Thursday 29 March 2012

FLASH! EXTRA! (three days late due to Mac malfunction)

Lone Ranger, Tonto and Maggy
Next Sunday there'll be a casting call in Moab, Utah (a couple of hours west of here) for Johnny Depp´s new movie: "The Lone Ranger." JD plays Tonto, the Lone Ranger´s sidekick. But they´re switching the emphasis and making Tonto the star. Not a bad idea. The masked man, righter of wrongs was alway kind of boring. Even to us kids when we listened on the radio.

So Sunday morning (April Fools day) I´m hightailing it west to Moab. I want to see (or try to see) some of the action. Met a guy who is trying out for a role. His real day job is re-surfacing porcelain bathtubs, sinks, etc. But he´s lean and long-legged and looks the part. I think he´s got a chance. The critics and money-men are excited about this flick. They think Johnny might do for Indians what he did for pirates - give them some sexy pizzazz.

This is one time when straight hair and a striped t-shirt won´t do. Wracking my brain on how to style muself so that I look enough like the period to get a job as an extra. Especially if I could sneak a camera on-set and shoot the people shooting the picture. Whatta hoot.

Lesson 37: Making movies will make you crazy. Get used to it.

Next week (back to normal): 37 To Light or Not to Light

Monday 19 March 2012

35 What´s Hot, What´s Not in the USA

01 HOT: Western Slope of the Rocky Mountains
  • Sunshine (approx 320 days a year), John Ford scenery, Aspen, Telluride, Palisade (the New York Times gave this small town - 2,700 inhabitants - three full pages). Skiing, biking, rafting, fishing on the Colorado river and the state´s wine country. Lots of artists, eccentrics, farmers and people who love the great outdoors.
01 NOT: Sappy Sayings 
  • "You have a wonderful day." I mean, somebody close might have just died.
  • "I have to go to the bathroom." Americans say this even when they´re in the middle of the woods.
  • "It is what it is." Leaves you speechless.
  • "Whatever." The ultimate put-down. In other words, "shut up."
02 HOT: Authentic Tex-Mex 
  • As the Hispanic population migrates across the US, Tex-Mex is available in almost every American city. Simple, cheap, delicious and good for you. Expecially if you go heavy on the beans and salsa.
02 NOT: Monster vehicles
  • The roads and parking lots are chockablock with gigantic gas guzzlers. They are scary. When one sits on your tail it´s like being chased by a computer-animated movie monster. I was rear-ended twice in two weeks. In the meantime drivers (and almost everybody over 16 is one) are squealing about the price of filling up their tanks: cheap compared to almost anywhere else.
03 HOT: Walmarts
  • Consumer god please forgive me. Promised never to set foot in one of these gargantuan cathedrals of consumption. But I cracked. Discovered you can almost furnish your house and not break the bank: a set of dishes (four place settings) costs 9.95, silverware (20 pieces) 9.95, a couch (makes into a bed) 119.95, a complete set of pots and pans (12 pieces, including utensils) 49.95. The shopping cart fills up fast. After you check out, the nice and cheerful staff kindly helps you stuff your stuff into your car and tells you "to have a wonderful day."
03 NOT: Medical Hucksters
  • The US is NOT a good place for a hypochondriac, especially if you watch TV. The country is obsessed with health. The airways (and magazines) are inundated with medical commercials. Have discovered diseases I´d never heard of. A lot of these commercials have to do with lawsuits. If you have this or that illness you might be eligible to join a class action suit and make a bundle. Then there´s Doctor OZ. He extols the dangers of taking showers (the head is full of bacteria), going to the loo (thousands of germs fly out of the toilet after each flush), eating beef (as dangerous as smoking). The no-no list goes on and on and on....

Lesson 36: When in America go with the flow, you know, whatever

Next week: 36 To Light, or Not To light

Monday 12 March 2012

34 Who's Watching?

A producer friend, Robin Dalton, (Oscar & Lucinda, Country Life), belongs to the Academy. For several weeks before the Oscars she goes to see the nominated feature films, short films, animated films, foreign films and documentaries. She said almost all of them had full houses except for the docs. And yet, big-time directors such as Martin Scorcese and Werner Herzog are making them, in addition to the thousands  of independent doc filmmakers.

But now one has hit pay-dirt: KONY 2012 (30´). They stopped counting after appox 50,000,000 hits on youtube. About the children who have been abducted by the dictator Kony, it hits all the right buttons: a sad, horrific story about kids who have been abducted and have suffered in terrible ways. And it has a mission: to alert the world to Kony and try to track him down (the US government has about 100 troops on the ground trying to do the same thing),

Going viral with a doc on youtube is like buying a lottery ticket.  So what keeps people developing, shooting, editing and promoting their docs, often financed with their own money. In my case, it´s like a drug. Just can´t stop. When an idea (or title) pops up, I call Eki or unpack my camera and start shooting. And then there´s the fun of sitting for twelve hours at a time at SpaceWhale editing with Eki.

Lesson 35: Just do it!

Next week: What´s Hot, What´s Not in the USA