Sunday, September 23, 2012

True Romance, Emmy writers and a love letter to cinema....

Last Saturday True Romance got a screening - at the Hollywood Forever cemetery. This is the most beautiful, glamorous graveyard in the world (probably) and all the greats are buried there. Including, sadly, the director of True Romance, Tony Scott.

A huge screen was set up and a huge crowd, all looking like they were dressed by Urban Outfitters and American Apparel, arrived armed with booze and food to watch it. This being L.A., there were no drunken fights and people actually put their trash into a bin afterwards. Amazing.

Donna Scott introduced the film with an emotional speech and Patricia Arquette got up after the film for an equally tearful few words. It was genuinely moving to watch the movie and think that this was the film Tony Scott was most proud of. And rightly so - while Tarantino's script drives the action, Scott got great performances out of his cast. It's arguably Christian Slater's best part ever and the interrogation scene with Dennis Hopper and Christopher Walken is still a thrill to watch.

Kind of weird to see Chris Penn (so young he looks like Jonah Hill) and Tom Sizemore playing the cops. Both of them deserved a lot more parts as good as that.

Wednesday night, I went to another event at the Writers Guild Theater - Sublime Primetime. This was a panel interview with several Emmy-nominated TV writers, including Glen Mazzara (The Walking Dead), Semi Chellas and Matthew Weiner (Mad Men), Lena Dunham (creator of the excellent HBO show Girls), and Alex Gansa and Howard Gordon (Homeland).

Weiner was asked if he felt that the two episodes his show's been nominated for were the best of the last series, and he visibly struggled to agree. He loves all his actors, all his episodes, wishes they could all be recognised. He talked about the brilliant episode where Roger Sterling drops acid, and explained that he and the other writers tracked down this Life Magazine article from the early Sixties, complete with photos, where very upright middle-class people took acid under supervision. This formed the basis of Sterling's story.

Mad Men is clearly a labor of love for Weiner, and he has huge loyalty to his cast and crew.

Lena Dunham writes, directs, produces and stars in Girls and admitted that she often doesn't have time to sleep!  She talked about an infamous episode where her boyfriend pisses on her leg while she's in the shower - her dad chose that day to visit the set and stood immediately in her eye line during filming (!).

Alex Gansa and Howard Gordon previously worked together on 24, where Gordon took the executive producing duties and endured shouting matches with Kiefer Sutherland. He admitted that he was happy to hand the reins over to Gansa for Homeland. They also discussed the Israeli show which inspired it - it has to be said, it sounds like a completely different show. Much more of a drama than a thriller.

The next night, I finally got to see a movie I've waited a year to see! I met Teal Greyhavens, the director of the documentary Cinema is Everywhere, last year at the Austin Film Festival. His movie was screening, but like a lot of films in Austin, I missed it because of talking and drinking duties. So when I saw it was showing in Beverly Hills this week, I made sure to go along.

Cinema is Everywhere is based around the idea that cinema is a universal visual language that people of almost any culture can recognise and enjoy. Weaving together narratives from Tunisia, Hong Kong, Scotland and India, it features interviews with well-known names like Tilda Swinton as well as up-and-coming filmmakers around the world. We see a festival in Scotland that travels to audiences, a director in Tunisia who's trying to get his movie about a HIV-positive man past strict censorship laws, and an Indian actress who struggles against perceived racial discrimination. This is a love letter to cinema and its power of communication and a huge, four-year project for Greyhavens, who had to edit down 152 hours of footage! It's well worth a watch.

This week I've been sending out query letters and getting my rep strategy together. I do have a meeting with a manager in two weeks, so I have my fingers hopefully crossed! Even if he doesn't want to represent me himself, he may be able to recommend another manager. And I've contacted an agent that a family member was able to refer me to, so that's another lead.

I have just over seven weeks left to make things happen, so there's no time to lose! I need to get an agent or manager to act as my sponsor so I can apply for a longer visa and come back to this very hot, crazy city in 2013. The race is on...

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