2nd Jan 2015
Photo of me doing what I prefer to do each weekend. Writing in cafes. Essential ingredients - pen, notepad & an unvarnished sense of self
Writing born in cigarettes and coffee, remembering and forgetting, finding and losing, scrambled eggs and hash browns at the Melancholia Cafe
According to my watch it's 2015
So....let me sing you a song
Merry Christmas to you
Hold up. Wrong occasion. Wrong melody...
Rustle rustle dig...
God save the Queen
God save.....fuck, just a second...
Rustle, dig, scratch and another rustle
Got my glasses on now
Here we go...
Waltzin.... ahhh shit
This bag said traditional tunes. I guess there is nothing traditional about a New Year
So, 2014. The year that was....
It was an interesting year on this side of the lens
It was Year Two of this projekt. In baby language - it was the terrible two's - and it really did live up to its moniker
In Year Two, we put out more films - while encountering strong headwinds of censorship, personal upheavals, trials & tribulations with friends and family - and finally, a breath of fresh air that made it all worthwhile
So the pros for me were:
- a total 27 films released
- we passed 3.5 million views for our films
- 100 pieces of writing for the book completed
- a 2 hour +TVI documentary/retrospective on our work to date that aired around the world on cable stations. We broke into TVLand thanks to the vision of a small group of television executives in Portugal, and we were finally able to break out of the porn ghetto that US media conglomerates seemed intent on keeping us in
- we were blessed to have 30 Patrons come on board and commit their hard earned money to helping us complete this projekt. If you're a Patron, you rock. We salute you
- we built our own studio for filming interiors
- Max and I celebrated 10 years together - romantically & creatively. I'm in motion with the love & devotion thang. When it's missing, the world is flat
- and finally, thanks to the generosity of our fantastic patrons, we were able to purchase some important pieces of professional Hollywood-grade equipment that will allow us to make these films even more beautiful in the future
Well, where do I start?
Let's start with music
We had planned to release 40 films in 2014, however record companies and their bloody-minded ways interfered with that plan
Prior to August 2014, we had been able to use very cool, unknown published music in our films
We thought it was a win win for those artists - their music wasn't known, and they got exposure and credit when we used their music in our films
But this logic escaped the collective massive brain power of the record companies. They forced Vimeo to implement a copyright algorithym that stopped any artist's music being used - by us, or anyone else on Vimeo
Our production screamed to a halt. Our films without cool music would be like eggnog without egg. Just not quite right
It took us two months to figure out the solution
That solution ended up being going back to my roots as a DJ/remix producer - and remixing music that we wanted to use - but making to different enough to claim it as an original composition under the four pillars of 'fair use' pertaining to copyright law
The sheer amount of music we use in each film is scary when you have to create it from the ground up
It was looking like we would only get a film out every 2 months - and that is something we passionately wanted to avoid. Getting bogged down in one film for that amount of time is not something we wanted to do. It would have drained us creatively
We needed speed, turnover, consistancy and reliability to be able to keep things fresh and innovative
But after about 2 months of trying different production techniques, we hit on a formula and style that allowed us to create a new piece of music in 8 hours from start to finish, while getting the collective record company gorillas off our backs
Our train was back on its tracks. Until.....
Enter stage left, personal upheaval & drama
On October 27th, I was arrested for assault occassioning actual grievous bodily harm while at a funeral
Long story short - an argument had erupted, I flung a chair trying to escape the situation, but that chair flew through the air and hit someone well known to me in the mouth - taking out their front teeth
Some people, better left un-named, called the police
Three police cars screamed to a halt at the funeral, I was arrested, driven away, held in the cells, charged with the most serious assault charge possible, bailed and returned to the funeral 6 hours later
I had experienced that thing where your whole life changes in a split second. From that moment, I entered a very strange personal wilderness of my own making.
From personal experience, I can say that being on bail facing serious assault charges and the prospect of 18 months in prison is not conducive to making a film a week - which is stressful at the best of times
If you didn't catch all the writing from this few weeks - you can catch up here. Just click on the title:
What film was I most proud of in 2014 I hear you not asking?
A very little film, hardly seen by anyone, the shortest film we've ever made - but the one I am most proud of - because it was made in the middle of all this personal hell
It was a very little film called 'This'. I encourage you to revisit, or visit it if you haven't. This 90 seconds of film is the reason I'm still here doing this project. It is intensely personal, stripped to the bones, a film made in the middle of a personal maelstrom
Due to various negotiations between my legal representatives and the police, and a fuller representation of what transpired on that day being entered into the record - the charges were downgraded to common assault - the least serious of all assault charges
These charges will resolve on 14th January 2015 at 9.15am at the local court
The judge will ask - how do you plead?
I will say - guilty your honour
If my high priced lawyer is right, the judge will accept the plea of guilty, but not record a conviction, and send me off on a good behaviour bond
If that is not the outcome, then we will be off to the higher court to appeal the decision. This is important, because if I have a conviction recorded, I won't be able to travel internationally
But don't worry. I have learned my lesson. Good & proper
I have always had anger issues since early childhood, seeing the 'red mist' regularly because I never expressed myself
I now write prolifically instead of holding all my anger inside. It seems to be working quite well. At the very least, it gives me lots of material and seems to make me a more rational person
Since the age of four, I have read & written obsessively. Only now did I find an actual purpose for my writing. Who knew that this terrible incident would result in my finding my personal salvation. The thing that therapy and high priced psychiatrists were never able to provide
And who was the person I hit in the mouth with the flying chair?
I have never mentioned that. But I will. After the 14th of January. I don't want to jinx anything before then. And besides, that is a whole story unto itself
So, any others cons?. Hmmm, well...
- We also got banned by Facebook, Google, Paypal, Stripe, British Telecom, Iraq, Iran, Syria, China for being pornographers
- My best friend of 30 years said she couldn't be my friend anymore
- There is a little matter of three scars on my wrist that will be there permanently (see Hurt. To be a creator. Not a destroyer)
- I had a reasonably serious sun cancer removed from my arm. If I die from sun cancer, at least it will be darkly poetic
- My herb garden didn't get much love. It's pretty overgrown at the moment
- I got one year older. I'm not onboard with this growing older thing
Those things all seem trivial now considering the year as a whole. And besides, no-one lost an eye, no blood flowed (apart from my own) - so really, how bad is it in retrospect
So, what's up for 2015?
- Lots of writing
- Lots of music
Lots of films
We plan to release 24 films, and let this projekt take us where it might
We have no grand plan, no mission statements, no 'what does success look like' McKinsey consultant type crapola and no Venn diagrams of future direction options
Just two people trying to do the very best original creative work we can
And for all those people who say...
- is it art?
- is it music?
- is it literature?
- is it film?
- is it TV?
- is it porn?
- is it erotica?
- is it Norman Mailer or Charles Bukowski?
- is it a comic book?
- is it tragedy?
- is it humour?
- is it social commentary?
- what the hell is this?
I'm sorry, but you're really going to have to work it out for yourself, because we really have no idea
This projekt is not a result of some venture capitalists having lunch and coming up with some new niche unserved by any current product (and if they had of had that lunch, they certainly wouldn't have come up with this)
It's just what we do. It does not fall into any easily explainable niche. For better or worse. But it makes us happy. And I'm really proud of what we have done
And we plan to get even better, more innovative and more intensely personal. More cutting. More edge. But less flying chairs
This is the joy of not having to answer to anyone. Of not being owned by a record company or a film studio or a gallery owner. Of not selling anything.
Just trying to tell one story in a way that no-one else has ever done
Creative freedom never felt so good
Is this how Andy Warhol and Jean Michel Basqiuat felt in the early days when they redefined what art was, and made up their own rules?
It feels strangely liberating being adrift on the high seas of art with no map or compass, no crew, doing what no-one else is silly enough to do
There are only two words that are important to us on this ship...
Authenticity & originality
Where ever we land will be an adventure. And that sounds just fine and dandy
Life was supposed to be an adventure right?
At the very least, that's what it said in the brochure