January, 2007

A Different Country

January 1st, 2007 January 1st, 2007
Posted in It's life, Jim...
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The past is a different country. They do things differently there.

I was thinking about this yesterday after I’d phoned a couple of friends in the UK. I grow nostalgic for things like going down to the pub on Christmas Eve or New Year’s Eve with Mike or Pete. I have happy memories of making movies with lots of people. There were good times running a TV station, starting with nothing but hope and charm (more of one than the other). And there was much fun to be had on various skiing holidays with Lucy.

However, those times have gone. Paul Jarrett commented when I graduated from Manchester, you can’t be a student forever. Can you imagine? No clubbing every night of the week? No Hacienda? No nights drinking beer with your mates. Not studying fascinating new subjects and developing new ideas in that setting. You can do them, of course, but not in those places. You can go back. You can go forwards. You can have different times. You can have more fun. But you can’t live in the past.

Deb’s mum was telling me that the neighbours around them now seem to find some reason to let off fireworks every weekend. That’s a recent phenomena. Fireworks used to be for November 5th. It reminds me of other things. London has changed since my grandma used to take us to Kilburn or over to Golders Green to watch a film. Most of the cinemas have gone and Britain has embraced a club culture that was barely on the horizon when my parents first took us to Spain in the seventies.

A place is temporal as much as it’s physical. There’s a tag-line for a Calvin Klein advert on TV at the moment. It goes, “Make a wish. Or make it happen.” That’s the now. Make it happen.

***

Last year at around this time, I made three resolutions. Avoid GM food, work on Pilot Fish–possibly buying a high definition camcorder along the way, and cook. Well, I think the cupboard is fairly Kellogg’s free, so we’ll call that a win. Cook? I cooked maybe three times (not counting beans on toast, which would make it five). Hey, that’s three more times than in 2005, so I think I’ll call that a win too. (Although I should point out that Laura cooked the rest of the time, so I’m not sure she’d call it a win).

Pilot Fish? Awesome. I spent four weekends learning more about the production and distribution side of independent filmmaking at the IFP Production Workshops in Chicago, which were great. Also meant I got to see Chicago more. Great city.

Norm Roth (writer) and I registered a company, PF Productions LLC, and went out to the American Film Market in Santa Monica towards the end of the year. Definitely worth the effort. We made loads of contacts once we figured out the process of going into hotel rooms that had been converted into offices, asking if anyone from development and acquisitions was available, and then pitching them. An incredible learning experience. Norm is now working on a re-write and we’re planning on moving forwards more in the new year.

***

The high definition camera didn’t appear in the form I expected. I made several really interesting contacts in 2006. One of these was Thad Johnson from Streetlamp Studios. Thad was sponsoring an audience award at the Ann Arbor Film Festival and is this guy with an incredible entrepreneurial spirit. I helped him finish some trailers for the festival and he helped me record a big dance event at the Michigan Theater. The short story is, Thad has cameras, is learning to use steadicam, now has a studio and, most important of all, has offered to help with the production of Pilot Fish. The short story is, we love Thad.

Another interesting contact was through Derek Blair, a guy I met while visiting Grace & Wild studios in Farmington Hills. Derek went freelance at the end of 2005 and I helped him out with some editing. Over the summer, Derek got me to volunteer for an event called PhotoshopSoup2Nuts at Washtenaw Community College. This resulted in meeting Ruth Knoll, the event organizer and wife of Thomas Knoll, the creator of Photoshop. It also resulted in me borrowing her HDV camera for a weekend, which impressed me so much that I bought one. So, in the end, I did end up with a camera. Hoorah!

Third in the list of amazing contacts has to be the whole Thought Collide production crew. This is a Detroit-based outfit who are making a sci fi series called In Zer0. I wanted to meet them for a while because I thought it would be cool to show a sci fi serial at Cinema Slam. In the end, I wound up on their crew because I thought it would be even cooler to work on a sci fi show. So, from episode 7, I’ve been helping with lighting and they asked me to direct episode 10. Screening at Royal Oak’s Main Art Theater in February.

***

There’s a whole bunch of other cool developments and fun things I could mention here. Visiting the UK thanks to Pete and Kerrie early in 2006 was excellent, as was Lucy’s visit in Detroit for the SuperBowl. Various trips to LA and seeing the surprising festival success of The Adventure Golf Guy (which now has a feature length script thanks to John). Developing some Hollywood buzz for Pilot Fish, In Zer0 and Jason Attar’s One Night In Powder series are all excellent things. I met some great people thanks to volunteering to be a screener for the Ann Arbor Film Festival both in 2005 and 2006. I finished a lot of projects and still have projects to finish.

And that’s about where I’m at. Make a wish, or make it happen. Richard Bach wrote in Illusions “You’re never given a wish without also being given the power to make it come true.” Apparently, David Lynch has been using TM to come up with ways to realize his dreams. I just keep pushing.