The characters that Kenneth Lonergan writes are so real and so human that calling them characters feels like I’m doing them a disservice. He is a filmmaker that understands the nuance of the human condition maybe more than any other filmmaker today. And it’s his style of naturalism combined with the tragedy elements of Manchester By The Sea that makes this film one of the toughest watches I’ve had in a while. There’s a good 10/15 minute long section that had my stomach in knots and was so devastating and so real it was difficult not to look away. If you’ve seen it, you’ll know the part I’m talking about.
Everyone is on their A-Game and Casey Affleck is definitely walking away from this years Academy Awards with a Best Actor statue.
Well 2017, only two weeks in and the bar has been set.
Damien Chazelle throws out the rule book yet again and makes something so special, so visually exciting and ultimately so jazz that only he could have made this film. He is a filmmaking treasure and I pray he doesn’t spend the next few years getting caught up in making big Hollywood blockbusters and sequels, two features in and he has setttled into his own role as a contemporary auteur and the more original content from him the better.
The biggest surprise in La La Land? It’s so damn funny. Which coming to think of it, it was always going to be, Emma Stone is one of the funniest females on this planet but the laughs all belong to Mr Gosling and anyone who has seen The Nice Guys can agree that his comedic performance and timing are impeccable.
La La Land is a love letter to music. It’s a love letter to film. It’s a love letter to love itself.
Watch it and watch it now.
And then go back again.
For the longest time I thought my Doodles were rubbish.
Maybe you’ve noticed that I’m uploading one Doodle a week to the site.
Maybe you haven’t.
Well I thought I’d take a moment to explain why I Doodle in either case.
I’ve always loved art. When I was a little’un I would cover my walls in all my various drawings. While they weren’t exactly Van Gogh, they were mine and I was proud of them. I’d chart my progress; challenge myself to draw things I found difficult.
In primary school we had one class of 30 students per year so it was incredibly easy for everyone to have their thing and be known for it. You had an identity and knew exactly where you stood. I was the cartoonist and for the longest time and I wanted to be just that forever.
Then, it just stopped.
Looking back, I can pinpoint the moment as well. Year 7; my first year of secondary school and my first art class. A class dedicated to art! I was so excited. Now I had a chance to hone my skills with someone who specialises in being arty and frankly, I couldn’t wait.
I remember sitting in the room for the first time. It was a freezing cold hut set aside from the main school building. It looked like it had been there forever and the rest of the school had simply been built around it. The walls inside had speckled paint stains from the years of students being pains in the backside but even this was artistic in its own way. And the smell! I don’t know where to start; it will sound dumb but to me it smelled like learning.
If this all sounds like hyperbole, it’s because that’s how I saw it all then. Rose tinted and hopeful.
So in this lesson we were set the challenge of drawing something; anything that took our interest in fact. In any style that we wanted. I set to work on drawing a hero. A character I’d made up in one of my many daydreams. I went about drawing him in a heroic pose on top of a clock tower; in all his cartoony glory.
When the lesson was up the teacher went around the class and assessed everyone’s efforts. When she got to me, she looked at it like she’d swallowed a fart and said the following, “Cartoons aren’t art” before screwing my paper up and sending it on a one way trip to bin country.
At the time I didn’t react of course. I realise now that it seriously stunted my drawing and I never fully committed to it again after. I’d convinced myself that nothing I drew was good enough. It would never be art.
Looking back on it now I can see that isn’t true; that art is amongst one of the most ridiculous to grade or quantify. That one teacher had convinced me that I wasn’t good. So now I Doodle every day and I enjoy it again. My favourite one from each week I share online with you all. The rest are mine.
As far as I can tell, harm rarely comes from encouraging someone creatively and you should never let someone stunt you when you’re finding your style; finding what works for you.
One persons rubbish is another’s treasure after all.
I think I want this blog to cover all aspects of my experiences in trying to break it in the film industry. To only present the finer moments, all the shining glories; would be disingenuous of me.
Sometimes, it’s tough. It’s tough as fudge*
You see, while trying to get myself noticed, I’ve been working hard in day jobs. Using the money to fund both my projects and more importantly, to put food on the table and put away for the future.
I know a lot of people who pursue their dreams like this. Cramming their days full to breaking point just to keep moving forward. However slowly.
It’s like having a second job where the only pay is the joy of doing it. You’d stop but you’d be stopping a part of yourself.
A lot of sacrifices are made to live this kind of life. Not only for yourself but for those around you. The people who see next to nothing of you, who put their faith and support in you and believe in your goal even when you can’t.
Today I cried when listening to “Hey Jude” on the way to work. I was stood on the platform looking like a pudgy pillar of wibbly wobbly emotion. It’s been a tough week and hearing the words “Take a sad song, and make it better” slapped me when my guard was down.
What can I say? The end of the year always makes me insufferably contemplative; and it’s only November.
I guess the point I’m trying to get at in a round about way is this; if you’re in the same boat as me, remember that when you’re stretched to your thinnest; that’s exactly when you need to Stop. Reflect. And Rest. There’s only so long you can spin plates before something breaks, and the last thing it should be is you.
I quote what Ferris Bueller said of life, “If you don’t stop to look around every once in a while, you could miss it”.
*I know fudge isn’t particularly tough, trying to cut back on swearing okay?