Saturday, 31 May 2008

Crossings of the River Thames (Lucky Number 13) - Putney Bridge



It was a cold damp day when I decided to venture to the heart of South West London ad tackle this ever growing project of London's river crossings over the Thames. Damn, what a summer it has been so far, no sun, no warmth just plenty of damp. Oh well, at least this year there is going to be no drought order in place.

People know about Putney. It has a 'vibrant' high street, and by that we mean bars, clubs, a mall and Burger King. And, like many of the places visited on this journey down the Thames, it is surprisingly posh. That is in fact a trait right up until the East End. The River Thames cuts through the capital like a snake filled with money, distributing it wealth at both sides of the river like a musket gun. But none of this is real. Down the road from Putney on the South side of the river we come to the sinks of Roehamton and if we take swanky Fulham on the North Bank then just down the road we come to the North End Road, home to excellent Kebab Eateries, a great market and Ethiopian Coffee Houses. Maybe in five years time, Teff will become the new fad for those gastro pubs on Putney High Street.

But what is Putney Bridge itself like? Well, it is London's second oldest crossing point after London Bridge and Kingston Bridge. And like London Bridge, it has a place of worship at both ends of itself.





Putney Bridge, first built in 1729, represents the beginning of London's sprawling reach. The current structure was built in 1886 and by then, the metropolis had fast expanded from the Medieval core of the City and Westminster. Putney is revolutionary in that it was the future of urban living. Sprawling, clustered around a transport node and expanding from that core, Putney Bridge was the first time that London had truly went far beyond its size. Although it was a century later when Putney became physically attached to the urban sprawl, nonetheless, the fact that a bridge was actually constructed illustrated the growth and spread of the Capital in the eighteenth century. Putney was the beginning of Urban living as we know it. I wonder how many people think of that while they cross this bridge?



Getting there and away:

Tube - Putney Bridge (obvious that one). Bus - 14 (24hr), 22, 39, 74, 85 (24hr), 93 (24hr), 220 (24hr), 265, 270, 414 (Northbank only), 424, 430, 485 (Southbank only), N10, N22, N74

Friday, 30 May 2008

back on friday....

nice one, back to black and feeling slack, another friday in the saddle riding through town on the crest of a wave. ducking and diving, sprinting not stalling, nothing can stop me as i race through the streets, cooler than an ice popped slushy and infinitely tastier, this is the time when man and machine are as one. slippity slap, there goes the mat as i slam home again in a not so offensive way but in fact one that gently soother the mind and energises the soul. yes, this is the way forward through time and space as i take you on a journey that sometimes has a beginning and maybe has an end, but for each individual is unique to their mind.

---

I'll see you at Morden.

Thursday, 29 May 2008

thoughts of a londoner

rising fuel costs, blackouts, war, a government with no control, violence on the streets, booze culture, hate culture, single life, london life, neighbours, kids, hoodies, knives, guns, drugs, debt, recession, the northern line, redundancy, rent, council tax, tax, slipping life, getting older, loosing looks, loosing health, loosing will to live, lost, do not know where to turn to, do not know where to go, is the north end road really over there?

Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Is Borris that bad?

You know, I may have been a bit harsh on the current London mayor. One month in, and London has not collapsed. Far from it, in fact saving money seems to be top of the agenda. Maybe this guy could be doing some good after all...

Oh, and to be extra political as well, who really wants any of those bastards at the next election. Roll on Hung Parliament!

Tuesday, 27 May 2008

A tough 24

Turning 28 two days ago, I was full of optimism, especially after returning from the South of France. However, that has gone into freefall. The past 24 hours have been bad, in a personal way. Grr. I'm just glad that the 26th is over, but the next few days will not be that good too, I know that.

Back to reality and a tough one to come back to.

Monday, 26 May 2008

Bank Holiday Rush

Remember, this is the second Bank Holiday this month. So do not waste it by being bloated on booze or rushing around in traffic. Although it is a truly awful day, weatherwise, just enjoy the day for what it is.

Remember, it is three months until the next holiday.

Sunday, 25 May 2008

Cannes - Final Thoughts

So I'm back in the UK after ten days in Cannes. And what diid I learn from it. Surprisingly, a lot. In fact, the learning curve was intense, something I never would have expected from the event. Quite simply, I have learnt more on these last ten days about film making than I have learnt previously in making films.

It was not just what the guys at Cannnes said and did, but also what they didn't do. For Cannes is one huge event, but also it is an event that also has to adapt to the modern world, like all of us.

I did not feel like I was the big man at Cannes. Far from it, I felt like some tiny tot, an insignificant flea. And that is frightening, especially when yoou see the big boys at Canes, and they also cannot shift their films. Then I realised, that there is something very wrong in the film industry. I also realised that to get my feature films released and seen by a paying audience in the cinema, I will have to work harder than ever before, or quit right now.

That is the stark choice that Cannes presented me. To either radically change myself and to step up a gear, or to give up on all that I have done. Plain and simple.

But there is one final thought. To go the 'traditional route' of making award winning shorts, etc, is going to take around five more years, and that is something I am not willing to do. I do not want to wait around, I want to make a living from my features ASAP. So I will have to find a new route, a new way to making films. Just how that will happen, I do not yet know...

Saturday, 24 May 2008

Cannes - Le Peek

A little look at the fun and frolicks that we got upto in Cannes.

Also a slight peek of what goes on behind the scenes at the Film Festival - exclusively brought to you, as this is a no go area for the general public.



Vive la France!

Thursday, 22 May 2008

Cannes - Final Thoughts

Just before I begin, any users of myspace here? Have you noticed those really freaky women, that look oh-so-underage, but yet ruffle their hair in webcam like poses? Is it just me, or is that company trying to promote paedophilia?

Okay, final day in Cannes as tomorrow I am actually going to behave like a tourist, for once.

Ad so what do I think. Well, many things so far. Firstly, what an amazing place Cannes is. I am very fortunate to be here, and it is amazing to see how the whole circus works.

Second, what a learning curve. These past nine days have taught me far more than the preceeding four years, and that says a lot about the power of contact. Although it is great that I am self-sufficient, I may actually begin to realise that I need to begin co-operating with everyone else.

Third, how small I actually am. For fans of 'Hitchhiker's Guide' youmight remember the machine that Zaphod went into that put him into perspective with the rest of the universe. Well, that's exactly what I have felt while in Cannes. Not, wow, look at me; I am a star, but more like, f**k, I have a long, long, way to go.

It is daunting, but the funny thing is, I can't wait to get back into this again.

I've always liked my S&M...

Wednesday, 21 May 2008

Cannes Live VLog

A live vlog from Cannes, and my thoughts on the festival so far and the lessons learnt...



Ugh, I hate that screen shot, I am going to have to get another!

Live link to video!

Tuesday, 20 May 2008

Flip!

Uploading, on the internet, wheeling, charisma...

Monday, 19 May 2008

Cannes - Le Big Mac

TOday was possibly the most productive day yet in Cannes. Remember, this is not a holiday, but it is strictly business, and everything about today was about the work. And it pays off, the information I have learnt has been indispensible. The gradient has been so steep, but it has been worth every ,inute that I have been out here. And, I am brimming with ideas and enthusiasm for the return to 'Sunny London', that is something I did not expect.

I also have time to look back and reflect on what has been happening in Camp Babarouge over the past few months, and from a standing start, we have come one hell of a long way.

I do not kid myself however. Coming to Cannes has shown me what a small fish (think plankton sized) I am in this huge ocean. It is daunting, in fact it is bloody frightening. But there is something good in the battle about to take place.

Viva...

Sunday, 18 May 2008

Women, women and why do I bother?

Today was meant to be a fantastic day. A pitching event, meetings and useful information about distribution over the internet.

Instead, at the last minute I changed my pitch, the meetings got thinner and the useful information was not really that useful.

Okay, but that is not what pissed me off today. Of course, it all boils down to a chick.

Now, I know I should be in Cannes, thinking about business, but I am a guy and I think with my pistol. And especially with the amount that is flying around, I am thinking, 'aye'.

But there was one woman in particular who I actually got a ong with. Yeah, she's cute, and she's from Paris, so another big city girl. We got chatting yesterday, all good, we were chatting this morning all good, we were chatting this afternoon, all bad.

What the hell happened! Did I just miss something here?

This evening, I was f***ing blanked.

What? Suddenly, the allure of the Riviera was lost and the cold grey reality known as London descended upon me.

What the f*** happened? Did someone play a record and I missed out on the tune. Well, whatever, the incident sent me hurtling back to school. And yeah, I was not exactly the sexiest guy at school, but hey, I grew up, became confident and you know, life continued.

All right, I shouldn't get so hung up, after all it was mild flirtation. But it bugged me, that schizo change in personality. What, is she a diabetic or someting?

It is fine if I said something wrong, or insulted France or something like that. But no, nothing. One minute all smooth, the next minute I have stepped on a bed of spikes.

Women, no matter what, I cannot figure them out.

And it has put me in a mood for the rest of the night.

Fuck 'em all...

Friday, 16 May 2008

Cannes Film Festival Blog - What the hell?

Okay, today I cocked up, well the first bit at least. This Sunday, I am to take part in 'Le Pitch', an event where I pitch my idea for a film on French TV. There was a workshop teaching you how to pitch. I missed it: Not due to late trains or even oversleeping, but because I forgot my festival pass. And yes without that, you cannot get into the festival at all.

You see, late trans; I can blame fate; overlseeping, I can blame laziness. But forgetting my pass is just plain f***ing stupid.

So I can see this Sunday's pitch crashing and burning...

So after shuttling between Nice and Cannes, I finally arrived there. And the event today was making the step into feature films with two distributors. Both disagreed with the rules that you needed. The Hollyzwood distributor was very formulaic, but made a lot of sense. The British distributor was more independent, but she too made a lot of sense. But one thing that they both did not touch - the power of the internet. It was like the big elephant in the room. No one touched on the subject and surprisingly, no one in the audience even pîcked up on it. Surprising if you think that they are in the distribution game, but ignore the biggest source of film news - us guys.

Oh, one other thing. I am going to take part in the Cannes 48 hour film challenge. And I have already forgotten my pitch to them, as of course, I did not expect to get in. Well, I get to play with the camera for 48 hours.

Thursday, 15 May 2008

Cannes - La Connexion!

One of the things you notice in Cannes is the power of connections. Those red carpet events, get connected. Want to get a deal, get connected. Want to see the UK Film Council, get very connected.

But one of the best things about Cannes has been meeting the people from different countries and seeing what the film making scene is like, respectively. Today, after bumping into a bunch of LA guys, it was interesting to see the difference between them and London.

Firstly, they are polite. I love Americans, nice teeth, smiles and professionals, a true class act. The best thing we got is Marmite (do you know that comes under the 'gourmet food' aisle in the US?).

Secondly, there seems to be the ability to actually make a career from film making. For the people of LA, filming really is a career choice, there is almost a set career ladder that one can take in film. For us it is a hobby.

If you do not believe me, check out the number of films at the Cannes market that are British. Two so far that I have seen advertised, and I saw one of them at last year's Sundance. Also, the representatives of the various British filming bodies and councils are very hard to track down, or are not quite here yet. Not really an excuse, considering how close we are to France and how big Cannes actually is.

America, yep, that's where the moneypot is.

Hey, anyone looking for a rent-a-groom? (Just kidding)

Wednesday, 14 May 2008

Live from Cannes!

I could talk about many of the fascinating bits and bobs about Cannes. The glamour, the sun, those steps and the red carpet. I could also tell you how terrifying the whole thing is. I am this very small fish (sprat sized) in this huge ocean. Or I could tell you about the public toilets next to Nice-Ville station, which is an institution in itself!

Toilets? All the glamour in the world, and I concentrqte on the public lavvies!

But this is different, this is Nice, qand they are so funky. Little cigarette holders, a piano and showers. This is no junkie hang out, but art!

I do love the South of France. The people are great, very friendly, the food is cool and the scenery is spectacular. Added to that, the realisation that I am in Cannes pumping Jay and Kay and is all a little surreal.

I am going to partake in a few events this week. Le Pitch being the first one. More to come...

Monday, 12 May 2008

Cannes - the final countdown

And so the buildup, the excitement for the last six weeks, it has finally come to this. Today, is the final chance for any preparatory work that I have to do in time for Cannes. After today, that's it. All I have is what is on the laptop. No more, no less. Everything else will have to come from my own wits.

Yes, I am absolutely terrified. Cannes itself is a daunting place, and for a newbie such as myself, it is almost overwhelming. There are events, seminars and meetings that can and may take place, but everyone is there to impress and sell.

The big fear is not so much the mucking up (that always happens at Babarouge) but the 'What if?', the question that at some point we all have to answer, and ultimately, what Caution Wet Paint - The Movie is all about, answering that great question. I really do not want my fears to get the better of me and so only coming back with 'What if?' I want more, and I want it now!

But what exactly is it that I am looking for? Quite simply, cash. Why? Well, let's be honest here, the money in short films is not that much and in fact, I can earn money far quicker in London based McJobs then punting my film. But cash from selling the short film will enable two things:

First, the potential for a wider audience to Caution Wet Paint as someone has to recoup their costs.

Secondly, and more importantly. To be able to pay the people who work for me. The great fat con of the media world is that it is built on a base of nothing more than slave labour. People who volunteer their time and own cash to appear and take place in films. Yes, that means all the guys you have seen and who have taken part in Caution Wet Paint, An East End Tale and The Fight all worked for nothing, usually in the freezing cold (the current climate in London is deceptive) and having to put up with my mistakes as I was learning to direct. I am still learning, but some payment from Cannes, however small, will allow me to renumerate my colleagues.

Why is this important? Many things. Well, it is proper. After all, share the profits. But more importantly, it is to reward those who have stuck with me through thick and thin, and there have been far too many thin periods in the making of Caution Wet Paint. The script has been around for nearly three years and from the shooting of the first short, we have stuck together for over eighteen months - such is the turn-around time in film making. To reward everyone who has been involved in 'The Paint' is something very important to me, and I hope I can succeed during Cannes in fulfilling that goal.

What else is there that I want from Cannes? Obviously to sell the script for a feature length adventure with Jay and Kay. That is the dream ticket, the jackpot, as it is not just money, but a living that can be obtained from film making. And of course, this, the Holy Grail, is the pinnacle of what I am doing up until now. Will I succeed? That, to honest, I do not know.

Enough serious stuff. Enjoy some milky fun here!



Caution Wet Paint at the 2008 Cannes Short Film Corner, May 14th-24th.

Sunday, 11 May 2008

The level of sanity after night shift

Anyone who thinks the free for all culture of booze is a good thing should take a walk down Clapham High Street on a Saturday night.

And remember, these ones actually have money.

But onto other things, one of the amazing features of recent London life is the expansion of our nightlife.

Look at the guidebook to the South of France, for example. Getting around after 9pm requires a little thing known as a car.

Bibble, bobble, babble, my aim in life is to marry a Gold Digger - then I know I have made it!

Oh man, I got to do a radio show today and I have not slept. Help me!

Ooh, London is the world's greatest city, and we have the leadership to prove it!

I like you all too! SO much so that I created comic goodness, zzz...

CMD

Saturday, 10 May 2008

The Mayoral Elections - One week on....

One of the more sensible articles on the recent election of Boris

Personally, I cannot see any of these fantastic suggestions happening. Firstly, Central Government dictates policy. Not due to its direct election by the populace (in fact, if I am correct, I believe the Tories hold the majority of Parliamentary seats in Greater London), but simply as they are the ones controlling the purse strings.

Secondly, Boris will not fuck up. He is not that stupid. Even his persona is carefully crafted to endear him to Middle England - the actual people who bother to vote. And it works. Boris is the equivalent of a teddy bear, but he has a hardened political mind, and will use the London platform effectively. In essence it is a win-win situation for him, until 2010. Anything he does right, is all thanks to him. Anything wrong, and he can blame the Labour administration.

And one more thing to remember, many Londoners were fed up of Livingstone's arrogance. If you want proof, then read here.

Ultimately, and this is an important factor to realise. This may have been the most 'engaging' election in years, and the turnout reached record levels. But, despite the scope of the Mayor, less than 50% of the electorate turned out to vote. Both our mayors have not been able to gauge the public.

One thing though that helps to get elected in the Capital; a rebellious streak.

Thursday, 8 May 2008

Swiss Cheese

I have spent the last three days looking at the computer screen, editing like a madman for Cannes. My mind is now numb, my hands are shaking from the RSI and I am chewing my gums in frustration. Despite the upgrades to my machine, it is still a pile of shit, but when you are film making on a budget, you can be surprised at what you can massage out of defecation.

Oh, my head.

This is a moan, at myself more than anything else and an apology if I have been out of contact. Up until June, my mind is in the clouds, or more importantly, concentrating on France. Once I get back, everything should settle and then I can get own to the nitty gritty. But until then, it is pure work and while sometimes the work is enjoyable, at times (such as the past three days) it is a pain in the backside.

But for the record, I have made three shorts and four vlogs in that time. Not all of them have been released online, but we are looking at something in the region of twenty-five minutes of playable footage that has been completed in the past three days.

That is fast editing.

Not only that, but I have finalised these videos as Quicktime files to run off my computer as well as designing a special DVD to give to fellow delegates at Cannes. Now you can see why my mind is swiss cheesed.

I can see the code....help me!

Wednesday, 7 May 2008

www

How intrusive is the modern world? It is a question asked everyday by various people who are usually stuck somewhere between facebook and myspace (oh, how those words will become like 'yahoo' in a few years time). But I always question the opposite, how come people feel sucked into this modern world. After all, no one puts a shotgun to our heads and tells us to social network our lives online. All our internet possessions are simply due to free will. Mostly, unless it is that embarrassing photo involving some S&M act (hey that can make money, and is fun too!), we actively interact with the www, for hours a day. Can you believe there was a time before youtube called teletext? Wow! And booking a holiday involved seeing a travel agent. Double wow!

But actually, the reality is that the majority of the planet is still not online. Despite the advances of technology across the world, most of the population of Earth have not got a clue about the dancing leeks (before you ask, it's a Finnish song). And so, it still is very easy to go for long periods of time without access to the internet. And yes, it is a peaceful life. However, it is not one that I currently choose to follow...

Tuesday, 6 May 2008

Kung Fu Jay!

Hello all. Checking your Facebooks, Blog Rolls and Myspaces after three days off, this blog is still live and kicking and bricking. One week until Cannes and I am so underprepared. No DVD's to hand out, a script filled with spelling mistakes and far too much time chasing the press.

So instead, I do what I enjoy the most. Hong Kong cinema in the urban landscape of London.







Yes, a big thank you to Dev, Tom, Big Al, Dave and 'Kung Fu' Matt in making the original with me in '04.

Monday, 5 May 2008

Bank Holiday Fun

Get up, lie in, seduce girlfriend, but she is knocked out from night before, vodka on her lips, get breakfast, drink a coffee, no booze yet, must de-tox, nag with girlfriend as she takes up toilet, get dressed, drive to the DIY store, queue for a car park space, go into store, not find what I want, buy a tin of paint instead, go back to the car, out of six packs, damn, drive to the supermarket, queue up again for a parking space, go in store, down the booze aisle, damn, out of my brand of beer, damn, shift to wine, queue up at checkout, damn, trainee working on my queue, more arguing with girlfriend, feeling hungry, but must stay in shape as my girlfriend moans about my increasing girth.

Back into car, check mobile phone. Mates want to meet up for a drink, girlfriend wants to do more shopping, damn, drive to town centre, queue up for car park, park, pay a fortune for it, go to clothes shop, credit card, overdraft limit, girlfriend spends, twitching and shakes, start shouting at girlfriend in middle of shop, girlfriend red and puffy faced from last night's booze up, must not drink on a Sunday, damn, need a drink, need to get out of here, more screaming, girlfriend dumps clothes in middle of shop floor, we both storm out, back to car park, queue to get out of car park, drive home, Indian take away, BNP leaflet, Borris in Power, damn bus in front of me, bring back the Routemaster, overtake bus, nearly kill eco-friendly left-wing tosser cyclist, get a car mate, get home, open wine, eat curry, mother phones, fob her off, get out tin of paint, throw it in the shed, forget about shopping in car, instant stir-fry rotting away in boot, drink a smoothie, five-a-day, drink a glass of wine, five-a-day, girlfriend happy, TV, more wine, five a day, left over curry, TV getting boring, sleepy, so is girlfriend, seduce her, off to sleep, wake up in night, fire in belly, damn, no tummy tablet, drink water, what the hell, where's my bottled water, damn left it in car, must risk Thames Water, hmm, this stuff ain't that bad, pee, back to bed, girlfriend comatose, sleep.

Beep-beep - Damn, alarm, damn, it's Tuesday!

Saturday, 3 May 2008

The London Mayoral Elections

Borris is Mayor. The BNP have a seat on the London Assembly. Oh dear, who actually voted on Thursday? Oh well, in eight years time we'll have boot camps and the youth screaming 'Sieg Heil'.

A classic example of what happens when the majority of voters do not bother turning up at the polling booths. Despite the 'record turnout' less than half the city actually voted and so the results do not reflect the population. Because, take a walk down any London high street (except Romford) and seriously, will anyone actually vote BNP? Or what has an ordinary Londoner got to do with the MP for Henley?

However, the main reason that no one bothered to vote is that this election will not make a difference. The Greater London Assembly has no powers and so our friend from Barking and Dagenham who would like to 'repatriate' 50% of the Capital does not have the power to take away one of my passports, while Borris himself will really not make any drastic changes. The only thing is that there will be less Night Buses in the suburbs and an increase of traffic in Kensington as Borris frees up the Western Congestion Charge zone and then covers his costs by cutting round the edges of the public transportation system. The irony is that it was these areas that actually voted in for a poorer quality of life.

The inner cities will still be at the heart of the mayoral efforts, as 'crime and disorder' will be top billing. The Olympics along with all the necessary improvements will still benefit the 'Non-Borris' areas and will not be slashed as this really is a national thing, despite the London centric orientation of the games.

Well, the good thing is that it is four years until the next circus.

Friday, 2 May 2008

May! Yay!

All right, where did April go?

May is officially my favourite month of the year. Firstly, it is my birth month, therefore taking centre stage as the most significant time of the year, for my own self. Second, in the Northern Hemisphere, things finally heat up, climate wise, which actually brings a smile to this dull city (however, it is still freezing at the mo - damn London weather). Thirdly, the 'summer' events begin. Gardens open, attractions are about. Four, my hayfever dies down this month, allowing me a little less snivelling for the rest of the summer. And finally, it is the time of the year that daylight really kicks in.

But yes, I do panic. Especially as this year seems to have gone by so quickly. Come on, don't you all remember dreaming and having hopes, that this year, '08 would be it. Hey, what's happened to all of us. It's like that optimism, the potential to kick start a dream faltered by January 17th. All those promises we made to ourselves, and just how have we all come.

I ask this of myself everyday. Yes, there are some great things happening, but the elixir, making a living from my films, that is what I truly want, has not yet happened. And yes, I am bloody trying, but how is it done.

Imagine, this whole film making is like walking through a tunnel. At times, the tunnel is warm and friendly, but often cold and always dark. I have not seen the light at the end of this tunnel. But I have felt a breeze on my face. Do I continue, or head back? A question I ask every single day.

Thursday, 1 May 2008

Caution Wet Paint - le preperation

For me, the Cannes Film Market is the great unknown. And to be honest, as a freshie at Cannes, I cannot expect anything to occur at the festival. Yes, it is one hell of a learning curve, and I am going there woefully under-prepared. However, that does not mean that I am not trying. In every way that I can, I am scratching my head and wondering how I can promote myself both before and during the festival. Afterwards, of course, it is back to 'reality', but for now let me suspend myself in that realm of fantasy. After all, Caution Wet Paint is a great place from which to do so...



Yes, a load of preparation. Flights, hotels, sim chips, business cards, posters, fliers to hand out, people to meet while in Cannes, transportation, guide books, phrasebooks, a new battery for the laptop, seminars, pitching events, more meetings, connections, adapter plugs, people to meet before Cannes, publicity, promotion, press, DVD's, Quicktime files, Rough edits, website design, trailers and most importantly script, synopsis and treatment.

I make this look easy.