Tuesday, October 24, 2006

picture updates always work too

beauty and the beast ?


secrets of the trade:


Chinedu Ammah. The 3rd "lead".
rapper, reality tv star and wannabe actor who has an ego problem
but he's in the movie so whatever:


that's how we negotiate fees and stuff:


memories.. (stressful moments, son)

aflakete the wunderkid at 12:41 PM

1comments

update

so i dont have any news from my nigerian partners..

i lost my phone and uchenna's number and koko seem to go to sleep too early (or i call him too late). i was waiting for uchenna to send me some stuff in order for us to make important decisions. and i'm waiting waiting waiting..

basically you guys know there are scenes we have never done but not that many (if i'm not mistaken) and then there's the much more sensitive issue of the scenes we have to re-do. for artistical, technical or even story issues..
so like while any producer will totally agree on shooting what hasnt been done because after an uncomplete movie IS NOT A MOVIE, reshoots can be more problematic. they're never totally necessary, never totally useless. so the matter has to be discussed. plus while you don't make money from an unfinished movie, how much money you make from a movie that has flaws ?
well it depends on the flaws i guess..
i mean none of us actually expected to make millions out of this (then again..), but it'd be cool if we made SOME. and our names are on the line anyway..
i mean, this movie will be on our resumes, that's why we made it and if we wish to make more, it better be good enough.

so i'm waiting for him to tell me which scenes he wants to re-do. and then we'll get to arguing. because i know i'll disagree, lol.
i'm a bit cynical and in some instances, it's not that i'd disagree with wanting to reshoot a scene or another. nah. i probably won't be convinced we'll be able to do them right. because the reason why they're not as good as expected are still there..
nepa won't get better, bad actors won't become good, and even our issues arent exactly resolved.
i wish we had done a proper check out before i left. like a day talking about how it went. would have heated but whatever. we did have a few convos and yes we have learned from the experience but i feel like some stuff hasnt been discussed.

so yeah, here we are..
i'm waiting. it's not over (because even if we wanted it to be over, it couldn't be over).

aflakete the wunderkid at 10:02 AM

0comments

update

so i dont have any news from my nigerian partners..

i lost my phone and uchenna's number and koko seem to go to sleep too early (or i call him too late). i was waiting for uchenna to send me some stuff in order for us to make important decisions. and i'm waiting waiting waiting..

basically you guys know there are scenes we have never done but not that many (if i'm not mistaken) and then there's the much more sensitive issue of the scenes we have to re-do. for artistical, technical or even story issues..
so like while any producer will totally agree on shooting what hasnt been done because after an uncomplete movie IS NOT A MOVIE, reshoots can be more problematic. they're never totally necessary, never totally useless. so the matter has to be discussed. plus while you don't make money from an unfinished movie, how much money you make from a movie that has flaws ?
well it depends on the flaws i guess..
i mean none of us actually expected to make millions out of this (then again..), but it'd be cool if we made SOME. and our names are on the line anyway..
i mean, this movie will be on our resumes, that's why we made it and if we wish to make more, it better be good enough.

so i'm waiting for him to tell me which scenes he wants to re-do. and then we'll get to arguing. because i know i'll disagree, lol.
i'm a bit cynical and in some instances, it's not that i'd disagree with wanting to reshoot a scene or another. nah. i probably won't be convinced we'll be able to do them right. because the reason why they're not as good as expected are still there..
nepa won't get better, bad actors won't become good, and even our issues arent exactly resolved.
i wish we had done a proper check out before i left. like a day talking about how it went. would have heated but whatever. we did have a few convos and yes we have learned from the experience but i feel like some stuff hasnt been discussed.

so yeah, here we are..
i'm waiting. it's not over (because even if we wanted it to be over, it couldn't be over).

aflakete the wunderkid at 9:56 AM

0comments

hmmmm

so i've been torn between a lot of desires.
right now, i'm neither actually producing on the daily and i'm not in Nigeria, so like what's the point of BongoDoesHollywood ?
especially since i'm not as good as telling backstories as Uchenna can be.. for a bunch of reasons.. like the fact that i'm pretty much a "heat of the moment" kind of guy and topics that seemed interesting then are boring now.

so like what to do to keep this alive ?

well.. i could talk about MY life, but that's probably even more boring and i don't like mixing stuff. or post random thoughts on film and stuff..
so i may do that.
here, now

let's talk about african film and the language issue and authenticity in general.


The other day, in a car ride with my mom, someone on RFI was talking about Gabonese Cinema and they said "Movies from Gabon are surprisingly about modern topics".
interesting.
Are they really though ?
I don't know. What i'll say is that they are set in urban settings more often than movies from Burkina and Senegal.. Now how is it surprising ? Gabon the most urban country in Africa, more than 80% of the population lives between Libreville and Port-Gentil and Franceville. Congo-Brazzaville (my country) too is in the same case (there are probably others but they're microcountries like Djibouti or Equatorial Guinea).
So like what is suprising ?
People make movies about their lives and their lives are in the city. And there are a bunch of cities on this continent, son.
And that has been my oldest beef with the Fespaco school of african cinema. That tendency to sell an authenticity that totally ignores the reality of african modernity. And i'm not even talking about a contrived modernity in a "westernized" way. Nah, i'm talking about Kinshasa, which is not Jo'Burg or what Abidjan was 20 years ago. Kinshasa is an african urban monster. Their music is modern, removed from its traditionnal roots and totally modern, post colonial and yet african.
so yeah, that beef made me want to see what they're doing on the other side of the anglo/franco divide and get interested in Nollywood (i'll write about what i really think about Nollywood one day, not because my opinion matters but because Uchenna seems to not understand my beef with THAT industry.). And yes, Nigeria produces movies in urban settings, in rural settings, representing the diversity of african life to an extend.

what does all that have to do with the language issue ?

well, that's another tacky topic.
in which language do we shoot ?

people always talk about how great it is to watch movies in wolof. nice. i don't have anything against wolof. but while people talk about "then every senegalese can get the movie", they're silent about a few other issues.
1. Wolof is spoken and understood by 80% or so of the senegalese. Which language do they shoot in DRC that has 4 main languages and hundreds of others ? In Nigeria that has 3 main languages and even more others ? in Cameroon where the widest spoken one is spoken by less than 20 % or the population ?
2. Film Production is a business, an industry. It has always been, since day one. you need an audience to pay for your tickets to get your money back. so fine, senegalese villagers can watch the movie but had it been in french, urbanites from Mali, Guinea, Congo, Ivory Coast, Burkina, Cameroon could have to.. so like.. is it necessary ?

i don't know. plus it depends on a lot of things.. the setting and all that. In Douala, people will speak french more often than not, in Kinshasa they'll speak Lingala no matter where they're from and in Abidjan nouchi win
and in Nollywood they make movie in precolonial settings (that they ALL call "epics") in english. that's interesting. i mean even if i have a lot of issues with those movies (the recurrent christian undertones, the anachronisms, women wearing tshirt and bras and the absence of tits in general), you get people in calabar watching Ibo stories and Yorubas learning about Oron warriors.. Lingua Franca, son.

now, don't get me wrong. i'm the first one to get pissed at the father of african independances who (except in Tanzania) made the weak choice of the promotion of European languages.. we do have lingua francas and multilinguism all over the continent.
but sometimes you have to be pragmatical..

oh yeah, this rant was kinda related to the movie too..
there has been a lot of debates during the production with actors, partners, people around us about the use of pidgin.
"why this character talks like a white man ?"
well, being the foreigner on the set, the topic was particularly interesting..
because i undertstand SOME pidgin. because it's based on english and not that hard to learn and because i learned some in Cameroon..
but pidgin in Nigeria is a lot deeper than in Cameroon and i could get lost in some convos.
so like sometimes some were like "it'd be more authentic like this" and i responded "and un-understandable to non-nigerians".
we had to find the fine line, because pidgin is cool as hell but we didnt want to have to subtitle the whole thing.

some of it will be subtitled though..



rant over


peace

aflakete the wunderkid at 9:51 AM

0comments

hmmmm

so i've been torn between a lot of desires.
right now, i'm neither actually producing on the daily and i'm not in Nigeria, so like what's the point of BongoDoesHollywood ?
especially since i'm not as good as telling backstories as Uchenna can be.. for a bunch of reasons.. like the fact that i'm pretty much a "heat of the moment" kind of guy and topics that seemed interesting then are boring now.

so like what to do to keep this alive ?

well.. i could talk about MY life, but that's probably even more boring and i don't like mixing stuff. or post random thoughts on film and stuff..
so i may do that.
here, now

let's talk about african film and the language issue and authenticity in general.


The other day, in a car ride with my mom, someone on RFI was talking about Gabonese Cinema and they said "Movies from Gabon are surprisingly about modern topics".
interesting.
Are they really though ?
I don't know. What i'll say is that they are set in urban settings more often than movies from Burkina and Senegal.. Now how is it surprising ? Gabon the most urban country in Africa, more than 80% of the population lives between Libreville and Port-Gentil and Franceville. Congo-Brazzaville (my country) too is in the same case (there are probably others but they're microcountries like Djibouti or Equatorial Guinea).
So like what is suprising ?
People make movies about their lives and their lives are in the city. And there are a bunch of cities on this continent, son.
And that has been my oldest beef with the Fespaco school of african cinema. That tendency to sell an authenticity that totally ignores the reality of african modernity. And i'm not even talking about a contrived modernity in a "westernized" way. Nah, i'm talking about Kinshasa, which is not Jo'Burg or what Abidjan was 20 years ago. Kinshasa is an african urban monster. Their music is modern, removed from its traditionnal roots and totally modern, post colonial and yet african.
so yeah, that beef made me want to see what they're doing on the other side of the anglo/franco divide and get interested in Nollywood (i'll write about what i really think about Nollywood one day, not because my opinion matters but because Uchenna seems to not understand my beef with THAT industry.). And yes, Nigeria produces movies in urban settings, in rural settings, representing the diversity of african life to an extend.

what does all that have to do with the language issue ?

well, that's another tacky topic.
in which language do we shoot ?

people always talk about how great it is to watch movies in wolof. nice. i don't have anything against wolof. but while people talk about "then every senegalese can get the movie", they're silent about a few other issues.
1. Wolof is spoken and understood by 80% or so of the senegalese. Which language do they shoot in DRC that has 4 main languages and hundreds of others ? In Nigeria that has 3 main languages and even more others ? in Cameroon where the widest spoken one is spoken by less than 20 % or the population ?
2. Film Production is a business, an industry. It has always been, since day one. you need an audience to pay for your tickets to get your money back. so fine, senegalese villagers can watch the movie but had it been in french, urbanites from Mali, Guinea, Congo, Ivory Coast, Burkina, Cameroon could have to.. so like.. is it necessary ?

i don't know. plus it depends on a lot of things.. the setting and all that. In Douala, people will speak french more often than not, in Kinshasa they'll speak Lingala no matter where they're from and in Abidjan nouchi win
and in Nollywood they make movie in precolonial settings (that they ALL call "epics") in english. that's interesting. i mean even if i have a lot of issues with those movies (the recurrent christian undertones, the anachronisms, women wearing tshirt and bras and the absence of tits in general), you get people in calabar watching Ibo stories and Yorubas learning about Oron warriors.. Lingua Franca, son.

now, don't get me wrong. i'm the first one to get pissed at the father of african independances who (except in Tanzania) made the weak choice of the promotion of European languages.. we do have lingua francas and multilinguism all over the continent.
but sometimes you have to be pragmatical..

oh yeah, this rant was kinda related to the movie too..
there has been a lot of debates during the production with actors, partners, people around us about the use of pidgin.
"why this character talks like a white man ?"
well, being the foreigner on the set, the topic was particularly interesting..
because i undertstand SOME pidgin. because it's based on english and not that hard to learn and because i learned some in Cameroon..
but pidgin in Nigeria is a lot deeper than in Cameroon and i could get lost in some convos.
so like sometimes some were like "it'd be more authentic like this" and i responded "and un-understandable to non-nigerians".
we had to find the fine line, because pidgin is cool as hell but we didnt want to have to subtitle the whole thing.

some of it will be subtitled though..



rant over


peace

aflakete the wunderkid at 9:44 AM

0comments

Saturday, September 30, 2006

and i decided to start blogging again..

after, the adventure is not over and will not be over until "TOO MUCH BEAUTIFUL WOMAN" gets released (or until we get on another crazy project). so like.. what can i talk about ?

hmm.. let's see.. today the topic will be strictly artistic. well, centred around the artistic part.

i'm not only a trained producer, i'm also a trained director. well i haven't directed anything and didn't even WANT to direct anything since the screening of my film school short movie "explosion" in 2002.. i hated the movie, hated my work and i refused to ever see it again.. actually the 16mm film is with my sister in Paris, that's how much i hate it.
but i'm full of concepts and ideas.. i have my little own prejudices and my ideology.
i guess it can be explained by my influences. i never ever have even had a remote desire to make movies until i went to film school. my thing was Music Video and its bread-earning cousin, Commercials. i have a very unhealthy fascination for the Russian 1920's "Avant-Garde" in general and Sergeï Mikhaïlovich Ensenstein in particular. I watch "Soy Cuba" far too often and think Scorcese is better than Coppola. I like visuals, authors, despise dialogue (and Woody Allen) and traditionnal film-making. Wong-Kar Waï is my idol and i'd sell my soul for an internship at Johnny To's Milky Way Films or to work with Chris Doyla. I admire Gaspard Noe and Godard's early work.

and i was, in Nigeria, where nobody has or even wants to watch a movie that wasn't shot in english.. working with a director who after has been schooled by the american method..
so like we had a bunch of debates.. "Montage" vs "Editing".. and how the two words don't mean the same thing. the real reason why in the USA you make full coverage (i believe it's because it gives more room for the producers to take over the editing..).. radicality and shit.
so yeah, i'm radical. a shot, an angle is a choice. fuck having options. and uchenna is older and more realistic and wiser. that's why he's the director and why i probably will never direct.. after a while, we decided full coverage was a better option.. the movie was changing so fast that being orthodox about it was counter-productive. how can you have a clear and precise idea of how that scene is gonna be shot when you don't even know what the location look like ? huh ? how ?
so even if i have my prejudices i supported uchenna is making those choices..

and basicaly, i've learned A LOT.

like, i remember having a conversation with Koko towards the end where he said something like "MY movie will be shot a lot faster".. i was like "nah.. this thing IS hard" and yeah honestly i'm not looking foward the moment *I* will be the man. nope. or may be i am.
i don't know it's hard to explain.. it gave me the desire to direct one day. but i also have a better idea of the conditions i want to direct in. and honestly it sucks that uchenna and his most personnal project had to be the learning experience for us..
and like, personally i was involved. like i told him, out of the various project we have (yeah, son. we have a bunch of them), TOO MUCH BEAUTIFUL WOMAN, is the one i'm the most emotionnally attached to. yes more than that other one that is based on a idea (and desire) of mine, yeah more than ones i've spent hours discussing with uchenna. this one is the one that made me really want to make movies. this one is the one that made me say "ton pied mon pied" and decide not only i'll make movies but i'll make movies with HIM. an artistic crush, basically (*no homo*).

so i feel blessed.. i'm proud i worked with these guys. i'm proud i learned this much. i can't wait to use what i learned and i can't wait for you people to see what we've done. this thing is my baby too. after all, i cain't forget that during my "strike" (after the incident with the assholish actor i refused to go on set until he was done)), uchenna and koko were every morning telling me "are you coming today ? WE NEED YOU !" i couldn't because seeing that sucker fuck up something i cared so much about was driving me crazy but i was moved. i mean.. it's OUR movie. it's OUR dream. i will forever cherish those conversation at 2 am in a hotel suite parlor about angles and lights and i will forever cherish those moments where we were shooting ideas because we had an issue (a missing actor, lights blowing up, WHERE THE HELL IS THE MONEY STASH ? and stuff..) and the crew and the cast were looking at us and it was getting late.. i'm gratefull for seeing uchenna pulling out great ideas out of his brain in a second notice and therefore teaching me so much about storytelling.

it's really not over.

aflakete the wunderkid at 10:00 AM

2comments

Thursday, September 14, 2006

this is interesting..

for weeks.. months, i've been complainning about not having enough time to blog.. blog= writing the entries + posting the entries.

and now time is all i have..
and i can't blog either..

may be it's because since i'm a congoman in congo now i wonder what is the point
may be it's because i keep comparing my blog to its twin blog and..well.. combrazor wins
may be it's because i want to think about something else
may be it's because i still want to figure out how i feel

but well.. give me a few days (if you guys are still reading).. i'll try


peace

aflakete the wunderkid at 6:39 AM

3comments

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

things are getting more tense..

short story:

i'm online right now while my partners are shooting because yesterday one of our actors and me exchanged some words..
Uchenna says i shouldn't name names so i won't but the guy is a shitty actor with an attitude and well.. you can't have both, can you ?

anyway, i won't talk about it too much so hmm.. laters !

aflakete the wunderkid at 3:07 AM

0comments

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

a light in a darkness..





(aka Denis is about to go postal)


As we're back in Lagos, trying hard to reorganize everything so that the rest of shooting would go more smoothly, some of the stuff that we thought was behind us suddenly came back, killing our rejuvenating spirits.. People dodging our calls, unfulfilled promises, the Weather Conspiracy, actors being in different cities and not realizing that it could be relevant for us to know it and annoying motherfuckers in general..

Let me get it straight right now... I HATE ACTORS. Since forever.. all of them.. on principle. Why ? because they're human tools. And because of the Oscars, because of the Actor's Studio, because of celebrity culture, they tend to believe that they're really that important while they're like any other tool.. they serve a vision.
plus they're bitchy in general..
anyway, because during the first days we mostly worked with Frank and Emma, I almost changed my mind on that whole sub-species of Homo Sapiens..
WRONG WRONG WRONG.
Frank is a light in the darkness.. he's dedicated, always willing to work, he LISTENS to the director, he almost never complains or asks for anything.. Basically he wants the movie to be great as much as we do... And on top of that, he's a fucking good actor.. And imagine dealing with motherfuckers who can't act and who on top of that complain about not having enough lines... or worse, people who can't take a flight on time, have a huge ego, think they're stars while their market value is almost negative in this case and hide their unability to memorize lines behind "improvisation".. in this case i have to admit, i've been fooled too.. we all have. but hey, this was a first time and the footage is actually, good, so why not..
Emma, who neverevereverever acted before this movie and actually never even THOUGHT about acting before we gently asked her to do so, too is definetly someone we want to work with again and again and again.. she's precise, she's fast, she's dedicated and available, she's ready to do things she doesn't really want to do.. basically she rocks..

weirdly enough both of them also spend their time singing ballads.. or listenning to ballads and singing along:

insert pic

i think here it was some Luther Vandross (some of you may remember that i rather listen to a farting contest between Omar Bongo and Olesegun Obasandjo than to a Champagne Soul ballad..) but I still love them, lol.


so yeah..

The rest of them can really go to hell.. for real.

aflakete the wunderkid at 6:08 AM

0comments

fighting temptation




my mind has been a mess lately..
i got hit by a wave of inspiration, generated by a lot of different sources (from my sister'n'em's photoblog www.madeinponton.skyblog.com to watching uchenna's asian dvds collection to thinking about some of our cast to random thoughts )..
so like it's weird and difficult because:
- i can't talk about it with uchenna because i'm trying to keep his mind on THIS MOVIE
- i'm trying to keep MY mind on THIS MOVIE
- ideas are always more exciting than final product and like i said in my latest blog entry, i already the normal Production Down Syndrome and these fresh, uptaped, yet to even devellop new ideas are too damn exciting and may even too much for my mayonnaise (again) state of mind..
- i'm trying to also plan my life and that's even harder than producing a movie especially while you're doing so while producing a movie (get it ?)


so yeah pictures of my sister dressed as if in 2047 the center of fashion was Seoul inspire me.. just like our common conversations usually inspire the both of us. Like she's in architecture school and it's known by very few people i almost went into Urban Planning.. That's the map nerd in me and all that. Thank god i started an economics major instead that was so boring that i dropped out and went to film school (or was i just running away from a boring town ?) and we have those long mundane pluridisciplinarian conceptual conversations about everything.. our favorite one is about africa and organized chaos. how the non-sense makes sense.. and i can already promise you that the day i decide i'm mature enough to go behind the camera as a director, that concept will be fully explored (and that's probably the biggest reason why that day will never happen).. so yeah, the little devil unknowingly, in correlation with some other inputs sparkled something again. i won't tell you what though, hell, i won't tell her what.
then there's that weird desire of seeing Frank (our lead actor in Too Much Beautiful Woman) dressed in the same way as a character in a korean movie i watched yesterday night..
then there's that series of pictures Uchenna posted that reminded me of a short story set in Jamaica that would make a cool cool cool movie..
then there are songs here and there.. memories of books that come back to the surface..
yeah and that mess..

it will wait though.. wait until we're done with the shooting of this at least (or the total completion), wait until i can talk in detail about it with Uchenna since i can't write a story if my life depended on it, wait till those ideas get more mature, wait until we exactly know where we're going and hmmm.. where i'm personally going with all that..

ever tried to fight inspiration ?
like "you, great idea, GO AWAY ! NOW !"
i'd never thought i'd do it, i never thought i'd have to do it..

but hey, such is life.. and we're learning..

aflakete the wunderkid at 5:44 AM

1comments

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

mayonnaise

this thing is not easy, AT ALL. i mean i knew it.. i've been on sets before, i had hundreds of hours of conversations with producers, directors, people in the business, in france, in nigeria.. i read diaries, i watched documentaries.. and they were all full of horror stories..

from your huge budget production with very experienced people in the west to the students doing their film project, that's all we people talk about. planes suddenly messing up your best take, actors getting sick on the day of a fight scene, production managers on a cooking assignement because someone forgot to pay the catering people, composers going AWOL for months and found 2 days before the booked mixing dates.. all that mess..

so yeah, it's all about how much heart one has. keeping the motivation, finding solution and never stopping.. and then they're the Daylies watching.. and how you always end up getting disappointed.. the shot is NEVER what you imagine it to be.. you adapt.. and sometimes after the initial disappointment you realize the scene is actually BETTER than you imagined..
emotionnal rollercoaster, i'm telling you..

and honestly, i'm quite proud of myself so far. i mean there are things i could have improved like for instance being more protective of my director, no matter how much he resists it. but yeah, for someone who has quite a temper and a tendency to just walk away, i quite resisted my demons..


contrary to uchenna, i haven't done extensive watching of the footage we have so far.. partly because he does it all the time, partly because there are things i didnt want to see but mostly because well my abstract mind GUESSES it (yeah, very selfo).. anyway, i haven't that much and i probably will in the next days as we're supposed to strart working on it while prepping the last scenes we have to shoot. but i already know Too Much Beautiful Woman, the movie will end up being quite different from the one i had in mind while reading the script, hell, before the camera was rolling it was already different (expect stories about casting and locations). and at points, it was a bit difficult to explain to our lead actors who totally loved and understood the script and who were very subtely expressing concern about the little changes.. NEVERTHELESS, i'm also totally at peace.. the movie will be great and i'm already proud of it (and no, not because i'm part of it, there are a lot of things i did that i'm not proud of, that's probably why you haven't heard of them)..

this entry may be a bit confuding i reckon. i guess it's some kind of philosophical reflective moment on art, expectations, compromises, mayonnaise, results, hazard, adaptation, fate and how good i feel right now..


oh and some pictures about nottheactualshooting:



waiting and waiting and waiting...

...and waiting some more.. (there are interesting details in the background..)

- and ganging up on the director probably asking him why we're waiting..

...and then producers entertaining actors by wearing their costumes..(or was this a light test ? i can't remember)..

...and work.. yeah that is work..




PS:
you'll get to know more about mayonnaise in a future entry. why ? because it gives you a reason to come back to this blog, lol

aflakete the wunderkid at 11:41 AM

2comments

Saturday, July 29, 2006

my bad...

hey people..

there was a mistake on yesterday's blog..
the paypal account is actually:

takestyle@hotmail.com


sorry..





meanwhile.. just one more pictures of palmwinedrinking, producerstressing, toomanymuchbeautifulwomenupmaking.. more were planned but the network is awful so i lost the past 2 hours of my life TRYING to put them on..
more later i promise..



on another note..

Uchenna ( www.combandrazor.blogspot.com ), my director has been trying to post like 4 entries but the network is dodgy so like just watch out, ok ?

aflakete the wunderkid at 12:01 PM

2comments