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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.