Friday 5 February 2010

Building Awareness Around The Pressure To Succeed.

The society we live in isn't one that celebrates creativity. Most upcoming filmmakers and actors would love to be able to work on the projects that excite them, and just do whatever creatively drives them. That is what it would be to be truly creative. However, in modern Western society - we are success-oriented. The values of our friends, families and the people we come into contact with are based on achievement and succeeding.

Have you been in anything I would have seen? Are you a millionaire yet?

This is a giant pressure on the back of someone trying to make it in the arts. It's my theory that, anyone who hasn't 'made it' in the Spielberg-called-and-offered-you-a-million sense is rarely going to find time to relax. Ever.

You might sit down to watch a movie. But you only allow yourself to do it because it's helpful to your career. Even if you sit down for a glass of wine, your mind says Do you have any script ideas? Are you calling that producer tomorrow? Don't you need more money? What if Dad asks 'how is work?'

And you never really relax. Your body might, occasionally, be quite still - but you keep chugging away. When your body stops running around for the day, your mind keeps going.

I've also found that most people have a body symptom which represents this. Might be a nervous twitch, or a constant headache. It's something that says "hey, you're not taking care of yourself."

We all fight to make it in this industry. We work hard. And when we don't work, we're still on the go-- defending ourselves to people and plotting career paths.

Just yesterday, during a meal, I was telling my friends a funny story about when I went to the cinema with a friend the other day; and right in the middle of the story a guy who is one of my best friends stopped me and said "Hold on, you went to see a film in the middle of the day?". The meaning of course being, "hold on, I work 9-5 every day and work really hard and you just float around and work 1 hour a month?" -- The defences go up, you're under attack. You deal with it. And then you have a toothache, or a headache, or something-- some little part of you that holds in all the crap that just needs to be released and would be released if you would JUST RELAX.

In terms of success in our industry, and doing it healthily - I really think you need to prescribe some TRUE RELAXATION.

There is a collective pressure from everyone around you to live in the way society expects, to go out, earn your money, pay your bills. That is not quite how it works for people with the artistic sensibility.

You need to go to the cinema.
You need to spend a day scribbling.
You need to spend a day laying on your bed talking to yourself.
You need to sing out loud.

You must not feel guilty about these things.

What did you do today?

I didn't do anything.

We need to be able to do that.

Rest does not need to be justified. If your girlfriend comes home from working in the supermarket and she's grumpy as hell because she worked eleven hours and the boss was horrible, that is sad, it's terrible and needs addressing - but it is not your fault. You are still allowed a day to watch movies.

Most people rest on a Sunday. You might rest on a Tuesday. It's fine.

Rest. Truly rest. Don't justify it. Don't explain it. Don't say "I've just been reading up on stuff and writing to people and applying for stuff." Feel that pressure but RISE ABOVE IT.

Breath. Lay Down. Take a break - you deserve it. You've not had a rest in five years.

Care to share?

Thursday 4 February 2010

Making Friends -- a chance to get to know you all!

I was thinking today about how so many of you follow this blog now, and how many hits the blog gets - its growth has been amazing to me. But even with you regular commenters, I know so little about you!

I'd love to know more about you all! So, if you have the time, please answer these three questions in the comments.

1. What work do you do?

2. What are your hopes and dreams?

3. What makes you smile?

I'm excited to hear from you all!

Care to share?

Wednesday 3 February 2010

Up In The American Airlines Air Review.

George Clooney Gets on an American Airlines plane, and then afterwards stays at a Hilton Hotel. He then tells a few people he wants to become a special frequent flyer member person thing like only six other people in the world have ever been. He then gets in a rental car from Hertz and stays at another Hilton Hotel before boarding an American Airlines flight to St Louis, before boarding an American Airlines flight to Omaha or some place.

Upon landing he gets in a little Hilton Hotel travel bus which takes him to a Hilton Hotel where everyone knows him because he's a regular at the Hilton, probably because the staff are so lovely.

He gets in his Hertz rental car and drives to the airport where they only have American Airlines planes. By this point, the plot is thickening, as he wants to go and sleep with a woman who is waiting in a Hilton Hotel somewhere across the country.

The film ends with George Clooney boarding an American Airlines flight, after someone shouts "You forgot your Hertz Gold Card!" as he leaves a Hilton hotel whilst Tom Hanks delivers the Fedex package.


American Airlines
Hilton Hotels

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Tuesday 2 February 2010

44 Pages, 45 Minutes and A Funeral.

Okay, there was no funeral yesterday. I just want to make that clear. There probably was a funeral, somewhere, just not in a way that relates to my blog. And if you lost someone yesterday, I apologise. Not that I'd have offended you because if you lost them only yesterday, it wouldn't be the funeral yet. And if they're only lost, we don't know for sure they're dead. So hang in there. Anyways - the part about 44 pages will make more sense.

I headed to the office yesterday to write some pages. I'd been writing at home but I was writing at the rate of one word a day, which isn't very good. I mean, the words were fine, I think last Tuesday I wrote the word "envelope" which I was incredibly proud of. But when you're trying to write a feature length screenplay, you need to write a little more. Being only 14 pages into the script - I decided I needed to sit down in a place with the specific purpose of writing a film. When I'm at home, it's like "Oh, hold on - forget the screenplay, I should just write a ten sentence blog about Nora Ephron," and then the script gets forgotten.

I managed to write 30 pages, taking me from 14 to 44 pages, (as I write that I realise you don't really need me to tell you how many more than 14 pages there are, you could have figured it out..). Anyways, I was very happy with myself. 30 Pages is a lot of pages, but that's how I write --- I float away onto a different planet and it comes out fast and quick, much like after you've eaten a good curry. I planned to write until half past four but by three o'clock I was done, I had nothing left to write. My energy was gone for the day. This was slightly annoying as I realised I had a meeting at five o'clock in Angel (that's a place, in London, not a person. I don't have meetings in people).

I left the office and started walking towards Picadilly Circus. Just before I got there, I got a text saying "Could we meet in Picadilly Circus?" - and of course, that was very convenient for me, so I said "Yes." Of course, having told you it was convenient it's unlikely I would have said no, I'm just enjoying stating the obvious today. With 45 minutes to spare, I decided to go to the cinema.

'Up In The Air' was just about to start. I wanted to see it for two reasons. One, because I'm actually seeing it on Wednesday with a friend - so I thought it'd be good to see the first forty five minutes in case it's awful. And also, having just written 44 pages, it seemed like a good idea, using the 'page a minute' ratio, to see 45 pages worth of a film so that I could compare. Of course, comparing your writing to an Oscar nominated film is perhaps a bit crazy. But then, when they nominate Avatar for best picture, it makes me think I should enter my seven year old cousins home movies to the Academy Awards.

I soon realised I wouldn't be seeing 45 minutes of the film because there were about thirty minutes of trailers. This annoyed me. But then, as if by magic, the actress I was meeting text me to say she'd be half an hour late. And by this point I was thinking, she must be psychic or something, I should definitely use her in a project.

Then it happened. A short, dense, low THUD to the back of my chair. I felt special --- out of a near empty cinema the couple had chosen to sit behind me. I was sitting one row in front of the back row, on the far far right. I sat there because it was nearest the exit and I knew I'd be leaving after forty five minutes. Why they chose to sit directly behind me on the far far right, I don't know. I can only assume they had to leave to go see a play after 46 minutes. Whatever the reasons, they wouldn't have bothered me- it was just the THUD.

It completely boggled my mind. It wasn't like I was being kicked in a traditional way, like the nine year old little shithead on the plane, or the sixteen year old on the bus who's trying to impress his friends by practically bullying you with a constant banging against your seat . No, this was more sophisticated than that.

Imagine Rocky punching someone in the face as hard as he could. Now imagine that slowed down by 700% until it is an agonizingly slow, meticulous THUD. That is what I had to put up with, every two and a half minutes, or so. I tried to figure out what was going on -- involuntary leg spasms? Was it some kind of code to invite me to the back row for a threesome? If I had been there for the whole film, I would have said something. Something like "DO YOU WANT ME TO TAKE YOUR GIRLFRIEND'S POPCORN AND SMASH EACH PIECE INTO YOUR FOREHEAD IN SLOW MOTION SO IT'S LIKE 700 UNUSUALLY INTENSE THUDS?"

Unfortunately, when I do things like that, people find me odd - especially if I'm with a girl. Then she's like "What Thud? What are you talking about? You're imagining things."

I'll let you know my thoughts on the rest of 'Up In The Air' tomorrow, when I see all of it, unless Mr & Mrs Dull Thud are there, in which case, I'll update you when my prison cell gets Wi-Fi.

Care to share?