(Very) Belated thanks to all who recommended film books - Mr Stack’s being particularly comprehensive. “Adventures in a Screen Trade” and “Easy Riders, Raging Bulls” seemed to be them top picks, and they’re both fine books. I should also recommend Blockbuster by Tom Shone, it’s a great antidote to Biskind’s “Star Wars and Jaws killed real films” argument. After all, you can love the Last Detail, Chinatown and Mean Streets as well as Star Wars, Alien, and Who Framed Roger Rabbit. Even if you don’t agree with his arguement, it’s a great read.
Talking of Who Framed Roger Rabbit, there’s a nice little featurette on the What Lies Beneath DVD about Robert Zemeckis. Tom Hanks says of Zemeckis - “Bob has a great clarity. He’s great at focusing on the ‘red dot’ of what a scene is about and saying ‘how can we maximise that red dot?”
In one of the Potdoll’s film book recommendations, MacKendrick On Filmaking, Alexander MacKendrick states that “Obsurity is rarely a virtue,” and quotes Truffaut: “To those who question whether clarity is all that important, I can only say that it is the most important quality in the making of a film” Clarity. What’s your script/scene about? And is that clear to the audience?
Friday, 15 February 2008
Monday, 11 February 2008
In his book Hollywood England, Alexander Walker quotes Joe Losey - “the film industry constantly rejects what it is crying out to have repeated the next year.” Walker also uses the famous quote, “In this business, nobody knows anything for sure.” For instance, you probably think you know who said that, don’t you? It was, of course Bond Producer Harry Saltzman, from an interview with Walker from 1972, over ten years before Adventures in the Screen Trade was published. (He was talking about the reaction to Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, the source of lines like “All the rest is proganda.” “What ever people say I am, that‘s what I‘m not.” and “Don’t let the bastards grind you down.” Hence the title.
Walker’s British Film Trilogy is very good (and the most recent volume Icons in The Fire is required reading.) Probably the best - certainly the most entertaining - book I’ve ever read about the British Film Industry is Shepperton Babylon by Matthew Sweet (The Whole Equation by David Thompson is the most fun about Hollywood)
Anyone else got any film book recommendations? In fact, let’s make that a meme! We haven’t had one for a while! Chip, Lianne, Lucy, Danny, and the Potdoll - I meme thee!
Wednesday, 6 February 2008
Okay, neglecting the blog again. It’s 430 AM and I can’t sleep, so a few random points.
Metlab - had a very productive meeting with Lucy and John, despite the odd (and I mean that in both senses of the word) suggestion about including more necrophilia from John! (He’s from Salisbury.) Got lots to go on, and I’ve done a rough draft of the new outline - it’s a page 1 rewrite unfortunately. Met the wonderful Chip and (very briefly) Elinor and the myterious and blogless Grant, and saw the Potdoll again (almost as briefly.) She's a lot less china-y in real life.
Having a short break from Technicolor to write my BSSC entry. I’ve got an animated short, so I’ll enter that too. Might enter 3 this year!
New Order Lyrics - Temptation is one of my favourite songs, and randomly look up the lyrics the other night, to find out they aren’t what I thought they are - or are they? Every lyrics site I looked at had more or less the same lyrics, for instance, the line I always hears as
From time to time, I find I've lost some meaning
I was a virgin to myself, I do believe
From time to time, I find I've lost some need
That was urgent to myself, I do believe
Now listening again, it STILL sounds like the former. So are all the sites wrong? Are they all plagiarising each other? Or is it me?? The thing is, if I’d read in 4 books that the lyrics were not what I thought they were then I‘d believe them. It’s happened before (I misheard virtually all of the mighty White Man in Hammersmith Palais by the Clash, for example “It was Four Tops all night” became “it was fucked up all right“) but the thing is, with the internet I don’t know for sure.
All this information at your fingertips is great, but what use is it if you cant believe it? I came across the Wikipedia entry for the Screenwriter’s Festival too yesterday - I scrolled down, saw they had an entry for volunteers - Yey! I’m on wikipedia, I thought! But woe, the list is wrong - they’ve put the list of the first years volunteers in for both years. Fascists!
By the way, who’s going this year?? I probably am, probably as a volunteer. Which reminds me, I’ve got to get back to them.
Off to count some drinks now.