Tag Archives: news

The EU and the Big Hate

Yeah, the EU and Britain. This small island, which thinks it is off the coast of North America is vehemently anti-European, and will do almost everything in its power to leave the grand idea of Europe. The Conservatives, two thirds of the current ruling coalition love to fight themselves into a tizzy about the EU idea. While the other political parties are smart enough to keep shtum about their differences over Europe (and other bits of infighting), the Conservatives have not learned from the 1990’s that while the EU is unpopular in the UK, it really does not matter with regards to my daily life.

So this week, Cameron, yet again, went to an EU summit looking like a spoilt child swinging his mummy’s handbag all over the shop. Embarrassing, even though I really agree with what the PM actually had to say. But he does come across really badly whenever it comes to the EU. And the French, who are really just snivelling self serving imbeciles always come across as slick. Damn those cunning French!

Believe it or not, after all that, I am fairly Pro-European. ‘Fairly’ is the good term to use. To be honest, it does not makes a difference to me whether Brussels, London or Washington is making laws, my taxes are not dropping anytime soon. As a floating voter (and we are dangerous bastards) it is the money in my pocket, not the hue of a flag that swings my vote, if I bother to vote at all. And while I have an opinion on Europe, it will not make my mind up when I go to the polls in 2015. In 2010, I am glad we got a coalition, and despite the cock and bull in the press, I think most of the people who voted then believe it was the right choice for that election. Going into a recession meant that no political party came out with any good ideas to get the UK moving. And it is still the case two years later…

Back to the EU. So, I like it? Yes, but…that is it, the ‘but’ bit. I do appreciate and take advantage of the free trade, travel and movement of people part of the EU. In fact, it is one of the best ideals implemented in modern politics over the past two generations. A lot of Brits (except retirees to Spain) really have not taken advantage of this. Lazy language skills can be blamed for this. But I have. In terms of my personal life, cultural activities and business projects, I take advantage of the EU’s free movement of goods, services and people like crazy. You may have noticed all those visits to Poland over the past couple of years, tak?

That part of me would not have been possible if the EU did not exist. It opened my life in so many ways, probably not envisioned by the grandees who thought up the project in the first place. For that, I am eternally grateful, and if Britain was to withdraw from Europe, it would peeve me off. While my personal life would remain intact (although become more tricky), my working side would become an absolute nightmare, well, I will be blunt, impossible.

And I love my films, get it! (Don’t ask about the rewrite…)

But yes, there are things I do not like about the EU. It is undemocratic, there are a lot of institutions and conventions that the UK never voted to join but were shoehorned into and the corruption levels make duck houses seem like…well, mere duck houses…

The EU will probably never face a proper reformation of its financial order as long as the nations resort to petty squabbling. It is sad, because the big EU contributors are probably more aligned then it seems when it comes to reigning in corruption and budgets. But David Cameron’s wibbly wobbly attitude does not help . The last shameful embarrassment in the EU last year looked like a small man playing to some Middle Englanders rather than a Prime Minister actually leading.

From my own opinion I think it is good for Britain to be a net contributor to the EU. The fact that we have peaceful borders and benign neighbours who are unlikely to attack Britain in the near future is something that cannot be measured by the financial contribution we make (in addition to the extremely successful NATO). So, I would rather see a stable Greece sorting out its tax collection system rather than see a Greece mired in strikes and uncertainty.

In the end, Britain is not going to leave the EU anytime soon. And good. But I do worry about the long term political relationship that the UK is building for itself. I do not want to leave the EU, I want to see a strong, democratic institution that does allow for good business and trade and that keeps the peace on the continent. Both from a personal and professional point of view, I have taken advantage of Europe, and it is something that personally benefits me. I believe if more people in the UK had the attachment via people to the continent that I have, the tide of euroscepticism would be a lot less.

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Film News for October 3rd

One words – Re-writes. Actually, that is a hyphenated word, but I stand by it.

Great Brytania is being shot in a weird and wonderful way. Due to funding pressures (it is all self-funded), the filming will be very stop-start. So in May I shot the first scenes, the external Polish scenes. Now in October, I will shoot the internal Polish Scenes. That will mean around 15% of the film is shot and in the can. Then, 2013 will become the year of hell, and the rest of the scenes, all in the UK will need to be shot. As and when funding, or in other words, spare cash, becomes available.

So recently, I have been rewriting the script again and again. To be honest, it is more of a correction, cleaning up the loose ends and making the script a bit tighter. Thankfully, the major re-write happened earlier this year, and it was fairly comprehensive. Now, my rewriting is really just tidying up around the edges.

And as the script is bilingual, it means that it needs time to get tanslated. Well, time to finish off the revisions…

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Little Teaser for Great Brytania

The last few months have, to be polite, busy. Busy for every other reason apart from filming, although I have done a lot of filming myself recently, and film related activities. However, enough doom and gloom. And enough of the shocking (really, it has been a dearth) lack of blog posts. Inertia, and the fact that I have got quite comfortable with not blogging recently has seen my writing output dramatically fall. From almost daily a year ago to once a week, if I am lucky.

Life, has been busy.

Anyway, take a look at the video. This is a ‘little teaser’ for want of a better title. Next month I will complete the first (of what will be many) teasers for Great Brytania. I have to re-record a voice over, to actually make it sound, well, good. When I shot the first footage in May, the voice overs were done quickly.

Wow, May. That was a long time ago, and a lot of things have happened since then.

Sometimes, when I write this blog, I have to balance my innate need to scream from the roftops with my (essential need) to be quiet and evasive about many, personal things.

So, onto the film world. That I will shout about 😉

In addition to the ‘Little Teaser’, I have finally done a little update to the babarouge website which was a long time coming. Another thing on my great list of things to do, but it was time to add a little bit of the work done on Great Brytania to the ‘official/corporate’ part of my world.

It has been a tough, past three months. Filming wise, it has been great. I have done an incredible amount of research, and I am so much better prepared then I was at the start of this project. While I still have a long way to go, I believe that eventually I will get there. But what has been happening around me has been nothing short of a sewer storm.

Enough mystery, here is some concrete. I am off to the wonderful Quest Europe Film Festival this weekend, and I am honoured to have been asked to be a jury member for a second year in a row. I cannot think why, but maybe I am doing something right? There are a lot of great films on show, and I have been told to look out for one film in particular. For some reason, it is meant to remind me of the Croydon Tramlink, even though it is set in France. Bizarre, how could any sane person make that connection? Oh well, I will find out in a few days…

Bags packed? Hell no! Money in wallet, just about, but at the expense of running my motorbike on a near empty fuel tank. Research done? Erm…doing it now. Filming all set – never prepared, but like a swan, that calm exterior masks a furiosou amount of paddling under the water.

Enjoy your bank holiday weekend too, whatever you are doing. See after the break!

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Film News – Beginning June 2012

A treat for you – here is a teaser clip from ‘Great Brytania’:

We shot this piece of footage at the beginning of May. It shows one of our Central characters, Magda, leaving the familial home in Poland to begin her long journey to London. For me, as a writer and director, there is a lot of heart in this scene. While technically fairly easy to shoot, the soundtrack was awful as there was a loud set of speakers above the flats blaring out rock music, plus a hell of a lot of people shouting on their mobile phones (unusual as the Polish are fairly reserved on the mobile devices). I really had to thank the crew for being so patient! From a mood setting point of view, this is a beautiful scene. Just one person and her interaction with the audience. Always difficult to pull off, but it was done magnificently by Marzena Więcek, who plays the character of Magda.

A fortnight ago, I told you about meetings and they have gone well. It looks like we have some real in-kind support which will hopefully help us with the making of the film, particularly in knocking out a decent story. As the details become confirmed, I will reveal more about who I am working with and when the film is finished we will furnish you with the names of these organisations.

And stick around…I am currently editing a proper teaser and hope to have one ready by the end of the month! That is going to be fun – I love a good teaser, and doing one really gets you in the mood for editing the film proper. The interesting thing about this film is going to be the way it will be shot. Before, I have always shot in one blast, but this one is different. I am planning to shoot over the course of two years, and edit as I go along. So, like a jog-saw puzzle, this film will be slotted together.

It means that I have not even began the casting process for the UK credits, but I have been busy organising locations and as you can already see, meetings with various organisations in order to facilitate production. It is weird to still be doing my pre-production when filming has already started. I have to change my hats from one to the next! But such are the financial constraints that I am juggling all the time. This is the challenge…

I do feel good about Great Brytania however. Although this is one ambitious film (who am I kidding, this is a headf**k!), there has been so much help surrounding the production, that I feel incredibly lucky to be abl to head this project. I certainly would not have got this far were it not for the incredible support that I have received and I am still receiving. There is an incredible amount of goodwill behind this project, more than I have received on any of my other films shot previously. Here it goes, the editing truly begins. Wow, can you imagine, Pre-Production, Production and Post-Production happening simultaneously – can you see why this is ambitious…

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29th May Film News

A brief update this week. Pure geekery by re-organising hard drives. This film is going to take a lot of juice from my current set-up and so most of the week has been spent shifting files from one end of the compter’s wires to the other. As my cash flow is, well, flowing out rather than in, I do not have the money (nor the immediate need) to get a bigger hard drive. By some careful reorganising, and some squeezing of old material onto old-backups drives, I have a full 1TB free. Now that is not a lot in the world of film, but it is enough for now while I save some cash for a new external drive.

Geeky stuff, but it keeps me happy…

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Great Brytania Film News – Well, why I have been missing, really. Kind of…

Look, first a big apology. I have been out of the loop. And the big, simple reason is just too complex to explain. But, and I know I use this phrase a lot, but trust me. The reasons for me not being such a prolific blogger have been real, and fairly serious. Which is why, for the moment, I will not say why I have not been blogging. But do not worry, no one has died, no one close to me has been hurt and financially, everything is okay. But, events have been serious enough that all filming has gone out of the window over the past couple of weeks.

Yeah, for me to say that, the situation over the past few wees have been pretty hairy.

But I am back, back for good, baby! Or as good as ‘good’ can get.

Sorry for my evasiveness, it is just the nature of things. But really, everyone that I know and love is good and well. Next week, I hope to have more film news to report, including important meetings that have been scheduled and hopefully some snippets of the film that was shot in Poland.

Viva!

Hopefully

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Motorcycle Diaries – ‘Spring’ 2012

It has been a while since I have talked about my reliable rust bucket. The good old CG125 that has lasted in my possession for over a year and a half. In that time, I have had some great fun on the bike, and while it definitely lacks any real sort of power, for my purposes, travelling around London, nothing beats it for size, nippiness and fuel economy. Quite simply it has been (and this is shocking to say in our materialistic world) one of the most useful things I have ever bought. Without this bike, my earning power would have been far lower, as it has increased my own mobility, without substantially impacting on my wages (unlike, say, a car or a seasonal train ticket). It has allowed me to be far more social than otherwise and it has also served it purpose in jetting off to buy or get things for myself (paint is a good example of what can be cheaply carried in the box of this bike).

It has not been all easy. Just before Christmas 2011 my chain slipped off. Annoying as it was new in July. Probably as I ride it like a maniac or did not grease the chain properly. Anyway, I wheeled it back on Christmas Day (no fun whatsoever) and it sat in the driveway over winter while I cycled to and from work and other places to visit. They were long, cold months, but in February, with some cash in my pocket, I went to the bike shop nearby and got it repaired. There was also a small oil leak, which I also got repaired (replaced the O-Ring). In the end, while it was an unexpected burden on my wallet, I was glad to get the bike back.

It was nerve wracking at first to get back on my motorbike. I had not ridden it in nearly three months, and let me be honest, I am still a relatively new rider. Those first few journeys did make my hair stand on end. Just a couple of shuttles to work and back. But then I had to cross the city quickly, and the motorbike was going to be the only way to do that efficiently. After that long journey, I got my confidence back, but without the cockiness I had before. Breaking down like I did, I know the limits of the bike and now ride it that bit more carefully. I will put my hand up and state that I was like a real learner boy on my bike before Christmas. Luckily for me, I did not kill myself. I hope I have grown up a little bit in my riding since then.

Now the reason I am writing about my bike, is that I am off on a real ride, a rally of sort tomorrow. On what is probably the wettest weekend in Britain on record. Great.

Anyway, this is part of a stag-do for my friend, who wanted a grand tour around Southern England instead of whores and booze in some dodgy East European capital. So we have a route, I have packed, and now I have to repack to take into account that it will probably rain every day that I am out there and the bike is all set to go. And there will be some news of this on my return.

And also, just to note, I am on holiday (proper time off,not just my four day weekend) so I will be abroad until the beginning of May. Expect a few photos and musings on my return…and who said there is a recession in the UK?

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