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Sunday, 31 July 2011

Casting and Attraction

When you're first attracted to a woman, you think she's the greatest. Not only is she the sexiest person you've ever met, with a fabulous set of morals, but she seems so wise, talented and thoughtful.

When you find the perfect actor: they share many of these qualities.

Now, if the role you're casting is of the gender/type you're naturally attracted too -- there's a very real chance you'll be meeting some fascinating and beautiful people.

So you sit in an audition and in come the most beautiful women you've ever seen. And every now and then, there'll be one you like. One you click with.

Cameron Crowe once said: you have to be in love with your leading lady otherwise how can you expect your audience to be?

Here's the problem: put a beautiful woman in front of a straight man and he can't think straight. No exceptions.

If two women walk in, and one you find extremely attractive- how does that mess up your instincts? Is casting like relationships-- where you start off thinking it's magic and then two months later realise she's the devil?

How often have you seen a film with a sexy woman who can't act? Too often. Especially when you watch upcoming short filmmakers. It could be the director trying to make his film appeal to teenage boys but it's just as likely he got a mad crush on his leading lady.

Here's my point. When we meet attractive people, we project qualities onto them that aren't really there. It's nature. Film casting is not exempt from this. But how do you KNOW? How do you know for sure it's the acting you like? When you fall head over kneecaps in love with someone, you think they're a genius. You believe in them. Its human nature to believe highly of someone you're interested in.

Care to share?

Saturday, 30 July 2011

I'm Thinking Of Starting A Project

This is what everyone says. They're going to write a script, they're going to start a theatre company, they're going to make an acting reel.

Their projects always sound great and you always say 'you should do it!' But how often does that project get completed?

There's a big myth that 'the industry' is some big baddie trying to keep you out. But those who are doing the work are only doing the work because they're the ones doing the work.

You resist making the short film or doing a one man play or starting a sitcom pilot because you fear you're not quite ready, you're worried it'll suck.

Here's the truth: it probably will suck!

But it's meant to! Nobody is a genius right out the gate. No-one. Don't mistake genius with some 5 year old winning a talent show.  Those freaks mean nothing to no-one and they're not artists.

You wanna write or act or direct or do anything in this industry? You gotta get down in the mud and produce some terrible work.

If you keep creating, you keep getting better. People respect those who are making films. An actor who does a short film on their camera phone is more respected than the actor who sits in Starbucks bitching about Casting Directors. We live on the internet now and everyone can see how productive we are. You can show the world who you are in any way you choose.

You get good by working. Don't rust! Don't give up! Every moment spent poking someone on Facebook is a moment you could be developing a character or working on some dialogue.

Don't make the mistake of thinking your artistic destiny is in anyone's hands but yours.

Care to share?

Monday, 25 July 2011

Are We Too Shy For Greatness?

We know greatness. We've seen it. We stared up at a movie screen and witnessed it. We've danced and cried along to it on our favourite album.

Greatness exists. They went there.

We know what it is, what it looks like, but will we go there ourselves?

I guess that's the hard part. When you find greatness, it's so personal. Your favourite movie is your favourite movie, everyone else likes 'Pulp Fiction'. If your personal God's divide opinion in others, how scary that your personal best might do the same.

Your brain can do good,  your talent can tweak it and your hard work can drive you forward. But true GREATNESS? Maybe it's just a decision we need to make.

You love what you love, but you worry 'they' will think it's too cheesy, violent, romantic, obscure. We switch and adapt and guess and change and maybe it flies, maybe you get the job.

But greatness is somewhere else. It's that place you know where you never go. Its the world you really see, the dream you really live by, somewhere deep inside.

You might be alone in your room at 3am, or screaming like a maniac in a field because it makes your friend laugh -- wherever it is -- you'll have that moment when you feel like an outsider to society, but at one with the universe. That's where greatness lies, in the insights and experiences you get on the edge of normality, when everything just seems so incredibly fantastic.

The artist catches those rare insights in a bottle and releases them into the world.

I feel like we all know true greatness. We just need to trust it.

Care to share?

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Amy Winehouse & The World's Problems

In my previous post about Amy Winehouse, Jenny left this comment:

"I've seen a million facebook statuses on her death today and maybe one on what's happened in Norway on the same day, none about what is currently happening to tens of thousands of people in Bangladesh, East Africa, Malawi, Libya, Syria... It really pisses me off that people accord so much importance to someone who was essentially a highly privileged drug-addict, who happened to have a fantastic voice and once a upon a time made good music. If you want to mourn the loss of talented people, there are plenty of talented people dying every day, all over the world who never had the chance to let their talents shine. Mourn them, and then do something about it!
http://www.icrc.org/eng/
http://www.unicef.org.nz/Africa-Food-Crisis-Appeal?campaignid=204&referrerid=2
http://www.wfp.org/hunger
http://www.amnesty.org.nz/"

 
 Here is my response:

Ophelia. Thank you for bringing up Privilege. I think it's an important point.

I'll make the assumption that you have the privilege of sane mental health, and that you have the privilege of being free of addiction to substances. So when you speak about all these things you can't speak for all of humanity or indeed all of a blog readership, only for your perspective, from the privileges that you carry with you. It is from this place of privilege that we can label someone as "essentially a highly-privileged drug addict", as if that catch all label means anything at all. I don't think this is how she would see herself. Indeed, there is nothing highly-privileged about being dead.

Your assortment of nations mention, of course -- there are tragic things going on there just like in all of our neighbourhoods. But what can we focus on as individuals? What should we focus on when we're posting on a film blog? That people are mourning the loss of a soulful singer does not mean that they're not also caring about Norway, or donating part of their salary to the Red Cross. So it seems strange that you would need to share links to Amnesty or Unicef. 

Amy Winehouse was very charitable - having donated proceeds from her songs to HIV studies, donating thousands of pounds worth of clothes to charity stores, and posing for photographs for Breast Cancer Awareness. I think it's important to look at these things from a bigger perspective. Ophelia sees Amy Winehouse as 'a highly privileged drug-addict', which is disappointing because, after all, Winehouse is an artist and a person who was far, far more than that. 

There have been two clear divides in the sad story of her passing. One is "This is so sad, we love her!" and the other is "Um, hello? a hundred people died in Norway and there's more important things happening in Africa."

Amy Winehouse was an iconic figure. Her music reached people. And I would like to think that Ophelia, a talented actress herself, would know that art transcends barriers. People aren't mourning a random drug addict, they're mourning a woman who, when on form, could make a hundred thousand people in a soggy field dream bigger. Or she could donate all the proceeds from one of her singles to the fight against HIV. We need food and we need money, but we also need art. I remember meeting a Holocaust survivor in Poland who told me how huddling up and singing songs at night literally saved their lives. I'm not saying Amy Winehouse ever saved a life, but what I am saying is that -- she was just a girl, who sang some songs, who had some real problems. And if people want to mourn her, they should. She was a human being, she was an artist, and she was a part of people's lives. That matters. 

Care to share?

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Amy Winehouse

She dies, and people are talking about her music. Two days ago she was just a messed up celeb.

Everyone's saddened by the loss of young talent. Bemoaning the missing legacy we'll never get.

Why do we think of this stuff after death? Why does living talent not turn people on?

I don't know how talented Amy was, I was never a fan. But it's such a shame to see all the warmth for her that people have today. I bet she never knew how deep their affection was.

We always hold back on our feelings. Don't share our love till the tumour comes or the car smashes into nine pieces. Why are we so demented?

She seemed tortured. I'm only going by what the tabloids said. I never so much as looked her up on Wikipedia. She's gone now like we all will be -- she's left some art and they'll be playing her songs tomorrow and in twenty years time. She mattered. She landed. She'll be remembered. She was loved. That's the most any of us can hope for.

Care to share?

Friday, 22 July 2011

Success For You

Bank balance. House. Car. Significant other. Society has strict ideas of success.

You're an artist, you can't live by that.

Many of those things will still be important to you. But it should be up to you if they are.

Artistic fulfillment is the goal. You want to create the magic your heroes did for you.

My dream isn't a Ferrari. My dream is creating one moment at some point in my career that has the effect on someone that "City Lights" had on me. Or to write and direct something that makes someone feel understood like "Almost Famous" made me feel.

That's why the 'Are you famous/rich/giving up yet?' questions sting so much. Because everyone else is on a different trajectory. I could be famous and rich but I'd be miserable as hell if it all meant nothing. When I watch 'The Social Network', I love it because of how good it is, not because the cast and crew are rich and famous.

The artist doesn't ask 'how long till you get a real job?'. But if success doesn't come the artist starts hearing the voices in their own heads.

That's why you can't have a back-up plan. Being an artist takes everything you got. All of you needs to believe in you. If one part of you doubts your own talent, it probably asks the same things as the office worker: "when will you get a real job?" Don't let yourself suffer that.

Sucess for you should be on your own terms. It should be more about the work than the trappings.

Care to share?

Twentysomething Actors

There are so many. An entire generation of beautiful 27 year olds who all want to be actors.

But there's nothing inherently interesting about that. No reason why a casting director or an audience for that matter will give a shit.

The best actors quietly go and do the work. They just get better and better and work really hard. They get three lines in a movie but they really really work on making sure they have it nailed.

But most aren't like that.

Becoming an actor is something everybody does. Becoming a professional is only done by the few. What do I mean?

Every actor gets sexy headshots, but only a handful return phone calls. Every actor hits the 'apply for casting' button, but only once in a blue moon do they turn up on time for rehearsals.

The fame or celebrity doesn't mean anything. I know celebrities, and they all know it's fake. An illusion. But even if you want it, it's a by-product. Too many actors think they're celebrities waiting to get big.. so they walk around with a sense of entitlement, like they're something a little bit special.

The professionals just do the work. Quietly and dilligently make sure they're prepared. They put in the hours.

Talent is cool, it's useful. But more important is the hard work. You've got to act, got to train, got to create your own projects, got to watch a lot of acting. I know actors who say they're too busy to watch films. They're not very good actors.

Care to share?

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

The Murdoch's and News Corporation Stand For Everything I'm Against

This is why I love independent voices. 

The Murdoch's own EVERYTHING. They tell us what to think, what to feel. They own the news outlets, they own the film studios and TV stations. They own book publishing companies and radio stations and they even own sports teams!

But here are their two head honcho's, Rupert & James Murdoch, live on TV, being questioned by MP's. And they can't take accountability for anything! 


Hacked dead children's phones? Oh, we weren't aware!
Bribed police? Well it wasn't me!

It wasn't us, they say! 

They asked Rupert Murdoch flat out -- is this whole fiasco because of him? "No", he said. He's not taking responsibility for his own company. But why would he? The corporations aren't about individuals.

Evil is traditionally known as dictators and murderers. But in this day and age, a big part of evil is the big corporations mass handling people by the millions.

News Corporation own big news channels and publications the world over. In the UK; The Sun, News Of The World, The Times. Look at this list. They provide the news to you in Australia, in Fiji, in Japan, in Indonesia. 

But there's mass corruption. Back on July 7th I said, "The worst parts of this story aren't out in the public yet, it'll get worse before it gets better." And now we're seeing that happen. It's getting worse and worse.

So we have these guys who own our newspapers and TV stations and sports teams and film studios (they own half of 20th Century Fox) --- they own the world and when they're asked about all the disgusting things that happen in their organizations, they don't know! They plead ignorance!

And they've just been asked about "Wilful blindness." And they're shifting uncomfortably. 


This is great. Because corruption in the media so rarely gets investigated. A blind eye gets turned, and the Murdoch's go on owning everything. 

Maybe things are changing. The independent voices are more important than ever.

Care to share?

Monday, 18 July 2011

Writing: Start Now

I know what you're doing. You're waiting around for inspiration. You're sure it's going to hit soon. In fact, you kinda know what you want to write, but you're waiting for that flash of clarity.

That's how you die of old age. It's not how you write.

The brain is a fascinating and bizarre thing. Ideas and inspiration are locked up and you can't quite find the key.

It's because you're not writing.

Writing is where you explore, It's where you turn thoughts into art. When you put things on the page you'll start to see characters you never expected, and you'll be making associations and links you never planned.

And you'll write things that will amaze you. You'll look back and think "how did I come up with that?"

But it only happens if you write.

Just go for it. You won't actually die if it sucks. But if you keep sitting around just waiting for things to click into gear it's just not going to happen.

The best writers became the best writers by writing, not by waiting for the idea to click or the house to be empty or the summer to pass.

You have to write now. Let your brain know you mean business. Once you delve in, it gets easier, because your creativity is on your side.

There are writers out there writing three screenplays a year. Or 22 sitcom episodes. Or they're doing both whilst also finishing a novel and raising three kids.

And there's you, four years after it was six years since you started being a writer, and you're still waiting to be inspired.

Start writing now.

Care to share?

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Jorge & Alexa Narvaez




'Kid In The Front Row' - what does it mean? Well, the obvious interpretation -- it means to love movies so much that you're like an excited kid in the front row. But furthermore, when you look at the content of what I write about--- I'd say it's equally about trying to maintain that essence of childhood in your creative work. The play, the fun, the experimentation. It's about not getting caught up in your head every time you create something.


"In my house we follow four guidelines -- family, community, art and music"
-Jorge Narvaez

Jorge & Alexa Narvaez are the perfect example of what it is to be a Kid In The Front Row. A Father & Daughter team who like to have fun. To sing, create, and have a good time.

The naysayers on YouTube criticise her voice, but they're missing the point. The reason it has twelve million views on YouTube is not because it's perfect. It's because it isn't perfect. At least not in the way we've become accustomed too.

The video connects so deeply because of the connection of Jorge and Alexa. Look at how she casually leans on him while they're singing (in the first video). Look how encouraging he is. Look how comfortable she is. Of course, she's lovely and cute, but more than that--- she's FREE! She's having fun! Totally comfortable singing and creating.





All the comments say the same thing. They say "What a great Father!". And you can't help but think he's fantastic. He's in his mid-twenties, and he's taking the time to do this with his daughter. It's such a rare thing to see. Look at the joy in their faces!

I have been watching their videos non-stop for a few days. You just can't help but be drawn to their magic, their connection, their love for each other. It's so rare to see. Love gets distorted and confused and hidden and made to look complicated. Instead of saying 'I love you' we create barriers and hire lawyers and make incomprehensible art.

Jorge & Alexa Narvaez just do the simplest thing. They're just a family sitting down and singing. Yet they're the most truthful, honest, and downright lovely thing you could ever hope to see.

Care to share?

ALMOST FAMOUS And The Family Whistle

NOTE: This blog post previously began with a clip of a scene from 'Almost Famous'. The clip is no longer available on youtube.

Subtle is the hardest thing of all. Everyone wants more. But this scene is one of my all time favourite scenes, of any film, ever. And you could say that nothing happens in it.

But for me, everything happens in it.

Cameron Crowe is great at that. The little moments.

Penny and William are leaving the auditorium long after the concert has finished and the bands have gone home. It's that moment three hours after the thing when you're with someone and the moment means something. We've all had them, but they're impossible to capture in art.

But paradoxically, that is exactly what art is for. To capture those precise moments.

In this scene we have a fifteen year old boy fulfilling his dream. And falling in love. And feeling the pressure from his Mother who wants him to be a lawyer (the whilsting in the background is her.. it's a great touch).

And Nancy Wilson's musical score is perfect. The scene wouldn't work without it. A Crowe film isn't a Crowe film without Wilson's score. Cameron Crowe and Nancy Wilson recently announced their divorce, which could well mean an end to their collaborations on the big screen, but I hope not.

Almost Famous isn't about the bomb dropping or the car exploding. It's about the way people look at each other. The way they feel. The music they love. It doesn't get any better than this.

Care to share?

Friday, 15 July 2011

Beast Of Burden


You think they knew? You think they realised? Can you ever really know that what you've created is greatness?

Average is easy. Good we get to if we try hard enough. So often we create a song, a film, a whatever -- and it's good. And no-one cares! Because good is boring. Why waste two hours of our life watching good? Who downloads a song because it's good? You don't.

You want greatness.

Sometimes you forget that. But when you have the chance to turn the volume up and let a song breath -- you don't play the good song. You play the GREAT song.

'Beast Of Burden' is as good as it gets. It's a band at the top of their form. They captured something in a studio that is so rare. Bands try for years to do something that means something. Often the greatest screenwriters pour their souls into their work and what comes out the other end is mildly decent at best.

Can you ever know? Can you ever be certain that it will connect? I don't think so. 

The Rolling Stones got good through constantly playing. Always touring. Forever recording. Their talent is unreal and the voice is amazing. But it's more than that. It goes deeper. Somewhere between genius and hard work and heart, it all comes together.

This song, this version, is five minutes and twenty seconds of perfection.

Care to share?

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Fear.

It's a leap of faith to choose this lifestyle. You decide that you're a director or actor or writer and then you go off into the world. And you wear that badge.

With a mix of curiosity, envy, and disdain they ask you what the hell you're doing and how you're surviving.

And sometimes you have no idea. You have no money and no-one's into your stuff and you're nowhere.

I think that's the hard part. Artists never really have holidays. They never chill out. Because when people ask what you're doing you freak out. Because you need a masterplan.

If you're not able to tell them where you're going you feel like a fraud.

Truth is we're lost. Putting up dreams into the sky and dodging all the things that tear them down.

We don't know how to succeed.
We don't know where the money is.
We don't know why they like some films and hate the others.

We're just following our hearts.

When are you going to make some money? I have no idea.

Having confidence is hard. And some chirpy actress will lend you a book about positivity but it's vapid like her work. No good. Its just hard to put a script or film out and have it speak for what the hell you're doing with your life.

Sometimes we're miserable. Because we've got no idea when we'll make something good, or make some money or get a holiday. And we don't feel good when we take the pay day over your birthday party but sometimes we go half a millennia without paid work.

We never admit to the fear. Or to the idea we don't have all the answers.

Care to share?

ADVENTURELAND Takes Me Back

Adventureland reminds me of when I was alive. When the glances meant something. When hanging out was the world. When your heart soared or crumbled on any given day.

Adventureland captures youth and lust and love and dead end jobs perfectly. Takes me back to those days when just as you were about to tell the girl you like her she'd say "oh, I have a boyfriend now" and break your heart.

When you're old and in a dead end job it's a rut. But when you're young, it's the only work you can find. You're all educated and talented and your big brains are confined to small spaces. What do you do when you're stuck in a bad job? You make a community. Hearts fly and hearts fall. And you clock in and you clock out.


You hate your job but that's where it's at. You bitch about the bad pay and the same song they keep playing on the fucking radio and the only reason you stick it out is because of Tuesdays.

Because she works on Tuesdays.

'Adventureland' takes me back to those days, those feelings, those moments. We took chances and stayed up late and had a crowd. Nothing would come between us.


I need 'Adventureland' because those days are gone now. I'm numb. I don't take those chances. We're all grown up. The days of "I'll wait for you after work" are gone. Now it's a Facebook poke and a quick how are you. And you're not even missing out because you just don't care as much anymore.

'Adventureland' reminds you that you still have it in you. The mistakes. The naivety. The romance. The giant ass pandas.

I love this movie.

I talk more about this film here and here

Care to share?

Sunday, 10 July 2011

The Infinite Abyss

Days are passing. But you say you wanna write, say you wanna act, say you wanna be a photographer.

The very best aren't born the best. They print that legend, but the truth is they suck at first. But they keep working at it and working at it.

When did you last put words on the page? When did you last pick up your guitar? When did you last get a group together and act?

Expertise is in your hands. Nuance is waiting. Experience is the prize.

Experience and knowledge just kind of show up one day as long as you keep turning up. People ask me for blogging advice. They see me as an expert. Why? Because I show up day after day and write.

Not everything I write is great. But when I nail it I nail it better than I did three years ago.

Bloggers are writers who don't wait around to get hired. The best actors, when not working, are creating their own stuff.

It's hard to do the work, hard to succeed. But experience and knowledge about failure and rejection help too. It's all part of it.

I know this girl who used to absolutely rip my work to pieces. And everyone else's too. She'd have all the reasons why our work was awful. She was a film director too but she'd never made anything. Said she was waiting because she wanted it to be perfect.

Ten years went by. I'm still waiting. It's only her that suffers.

Take your blocks and obstacles and impossibilities and turn them into something. You can be in prison yet still put on a one man show, even if only for yourself. You could be three out of work actors and put on a sketch show in a local school or in the street where you live. I know an actor who is doing one man plays in retirement homes. It's not the dream, but he's learning so much. He has an audience that, on the first sign of boredom, falls asleep (literally).
You learn more about yourself as an actor and person dealing with sleeping audiences than you do in two years of drama school.

You have a talent, a skill, right? I mean-- you have some kind of gift? Don't wait for Spielberg to call or Simon Cowell to spot you. Just get to work honing the unique brilliance of all that is you. It's not about shortcuts, it's not about getting rich quick. It's about creativity. When you focus on it, it breeds longevity. That's what a career is.

People who worry about the paycheck and bitch about how their genius is undiscovered -- these people tend to stop practicing, learning and discovering. Don't let it be you. Explore the infinite abyss!

Care to share?

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Ryan Adams, Norah Jones, 2.37am

I was searching after a feeling tonight. Music is the quickest way to get there, it points you home. But it's hard on those nights when you don't quite know where the destination is.

I finally landed.


Not only is this a great song, but this is a wonderful video with Ryan Adams talking about his collaboration with Norah Jones. They talk about how different their styles of creativity are.

Adams invited Norah to record the track with him. They did one pass at it, and he was happy. Done.

That's what Ryan Adams is. He's prolific. He doesn't want to fit all the pieces of the puzzle, he just picks out the parts that feel right and capture the moment. The rest can stay in the box.

That's why his fans are obsessive and dedicated. Because he's real. If you're not a fan he's boring and depressing. If you are a fan, he becomes your life. There's no inbetween.

Watch the video. It'll inspire you creative people. Will make you feel less alone. And the song is as beautiful as they come.

Care to share?

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Authenticity Wins Out

The News Of The World saga shows that.

For years they've been feeding us bullshit, coming up with scandals or focusing our minds on irrelevant nonsense.

But now they themselves are the scandal. And they'll be finished as a publication when the week is over. They're irrelevant as a news organisation. We all knew this of course, but now the whole country is on board.

People want something real. It may take a while, but they get there.

Everyone on the good side of the fight is coming off well in this story.

These newspapers think they are invincible. They think the families of murdered children are part of a game, they think they can abuse the trust, security and stability of them.

But now they've been caught out and as a result they're immediately extinct. And any journalists mixed up in it will never work again. New Media is honest. The internet holds you accountable.

"The internet is written in ink, Mark!"

Murdoch is irrelevant now. Our tabloids, our police officers, they've been shown up for all their disgusting wrongdoings.

Let's not get too depressed about it -- a change is happening! We have power now! The News Of The World is a dinosaur. The worst parts of this story aren't out in the public yet, it'll get worse before it gets better. But a transformation is taking place.

We need to protect what the internet is. We need to keep an eye on news organisations and we need to stay aware of what the social networks are doing with our information. We need to keep everything authentic and honest. If we can do that, then bit by bit, we can overcome so much corruption in our world.

Care to share?

MAGGIE MAY


I've been listening to this song since I was eight years old. Maybe it was before that. My parents had it on CD, and on Vinyl. On casette too. It's the only song I never get tired of. Not even a little bit. I know every inch of the MTV unplugged version. I know all the moments when the crowd cheer or scream or breath.

The song means everything to me, but I don't even know what it means. Sometimes I think he loves Maggie. Sometimes I think he's bitter. What I know for sure is the guitar solo towards the end is magic. 


Your favourite songs aren't just your favourite songs. They're more than that. They're something that's inside of you. Something you carry around. Everyone has that one song that will get them up at a party. Or get them singing in a car. Or get them smiling while walking through town with an iPod screaming out songs.

Whether the song is as great as I think it is or whether I'm bias because of my affection for it isn't relevant. Or at least, it doesn't matter. Sure, 'Bohemian Rhapsody' could be the best song ever, but it's not important. What is important is what matters to you. Some songs make us happy. Some songs we want played at our funerals. Some songs make everything okay.

On 3 mins 21 he sings "You stole my heart, but I love you anyway."

And then there's the solo. It steals your heart. But you feel the love. Some music just sinks into you and resonates with every bone in your body. You might only find three songs in your life that do this, but they become the soundtrack to your life. They make everything okay. They make sense of all your love, your pain, your problems.

He sings "Maggie, I wish I'd, never seen your face." But you know he doesn't mean it. Or he means it but he also means the exact opposite too.

In the unplugged version, he changes the line "You stole my heart and that's what really hurts" to "You stole my heart, but I love yous anyway."


And it makes sense. Because you can never hate Maggie. She breaks your heart, but you love her anyway. "You stole my soul but I love you anyway." What a great line. 

'Maggie May' is truthful. It's honest. I say this without ever quite figuring out what the song means. 

That's what great art does. Says EVERYTHING yet somehow stays open. It means something different to every person.


"You made a first class fool out of me
But I'm as blind as a fool can be
You stole my heart, but I love you anyway."

Why do some songs stay with you? I was just a kid, listening to whatever trash was in the top 40. But 'Maggie May' got through to me.

I guess the important thing about this song--------- it's FUN! You can turn it up and enjoy it! He's not trying to break your heart or depress you or excite you, he just sings. But by doing that, he succeeds in breaking your heart, depressing you and exciting you. I guess that's just it; in this song, Rod Stewart recorded who he was, who he is. And that's why, when I think of myself, and who I am and what I'm about, I listen to this song. It reminds me of who I am.

Care to share?

Sunday, 3 July 2011

Whispers From The Second Row

My post Opening Weekend, and Seventeen Years Later started slowly. It had no comments and I was convinced, as I nearly always am, that people disapprove of, or are disinterested in what I am writing. And then there were a few interesting comments, and my fears quietened -- the commenter's began talking about the comments section itself. 

Happy Frog & I: "I'm really surprised no one has commented on this post. There are certain films that I can put on when I have had a horrible day and I know they will make me feel better. The Big Sleep, Before Sunset, Gross Point Blank, the list goes on and on. I know what I write and what I'm interested will not appeal to everyone but I try and stay true to what makes me feel good."

Paul S: "The lack of response to this post just highlights how flawed Blogger is as a format. People like Happy Frog are an honourable exception because the vast majority of bloggers pay scant attention to anyone's writing but there own no matter how interesting and inspiring it might be.

I was going to share the films that always make me feel better but I stopped and thought, will anyone read this ? and will anyone care? Sadly I don't think they will, or maybe I'm just having a bad day ?
Kid, you deserve better!""


A couple of things got touched on -- one, the lack of feedback a writer gets -- and secondly, the hopelessness of the person leaving a comment. Is anyone reading? Does anyone care? These are common concerns for writers, whatever format they are working in. 

It's just a blog, is a common thought. But blogs are personal; and the interactions take place between people who, like in any other form of conversing -- they need to know they exist. They need to know somebody cares. 

When things really suck, people make it known.
When things are good, people aren't inspired to say anything. 
When things are great, people assume great things are already being said, compliments given, etc. 

After that, Invisible Kid commented directly on the subject matter of the blog. Thoughtful, opinionated and fascinating comments like this often get read by me, and possibly few else. A huge amount of my followers do so by email, and don't see the comments. It's a shame, because you miss things like this:

Invisible Kid: "I hear and agree - ultimately you must do what you need to do and if others get it as well then so much the better. However we all have to pay the bills, but we can still manage to do that while retaining some integrity and dignity.

I too am a fan of Kevin Smith - although as you so succinctly put it, he seems to have lost his passion. I may have read or heard on one of his prolific podcasts that he was to give up directing in the near future. I gather he intends to prefer the podcast/internet radio route to getting his message (such that it is) out there. He seems to be of the opinion that he has been bluffing his way and is just waiting to get found out.
 
I think that what made him successful has also been his undoing - That and the whole social networking phenomenon/curse. I may be going off at a tangent here but it seems that everything has to be reduced down to a sound bite or a 140 character tweet. Facebook used to be a great way of keeping in touch with friends and family around the world, but nowadays it seems full of insignificant people posting insignificant nonsense about where they are and what they are doing - they seem to have their noses stuck into a digital device for so long that surely while they are recording for posterity the last thing they did or saw or thought, they are missing the next half dozen. At the risk of making a gross generalisation, many people don't have the time or inclination to read a blog, let alone write one. They need the fast food equivalent in manageable bite sized chunks. Easily digestible but ultimately bland and unsatisfying.
The same is true of movies - as audiences seem to have increasingly shortened attention spans, there seems to be a worrying lack of originality in mainstream cinema. Oh I know its there if you go looking for it, but most multiplexes are only interested in bums on seats and popcorn cartons on the floor. 

My taste in film is akin to my taste in music - fashion and trends have nothing to do with either. If I happen to like something that you also like, then good for the both of us, we have something in common, which is nice, but I will continue to like what I like for my own reasons and not because someone says I should.
I am going to end it there because I can feel the ideas starting to bubble and I feel it better that I sort them into some semblance of order and turn it into a post of my own rather than rambling on in this fashion and hi-jacking your blog as I have done others on occasion. Oh and that post may be some way off or may never see the light of day so don't feel I am self promoting."


Great thoughts there, but also, some things resonate deeply when they're short and simple. LEAT somehow came across a posting of mine from September 2010 called "Don't Keep Your Talents At Home" and left this comment.

LEAT: "I know this is an old post, but it resonates so much on a summer morning listening to Ben Folds. There's always an audience, and if there isn't then there's the collaborators; and if you don't have them you have the creation. GOOD MORNING WORLD!"

What a wonderful thought. Worth repeating: There's always an audience, and if there isn't then there's the collaborators; and if you don't have them you have the creation.

The comments are an important part of this website. But too often they get marginalized, pushed to the side and forgotten. I am writing this post to remind people that, on a personal level, I care about them deeply, I love it when people share their thoughts and ideas and passion here. But I am also aware, as Paul S helped bring to my attention, they often seem invisible, or irrelevant. I will be doing a lot more posts like this in the future, bringing the conversation out in a more open and hopefully deeper way. 

Care to share?

Saturday, 2 July 2011

Eating On Set

What I ate and drank today, in order:

Cereal Bar
Tea
Banana
Chocolate Chip Cookie
Chocolate Chip Cookie
Tea
Tea
Coke
Chocolate Chip Cookie
Orange
Banana
Coffee (One mouthful. Thought it was my tea.)
Tea
Half a Bagel (plain)
Kit Kat Bar
Water
Tea
Twix
Tea

Care to share?