Friday 5 March 2010

My Perfect Movie.

Who would make, and star, in your perfect movie? You can use anyone dead or alive, but you can only use someone once. So, for example, you can't have a 'writer/director.' Post your choices on your blog, and email me the link:

The selection that excites me the most; will win 'Shawshank Redemption' on DVD. Here's the details of my film.

Written By

Billy Wilder

The perfect writer. The mix of comedy and drama; done in a way only Billy Wilder can. He's returning in 2010 to pen the screenplay. It's a mix between the humor of 'Some Like It Hot,' the snappy dialogue of 'Double Indemnity' - with the genius of 'The Apartment.'

Directed By

Cameron Crowe

There are not many people who could direct a Wilder script, apart from the man himself -- but one man who probably could; is Cameron Crowe. Knowing Crowe's love for Wilder, and the fact they spent many of Billy's final years together-- leaves me confident that Crowe could do it (I realize I brought Billy back to life to write the screenplay, and am now talking as if he's dead again-- just go with me..).

Crowe has the magic directorial touch; someone who can tell a story as well as anyone; but he excels in doing what I love to see the most; finding the heart and soul in material and making it something everyone can relate too.

Director Of Photography

Carlo Di Palma

I'm calling Carlo out of retirement, and death; to shoot the film. His work with Woody Allen, carrying on where Gordon Willis left off is cinematographical perfection. Whether it's the steady, fluid master shots of 'Hannah And Her Sisters' or the crazy, schizophrenic style of 'Husbands & Wives' or 'Manhattan Murder Mystery' - I'm completely confident that Di Palma is the man for the job.


Ennio Morricone

Ennio is the perfect composer. 'Cinema Paradiso' and 'Malena' are two of my favorite films. I give Morricone as much credit as Giuseppe Tornatore (who is on standby to Direct this picture if Crowe pulls out.) Today, I watched 'The Untouchables' - a very good film; but again-- made all the more wonderful by Morricone's masterful, heartfelt score. He's the man, he's got the job -- and he can do it his way; whatever he wants. He is the master.


Joel Cox

Joel Cox edits Clint Eastwood's films. I'm always amazed by how concise and meticulous the films are. Of course, that's mainly down to Clint Eastwood's directing; but the editing is always perfect -- that's down to Joel Cox.


Jack Lemmon

Being a Billy Wilder screenplay; it was inevitable that I'd go to Jack Lemmon. And of course, when making any film, Lemmon would be my choice. Next to Tom Hanks and Jimmy Stewart; I don't think there's anyone more watchable.

Paulette Goddard

Paulette Goddard, on screen, is magic. Her face makes life better.

Jimmy Stewart

Wow-- the idea of casting Jimmy Stewart in a NEW movie is literally the most exciting thought I have had in years. Jimmy and Jack Lemmon on screen together is really going to be something.

Cybill Shepherd

I really liked her in 'Taxi Driver' and 'The Last Picture Show.' I think she'd be good with Jack Lemmon. I'm casting Cybill Shepherd. A young Cybill Shepherd.


Charles Chaplin - A.K.A. The Tramp.

What could be better than a supporting character, a lonely fellow, A Tramp - who comes along to steal every scene; but not in a bad way; he just brings romance, sorrow, and AMAZING LAUGHS to the film. Also, he'd share a few scenes again with Paulette Goddard.

Julia Roberts

Julia is in the film to bring a bit of energy and sexiness to it. She'll play the modern woman who completely confuses Jack and Jimmy -- which will definitely provide some comedic moments; especially considering the wonderful material Billy has written for them.

Peter MacNicol

Peter MacNicol created the greatest TV character of all time. Yes, I'm talking about Ally Mcbeal's John Cage. It's time to get that character on the big screen.

Patricia Clarkson

Patricia Clarkson is a class act. She adds a seriousness and an elegance to the film that helps balance all the comedic genius involved; and she does it with the same grace and beauty as she always does.

Production starts next month...

Tell me about your perfect movie.

Care to share?

Thursday 4 March 2010

Shutting My Mouth And Getting The Job Done.

I have always been a do-er, when it comes to my career. Most people who know me know I am quite prolific when in comes to producing work and having ideas. But that being said -- I still often find that I'm not really doing the work. I remember, years ago, I used to moan about the lack of opportunities for upcoming screenwriters in the industry, even though I'd never written a feature. Likewise, I'd often moan about the difficulties of shooting on zero-budgets even though I'd never attempted to get funding. Over the years; I've become much better at doing the work.

Due to a variety of factors:- i.e. growing up, reading interesting books, unexpected opportunities, people dying, etc-- I started to look at things a lot more deeply and found myself really interested in psychology, and in creativity; I guess -- the psychology of creativity. And in the last year or so, I've gotten very good at being able to sit down with friends; writers, actors, etc-- and been able to really help them with writers block, self-esteem issues, resentment towards 'the industry', etc, often working on interesting issues and making a difference in quite a profound way. Unfortunately, after a while - it becomes a kind of schtick. I sit there, in a coffee house with a friend, spouting stuff about how to deal with inner critics, how to always be ready to write, etc; meanwhile, time would pass and I WASN'T ACTUALLY DOING ANYTHING.

And I hate people like that, people who swallow a psychology book and then start rambling about how the key to something is in the unconscious of some subconscious thing that is based on the ego of a tree and aligned with Neptune, or whatever; and I don't want to become one of those...

...But then again, as I write this -- feeling like I haven't been doing the work; if you asked people who know me, they'd probably say I have. This year I've I've written a feature screenplay, am starting a new one right now, I've got my short films into some festivals, I've interviewed one of my favorite writers (come back here next week to see!), I've consistently written this blog, and won an award for it; I've facilitated, filmed and edited in schools; doing work that is improving the lives of really at risk kids (behaviorally); I've actually done quite a bit.

So what am I talking about? On the one hand, I feel like I often let things slide without doing enough. But then again; what more could I have done?

"Now I have already mentioned that there was a disturbance in my heart, a voice that spoke there and said, I want, I want, I want! It happened every afternoon, and when I tried to suppress it got even stronger. It said only one thing, I want, I want!"
-From the book 'Henderson The Rain King' (Saul Bellow)

I guess what I am really getting at -- is laziness. The kind of laziness where an actor asks for their showreel footage and three weeks later, I haven't sent it. Eventually, I say, "It's in the post," and then four days later, I put it in the post. It's that kind of thing. It's that little part of me that is quietly, subtly lazy; like a kid who never really cleans their room, or a friend who never quite makes it to the party.

I feel, right now, that I need to focus more. I need to act on everything as it happens. Answer the calls, finish the scripts, research the things I need to research; basically, I just need to do all the things I do, but do them more precisely, professionally, and consistently. Do I make any sense? I hope so.

I've always believed that this industry isn't particularly hard to achieve a lot in, despite what everyone says. I think there are very few people who, when it comes down to it, will turn up for a shoot in a field in the freezing cold at 5am, and do it for three months solid for virtually no money.

Likewise, there are very few actors who take the pain of rejection, learn from it, understand their part in it, and come back stronger again, and again, and again-- there are very few writers who write the 10th draft, of their fifteenth screenplay, after being rejected or, worse--- being oh-so-close to major success before being dumped in the waste. THAT is doing the work; persistence:--- consistent, unwavering, absolute persistence and dedication, time and again, day after day.

That's me, from now on. Are you with me?

Care to share?

Tuesday 2 March 2010

Michael J. Fox Quotes & Wisdom

I have this habit of ruining my favorite books by scribbling in them, making notes, highlighting, etc. Today, I re-read Michael J. Fox's 'Lucky Man,' a really incredible book that I think everyone should read (literally, everyone.) I thought I'd share a few interesting quotes from the book in the hope they may interest you, and hopefully spur you on into buying the book, or borrowing my copy.

"Whatever anyone else thinks about me is none of my business."

On Parkinson's Disease
"These last ten years of coming to terms with my disease would turn out to be the best ten years of my life - not in spite of my illness, but because of it."

On School, talking to his Mother
"These are absolutes, Mom. They're boring, take math, two plus two equals four, I mean, that's already on the books, right? Somebody's already nailed that down. So what do they need me for?."

On Auditions:
"A word about rejection. Auditions, most struggling actors will tell you, suck. You get a few pages of a script and read it over and over in hopes of picking up some clue to the character, some insight that will give you an edge in translating written words into a living, breathing, engaging, and profound approximation of human behavior. If you can do this better than any of the other actors in competition for the role, you get to eat; if you can't, you don't. At least, you delude yourself into thinking it's that simple. It's not.

You also have to be careful that you're not too skinny, fat, tall, short, blond, redheaded, dark, light, loud, quiet, young, or old, and that there isn't something about you that reminds the director of his or her girlfriend, boyfriend, father, mother, priest, therapist, or despised stepchild."

Care to share?

Monday 1 March 2010

Best Entertainment Blog - 2010 Weblog Awards.

Kid In The Front Row won the 'Best Entertainment Blog' award last night at the 2010 Weblog Awards, or the bloggies, as they're also known.

I always try to be a bit Woody Allen about awards; mumbling about how I'm 'interested in the work, not the awards' but in truth, I am really excited by this. It's great to know people are interested in the site and its content.

I started the blog because I struggled to relate to the cynicism and negativity which often permeates the industry. I was tired of talented people I know who feel polarized and oppressed in this line of work. My hope was to focus on all the things we can, will, and do achieve. The struggles of a young actress, the pain of being a writer who can't write, the kid alone in the cinema, the geek with glasses who gets ridiculed for liking old movies, the dude who gets talked down to by film snobs because he loves big action films -- these are the people I wanted to write about, and for, because they are something special. They know the joy of being alone in a cinema and the pain of a DVD getting stuck 34 minutes in. They are Kids In The Front Row.

Thanks for being here, thanks for voting, thanks for the award.

Care to share?

The Oscars & My Woeful Predictions.

So, I gotta be honest, I've never actually watched the Oscar's. Sure, I love catching the odd acceptance speech on YouTube, but generally - I've never cared too much about them. Of course, that will change when I'm nominated for one - but until then, It's not a big deal for me.

However, a guy called Nick from emailed me; and asked me to partake in a thing whereby a bunch of us film writers post predictions to our blogs, and tell everyone how wonderful the vouchercodes people are (they are wonderful, they have many discounts for amazon, play, etc -- and they may even cure terminal illnesses, I'm not sure), and in return - I stand the chance to win a heap of vouchers and whatnot if I get the most right. So how could I resist?

Here are my nominations. Bare in mind a) I haven't seen many of the films I've nominated b) I've also nominated films I didn't like, so no need to blast me for taste or for getting things obviously wrong -- you're right, I'm sure, I'm just playing the game.

Best Actor - Jeff Bridges

Supporting Actor - Christoph Waltz

Lead Actress - Gabourey Sidibe

Supporting Actress - Maggie Gyllenhall

Animated Film - Up

Art Direction - Dr Parnussus

Cinematography - Avatar

Director - “The Hurt Locker” Kathryn Bigelow

Documentary - “The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers” Judith Ehrlich and Rick Goldsmith"

Editing - “Inglourious Basterds” Sally Menke

Foreign - “A Prophet (Un Prophète)” France

Best Picture - Up In The Air

Visual Effects - Avatar

Writing Adapted - Up In The Air

Writing Original - A Serious Man

You can see other bloggers, journalists and filmy people's predictions here:

Care to share?