Wednesday 29 June 2011

10 Ways To Relieve Stress During Pre-Production

1. Don't make the movie.

2. Don't look at the finances.

3. Take drugs.*

4. Avoid all contact with all people (including and especially yourself)

5. Don't make the movie.

6. When addressing cast, crew, and the producer; reply to all questions by saying "do whatever you want" and then take the pretty production assistant to a beach resort until the film gets shut down.

7. Care less.

8. Remember that if you do a bad job and totally ruin everything, it makes major distribution and success even more likely.

9. Re-write the script and shoot it all in one day, in one location, using an iPhone. Watch it unfold at home on Skype (I hear Spielberg directs in this way).

10. If an actor starts being difficult during rehearsals, change all of their dialogue to Urdu (yet print the script in Latin, and hire them a Portugese dialect coach)

*I do not promote the taking of drugs. But check back with me when you're in post-production.

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Opening Weekend, and Seventeen Years Later

The new releases come out and the stars sit on the sofa on the TV and someone says something about how good or bad the box office numbers were and we seem to get caught up in thinking it's important.

But what's important is, when home alone and sleepless on a random Tuesday morning at 4am, what film do you choose to watch? When you've had the worst day of your life, what film do you seek out afterwards? When you meet someone new and want to treat them to a DVD what do you buy them?

That's what's important - especially if you write or direct. I mean, if you want to make anything that'll live on after opening weekend: Just create what you HAVE to create. Do it for you, not the box office.

I went to see 'Win, Win', not because of the poster but because the same director made 'The Station Agent' and 'The Visitor'. He made small, profound movies in his own way. They're unique, they're him. That's why he does so well. The films are his own. Kevin Smith used to be like that, then he started doing anything he got offered and he's not relevant as an artist anymore, the fans lost their passion soon after he did. I'll still watch his films, I just don't care like I used too.

When you take the business route, you may get lucky. But then you live and die by the box office. And there are hundreds of journeymen who've been doing it for thirty years who will have an easier time than you. Before you know it you've had one box office hit and one dud, and you're gone.

You don't have to play that game. Instead you can just create what you think works, what turns you on creatively. Stuff that makes life bearable. That's the magic. That's the film you buy for your new girlfriend. Right now I'm listening to an old Wilson Pickett song and earlier on I watched 'Beautiful Girls'. This stuff outlives the soulless stuff.

Art lasts. Business kills you. Don't get excited by the big lights, just do the work that you love.

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Sunday 26 June 2011

BAD TEACHER With Pete & Craig

Craig can't stop himself. Every time, without fail. He orders the biggest popcorn and the giant ass coke, and THEN he bitches about the price.

We end up in this bizarre argument at the counter. Craig moans about how disgraceful it is that a medium popcorn is the same price as his mortgage, and the cinema worker, who is usually a seventeen year old girl who looks like she wants to kill herself, gets all defensive and smart ass. And then there's me, saying to Craig that he doesn't get to moan if he's handing the cash over.

I mean, popcorn is an option. If you don't want it, don't buy it.

Sometimes I think he starts the argument just because he thinks the girl is cute. I don't think he realises how psychotic he looks when he starts yelling about trading standards and capitalism and whatever it is he yammers on about.

We were in our seats. They never make those cup holders the right size. Mine was pretty much falling through a hole. Weird things happen in the cinema. Ever look down at your shirt halfway through a movie and see two bits of popcorn stuck there? Even happens when you're not eating popcorn.

Then the other thing happened. I was annoyed but Pete was laughing, except for when I was laughing and Pete was annoyed. You see, in the seats directly behind us, we had a crazy guy who puzzled over plot issues out loud, in a confused manner. Hard to explain what he was doing, but he was kind of insane. And he kept repeating dialogue to the friend next to him.

He got louder and weirder. Pete turned back to give him the evil-eye. He turned back and whispered to me, "I think he's on his own." This made me instantly crack up. I was in a sea of laughter. Actually, a sea of popcorn. It was stuck to me. Don't know how. No-one knows how that happens.

But I was laughing uncontrollably. Because this guy who'd been yammering away like a mad-o was talking to himself.

What do you do? Do you ask him to be quiet? He's not even talking to anyone! He may not even be in the cinema, mentally. He may think he's on a steamboat or something.

I needed to pee real bad. I tried to figure out the running time in my head. How long could be left? First of all you get an instinctive feeling about how long is left. Normally this feels good, because you think you only have to sit through ten more minutes.

But then you do the plot check in your head. You think to yourself, "Diaz still needs to convince some people, she needs to learn a valuable life lesson, and win the guy. And Lucy Punch's story needs to be resolved." So you figure out you have 27 minutes remaining.

And it drags on. When you need to pee, the story gets resolved but the film doesn't end. The director likes to fuck with you, just because he knows you want to pee. I hate that. "The Directors No-Pee Cut". I'm sure you've experienced this.

BAD TEACHER REVIEW: Kinda lame. Some things didn't make sense. But there are some laughs. Cameron Diaz is gorgeous. She should date film bloggers. Timberlake keeps impressing as an actor. Overall: 5/10

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Saturday 25 June 2011

Finding Yourself As An Artist and Surpassing Blocks and Disturbances

Your agent is sitting on his ass. Your producer is strangling your creativity. Your co-writer is making negative remarks about your dialogue. 

Regardless of your success levels, everyone has these problems. The problem is that these issues come home with you, they eat away at your energy, they affect your life and creativity in a big way. Too often we forget about the dreaming behind our creativity and focus too much on the disturbances. 

Your dreams and aspirations are the guiding principle behind why you are an artist. It's important to get in touch with them as often as you can, because they really help keep you on the right path. 

We all have peak experiences -- when we are firing on all cylinders, and nothing can stop us. We feel happier, lighter, and our artistic selves are prospering. And there are other times when we're refusing to get out of bed, we tell everyone we're thinking of quitting, and we convince ourselves that we're talentless and that our work is embarrassing. 

Focus on your peak experiences. Can you remember a time when you felt fully alive and full of possibilities? FOCUS on that experience. Fully bring it alive in your memory. Stop reading for a second, and truly visualise it. 

Where were you? Who was there? How did you talk to people? Did it feel like there was a presence or a force supporting you? (Call it God, call it a good caffeine rush, whatever it was, for you). If you are able to strongly visualise this pleasing memory, it will make you feel good, you'll get some of those feelings back.

I have had many of these experiences. Many of them are from when I was a teenager and began making films. I was full of possibilities, extremely experimental, and everything made sense every time I wrote on a page, or pointed a camera at actors. 

Another time was in New York a few years ago. I felt super-powered. Like New York is my spiritual home and the world wanted me to be there. I would walk out of the apartment I was staying in and within five minutes I'd make a new friend, a new creative soulmate, it seemed to happen nearly every day. It was a magic time; the world seemed to work for me in every way. 
When was your peak experience? How did it make you feel? 

When you feel that you are fully in that experience, that you are not only remembering it but you are feeling some of its essence in you now --- how can you use that feeling in your work right now, today? Does that energy help you overcome some of the blocks and resistance you have been feeling? 

Let me know how it goes. 

What we have a tendency to do, is focus our energies on the roadblocks, whether they are external problems (i.e. investors, landlords, YouTube comments) or internal (lack of confidence, second-guessing, depression). This exercise is to help you get back some positive energy, by focusing on the dreaming processes that shape who you are as an artist, and what your goals and intentions are).

As a way of ending the exercise; it is good to write down a few words about yourself and your work, and the dreaming behind it. For example, I could write, "I have always strongly related to the work of writer/directors like Chaplin, Wilder, and Woody Allen, whose work as artists created meaning for themselves and the world around them. I believe that art lives forever and that my dream is to create work that will last, that will cheer people up and brighten their days for a long time to come."

Don't allow yourself to be critical or embarrassed about what you write, because it's a part of you and it's important to bring it out in you. An actress friend of mine yesterday was telling me about how she wants to work with disabled people to help give them a voice by using drama, another friend of mine was telling me a few days back about how books helped him understand the world when he was a kid, in a way that nothing else ever had -- and he wants to be an author so that he can bring that same feeling to future generations. 

Our dreams are important. When we fully access them, own them, and believe in them, we are able to step forward with more purpose and confidence. 

Care to share?

Friday 24 June 2011


Believe the hype. The film is great.

Kristen Wiig steals the show. It is her show. She deserves it. Undeniably one of the most talented actresses and naturally gifted comedians in the business; this film showcases everything about her that is awesome.

And she's not just funny. She pulls at your heart in this movie. There are times when she communicates giant pangs of loneliness or intense and heartbreaking vulnerability -- and she's able to do it with just a look. A moment.

That's what great acting is, capturing a moment. The best actors can do it in a millisecond by doing something or making a decision to not do something. It's like Tom Hanks in 'The Green Mile' when he's listening to John Coffey through the prison cell. He just sits and listens, but somehow he also communicates pretty much every emotion known to man. I'm exaggerating, but only slightly. Great acting is when they make it look simple. They turn nothing into everything.

Wiig is beautiful, too. Not beautiful in the way that all the women in the movies are. Just beautiful in the way that women are beautiful. She's real. It's so much more interesting than looking at Megan Fox bouncing around in Transformers. I'm aware that women's looks always get mentioned when they're acting; I never review a Kevin Spacey film and then talk about his looks. But I guess my point here is --- in this film, and not just with Wiig, but with all of them -- they seem real. I can relate to them. They don't look like some insane and unrealistic 'dream girl'. And as a result, the women in 'Bridesmaids' are more appealing.

There are moments when Wiig will break your heart in this movie. There are times when she's jealous, resentful, lonely; in fact-- for most of the film, she is really lonely.

Yet she's also hilarious. Truthful pangs of loneliness but with big laughs. That's not easy to do. You just have to see her in this movie.

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Thursday 23 June 2011

WHO'S ON FIRST? Great Comedy Lives Forever

This is an Abbott and Costello sketch from the 1940's. It doesn't get much better than this. Take the time to watch it, it'll be worth it! This is what comedy should be like. 

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Tuesday 21 June 2011

SENNA, Again

I went to see "Point Blank" today. Two screens away, in the same cinema, my friend Nora was watching "Senna".

A few hours before that I was having breakfast with Nora in a cafe just west of Covent Garden. We were meant to be talking about a project we're doing, but instead I kept talking about 'Senna'. I demanded she see it. She agreed to do so. We left the cafe and we walked directly to the cinema (Cineworld on Haymarket). I'd already made plans to see "Point Blank" with Marcus, a fellow film director, so was unable to join her for the experience.

My review of Point Black: It's decent, cool, it's like all the other movies. But it's not the reason we love cinema.

"Senna" is the reason. It's a life-changer. It's one of those that takes over your mind and shapes your thoughts for the next five days. 

Nora was gone by the time my movie finished. So I text her, "how was it?".

Here's her response:

"Brilliant. It was brilliant. Sort of dazed out right now, but thank you; well glad I went!"

And she didn't even know who Senna was. She doesn't like motor racing.

'Point Blank' finished and Marcus and myself were soon in Cafe Nero. We talked about Ayrton Senna. We talked about how great he was, we talked about how the film was edited. We talked about Alain Prost. Turns out Marcus saw Senna racing in Monaco in the early 90's. Marcus was just a kid then, but he felt the magic. Everyone wanted Senna to win, he had that something. 

Brazil had a three day mourning period when Ayrton Senna died. That's how much he meant to people. One man who races cars can really change the world for the better. 

One person can do anything. That's what this film shows us. You've just got to show up and dedicate yourself, become an expert in whatever you're passionate about.

They always take the geniuses away from us when they're young. Ayrton Senna, 34, Tupac, 25, Martin Luther King 39 , Bill Hicks 32. Maybe its meant to be that way. You can dribble on till you're 98 but it doesn't mean you'll mean anything. Senna did more in 34 years than most of us do in a lifetime. He put a sport into the consciousness of the world, 
became a Brazilian hero, and left his impact on the world stage.

When people are good, they're good. When they're great, they're inspiring. When they get even better, they transcend. Chaplin became more than a tramp, The Beatles became more than rock stars, and Senna was more than a racing driver. 'Senna' documents that. It shows us someone crossing over into greatness, becoming one of the Gods.

People like Ayrton Senna don't come along very often. Give him two hours of your time, go see the documentary. 

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Monday 20 June 2011


"I was already on pole, and I just kept going. Suddenly I was nearly two seconds faster than anybody else, including my team mate with the same car. And suddenly I realised that I was no longer driving the car consciously. I was driving it by a kind of instinct, only I was in a different dimension. It was like I was in a tunnel."

I cannot put into words how I feel about this documentary. Ayrton Senna is more than just a man who drove cars. Go watch it. It'll inspire you. It'll break your heart. And it will change your life a little.

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Sunday 19 June 2011

Clarence Clemons

"And the miles we have come
And the battles won and lost
Are just so many roads traveled
So many rivers crossed."
-Bruce Springsteen

I hear the sounds of Clarence Clemons every single day. When people talk to me about music, barely a second goes by without me saying "Bruce Springsteen". It's on sad days like this when I am reminded that Springsteen's music is not just one man. The songs I love the most he created with the E Street Band. Some of the greatest moments of my life have been in concert venues around the UK at the very precise moments when the Big Man has stepped in with his saxophone.

My all-time favourite song is "Thunder Road". I listen to it every single day. The best part of the song is the refrain that comes after "It's a town full of losers and I'm pulling out of here to win"; and the beautiful, uplifting sound of Clarence Clemons is all over it. I remember after my Aunt died a few years back, my Uncle repeatedly listened to "Secret Garden"; and it was that last minute he was craving, when Clarence Clemon's sax somehow manages to break your heart and heal your heart all in the space of a minute.

You don't always get to hear "Jungleland" in concert, but when you do, you are suddenly reminded of what it is to be alive. Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band aren't just a band, they're something more. Their music is a way of life, a belief, a window into who we are. They're heart and soul. You feel it when you hear them play Jungleland. So do a hundred thousand other people. I don't know whether they'll ever play it again. "Jungleland" without Clarence isn't 'Jungleland'.

There will never be another E Street Band. I'm watching 'Live in Barcelona' as I write this. They just step into the arena, pick up their instruments, and play. These guys know all of their songs inside out. And they tour and they tour and they tour, playing three hour sets every night. These guys are hitting seventy. I work for seventy minutes and need a break. But the E Street Band put the work first and you see that the work doesn't wear them out, it gives them energy.

Clarence Clemons was the soul of E Street. But what does that mean? Well, for me; it means being in some arena or stadium, and you're enjoying yourself but it's just a concert, just some music. It's better than being at home on Facebook, but at the same time you're aware of your tiredness and your personal problems and the aching pain in your bad knee. But then Clemons would launch into something on the saxophone. And it wouldn't necessarily be a showstopping 'look-at-me' moment. He'd just sneak in there, do his work. But it would grab you. Take you in. And suddenly you're not in the same world as everyone else. Your life isn't about petty problems and pains in your joints and break-ups. You're with the Gods now. You're floating up in the skies yet somehow you're deeply immersed in life and all of its possibilities. That is what music can do when it truly reaches us.

That's why fans of Bruce Springsteen get so disheartened when they can't get their kids to sit down and listen to "Born To Run". Because they know the reward if you put in the work. They know why the ticket prices are worth it. There's magic.

"We learned more from a three minute record baby, than we ever learned in school."
-Bruce Springsteen

I listen to Springsteen every day. And I'd say 70% of that music features Clarence Clemons. Just yesterday, I was playing "Thunder Road" in a friend's car, and later that night when I was walking back from another friend's BBQ in the pouring rain I had "Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out" in my headphones. It was as fresh as the first time I heard it.

The loss of Clarence Clemons is a big one, and a part of me is truly heartbroken. But he lives on in the way that only the true greats can. That moment I was talking about, when a piece of music lifts you up into the stars --- that's outside of the ordinary plane of existence. That's bigger than the street you live in. That's the stuff of the soul and the spirit and some big giant essence that is love and heaven and whatever it is that somehow, sometimes, makes life just so fucking worth it.

Clarence Clemons will live forever.

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Saturday 18 June 2011

An Important Film To Watch: One Of Her Own (1994)

"Everybody is backing Charlie up, all the guys are."
"Welcome to the boy's club."

Rape. That's what this film is about. That's not something we talk about much. And it's not the topic of many films. Sometimes films do broach the subject, but it's usually done because it makes the plot more interesting, or because some male filmmaker things it will titillate and drum up more publicity (The Human Centipede 2 is art? Really? Do women have to be raped throughout? Couldn't they just do oil paintings of boats instead?). Films rarely delve deeply into the topic. In part, it's because films are mostly made by, and cater to, men. But also, even for people interested in looking into the subject -- it is a sensitive topic, the cause of much trauma, for a large proportion of society. That makes it difficult to get right and be made in an appropriate way. 

In 'One Of Her Own' we get to see it from the perspective of the victim. The screenwriter, Valerie West, made the clever choice to have this story play out between the staff of a police department -- which you could say is the ultimate boys club, where people don't rat on each other, they stick up for one another. But what happens when a woman is in the mix? And what happens when one of her own rapes her?

This film addresses the harsh realities of rape. How men will often question a woman's motives for claiming she's been raped, or how they'll question her sex life. It's often the case that people's natural instincts are to ask "Why would she claim he raped her?" rather than ask "Why did he do it?" Criminals are rightfully seen as innocent until proven guilty, but the sad fact is; victims of rape are often seen as lying until proven truthful. I wonder why that is. This film gives clues -- as we see issues play out between the genders. 

Women are alone when this happens. In the film, Toni's first concern is can I tell my boss, or will I lose my job? Especially as she's new at her job. What a scary world when a victim of such a disgusting crime has the very real concern that telling her superiors may lead to her own demise. 

Everything in this film is heightened, because it's the police force. But the same dynamic plays out in more mundane settings.

Less than half of all rapes are reported. Every three minutes a woman is raped in America. Every minute in Africa. This happens to men, too -- but for the most part, on a day to day basis, men are the perpetrators. 

The silence of good people plays its part, it's part of the problem. We see that throughout the film --- the male characters shy away from being involved, from being supportive, from standing up for what's right. Female victims are also silent -- because of fears of the repercussions.

'One Of Her Own' is a moving film. It's heartbreaking to see her pain, her inner struggles, the difficulty in navigating through the relationships and conflicts she has with her friends, and her colleagues.  This particular film is fictional, but what it represents isn't. A lot of people who see this film will relate to it. That's why it's important to watch; it has a lot of truths which people like myself have the privilege of not having as their own reality. Films help us see the rest of the world --for better or worse-- they help us understand it, and to see what is really happening.

This topic is often ignored. Or, when it's brought up, it's quietly swept under the rug. It's something we need to be less uninformed and ignorant about, because it permeates through the society we live in, and the people we know.

"I loved being a police officer. I was a good officer. But I made a mistake, I kept quiet about something that I shouldn't have. And I convinced myself that was the only sensible thing to do. Something happened that made me realise that I was wrong to keep quiet. It occurred to me that there were probably hundreds of thousands of women out there, who at one time or another had kept quiet about something equally horrible or perhaps even more horrible. And that they did it because they were like me. They were frightened, frightened for their jobs, frightened of their husbands or their boyfriends. Frightened by their community. And I thought fear is not a good reason to keep silent, it is wrong and it is selfish and other women might get hurt. So I am glad that I came forward, very glad, because it has made me realise that I can never again afford to be afraid."

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Thursday 16 June 2011

Films About Ghosts

The woman next to me on the train has the same perfume as my ex-girlfriend. I've not been around this smell in three years. 

The memories come flooding back of the times that smell was most potent. Some of those were very intimate, but others were a gust of wind when we walked by the sea, or when she shuffled around trying to get comfortable in the car.

Those memories are just like movies. Little pieces of cinema in my mind. The only difference being the odours. You can smell a memory. I'm still on the train and this woman has no idea she's sent me tripping back to the past.

Films are strange because once they're done, that's it. You can go back again and again but you're rewatching the same thing.

Memories are different. They fade. They're not Blu-ray, they're old VHS copies. They wear out.

With a movie you believe that Harry and Sally stay together, maybe Alvy and Annie hold on to something.

In real life you're left with a smell. She's somewhere else now, and you're on a train dreaming of years that died long ago. They are so real, yet somehow feel like they never existed at all. They're just some movie you watched.

"If dreams are like movies, then memories are films about ghosts" -Adam Duritz.

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Monday 13 June 2011


The hardest thing of all, is writing what's really in your heart. It's usually that very thing that makes you bolt it towards your laptop, desperate to capture in a bottle the spark of yourself that you just figured out.

But when you get there, a little something dies every time, and it blurs into ideas of stories and characters and meanings and somehow, you just lose something.

But the films you love, that you REALLY love, the ones that you cried yourself to sleep over when someone left you or when you felt all alone or when your friend died; you know those movies? The reason they resonate with you was because someone thumped their heart down on a page, or into a scene; and you saw them, you truly saw THEM ---- and because of that, you saw you. You saw your heart and soul smashed down on a page and rolled out on a screen and dumped in front of you.

But getting to those heights with your own work is the toughest thing of all. Because you tell yourself it's always too cheesy, or too personal, or too emotional, or too esoteric, or too much of a blur inside your brain.

The things you know and feel the most, the things you are so DESPERATE to say; despite the fact you know them with such definiteness and clarity -- despite that, when it comes to it; it seems you hardly know them at all. The very core of you you are, when it comes to chucking it out onto the page, it becomes a blur, a something, a speck of dust in a room of old books. Writing and directing and acting, they're all looking for that one piece of truth, yet the distractions are abundant everywhere we look. We always find a way to obscure it, to over-complicate it, to miss it.

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Wednesday 8 June 2011


Spielberg, he's one of us. Just a kid who loves movies. Check out Quint's amazing interview with the one and only Steven Spielberg here.

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Tuesday 7 June 2011

Meaning Of Life: Cheryl Cole, Shopping Malls & Beansprouts

You ever have one of them days when you wonder what the fuck it is you're doing?

I bought a pack of raspberries. Once upon a time people grew raspberries themselves, or they went out to pick them, now you decide whether to get the cheap ones or the expensive ones, because they have both at the store. How does a raspberry become an expensive one? Does it go through training? Why aren't we growing fruit? Why are we spending all this money?

And they were selling 'The Social Network' on DVD for £4. A month ago it was £12.99. A MONTH AGO! This is how DVD sales work. Why do we pay more? Why is the immediate purchase necessary? What is the real value, 12 or 4?

Just one of them days when everything seems insane. And I happened to be in Shepherds Bush today. I went into Westfields, a shopping mall, because I needed to pee. Westfields was in the news yesterday because Tom Hanks was there, promoting 'Larry Crowne' at the cinema. Since when are movies Premiered at the shopping mall? Now you can wave to the movie stars from the 4th isle of Marks & Spencer's, then go buy some Toy Story 3 merchandise.

I walked around Westfield in amazement at how expensive everything was, and in shock at how fake-tanned everyone looked. All the women looked like Paris Hilton, but less authentic. And Paris Hilton isn't even authentic.

And I just can't help but think, surely this isn't it? The artists can't get nine people to look at their work, but the tanning people get a whole nation changing their skin colour. What meeting did I miss? What am I not getting?

I realise my thinking is outdated. I should be blogging gossip and naked Blake Lively pictures like TMZ.

Someone convinced us all that our tans are important, just like the coming and goings of Cheryl Cole (she has a nice tan, don't you think?). And the government is telling me beansprouts are out to kill me. The beansprouts and cucumbers are out to get me. 16 people died in Germany and apparently it's definitely 100% the vegetables. Our armies turned half of the Middle East into vegetables. Truth is I'm ignorant about it, I should know more. Instead they're telling me which Pussycat Doll is going to judge a talent show on television and hyping the killer lettuce. I'm waiting for the TV show, 'Lettuce Got Talent', 'Bean Sprout Factor'!

Just one of those days. You wonder what the hell life is all about.

Care to share?

10 Tips For Directing Comedy

1. Welcome collaboration, but make sure the ideas resonate with your vision.

2. Do takes that are faster. It's always slower when you watch it back. Faster is funnier.

3. Make sure the actors are comfortable doing less.

4. Do as much as you can in single shots. Cutting to different angles makes it less funny.

5. Have really old people in the background and out of focus. Don't know why, but it's funny.

6. Use funny names.

7. Keep to the page.

8. Ignore the page.

9. In drama, your characters sit and talk. In comedy your characters can't talk because one is deaf and the other is trapped under the sofa.

10. Don't be too topical. Good humour lasts forever, but a joke about George Bush is an embarrassment, much like his foreign policy.

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Monday 6 June 2011

Diana Ross Syndrome

I was on the train, and listening to Diana Ross & Lionel Richie sing "Endless Love". And then as we stopped at a station, a trendy guy boarded the train and sat down on my right, and a pretty girl sat to my left, and I turned my music down a little. Some part of me didn't want the strangers to hear what I was listening to.

What the hell is that? I'm turning down part of who I am. And for what?

In school you're meant to conform and fit in. A lot of us rebel against it, but we still conform sometimes. It's easier to rebel using Marilyn Manson and Slipknot, because it has attitude, you can conform to something else.

But people shut out the fact they like Lionel Richie and Phil Collins. What the fuck?

I know that these two strangers on the train don't care about me and can't hear my music. But I turned it down. Am I turning down the part of me that likes that music? Or am I turning down the part of me that has endless love in it?

Let's take it to a crazy level.

Let's say the girl sitting next to me finds me attractive, and has no idea what I'm listening to. We get talking, and an hour later we're in Starbucks talking about our mutual love of Tupac and Oasis. Would I keep quiet about the fact I like some Diana Ross songs?

Actually I wouldn't. Everyone who gets to know me knows my music tastes are all over the place. But yet, something in me, some reaction, made me turn the music down. Who in me was that?

I know what you're thinking, you're thinking 'Kid, stop reading into pointless bullshit', or 'Kid, review the new X-Men film', but you can read that on all the other blogs.

Some parts of us we share, some parts we oppress. When did it start? We do it unconsciously all the time, we don't even realize, we shut things out, shut 'em down. And I just caught that little moment on the train, and it made me curious. How often have I done that?

People hide passions that way. You can know someone for six years before they tell you they like drawing. People die before you find their poetry.

Is this nature or is it society? Maybe I should just get some speakers and make the whole train listen to Lionel Richie and Diana Ross.

Maybe what you hide the most is what is really needed. The poet dies without sharing her poetry, when in life all you got were status updates about her cat.

Us humans are strange.

And some part of me wants to shut this down. "Why are you blogging about this shit on a film blog!", says the inner-voice. This is what happens when you begin exploring yourself, you think you're insane. You think you won't fit in.

You care about that stuff after all.

Care to share?

Sunday 5 June 2011

You're Gonna Get Screwed Over

It's unavoidable. You're going to give a script away to an enthusiastic producer who promises the world and then takes it all from you. Or you're going to be a camera operator for four months on the promise of a deferred payment that never comes because it wasn't on paper. Or you'll pay some charlatan from Craigslist a year's wages because of some scheme he's running that you think will make you successful.

You think you're wise, but you're not. Because everyone has this story. We're so hungry for success, that we dive in and trust people. But this industry always has and always will attract people who betray that trust. And when we begin we begin naively, and we do things because we think we'll get the credits, and we think there are shortcuts.

But you'll accidentally sign a bad script deal that you should've got a lawyer to look at. And you'll spend your money on some bullshit course that you should've got your parent's wisdom-like advice on first.

Your instincts as an individual are the key to being an artist. But artists are also dumb and naive. We sign bullshit deals. We give our rights over, we work too hard, and we let someone else pick up the rewards.

First time it happens you wanna vomit. The second time it happens you wanna quit. Eventually you just become wise, and you know how to handle yourself, and your art, and your value. You stop making the bad deal.

Everyone has this story.

Care to share?

I Dream Of New York City

And it's some time since I've been.

I need to come see you, to look up at lights on Broadway, and finally feel at home again.

New York, I want to drink coffee with you on the Lower East Side, want to walk with you through the West sixties.

Memories of the past, and dreams of the future, they all lead back to you, New York, New York.

Care to share?

Rained Out

I thought a t-shirt would be fine. But this is England, and it rained.

Then again, of course it did. If you're ever in London and there's non-stop rain, you can be sure the Kid In The Front Row is shooting exteriors.

Not that anything got shot today. Money went down the drain as hours rolled by and we all stood around in tiny pockets of shelter from the London rain.

If you're shooting in London and want to go for a summer look, film in Spain. Edit out the beaches using CGI. That's how you can spot my films: set in gritty London but with bikini-clad Spanish women strolling by.

The rain just wouldn't stop today. It's that rain that soaks through every part of your body, and you don't get dry for days. But you're extremely hungry, so you eat your snacks even though the rain is soaking through your packet of salt & vinegar, and your coffee keeps filling up because the downpour is so heavy.

It was cold. I dressed for June. Mistake.

Care to share?

Thursday 2 June 2011

The Shawshank Redemption 2

Pitch me your ideas for the sequel. The best idea/funniest idea/idea that most intrigues me, will win a DVD copy of something in my collection that I want to get rid of (it's a bad prize, but then you're winning an award for planning a sequel to Shawshank, which makes you kind of evil).

Don't email me, put your ideas in the comments for all to see!

Care to share?

Wednesday 1 June 2011


It was recently reported in the major press, as well as the UK's The Daily Mail, that killer cucumbers and salads are sweeping across Europe and killing lots of people. I have decided to provide a helpful survival guide for those who are concerned that we may be seeing the bloodiest vegetable related conflict ever to sweep through our lands.

1. Do not do any sweeping with vegetables.

2. Do not enter into a conversation with a cucumber unless it is one you have spoken to previously.

3. It has been reported that Salads are also dangerous, although It's unknown precisely which style of salads. Some experts have warned that salads including iceberg lettuce with thousand island dressing may cause symptoms.

4. Killer cucumbers are especially dangerous if frozen and used as weapons.

5. Please be aware that it is not all cucumbers that are evil, only a very small minority of fundamentalists.

6. Wash ALL vegetables.

7. There are an estimated 783 billion vegetables on the planet at any one time, therefore, to wash ALL vegetables, we should start no later than 6am.

8. Do not blame vegetarians. They are to blame for many things but there is no evidence linking them to killer cucumbers.

9. Do not try and kill vegetarians with cucumbers (even if they preach about animal rights in an authoritative tone)

10. If you see a cucumber acting suspiciously, don't eat it.

Care to share?

Marilyn Monroe

I just saw on Twitter that it's her birthday. I immediately went to find this YouTube video, which I've seen a heap of times.

It's weird how some people mean more to us. With Marilyn Monroe, like Charlie Chaplin; every time I see them, I feel a certain emotion, a certain connection, that I can't fully comprehend or explain. I remember liking Charlie Chaplin before I even liked Charlie Chaplin. I liked the idea of Chaplin. Of what he represented. Years later, I came to love his work, all of it, but it was hardly a surprise. It was meant to be. 

Elton nailed this song. And the YouTube member 'libysin' has done a perfect editing job. It just breaks your heart a little.  

The thing about Marilyn is that she was SO beautiful. And for the most part, always had a giant smile on her face. But we know how the story ends. It's not with a smile. Yet her smile is so truthful. It seeps right into you.

I don't even know what I'm saying. But I've watched the video three times on repeat. 

"Never knowing who to cling to when the rain set in." 

What a line. 

You can be the most beautiful and famous person in the world, but still, when you come at home at night and need a hug, you don't know who to trust. How can that be? Monroe was as human as the rest of us, but we expected more. I guess that's why it's a sad story. 

Marilyn is a symbol of everything that is beautiful. You don't have to be blonde and sexy to be beautiful; you just need to have a heart. We loved Marilyn's heart more than anything. 

"Goodbye Norma Jean, 

from the young man in the 22nd row, 
who sees you as something more than sexual, 
more than just our Marilyn Monroe".

Except it's not goodbye, because Marilyn Monroe will live forever.

Care to share?

How Do You Consume Music These Days?

I am playing around with today, realizing I kind of missed the boat, everyone moved on to Spotify. I've ditched iTunes, and have gone through a period of ripping mp3's from videos on YouTube. But the audio quality is bad. And my CD's are gathering dust. 

I'm in transition. I love music, I just don't know how to listen to it. Gone are the days of radio, and gone is the joy of Napster when you'd wait an hour for a song to download, and gone is the CD album. 

I guess what I'm saying is that, as much as I love music, I'm not loving the experience of buying/stealing/listening right now, because I don't really know what I'm doing. I haven't found something that works for me. 

Where are you at?

Regardless of where you are at, personally, I think we are all in transition. The distribution of music is changing, and no-one quite knows how it's going to turn out. 

Care to share?