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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.