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Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Thinking about Roger

Cut Nice Guyjin at the Fish Market yesterday. It was the first time we shot all three of them together. They were like a breath of fresh air. And they started to turn things around for me. They reminded me about some of the great things about Tokyo.

I'm thinking about how to construct scenes. There are so few scenes where the characters are not talking to camera. It's just the way it is, so I have to use that to my advantage instead of moaning about it. How can I used that in an interesting way? How can I use that to communicate to the audience. I have to think like the audience is along for the ride. The characters are always talking to us (Patrick and me). But we represent the audience, so it's as if the characters are talking to the audience directly. I need to experiment with that, find the rhythm and the poetry in that. It has something to do with making each person in the audience feel like they are sitting in that room with us, or walking in the fish market with the Nice Guyjin. They have to experience it like we were experiencing it when we were shooting.

Why did I go back there? Why did I want to make this film? What did I want to communicate? What was my intention? In Tokyo, things seemed to happen to me...that's how I felt. I felt that I had no control. But there were people that did have control...or they seemed to. They were the cowboys. They had money, they had lifestyle, they had a life that was like a dream...a fantasy. How did they do it? What was it about them? What qualities did they have? they looked like average normal guys. They were average normal guys.

I had to find out, so I went to Tokyo looking for the cowboys...and this is what I found. Now that's sort of the beginning (not to say that it has to come at the beginning of the film). I went to Tokyo looking for the cowboys...the Tokyo cowboys. then I have to define a cowboy. Then I go through all these guys looking for that. And, in the end, do I find it? Him?

Back up a bit...define a Tokyo Cowboy. Western guy, arrives in Tokyo while still quite young...looking for opportunity, adventure, a new start...a start as they are young and don't know what they are looking for. The post modern urban frontier. It's different from the other frontiers where there is nothing but wide open spaces. The PM urban frntier has broadband and...well everything. And, it's sitting on thousands of years of recorded history. All that choice, all that opportunity, all that freedom. Only the strong survive.

In the end, Tokyo is the star of the movie.

I knew this guy in Tokyo...gaijin. He started up one of the first ISPs in Japan. I met him at the beginning of his adventure. He became so successful--beyond his wildest dreams. When I left Japan, he was about to retire at something like 42. I remember the last time I saw him. He was so happy. He was about to start the rest of his life.

A few months later he was dead...murdered. He'd gone back to America...Los Angeles I think. He was looking around for opportunities. That's where they got him. I don't know what that means, but it means something.

Over there it's safe. It's like a dream. And here...that's like the real world. It's sometimes too real for people.

Monday, December 19, 2005


I want it to feel like the audience has gone on this journey with us. But, doesn't that mean they have to be coming from the same place as us? They have to begin where we begin. Actually having trouble with the beginning. I have most of the assembly in place...that's all of the middle bits. I have an ending...but beginning. Isn't that always the hardest part?

Start with words then find the pictures. They are surely there.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Good things Brewing

Been transcribing again. Looking forward to finishing at the film school on Tuesday of next week. Then off to Sweden on Wed. to do a recky for the Rockhammar short we're doing next October. Back on Sunday. Then I can dedicate full time to Tokyo Cowboys until about the 2nd week in January when I have to go back to work again. Patrick may get a good gig early next year which would mean I could work full time on Cowboys until July. Cross your fingers for us everyone.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Back in the Saddle Again

Finally settled back into London, and Patrick has started cutting again. I went back to work at the Film School to bring some money in. Patrick is getting gigs here and there. A one-day gig for Patrick yields one week’s worth of wages I get from the Film School, but the school is steady work.

We are very close to an assembly with some 57 sequences cut, but not there yet. It’s all going to come together with the writing, so I’ve got to find time between working full time and taking care of the production side of things to get in some quality writing.

What is clear, though, is that after taking nearly a month off from the footage, I can objectively say that the stuff is cutting together very nicely and we have something special.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Cowboy News

Nice Guyjin have been ranked #11 on Japanese itunes in the category of Rab/Hip Hop.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

A Bit All Over the Place

Finally back in London! Rolled into Rob's at 4:30. Caught up. Friday morning, Patrick and I excitedly boarded the bus in anticipation of seeing the flat. We waited out on Old Compton Street for the agent to show. But, when he did, he had just gotten off the phone with the news that his nan had just died! He took us up to the flat, and it was the wrong one. But, the poor guy was in such a state that we could do nothing about it.

The other flat was already taken. I was a little pissed at Adam as he was supposed to see the flat two days earlier, but he couldn't because of work.

We've got an appt. on Monday to see two others near Holborn station. One, says the agent, is the size of a football field. I'll believe it when I see it.

I will not be beaten! We will find a flat in central, and it will be cool.

P's job has been put back a week, but that will give him the opportunity to re-acquaint himself with the software.

Patrick and I have been together for nearly 4 years.

Mom wants us home for Christmas. How am I going to manage it.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Things I Don't Spend Money On

On the boat back to London. Got up at 5 a.m. to make the 3 hour drive to Gothenberg to get the boat. Couldn't sleep last night anyway. Stayed at Goren's, and he has's a farm! They were running around all night. We had to sleep with the light on, and then they were quiet.

Made two appts to see flats on Friday.

We're both really looking forward to being back in London. My plans? Work up at the film school as many days as they will let me. Editing at night. Writing on the weekends. Patrick got put up for a job by R. It's asst. editing, and it pays quite well, so we are excited about that.

Just want to get settled in a flat, activate our love film account, get out UGC cinema cards back and start editing again. Staying at R and H's for two weeks until we get a flat.

As for my idea about publishing in London, I wrote down 20 ideas. I bought the "Writer's Yearbook," and I'm going to give it a go. If I can get published here, that will be three countries who have published my work. I'd love to get some of the poetry published, but I will take just about anything. In Tokyo, I had to do loads of writing for free before I got my paid gigs. I don't think it will be any different in London.

I feel that this coming year has good things in store for Patrick and me. A better quality of life, some regular would be nice to actually make a living as opposed to just scraping by. Here is a list of things that we haven't spent money on in years:

hair cuts--why pay for them when you can do them yourself (in P's case) or not at all (in my case)
the dentist--floss and brush after every meal, no sweets, powerful mouthwash
dining out--why when you can cook
CDs--borrow them
make up--never wore it anyway
clothes--hand-me-downs from fashionable friends
shoes--they last for years
socks--I'm a darn good darner
hair gel--shaved head and long hair need none
gym--walk faster

Things that I give up meals for:

the cinema
the TV license

I think our financial situation will get better in the coming year. I'd like to stop begging for money. I mean, what makes me different from the beggars on the street. I'm using the money begged to pay rent, while they are using it to buy smack. One man's rent is another man's smack.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Small Things of Note

Spent the day yesterday transcribing the Ueno footage of Nice Guyjin. Had a phone call with Channel 4 telling me what they were expecting for the pitch.

Friday, October 07, 2005

The Next Best Day

Yesterday, Channel 4 called. I've been short listed for the Channel 4 Sheffield Documentary Pitch for another idea I had. That was a bit unexpected, but very nice. I told her I was in Sweden and had to figure out how to get back to London. So, booked a flight on Ryan Air to go back to London next week.

CA gave me a contact for a Japanese marketing company in London. Who knows what will come out of it, but it's worth an introductory email.

Our patron came through with some money as well. This allowed me to pay off the overdraft debt on my account, which has been hanging over my head for a year. My account is now zeroed out. It seems like the plan is working. NV Peale suggests cultivating a relaxed trust in God. Prayerize, Pictureize, Actualize. When you have a problem in your life, talk it over with God,test it according to his will. Now I'm sounding like a mad Jesus freak, but I do have a strong faith, and it does work when I'm not whinging, so who cares?

Thursday, October 06, 2005

The Best Day of my Life

Got up late and spent until 4 p.m. sending off emails. It's amazing all of the admin work that goes along with making a film. It's enough to drive one's creativity away.

Started to edit the first meeting with Scott. I thought I'd give it a go at Patrick's suggestion. I did a very rough assembly that clicks in at over 10 mins., but it was good for me. The first step is the assembly, and that's just cutting out all the crap and leaving all of the potentially good stuff in.

I worked a little on my goals as well...just the planning part...the financial goal. Trying to think about paying us first...that is, socking away 10% of everything we make before paying any bills. It's a really good habit to get into. Still working on our budget, which is a challenge because we don't have any income as of yet. It's's like I have to think about how much it will take for us to live in London and then figure out how to make that figure monthly. I guess we could live more cheaply if we moved out of zone 1, but central is our home. And, with my NOLA home gone, I just want to be in a place where I feel comfortable.

Trying to find flats on the Internet. Can't rely on Adam. He's working flat out and doesn't have time to look at places.

I'm going to cut more stuff myself...particularily the interviews. The best way is to transcribe, log what is good and then do a rough I did with Scott's interview.

Two new investors. It's a Godsend. But after these two, we'll only have £6000 left in the initial budget to raise. Can I finsih the film with £6000? Maybe. But, it's gonna take a lot of work...a lot of begging. Maybe do something with sweat equity.

If Patrick could just get one good gig a month, we could live off of that. But, he's been trying for over a year to break in, and he only started getting good gigs right before he left. Now, he may have to start all over again.

Haven't had a shower in days. This could end up being the best day of my life.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Put everything into little boxes...

Finished transcribing Scott's interview yesterday. That was it. I was in a mood all day. Patrick cut the singing sequence where Dave and Hiromi are practicing for the new band that Dave wants to create with him and his fiance. I'm going to cut the first meeting with Scott...look for the cinematic elements.

I wonder...I wonder...I wonder if I can get the assembly done by the end of December. That's another three months. If I can get all of the sequences cut by ...hold on there. We've cut 43 sequences...8 weeks...that's 5 sequences per week. But, when we go back, we won't be free all of the expect maybe 3 sequences a week...anyway. I should work it all out scientific-like so it's a realistic schedule to work from, but that's so depressing because at this rate, I'll be cutting for the rest of my bloody life. But, that's one of the important steps of goal setting....know where you are and know what needs to be done between now and when you want to accomplish your goal. But sometimes I feel really overwhelmed. There's all the creative stuff, and then there's the day to day crap like budgeting and money and just plain planning one's own life. It can be overwhelming.

I remember Brad Bartz, my old boss at IAC. He told me to put everything in little boxes in my head and only open one box at a time. I'm dividing them up into departments. There's the admin department, the creative department, the development department. There's the CEO. there's the personal assistant. There's the Chef, the physical trainer, the finance officer. And we're working together to run the industry that is me. I've just opened a new division...the publishing division which will try to get myself published in England. My personal assistant (me) is finding me a flat. Maybe I can use her to help me cope.

Booked the boat to go back on the 19th/20th.
Had a nice walk in the forest.

I was really testy yesterday...not thankful at all. The thing is, if I manage to just get up in the morning, then I should be thankful. And, then I get to write for an hour! That's even better. And then there's coffee and buns! And there's Tokyo Cowboys...even better.

Scott, JJ and Dave...the guys. I know the story, but how does it relate to the greater story of finding freedom on the post modern urban frontier? There's the control issue.

I've lost myself again.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Giving Patrick the Day Off

Couldn't really work yesterday. That's not so true. I transcribed part of Scott's first interview...about an hour's worth of the three hour interview. What was I thinking? I had planned to do some planning for Nice Guyjin, but it just wasn't coming. I had a lack of immagination. And now Patrick is asking me "what are we gonna cut today?" Big Momma's House? Scott's interview? But I haven't even gone through the footage yet. It's all part of the process...all part of it. Just calm the fuck down.

I can look at the footage again today. Maybe give Patrick another day off to work on "Daybreak." And just finish the Scott footage. Then I can have more of a hand in it. Just see how that works. Slow it down just a bit. And write. I should write, yes? Everything is going to work out for the best. It always does. Yes sir, it does. So, what about Scott? What about Nice Guyjin? What about the film...the story?

I went to find Cowboys on the post modern urban frontier. I went to find freedom. I heard...I thought they had a monopoly on freedom. But what was that? I was discovering that there was no one definition. There were as many definitions of freedom as there were people. So, I went through their mini-narratives trying to define it for myself...trying to find my own mini-narrative. I could pick and choose from theirs. What did I discover? Just that...there is no one definition of freedom. You can't define it universally. There is no Truth with a capital "T."

It's a personal story, sure. It's a journey back to Tokyo. But what is my relationship with Tokyo, and what new things do these characters show me about Tokyo...about the post-modern urban frontier? I hated Tokyo. I was reluctant to go back. But, there was something calling me back. Tokyo is calling me back. She'd been calling me back since the moment I left..."no, that's not the way it is. You've got it all wrong. I'm not the city of broken dreams. I am the city that fulfills dreams." So I went back because I had to. It just wouldn't let go. I thought I'd had it bad...that all of this freedom and opportunity had been the death of me. That it was all just too much.

But, the guys...the cowboys...they seemed to be able to handle it. They seemed to embrace it. And, there's something about control that Patrick and I were talking about yesterday.

Anyway, cutting today...I think I might wait. Give Patrick the day off.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Struggle vs. Fun

Getting more and more anxious about getting back to London. It looks like the flatmate won't be able to find a place on his own. Too busy with work, and he can only look at places on the weekend. Estate agents aren't open on weekends, so, we're a bit effed.

I was thinking yesterday about struggle. It doesn't have to be a struggle. It can be fun. It's only a choice...or so they say. But, remember this? Remember Christmas morning when you were a kid? Remember Christmas Eve and hardly being able to sleep? Ah, but there's no presents, you say. There's this other thing that my step bros used to do in the middle of muggy southern Louisiana summers. We'd go out into the garage and partition ourselves off from each other. Then we'd wrap stuff up in newspaper and make ribbons out of whatever was available. Then we'd give each other the presents. After opening our presents and saying thank you, we'd do it all over again. It didn't matter that they were wrapped in newspaper or that the present was an old rusty wrench (or spanner for you brits). It was almost just like Christmas. Almost.

I must do something with all of the anger and disappointment. And that something is in my films. It's in my writing. It's what gives me a voice.

Today is planning day. Nice Guyjin and Dave. When I first met them, I was really fed up with the headhunters. They seemed like a breath of fresh air. They seemd like they had something that the HHs didn't have. They were engaging. They were on top of the world. They were gonna sell a million records. We were swept up in it all. I was swept up. I just wanted to spend all my time with them. They made me feel...they made me love Japan again. They made me remember how much fun it could be. They hadn't grown up. Dave even said he felt like an 8 year old. They hadn't become serious about anything. The HHs were damned serious. Was it the money? Was it the fact that if they let their concentration slep for one minute, they might lose a couple of million (yen, that is). It was the performer/businessman dichotomy I guess. They could be crazy because they were performers. But Ken was having fun with the HH stuff. Getting confused now.

OK, when I met Scott, he was like a breath of fresh air. I met Scott through Bryan. Do I have to show Bryan? Anyway, I met Scott. And he was preaching this new kind of freedom: "Mainichi Nichiyobi" (everyday Sunday). I wanted to believe. I really wanted to, but something was bothering me. These guys were set up becaouse of Big Momma. They had a studio in their swank house in the Senju. They were very thankful to their patron, but they had a patron. It at least gives one pause. There was this other thing. The spirit of independence. They wanted to be on their own. They wanted to break from the system...the Japanese system. The music label they had been under was too restrictive. And, another thing...independence...

Sunday, October 02, 2005

The Dark Side

Patrick is saying the way to increase the power of the film is to make it highly personal. I agree. But, I must be conscious to avoid self-indulgence. Thinking about my relationship with Tokyo. When I left there in 2000, I thought I'd never go back. Tokyo, I thought, had been responsible for everything that had gone wrong in my life. I had gone crazy in Tokyo. I had lost myself. But there was was part of me. It had changed me...given me super hero powers. I needed to go back to recharge and to find something.

I knew these guys in Tokyo. They had lots of money...they had nice pads. I thought they had a monopoly on freedom. And so did they. But, the definition of freedom kept changing. It was as elusive as Tokyo herself. At first I thought that freedom was having a lot of money. I asked these guys "does money buy freedom?" And they all agreed that money did indeed buy freedom because it allowed you to do what you wanted when you wanted. You could, for example, "buy yourself into TV" according to Ken. You could buy a little island and have concubines. So, I thought the headhunting cowboys had freedom because they had a lot of money. They rode around Tokyo in flash cars, and they had rolexes and beautiful women. But they didn't seem free. They seemed enslaved by the job. And, as much as they talked about how exciting making the deal was, it was all tied up in the money. They wouldn't be doing the job if it weren't for the money. And most of them...all they wanted to do was cash out. Or, like Jason, they had to "trick" themselves into believing it was fun.

I'm looking for cowboys on the post modern urban frontier. Here's the story: I go there to look for cowboys--men who are free. And burning through an array of characters, I discover what true freedom is, and I discover what it is to be a cowboy.

Individual Modes of Expression

What did I discover about freedom on the post modern urban frontier? Freedom is in your head. It's mental. Just like the rough is mental. And the cowboys were each communicating their own brand of truth about freedom.

Still missing something. What's the feeling there? You feel like anything's possible. And, if anything is possible because you've seen it and you've talked to people in the pub who've achieved it, then you take more risks to achieve your anything. You might as well live out your wildest fantasies because it is possible and no one will judge you for it. Now that's freedom. But, there's always a dark side. Don't forget the dark side.

In the end, Tokyo called me back home like the siren she is. There's food and sake and women. There's broadband internet and video messaging and beer machines. It's safe and it's clean and you can have oodles of fun. Everyone's nice, and you can earn wads of cash just because you happen to be a native English speaker. And, yes, there's a dark side. It is, after all, the land of the rising sun so the darkness will always be there behind the sun. But you don't have to look at it because the darkness is within you and so is the light.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

I guess the worst thing

...was that I learned about it on the website...not getting the JUSFC grant, that is. The letter was en route from LFS, but I thought I'd check out the website to see if there was any news. They had posted the awardees, and the TC name was not on the list. I suppose I'm disappointed. But, not too much. It was a long shot anyway. The letter stated the reasons: funding restrictions and committment to other projects. I may apply again in the Spring with a lower budget.

As we know, one door closes and another one opens. I'm looking for that open door now. I've been repeating my new mantra "the rough is only mental." It helps.

Pre-occupied with finding a flat. We've decided that if Adam finds a place, we'll move back within two weeks instead of staying until the end of October. We're both hankering to get back to London and immerse ourselves in the thick of things.

40 years old, and I don't feel as if I've found the road yet. But, patience my dear. A lot of times we're on the road, and we don't even realize it. I have the stamina to take the long and winding road. Just keep cutting, keep moving forward, one foot in front of the other.

I'm concerned about going back to work at the film school. I love the job. I love the people. But, it takes time away from Tokyo Cowboys. So, I'll just have to get better at managing my energy. Write in the early mornings, Film School Job during the day, cut at night.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Finding the Good Poo

Praise the Lord! The patron is gonna come through! He promised to send us money next week. That's part of our problems solved.

Again, spent the day going over loads of footage while Patrick cut the Telephone English sequence with Dave and Cloudy. He's going to cut the BBQ party today. That's when Cloudy's BBQ set the roof on fire and the police and fire brigade came. He also burned to a crisp one of his prized surfboards. A little concerned about this sequence. There are some great shots particularly when one of the Japanese girls set her hair on fire letting off a bottle rocket and Cloudy shooting fire works out of one of his mate's butts. But the music was playing the whole time: Led Zeppelin and Rolling Stones. Can't afford those music rights (especially the Stones who are said to charge upwards of 1 million US dollars for a snippet of their music.

Extremely tired today. Worried about finding a flat. Worried about money. Worried that the film is going to be crap. But, that's just stupid. The film's gonna be great. But, it's all down to me now. The writing is what's going to tie it all together...create drama...make poetry. Haven't been able to write for days. But, that's not really true, either. I write every morning for an hour or two. And I write here. But, nothing for the film. I know this happens. I know that you write and write and you have nothing. Then, all of a sudden, you get pages and pages of good stuff. I've never had writer's block. I've have writer's diarrhea. It's finding the good poo in all the diarrhea that's the challenge for me.

Been working on goals. Thinking about my 5 year goals and my 10 year goals. One of my 10 year goals is to become an Martha Stewart or Elle Macpherson...employing family and friends alike...supporting them. I'll be 50 then.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Do Not Fear

Did loads of footage review yesterday. I asked Cloudy about why foreigners were so successful in Tokyo. It seems like everyone we meet is successful, I said. He said that there were more markets to exploit. I was thinking about this just the other day. What markets could I exploit in London. It was easy in Tokyo.

Spoke to Shirley at LFS yesterday. She said there was loads of work for me to do there, so I'm gonna get the PT job back when I go back to the UK. I am thankful for that. It will at least help us pay the rent.

Waiting for two investments to come through, and waiting for word from our Patron. If those and the deposit come back, we can make it to the end of January. If not...well, just don't want to really think about that. Just one break...if we could get this grant, we could be so finished by summer of next year. But, hope is waning. I have to be realistic. Had they awarded us the grant, we would have heard from them by now surely. And, if not from them then from our fiscal sponsor.

"There is nothing to fear but fear itself." Can't remember if it was Kennedy or Roosevelt who said that, and I'm too lazy to look it up. But, I've been contemplating that. Is the fear the thing which causes failure? Fear is the thing that can crush our dreams. Fear can make us do some really stupid things. And so I say to myself...DO NOT FEAR DANEETA. Or, turn fear into excitement. They have the same physical sensation...quickening of the heart, shortness of breath, the need to pee. Feel excited not fearful. And, I've got a new day ahead of me...a new day...Oh Brave New World!

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Wheat and Chaff

Got one step closer to getting the deposit back from the landlord. That gets us one step closer to getting back to London. Money...I was obsessing about it yesterday. How did money become something as important as food or air? This stupid piece of colored paper. Yet, you won't last long without it. Look at the bums in the street and the starving kids in Africa.

Contacted 30 Real Estate agents today about flats in London. Both Patrick and I are dead set on moving back to Covent Garden/Holborn area. Our friends think we are insane, and I come up with all of these excuses about why we want to move back to Central: but lookit, in the end, it's our home. And, after being homeless for 2 months out in Swederland and losing my New Orleans home, I just want to be in my adopted home of central London. My other trump card, though, is that I'm lucky with flats. I always have been. I'm dreaming about a warehouse, but that might be going just a bit too far. Should I mention that I dreamed about my other two flats in London before I found them? Kind of spooky.

Looked through loads of footage again. Just trying to separate the wheat from the chaff. Patrick is cutting like mad. Here are the Cloudy sequences we've cut so far:

Cloudy at the Arcade
Mobile Montage
Teaching at the Handicapped School
Comedy Gig at the Fiddler
World Family Show
Private English Lesson with Balloon Kids

Still no word about the grant. Lesley says it hasn't even come to the film school yet. I'm trying to stay positive, but I'm a bit scared. If we don't get the grant, how will we continue? Do we just continue like we have been? Work at odd jobs until we save up enough money to have a 3 month stint somewhere to edit? At that rate, this thing...this monster...this effing beast will take another two or three years. I must find another way. I must finish this thing. I must!

Monday, September 26, 2005

The Plan

Strange dreams last night about looking for flats and trying to get my job back at LFS.

Went into town on Friday and spent the evening with Frederick and Jacob. They were nice and asked a lot about the project, but I somehow think that they just don't get us. I think it's the problem that most people have with what we do and was so succinctly expressed by my Mother's husband: "why don't you get a job?" By that, he meant a job that has a regular income where you pay into a social security scheme, etc. Yeah. A job. I've tried that a bazillion times. It's just not for me. I'm too stubborn, and I don't plan on changing.

Grocery shopping on Saturday, and Karin took us to the University so that I could use the broadband Internet connection to research grants and other ways to make money...namely publishing. When I was in Japan, I was publishing sometimes 5-6 times a month. I haven't done anything since then, and I am itching to do it. Poetry seems to be big these days...some publications are ONLY accepting poetry. So, I dusted off the old poetry bone and popped out a few. It's interesting how my poetry changes in tone as my life passes before my very eyes.

Get money to finish this f*cker. Where can I get money to finish Tokyo Cowboys? That's the question...the one big question. I need a plan...need a plan.

Saturday, September 24, 2005


Joe and Sylvie are coming by today to pick mushrooms and then take us into town to stay with Karin for the night. I'm hoping to get a few hours of Internet research in as well...looking for grants...looking for money. I'm tired of looking for money. Why can't a butt load just drop into my lap so that I can get this thing finished.

Went through a butt load of footage. My head is a little frazzled from it all.

Patrick is looking forward to getting back to London. He's tired of the vagabond lifestyle. He wants to settle. I guess I do too. But, how? Our patron has promised to send money at the end of the month. That would sort out our return home. Sitting on pins and needles. Don't want to beg, don't want to mention it. Hoping that the patron will just do it. Just remember us.

My sleep was erratic last night. Even prayer would not help. It usually does as the source of my insomnia is generally worry. I was thinking about Tokyo and with what ease one can make money there. There is always a way to make the very least, one can teach English for £50 and hour. I could make good money there doing little part time jobs...then save the bulk of my time for the non paid things that I love. Not so in London. In London, I struggle...we struggle. I must find a new word for "struggle." I'm trying to change all of this negative language to positive. Consider the Lilies of the filed...they shall not toil. We don't struggle, we persevere...we gambaru.

Friday, September 23, 2005

3 Dimensional Puzzle

Hopefully the JUSFC grant results will hit LFS today. At the very latest, next week. I don't want to think about what will happen if we don't get it. I don't have to have bad thoughts...satan get behind me. We started cutting Cloudy yesterday. I went through the first 20 or so tapes from the 3rd trip. It's like time-tripping in fast-mo. If I let myself go, I can almost imagine myself back there at that time, in that place. Looking for the true stories of the Tokyo Cowboys on the post-modern urban frontier. Why post-modern? It's a constructed city. It's a mixture of everything the world has to offer. It's like a collage...a mosaic. Look at it from above...from the 44th floor of the Shinjuku Municipal's like a 3 dimensional puzzle.

Here's the journey: I went to back to the post-modern urban frontier to find find if they had a monopoly on freedom as I had assumed. But all they wanted to do was cash out. And, this didn't seem like a freedom train to me. It seemed like doing time. So, I kept looking, kept digging. Where were the free cowboys? What is freedom? It seemed like Tokyo was the place to have it. As Cloudy says, there are markets in Tokyo that are not available in any other place. I found the guy who could cash out, and what does he do? He buys an old farmhouse in Chiba and does it up. That place looked like heaven to me.

I'm preoccupied with trying to get back to London. We've got some good work done here, but we have to leave by the end of October. Before we can leave, we have to find a flat. So, I've been e-hunting. That takes time...time...time.

Cloudy had been through the whole "Big in Japan" thing. He'd been on the 100 Gaijin Show. He'd done the music video. But something happened. "A lot of people think they have a cash cow with me...until they realize that I'm not gonna do anything I don't want to do." So, Cloudy refused to conform. He's now intent on making it "Big in Japan" one person at a time. He's an edu-tainer. He's a sort of unofficial one.

I guess that's what we all were. The Japanese allowed us in in that capacity. In the beginning it was only diplomats and English teachers...whole generations of Japanese people...the only foreigner they had met was their English teacher. In a weird way, it sets people sets gaijin up as teacher. In Japan that's a highly honorable profession. So, here's Cloudy...he has a teaching certificate (unlike most of the English teachers in Japan). And everything is about person at a time. He's trying to foster a greater level of understanding between gaijin and Japanese. The comedy is a more sophisticated form of communication. He's constantly communicating. He doesn't just sit down in the train. The hammock...Eric...the hair...those are just tools of the trade...the trade of communication. And the performance is a high as well.

Where does Cloudy come in to my quest for cowboys? What are cowboys for me? That's the first thing. When I started shooting, it was about freedom. I thought money bought freedom, so I was shooting the Head Hunters. Maybe it does buy freedom. But, if you've got some money, you just spend it. You get a taste of the good life and you want you work harder, and you make more money, and you're working so hard that you think you deserve some comfort, so you spend some more and then you're no closer to your goal. Something's gotta give. That's the Head Hunters, though.

Maybe freedom is a state of mind. It's like Kanya said, it's in your head...freedom and slavery are in your head.

Eye of the Cloud

Hey Cloudy,

Sorry it's been a while since I've sent you a personal email.

You've been on my mind so much these past few days. I've been time tripping through the Tokyo Cowboys footage. The first night we filmed you was at the Fiddler. After, we got in a taxi with you and Kaori, and you talked about communicating your own brand of truth to one person at a time. The "America" thing was your crusade that night. You said, "In Japan, there are only two types of people in the world...Gaijin (read American) and Japanese. I refuse to be put in a box with all the other foreigners."

It got me thinking about the definition of Cowboy, which I must surely define in the film as people have their own definitions. A Cowboy for me is a person that takes great risks to develop and explore their individual mode of expression. And, then, they communicate to the world their own personal brand of truth.

Anyway, after we got back to your place and Billy was there and his date Makikiko or Michiko and the chubby blonde midwestern girl who'd done her set at Fiddler that night. And, being the professional that I am, I got so wasted that Kaori was saying "are you OK, are you OK?" as I was trying to leave, and you were yelling "leave her alone, she's fine," and that was my introduction to Cloudy B.

But there is an earlier bit that I just discovered while rolling through the footage again. We were at Club Asia in Shibuya shooting a TBL gig. It was small, and there were only about 15 young girl groupies and a handful of Gaijin. As we pan across the groupie crowd, you can see in the background a tiny Cloudy giving the camera the finger. This is before we met you. It was on that night that Patrick noticed you and, acting here in his producer mode, asked Dave "Who's that guy," and Dave said, "That's Cloudy B.," and Patrick said "Can we meet him?" And that's the true story about how things kicked off.

If we get that grant money, we are going to take you up on your offer to continue the edit at your place. So get our room ready. We'll need futons and a Japanese intern.

Hugs so much,


Publicity for TC in Kazuhisa's Book

Dear Kaz,

Thanks for the introduction to the magazine publisher. Yes, it's good to know people in Tokyo anyway...especially female creative types.

Actually, I'm not in London at the moment. I've been in Sweden for the past month and a half editing full time. One of our patrons gave us their summer house for three months. It's been great as we can edit without having to worry about paying rent. I think we will be here until the beginning of November when we will head back to London for a little while.

Yes, thanks for publicizing my film in your book! I googled Tokyo Cowboys the other day, and your website came up (



Thursday, September 22, 2005

The Orange Crane

I had a dream last night. I was my small child self, and I was sitting on the screened in porch of my Grandmother's house. I was trying to make one of those origami paper cranes out of a piece of beautiful orange paper.

My fingers just wouldn't work. Then a voice said "Put that in my hands." And I saw this huge disembodied hand in front of me. I put the paper in the hand and looked toward the source of it, but all I could see was a massive lower half of a body. It reminded me of the bottom half of the Lincoln monument, but only he was wearing blue jeans.

And the orange paper blurred a little like when you are looking at a million leaves on a tree, and they all sort of blend together in a weird mosaic. That's what happened to the paper. And then, there was a crane. The hand urged me to take the crane, which I did. Only, when it was in my hand, it was the crumpled up paper again. I looked at the big empty hand and then at mine. The crumpled up paper started to morph again, and it became the crane.

So, I got up this morning to see if I remembered how to make the crane. And, I did...after all these years. I guess it just goes to show me that the Muse is there even when we forget about Her.

It got me to thinking about "Up from Eden" by Ken Wilbur. In it, he talks about a time in human history when we could not tell the difference between dreams and reality...literally. That must have been weird.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Breaking the Pony

Did some more work on the stream of consciousness voice over. Read it to Patrick, and he said I should delete all references to making a film lest this film become a film about making a film, and that's about as self-indulgent as you can get. No, it's about searching for the cowboys.

I had a dream last night that I needed to escape from the place I was in. But, my only means of escape was on this pony that was kicking wildly in the middle of the room. I knew I'd have to break the pony to escape. So, I hopped on and kept getting thrown off. Then, an old Japanese dude appeared and told me that I had forgotten to do something very important and that not having done this thing in the order that it needed to be done was preventing me from breaking the pony. "You won't break the pony today," he said.

Now, I know it was only a dream, but what have I forgotten to do? And, when the hell am I going to break this effing pony?

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Universal Significance

Bergman finds the "universal significance in private agonies." Last day editing Mark, and I'm glad. I need a break from it. It's too personal, there's too much baggage, and I'm trying so hard to be objective that I'm losing sight of everything.

Cutting Mark has been hard on the both of us, and I'm glad this is the last day...for now. Because I still don't have him. There's something missing. We've cut the following sequences with him:

Introduction to Mark at his old office including interaction with Nick and Todd
Mark and Kanya having dinner at Yamada-san's
Mark at the Craft Dinner
Kanya singing at 7 Seas Marina
Mark at the New OfficeóHe makes a Placement
Mark Exercising, getting ready for work and Eating Kanya's home-prepared Breakfast

Patrick has asked to cut Cloudy next. He says he needs a break...that he's burned out. He thinks that Cloudy will be easier as he is always moving...always dynamic. And, if he has a dark side, we never saw it.

Making Money

Was just thinking about ways to get money to support myself while I finish the film. This whole thing has been funded piecemeal. If I get the grant, we'll be sorted for the rest of the film. If not, we're going to struggle. So, how to support myself...these are the ideas I came up with:

Publish Tokyo Cowboys Memoirs

Get Grant Money for TC

Get Grant Money for Website Development (TC and Elektrik Zoo)

Sell Writing

Go Back to Work at LFS


Consult (Japan Based Stuff; Business Process Engineering)


Rent out the Camera

Edit Student Papers for Grammar and Structure

Work in any Capacity on Films

Google Money

Sell Secrets on E-Bay

Shoot Wedding/Birthday Videos

Edit Documents Written by ESL People

Enter Films in Festivals with Cash Prizes

Show Japanese People Around London

Write Grant Proposals for Others

Website Design and Consulting

Do Software Training

Monday, September 19, 2005

Tokyo's Cowboy Lovers

After getting severely depressed in thinking that I was being lazy and not getting enough done in a day, I decided to do something about it. I'm trying something new with my "to do" list...a new process. I'm assigning units of time to everything. When I looked over the previous week's to do lists, I realized that I was scheduling in excess of 18 hours of work a day. That's a bit excessive. So, I decided to start with a 10 hour work day. Then, I wrote down all of the things I wanted to accomplish in that day and prioritized them. Then I assigned times to those tasks. Anything over 10 hours would be relegated to the next day. I think it's working. I don't feel so lazy anymore when all of the items on my day's to do list are ticked off.

Yesterday, I did mostly producer stuff. I sent off the investor contracts to someone who is interested in one share. She also requested that I send her the funding pack and she'll forward it on to some friends. So, I spent a few hours updating the pack. She's a good friend of mine, so she's also sending me some new socks.

I got word back from some people in Japan I had contacted regarding getting the TC story published (a la the Guerilla diaries of Pi director Darren Aronovsky). They were encouraging, and there were few hot leads, which I will follow up in the next few days.

Going into Orebro this weekend to do some research on the broadband connection at Orebro University. There I can research getting funding for the website.

Work becomes your life in Japan. Your life is work...there is no difference. There are hobbies...the Japanese take hobbies seriously. They only do one hobby and the get all the gear and the spare no expense. There's a word in Japanese...Otaku...and it means something like mad obsessive. And they use it to describe people who become completely obsessed with their hobby.

Mark is Tokyo's unfaithful lover.
Cloudy shows her a whopping good time.
Dave was her puppy love.
She is Brent's fag hag.
Ken is her husband.
Patrick is her pretty-boy idol.
Mark Segerlund is her lifetime companion.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Experimenting with Voice Over

I'm thinking of constructing the film around the postcard voice over and moving more or less chronologically. Also, having a bit more fragmentation. Something like this only...I don't know. It's just an idea...a draft of sorts.

Tokyo is the kind of city that you can find anything you can imagine and a lot of things you can't. I knew some guys there. They were making a lot of cash...buying a lot of of the original bits of voice over I did for a trailer went something like "riding on shinny metal horses and slinging cash to the wind." Cowboys, you know. But, Tokyo...I never thought I'd go back there...she's beaten my ass before. Who's to say that she wouldn't do it again. So I go there and I start shooting these guys, and they're all the same, they're all head hunters and they're all working this mind-numbing job that they wouldn't be doing if it didn't provide them with loads of cash so that they could go out and drink and chase women all night. And I can't even shoot them at work because they're so effing paranoid of what, I don't know, and all they want me to do is shoot them when they're so drunk that they don't remember what they say on camera and then they get all paranoid again.

They are not cooperating and I'm sure that part of it is that I can't explain to them exactly what I'm doing because I'm so green that I don't know exactly what I'm doing but I know these guys and I know the city and she's effing beating me up again. They think that making a film is like making a home video so they make monkey shines in front of the camera, and I can't get them to take anything seriously. Sixty hours of footage and I've got nothing.

Dear Mr. Marker,

Sixty hours of footage, and I've got nothing.

I'm shooting my ex-husband Mark and his girlfriend, and I know that he's doing this because he wants to support me in my new life and all, but it's all complicated and he hasn't thought about the consequences of what will happen if he's completely honest on camera and I know I can make him be honest on camera and this becomes a big problem for him later when he spills all the beans. And his girlfriend hates me and she just wants me and my effing camera to go away, and I totally understand that, but I'm trying to make a film here, and Mark has agreed so what the heck am I supposed to do?

I'm shooting Bryan, and Jason and Steve, and Steve is brilliant, but he freaks out and I was too green to know that I should have gotten him to sign the release form before I shot the 20 or so hours of footage with him.

Mark says I should talk to Ken. He's getting out of the business. He wants to be a talent on TV. I'm not sure how to explain what a talent does...just that they appear on TV and a lot of Japanese people would recognize them on the street. So, what the heck, I'm supposed to be doing this film about cowboys, which I thought were business men, but I'll go see Ken because he's kind of still in the business, so I'm not getting too far away from it, but I've forgotten what "it" is. I'm looking for cowboys on this post modern urban frontier, but what does that mean? And Why? And who's gonna care?

Spot the Cowboy

This pic was sent in by Mark's best friend from childhood. The two of them recently went sailing in San Fran.

Send in your pics of the Cowboys, and I'll post them.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Losing Faith

Patrick is losing faith in Mark as a character. He thinks there's no arc. He thinks we're being self-indulgent in using Mark as a character. Sure he's interesting to us. He's interesting to those who know him. But to people who don't know him...Patrick thinks they won't give a flip about it.

I am of a different mind. I think that Mark represents something important. He's achieved more than most. He's got a successful company, a beautiful wife, friends, lots of things. But he is not fulfilled. He looks forward to an unimagined future...a future that looks quite different from his present. And because he can't paint a clear picture of this future that he wants, he is trapped in the present, "which is fine, you know, but..."

So, what does he represent? He's come to the post-modern urban frontier to make his fortune. He has reinvented himself. But, he longs to reinvent himself again. And, for this, he needs cash...4 million, to be exact. But, what exactly will that buy him? He doesn't know. He hasn't imagined that far.


Dear Ken:

Children give breathing legacy to a relationship. Without them, it dies in old age with no one to remember it. Children are a way for us to control our ensure that we go riding into the sunrise forever.

A Swifter Birth

The JUSFC grants committee makes it's decision today. I won't know anything until the end of next week at the earliest. I'm trying not to put too much weight on this, but I know that if I get this grant, it will mean a swifter birth of a finished Tokyo Cowboys. I don't want to think about the plans B though Z until I know what the deal is with plan A. Still waiting for my deposit back on the London flat. Still hoping that those who have pledged to buy shares will hold their resolve. Still hoping that our patron comes through at the end of the month. What happens if all of these things comes to fruition? Then we are sorted! Sorted! Sorted for months and months and months...maybe for even a year! But, if none of them bear out, there will be another way...another path. This film will see the light of day no matter what. And I must remind myself that I am in God's hands always.

Muse with Coffee

It's a fascinating sewing a giant, beautiful tapestry. Each day, I see it take shape...I can see the different facits...beautiful details that weren't there just yesterday...secrets revealed to me. And everyday I get closer to seeing the whole...the whole that will be worth more than the sum of it's parts, and each part is priceless. Smaller and smaller pieces, so delicate, so intricate, so subtle. I'm putting myself in the hands of the Muse. She shows up every morning with a cup of coffee in one hand and my pen and ink in the other and says "Get up! Today you write." I'm grateful for my Muse who has been with me for as long as my memory stretches back.

Thursday, September 15, 2005


"Mark at work at the Old Ingenium Office."

A sequence is a "subset of the overall action." Scenes can contain reversals... "scenes are strongest when they begin at one emotional or informational point and end at another...each scene has a beginning, middle and end." What is my beginning, middle and end? The series of events? Mark working alone, Mark working with Todd, working with Nick, Japanese class, Mark and Nick at El can we construct the scene? What information do I want to convey?

Enough for today. Karin has come with my ink, and it's time for us to do our weekly shopping.

Throw your Heart over the Bar

Patrick asks if I'm gonna have a breakdown if I don't get the grant. He wants to be prepared. I tell him I have a plan B...a plan C...even a plan Z. I have been working on alternative plans, but I'd still like to believe that I might just get the grant. It's gonna be pretty embarrassing here and in the TC update if I don't get it.

A few days ago I applied for Brit Docs funding. That again is just a long shot, but it's like the lottery. If you don't apply, you can't win, so you might as well apply.

A few weeks ago, there was an article in the Guradian about patrons of the arts. I started to research them as well. I'm sure that every artist and their grandmother have tried to contact these people, but it got me to thinking about researching other patrons.

It seems like I spend more time researching funding, writing proposals for funding, begging for funding, etc. than I do making films. But, I guess that's part of making films, so I might as well embrace it and be as creative as I can with it. Still, I wish I had a producer who was interested in this sort of thing. I am interested in it and have some good ideas about where to get funding, but it's just all of the work to put those ideas into action. That's what I'm having trouble balancing with the other aspects of filmmaking. It's all about balancing on the tiniest of high wires. But, throw your heart over the bar, and your body will follow.

Yesterday I looked at the footage of Mark at the office during the first trip. I was trying to think about telling a story. I think this scene has a lot of exposition in it. And...well, I'm thinking that it's a challenge with all the scenes. Here we set up Mark as a businessman...we set up his relationship with Nick and Todd, we set up that he is a "proselytizer of decadence." We set up that he does a lot of admin work in his role as CEO. We set you that he struggles with the language. It's all set up and no drama. Is that OK? I guess it's OK if we get into the drama soon after. But where is the drama?

I think I should just focus on getting all of the sequences together. Bernard says "character-driven means that the action of the film emerges from the wants and needs of the character." When Mark is in front of the camera, he wants to be the center of attention. He wants to tell the best and most interesting story.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005


Dear Mark,

What is your passion? What is your passion? What is your passion? What is it? What is it? What the f*ck is it?




The weather is trying hard to turn to Autumn. I woke up in the early morning hours and couldn't go back to sleep again. Maybe it was the weather. I looked in the mirror and saw that my hair is almost down to my waist. When I started Tokyo Cowboys my hair was as short as a boy's. That tells me how long this film has been in my life.

Watched "Apocalypse Now!" last night. I was struck by that scene near the beginning of Martin Sheen drunk in his hotel room. It ends with him punching at himself in the mirror and cutting his hand. Then, he sits down naked and cries. Martin Sheen was really drunk. They got him liquored up and then turned on the camera. The frustration and confusion we are seeing are Sheen's frustration and confusion...not the character's. He had a heart attack soon after that, and they had to put the film on hold while he recovered. I bring up this story because it reminds me of Mark. I shot an Apocalypse Now! scene with him. And, I just don't know what to do with it.


Dear Mark:

It's your faults that make you charming, interesting vulnerable...your tragic flaws. But men don't want their flaws revealed. Only those men filled with hubris or humility will agree to a public airing of their souls. Would you be either one of those?

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Mark and Kanya

I had this idea yesterday to focus a little more on Mark and Kanya's relationship. I found this bit of conversation we taped when they were having dinner at Momonoki House. It was quite tender, and it's one of the only times that they are candid. They have forgotten about the camera. That was a good breakthrough. I have to review the footage of them together to see if we have enough.

The thing is to just cut all of the sequences with him to see what we have. Sometimes things can look really good in the paper cut, and look shitty on screen. And, sometimes quite the opposite happens. We think something is not really worth cutting, but we cut it anyway and it ends up being really good. We won't have time to cut every sequence before we leave Sweden. I'm just trying to cut the "A" stuff and we'll have to do the rest later...later...when is that. When will this beast be cut?

Mark as a contrast to Ken...don't lose sight of this.


Dear Mark:

You are the one that I can be the least objective about. I've known you half my life, and we rode into the rising sun together. You've achieved all you set out to and more, but I see your wanting. Where is y our freedom? What is your passion? You are Tokyo's unfaithful lover. You look beyond the rising sun for your answers, but this is as far as you've imagined.

Monday, September 12, 2005

TC Announces the Birth of a New Cowboy

Dear Friends and Family,

We announce with great joy the arrival of Leon Sky Cogger born 4:50 AM September 9, 2005. Weighing in at a healthy 3,200 grams. Both baby and mommy are resting and doing great.

Ken Cogger

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Patrick in front of Kulkil

In Front of the Pond

Daneeta after a particularly good day of cutting

Daneeta pretending to pick Blueberries

Kulkil in Rockhammar


Patrick at the Rockhammar Tennis Court

Patrick (Self Portrait)


At the end of this week the JUSFC will make their decision on the grant. They will notify us by mail, so I've got Lesley waiting at the Film School to forward the letter to me. I won't be so cruel to ask her to open it and read it to me over the phone. But, the letter will go first to the film school, then to Karin's house, then here. So, I reckon it will take a week or two to get into my hands. After that, we can make some clear decisions about what's going to happen with the film. It would be great if I could just win the lottery. But, I suppose I'd have to play to win.

How can I illustrate the tedium of Mark's work without making it actually tedious to watch? So many phone calls-they are on the phone constantly. How do they do it?

I woke up with a terrible headache today. There's no pain killer here, so I had to suffer through for 4 hours. I guess it's what people in the olden times had to do. Or, as Vonda reminds me, what pregnant women have to do. Patrick says it's because I'm exhausted, but sometimes I don't feel like I'm working hard enough. "If I just worked harder," I say to myself, "things would become clear." But, that's not really true. I have to work smarter.

Tokyo Cowboys is a modern day Western set on the post-modern urban frontier...following a group of Western men as they search for freedom of they reinvent themselves...what was my other definition of "frontier"? The limit of knowledge and achievement. That's it...yes. They are pushing themselves to the limits of achievement. Why? Because opportunity is all around them. Success stories are all around them. They see endless possibilities. So this makes them work harder because anything is possible...they've seen people achieve the impossible. It keeps the cowboys spirit alive no matter the adversity. I've been wondering what keeps them there, and this is it...unlimited possibilities...endless opportunity.

Isseki, ni chou-literally translated as one stone, two birds...meaning to kill two birds with one stone. Don't know why I thought of that.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Cutting Mark

We started cutting Mark today. Because of my long relationship with him, it's really difficult to be objective. I try to break it down, pick him apart, but it's all so confusing. If I were to give him a name, he would be a "disciplined hedonist" if there is such a thing. He's definitely a hedonist, but he has this disciplined quality about him from the Marine Corps. Just trying to work out his story arc is proving to be challenging. It's going to take a bit of precision.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Day Off

Took the day off. Karin and Goren came to Rockhammar to drive us into town to shop for food. We had a relaxing time torturing Karin, as you can see here.

These pics were taken on my mobile phone. We used the phone when we shot "Daybreak" (working title). It got damaged in the rain storm shot, so it looks like there's a soft filter on everything. I kind of like it.

Thursday, September 08, 2005


Dear Tokyo:

I want you to know that I'm no expert. That's not what I'm telling people. I'm just going with my gut...just trying to figure out some things. I see things...pieces of the puzzle. But I'm not so vain to think that I can put the whole thing together and make some sense out of it. There is no sense to be made. There are only stories to tell. Take from them what you want. You can only ride one of those bullet trains into the rising sun and hope for the best. I hope that you are in a good mood today.


Dear Tokyo:

Gaijin always talk about rules...there are too many rules. But I believe that you have to know the rules so that you can break them creatively. That's when the fun begins. That's where the freedom comes from. If you creatively and gently break the rules, you can affect change...good change. The key is to not get too big for your britches. I see Gaijin filled with hubris. It's best to do things gently.


Dear Tokyo:

It has been two years since I've breathed you in. I want to touch you, smell you, eat you. I recognize every little thing about you...and no thing. The surface is always shifting...a city of illusions, smoke and mirrors.

Coming back here is like falling back into a's utterly familiar, yet everything concrete slips through my fingers like water, like light.

Did you pine for me? Did you think about me everyday I was away? Are you happy to have me back?


Dear Ken:

I just can't figure out what you want. Every time I talk to you, your story changes. Man, are you so inconsistent? Or, is this maybe the process? Am I witnessing your process of reinvention?

Do you believe in universal truth with a capital ìTî? I don't think you do. So you have to find your own truths. You have to write your own story. And I will bear witness to your story. Can you maybe even let me participate? Will you let me push you? Will you let me go with you at least for a little while?

I hope this story has a happy ending.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Story Truths

All personal blogging has been moving over to my personal blog at


Sunday, September 04, 2005

Sequences so Far

Patrick is still cutting furiously. He decided to work through the weekend. I've re-done the schedule to give us a few more days to cut Ken's sequences. We have the most sequences with him, and they are all just so fantastic. Ken really has that ineffable thing on camera. Here are the sequences we've cut so far:

Ken's prepares for an Audition
Aki's Announcer Class
Ken and Aki Head Hunting from Home
Ken and Aki sing Karaoke
Ken lifts weights and fields Head Hunting calls

Ken and Aki do a home Lamaze Class
Ken works the phones at Guest House (wedding sales company)
Ken marries a J-Couple
Ken and Aki have dinner with Sachi and Pappa at an Izakaya
Ken gets a hair cut, and Sachi and Aki prepare him for another audition
Ken and Aki with Aki's family in Takasaki
Ken Records a Demo Tape
Ken and Aki Bathe Taiga
Ken Quits Head Hunting (Bridge Group)
Ken shops for Aki's Christmas Present
Ken Performs "Christmas Mass"
O-Shougatsu in Takasaki
Sumo with the Coggers
Ken and Aki look for a New Flat

Reading Sheila Curran Bernard's "Documentary Storytelling for Video and Filmmakers." It's giving me some really good support. "in pursuing a goal, the protagonist learns valuable lessons about themselves and their place in the world, and those lessons change them and may, in fact, change their desire for the goal."

We definitely see Ken learning these lessons and changing because of those lessons. The most important lesson he learns, I believe, is that his family is the most important thing to him. He would sacrifice everything for the well-being of his family and for the creation of a healthy, happy family.

In my journal this morning, I was writing about how people like to impose their beliefs on other people. They think they have the "best way." But there is no best way. There are no universal truths...only those we construct for ourselves...only our mini-narratives. Our film doesn't present THE TRUTH because there is none. Only you can create your own truths. And they are just for you. That's what the Cowboys do. What Ken does is not going to work for Dave or Mark or Cloudy.

Also, people go on about how Japanese society is all about conforming. "The nail that sticks up gets hammered down." But there is something about Tokyo...this uber-city of is here that Gaijin find freedom of expression. There are so many ways...even for the Japanese...look at the Tokyo Rockabilly Club, the Ko-Galu in Shibuya, the Goths in Harajuku, the Salarymen and women. Something about a sense of belonging. There is an innate sense of belonging to the city. You belong to matter what you do. You are hers, and, in return, she gives you freedom and to express. She gives you opportunity. She invites you into her orgy of creation. That's why you can't ever get her out of your system.

I was transcribing an interview with Nice Guyjin. I asked if they ever think about leaving. "Every day," says Dave. Since leaving Tokyo in 2000, I have thought about going back nearly every day. There was not a day that went by that I didn't think of her, long for her...sometimes I feel like a forlorn lover.

Today, Patrick said "if we get the grant, we'll go back. And this time we'll stay for as long as they'll let us." That's three months. Why not? Why not edit in Tokyo? I could spend three months editing there. All we need is that effing grant. We'll know in two weeks. They make their decision on the 16th then mail out the future of our project.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Dear Marc

I am interested in mini-narratives and that's why I've chosen to do a multi-character piece, which centers around the idea of men (cowboys) escaping from their traditional modes of being and constructing new modes of being on a new frontier-a post-modern urban frontier.

Cowboys-risk takers; men who are not afraid to uproot themselves and head for parts unknown; men who long for freedom from existing constructs

Traditional Modes of Being-Judeo/Christian; Western; puritan; religious; individualistic; being the "center"

New Modes of Being-Reinvention; being the "other"; East/West mix (blurring the boundaries between);

Post-modern urban frontier-no center (marginalization); anything goes; complex infrastructure in place; complex and ancient culture; all things available

Tokyo is a unique frontier because it is an intellectual one rather than a physical one. Other frontiers like the American West, Antarctica, Space (for example) are physically hard. There is nothing there. It's dangerous and arduous. It is a unique urban frontier because literally anything is available: culture, entertainment, food, activities, drugs...anything.

The third definition of "frontier" is "the limit of knowledge and achievement." You can do, have or be anything you choose, yet the city is tolerant, safe, clean, civilized-contrast this to NYC or Bangkok. It's also complex (like a puzzle that needs to be figured out the language, which is also like a puzzle...extremely logical). You can reinvent yourself over and over again. You can call yourself anything and be believed (just put it on your business card). It's civilized, yet it is the frontier. It is the post-modern urban because you can construct your own little realities...your own mini-narratives...your own some kind of video game. You can invent your own past, construct a new you.

This film is about men who escape the chains of their own culture to gain freedom in a new construct-one of their own creation. Profoundly alienated from their traditional mythos, they go riding into the postmodern urban frontier where they can construct their own reality. It's about how they define freedom, how they manifest it, what they are willing to sacrifice for it and the success and failure they encounter along the way.

I went looking for modes of individual freedom of expression on the post-modern urban frontier. What I found were mini-narratives...cowboy narratives. This is the journey. But, I am not just presenting these narratives objectively for the consideration of and judgement by the audience. I am inviting them to go with me on the journey with an open mind and to discover what makes sense to them. I am trying to discover mini-truths like little nuggets of gold. Some nuggets are good for me, some are good for you.

Something about illusion...something about what you want is always right in front of you...something about how freedom requires your dream requires sacrifice and we usually don't take that into account when we're just dreaming it as opposed to living it. Something about how you can become a slave to your dream until it becomes a prison. All of these themes become clear as we move through the lives of these cowboys.

More later about character.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005


Patrick is still cutting about a sequence a day. I have to start skipping sequences. We’re supposed to finish with Ken by Friday, and there are 17 sequences left to cut.


The Headhunters are really flash. They have nice cars. They have leather shoes. They are good with the ladies. Most people would say that they have it going. Do they? I investigate further. The work enslaves them with promises of one more big deal, a few more million yen. And the pressure and the monotony and the sheer boredom of making 50 to 100 phone calls a day trying to find the guy, trying to find the guy, trying to close the deal. They tell me it’s the bomb, but I see it drive them into the bars of Roppongi most every night. It drives them to drug and drink fueled conquests of girl after girl. The noise, the bars, the toys, the girls, the drink…This is not freedom, is it? But it is…it is their brand of freedom. And I have to remember that it’s not my definition of freedom I’m looking for. And there is no such thing as THE definition of freedom. There are as many as there are people.


We took that long bus from Narita into central Tokyo…into Shinjuku. I haven’t been here in 2 years, but it feels like yesterday…like I’ve fallen back into a recurring dream. Every building, every electric wire calls to me: “You are home” they say. “Okaeri” they say. Now that I’m here, I’m not quite sure why I came back. Something about freedom, something about dreams, something about this place that’s like an illusion. I’ll figure it out. My plan is to start with the headhunters. They know everybody in this town…Japanese and Gaijin alike. They can tell me a thing or two.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Grand Narrative vs. mini-narrative

I’m thinking about “grand narrative”…something that Marc asked about. I’m interested in mini-narratives all centered around the themes of freedom, new frontier, escape...escape to the new frontier provides freedom from 1) cultural constructs…they are not bound by their own culture because it is so far away…they don’t have to play by the rules of their adopted culture. They are not expected to. 2) traditional modes of being…freedom from judgement by family, friends, society. You can pretty much do what you want within certain contraints, and even those are a bit flexible…don’t get caught, don’t involve the police, don’t make a public spectacle of yourself outside of Roppongi. There is a great deal of freedom there. But what makes Tokyo unique? Tolerant culture, ease at which you can live, reinvention.

Getting messy now. Need to think about his more and write my response to Marc.

Mom called. The wole of NOLA is being evacuated. Katrina is scheduled to hit tonorrow. The evacuation is mandetory. Mom is heading up to Alexandria with the old lady. My sister is going to Texarkana.

Watched the documentary on Bukawski on TV. The drive. And he was so prolific. He never thought he could make money off his writing. He never thought he’d be successful. But he just kept writing. He just kept sending his stuff out. That’s some kind of inspiration. Forget Van Gogh, I think he will be my new role model (sans the drinking as my little body just can’t handle that kind of abuse). But, he wrote about his life. He brought poetry back where it belonged…in the hands of the people. He said that he couldn't imagine a day without writing. It put fear into his heart. I know how he feels. I only write in the journals every day. A poem will pop out here and there. I guess it’s some kind of commitment.

What am I trying to say? Something about following your dreams. Something about sacrifice. Something about dreams and illusion and constructing your own reality. Still trying to scratch it out of my head. Tokyo is the post-modern urban frontier. A place to fulfill all of your dreams. The land of opportunity. A magical, mystical place that can solve all of your problems and give you things that you’ve only dreamed of. It can give you a different life. OK, they get there, they find this life…and maybe…no…so they’ve achieved their dreams for the most part…they are on their way. But, it’s all an illusion. Why? It’s the old “be careful what you wish for…” scenario.

Just get the story down, and everything else will follow.

I’m talking about fulfilling your dreams. What am I trying to say? I went on this journey to find a manifestation of personal freedom. I had this idea that these guys were free. I wanted to explore that. I wanted to feel the freedom…show it. So I had this idea that these guys, these headhunters were free. It was a journey to define freedom. OK, I went to Japan, I started shooting these guys whom I thought were free. Why? Because they were running rampant around the city. They were slinging cash, they were buying toys. But what did I discover? They weren’t free. They were slaves to their jobs, they were slaves to the money and the toys. But Ken…Ken…he gave it all up.

Did I go searching for the formula for personal freedom? But there is not one definition, hence the mini-narratives. I went to the post-modern urban frontier to look for freedom. What did I find? This is what I found. Many, many stories.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Information Overload

Got a good response from Marc. He asked all the right questions. More of my response once I get it down.

Trying to take a break from the transcriptions over the weekend. Doing those everyday is a bit like information overload. It’s good to take a step back and process them a bit. Transcribing is only the first step. Then there’s choosing what to capture, capturing then cutting them up. After that, I’ve got to figure out how to fit them into the whole thing. I guess I’m just assembling the puzzle pieces. That’s the first part of editing. I shouldn’t worry too much about the big picture just yet.

Friday, August 26, 2005

The Blank Pages in My Dictionary

Was walking through the forest with Patrick yesterday and we got on to the idea of letters/postcards for the voice over...the narrator voice over. We talked about post cards during the 2nd trip to Tokyo, and I've had it in the back of my mind, but I brought this idea to the forefront. I think I'm being influenced by "The Oxford Book of Letters," which is one of the books we have with us. It's funny how your subconscious will give you some big hints sometimes. Of all the books in Joe's library, I chose that one when we visited him for my birthday. I don't know why I chose it, it just called out to me.

Anyway...I haven't figured out the "voice" yet. Of course, it's the storyteller's voice, but I haven't figured out who that character is. Yes, it's me, but it's a fictionalized me...oh, you know what I mean.

Who is she writing to? (To whom is she writing?) In Sans Soleil, it's the receiver who is describing the letters. That's a bit different from actually reading the letters. But maybe this idea of writing to different people. And those are all the different voices. I was toying with the idea of using very different voices with different accents...male, female, young old. Maybe they are people who have left Japan...people the storyteller once knew in Japan. Of course, this is all fiction...a literary device. You didn't think this was a documentary, did you? But, I think that's it. They were people the storyteller knew in Japan. And this becomes clear with the postcard content. Yes, postcards instead of letters. Postcards are fragmented, dreamy, filled with fanciful thoughts. At least my post cards are.

"We just made it for the very end of cherry blossom season...Spring, rebirth...delicate pink blossoms lasting for only two weeks or so. And we sit under them and drink sake and celebrate the ephemeral nature of life. Then the winds come and blow them away stirring up such a storm of pink that you can hardly see. The Christians are also celebrating and Cloudy Bongwater was there with us in tow. We went to an old-fashioned Baptist revival in the Aoyama University Hall...7-hours long...hundreds of people singing, praying and testifying that he has risen. Even J-people witnessed. I thought it was surreal and a little bit sad. Why had they given up the pink storm for this artifice? And, to the Christians, what would Jesus do? I think he'd be down at the Bochi drinking sake with the J-people."

Can you believe that pages 21 and 24 are blank in my pocket dictionary? And Karin has brought 3 big bags of home made buns. How can I be expected to work under these effing circumstances?

Talking to Angels

Spoke to my mom last night. She listened to my editing blues and offered support. She was distracted, though. Hurricane Katrina is headed straight for New Orleans. She’s worried about getting out. She’s worried about getting my sister out, about getting the old lady out. The old lady is bed-ridden and she’s talking to angels.

I’m not confident that we’ll get to first cut before we leave Sweden. I must accept that it takes as long as it takes. Patrick is cutting one, maybe two sequences a day. That’s fast considering all of the material he has to wade through. I will have to start prioritizing.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Call for Help

Hey Marc,

Thanks for sending me your email address. We came out to Sweden about three weeks ago to get away from the distractions of London. It's working, but the film is with us all the time as we are living out in a cottage in a village of 300 residents.

I think I might have told you that Tokyo Cowboys does not have a strong narrative. I was more interested in themes and characters, and I know I made the right decision. But, I am really struggling with the structure that would normally be dictated by the narrative.

I remember you telling me that the first thing to do was to cut the character arcs each on their own time line (it's a multi-character piece). That is how we started off, and we are about half way through with the first characteróthe one of which we shot the most footage.

While Patrick's cutting these arcs, I'm going through the interviews trying to pick out what I call "the cowboy poetry." I strongly believe that poetry is inherent in all language, and I hope that, having been a working poet these last 18 years, I can pull it out. So, I put it on a time-line and cut it up. Then I place that cowboy poetry over visuals of Tokyo. These visuals are not the standard Tokyo fare, but some strange little specific thing we shot

the statues of children with red beanie hats at shrines that evoke the memory of aborted fetuses

a homeless man trying to sweep up cigarette butts in the crowded youth districtóa million feet smack his broom, but he keeps on sweeping

sake barrels with kanji advertising on themóto the western eye, they are quite beautiful and exotic, but to a Japanese eye, they are just as mundane as a text only classified ad in the back of a magazine

I'm interested in making a mosaic...a collage...a multi-layered piece. But it seems really schizophrenic at the moment, and I'm beginning to doubt myself. Is this going to be some stupid experimental documentary that nobody but me will understand? That is not what I want to do. I do want to infuse it with the linguistic and visual poetry that I know is evident in what we shot. But, I want the film to appeal to a wide audience. Specifically, I want it to appeal to three major segments. 1) Those people who have some experience with Japan (either having lived there or some other connection), 2) Japanese people and 3) people who don't have any experience with Japan, but who would be attracted to the themes of freedom, the new frontier, constructing ones own reality, etc.

Having been formerly trained as a postmodernist in graduate school, there is a very strong post-modern element to the film as well. I'm not so interested in objective storytelling. Actually, I think there is no such thing as that. The story is always imprinted by the storyteller and her experience. It is filtered through that experience. I'm taking it a step further by consciously and openly constructing the story...perhaps even blurring some boundaries between fiction and "reality."

I'm also interested in the episodic, the fragmented and the small personal truths espoused by the cowboys. But, this is all theory, and I don't want to get too much talking about that lest I lose site of the film and just do some philosophical essay.

Anyway, I guess I just wanted to describe my headspace at the moment. I wanted to also ask you about the process that you went through. You see, right now, I feel like I can't see the whole. I can only see pieces. And I'm not sure how or if those pieces fit together. It really cuts into my self-confidence. But, if I know that's part of the process, then I can relax a bit.

I hope your projects are going well. If you feel so inclined, I'd like to hear how things are going for you as things are progressing.

Talk to you soon,


Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Finding the Right Words

August 24

I'm getting frustrated over how slow things are going. I know they are not really going slowly, but that's how it feels. We're cutting about a sequence a day. That's pretty good. But still, we're only half way through Ken, and he's only the first Cowboy to cut. Maybe it's just because I really can't see the big picture yet. I have to remind myself that this is all part of the process. I have to go through this to get to the other side.

I can't see it yet. I can't see the finished film. I have these vague notions of what it is...poetic, collage, mosaic, layered, epistolary...
but those words give me nothing really. There's the basic character arc, the "cowboy poetry," the voice over, the Japanese bit, music, visual poetry, narrative. I just have to patient. I'm sure it will come to me.

We've set a rough schedule. I thought we were going to get to some kind of first cut during our time in Sweden, but it looks like it will just be an assembly of the character arcs and maybe intercut with some of the "cowboy poetry."

I went on with some bulls#%t to Fred's girlfriend the other drunken night about bringing the poetry back to the if I could "justify the ways of God to man" in some kind of visual epic poem called "The True Stories of the Tokyo Cowboys." Epic poem: "of or resembling a long poem in which great achievements of a hero are narrated in elevated style." That's not quite it. I told Patrick I was worried because nothing really happens in my film. I guess "Lost in Translation" was sort of like that. "It's thematic," he said...European, maybe. But, look, is this gonna fly? Will people want to watch a film where nothing really happens? Must be mindful about the audience. The thing to do is keep pushing forward. That's the only thing to do.

I'm just going to write this weekend...look through some footage and write...leave off the transcriptions for the weekend.

Episodic...epistolary...I keep trying to describe it with words, but maybe it's time to let the words go. It is what it is, and that's it. Collage: "a work of art made by pasting various materials on a surface." Tokyo is the surface...and the various materials? Cowboy poetry, cowboys narrative, music, storytelling voice over...mosaic: "a picture or decoration made of small usually colored inlaid pieces as of stone or glass."

These are all of the words that are getting close to describing what I want to do with this thing. Throw in a bit of post-modern theory, and we're well on our way...a little bit crazy. I need to start recognizing and celebrating the tiny Eureka's. They are there...I just need to recognize them.

Yesterday I experimented a bit with the cowboy poetry. I cut up an interview with Ken. He was talking about his 10-year plan...freedom, does money buy freedom, etc.? Then I laid it over this really bizarre footage we shot outside of Shinjuku station of a fortune-teller. Japanese viewers might find this a bit literal. Foreigners in Japan might have an "aha" moment. But I wonder about the rest. I'm speaking to essentially three groups. The response will be different depending on the cultural references.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Some Kind of Monster

I was thinking about Metallica: Some Kind of Monster. I was thinking that when I saw that film, I knew Metallica was big, but I had no idea that they had sold 90 million albums and that they played stadiums. So, it was interesting to be ignorant of that. I could see the characters in a different light. There is something that is nagging me about this and Tokyo Cowboys. I watched the footage we shot from the first trip where I interviewed Mark, Brendan and Todd about how they started up their company. These are the businessmen. And I know they are serious owners of a very successful company in Japan. But, I know them as something else. I know them on a more personal level. And that is what is interesting to me. Something is nagging me, but I can't quite get it yet.

Another thing that is pulling at me, and maybe it is the same thing. I was transcribing an interview during the first trip with Bryan Gould. He talks about getting effed over by his step brother. He talks about how there is a code of silence in his family about it and that he was expected not to break the code of silence. There is a lot of hurt and bitterness there against his family. Here is this strong loner type guy, yet he can hurt as well.

These are all bits and pieces of the puzzle. But I can't really figure out how to put them together yet. I'll just spread them out on the table and look at them. Right now, though, the most important thing is elimination and inclusion. What can I definitely eliminateÖwhat footage will never make the cut, what footage will maybe make the cut and what will definitely make the cut. That's what I'm trying to focus on at the moment.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Tokyo Cowboys August Update

Greetings from Rockhammer, Sweden. Population: 302 (your Tokyo Cowboys team being the 2). After using every mode of transportation (taxi, train, foot, bus, boat, car) and being on the road for 4 days in an attempt to keep traveling costs as low as possible, the equipment and the team arrived safely*. And, thank goodness, the computer and hard drives started up with no protest. Firstly, let me apologize that we can access email only sparingly as we have to dial up long-distance. So if you write to us (thanks to all of those who have already), it might take a few days to get back to you. Here's the news this month:

JUSFC Grant Status:

As mentioned in the last update, we have applied for the Japan US Friendship Commission Grant ( with the help of our fiscal sponsor Projectile Arts ( Thanks to all of you who helped us by writing recommendations and giving us advice on the proposal. The Commission has received our application and will make their decision on the 16th of September. We will hear from them shortly thereafter. If awarded, the grant it would afford us the opportunity to significantly supplement the postproduction and marketing budgets.


After the generous offer of accommodation from one of our long-standing Tokyo Cowboys patrons, we decided to come to Sweden in order to dedicate 100% of our attention and energy to editing Tokyo Cowboys. Thanks again KJ. The work so far has been fruitful. Patrick has cut 5 sequences from Ken's story and put together several fragments. As for me, I'm searching for the poetry in the language. Meticulously and obsessively reviewing the tapes, I'm piecing together the voice over track that will run throughout the film. Our plan is to get as far beyond a first cut as possible by the time we head back to London in late October.

Tokyo Cowboys Shares:

There are only 15 Tokyo Cowboys shares still available at £500 each. If you are interested in finding out more about the investment, please email me.

Again, thanks so much for your support. If you'd like to follow our progress more closely, I direct you to our blog at You can also visit our website at for more information about the project. And, you can always get in touch with me at Send us good wishes, and if you are in Rockhammer, please drop by. We are the red house across from the little damn on the pond.

As always,


Daneeta and Patrick

*except for Daneeta's foot, which was injured in what will now be know as the "Tuna mayo incident of 2005"