Monday, 30 August 2010

I'm off, again - to save the world...



That's it, old faithful - this backpack has taken my belongings round the world a few times and has done me proud. Back in the day, before 9/11 when it was possible to take penknives and shampoo in your hand luggage, I traveled much lighter. But as I now need these essentials with me, I dump this sack of crap in the hold and head off to the cabin with a morsel of hand baggage. Plus now, being part of the jet set group, I actually take a lap top with me.

Will I be online? Probably not. Personally, I love the privacy of being on holiday, even though this is very much a working vacation. If I can get a hold of some Wi-Fi, I may send a posting, but other than that, I am off to join Jay and Kay and Save the World at the Budapest Short Film Festival!

When I get back, I will have travel tales to fill this blog out for a month. Then, of course, I will need a new place to venture too...

And so it has been one hell of a journey from:



to:



but I have loved every step of the way, while shedding a few tears, they are now long forgotten. If in town join us in Budapest for some fun in one of Europe's most beautiful cities along with plenty of milk! Toodles, El D.

Time: Friday September 3rd at 2:15pm and Saturday 4th September at 1:15pm.

Venue: The VÖRÖSMARTY MOZI Cinema, 1075 Budapest, Üllői út 4, Hungary. Nearest tram/metro - Kalvin ter Metro.

Sunday, 29 August 2010

Patchy

This blog has been shockingly patchy. Well, for good reason - I have been promoting 'Caution Wet Paint' at festivals. I will be off again on Tuesday, this time to Hungary to promote Caution Wet Paint in Budapest. My second jaunt to the former Eastern Bloc, and not only will the adventures of Jay and Kay be screening on a huge cinema screen, I will also be in the beautiful surroundings of Hungary's capital. A double treat of movies and sightseeing.

When I get back, I will report fully on what I saw and experienced in both Strasbourg and what I will experience in Eastern Europe.

It is weird doing so much work on Jay and Kay Save the World again after so many months have passed, but such is the nature of film. Plus, I am enjoying it like crazy, revisiting those two crazy characters and their mad antics.

So for those who will not be in Budapest, here is the trailer of the short just to remind you all of what i out there at the festivals!



Now off to BUSHO, and the next film festival. Caution Wet Paint screens at:

Time: Friday September 3rd at 2:15pm and Saturday 4th September at 1:15pm.

Venue: The VÖRÖSMARTY MOZI Cinema, 1075 Budapest, Üllői út 4, Hungary. Nearest tram/metro - Kalvin ter M.

Friday, 27 August 2010

Caution Wet Paint in Strasbourg



Strasbourg was one hell of a town and a great place to while a way a few days while at the same time watching films by other film makers as well as myself. As the first (of what I hope) to be many film festivals, the Strasbourg Film Festival was small and cosy just like the town itself. More importantly, there was an audience to see my film.

Now, for any film maker, this is the most nerve wracking part of the whole process. What does the audience think. Are they going to laugh or do they think that this is a dumb film. Terrifying. I was sitting in the screening room, before my film, heart pumping, thinking, damn comedy doesn't travel well!

But the comedy did travel well. The audience laughed. Not all the time, but they did laugh, and they seemed to enjoy it. And thank goodness, I entertained - the primary motive of any film maker.

And even more important - they liked the characters. People said to me afterwards, where did you find those guys, they're funny! And thank goodness.

Now off to BUSHO, and the next film festival. Caution Wet Paint screens at:

Time: Friday September 3rd at 2:15pm and Saturday 4th September at 1:15pm.

Venue: The VÖRÖSMARTY MOZI Cinema, 1075 Budapest, Üllői út 4, Hungary. Nearest tram/metro - Kalvin ter M.

It was here...Caution Wet Paint - At Strasbourg!



I am back very briefly, before heading out next week to Budapest for Caution Wet Paint's screening at BUSHO in Hungary.

And the festival went well, 'Jay and Kay Save the World' was received well, and if I get time, I will put up a quick blog to explain as much as possible.

But now need to conk out - I feel like a business traveler, just without the expense account, strip clubs or business class seats...

Saturday, 21 August 2010

At the Movies with Caution Wet Paint!

12 months ago I finished the editing of Jay and Kay Save the World and we have gone from this:



to our first public screenuings of the world's greatest (and wackiest) short film!

Now I am ready for Caution Wet Paint's premiere at the Strasbourg International Film Festival on Wednesday, plus next week's fun at the Budapest Short Film Festival. It has been two years since the last public airing of the paint and many things have changed since then. However, it validates the hard work ad dedication from all that were involved with the making of the film.

I still have to pack my bags, but at least cash wise, I am all sorted out. Someone's going on holiday!

(I will be keeping you all updated while I am in France and Hungary, when I get the chance to access the web).

Toodles!

---

WORLD PREMIERE OF CAUTION WET PAINT: Wednesday 25th August 2010, 7pm

VENUE: L'artichaut ~ 56, Grand' Rue, 67000 Strasbourg. Be there of be very square...

Friday, 20 August 2010

Dark Matter and Tamil Films - A Random Blog Post

I don't get it. But the big question I want to ask for this month is, what is dark matter?

I get the whole thing about the universe expanding forever into nothingness, and all of that, but what is dark matter, the thing that is supposedly pushing our ever expanding universe.

If it makes up most of our universe, don't we have to just send up some probes and wait until they hit something that is quite dark?

Is dark matter the fluff from my belly button?

Who knows?

Anyhow, if I am going to get random, what use is there for Dark Matter?

As it allows the expansion of the universe, what would it do if consumed pill form. Is this a new type of Viagra, or am I living the pharmaceutical industry's wet dream?

Doesn't anything reflect of dark matter? If not, why aren't they Black Holes?

You see, Dark Matter has really only been detected by gravity. Nothing else. So it should be there, but we just do not know exactly what it is?

Maybe Dark Matter is made of all the film festival applications I have sent off and heard nothing back from. Oh, I do love (the awful majority of) film festivals. They can be so...communicative!

(Thankfully, there is a minority of hard core decent film festivals out there who keep those lines of communications open and clear)

Wow, I think as random goes, this is not a bad blog post.

I'm out of here. Enough randomness. I need to get back to watching Alaipayuthey. And if you want to see why I love this movie, check out this link ------> One of the Greatest Movie moments ever?

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Irfan Post (10) - Editing Complete, now the 'hard' part...

I have reached a very important milestone in the post production process of 'Irfan'. And yes, the 'edit' has finished.

Finally.



At 22 minutes, it is a HUGE short film. I will probably cut some bits out as I go along, but with the credits yet to be added, the 22 minute mark looks like the general length of the film.

And this has been my bane for the past few weeks:



Now for the fun part. Sound rebuilding, oh and then colour correction...

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

London Diary (29)

He walked up the stairs, tired after a hard days' work. Vijaya had just finished cleaning up the restaurant downstairs. A busy day was always good for business, but hard on him, now that he was basically running the business himself.

He stopped and took a look into his daughter's room. It was empty tonight, as she was at a friend's house. The summer holidays. A time when they young are free. Free from the worries and woes of this world, that their adult companions build up. Oh yes, and were those troubles overblown. Out of his three childre, the oldest no longer talked to him. Not since her mother's death.

How he missed his wife. It had been two years. Two, very long years. A lot of things had happened in his family's life before and since that date. For him, he had adapted, in terms of day to day living. But the reality was that he never felt all right. Everyday that he got up, he felt the rest of the bed next to him was cold and empty. Just like the rest of his life.. It would soon be time for his son to go his own way. To find his way in the world.

He peeped into his son's room. His son was snoring away. He had managed to rope him into helping out in the restaurant. It was good work for him, and ever since the shop where he used to work part time had been shut, it was the best thing for him. He still was always up to mischief, always heading out and probably getting up to the same things that Vijaya did at his age. Vijaya raised a smile, thinking of the past. His own childhood, meeting his wife, the birth of his kids.


He remembered holding his first girl in his hands. Beautiful, precious, fragile. It was weird for him. During that pregnancy, he never really thought of his daughter as someone living. More like something inside his wife. But when she was born and he held his baby girl in his arms, something changed in him. Life changed. Here was something, that was going to live beyond his years, but at this point in life, was completely dependent on him. The miracle of life and the tragedy too, all wrapped into one.

Vijaya put the light off and walked into his own room. To an empty bed and to a household that was fast getting empty itself. Ultimately in this journey of life, it begins alone, finding one's way in the world. And it ends lonely too, a single person exiting this world, leaving all that was a part of that life, behind...

Monday, 16 August 2010

The Motorcycle Diaries (5)

It was a stunning day today, and so what else is a man to do but to head out on his motorbike.

Usually, I bike around London, but being a glorious day, and without having a schedule to stick to, I decided to head out of the city, and ended up in the pretty town of Windsor.



Here is a view of the famous castle. And yes, I may well be taking a visit here sometime this year...

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Take a look outside...

...and see what you are landing in.

This is August, and it is one crappy day for anyone arriving at Heathrow today.

Of course, being 'native', it feels just like a regular summer - cold.

But for anyone (relations...) coming in from the tropics (Seychelles) this is as rotten as it gets.

I have a name for it.

The Heathrow effect.

Basically, this is it.

As your plane circles London waiting for a slot on the runway, you see nothing but clouds. Clouds to the left, to the right, above and below. Suddenly your ears pop and your plane descends below the clouds. Just in time to see Feltham.

Nice.

Then you land.

Cold, in shorts and woefully underprepared without the comfort of a jacket, hoping that your relatives will be waiting in the arrivals hall to pick you up.

---

You can guess where I am off to now. Oh, my poor Uncle. How unaware he is of the Heathrow Effect...

Saturday, 14 August 2010

The Motorcycle Diaries (4) - Basics...



Ah, my beloved motorbike. Did a little maintenance on it the other morning. After riding from work, did a quick oil change. Cleaned out the filter and voila! It runs like a beauty!

I love my bike. Really, nothing else makes me happy, quite like it...

Friday, 13 August 2010

Irfan Post 9 - Almost done ;) (how many times will I saw that in the next few weeks)

As the events of the last week have been very hectic, editing of Irfan has taken a back seat (as has writing for this blog). Nonetheless, with the mixture of film festivals plus family, I have almost finished the editing work for the short film. This is excellent news for myself, but the real fun is only just beginning...



At the moment, the film is 16 minutes long. The script, was only fifteen pages long. Yup, that means, what I am cutting down is likely to get slimmed as the 'fine cutting' continues, but for now, it looks as if this short film could hit the twenty minute mark - and that is a lot for me!

While my aim was to finish the editing last week, it looks likely that I will complete the cutting on Monday. So by next week, I can then come back to you with the final running time. I will also have a fuller knowledge of what needs fixing with regards to the film's sound and more importantly, colour correction. That is the stuff that takes up the most time, simply because it van get very anal. I have already talked about my adventures in post production here and here, so take a look at what I am going to go through again.

But, if I get 'Irfan' into a few film festivals in the coming year, then it will be worth it!

Thursday, 5 August 2010

What the film am I doing - Irfan Post 8 - and one more look back at the river...

(Copied from the original off El Director's blog).

If someone ever tells me that filming is glamorous, they need to be told, in a stern voice that it is not.

A director does not just shout action and cut on a megaphone. I really wish it was that simple. But wen you are not paying anyone, it is nothing like that..instead I am burning DVD's, ordering postcards to be shipped to the USA and figuring out the cheapest ticket to Strasbourg. Welcome to the world of Distribution and film festivals. The swanning around at the screening is the result of military-esque logistics, frantic bargaining and much hair pulling!

---

Secondly, I dubbed the lovely Safirah (who plays the character of Saira) last week and so Project Irfan is coming along nicely.



Seriously, I am dead proud of this set-up. In the corridor of a nice muffled building, perfect for simulating a car, which is where I shot the dialogue scenes between the characters of Irfan and Saira for the short. Thanks for that S!

---


Thirdly, I have just taken a vanity look at my River Crossings. Seriously, I am dead proud that I have completed this. To think how innocent I was when I first started this series, something that is actually reflected in the quality of the writing style of this series. As I progressed through London, my blogging actually became a hell of a lot better. Whether it is the case of actually reading through my posts before hitting the 'publish' button, I will never know. Still, I would say that from Barnes Bridge, the content is actually pretty good.

I should actually go back and re-edit the posts, but for now, they will stay as they are, 'raw'.

And, as this is the final time that I will crow about the River Thames, here is potted list of 'faves' about my series on the Thames. Completely subjective, but if you want to know what crossings to head to (or avoid) then have a look at these:


Best Looking Crossing Point - Albert Bridge.
Best Surroundings (away but accessible from the crossing) - Hampton Court Bridge.

Worst Looking Crossing Point - Wandsworth Bridge.
Worst Surroundings (away but accessible from the crossing) - Wandsworth Bridge.

Best view from a bridge/ferry - Waterloo Bridge.
Worst view from a bridge/ferry - Wandsworth Bridge.

The most fun I had using - Woolwich Ferry.
The most fun I had researching - London Bridge.

Coolest Crossing - Greenwich Foot Tunnel.
The most surprising Crossing Point I encountered - The Ham Ferry.

The one most likely to kill you - The Rotherhithe Tunnel.

The one tourists must see - Tower Bridge.
The one Londoners must see - The Woolwich Ferry.

The one that I want to re-explore - Southwark Bridge.
The one that I want to re-explore after that one - Barnes Bridge.


And, this was one of the main reasons why I went to all 33 Crossing Points. I wanted to find out which were the best locations to utilise. Locations by the Thames that would best fit the kind of films I would want to make to show how I see London. And so, the most important awards come from the following categories:

The crossing I would like to film - Woolwich Ferry.
The surroundings that I would like to film - Barnes Bridge.
The view that I would like to film - Woolwich Ferry.


And so, for the last time, my vanity will direct you only once more to the link of links, here, for my series of Crossings of the River Thames...

Charlie's Crossings of the River Thames - All 33 of them!

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Ding Dong - the witch is dead...

Who cares about the film council. I had a go last week, but this blog post by a person who worked for them illustrates why this film maker will not be shedding any tears for its demise...

UK Film Council News - An Insiders Knowledge by 'Wild Bore'.

Good News Everyone (and some 'post' news)

Caution Wet Paint: Jay and Kay Save the World is in our second film festival. We will be screening at the dual-continental Strasbourg Film Festival. Two continents, as they start in France and head off to Florida in September when they go 'Nomadic'.

This is huge for us. CWP (and myself) have this year, gone to festivals beyond the UK, and have finally had our first glimpse of North American screenings. May the pattern (and the subsequent glory) continue to flow!



Fantastic news for us, and hell, we deserve it! CWP is the greatest and where else can you get milk bottles trying to invade earth along with a comedic duo who can do more than the funky chicken!

---

On other notes, 'Irfan' is going great in terms of editing, should finish the film edit by this week. Then onto 'correction'...

Monday, 2 August 2010

Crossings of the River Thames: A look back...

Wow.

I cannot believe it.

But yes, I have actually managed to do it. To complete it! To visit and chronicle each of London's public crossing points over (or under) the Thames. For the sake of reference, here are all the crossing points of the River Thames in London from west to east:

Hampton Ferry (Plus a How to get there bit)
Hampton Court Bridge
Kingston Bridge
Teddington Lock
Ham Ferry
Richmond Bridge
Twickenham Bridge (Two Posts)
Richmond Lock
Kew Bridge
Chiswick Bridge
Barnes Railway Bridge
Hammersmith Bridge
Putney Bridge
Fulham Railway Bridge
Wandsworth Bridge
Battersea Bridge
Albert Bridge
Chelsea Bridge
Vauxhall Bridge
Lambeth Bridge
Westminster Bridge
Hungerford Bridge (Two Posts)
Waterloo Bridge
Blackfriars Bridge
Millennium Bridge
Southwark Bridge
London Bridge (Two Posts)
Tower Bridge
Rotherhithe Tunnel
Canary Wharf-Rotherhithe Ferry
Greenwich Foot Tunnel
Woolwich Ferry
Woolwich Foot Tunnel

Just as a note the rules of this series were that the crossings had to be open to the general public by foot (so no to the Blackwall Tunnel), they had to be permanent crossing points (seasonal were allowed but crossings like the Jubilee Line Replacement Ferry were not) and had to have at least one side of the crossing point in Greater London (so the famed Dartford Crossing was out).

And so what next? My original reason for this tour of London was twofold. Firstly, I wanted to see a different side of the Capital, but more importantly, it allowed me to just get out and life my head up from the world of work and film making. And it has done a great job doing that. No matter what has come my way, I have always set aside one day a month to visit my crossing point and to see a different part of London. These crossing points have been useful in letting me do so. Letting me live!

On the way, like many things I do, I have got distracted. So my monthly Thames sojourn has sometimes been replaced by other crossing points. The Forth Bridge and the Dollis Brook Viaduct alongside a few crossings in India that were the Guwahati Ferry, the Howrah Bridge, the Manjitar Bridge and the Living Root Bridges of Meghalaya took me away from the Thames, but still managed to get me away from the computer and reality and into the realms of something exploratory!

And so now what?

Well, I think I will take a break from bridges for a while. I might come back to this series if and when new crossings are added in London. But for now, I need to find something new about the city to explore. Something that will get me out of cloud cuckoo land and back to reality. And something that will entertain, both you the reader as well as myself...

Sunday, 1 August 2010

Crossings of the River Thames 33: The Woolwich Foot Tunnel

I am very wary of milestones. Why? Because one day, you might actually reach them...



Charles Michel Duke


---

This is it!

The 33rd Crossing of the River Thames in London. Oh yes, let me go through that list once again. From Hampton in the West of London, to Woolwich, here in the East of the city. here are 33 ways to cross the River Thames by foot. Sure, there are more ways to cross the Thames if you include road or rail only crossings, but if you are wanting to use your humble feet, this is the very last time that you can do so in London. Let me go through that list one more time, from the west to the east of how to cross the River Thames in London:



Hampton Ferry (Plus a How to get there bit)
Hampton Court Bridge
Kingston Bridge
Teddington Lock
Ham Ferry
Richmond Bridge
Twickenham Bridge (Two Posts)
Richmond Lock
Kew Bridge
Chiswick Bridge
Barnes Railway Bridge
Hammersmith Bridge
Putney Bridge
Fulham Railway Bridge
Wandsworth Bridge
Battersea Bridge
Albert Bridge
Chelsea Bridge
Vauxhall Bridge
Lambeth Bridge
Westminster Bridge
Hungerford Bridge (Two Posts)
Waterloo Bridge
Blackfriars Bridge
Millennium Bridge
Southwark Bridge
London Bridge (Two Posts)
Tower Bridge
Rotherhithe Tunnel
Canary Wharf-Rotherhithe Ferry
Greenwich Foot Tunnel
Woolwich Ferry

And now today, the Woolwich Foot Tunnel.

Similar in build to the Greenwich Foot Tunnel, there is a port hole on either side of the Thames. Here on the north bank, spitting distance from the Ferry Pier, is the brick dome that will take you deep below the Thames:



Just like the Greenwich Foot Tunnel, it is made of cast iron segments and has a lift at both ends. Just like Greenwich, it is under repair and refurbishment by the local council. And just like the Greenwich Foot Tunnel, it is filthy, over a century of soot and dirt line these walls, where many feet have trodden before, below the depths of the River Thames.



This is one long tunnel. And unlike Greenwich to the west, this is a lonely tunnel. With the Free Ferry and the DLR extension now up and running, very few people bother with the long and very cold walk through the tunnel. And if you are like me and came totally unprepared for the English Summer, then watch out, as any wet clothes will leave you frozen at these subterranean depths...



In fact, the only people you are likely to meet down here are cyclists, despite the objections to pedal power and the barriers placed intermittently throughout the tunnel. Still, that never stops the hardy two wheeler...



And so that was that. I emerged into the cold light of Woolwich, the Southern port hole of the tunnel now surrounded by a leisure centre and the hoardings of the repair team. That was that. After three years of London based wanderings, I have finally completed this great odyssey through the Capital, my home town. What will be my next adventures through this city? Ah, I will have to decide on this one...



---

Getting there and away:

Woolwich town centre, on the South Bank is served by a plethora of bus services which include the 51, 53 (24 hour), 54, 96, 99, 122, 161, 177, 178, 180, 244, 291, 380, 386, 422, 469, 472 (24 hour) and night bus N1. They either stop by the pier or in the town which is a short walk away from the riverside. The nearest station is Woolwich Arsenal (National Rail/DLR).

(If in Woolwich, it is a bit of a mission to find the entrance to the tunnel, but just head towards the riverside and you will find it)

On the north bank in Silvertown, routes 473 and 474 (24 hour) serves the ferry pier. King George V (DLR) is a few minutes walk from the entrance of the tunnel along Pier Road a few yards from the entrance to the Woolwich Ferry's southern pier.