Leonard the squirrel

Meet Leonard, the squirrel, my new neighbour. I know that most people don’t like the grey squirrels because they are making life for the red squirrels very difficult. But I must admit that I still find them cute. I spotted Leonard when I left my flat this morning, he was sitting on the wall eating his breakfast. He stopped shortly to pose for me.

It must have looked a bit weird, me in my business suit (external client meeting today) taking pictures of a squirrel. When I put my camera back in my bag I realised that that was what the house keeper was thinking, as he was looking at me with one hand on his side. He did not look happy. He probably hates Leonard.

I think he hates me too now. He is the grumpiest bugger I have met in my life. I waved to him though when I saw him looking at me. He didn’t bother to wave back, but nodded a tiny little nod. That was probably his Britishness kicking in. I hope he doesn’t take it out on Leonard.

A slide on the street

Imagine the following scenario.

You walk to work. A woman on slightly high heels walks in front of you. She slips on the curb and ends on her bum on the street.

Two things to think about here:

If this would happen to you (as in you ended on your bum on a busy morning traffic London street), would you like it if people stopped and asked you if you were OK? Or would you rather have everybody to shut up, pretend to yourself that nobody saw you make the fall and get on with it?

If you were the person seeing it happening (as in me this morning) would you ask the person if she was alright even though you probably know that she would rather have you to bugger off without saying anything?

I asked if she was OK. And she said “Hi Hi HI – I am fine, I am fine”. And quickly walked off.

Somewhere …

Somewhere over the rainbow?

  • A man prays a really really long prayer before he throws himself on the now even less lukewarm hamburger.
  • A young couple looking very Dutch and very much in luv – eats a McFlurry. To them I would like to say, despite the Notting Hill MacD’s attempt to have it look like a showroom for Danish design furniture – get a grip – eating in MacD is not romantic!
  • An old homeless man having a coffee and a sit down, wearing a large badge on his jacket saying “Don’t Panic”. Maybe that was a sign, and maybe he was a hitchhiker.
  • A wannabe writer/director trying to hold on to the phrase of that man’s badge. Don’t Panic. Producer/Production manager type of person – where are you? Somewhere over the rainbow?

About the picture – it’s taken from my doorstep. There is really nothing wrong with rain.

Shallowness on Portobello Road

Two “look at me I am cool” wannabees:

Man (American, older, sunglasses, hair that does not suit his age) to woman (American, younger, blond, but quite unlike Paris Hilton):
Well, hello are you here!

(yes of course she is here moron, you can see here can’t you!)

Woman: Yes! Are you here too?

(Duh!! Well if he is not here – who are you talking to!)

Man : Yes I am here.

Fake smiles the both of them

Man: Well I will see you next time.

Woman with a “huh – what next time” look: Yes – by-ee

Man : By-ee

And all I thought was: yep. Let’s have a cup of tea.

My hands are shaking

The name is Nighy, Bill NighyThe internet connection at home will be down until Monday (and has been down since Monday and it drives me nuts) and having been out of the office yesterday – no possibility to write at all. So I apologize for the radio silence. I am afraid it is going to be a somewhat messy post. But one with style and grace and deliciously long legs.

The networking evening
Shortly: nothing happened.
As said, being shy and selfconscious, meeting new people at an event like this is not easy for me. A couple of unexpected tips and tricks things helped me – a lot.

A good friend send me some awesome pictures of Bill – and said “Think about those when you have to talk to people. It will put a smile on your face”. It did, in fact it worked so well that I, from now on, am going to do this every single time I have to meet scary new people like this. One of those pics is currently my windows background. And hitting it home, one of my male(!) colleagues who noticed that – “God he has really long legs hasn’t he?” Oh yeah he does. Rock legs.

Sam (my screen writing tutor) who was there too said “Don’t take it too seriously, just pretend you are walking around in a comedy”. That helped too.

And finally – one of my male classmates, who has loads of experience in the film industry told me:
“I hate this.”
Me “Me too.”
“I am incredibly shy.”
Me: “Oh tell me about it. I hate to have to sell myself and my story like this. I don’t want to do it.”
“Me neither.”
“But we have to.”
“We’ll take a drink and then we will cast ourselves into it together.”
“Good plan.”

And so we did. It was somehow comforting that he was just as intimidated by the whole setup as I was.

In the end I did try to pitch my story to a producer, but my pitch sucked so much that I saw him switch off his ears after 1 minute. I wanted to die. He politely waited till I was finished. Still did give me his business card and than ran off. (Not quite but it felt like that). I promised myself to shut up from that point on and not do any attempts to pitch my story to anyone that night. I got some more producer business cards just by mentioning “rom-com” but know that those are “producers” who probably haven’t produced a single film yet. And I know one film needs to be their first, but I find it hard to take producers without business cards seriously.

Basically there were a lot of people around pretending to be more than they really were. The Nancy Meyers and Duncan Kenworthy’s won’t come to events like these. I won’t either, not before I have learned how to pitch my story in no longer than 30 seconds. So that’s my goal.

Good things that came out of this meeting:

  • In the tube on my way there the title for my film popped up in my head. So that’s one thing off my to do list.
  • It was quite nice to meet my class mates in a non class room environment.
  • I can talk to people without shrinking in front of them (when concentrating, not taking it too seriously and by thinking about photos like these).

Tonight it’s Cirque du Soleil, tomorrow it’s another day of work on the 60 seconds short.

A short remark about the miniature Trabant on the kebab stick: it was a clean kebab stick! And we just pinned the car on it in order to move it across a green screen. You won’t see the stick in the final result of course, and the stick made it easier to move the car around than fish wire. Green screen work is really cool to do, and by experimenting we learn a lot about it. The 11th of February you will hopefully see what I am talking about.

Sunday is reserved for writing on my no longer title less script, and on Monday I will need a holiday even more than I do already.

Enjoy your weekend.

Oh one more thing- Quantum of what?
Maybe someone had a couple of Wodka martini’s too many chosing a title like that?

Apart from the title,
something to look forward too.

Good morning

Yesterday night I send off 51 pages of my script to my tutor.
I felt great when I send it and I thought:
“Eat this you moth…, you, you, you tutor!”
30 minutes later: “I think it was quite alright”
1 hour later “I hope it was alright”
2 hours later “Oh bloody hell, it’s crap isn’t it”
2.5 hours “Worst script ever”
3 hours later “I am not going to class on Saturday, no way”

So this morning I was late and I was tired and I might even have been a bit grumpy.
I closed the door behind me and started walking to work.

I met an old man.

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Back in London

The Norwegian Nisse

Holland was nice. There were family visits, Sinterklaas, a meeting with friends from way back (and the wonder that laughing with them always seems to be so easy, no matter how long we haven’t seen each other), and I got reunited with my little Norwegian friend here.

But it was a very weird and sad day today. Right in front of our office an older woman got hit by a car. It was raining and she was just laying very still on the middle of the street, her legs pulled up a little, and her grey hair spraid on the black asphalt . A man was holding an umbrella over her while other people called an ambulance. The ambulance arrived in 2 minutes. All the time we were waiting for her to move, but she didn’t. The ambulance people did not even attempt to revive her, she had died on the spot. She has been wandering around in my head since.
May she rest in peace.

Mind the doors

I walked to Waterloo station after the theatre to get the Northern Line. I walked just behind 4 crazy (the good way) English guys who were already in a weekend mood. As they were a few steps ahead of me they could just about wrestle themselves into the train, using arms and legs to keep the already closing doors open. One of those brave boys sacrificed his arm to try to press the door open for me too, but the train doors were too strong for him. He had to give up, the doors were now closed. 4 faces were looking at me as to apologise for not getting me in.

I pulled up my shoulders, bowed for them as a thank you and waved to them. They waved back.

I was about to turn and wait for the next tube when the train driver, who probably had seen all this and who must have been in an excellent mood, decided to make an exception. An exception to the rule that once the doors are closed, the doors stay closed and the train leaves.

He opened the doors for me.
I stepped in. The cheer that welcomed me made me feel like someone who had just scored a goal for the English football team in the final against France in the Worldcup. It was hilarious, those crazy guys.

I know that life in London is not always a fairy tale, the city has a dark side too, I pass it every day. But on days like this London is great.

British men, you got to love them. Ooh la.

London life

He was just standing there, with a can of beer in his hand, unstable, lost track long ago. His clothes dirty, his shoes worn down and his voice filled with drunkenness. She tried so hard to talk him into reason.
She told him to get on bus 24.
Did he have his bus pass ?
He showed it to her.
She checked, and saw that this was just a card he had picked up from the street, it wasn’t valid anymore.
“You have to buy a bus ticket” she tried.
“I have no money” he said, and took a sip from his beer.
She told him to stay there and wait at the bus stop, while she was going to get him some money.
She came back a few minutes later, and gave him exact money for a bus ticket.
“Bus 24, remember it now” she said.
He nodded, and was staring into his own world, far away from ours.
The bus wasn’t there yet. They waited.
Finally the bus came around the corner. It was busy, a lot of traffic, and it would take a while before the bus would reach the bus stop.
She looked at him, worried, and anxious to get him on this bus.
The bus opened it’s doors, and people started entering.
“Here you go” she said.
But there was no answer.
She turned around and he was nowhere to be seen.

Bus stop, bus goes, he stays …

I love the underground, but I do love the red busses too. It’s nice to see the city from above the ground sometimes. I took a friday-evening-bus back home via Trafalgar Square, from Oxford Street. The bus was nearly empty. The bus driver was a friendly guy, and happy to make a conversation. Normally not allowed mind you (“Do not speak to the driver while driving”) but tonight it was OK. He started it himself.
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Stay young, don’t get old

The man in green

I saw him struggling with his rollator on the wobbly pavement in Croydon, he was an older man and had problems walking. I passed him carefully, and a few seconds later I heard something fall down behind me. His rollator wouldn’t go up the curb, it had folded together, and he was laying on the street, struggling to get up again. I went back and helped him up.

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