Tuesday 6 April 2010

Theodore Roosevelt Quote.

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”

-Theodore Roosevelt.

Care to share?

Monday 5 April 2010

Focusing On Writer/Directors.

I'm going to slow down posting here for the next couple of months. Rather than the usual smattering of film related articles - I am going to focus on the eight writer/director's who have influenced me the most, and write about each of them one by one.

My aim is to look closer -- why are they so great? Why does their work resonate with me so profoundly? My hope is that I'll learn a lot more about their works but also -- I'll learn a lot more about me. I'm setting a deadline - 5th June 2010, that's two months from today. Before those two months are out I will have gone back and re-discovered the back catalogues of those eight writer/director's, and have written about each of them.

The films I gravitate towards tend to be those directed by the person who wrote them. It's not an absolute rule; and originally it was always by coincidence -- but I remember many years ago looking at my favorite films and realizing they were, more often than not, by writer/director's. And then of course, it eventually began to dawn on me that it wasn't coincidence at all: I love films that have a singular voice shining through them; when one person has an idea, a vision, and is able to express it in a personal and meaningful way. Occasionally, you get a writer like Charlie Kaufmann who manages to have this influence by being a screenwriter alone - but, by and large, it's the writer/director's who are able to do something more personal, and more profound. So I want to look closer at that. Precisely, I want to look closer at the ones I love - and explore the reasons why.

Care to share?

Sunday 4 April 2010

creativity & tiredness & pressure

and you invite them to a screening and they invite you to a play and she invited him to an audition and he begged the woman for a role and they offered some guy an unpaid thing and he handed out his showreel and i wrote a script and she reinvented herself and he got inspired and those other people found a great book and that dude set a goal and someone else kept demanding people become his 'fan' and the pretty girl kept learning her lines and the weird man wrote to everyone he could think of and the tall man plastered posters everywhere and some old broad kept singing and someone else was trying to make a short film and some little girl had talent and some teenagers put together a documentary and a group put together a project and the foreigner re-wrote something and a lady kepting calling them up and a guy continued printing, emailing, calling, creating, auditioning, writing;

and still, no-one quite got to where they were headed.

and everyone is tired. everyone is really tired. but nobody lets themselves rest.

and people are wondering when are they going to give it up. when are you giving up? what would make you give up? why haven't you succeeded? are you good enough? are you not good enough? are you making money? are you not making money? do you need more pressure? maybe you have no pressure? maybe you need the pressure of a real job? maybe you're not pressuring yourself? maybe you have it easy? maybe you want things easy? maybe you should just write a script? have you thought about writing an email? maybe you should do more auditions?

and you take those thoughts on board. and they're all valid, every one is valid. and they make you tired.

Care to share?

Saturday 3 April 2010

Music And Me

I really love music. I love that my iPod broke and that I lost thousands of songs. Now I use my iPhone, with a much smaller capacity - and carry around only a couple of hundred tracks at a time. It takes me back to the early mp3 player days when I could only fit 30 songs on it. It's getting me closer to the Kid By The Speaker who used to stay up later than his parents realized - scanning through the radio waves for a song that sounded how I felt.

I used to make cassettes once a week, 90 minutes of pure greatness - I still have most of these tapes. I had no prejudice or snobbery when it came to my choices. It could be Nirvana or Led Zeppelin, or it could be Hanson or ABBA. I just loved good music.

My love for music had different stages. The listening to Mum and Dad's Rod Stewart and Tina Turner records was the first stage-- followed by a brief foray into really predictable chart music. This left me unsatisfied and soon led me to a local, and now defunct record store where I would ask 'do you have the first Beatles album? Is it any good?'

I loved Motown music. It seems that anything by anyone who was Black in the 1950's, 60's and 70's is my kind of music. I could relate more to Otis Redding and Sam Cooke than whoever was in the charts in the 90's.

By the age of 14 I was a working DJ. Specializing in 25th Wedding Anniversaries and 40th birthday parties. I just knew that kind of music. I went into partnership with a friend who had free access to equipment and we began working fairly regularly, although we ended up booking more school discos and 18th birthday parties than anything else.

Being a lover of great music and already, at that age, someone who enjoyed integrity more than money-- I quit. The youngsters were asking for 'garage' music (a style of music prominent in the UK in the late 90's) and it was something I just couldn't get into, it didn't excite me.

At this point my musical tastes changed. I remember very specifically searching for cover versions of Oasis songs, who were my favorite band at the time; they were, of course, a natural progression for a fifteen year old Beatles fan. My search for cover versions led me directly to a version of Counting Crows covering 'Live Forever.' Or rather, of lead singer Adam Duritz sitting at the piano playing it solo. I was really moved by the performance. He changed the tone and meaning of the song. I searched Napster for more Counting Crows music. The first song I found was an acoustic rendition of their song 'Round Here' (the version on the Storytellers disc). Less than six minutes later I had a new favorite song, which it has remained to this day.

From my mid to late teens my music tastes veered strongly towards the works of singer/songwriters. The usual suspects became my favorites; Springsteen, Dylan, Ryan Adams, Joni Mitchell, etc. Who can speak my dreams better than The Boss? Who can console for heartbreak better than Ryan Adams? Who can express what it is to feel lost or alone better than Adam Duritz? The answer to all of those, for me, was and is: no-one. Their words and voices have sung my life for over a decade and I don't know what I would do if I couldn't have Springsteen pick me up or the Crows to make me feel understood.

In the last year or so, I've felt my music needs changing slightly. I've developed a love for a community based Jazz radio station in New Orleans, WWOZ.
Hearing them play old and rare jazz records is really something special-- almost magical. It worries me -- the flood of teen sensations and game show winners who populate popular music today; they make it harder and harder for a youngster today to hear the genius of some guy on a saxophone from 1935, or the heart and soul of a live Aretha Franklin recording.

At the moment - I seem to be listening to a mixture of film soundtracks (okay, mainly just Ennio Morricone, who is simply incredible) and I'm also reconnecting with something I've always had a soft spot for: women and pianos. Joni Mitchell, Vonda Shepard, Sarah Mclachlan. I've always loved that stuff. Gives me some balance, I think.

What the future holds, I don't know. I listen to music differently now, not quite as obsessively (I have over a 100 versions of certain favourite songs...), and I feel the scattering of my collection on near extinct formats and numerous hard drives means I almost don't have as much choice and simplicity when finding music as I used to.. But I still love it all. Right now, as I sit on an airplane somewhere above Europe, 'Ooh La La' by The Faces just came on my iPhone player, and that alone has made my day. That's why I never understood why people argue about who the best band is, or what song is the greatest; for me, it's something much more personal. It's hearing a song at the right time, in the right place; and the result being a big smile and the feeling that maybe life is worthwhile after all. That is exactly why I love music.

Care to share?

Thursday 1 April 2010

You Live Your Movie & I Shall Live Mine - Guest Writer Roxy May

There are writers who are good, writers who are great, and mostly; writers who are okay. And then you get someone like Roxy May, a writer with a bit of magic. Where she got it from, it's hard to know. Did she steal it? Does she deserve it? Does she know she has it? I don't really know the answers I just know that when she puts pen to paper it has the magic in it. I can say that about four people and one of them is Billy Wilder. What I like is that the things she says sound like real words and real feelings - not like somebody trying to come across like a good writer.

Roxy May is a 29 year old writer/director who spent time living and working in L.A and New York; but has now returned home to Dublin, Ireland, where she is writing her first feature screenplay
. Keep an eye out for it..

You Live Your Movie & I Shall Live Mine
By Roxy May

Hey folks, so I’m the girl in the front row who steals the kid in the front row’s popcorn. Yes, I’m a girl and he’s a boy and that’s what we do to get attention; even if we are only 10 years old in our imaginations. I take some from him, he takes some from me, back and forth, hands grabbing every last buttery salty piece until the yellow bucket of yummy gold empties out and all we’re left with are just a few measly seeds that never got to pop. Suddenly as the trailers come to an end and the energy in the room grows silent with anticipation for the big presentation, the kid and I look to each other with one thought, “No more popcorn”. The game is officially over. The two kids couldn’t even wait for the movie to begin...
Some would say we were too hungry, some would say we were never taught how to be patient and some would simply say that's just. One minute you have something, the next you don't. But what if I was to opinionate that the popcorn we were stuffing our faces with was somewhat parallel to the chances we all courageously take to fulfill our dreams. That the life changing choices we take every day ultimately create our destiny that in turn ultimately produces and directs our very own movie’s for the world to see. You see, the popcorn always runs out but our imaginations are never ending seeds of magic.
You see this girl in the front row understands something. In her little fun creative carefree soul she knows deep down that every time she pays $15 to see a movie, she’s actually investing in her very own scripted feature film. You might want to read that once more. Basically until you understand the key importance of investment, in all areas in life, you will never understand life itself; Which is why both kids are always searching for the right moments to be taken, the right people to bump into, the right connections to be made and build on and above all the right door to open, so they can one day look back at their childhood lives and think wow, we really made it happen didn’t we. We really made our dreams come true. But what exactly does it take to make our hopes and desires a reality and why do so many people have a say in how we go about it, even if it makes our spirits soar?

The truth is everyone has different lives to live. Everyone has a different path to follow and unique ways to going about their purpose. It's OK if you don't know what your purpose is yet, but what ever you do keep searching for it. I guess what I'm trying to say is: my movie is always going to be different to the Kid In The Front Row's, my leading man (the man i hope to end up with) will be different to his leading woman, my scenes (my every day situations), my dialogue (my chit-chats with friends, conflicts and emotional times), even my ending (the day there's no more life to live) will always be my own.

There are millions of people roaming the earth with millions of thoughts going through their heads. Will I sell this new script I’m writing and working so hard on? Will I get this audition that could change my life forever and will I be happy with everything once I achieve it? But what’s the difference between somebody turning a thought into action and actually getting that step further to somebody throwing it all away because they didn't believe they could do it. It takes courage.

Fear is our only enemy.

Even if you’re not in show business and just wanna get the courage to propose to the woman you've always loved. What’s to say she won’t say yes? She may not like your beer belly or any annoying habits you may have but the way you make her heart skip a beat she may want that feeling inside her till she’s old and grey. Who knows? The only way you will know is if you try. And try never hurt anybody. It may be scary but the outcome is worth it in the end. That's the risks we must take.

Kid In The Front Row points out in his blogs each week how he will always keep trying to be creative, always keep trying to be his best and keep trying to achieve the success he wants even when people still manage not to understand where he’s coming from or what exactly he's trying to do. So what if he wants to be the next Steven Spielberg, if he’s not hurting anybody let him try. Do you think Bill Gates cared what others thought as he sat hours upon hours sitting in his bedroom playing around with his computer? He had a belief system that said over and over again “no matter what…I’m gonna do this,” even if the cool people are out hanging around street corners slagging him off behind my back. Who’s cool now eh? Just like Spielberg, Gates had a vision and just like his own movie executed his direction. He created his own script, edited his own scenes and shot his own footage by choices and decisions for his own good. For himself. So when somebody, a random old friend gets in touch on Facebook and asks you “hey buddy, what you up to these days” simply reply…”Oh you know, just doing my thing…building my dream, working hard to get there…(followed with a big smile).”

Nothing in life needs an explanation if you're on the right path and being a good person. This chick in the front row knows a thing or two about a thing or two and on her own personal quest to create stories worth talking about she thinks as she glances to her friend Kid In The Front Row….”So what if the popcorn's all gone, we’ve just invested 2 hours in our future…and that’s what it takes….” Meaning the seeds that turn into popcorn is the imagination in your mind, and once your imagination pops, the opportunities will always arise. Opportunities mean success and success means happiness. If that’s what you want to believe. Or you can be like me and start being happy now….and in my personal experience happiness means being in the moment, and pursuing what matters to you most and if you do what you love, the rest will surely follow.

Care to share?