Goodbye Hollywood, Hello England… Goodbye England…?

CJ I fly back to the UK tonight, which I am looking forward to. Even though I hate jetlag, this trip has had its lows and highs, and at times been dizzying…  I look forward to sleeping in my own bed and experiencing some contemplative calm for a few days.

As I reflect in the last two weeks, I thought I would share with you some of things that I have learned about LA. Most of this I knew already, you will probably too, but its worth restating as it’s so easy to kind of gloss over.

1. If you like Hollywood movies and you are struggling in the UK, you should move over here. The younger you are, or earlier you can do it, the better. There are a lot of Brits over here and every one of them seems to be wealthier than they would be in the UK, doing what they love and never looking back.

2. It seems to be quite possible to get the visa’s needed in order to be over here in LA and working. Of course there are hoops to jump through and lawyers to pay, but I have met SOOO many people who have done it.

3. Agents, Managers and Lawyers actually WANT to meet you and see if you can make them money. Of course, you need something to entice them, but it’s very different to the UK.

4. Yes, the weather does make a difference.

5. Yes, everyone complains about healthcare.

6. Yes you need a car and parking is expensive.

7. In any given room, store, restaurant, coffee shop, 70% of the people present are in the film business, or a related business such as music.

8. Everyone is nice, which is also nice, even if it’s often a little artificial.

9. There is a plastic fantastic shiny gleam to the place that is both horrifying and strangely compelling. Kind of like driving past a car crash and knowing you should look away, but you can’t help yourself.

10. Because so many people are in film, to talk about movies at any moment is just expected.

For me though, the greatest thing about Hollywood is that people are not paying lip service to the concept of entertaining the audience. They really mean it. It’s at the top of their agenda.

I am left really wondering what on earth I am doing living in the UK. Sadly, very sadly actually, if I am to continue as a film maker, I feel my days in Britain may be numbered.

We will see how the game plays out.

And in case you missed it, click here to watch the whole webisode omnibus of the LA and Santa Barbara Film festival Experience.

Onwards and upwards!

Chris Jones, Film Maker and Author

One Response to Goodbye Hollywood, Hello England… Goodbye England…?

  1. Mark February 8, 2009 at 12:48 pm #

    I think that would be a shame to leave although understandable. Many would like to get involved in a British Film industry often closed to mainstream film ideas. You have lit a light of hope and possibilty for those wanting to be involved but are denied all chances. Its sad how good Brit films can be sidelined. I reckon though if a film similar in its ambition as say Star Wars originaly budgeted for $8million was made here by Brits then nothing would stop it from being a success. But it would take a very determined talented person with a lot of self belief and supporters. Could a film with a decent budget maybe rocket boy??? be made here with no money? Well. Gone fishing was. All those talented people out there Actors Actresses who will never get a shot at the big time and yet could be just as good Maybe not famous names that could promote a film But then nor did Star Wars. Star wars made actors famous even Anthony Daniels and Kenny Baker. So much Talent here in the UK denied a chance. So many who would work for free just to kick start a potential career. Out there are a myriad talents 3D artists to empty studios ripe for a leader to get everyone together. Gone fishing did it in a small way. But could it be done for a more ambitious project?

    Reading George Lucas early days its incredible how he got to make star wars and without it so much more would never have happened. Wanting to change the status quo would bring ridicule resentment and lots of anxiety but it is possible. This was some of what he went through to change the film world. Makes you wonder why people do this to themselves.

    When filming began on March 22, 1976 in the Tunisian desert for the scenes on the planet Tatooine,[39] the project faced several problems.[40] Lucas fell behind schedule in the first week of shooting due to a rare Tunisian rainstorm, malfunctioning props, and electronic breakdowns.[41] When actor Anthony Daniels wore the C-3PO outfit for the first time, the left leg piece shattered down through the plastic covering his left foot, stabbing him. After completing filming in Tunisia, production moved into the more controlled environment of Elstree Studios, near London.[41] However, significant problems, such as a crew that had little interest in the film, still arose.[5][41] Most of the crew considered the project a “children’s film,” rarely took their work seriously, and often found it unintentionally humorous.[42] Actor Kenny Baker later confessed that he thought the film would be a failure. Harrison Ford found the film “weird” in that there was a Princess with buns for hair and what he called a “giant in a monkey suit” named Chewbacca. Ford also found the dialogue difficult, saying “You can type this shit, George, but you sure can’t say it”.

    During production, the cast attempted to make Lucas laugh or smile as he often appeared depressed. At one point, the project became so demanding that Lucas was diagnosed with hypertension and exhaustion and was warned to reduce his stress level.[5][41] Post-production was equally stressful due to increasing pressure from 20th Century Fox. Moreover, Mark Hamill’s face was injured in a car accident, which made reshoots impossible.[41]

    Lucas was accustomed to creating most of the elements of the film himself. His camera suggestions were rejected by an offended Taylor, who felt that Lucas was over-stepping his boundaries by giving specific instructions. Lucas eventually became frustrated that the costumes, sets and other elements were not living up to his original vision of Star Wars. He rarely spoke to the actors, who felt that he expected too much of them while providing little direction. His directions to the actors usually consisted of the words “faster” and “more intense”.[5]

    Mayan ruins at Tikal, Guatemala, which were used in the film as the rebel base.Ladd offered Lucas some of the only support from the studio; he dealt with scrutiny from board members over the rising budget and complex screenplay drafts. After production fell two weeks behind schedule, Ladd told Lucas that he had to finish production within a week or he would be forced to shut down production. The crew split into three units, led by Lucas, Kurtz and production supervisor Robert Watts

    Star Wars was originally slated for release in Christmas 1976; however, delays pushed the film’s release to summer 1977. Already anxious about meeting his deadline, Lucas was shocked when his editor’s first cut of the film was a “complete disaster.” After attempting to persuade the original editor to cut the film his way, Lucas replaced the editor with Paul Hirsch and Richard Chew. He also allowed his then-wife Marcia Lucas to aid the editing process while she was cutting the film New York, New York with Lucas’s friend Martin Scorsese. Richard Chew found the film had an unenergetic pace; it had been cut in a by-the-book manner: scenes were played out in master shots that flowed into close-up coverage. He found that the pace was dictated by the actors instead of the cuts. Hirsch and Chew worked on two reels simultaneously; whoever finished first moved on to the next.[5]

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