Following the format of last month…
Things I bought this month:
Things I watched this month:
Can I talk about haters for a moment? I’ve probably commented about this before in my blog, but it continues to frustrate me and this is my place to rant. I’m a junkie for movie news. I stroll three sites usually daily in this order:www.imdb.com
I can’t help it, I just do. Today I was looking at an article for the ‘Sex and the City’ film that’s currently in production and I couldn’t believe the amount of talkback that was just essentially “This movie’s gonna suck…. Sarah Jessica Parker is a horse face…etc…”. I just can’t imagine being that angry of a person that you feel the need to post it online for all the world to see what a close-minded prick you are. I guess I’m just of the ‘If you don’t have anything nice to say…” Maybe not nice, but at least constructive. So if you’re reading this and you’re a hater, please just realize that there are far more creative things you can do with your anger. You’re really not helping anyone, especially yourself. I guess the danger is that the Internet makes it so that everyone can be a critic. I believe that there’s still something to the art of criticism and there’s a number of people who do it really well, and then there’s another group that is just slightly above being a hater. I believe that there’s two kinds of critics; the kind that actually likes the medium they’re criticizing and the kind that is bitter because they aren’t talented enough to be part of it and so they go off on everyone else who is. I could go into specifics, but I’m also a firm believer in not burning bridges.
Me as the Audience
I personally believe that I create work for an audience. If I didn’t I don’t think I’ve have ever bothered with film. I like film and filmmaking because of the collaborative process, between creative people, between the creator and the audience; I believe that there is a relationship established. I believe that there are unspoken rules and trusts. I believe that one will put up with a lot of shit from the other, but at the same time, they will not always remain loyal. Perhaps this is a sub-topic of my previous rants about ‘haters’ but I think some story-tellers these days are breaking a lot of the rules and trusts that they had with their audiences. You audience wants to be entertained, challenged, enlightened and refreshed. Could it be that some of the ‘haters’ are justified? I know that me personally as a viewer/reader there’s a lot less that I’ll put up with now. If I’m ten minutes into your film/script/book and I don’t have the foggiest idea what the hell is going on, than goddamnit I better at least be entertained. Distract me with style if you must, but I will known before very long if you’re completely substituting it for substance. I think that this explains why television is becoming the new dominant form of story-telling. You might be able to pull ninety minutes of style out of your ass, slap a title on it and call it a film, but no way in hell are you going to get away with that week after week. Storytelling is getting worse in the cinema and it’s up to our generation to stop it. Each year at TIFF the films that I see get less and less exciting. Some, like “Juno” are amazing and remind you that there are still some authentic voices among us. As a side note when “Juno” comes out in a few weeks you must see it. Not only do I think that it’s this year’s “Little Miss Sunshine” but I think it’s actually better than that. I think it’s fiercely funny and intelligent and has a tremendous amount of heart and an amazing cast. Ellen Page is exploding right now and she’s making all the right choices.
I’ve been trying to read more. I find reading to be a pain in the ass to be honest with you, despite that I do enjoy it and I constantly buy books that I’m either interested in, or been told that I should be. It’s almost embarrassing the amount of books and films I own that I have never read or watched. I recently made a list of the films and it’s just a little under the two hundred mark. I’ve made a promise to my wife that I won’t buy anymore films until after Christmas in an attempt to get through the list as opposed to adding to it (luckily I still have www.zip.ca ). I’ve gotten into graphic novels recently, having just read ‘Watchmen’ for the first time, and just this weekend I read the first volume of ‘Runaways’, which is really truly great. Graphic novels are not only really great (most of them) at plot, but some really beautiful art-work and visuals. If I have one fear as a filmmaker it’s that I’m not nearly visual enough, so anything that can muster even the most remote amount of inspiration to me is always welcome.
Another book that I’m right in the middle of is Lloyd Kaufman’s “Make Your Own Damn Movie”, which has recently inspired me to get my ass in gear…
How Jeremy Got His Groove Back
One thing that I have pride in is the fact that I don’t sit around and wait for people to hand me things, I generally go out and get them for myself. That being said, with the case of my feature, “The Untitled Work of Paul Shepard”, I got a little lazy and sat back hoping and waiting for one of the grants to come through. That’s all over now. I shouldn’t say I just sat around, I didn’t, I’ve spent the time refining my story-telling skills and building the contacts that will help make the film better in the long run. My producer, Mr. Grani, and I are in the midst of double checking our previous budgets and building a solid business plan. We’ve got some leads on some private investors and so things are finally moving in the right direction. I’m hoping in the coming months that I’ll have lots more good news to report on this project.
Right now I’m in development-limbo with the feature I’m writing. Everyone’s trying to get on the same page with the story we all want to tell and so it’s been a really interesting learning experience. Up until now I’ve mostly just written things for myself, so it’s been educational to write for other people, it also makes you approach your own things in a different way, I think. We’re just gearing up to write the treatment so I’m looking forward to that.
The play’s the thing…
I wrote a play several years ago… well I wrote several plays several years ago. My training as a writer started in theatre. I was a young playwright in residence at Port Dover’s Festival Theatre for some time as I won their ‘young playwright’s’ award three years in a row. That experience was enormous for me and it really helped fast-forward the way I think about writing as I was able to workshop all of my stuff with professional actors. For the first time when I wrote a fifty year old man they actually had one read, not just one of my friends trying to impersonate an older man. I bring this all up because a play I wrote called “No Girls Allowed” is in rehearsals right now and will be performed in November. I’m excited and a little nervous. I have nothing to do with the production besides the script, which is unique for me as well, and also a little unnerving. I have no idea who the cast is, the direction that the director is taking. Also I wrote that script many many years ago and so I’m a little worried that it’s a bit… immature. It might feel a little like those events you can go to where people read their journals from when they were teenagers and thought that they had it so hard and had all the answers to life’s problems. I think it’ll be genuinely humbling if nothing else. I’ll provide the details in my next blog in case anyone wants to try and go.
Leaving on a Jet Plane
When you work as an editor the last thing you ever expect to have happen is that you get to travel for work. Especially when you work mostly in the commercial world. Even when things are shot from afar you normally just get the footage mailed to you. Luckily the spot that’s being shot is in a super-fast turn-around, so they need an editor on site. So I’m leaving tonight for Trinidad for the better part of a week, and then I’ll be back just in time for Turkey. Right now my wife is downstairs making me a special playlight for my iPod for the flight. Now that’s love in the digital age.
Until next time…