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Sunday, December 17, 2006

Wading through Words

Spent the morning pouring over transcripts...mostly Ken's. I feel like a detective looking for clues...clues to the story. Tomorrow PJ and I will go over some of the clues I've picked out and start cutting them into the film. It's shaping up. All I have to do now is make it to the computer every day.

Thursday, December 14, 2006


This morning, after berating myself in my journal for pages about not being further along on Tokyo Cowboys, I came to the conclusion that I have director's block. I have always prided myself over never having had writer's block. I don't believe in it. If you can't write anything, it just means that you need to do more research. And research is part of the writing process. But, directing...that's a whole new kettle of fish. So, I've been blocked...afraid...not knowing what to do or where to turn.

I decided that I would do two hours of Tokyo Cowboys today no matter what. Only two hours because I was working a full day at the day job. Add to that shopping for dinner, cooking and cleaning, and I've already put in 10 hours of work before even sitting down to Cowboys.

So, I got home, announced to Patrick that I was on a tight schedule and booted him off the computer. I got through three minutes of the cut before the computer crashed. It took me 20 minutes to coax it into allowing me to watch the cut again. It's 56 minutes long. I reckon, we'll have another hour once we finish the first cut, which I hope to do by 15 February. I made notes about where to intercut the other characters (this cut only focuses on Ken) and where to search for Voice Over. So, tomorrow, after another 10 hours at the day job and life's essentials, I'll start looking for voice over. That means reviewing hours and hours of transcripts.

But, I will finish this flipping film. And I will finish it by Spring. And it will be good.

On a more positive note, we got the loan check today for the new computer. I'm going to order it as soon as the check clears. Maybe that will help us to move faster.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Loan Request

Just sent in the loan request, so we should be getting a check soon for the computer. Can't wait, can't wait, can't wait. Still trying to find the balance between finishing the film and making enough money to pay the rent. I suppose this is the case for a lot of people like me who want to live their dream but who don't have rich patrons. The problem is that, after working all day, I'm usually too tired to do any work on the film. But, today is the last day at the day job before Christmas break, and I've got a bit more than two weeks left before we got to NOLA, so there's an opportunity in there somewhere. Opportunities everywhere.

Monday, December 04, 2006


Just got email from SSB. They are gonna do it! They are going to loan us the money (interest free) to buy the new suite. Oh happy day, oh happy day. I am filled with gratitude to the great power.

My Space

Been investigating Myspace at the urging of my niece, the technocrati Dominique Elizabeth Thompson. "It's only the place for all the cool people, Nene. So, if you want your film to be cool, then myspace it." So, OK. I've gone on, gotten myself an account and uploaded some stuff. I must say that I'm a little bit addicted now.

No news from SSB about the loan for the new editing suite, but no news is good news as they say. There might be another option: a Natwest Credit Card (0% interest on the first 9 months). I don't see why they won't give me one as they have given me an obnoxious amound of "credit" on my overdraft.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Credit Hell

Against my better judgement, I applied for one of those no interest for 12 months of new purchases credit cards. I don't like credit...believe it is the spawn of Satan. But, the need for the new editing suite has caused me to consider selling my soul. Anyway, the angels protected me because I was turned down. It's insane that after 6 years of living here and with the same bank, I still cannot establish credit. Called the bank, and they will loan me the money, but the interest would amount to nearly £500. Are they having a laugh? I can get a better interest rate from a loan shark. So, my next plan is to borrow it from work. I've emailed SSB to see if she will consider it.

Other than that, I'm praying for this big gig through Spencer. If we get it, we'll be able to pay for the computer outright and have some left over for Christmas. Don't want to get too excited about it, though. These are times in which we must get in touch with our pragmatic selves.

Speaking of Spencer, PJ showed him the clip from Tokyo Cowboys on his iPod. He was really impressed and wants to use some of the TC footage to pitch the big gig.

That is all.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Even when I think Nothing is Happening

Was really depressed yesterday. I meant to write the intro to Ken voice over, but...worked up at the school all day. Then came home and tried to do a load of laundry while cooking. The washer spewed out a load of water so that I was standing in 1 inch of it while cooking on an electric cooker. Turned off the electricity, cleaned up the mess, finished off the laundry in the bath (don't try this at home), then finished dinner. By the time I finished eating it was 10 p.m., and I was in no condition to write. Just when I thought all hope was lost, Patrick said "have a look at what I edited today while you were at school." It was brilliant. We also decided to carry on with the edit before writing any more of my voice over. I'll save that for last.

Also applied for several credit cards on line. These are supposed to be 0% interest on new purchases for 12 months. If I can get one, we are going to buy a new system...the MacPro. It will scream.

Monday, November 20, 2006

New System

Had a look at the Nice Guyjin stuff that PJ cut. Also thinking about Ken's introduction V.O. I've been thinking more about a dialogue between my voice over and the cowboy voice over. Will spend some time tonight working on the intro vo for Ken. Things are moving along, but wish I could build up more momentum.

Thinking about getting a credit card to buy a new editing suite. This is against everything that I've come to believe about finance. But, we need a new system. It's either that or sell some of our sweat equity, and I just don't think I can bare going back to selling shares. It takes so much time, and I hate, hate, hate it. Begging for money...I think this will be my reality for the next few years at least.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Technical Hell

Spent the whole morning trying to get the computer started. It's definitely straining under the weight of the four external hard drives. Sometimes three hard drives mount, sometimes all four. And, I can't figure out why. I think our Mac has been brilliant over the past six years. It's an outstanding Power Mac g4. But, it's time to upgrade. PJ and I decided that I would go into the bank on Tuesday and try to get a loan for a new computer.

We finally got the computer up an running (albeit, hard drive Bruce wouldn't start at all). So, we decided to back up all of the projects onto Angelica. Because she's a USB hard drive, this took three hours. After all of this technical hell, I just didn't have the will to carry on with editing. I feel terribly guilty.

The new direction is going well, though, so I'm happy about that.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

New Direction

After taking 6 weeks off to earn a bit of cash, we are back to editing Tokyo Cowboys. Patrick re-cut the first 50 minutes to focus on Ken's story as the backbone of the piece. His story has the strongest arc. As off shoots of his story, we will be making segues into the lives of the other cowboys.

We've been frustrated about our inability to create momentum with the cut. It seems that earning a living is interfering with the completion, but we continue. I guess this is the way it is.

Thursday, September 21, 2006


Whey! Patrick's cut the first 56 minutes of the film. We are now officially smokin'.

Monday, July 31, 2006

Moving Along

Now moving from Ken to Mark. Doing this with a little segue into East West: Christmas 1997. Old footage of Ken (when he was fat!) and Mark winning every award there was to win at the end of the year. Wrote the voice over last night. Recorded it during lunch today (doing a paid gig today).

Trying to find money. Don't want to de-value the shares, so the only way to go is with grants and schemes. May be spending the 12th and 13th with one of the very early investors in TC to brainstorm how to get more money in. It would be so good if I could do TC full time and not have to work for money (although I am so thankful to the people who give me work).

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Introduction: Ken

Start off with Ken's V.O. about sacrificing a lot to come to Japan.

October 4th, 2002

I think sacrifice is a good place to begin. I used to think that Cowboys led a glamorous and charmed life in Tokyo. But Ken's life is more about balance...a security/freedom balance. Money buys security. But to make money on the urban frontier, you have to sell freedom. He's trying to balance by working from home as a freelance recruiter: the more you put in, the more you get out.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

The Rainy Season

October 1st, 2002

We arrived in the middle of the rainy season.
and humid
and rain
and wind.

It's a fitting welcome. Tokyo is washing herself clean.

There's a Tsunami warning today.
It's supposed to be a big one.
But in the time it takes me to get from Shinjuku to Roppongi
on the new Oedo line,
it has passed.

How IĆ­ve missed your inconsistent and charming self.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

This is Where it Begins

Tokyo September 27th, 2002

We arrived today.

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

It's a two hour bus ride
from Narita Airport
into the city.
The jet lag hits,
you have to close your eyes...
settle into it.

Patrick says:
"This is where it begins."

We've come looking for Cowboys...
the foreign men
who leave everything behind
and cross oceans
to be here.

What do they give up?
And what treasures do they gain
out here
on the postmodern
urban frontier?

Sunday, July 16, 2006


Jason rolled into town a few days ago, and I'm still recovering.
Called Ken and Brendan in a drunken stupor. Ken was in Hawaii. It was 6.30 a.m. in Tokyo, so Brendan just laughed at me and said he'd call me later.

Jason's on his way to a four week intensive film course in Prague. He wants me to go out there in the middle of August to brainstorm some ideas for a script. Fuck it. Why not.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Rainy Season VO

Needed to cut the Rainy Season V.O. down to 30 seconds, so rewrote and recorded it today. After Patrick dropped it in, it seemed to be lacking a bit of energy. Patrick's suggested that I record it while walking around in the garden. I think he's right. I want it to have the effect that it was recorded on the fly as we were shooting the film.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006


Oh, I am so pleased. We have finished the opening sequence and are now slotting in the sequences in loose chronological order. As faithful readers of this blog (I know of only three), you will recall that we spent the summer cutting sequences in Rockhammar. I think we cut something like 75...I lost count after 52.

Anyway, we're dropping those sequences into a Final Cut Pro Project aptly called "Tokyo Cowboys: The Whole Thing." We've had to break the TC project into about 9 projects to keep the computer from getting overloaded. She's a good computer, but she's a first gen. G4 bought six years ago for film school. She's souped up with 1.5 Gb of RAM wired up to 5 daisy chained LaCie harddrives totaling 3.5 Tb (that's roughly 3,500 Gb).

At the same time that Patrick is doing this, I am writing and recording voice over. We'll have guide tracks at least. Then, when the whole thing is put together, I'll go back over the voice over to polish it off.

Here is a sample of the most recent voice over penned by yours truly:
October 1st, 2002

The Japanese say they have four seasons. One of them is the rainy season: hot and humid and rain and wind. The shoes in your closet go green if you're not careful. It's a fitting welcome. Tokyo is washing herself clean.

There's a Tsunami warning today. It's supposed to be a big one. Shops shut down, the streets are deserted. But in the time it takes me to get from Shinjuku to Roppongi on the new Oedo line, it has passed. Tokyo. How I've missed your inconsistent and charming self.
And it will go on like this. Mixing with the voices of the Cowboys to form a story made up of many stories. I am so excited. IT IS FINALLY COMING TOGETHER!

By the way, if you have an rss reader, our rss feed for this blog is:

Thanks for reading and for your continued and much appreciated support!

Monday, June 19, 2006

Coming Together

Amazingly, it is starting to come together. I recorded some guide voice over today, and Patrick popped it in. It's working! So HP was right. I should listen to him more often. It's still rough, but I can see the shape of the beginning.

Sunday, June 18, 2006


Had a bit of a mental breakdown today. I started to feel the fear, and I let it get the better of me...saying things like "I have no idea what I'm doing," and "This film is going to be crap." Patrick talked me down from the window ledge.

I think I just get frustrated when I have ideas then try them out and they are not perfect on the first try. I must remind myself that there are steps to the process and I must walk before I can run.

We've intercut the cowboy arrival stories with my beginning voice over. Then I wrote the voice over to introduce the rainy season and to introduce Ken. It is coming together. I just have to trust myself and trust Patrick.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

East West

Patrick has suggested looking at some of the old EWC footage. This is stuff that I shot from 1997 - 2000 of various East West Consulting functions, parties, etc. I shot it on an old consumer camera. Two of the main characters and several of the subsidiary characters worked there during the late 90s during the Head Hunting bubble.

Patrick thinks we can use some of this footage, particularly the stuff where Ken is really fat. I looked at some of it. Ken looks like a baby. I guess he was--22 at the time.

We've dropped the footage into the first act of the film. It really works. It shows where Ken came from...where Mark came from. That culture. I'm trawling through the interviews of former EWC people to put together a collage of voices describing this HH boom. I'm getting so excited about the film. It is shaping up. I can see it now. I can see it!

Friday, June 16, 2006


Still working with the arrivals stories. I've got good ones from the likes of Ken, Mark S., World Family Mark, Cloudy, and Patrick. Still capturing others. Patrick pointed out that they can be anybody's arrival story. Any of the several hundred people we interviewed. The stories are being used in the sound track only...most likely over the footage that Patrick has just cut together to form the beginning of the film.

H.P. says that I'm closer than I think. He says I have all of the bits I need to make a great film. I just need to put everything together. Yes. That's what I need to do. Put everything chunk at a time.

Met with Alex about my voice over. She's the Actress/Singer/Voice Over Artist who lives next door. She's helping me to slow it down and put some feeling into it.

I feel good. I'm trying to relax into the pace of it...the rhythm of it. I was thinking it was too slow, but now I think it's just right.

Really miss my family. Wish I could go home. Feel bad that I can't.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

The went there with nothing but their preconceived notions about
the postmodern
urban frontier.

They all started teaching English.
Some of them even found their passion

Some moved on...

To Headhunting
To Entertainment
To Business

Always searching.

They began to make her their home.
They found freedom and opportunity.
They were favored.

But they were still restless.
They had not yet found the thing that had
called them
to her.

in this restlessness and searching
they struck some...strange...kind of...bargain.

They would never find peace like this one.

So they decided they were home.

They Arrived with Nothing...

Circumventing the ailing Bruce, I'm cutting Ken's arrival story on Big Mamma. I think this is going to work: cutting together all of these mini-narratives of the Cowboys' arrival stories. Together, they create...not a grand narrative, as such, but a cacaphony of possibilities on this postmodern urban frontier. So, this is how I'll proceed.

They arrived with nothing...

Friday, June 09, 2006

First Shot

I think I've decided that this is going to be the first shot of the film. I'm thinking in terms of Westerns. They usually start with a wide shot of the "frontier." This is my post-modern urban frontier. I may use voice over from the Cowboys and others to describe Tokyo. Patrick is cutting it over the next few days.

I was freaking out again about the edit...not thinking that I was moving quickly enough...whatever. I invoked the muse praying for her to guide me. As I lay in bed the other night, this shot came into my imagination. I just decided to trust the muse. After cutting this opening sequence, Patrick will go back to cutting all of the bits together. We are on our way.

Harddrive Blues

Our 1000 GB (1TB) harddrive, code named "Bruce," crashed and burned yesterday. Fortunately, it's only media on there, so the project (the edits) are safe. We've had to purchase another harddrive (£372), which I'm hoping will be able to communicate with Bruce to take over the media. Then Bruce will go in for repairs.

Anyone wishing to submit a name for the new harddrive can do so here. Perhaps something Japanesey

Ourotherr drives are:

Elektrik Zoo (70 GB)
Slave (70 GB)
Big Daddy (500 GB)
Big Momma (1 TB)
Angelica (500 GB)

And, yes, they are all full.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Today we start cutting everything together. I pray that this is the way to go. Patrick says we should work on the stories some more before cutting it all together, but I feel that we've spent too much time on that. It's time to move forward. The only way I can see that happening is to cut it all together. Then, if we have a mess, we can start to clean it up. I can't see the forest for the trees right now.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Over the next few weeks, we will be putting all of the bits and pieces together to see if we actually have something coherent. I'm excited and nervous at the same time.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006


I read somewhere that "one way or another...all postmodern roads lead to Nietzsche." So I do some research, but Nietzsche is so way over my head.

Beginning Voice Over

27 September 2002

[footage from Narita bus trips]

We arrived in Tokyo today, and everything has changed.
But I still have the feeling of coming home.

Even the language, which at one time seemed so impossible, floods my head instantly.

When the Japanese feel nostalgic they feel "Natsukashii"

I rode the bus from Narita Airport into the city...a two hour ride. When the jet lag hits, it's like falling into a dream of Tokyo. You have to close your eyes and settle into it.

This is where it begins.

[continue on with bus shot w/ no v.o. for a while]

I'm looking for something out here, but I'm not sure what.
Something about the Cowboys who come here...
the gaijin...
the foreign men who leave everything behind and cross oceans.

I'm sure they come for the money, but...somehow that doesn't seem quite right.

It's only the first layer.
But it's the one I'll start with.

[gap here]

There's a guy I know from my time in Japan...came here in the early nineties...just after the bubble had burst.

Back in America, he had been corn fed on the idea that Japan was a place to make your fortune...
despite the economy.

It was a land of opportunity and freedom.

In the beginning of the 21st Century, my friend owns one of Tokyo's top indigenous headhunting firms,

so he's plugged into both the gaijin and the Japanese professional communities.

I wanna know if living on the post-modern urban frontier has lived up to his expectations. I wanna know if money bought him freedom and peace.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Love from a Cowboy

Brent sent this along:

Saturday, May 13, 2006

In Tokyo you are released from the pain of hating yourself. You come home.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Voice Over

Been working on the voice over lately. Trying to find the right tone. I've been writing overly poetic, I think. Yesterday I experimented with a more journal-like tone, and it seems to be working. I also had this idea of using the voice over as a process of discovery. What did I go there to find? Something about the Cowboys and what causes them to cross oceans to get to Tokyo. Money, Opportunity, Freedom, Peace. This is the journey that they take. And this can be illustrated by the voice over.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Friday, March 17, 2006

Voice Over

They all went looking for something...
A sense of belonging.
They went to find themselves.

They traveled to the wild, wild East
to Tokyo:
the postmodern urban frontier.
They brought what they could carry
always arriving invited

Tokyo welcomes all those with
college degrees
achievement in arts or sport
those who can labor at something
that the Japanese cannot.

They tasted of her many fruits
and they were

And there was always more.
She is ever constructing new realities

And they stayed...
And they tried to find a place...
And they made her the home of the
Tokyo Cowboys.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

How Can I?

March Update

Dear Friends of Tokyo Cowboys,

I hope this update finds you healthy and happy. I apologize for not being in touch with ya'll for a while, but things have been busy on the Tokyo Cowboys frontier.

Since my last missive, Patrick and I have been working steadily towards the first cut, and we are right on target for our July 31st deadline. The structure is finally coming together, and I can see a big super nova at the end of the tunnel.

Thanks to the kindness of two of our initial investors, we are FULLY FUNDED! There are no more Tokyo Cowboys shares available for purchase. (You can, however, get them off investors for a much higher price than the original. We plan to be trading on the LSE soon.) This last push will take the project through to completion. If you are an investor and do not have a contract or a Certificate of Ownership, which includes an official Japanese inkan stamp, please email me.

I am steadily working on the marketing plan, however much it takes a back seat to the editing. As you know, until a big fish comes along and swallows us whole, we are marketing as an independent film without all the big studio muscle. That means grass roots efforts. I would like to ask all of you to be on the lookout for festivals, grants, news or grass roots' marketing ideas. If you see anything in whatever you're reading or watching that might help us to get Tokyo Cowboys to market, please email it along.

As always, I will be posting as vigorously as possible on the Tokyo Cowboys Blog ( We will also be uploading new clips to the website as we cut them (but not too much...we don't want to give away the ending!).

Thank you for continuing to support us with all of your emails, calls, visits and efforts.


Tokyo Cowboys

Monday, February 27, 2006

The Wall

Spent a bit of time working on the wall today. It's a paper edit of sorts but it takes up the entire length of wall in our hallway. I can put all the pieces together. As soon as I get me hot rockin' Nokia 6280 as a thank you from T-Mobile for being a loyal customer, I will take pics and post here.

That is all.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Beginning Voice Over

It's not that I'm a Japan-o-phile.
It's Tokyo I love.
I recognize brilliance when I see it.
It's the greatest city on the planet...
one of our finest and most intricate creations.

Tokyo is Japan's answer to the Atom bomb.
a polite and resounding:
"fuck you."

Understand this city, and you might crack the enigmatic Japanese.

A two thousand year old culture that grew fat with hubris, was destroyed and then
reinvented itself...
again and again and again.

Tokyo is constantly reinventing herself.

And you are a part of it.
She calls you to her.
You are one of her...chosen.

and you make your way to her however you can.
across oceans and land and time
eschewing your own construct
and joining with her

She promises you everything...
"It's all here for you," she says.
Devote yourself to her, she says.
Become part of her.

So I did.

The freedom was overwhelming...
it was too much,
and I broke under the pressure



clinched teeth bit out the promise
"I'll never go back."

But, she said:
"It's not like that. It's not like that at all."

She said:
"Let me show you...Let me tell you the true stories of the Tokyo Cowboys."

The Shares have Gone

We have just received into the Tokyo Cowboys account the final round of funding. This will take us up to the July 31st finish line, folks. The funding comes from two existing Tokyo Cowboys investors who wanted to up their shares in the project. Thanks to you both, we are good to go!

Friday, February 24, 2006

A Beginning and an End

Patrick and I have started to have meetings outside of the "office." This works better for us as it frees up the flow of ideas. At our meeting today, we brainstormed 5 possible beginnings and chose our favorite one to pursue. I won't write it here as I don't want to spoil the surprise, but I am extremely excited about it. It's going to be something completely different from other films about Tokyo, which is something we are aiming for

We also came up with the idea of starting off with the concept of "alien" and ending with the concept of "home." I haven't worked this out completely, but I think it might be a good avenue to pursue. With this in mind, I've started to think of an ending.

I've been trying to figure out how to use the Japanese interviews. I have this idea of using them as "interludes"...the tatami mat maker, the new wave tea master, the juku...all of these would be interludes with voice over. My voice over fading in and out and their voice over fading in and out. My reference for this is some of the God Speed music I've been listening to.

Sunday, February 19, 2006


Dear Mr. Marker,

I'm thinking about the marginalization of the white, male, heterosexual. Here is where they can feel special...where they are a rarity. Here is where they are truly free. Sandra says that Japan attracts people that don't fit into their own countries. We are like ghosts in their machine. Boo!

Saturday, February 18, 2006


We are half asleep when the fire trucks arrive. Someone's forgotten to put the BBQ out, and it catches the surfboard on fire. Firemen, policemen, the neighbors...everybody is out to see what the gaijin did.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Little Gifts

The first time we take the train with Cloudy, he puts his hammock up. I'm ashamed to admit it, but when he does this I think he's doing it for the camera. But, then something amazing happens. It starts out with a few brave young men, spurred on by drink and a desire to speak what little English they remember from school. They strike up a conversation. I nearly fall off my seat. This just doesn't happen in Japan. Absolute strangers are carrying on a conversation in the train. Not only that, the Japanese person instigated the conversation and the person he is talking to is a gaijin. You can't imagine how scandalous this is. How reckless. How utterly sublime.

During the months we spend with Cloudy, this happens again and again. He puts up the hammock, and the locals talk to him. It helps that he speaks a bit of Japanese. When no one talks to him, he kicks it off by recognizing the curious glances. Then he asks if they want to have a go in his hammock. I've seen only one man refuse, but he was really drunk. I suspect he was afraid of falling out.

Maybe it's because the Japanese are polite and think it would be rude to refuse. Cloudy says that when they go home they will tell their husband or wife or mother or father about him. But I think it's the opposite. I think they will hold this little gift in their hearts and keep it all for themselves. In future, They will search out the memory and use it for what purpose, I don't know. But it will be just for them.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

We Can Know Various Truths

Yoji's T-shirt says "We can know various truths." I am standing in the middle of Shinjuku 2-chome. It's 6 square blocks of the sovereign nation of Japanese queer. It's also the safest place for us to skin up. I ask him what the English on his shirt means. "I don't know," he says. "I bought it because I like the design." In the middle of the conversation, I feel dizzy. I have to nip around the corner and throw up in the shrubbery. A couple of boys walk by and giggle. I look up from the vomit. It's Cowboy Tom from the World Family show with Cloudy. He winks at me and walks on. We can know various truths.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Bits from the Voice Over

Just drafts, but here are some bits I'm been working on:

By accident, we stumble across the shrine dedicated to aborted fetuses. So many of them. Tokyo is a big city. The whole time we are there, only men come to pray to the statues. Somehow this makes it more tragic. I make up stories about the children they have lost. Were the forced to discard them placing their little souls in cold stone for all eternity? Finally, they send a novice priest out to say "no!" He is uncharacteristically firm for a local. I feel he wants to give me a piece of his mind, so I pretend not to speak Japanese. I am ashamed.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Eye of the Cloud

Worked some more on the stories tonight. I was working mostly on Cloudy's story. The first draft went something like this:

Cloudy is a standup comedian. He's dating a girl named Kaori. He takes her to his beach house. They break up. Cloudy starts dating the ALF girl.

For the second draft, I've written up to the end of our first night with Cloudy. It's already 10 pages long. But, I started to discover something. Most of what I'm writing is just to put my writer's mind into context. Then suddenly something comes out that I can use.

What it felt like to leave Cloudy's flat that first night...tanked, in the streets of Shibuya at 2 a.m. It's choc-o-block with young locals. They are spilling out of the clubs and giggling...still high from the music and the dancing and the e. We wave to a group of them on the way back to Sandra's. "Gudo ibuningu," they shout. "Oyasumi!" we shout back. And time slips away and I can almost see Tokyo 100, 200, 300 years ago...all at the same time. It's a humid September night, and the road is dusty. I can smell yaki iimo. And, we're just all trying to find our way home.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Asking the Questions

The first question is: How can I complete Tokyo Cowboys by the end of July of this year?

Last night I spent a good deal of time working on the story. It feels like it's going on forever, but I'm working on transforming my vocabulary. Instead of "going on forever," it's "moving right along." I still haven't decided who will make the cut and who won't. What's very clear is that not everybody can stay in. That would be a 4 hour rambling film that just wouldn't be accessible to most people. And, one think I'm sure about is that I want to make it accessible. No matter how beautiful and moving Chris Marker's film is, it is not accessible to a general audience. That having been said, Tokyo Cowboys must maintain it's poetry. I will not sacrifice that. Well, I wouldn't say sacrifice because I believe that a general audience would be open to poetry. With all of the shit going on in the world right now, we could use a little poetry.

"American Movie" that was an accessable documentary. It just didn't get seen by a massive audience because of poor marketing and the fact that it was before the big documentary fashion. It started the trend.

Anyway, I'm writing out all of the stories just in case. I feel close to inter-cutting them together, but there's still the fine tuning. There's also a bit of funding to raise in the form of grants. There are also £6000 worth of shares still left. Our goal is to finish by July. This is certainly possible, but it would be a whole lot easier with money. Isn't that always the case? Patrick and I could dedicate more time to it. I wouldn't be so tired in the evenings. Sometimes I'm so tired from the day job, that I must do some serious motivational hoo hah before I can start to write.

I'm applying for the JUSFC grant again if they let me. I'm applying for the Women in Film grant. It's only a maximum of $5000, but that would get us grading.

The other question I need to start asking myself is: How can I effectively market Tokyo Cowboys to sales agents and distributors? Are those the right people to be targeting? Perhaps I should back up and think of the real goal. Besides communicating my vision, which is to have as many people as possible watching the film and getting it, what are the other goals? A) (and these are in no particular order...A) get investors their money back, B) Make a big enough profit to entice them again for the next project, C) interest people (influential people) in me as a filmmaker so that I can make more films. Very tall orders, but if we don't ask the questions, how will we find any answers? Marketing, marketing, marketing. I'm reading the Marketing book nearly every day to get prepared.

Really tired now. Time to sleep.

Monday, January 23, 2006

The Plan from Now

Yesterday Patrick and I met to talk about the plan for Tokyo Cowboys now that we've reached character assembly.

1) Intercut Characters
  • Write out each character's story in prose
  • What happens?
  • Is there a reversal?
2) Cowboy Voice Over
  • Transcribe remaining Interviews
  • Go through all transcripts and draft Voice Over
3) Narration

4) Tokyo Footage (Transitions)

5) Japanese bits

6) Beginning and Ending

I re-watched Ken's and Mark's footage. Ken's story is there. Mark's isn't so clear. At first I was really frustrated...all huffing and puffing until Patrick came down from the loft and asked what the hell was the matter with me. There is no arc with Mark. I know it's in the footage, it's just not in what we've cut so far. But, I shouldn't be frustrated by this. I should be happy...happy that I know what needs to be done with Mark's footage. I must congratulate us for coming this far. I must motivate the truths.

I thank God for every effing day I spend on Tokyo Cowboys...oo rah.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Master Class

I've been taking these documentary Master Classes up at the film school in the evenings. Yesterday, I went to Marc Isaacs' class. I did a class with Marc last term as well. His films really inspire me. They are more thematic than narrative, and they are quite poetic, subtle and emotional. He's quite skilled as a filmmaker, although he's not formerly trained. It makes me wonder how much formal training is really worth.

Both times, Marc was kind enough to talk to me after. He's very supportive and even sent us kind words while we were in Sweden. I like talking to him because he's advanced further down the road but not so far that he doesn't have time to help those just starting out.

Today, I watched the character assemblies for the first time. It was amazing. Before watching them, I felt that things were just all over the place. I felt like the film was so disjointed. But now I can see the stories presenting themselves...the true stories of the Tokyo Cowboys. I felt really great after watching the assemblies, and I've got renewed excitement about the project.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Pictures of Eric

Cloudy has sent along some pictures of Eric on her travels. Here they are.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Moving Along

Patrick cleaned up the two sequences I cut of Nice Guyjin...them in the fish market and them hanging in the studio. Patrick is so kick ass. I gave him a 10 minute rambling mess, and he came back with two finished sequences.

Have been thinking about the head hunters again, and I realized that I have to put them back in. They add something to the piece. We are looking for cowboys, and they are part of that search.

Been working on the concept capsule

Tokyo Cowboys...a modern day western set on the post modern urban frontier...Howard says this one is crap, so back to the drawing board. But the metaphore is the more research on the western.