country. White farmers had been fleeing or forced out of their farms all around the region - the intimidation and threats being far too much for them to handle. How Mike Campbell and Ben Freeth managed to stay for so long, and remain so level-headed about what they were doing, and the reasons why, is truly remarkable. It's even more tense when you realize the black farmers they employ, are even more at risk - which is why you see so little of them in the documentary. To be giving information to the outside world would get them beaten or murdered -- in fact, one of the black farmers featured in the documentary has since been killed.

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.

Care to share?

Screenplay Comp - Delayed.

I've been very busy and have been unable to get round to reading all of the screenwriting festival entries. So please bare with me - I'll post the winners some time in the next week.

Care to share?

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

RIP - Jim Rohn

Nothing to do with film at all, really - but his wisdom is something that has had a big effect on me. Rohn was an author, entrepeuneur and motivational speaker. What I liked about his wisdom is that it was usually quite simple -- but 100% true. He passed away on December 5th. I just wanted to give him a shout out here in the hope that some of you may go and watch his stuff on YouTube, or buy some of his books.


"My mentor taught me that success is a numbers game and very early he started asking me my numbers. He asked, "How many books have you read in the last ninety days?" I said, "Zero"; he said, "Not a good number." He said, "How many classes have you attended in the last six months to improve your skills?" And I said, "Zero." He said, "Not a good number." Then he said, "In the last six years that you've been working, how much money have you saved and invested?" I said, "Zero" and he said, "Not a good number." Then here's what he said, "Mr. Rohn, if these numbers don't change your life won't change. But" he said, "If you'll start improving these numbers then perhaps you'll start to see everything change for you." "
-Jim Rohn



Care to share?

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Fuck Your Christmas.

My favourite Christmas song is by Counting Crows. It doesn't officially have a name, as far as I know, and it's never been recorded. You're only likely to know the song if you are one of about nine people who collect Counting Crows bootlegs, or if you've ever been lucky enough to hear this at a show.

The Crows have a song called 'Goodnight Elizabeth' - a beautifully poetic and painful song -- when they play it at live shows; it morphs into these eleven minute versions where anything can happen in the middle. The song used to be played in a pretty standard way from 1993 through to 2000, and then it began growing into the thing it is today; a versatile song that can offer up a million different things, it just depends what mood you catch Adam Duritz in when he hits the stage. There are many incredible versions of the song; with him singing all sorts of things in the middle. Versions that come to mind have him singing Van Morrison's 'Sweet Thing' in the middle, or 'California Dreamin'' by the Mamas and Papa's (you can hear this on Youtube, if you look up 'Goodnight Elizabeth Pinkpop').

But it's not those versions that I'm talking about. It's the Christmas version which often comes up in concerts as the year is heading to a close and, I guess, the lead singer is beginning to reminisce of love gone by and the Holiday season approaching.

The beautiful piano work of Charlie Gillingham breaks down the middle of the song as the guitars take a back seat... and up steps Adam to begin telling his tale of woe about Christmas. Sometimes the song is angry, sometimes it's mournful, sometimes it's plain poetic. Sometimes you just can't tell. The good thing is, whenever he does dive into 'Fuck Your Christmas' - he really means it. I don't think he could fake it if he tried.

He talks a lot before and during the song at live shows about how the song (Goodnight Elizabeth) is about a girl he knew back when the band were first getting big-- they dated, it was a big deal - and as he began touring, they began hitting problems, and she was gone by Thanksgiving.

And the song (Fuck Your Christmas, in the middle part of 'Goodnight Elizabeth'), as you'll hear quite plainly from the lyrics, is about him struggling to come to terms with things at Christmas. And the painful truth of the song is that he knows he's not going to be with the girl he loves, but at the same time, he doesn't want to be alone, he's not going to be alone, he can't be alone. It's pretty painful. Luckily, this isn't the most painful version - in fact, he doesn't even say fuck in this clip.

I guess it's Christmas coming down,
I don't wanna go back home,
If I'm not gonna be with you,
I don't wanna be alone.

I guess it's Christmas coming down,
I don't wanna go back home,
If I'm not gonna be with you,
Then I don't wanna be alone.

Screw your Christmas coming down,
I ain't gonna go back home,
I don't wanna be with you,
And I'm not gonna sleep alone.

I don't wanna-- I don't wanna sleep alone.
I don't wanna go home.
I don't wanna go home.

What's amazing is how he takes this already perfect song, 'Goodnight Elizabeth' and adds a whole new level of meaning to it. So, yeah. This is my favourite Christmas song. Other than this, it's 'River' - but I'm feeling less like 'River' this year, which is a good thing, surely.


Care to share?

Sunday, 6 December 2009

Jimmy Stewart & Jean Arthur in Frank Capra's 'You Can't Take It With You'

I was about to upload this scene to YouTube but luckily it was already there. Jimmy Stewart and Jean Arthur in one of my favourite films, 'You Can't Take It With You,' from way back in 1938.

Look at how natural they both are. What's remarkable is that it is all one single take - no cuts, no funny stuff -- just movie magic. Capra magic. In just four and a half minutes- we see the romance between the two of them, we see the idealism and imagination of Jimmy Stewart-- and the heartbreaking talk about fearmongering and personal courage - which is as relevant now as it ever was.



It's December. And in December, I watch Jimmy Stewart films. So expect some more on Mr. Stewart from me.

Care to share?

The Old Negro Space Program

I found this completely by accident today - and thought it was hilarious! It's 'The Old Negro Space Program' - the story of the 'Blackstronauts' and their forgotten accomplishments. Very funny!!

Care to share?

Saturday, 5 December 2009

Polarity Of Pretentiousness - Talking With People In The Film Industry.

What's meant to happen is that the Filmy Person says "Have you seen [amazing old French movie] and you reply with "Um, ehhh, I'm not sure-- I think, maybe.." and then that person feels temporarily wonderful that they love more films than you, whereas you feel inadequate, pathetic, and useless. However, with me, I always forget to play the victim and instead the conversation is a bit bizarre.

FILMY PERSON
Have you seen 'Où Se Trouvent
Le Jambon Et La Yaourt?'

KID
No.

FILMY PERSON
Really? You must have! It's
directed By Jean-Luke La Mer.

KID
Is it the one with the Jamaicans
and the bobsleigh?

FILMY PERSON
Um, no - it's the one shot in
1934 in France, it stars Mary
Une Trousse. How can you not
have seen it?

KID
I've never been able to
see films before I've watched them.

FILMY PERSON
You call yourself a film director
but you haven't seen it?. TELL ME
you've seen 'Une Bouteille D'eau Du Pain?"

KID
No.

FILMY PERSON
Then how can you call yourself a
film director, when you're watching
films about Jamaicans who bobsleigh?

KID
Because I watched the film about
Jamaicans who bobsleigh and I still
managed to direct a film.

FILMY PERSON
Yeah but how can you call
yourself a director?

KID
Because I directed a film.

FILMY PERSON
Yeah but you've never seen 'Où Se
Trouvent Le Jambon Et La Yaourt'

KID
You've never seen the one about
the Jamaicans and the bobsleigh.

FILMY PERSON
Why would I want to?

KID
I don't know, I thought we were
naming films we haven't seen.

FILMY PERSON
No I'm saying you can't call
yourself a director if you haven't
seen 'Où Se Trouvent 'Le Jambon
Et La Yaourt'

KID
But I didn't direct that one.

FILMY PERSON
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.'

KID
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.

Care to share?

One More Night At The Movies.

Michael Field tells us about working in a movie theater and how it changes your movie-going experience, and then gets more specific with memories from being in New York. You can read his story over on Out Of Left Field


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.

Care to share?

Friday, 4 December 2009

A Collaborative Blogging Project - One Night At The Movies Long Ago

This has been an amazing experience. Please find some spare time over the next day or two to work your way through these posts.

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.


"Coincidently my life hit an iceberg at soon after this night at the movies. Metaphorically, the catastrophe played out in the final scenes of the ships sinking was adjacent to my own life over them next few years. Bill and Dad died. Mum has severe dementia. Matt and I are no longer together.

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."

-Nurse Julianne




But if you're looking for the most memorable of movie going experiences. A first kiss story would be pretty hard to beat.

"I wonder just how many films go "unwatched" in theatres all over the world because of first dates?"
-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.

"What if they look at my boyish charm and rat me out? Do I run? Or keep my dignity as I stroll out without a care (even if I HAD to see this film)?"
New Film Blog.


Enough of this polite, charming stuff. We can rely on Alyson to take us on a different journey.

"The ride back was all cigarettes, rap music, and complaints again. When we pulled in my driveway he parked and looked at me expectantly. I’m not sure what he was expecting exactly...a blow job, a thank you, high praise for his cocksmanship. But what he got was:

“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.'

Care to share?

Thursday, 3 December 2009

One Night At The Movies Long Ago

Today, on December 3rd, many of my favourite bloggers will be writing on the same topic as me, 'One Night At The Movies Long Ago.' My vision is that we all share a memory from a memorable time we had at the movies, from some time in our past. Below is my story - and tomorrow, I will share links to all the others, so be sure to pop back.

Note For Americans: In the UK we don't say 'sneakers' we say 'trainers'.



One Night At The Movies Long Ago

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.

Care to share?

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Competition closes TODAY.

For those of you entering the screenplay competition, today - the 2nd, is the final day for entries. Thanks for all of you who have entered... I will be posting the winners on December 10th.


Care to share?

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Buzzing With Creativity.

I am buzzing with creativity at the moment. I haven't slept earlier than 5am all week because my mind is absolutely racing. This is what my mind is like on any given morning at 4.32am..

"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.

This week: The Kid In The Front Row Screenwriting Competion winners, the big giant blogtastic bloggety blogthing bloggerology blogness, when a HEAP of my favourite bloggers will all be blogging on the same title and theme as me, that'll be on the 3rd December. If you want to be a part of this, please email me. If you do email me, please include a subject and content in the email, as I am not a mind-reader. If you are a mind-reader, you already knew I was going to write that, which fascinates me. Maybe you've already explained this to me telepathically, but I'm not aware of it.

It's 2.54am in the UK. When I post this it'll probably say it's 10pm the day before as I think this runs on USA time, or Peru time, or something. Anyways, that's all, this-time.

Care to share?