Noted

  • I saw My Zinc Bed on BBC2. It was originally a play by David Hare, who now adapted it for television.

    The problem with theatre plays being adapted for telly is that there is so much talk in them. My Zinc Bed was no exception. And despite an interesting cast (Paddy Considine, Jonathan Pryce and Uma Thurman) it did not manage to pull me in. I made it to the end, but didn’t feel touched. I think they should have left it as a play. And I also felt that Paddy Considine was completely wrongly casted.

    Clearly my interest for David Hare plays have been awakened by both The Vertical Hour (Nighy) and Amy’s View (Felicity Kendall), which I both saw and loved.

  • I saw Get Smart with the lovely Steve Carell. He is a master of dead pan comedy and great to watch, but the rest of the film was a bit, ehrm, predictable. Let’s have Steve do a rom-com again, as he does that so well.
    [rating:3/5]
  • I still have problems sitting. The stitches will be removed on Monday, so hopefully things will improve after that. And I also might get rid of my new nickname then: Frankenstein
  • The Portobello Filmfestival starts tonight. A big part of it is held in Westbourne Studios, which is where I work. I am not planning to see much, but will for sure try to get a ticket to Hammer&Tongs, an evening about the work of the geniuses behind both the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy film and Son of Rambow. Wicked.
  • Only 16 nights until my holiday. You so don’t care about hearing that, but it’s what keeps me going.

And yes I am still working on my film.

42 (+ 2 days)

Devon Cream Tea in the Wayside Cafe

It’s really not bad to spend your 42nd birthday with your best friend in a cafe in Widecombe-In-The-Moor having a cream tea that looked as good as this and tasted as good too.

We also visited Princetown which is known for the prison. And if you have seen Lucky Break (which of course you have, as Bill is in it) then you might recognize the prison. Lucky Break has partly been shot in Dartmoor Prison.

In Princetown I had my first Knickerbocker Glory ever (good experience) in a cafe built in their old police station.

And we also visited Exmouth which is a lovely town on the coast. And Budleigh which is an even lovelier small town on the coast with a pebbled beach and red cliffs in stead of the white chalky ones. Most importantly here though is that they sell the best ice cream I have tasted in Britain so far.

My birthday was perfect, and my weekend was too.

Last year I was hoping that the year ahead would have me make my short film. I did not quite manage to pull that off but I am still quite confident that SweetArts will be shot in October this year.

SweetArts: Locations and Friday Fessing

Art school
In between everything, I have actually written 5 pages of brand new (feature length) script. There is no chance that I will finish this script anytime soon, but the beginning is there.

My mind is thinking about the story a lot, there are a couple of options and I am trying to figure out the best one. I think it will be more rom and less com this time, even though there will certainly be things to laugh about. I actually look forward to return to my writing in a cafe life style. Billy Mac(book) hasn’t been out for a while so he is eager to get back out there too.

Next week I hope to have a break through on the search for Producer/Production manager mission for SweetArts. I don’t dare to count on anything for certain because I have seen too many people come and quickly go again, but something tells me that this might be the real deal. Maybe I am just ignorant, or maybe with a little luck, it falls into place.

If that is the case, I need to get back to focusing on casting. I watched the audition tapes again, and there are certainly a couple of women I can see as June. But I am not too sure I have spotted Dan amongst the men yet.

And look at the above snap shots: it is very likely that this is going to be the location for the art school. The pictures are not very clear, but there are easels (they are leaning against the wall folded together on this photo), brushes, paint and all kind of other art school stuff around in this place. And seeing as it is in fact a place where they teach art, it seems perfect to me. It is also pretty spacious so enough room for a camera crew. So I think that location nut is cracked. That leaves a bookshop and a park to sort out still.

This weekend I have been invited over to wonderful Devon by my good friend. I look forward to some fresh air, the sea, excellent company and to meet her two lovely dogs.

Enjoy the weekend wherever you are.

How to make an operation bearaBILL

The Doctor

Yesterday was the day where they removed three moles from different places of my body. I am not a big fan of hospitals (who is – but I have a neurotic fear for them) and did my very best not to have a nervous breakdown about it.

With a tube strike threatening on the horizon I left in good time just to not be late. I was there about an hour too early and decided that in stead of waiting in the hospital itself, it would probably be better to have a tea the milky way in the Starbucks next door. So I sat there and tried to concentrate on reading The Times for a while.

I entered 15 minutes before scheduled time, and of course, as dire chance and fateful cockup would have it, I had too wait there for over an hour because everything was delayed. In that hour my stomach had turned into some strange chemical factory.

When it was finally my turn I had to wear a silly hospital coat and lay down on the table. I find operations where you are still conscious scary. I don’t want to see what they are doing, because even if you won’t feel anything (due to anesthetic) I have a lively imagination. Add to that the overdose of CSI drama I have seen on the telly, and you get an idea of what it looks like in my head.

So when I lay there staring at the lights, trying hard not to look at what they were doing, I got an idea.
“Would it be OK if I listened to my iPod while you are working on me?” I asked “It might calm me down and will give me something to concentrate on”.
They thought it was a great idea.
The nurse gave me my iPod.
There was only one thing I wanted to listen to – the voicilicious man.
I picked one of my favourite radioplays with him. It’s a one hour long one (called: All Fingers And Thumbs), it always makes me laugh and I knew that I would be off the table around the end of it.

It worked perfectly. And they were faster: 45 minutes to remove 3 bits of suspicious ehrm bits. There are stitches, and it’s hard to sit, because one of the spots was right on the sitting area – but that will heal. Now there is the one month waiting time to get the hopefully “all clear”. I think I need to listen to a lot of radio plays with Bill the coming period, as the waiting drives me nuts.

Somewhere …

Somewhere over the rainbow?

  • A man prays a really really long prayer before he throws himself on the now even less lukewarm hamburger.
  • A young couple looking very Dutch and very much in luv – eats a McFlurry. To them I would like to say, despite the Notting Hill MacD’s attempt to have it look like a showroom for Danish design furniture – get a grip – eating in MacD is not romantic!
  • An old homeless man having a coffee and a sit down, wearing a large badge on his jacket saying “Don’t Panic”. Maybe that was a sign, and maybe he was a hitchhiker.
  • A wannabe writer/director trying to hold on to the phrase of that man’s badge. Don’t Panic. Producer/Production manager type of person – where are you? Somewhere over the rainbow?

About the picture – it’s taken from my doorstep. There is really nothing wrong with rain.

SweetArts: Down is Up

I have long struggled taking this decision. I was jumping between the following two options:

No! No! No! Don’t be bloody ridiculous. Are you insane? Don’t do it. He will think you are stupid. It’s just not done. You can’t do things like that. Do-no-do-it. No! Don’t!! You will be doomed forever and he will never ever want to hear from you again.

and

OK. What have I got to lose? I don’t want to spend the rest of my life thinking: why did I not at least give it a try? What is the worst that can happen? That I don’t hear anything in return? Or that I get an angry letter from his agent telling me to bugger off, or saying “How dare you! Who do you think you are?”. Would that weigh up against the fact that I then don’t have to wonder about it the rest of my life?

Thoughts like these have played ping-pong in my head for a long time. I think the thing that eventually made me make my decision was the fact that all the people I have met the last couple of weeks, the very experienced producers (who are used to reading scripts) and the casting director: they all loved the script. It gave me confidence.

So last week I decided to risk it. I sat down, wrote a letter and posted it. Today I got the answer from his agent, and this is what it literally said – *he* would *love* to read the script. Shall I repeat that – *HE* WOULD *LOVE* TO READ THE SCRIPT! No I don’t quite believe it either.

Now *HE* is also a very busy man, so it surely won’t get any further than him reading the script. But bloody hell – *he* (the best actor in the world) is going to read my script!

(I won’t mention his name here, but people knowing me just a little, know who *he* is)

Oh and one more thing: there will 24 actors coming for audition tomorrow. 24!! I just checked a few of them and these are people that have been in things like Dr. Who and James Bond movies. I think I am going to pack my bag and run away now, this is becoming way too scary! Scaring the willies out of me this is!

SweetArts: Delayed, moved to October

Yes Viktor, I feel a bit like that too

There are a couple of reasons for this:

  • I can’t find a producer just yet. I don’t want to make this film without being properly prepared. And I simply need a producer who can help me with budgets, contracts, release forms, locations and things like that. I don’t want to make the film without someone like that because it will turn into a mess.
  • Also I have some holiday planned in September so the best thing really is to move the shoot to October. That way I can take some extra time to prepare. I am putting quite some money into this, and it would be a shame to rush it for no apparent reason.
  • Maybe moving it away from the summer holiday will improve my chances of finding a good producer too.
  • And as a last – I need to do what Ewan McGregor did, which is having some moles removed. It’s planned for the 20th of August, it’s a minor procedure and I try not to worry about it too much, but I would lie if I said that it is not spinning around in my head. I am not too worried about the procedure itself, even though I am not looking forward to it, but am slightly worried about the potential badness of them. Let’s see how it goes.

Back to the film.

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SweetArts: Up is Down

Up is Down is that great moment of revelation in Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End. What? You haven’t seen that film? What are you doing here, go watch it, go, go, go!!

But Up is Down is also very appropriate when it comes to making a film. Some days you are up, and the day after you can be so very down. I have decided to write about the both of them, just so you don’t get the impression that things are easy. They are not. Today is such a down day.

The good

I had a very good talk with the casting director yesterday. He was very friendly, understood that I wasn’t that experienced yet, and generally he was just nice to talk to. He is off finding actors now, and with a little luck, we will have auditions on Saturday.

The bad

It seems simply impossible to find a producer/production manager. I have had talks with 4-5 of them now, they are all nice, they all like the script, but when it comes to it, they decide not to come on board. I can’t quite grasp what it is that goes wrong every time, but I am getting pretty desperate about it. I can’t do the film if I can’t find a producer/production manager. Simple.

I have put in another ad, have asked the people I know if they know anyone and now I just have to wait and see if something will come out of that.

I am close to giving up today, but let’s see if it also works the other way around, as in Down is Up.

Weymouth, Portland Bill, Durdle Door

Dogs in the rain
The view from my B&B room in Weymouth Saturday morning around 8am (yes zoom lens and a room with sea view very close to the beach). It didn’t look very promising so we headed to a cafe for a coffee and the Saturday Guardian. I think the dogs are more depressed because of the ridiculous jackets they are wearing than because of the rain.

A couple of hours later …

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Random notes and thoughts on the film making process

I know that this is starting to look a bit like the diary of a film maker. Well it’s important for me to write up this process. One year from now I want to be able to read back what an insane time this has been and how things went. So the coming time the focus of this blog will be on the making of SweetArts.

The other thing is that I won’t have any time for anything else in my life for a while. Here are some random notes and thoughts again:

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SweetArts

Bob called me while I was drinking a juice in the Caffe Nero in Hammersmith. I walked out and tried to spot him. He told me to walk towards the tube station. I walked and looked. He was in his car he said. I scanned the area. Lots of cars around Hammersmith. I saw a man with sunglasses in an MG convertible with open roof. Funky car I thought. I scanned further while talking to Bob. I didn’t see him. I had a closer look at the MG. Really nice car. I looked at the man inside it. He was on the phone. A closer look revealed that his lip sync with the man I was talking to was near perfect. Wait a minute …

“Do you happen to sit in a funky MG?” I asked Bob.
“Yes!” he said with a friendly British voice.
“I am on my way to you now!” I said.

A split second I thought – am I actually going to step into a car with a man I don’t really know? Bob seemed reliable, and a car like this with an open roof, I could always climb out. I jumped in. We drove off, the wind trying to blow the worries out of my head.

And that’s when I met Bob.

Here is your regular short film production update. And really, I can’t quite believe all this is happening either.

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Right day, right time?

If there is one thing I learn it’s that nothing is as unpredictable as the process of making a short film. It might be back on track again now, and I am again aiming for a shoot at the end of August. If all goes well, I am going to take a week off there and shoot it five days in a row.

But seeing the nature of this project, tomorrow things might look completely different again.

For those not knowing anything about the film:

Dan (50’s) is an award winning romantic novelist, an expert on romance – in books.
Being a master with written words – Dan loves corresponding with June (50’s).
Until the day where June invites him over for tea.
Having a severe stutter, Dan has refused dating women for what seems like a life time.
Will he lose June or is a Jammie Dodger going to save the day?

More detailed short film talk for those interested »

Wrong Day Wrong Time

Wrong Day Wrong Time

  • I just took this picture, on my way back to the office after lunch in a posh burger bar on Portobello Road. It struck me how appropriate it was. This is the tape you get taped on your garbage if you happen to put it out on the street on the wrong day: Wrong Day Wrong Time. On this photo it is stuck on a role of carpet.
  • Now why is that appropriate you wonder. Well my short film seem to have hit Wrong Day Wrong Time too. As in it is the middle of the summer and people are on holiday. So in stead of stressing about not being able to find any people, I move it ahead a month. This does not mean nothing is happening, something is:
    • tomorrow I have a coffee with a very experienced producer who will give me some advice
    • on Tuesday I have a coffee with a very experienced camera man and I am going to try to convince him to shoot the film. Not sure I will succeed but it is worth the try!

    Don’t worry I am not giving it up or anything. I am just being practical. And trust me there are some people who have a close eye on me making this film and there is no way I can get out it any more. Not that I want to. I want to make this film and will.

  • It is incredible hot in London at the moment. Too hot for me actually.
  • I hope the weather will be like this next weekend, as I have planned another coast weekend. We will return to Weymouth and visit:

    Chesil Beach
    Lulworth cove
    Durdle Door

    And OK, we also really miss Victor so we will for sure visit him too.

  • I have also planned a week of holiday to the land of the many sheep. I will stay not too far from Coornagillagh (map) That’s in Ireland. I have been told there are lots of sheep, lighthouses, seals and loads of fresh air. More about that later, it will be in September and no I have never been to Ireland before!

    Depending on how the film shooting schedule is going to be, I am currently considering taking some days on the Isle of Man first, take the ferry from there to Ireland and take the train to Cork where I will be picked up for Coornagillagh. I really need to practise on that name!

  • I saw 50 Ways to leave your lover yesterday. What a cracking cast, and despite the fact that in those 50 Ways Love did not conquer, it was a joy to watch. The Bush theatre is probably the smallest theatre I have visited in London, but it was a very nice intimate theatre. (And it was very bearable to be inside despite the 25 degrees heatwave we are having at the moment!) Shepherd’s Bush is an area where I wouldn’t want to walk around at night, but you can get a great pizza there which I ate right beside the drummer of the Dandy Warhols. I know, I know I am such a celeb junkie.

WALL-E and a lot of fingers crossed!

WALL-E and Billy Mac

The very good

First a recommendation: WALL-E. Go see it. It’s a 10/10 film. It’s clever, funny, very actual, and it’s a roboromcom! Wall-E is such a cool character that I took the bus from the cinema to Hamley’s and brought him home with me. See how much a film can say without any dialogue. Great for both children and grown ups. Go see it! Go! Go! Go!

The maybe good

On the short film front – Sunday was a day of location hunting.

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