Search This Blog

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.