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Friday, February 29, 2008

Subtitles are Next

Screened the film to Aoi and Bruce tonight. Aoi is a Japanese lady who is living over here in the U.K. And, her job is...well doing subtitles.

Firstly, they really liked the film. And, they got all of the little subtleties and nuances. Aoi reckons that it will play well to Japanese audiences who have lived abroad or who are interested in foreign cultures. Bruce reckons it will play well to anyone who has lived abroad. There are some universal truths that will hit home for expatriates.

Secondly, Aoi says that the subtitles are fine for the most part. She says there are rules that need to be followed like only feeding people 15 characters per second and not having more than 37 characters on a line, so some work needs to be done here. She has kindly offered to help us out with this, so we're moving forward on this front as well.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Sound Mixer on Board

Finally, finally, finally. We have finally managed to get a sound mixer on board. Jaime hooked us up with a company that LFS uses who, in turn, introduced us to one of the sound mixers.

Getting a mix for Tokyo Cowboys could cost in excess of £3000. Our sound mixer mate who gave TC a listen a few weeks back says there are no serious issues with the sound. It's just that the film is 75 minutes long, which translates into hours of work, which translates into money by the hour. I was disheartened by the reality of paying this big chunk of change, but we must soldier on.

So, I dropped the TC disc off with Jaime's contact hoping he could help us out in some way.

He likes it.

He likes it so much that he's willing to do the mix during his down time for a fraction of what it would otherwise cost.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

This is why it takes so long for you musicians to get your royalty checks:

I can't tell you how fed up I am over EFFING clearances. I am cursing and kicking things and I can feel that tightness inside of my chest. Frustration is banging around in my brain, and the deep breathing is not effing helping.

Here's just one example:
  • Mid November: I make an application to MCPS for the rights to "Tevye's Dream" (in one of the scenes Kanya is at play practice for a production of "Fiddler on the Roof" with the Tokyo International Players).

  • Two days later: I get a message back from MCPS. "Boy, they are quick," I think. "This is gonna be a snap!" They say I need to contact THE RECORD COMPANY directly. They kindly give me the number.
  • The next day: I call THE RECORD COMPANY. They give me the name of THE PERSON RESPONSIBLE FOR CLEARING RIGHTS, however, THE PERSON RESPONSIBLE FOR CLEARING RIGHTS is on holiday for a week. "Can I have her email?" "Yes." So I email her and wait.
  • Seven days later: The email bounces back with a bunch of computer speak and this human speak: "Despite repeated attempts, this message could not be delivered."

  • The next day: I call to check that the email I've taken down is correct. It is. I ask to speak with THE PERSON RESPONSIBLE FOR CLEARING RIGHTS as, by this point, she is back from holiday (I hope she went somewhere sunny). I explain myself to her. She says to put everything I have just explained in an email, which I do and send to her again.

  • Seven days later: The email bounces back with much the same message as above. I call, but by this time, everyone is on their Christmas break.

  • Early January: I call THE RECORD COMPANY again. THE PERSON RESPONSIBLE FOR CLEARING RIGHTS is out of the office sick. I'm begging the receptionist to help me. She gives me the contact number of THE SECOND IN COMMAND to THE PERSON RESPONSIBLE FOR CLEARING RIGHTS. She is even kind enough to transfer me to him. Alas, he's not at his desk, so I leave a voice mail.

  • Throughout the Month of January: I call, leaving several messages for THE PERSON RESPONSIBLE FOR CLEARING RIGHTS and THE SECOND IN COMMAND to THE PERSON RESPONSIBLE FOR CLEARING RIGHTS. No one calls me back. I have noticed (through Facebook's friend finder) that THE PERSON RESPONSIBLE FOR CLEARING RIGHTS is on Facebook, and I entertain the thought of contacting her via the network. But, this somehow seems like an invasion of privacy, and I talk myself out of it.

  • February: Frustrated, I go onto THE RECORD COMPANY's website and use their contact form to make my inquiry. The next day, I get an email from THE PERSON RESPONSIBLE FOR CLEARING RIGHTS saying that THE RECORD COMPANY does not own the rights to this song. She doesn't know what I'm on about. I ring her just to make sure. "Nope, we don't own it. I've just checked the database. It's not there." I want to scream down the phone at her. Why couldn't she have checked the effing database when I called back in December if it was that easy to do? Time doesn't grow on effing trees, you know.

  • One week ago: I write MCPS again explaining all of the above. They have not written me back.

  • Today: I use the email form on the MCPS website to explain above. Heck, if it worked for THE RECORD COMPANY, maybe it will work for MCPS.
I mean, I have tried...I have really tried to do this properly. But, what else can I do? Jerry Bock wrote the music and Sheldon Harnick wrote the lyrics for "Fiddler on the Roof." If any of you know either one of these fellas, please email me and put me out of my misery.

And here's my lesson: it's really time to work with a production company because this SUCKS and I SUCK AT IT.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Tokyo Cowboys on the Big Screen

Well almost...I screened Tokyo Cowboys for a whopping big audience of 3 on the little big screen of Cinema B at the London Film School. Attending were Diane Morris (one of our investors and all around Asia Pacific expert), Margaret Glover (my writing mentor) and Tony Upko (filmmaker and publisher of "This is a Magazine").

It was absolutely thrilling to see the film on "the big screen." I was putting this off as I was afraid that, having shot in video, the picture quality would degrade. Well, it didn't. And the response from our little audience was outstanding. So, yeah!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Tokyo Cowboys Press

in "This is a Magazine"

"Tokyo Cowboys encapsulates the wonder that the city holds. The desires it creates, and the stories that evolve from it."

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Japanese Sleeping

There is a whole photo gallery dedicated to Japanese people sleeping in public. I don't see what the big deal is. These people work really hard. They should be allowed to sleep on the train, at the bus stop or in the middle of Shibuya Crossing. As long as they're not a danger to themselves or others...

We have only one shot of a sleeping beauty in the final cut of Tokyo Cowboys, although we shot so many.

You can tell by her uniform that she is an elementary school student. Clutching her school bag, she is conked out on the Yamanote Line in the middle of the day. It must have been the volley ball. Or the Kanji workout. English lesson or Juku.

It's not just being tired, though. Some of the cars on that line are still old. No one speaks, and the gently rocking of the train and hypnotic metallic noises make you feel like you are in the belly of the great warm mother machine.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Mixin' it up

Met with a sound mixer today. We had lunch at The Breakfast Club in Soho. Apart from the fact that Hippies must exit at the rear (no exceptions), the food was pretty good. Got in 2 servings of fruit and veg, so that was also good.

She gave me some good advice, the sound mixer, that is. And she said she'd have a look and a listen to the film.

Simon sent the final music over this weekend, and PJ cut it in. I haven't had a chance to listen to it yet, but PJ says it's finished.

Typed in some credits. This is going to take steady and continuous work for about a week.

Entered contacts into the database.

Packaged and mailed off some festival submissions.

Emailed Ken and Kerry Kennedy about clearances.

Spoke to Dave about the title graphics and about creating an ident for The Elektrik Zoo. We have to send him over a QT of the opening sequence.

This evening, worked a little on the script.