Purley, The Cafe and BAFTA

It all started with a train trip on (recent) memory lane. I stepped into my Caterham train this morning, passing Thornton Heath and East Croydon (winking at my old office) and stepping out in Purley. It was nice.

In Purley I put on my orange vest, my black worker boots and my white helmet: I was on my second film shoot and the weather was a whole deal better than in Manchester. We managed to shoot everything we wanted to shoot, I tried to learn as much as I could, and I still think it’s cool that trains acknowledge us by using their horn after which we wave back at them. We even shot the Caterham train from up close, which I thought was a rather nice link into my life.

After Purley I took the train into London, and visited my Cafe. I had a short talk with the owner and asked him the question I didn’t really want an answer to. But unfortunately he confirmed it, it is true, it will close on the 22nd or 23rd of September. It made me sad and angry. Mostly sad. I can’t stand the thought of losing this Cafe, The Table and those nice people working there and I left the place with a wounded heart.

I wandered to Piccadilly and set foot in the BAFTA (British Academy of Film and Television Arts) building for the very first time. It is not a big thing really, BAFTA has recently started giving lectures on subjects related to film making and everybody can attend them. In the past you needed to be a member to attend anything there (at £300,= a year, that is a bit over my budget) but now they have those evening events for all people interested in film making. Stepping inside BAFTA felt like entering the temple of British Film. Not a bad feeling. I know where I want to go when I enter places like this.

I attended a lecture on “The Craft of Casting”, which was interesting, entertaining and depressing. Interesting because you get a look behind the scenes of how actors get casted for certain films, there where 3 casting directors there and they have been working on big films like The Golden Compass (big film coming in December with Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig), United 93 and W&G:The Curse of the Were Rabbit. The term “bankable” was used a lot, if an actor is “bankable” he can carry a film, money wise. The actor everybody wants to cast at the moment is Daniel Craig, he is very bankable. And talented. I hope the money doesn’t blind them too much in that aspect.

It was entertaining too. There was a lot of talk about who is “hot” or not, obviously, everybody wants to cast people who are “hot”. Daniel Craig is hot.
However one of the casting directors (a woman) had a very refreshing look at it all, she couldn’t care less about who was hot or not. She was going for talent: actors who might have their five minutes of hotness fame might be totally not hot a year after when the actual film comes out, talent lasts.

It was depressing because the UK film industry seem to getting harder and harder to get into, and it is more and more difficult to get your films made. Especially when you are a first time director or producer or writer, and you don’t have a bankable lead.

It was a great event though, and I did forget my bleeding heart for a couple of hours. When I stepped out of the BAFTA building and into the orange coloured London sky it started dripping again. I don’t want my Cafe to close, it has been my anchor since I have been in London, and I don’t quite know what I am supposed to do without it.

12 thoughts to “Purley, The Cafe and BAFTA”

  1. > “the UK film industry seem to getting harder and harder to get into, and it is more and more difficult to get your films made”

    But conversely, it’s getting cheaper and cheaper to get the equipment to make films. If you learn how to do stuff (as you’re doing right now), you can make it yo’ damn self.

    And if you make it good, you *can* sell it, bankable leads or not. Blair Witch. Primer. Pi. With the greatest possible respect to Daniel Craig, I’d rather make a film like those than a bankable bit of fluff released on DVD in time for Mother’s Day.

  2. I absolutely agree with you there, not fluff for me either. However it will be difficult to make fluff when Daniel Craig is in it, he would never take a part in a fluffy film. :)

  3. Well it’s not that I haven’t been thinking about it. But I need help from other people. Let me think about it for a bit. (A short bit).

  4. I have thought about it for a bit, and I think I have some good ideas already.

    I will now seriously go look for some people who can help me out. I need some people who love this Cafe and are willing to participate in a brain storm.

  5. Don’t count on anything! I don’t. I am depending on people giving a hand, and I don’t have that many contacts for a thing like this here in the city – yet. So don’t get your hopes up too high. I will try my very best though.

  6. Great – it would be so sad for TGITC’s cafe to just close down without any sort of record. These places can take on a life of their own and it’s a real joy in life to feel so attached to somewhere as you obviously do to that place. Best of luck with it.

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