Search This Blog

Friday, December 21, 2007

You can blow your independent spirit up my ass...

I have spent the last few days and nights trawling WAB, BritFilms and the like for appropriate festivals for Tokyo Cowboys. I figure the festivals specializing in "independent" films are the ones for us. I mean, we are the epitome of independent. We raised the money ourselves, we shot it, we edited it and we are selling it...all without the aid of a production company. Here's how most festivals define independent: "made with less than 50% participation by a major studio or television broadcaster." What the hell does that mean? Budget? Publicity? Marketing?

But, OK, whatever. That's not the thing. The thing...the real thing...the thing that gets up my butt is that the films specializing in independent films...the festivals that are filled with the independent spirit (whatever the fuck that means) charge outrageous fees. I just came accross one that is charging $110. And, that's the early bird deadline...AND, it's a European film festival. For shame! You greedy bastards. European film festivals are subsidized by tax euro...your's and mine. Outrageous!

P.S. The picture above is not my ass. Would that it were.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Tokyo Cowboys Press

Check out the interview about Tokyo Cowboys over at Broken Projector.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Minding my P's and Q's

Ohmygodohmygodohmygodohmygod...Simon is going to fahlippin' kill us. Well, it's Patrick's fault anyway. He keeps tweaking when I'm not looking. But this is it, this is truly it. Tonight is truly the end. All of the tweaking has been done, and Patrick is burning for festivals. Now I just have to call Simon to let him know that all of the music Q's I sent him last week are now completely changed!

Friday, December 07, 2007

Music to My Ears

Last week I met with Simon, our composer and certified Japanophile. We had a listen to some ideas he's been working on for the score. The stuff he did for the Salaryman/Samurai bit and for the Ask/Answer bit are so kickass that I nearly cried with joy that it's all coming together. We've given him notes, and he's in the studio as I write creating magic.

Today, we watched the cut, yet again. It's clocking in at 83 minutes without credits. Patrick has got a last minute inspiration and wants to cut in a 30 second sequence that brings Daneeta the character back into the film. I'm not sold on the idea, but I'm going with it. Patrick's ideas are usually pretty much on the money. I think my luke-warm reaction to the idea might have more to do with the fact that I'm really tired of the cut, and I just want it to be over. Is that bad to say?

Other than that, I've been dealing with clearances all day, which is the worst possible thing you can do with a hang over.

Jesus save me from myself!

Friday, November 30, 2007

Linus and Lucy

Spoke to Lish over at Warner Chapell about getting rights for Lunus and Lucy. It's the song in the film that introduces Mark. He plays the piece on the piano at one of the EWC events. Lish says it's going to cost us £500 just for festival rights. I've written her a teary email explaining that we're broke and how we've been working on the film for ages and how we haven't been paid and that we would share the wealth if we had any. She hasn't responded yet.

Also put in a request to Universal for "Wherever you will Go." They also own the rights to "I'm just a Girl," which we requested earlier and are still waiting to hear back on. "Wherever you will Go basically ends the film as Aki sings it in Karaoke (hope I'm not giving away the ending here).

Doing all of these clearances sucks. Next time, it will be different.

Monday, November 26, 2007


Spent the whole day checking festivals. It is mind-numbing work and requires someone about a thousand times more meticulous than me, but there is no one like that around my place, so it's all down to me (poor me!).

I really f*@ked up on Rotterdam and missed the festival deadline, so now I'm all paranoid and have to check all my lists on, like, a daily basis. this can take hours.

Anyway, packaged and posted three festival entries and realized I missed the one in Montana. This sucks.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

More Feedback and Paperwork

Received more feedback yesterday and today from two more viewers, and it was good all round with some minor suggestions. Simon says that we can fiddle a bit with the picture until the 30th when he will need everything done and dusted for real. This is how I feel about the project today.

Been working at the day job yesterday, today and tomorrow, so haven't had much time to do much, but I have gotten info back on three sets of clearances we are after. So, on Friday, I will make the calls.

Also sending to Festivals on Friday as well. Two well-known "women's" festivals and a few others. As an aside, "Liza" was accepted to the 21st Stuttgart Film Festival in competition. This is an experimental documentary that Patrick directed in February. I Exec. Produced it, and it is an Elektrik Zoo production, so we're quite chuffed.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Tagged and Bagged

This is a pre-announcement ahead of the official TC Update to be sent out next week. We have locked the picture...tagged and bagged. Now on to sound. Simon is taking a 1st pass at the music as I write. It's all happening.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Is Cinema Dead?

And, if so, what is replacing it?

Thursday night...9 p.m. Central London...Robert Rodriguez's "Planet Terror"...10 people in the cinema.

Big trouble in the cinemas, and the online world is taking over. In an article in this week's "Screen International" ("Film's New World Order") producer Ira Deutchman suggests that studios are struggling to adapt to the online explosion and that this is a good opportunity for independents.

I know he's right I just have no idea what to to exploit the markets and audience streams on the Internet. The thing is that I'm not really interested in that part of filmmaking. I just want to make the films and have someone else exploit those markets. But, it's still the frontier.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

What People Said

The other day I received feedback from one of our viewers. He said some pretty cool things about his experience watching the film. Soooo, I thought I'd post a few comments from him and others.

"Satisfying...Gripping...There is something about Mark that is darkly sexy. I think he's on his way to becoming a gay icon."

"Engaging...the Cowboys are fascinating characters. I actually missed them when the film was over."

"A tremendous work that precisely captures the reality of the post-modern world of cowboys in Japan."

I'll post more as they come in.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

I'm Just a Girl

Trying to clear the rights for "I'm just a Girl" by No Doubt. Called Universal Music who hold the rights, and they told me that No Doubt songs are notoriously difficult to clear, but I'm hoping that the fact that Gwen Stafani has a strong connection with Japan will bode well. I've sent off an email with all of the relevent information. Now we wait.

In the meantime, Katsura has been working hard on her end to get clearances for all of the Karaoke songs. She's cleared "Ue o Muite," which is the song we plan to use at the end of the film. You can see it performed below by the wonderful Ningyoko. She's also got tentative agreements with some of the other rights holders.

Katsura kicks ass. She was a few years below me at The London Film School and is a director/writer as well as doing fab camera work. Her film Zekuu has been quite successful on the festival circuit. So melancholic and so's very skillfully directed. Check it out if you get a chance.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Oh yeah...the Marketing

Spent most of the day researching on WAB and BritFilms for all of the free festivals. I'm looking for November deadlines. I also have a "Top 40" list from Shooting People. Some of those are free...mostly the European ones. Patrick says this is because in Europe Film Making is subsidized by the Government. In America, it's not, so the festivals have to charge. It's a Capitalist State, remember? For the ones with fees, I have to weigh the cost over the festivals advantages.

Even with sites like WAB and ReelPort, it's bloody hard work. Waaaaaah!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Cloudy's Website

Cloudy has a new website: Check it out to see photos of his life in Japan and beyond.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Thinking Ahead

Met up with Silvia Cambie today. She runs Chanda Communications, and was introduced to us by one of our investors. She is getting us to think about marketing the film, which is good. For literally years, I have not been able to see beyond finishing the film. But, now that we are so close to finishing, we have to start thinking ahead, and I'm thankful that Silvia came along at the right moment.

We've inter-cut all of the characters, and Patrick had a huge epiphany last night about how to slice and dice them more. He's like one of those Japanese jujitsu knives that they used to sell on late night TV in America. He slices, he dices, he can even cut through corn on the cob. He's finishing off cut 7.3 to hand over to two viewers tomorrow. We're supposed to have the film as close to picture lock as possible by Wednesday. That's when it goes to Simon, our composer. Then it's off to Sweden for 11 days.

Silvia was asking me to think about which bits people will remember when they leave the film. For her, it was Ken...the Jewish boy from New York performing Christmas Mass in his role as rent-a-priest. But, it's funny. Each person that watches the film picks their own stand-out scene. One person said it was Christmas morning with Ken, Aki and the newborn Taiga. The family celebrated a hybrid of Christmas and Hanukkah. Another said it was Hiromi changing Dave's diaper after his butt operation...her devotion to him almost fanatical. And yet another said it was Cloudy, after performing in one of his shows, dropping a tiny girl off his lap. She squealed with laughter even after hitting the ground with a thud.

Of course I like all of the scenes in the film. But, I have to say that I am partial to the pauses...those sort of in between scenes that show Tokyo...complex, ineffable, dense...hiding secrets right on the surface of everything. Shhhh...

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Tokyo Guts

Oh, yes. The guts of Tokyo Cowboys. But, if you look closer, there is some order to this.

We are well in the middle of inter-cutting the characters. It is a head f@ck. Patrick will have cut 7.0 done sometime tonight. He says he only has 3 notes. I'm holding my breath. We are so close.

Now, if we can just get around this damn postal strike, we might even make the Slamdance deadline.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

As it is Now

Lots of ups and downs over the past few weeks. We finished cut 6.3 and screened it around. I mostly refer to Jaime's crit. He thinks we need to inter cut the stories. This is something that Patrick and I have been kicking around for a while, but we've avoided doing it. Not so much avoiding, just trying to get to a point where we can actually inter cut. We're at that stage now. So, we've put all the cards up on the wall and are trying to fit the pieces together.

In the meantime, our composer Simon is working on some ideas for the film. Before getting Jaime's feedback, I went through the film with him to show him music Q's. I seems a bit premature now. I know we are close, but I had hoped that we were closer.

Friday, August 17, 2007


PJ and I worked a 16 hour day yesterday shooting a corporate gig in Rochester, so, today, we were a bit disinclined to get out of bed, rush to the computer and start on Tokyo Cowboys. But, after returning equipment and a nice walk back to our neighborhood, a coffee and some leisurely paper reading, we were finally ready to give it a go.

This is the first time we've watched the whole film through without the voice over, and, my God, it's working. There is still loads of work to be done, but it is really coming together. We both made more notes, and PJ is incorporating them into the cut.

We also compared the order of the scenes to the chronological order. PJ was expecting some kind of revelation, but nothing was forthcoming. We're swapping a few scenes around to see what happens.

The ending is still eluding us.

Got asked the question the other day "Sooooooo...what's happening with Tokyo Cowboys." Normally I don't mind this question, but I detected a hint of pity in the questioners voice. Like we've been effing about this whole time and why is it taking us so long and the like. I just want to set the record straight now...neither of us gets paid for any of our work on Tokyo Cowboys. I'm not saying this to bitch about things. It's my fault for not budgeting properly in the first place. It's just that sometimes things move slowly because we actually have to stop occasionally and earn a living. And, as all of you know, earning a living takes a lot of creative energy. No matter how much you love your labor of love, it is difficult to get your ass to the editing suite when you've just worked at 16 hour day. That's pretty much why we are taking so long.

Monday, August 13, 2007


Well, here we are my birthday, and it's actually quite depressing. If I got the idea to shoot this thing in March of 2002, then this is my 6th birthday spent working on this film. But, some of the footage is home video stuff from 1997, do the math.

Actually, it's coming along wonderfully. The new direction devoid of personal voice over is like a fresh new start. But, there is that nagging feeling in the back of my mind that if I've spent this long on the film, I should really pull off a masterpiece. The pressure is tremendous. I try to release some of it by thinking that I've done other things in the mean time...I've produced a few shorts, published a few things, worked on a couple of features, etc.

Must not let any of this negativity get in the way of finishing this thing. to writing, and off to re-visiting interviews, which, by the way, make me very home sick for Tokyo and how easy it is to get by there. I'm a bit fed up with the whole money situation. It's not funny anymore, and I'm getting too old to be living hand to mouth. Enough all ready.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Constructive Criticism

MG came over yesterday to give us feedback on the film. She basically picked the whole thing apart and left us bleeding on the floor (but in a nice way). We were devastated at first. But then... slowly...during a twilight walk along the Thames Southbank, we started to digest her about it...formulate ideas of how to carry on. And, you know what, it's gonna be alright...better than alright.

Getting criticism is difficult...especially when you think that you are almost at the end. But, all of this has been good for us...not just with regards to Tokyo Cowboys, but as writers/directors in general. It's good to be able to take criticism and use it for all its worth...for the betterment of your art. And, we've been lucky so far. None of our critics have been mean. They've just told it like it is.

Patrick says that, in a sense, we are going back to some original concepts that sort of got lost during the long cutting process. So, we are stripping out all of the voice over, which was problematic anyway, and going back to basics. MG says "Trust the footage," and that was genius. Let the guys tell their own stories. We are not getting rid of the voice over entirely, though. From very early on, we had these sort of post card style voice over bits...bits about Tokyo and her relationship with gaijin. Those will stay and serve as breaths in the film. But there will be only about six of them and probably recorded by a professional voice over artist. My first choice, of course, would be Alexandra Stewart...the most sublime voice of Sans Soleil. But, that might be just too much to ask for...

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

A pile of shit

Tried to write today, but nothing was forthcoming. Sometimes I just write shit for hours and hours. Shit, shit, shit. The thing is working without hardly any narration, which is really good. But, that means the narration that's in there has to be perfect. And, here's me writing a load of shit.

Saw "Running Stumbled" last night at LFS. It was made by a native Louisianian...a documentary about his fucked up family. He was there to give a Q&A, and I had a brief chat with him. But, I was so tired that I couldn't do proper networking.

I am certain that if guys had periods, weed would be legal.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Fighting it through:

Patrick and I are fighting every day now about the film, so I guess that means we're getting close to finishing. Today we pretty much finished Cloudy. There are some tiny details to work on, but he's basically finished (for this cut, at least).

I think I mentioned before that, after the last feedback session with Martin, Francois, Claire, Barney and Val, we cut out all of the V.O. to see if we really needed so much. It turns out that we hardly need any of it at all. This prompted Patrick to ask the question that's been on both of our minds: Do we need voice over at all? I kind of think we do. But, I'm thinking maybe we don't need it for exposition. We need it for the poetry. That tells a story as well.

Friday, July 20, 2007


tried, tried so hard to write some new voice over for Cloudy this evening. Patrick has re cut Cloudy's bit, and it is really working. It's more like a story now instead of some bizarre collage. We've removed all of the V.O. from his bit as well, and there was a lot of it. It just needs three bits. The first bit is already written, but I want to re do tired, I'm not making any sense....

Tuesday, July 17, 2007


Yesterday we had an editing meltdown. Patrick was all "This fucking thing is driving me insane." And I was all: "Shut up and get back to editing." The thing is that, after the last round of feedback, we decided to put the film on the table, slice it open and take everything out. Once all of the guts are out on the table, though, you start to worry if you are every going to put everything back together.

Today was better. Went to the day job and chilled out. It's funny. Most people get stressed when they go to their day job. But mine is like a vacation. I don't have to think too hard, the people are cool, and there's usually lots of free biscuits and coffee. Sometimes they give us liquor. Where was I?

Oh, yes....the edit. So, Patrick calls me up at the day job and says: "I have an idea." He luanches into it, and, yes, it is the most brilliant idea on how to re-cut Cloudy. He's the one that our test viewers are having the most trouble with. They like him, but he doesn't have an story arc. It makes people wonder why they are watching him. Patrick's brilliant idea gives him an arc.

The beginning is still problematic, but we've left it for now. I like what Patrick has cut for it, but I need to re-work the Voice Over a bit. It's a more personal beginning, and that is making me a bit uncomfortable. It's not that I have a problem with laying my life out for everyone to see. That's what I do with my filmmaking and with my writing. I just have a problem if it's stupid and self-indulgent. But, I guess that's what the test viewers are there for. Trusted people who will tell you if you are being stupid or not.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Random unrelated Thoughts

Naoko says that Patrick Harlan is the most famous gaijin on Japanese T.V.
Gagan says he saw my post on Fucked Gaijin.
In the background, Patrick is recording my memories off the TV screen.
My voice is so annoying.
Note to self: get rid of some of the voice over.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Time Tripping Again

So, I'm time tripping through the latter part of the late 20th century. Patrick has suggested that I look through old tapes from my time in Japan before coming to London. He's doing an experimental cut now using footage of those early years for a beginning montage. I'm not convinced, but, as the judge says, I'll allow it for now. He's thinking that, instead of the wall of text at the beginning of the film, a montage would be more appropriate.

It's a bit freaky and sad watching the footage...especially the stuff with Mark and myself. This was all before we knew things were going to break down between us. On an interesting note, there's a bit of Mark and me in Kansas city. I was talking about making films...Mark would make porno videos and fund my more "legitimate" films.

Pretty trippy.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Pictures from Brent

Here is the lovely Brent who we shot for Tokyo Cowboys. Brent is not in the final cut because, honestly, he is just too big for film. He will, however, feature on the DVD special features.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Cutting and Trimming

In the past few days, we've gotten great feedback from several viewers. One big thing is that the film is too long. I think we knew that, but we were just so in love with everything, that it was difficult to cut. But, it definitely needs to be cut down from 1 hr. 53 mins. to 90 mins.

There's also way too much narration, so we did an experiment and took all of it out. Patrick is trimming now, and we are going to watch the whole thing without VO tomorrow. It's quite exciting. We had a peek at the first 5 minutes without VO, and it was startling how little you can get away with. I think this shakes things up a lot, and it's infusing us both with excitement.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Tokyo Cowboys Summer Update

Hello from the Tokyo Cowboys homestead. Hope you are all well and ready for the hot summer months ahead. Work progresses on the film, and we are getting very close to finishing. Below is the summer update. Please get in touch if you need further info or just want to chat.


Daneeta & Patrick


2) CUT 4.0






"Tokyo Cowboys" is a wholly independent feature-length documentary shot over a two year period. The film provides a fascinating insight into the lives of ambitious Westerners trying to make it "big in Japan." The film was written and directed by Daneeta Loretta Saft. It was photographed and edited by Patrick Jackson. And it was co-produced by Saft and Jackson.

I (Daneeta) have consolidated all of my email addresses from various accounts to compile this master list of interested parties. If you still do not know how you got on this mail out and want to get off this ride, please let us know. Or, perhaps, you'd like to know more. If so, then email me or visit our website at or our blog at, and read on brothers and sisters, read on.

2) CUT 4.0

It's hard to believe, but we have made it to cut 4.0. We are presently distributing this cut to our merry band of test viewers for feedback. Our random sampling of viewers includes fellow filmmakers, film technicians, professional critics, keen cinema goers, and a couple of Joe's off the street.


As you might have guessed, after we lock the picture, we will be turning our ears to sorting the sound. Sound is extremely important in a low budget documentary. It can make or break the sale. We are therefore looking for a super talented Sound Editor to come on board. We have our sources, of course, but if any of you would like to nominate a friend or colleague (or yourself, even), please email me with details.


For those of you reading the blog, you know that obtaining clearances has become the focus of my life. We have issues ranging from people singing Karaoke to music playing in the background at a party...from TV footage to home video footage. There are 67 separate issues to deal with.


As all of you know, we are wholly independent. That means we were funded by investors, angels and lay people, most of whom are not in the film industry (a big thanks to all of them). We are not attached to a production company or a broadcaster. Because of this we are free. We are also responsible for our own marketing. Online marketing will be key to our strategy to get the word out, and we hope that we can count on you all to publicize the film on your blogs, websites and through the power of email when the time comes. We need you to create a buzz. Your voices are our biggest asset!


We will be sending the film out to the first festival in September. For Tokyo Cowboys, the festival year will kick off in January of 2008.

Thank you all for your generous support over these past 5 (count 'em 5) years. We are almost at the end of our journey, and we are so happy that you have all elected to come along. Please don't hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions. And, as always, you can visit us at the blog for day to day updates. We have been blogging since this whole thing began in March of 2002.

Hugs Again,

Daneeta & Patrick

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

3 Lousy Sentences

It happened again. Last night I was at a networking event, and the dreaded question was asked: "So what's your documentary about?" I could go on for hours. But, that's not what people want to hear, and that's not how to sell a documentary. I need a snappy three sentence this-is-what-the-thing-is-about. Funny thing is that I've struggled with this since I started making the film. It makes me think that maybe even I don't know what the film is about.

Imagine: Tokyo...Early 21st Century
The city is flooded with gaijin...
foreign men seeking their fortunes
in the wild, wild east.

Most will crash out or cash out within three or four years
Tokyo Cowboys is about those who stayed.

That's the best I've come up with so far.

Emailed the music rights company to get advice.
Continued to build the TC network (this is my secret marketing weapon to be revealed later)
Worked the day job.
Rice and beans...

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Finally managed to compress the film onto one disc using Compressor...yeah. I've started to distribute the disc around again. I'm just ready to move on to the next step, which is locking the picture and sorting out the sound. But, as Orson Welles said, "We will sell no wine before its time."

Friday, June 22, 2007

Half Empty...Half Full...

This is the glass half empty:

I'm just getting so frustrated. We finished the 4th cut on Wednesday and were going to burn the DVDs on Thursday. After spending hours exporting the Quicktime file and importing into DVD Studio Pro, we find out that the film won't fit on one disc. Not, we have to figure out how to compress (read picture quality suffers) or burn it onto two DVDs (really inconvenient for the viewers) or burn it onto a dual layer disc, which is about 5 times the price of a regular DVD. I won't even go into the nightmare it has been to try to source these discs. Give me an effing break!

The glass is half full:

Hurrah! We've finished the 4th cut. It will take us a few days to iron out the technical issues of burning it onto DVDs (we are becoming tech wizards!), and then we can send it off to our viewers. We are so so close to a picture lock.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

4th Circle of Hell: Can anyone else smell that?

We've got the 4th cut, or pretty much near the 4th cut. Patrick is in Sweden for a few days, so I watched the whole thing over again and made notes. My notes are getting shorter and shorter, which, I guess, is a good thing.

The rights could be an absolute nightmare. Coppe and Terminal11 have been so cool. They have given me permission to use "Bird's Midair Heatstroke" at the beginning of the film, so that's one down and 67 more to go. Been doing a lot of research on Fair Use and have found some good stuff at Center for Social Media. Also went to Borders today and read a bit of the The Documentary Film Makers Handbook: A Guerilla Guide, which clarified a few points...mostly that I should have raised more money and hired a music supervisor. Live and learn.

But, still...there are some things that I have no idea about. For example:

Home video Mark took years ago at EWC (permission was verbally granted at the time)
Video of a live Sumo event that we shot
Video of a Baptist revival that we shot

Well, onwards anyway...haven't gotten a paid gig in ages so back on the rice and beans:

"rice and beans, rice and beans, we love rice and beans!"

which means some wicked farts are coming out of my butt.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Recent Stuff

OK, so we're almost at cut 4, and I think that might be a picture lock (although we will remain relatively fluid until the Online). Patrick has been fast forwarding through all of the tapes (500+ of them, as you might remember). He's looking for possible shots that he might have missed. At first I thought this was a big waste of time, but it's really paying off. The last time he looked at all of the footage was 2 years ago. At that time, we didn't really have a film. Now we do...we have a context. The bits and pieces he's extracting from his breakneck revisitation are adding richness to the film.

I've been tweaking the voice over, researching rights, and trying not to get overly excited. I have a festival wheel on my fridge. Sometimes I just look at it and dream of that future...that very near future.

We've been showing a few people cut 3.2. And, we are getting extremely good feedback. We showed it to MK the other day. He's Japanese, so I was very keen to get his take on the film. He really liked it, and he thinks that it will have a market in Japan amongst the Japanese. That is fab. I just hope the cowboys are ready for that eventuality.

After this cut, we are going to show it to some really hard critics...just to see if the film and the two of us can stand up to it.

Friday, June 01, 2007


Just got the wedding video from Mark. It's actually better than I expected as I wasn't expecting a TV Infomercial featuring their wedding. It's fab! Patrick quickly cut it together, and I wrote the voice over. New he's laying it over the scene and popping it in. That will bring us to cut 4.

Spoke to DJ a few days ago. He watched cut 3.1, and he really liked it. He biggest criticism was that the film seemed to end too abruptly. He wanted to see a "where are you now" bit for each cowoby. Actually S & M mentioned that when they watched it as well. So, I've written all of the cowboys to see where they are now, and I've got the scoop. So, we'll cut that in to 4.0 as well.

Rights are giving me a headache. Where do I start? There's all of Ken's TV stuff, the Patrick Harlan TV & Radio stuff, "I'm just a Girl" (I've heard that Gwen Stefani never gives rights). And, I would need them given as I don't have any money.

Tired now.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

It's Hard to Believe

I know! We are so close to a picture lock. We're just cutting in bits of Mark's wedding video then sending it out to our test audience. After feedback from them and some adjustments, we can finally move on to the next step, which is sound design. Yeah.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Thanks, thanks and thanks again.

Tony comes up to me today and says that he's read the blog all the way through. I am chuffed. Didn't think anyone was reading except Rob and Nat. He inspired me to go back through and read it myself. So, I got through about half of it, and, you know what, there were some really important things that it reminded me of. So thanks for that Tony!

Before that, got up early and worked on a short story about Tokyo, which I'm entering into a contest in June. The prize is £5000. Imagine wild success and just a little bit of partying if I won that. Then went into LFS and worked. Came home and watched Sans Soliel again. I just love that film, and it inspired me again. That was Patrick's suggestion. He's also put all of the Tokyo footage onto two DVDs (3 hours worth) for more inspiration, so that's my remit for tomorrow.

Gave the film to Alan for a crit. Thursday is the day. Hopefully.

I have so much to be thankful for, and sometimes I forget it.

Joe is in hospital, and I am thankful that he is getting better.

Thanks to the universe and to "the man upstairs" for looking after us all.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007


Screened the cut of Tokyo Cowboys to one of our investors on Friday. I think it went well. He really liked it and gave us some good feedback, which we are now incorporating for the next private screening tomorrow night...another investor. I think in about a week, we'll have the next big cut. Then we'll start to screen it to a wider audience.

Tired, but happy.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

High Quality Trailer

You can now see a high quality version of the Trailer here. Enjoy!

We burned a copy of the whole film last night. On Friday we will have our first screening, so here we go!

Monday, April 16, 2007

Show Cut!

Have made tremendous progress since the last blog entry. Yesterday, we finished the "show cut." We watched the whole thing through, and, like a daft cow, I cried. I guess it's just the stress of it all, but it did not motivate Patrick, the poor thing.

In any case, we're doing our first screening to investors on Friday. I'm shitting myself. We still have a few bits and bobs to sort out before then. After the screening, the next step will be to cut in the Japanese sequences, so we'll be watching some Japanese footage over the weekend.

I think we must be about 3 weeks behind schedule, but I can't really tell anymore. Just plug on through until we are finished. That's the way to go.

Friday, March 23, 2007


After three days of being blocked, blocked, blocked, I have finally finished Nice Guyjin for the screening cut. Not really blocked...really. Just writing a load of crap. crap. You ever wonder why writers use their bowels as a metaphore for their writing?

Monday, March 19, 2007


Was looking through my notes trying to write the final VO for Nice Guyjin when I found this: a post card detailing quotes I had seen on T-Shirts on the final trip to Japan.

And here they are:

Thank you for your Continued Efforts
Bad Ass Yellow Boy
I have never been to the moon.
Unauthorized entry punishable by law
I'm Cookie
We can Know various truths
No one has ever seen the future
Rip Ass

You have to totally love the Japanese to pieces!

Saturday, March 17, 2007


Worked on Nice Guyjin all day today including writing the introductory DVO. This is a very tricky bit, but Patrick and I outlined a plan of attack today. So, it's more voice over writing and recording for me and more editing for Patrick.

It's midnight on a Friday night. I'm still working. Patrick says we need to push it harder. OK. A little more yoga...a little more stretching...a little more massage.
I feel like a Japanese Salaliman.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Tokyo Porno

So, I've re-recorded all of the voice over, and Patrick has almost finished re-digitizing everything. Whew! Now we get back to the editing. I think we just want to be done with it.

On an aside, JA emailed today that he'd seen the first two minutes of Tokyo Cowboys in a prono. We suspect that it's been ripped off from the Youtube site. JA is investigating and will get back to us with more details soon.

Monday, March 12, 2007


Haven't actually been able to blog for the past few days. A terrible, terrible thing happened on Friday, and I'm still recovering.

Well, it wasn't actually the whole project. It was only that the whole project got made "offline." For those of you in the know, you know that our life has been a living hell. For those of you who don't know what offline is, just trust me that our lives have been a living hell. But, PJ and I decided to try to do the "glass is half full thing." Spending days digitizing has allowed PJ some much needed time for writing, and I've been writing and working from the paper cut. It's all coming together, but we're now nearly 2 weeks behind schedule for our May 31st completion. Bummer, but at least we're not dead.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Warranty is Cool

Spoke to the guy who repaired Bruce, and (there is a God), Bruce is still under his warranty. Luckily, the drive contained only media, which can be re-captured. We've freed up space on Nobuko and Big Mamma by deleting old render files and making some stuff offline, so we can carry on with the work, which, by the way, is going swimmingly.

Spent the day writing Voice Over for Mark's bit, and I think it is in really good shape. Now working on Act 2 where Aki gets pregnant, Ken quits headhunting and we meet the weird and wonderful Cloudy B. Bongwater.

The Mighty Bruce

Monday, February 26, 2007

Oh, for f*&k's sake

I am so sick and tired of these stupid hard drives. Bruce, who you may recall was repaired for a whopping £125, has gone down again. I have spent the evening searching on the Interent to see if there is anything I can do. I've swapped the cables, repaired permissions, shut off everything and waited for 15 minutes and have done a little witchy dance. But it still doesn't work. What is frustrating is that things were going really well. We were moving quickly, and we are on tract to finish the show cut within the week. Now I don't know what to do other than curse and then go to bed.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Call to Action

The UK Govt are about to propose restrictions on photography in public places which could make street photography and documentary photography against the law. There's a petition on the Downing St website against the Government's proposals to restrict the use of photography in public areas. Sign up to the petition now......

And then please forward this email.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Another Process

This is a process I like to use sometimes when I write voice over. First I just write things in a stream of consiousness style, then I just let things formulate from there. This piece is not finished yet, but it is something I can work with to create the final voice over.

I feel the most comfortable with the writing bit because I've been doing that longer, however, I've started to use my writing editing method as a map for editing the film. I think it's working. This was another good suggestion from my mentor.

A Sample of the Process

These are some of the notes I took from the cut. I guess you would call this my process, but I don't do it this way always. On this occasion, this seemed the right way to go.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

This too Shall Pass

Watched the whole thing again and took notes. Sometimes I think it's gonna work, and sometimes I think the whole thing is shit. Today I think it's shit. But I'm sure that this will pass.

In the afternoon I did some marketing exercises from the marketing book. I was supposed to brainstorm all of the words that describe the film. Then I was supposed to watch the film again, but I just couldn't manage it.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Watching the Cut

Set up the DVD player here and watched the cut all the way through. I'll be watching it everyday while I'm here. Last night I did some stream of consciousness writing about the nature of the relationship between Japanese Woman and Gaijin Man. Some weird stuff came out of that, and I'm still thinking about whether I'm going to post it or not.

Actually, watching the cut was good. I saw where it could be improved. Still, there is no ending, and this is worrying me. I want to have a cut we can show to people by the end of this month, and still no ending. I can't show a cut to people if it has no ending.

My mentor says to meditate upon it and the ending will come to me. So, here I am...meditating and dreaming and thinking.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

The Importance of Thinking

We arrived in Sweden last night under the cover of darkness. Patrick is here to shoot a music video for Kirmann, and I'm here to "think" about Tokyo Cowboys. I've brought a bunch of blank paper and the DVD of the "first cut." (I call it a first cut, but I think it's much further than that. It's the first cut that we're going to show to people.)

As Gören drove us back to Askersund,
we all sat mostly in silence, and I let my mind wander into a dream about Tokyo Cowboys. It was the first "quite time" I've had in I-don't-know-when, and this is good.

Today, I went out with Patrick while he shot. Mostly I just held the extra camera for him and thought some more. It is so quiet here...I've forgotton how quiet.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Monday, Monday...

Worked a little on voice over for Mark yesterday, but nothing was forthcoming. Just got an email from Shuri, one of my girl mates from Tokyo. Well, I knew her in Tokyo, but she hooked up with a Swiss dude and moved to Switzerland a few years back. Anyway, she was doing some research on MHS and saw that he is now in charge of membership at the American Club. Wow. Small world.

Today, I was working at the day job so didn't get much done on TC. That always depresses me a bit...not because it's a bad gig, it's just not what I want to be doing with my days. Patrick ripped a copy of the whole cut for me to take to Sweden. Awesome.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

A Tokyo Story

Tokyo...flipping 5 a.m. We start on the trains so that we can record the Tokyo squash...millions of people trying to cram into a tiny cars...sardines. Only these aren't the commuters. They come later. These are the party people catching the first train home.

From here we cross the length of the city three times to chase up our characters, stopping on the way to shoot impressions of Tokyo. No lunch. It's genki drinks and a.m./p.m. onigiri with a side of ebi flavored crisps.
9 p.m. and we haven't stopped. We're meeting with a potential investor and his rich wife. Maybe they will give us £500. Maybe £4000. You never know. We spend hours...obsequious, just this side of begging. OK. I beg. They say they still need time to think about it. Goodbye, they say. Our flat is just around the corner.

Emerging from the smoke-filled bar, I realize that it is past last train. It is Friday night in Azabujuuban. Getting a taxi is difficult enough for the locals, but, for foreigners like us, it is impossible. Well-dressed Japanese couples line the street, waving their hands in the air. Mr. Taxi-man is not stopping.

"Let's walk a ways," I say to Patrick. "After we clear the crowd, maybe we'll get lucky."

We walk up Gaien Nishi Dori...all the way to the Haagen Dazs shop. Couples still line the streets, and it is 1 a.m. We stop off at a favorite izakaya of mine on Aoyama Dori. It is shit. I realize this is the first time I've been here sober. Food has a different quality when you've been drinking.

We start our walk again, turning right on Omotesando Dori. We are carrying all of our equipment, lights, camera, tripod. It starts to snow. We walk all the way up Omotesando Dori...pass Harajuku Eki, pass Yoyogi the corner at the top of the park (is it Komazawa Kosaten?).

Finally we make it to Sandra's house. It is 2 a.m. when we stumble in. And, even though she needs to be up for work in 4 hours, she makes us tea and asks us how shooting has gone.

As I drink my tea, and warm my toes, I think about filmmaking. It is my absolute favorite thing to do, and I can't, for the life of me, figure out why.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Mark Segerlund

Looking for an ending, so we looked at Mark Segerlund footage today. Mark is one of those guys who really believes in all of that positive attitude, life-is-beautiful gris gris. Some people might think that, well yes, he does have a wonderful life, so it's easy to believe in that kind of stuff. But, I think that his life is so wonderful because of his Pollyanna philosophy. Personally, I'd rather people running around thinking that they can use their imaginations to make the world a more beautiful place than people running around bombing the shit out of each other. What an utter lack of imagination. But, anyway, that's another story.

The structure is coming together. It all hinges on Ken's story arc inter cut with a collage of other cowboy stories. It seems to work, but we are just so close to it now. We're pushing to have a first cut before we leave for Sweden on Wednesday. Then, I'll hand it out to a group of viewers and see what they think.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

The Dreaded World of English Teaching

I know I'm going to get shit about uploading this draft of the voice over about English teaching. But just remember, everything is out of context. Hopefully it will make perfect sense within the context of the film.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Very Close

OH HAPPY DAY!!! It works. PJ intercut all of the stories yesterday, and the cut works. There are several areas that need to be ironed out, but, jumping juniper, it works!

We watched the whole thing, which clocks in at 1 hour 38 minutes. I've made a list of the next steps:

Write Voice Over about English Teaching
Write Voice Over introducing Mark
Review Nice Guyjin Interviews
Review the Securities company bits (Ken)

Then PJ cuts it all in, and presto, a first cut.

We are very, very close. I'm hoping to get it done before going to Sweden on the 14th (which was our goal!).

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Fresh Start

Today was a big, big day for Tokyo Cowboys. While I was at the day job, PJ was cutting...but not just any cutting...he was intercutting. Now, we've got all of the characters on the timeline for the first cut. I haven't seen it yet, but PJ seems quite chuffed with himself. It's late now, so I'm going to sleep with visions of Tokyo Cowboys in my head and start fresh tomorrow.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Just Checking it Out

PJ suggested we take a look at some of the smaller characters...see if there is something there. Today, I was re-visiting Nick's footage. Nothing yet...but I really like the Christmas stuff with him. PJ continues to cut.

As an aside, Jason Ayers called today. It was good to talk to him. I am so grateful to him. He was one of the people who was instrumental in helping us get this project off the ground from the very beginning. Jason is doing freelance stuff and trying to get his own film career off the ground. He's also still got his hand in Head Hunting, and as always, he's in with the creatives.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Hoping and wishing and praying and scheming

Watched the cut of Mark today. It's good...really good. Just 10 minutes long. PJ thinks we need voice over from me at one point, so I've been trying to scratch it out of my head today. Nothing is coming, though. I know from experience that you can't rush these things. I just have to keep the faith, get to the page, as they say, and hope for the best.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Ta daaaaa...

Got the upgrade yesterday. Swapped the computers around, so now we're rockin'.

Here's PJ's new work space:

Our bed is actually on top of this workspace. We call it the "Treehouse." You can see Hot Rod under the keyboard on the left.

Here you can see all of the hard drives and the bang up job I've done with the cableing. I predict that it will all be smooth sailing from here on out. At least that's what my mentor has been telling me.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Vision Quest

My mentor has been telling me to visualize success and that this will help me to finish the film. I have been struggling. What do I visualize? Walking up on a stage to get an award? Lights coming up and people clapping? Signing a contract?

When I think about the success of the film, I visualize a person coming out of the cinema into the sunlight, disoriented and thinking "what a strange trip...what a dream I had." I want Tokyo and the Cowboys to stay with them so that, at odd moments and for a very long time, they might feel nostalgic and think "I miss this and that about Tokyo or Ken or Mark" even though they've never physically been to that place or met those people. I guess that's as good as it gets in terms of success. But I will try to also think about the awards and clapping and contracts. A girl's gotta eat.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Distilling the Journey

Reviewed the Ken cut with P.J. today. I'm happy with it, but enough of Ken. We need to move on. P.J. spent the day working on Mark, and I spent the day reviewing Cloudy's transcripts (all 60 pages of them...I didn't realize there was so much). I was looking for quotes, for that is the stage at which we are at the moment. I'm looking for cowboy poetry to put over sequences. I'm still trying to figure out where to fit Cloudy in. But I keep reminding myself that it's the journey I want the audience to feel. The film is a distillation of the journey. I know it's a lot to ask for, but can the film take them to Tokyo? In that dark cinema, will they hear it, feel it, smell it?

Monday, January 29, 2007


I watched the whole Ken cut today. It's very minimal, and it gives us our narrative, however loose. I was reminded of Hitchcock's quote: "Drama is like life with the boreing bits left out." This is still not the first cut. Ken provides the narrative, now we have to add the collage. That's where the other guys fit in.

Monday, January 22, 2007


Apple is going to reimburse us for the upgrade of FCP, which is great. So, now we wait. But, as we do, PJ can still be cutting on the old machine.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Apple's Response

I fell like I'm getting further away from the project. It's not all about editing. It's about fixing crashed harddrives and upgrading software. I remember editing at LFS. We did everything on film, and I'm beginning to long for those days.

Called Apple. They were all very nice, and I managed to convince someone to help me...plead my case to the powers that be who can give me a free upgrade. I'm supposed to hear back from them on Monday. Until then, I have to re-connect Bambi so that Patrick can get on with the editing.

The Long Goodbye

Spent the entire day setting up Hot Rod. Re positioned the hard drives, moved Bambi into the kitchen and started to set up the Internet. After several calls to both Tiscali and Apple support, I found out that our free modem from Tiscali is not supported by this Hot Rod. Soooo, had to run over to Maplin on the Strand and fork out £50 on an Ethernet modem. I was thankful, though. Maplin is a 5 minute walk from my flat*.

Anyway, got the modem set up, downloaded all of the updates and got myself ready to install Final Cut Pro 4.0. It didn't work. Hot Rod does not support 4.0 I was told by the tech dude at Apple. I was very upset because my sales agent had promised me that the computer would indeed support my version of Final Cut Pro when I purchased this £1700 hot rockin' computer. By this time, however, all of the sales agents had gone home, so three was no one to complain to.

I'm calling Apple tomorrow to throw myself upon the mercy of anyone who will listen to my woeful story.

*I was reminded of buying my first computer in Buzen, Japan in 1993. We had to get the computer on an American base. Got home, set everything up only to discover that the printer cable was not included. We had to travel 20 minutes to the next town to order one.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Hot Rocking Rod

My Little Office in the Kitchen
The new computer arrived today...a MacPro Xeon with two, count 'em, two Intel dual processors. We've decided to christen the new Machine "Hot Rod." He's come to us just at the right time, as Bambi (a first generation single processor G4) is really straining under the pressure of all of the hard drives. Sometimes we have to restart her two and three times to get her going.

Bambi is not obsolete, however. She will move to my little office in the kitchen, and Hot Rod will take over in our bedroom/editing suite.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Dreaming with Ken

Spent the day looking for Ken voice over to fit over the New Years sequence. I watched the cut up to this sequence, which ends at 38 minutes, and I was really pleased with it. Ken is just so funny and human, and I think his character will form a bond with both an English-speaking audience and the Japanese. I allowed myself a daydream of grandeur. Maybe Tokyo Cowboys will give Ken what he dreamed of. Maybe it will make him recognizable to 50% of the Japanese viewing audience. Then I came back to Earth. It's good to dream. Ken reminds me of that.

PJ and I are doing the old one-two punch technique of editing. When I feel like I'm not doing enough on Tokyo Cowboys, I have to remember that he's cutting. And, when he's not cutting, I'm looking at the footage, thinking and figuring out where to go to next. I think we are well on the way of having the first cut by mid February.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007