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December 6th 2009

It seems amazing that I left Boise 5 months ago. So much has been happening that it feels like yesterday. The main event has of course been our short film “Beware of What You Wish For”, based on “The Monkey’s Paw”, which is getting close to its final edit. This has been a great learning curve - the editing process, which has all been done online. It was nerve racking seeing the first cut, but considering we had shot everything in two and a half days for a budget of £4000, it is very good and I am happy.

We did well and by the time we have the music and some tidying up it will be fine. The next step will be to market it. The great thing about short filmmaking is that one is involved in every process and apart from being a baptism of fire, it is very satisfying. But you have to have the passion and the drive.

I think some people think I am bossy and bit frightening - I dont mean to be - but you have to keep the momentum of any project going so it does not run out of steam and it keeps its life and vitality. As an actor, one doesn’t see any of this, which is why I think some actors become Producers and Directors. They want to be involved and largely in control of the whole project. The Brad Pitts, George Clooneys and Clint Eastwoods of this world do just that and they haven’t done badly! Clint Eastwood has a new film “Invictus” coming out. It’s about Nelson Mandela getting behind South Africa winning the 1995 World Rugby Cup. The word about it is great and it will garner some awards nominations, no doubt - I hope so. Great sports movies generally do well at the box office as well.

I belong to the Stage Golfing Society, which is exactly what it sounds like, a golfing organisation for people in Show Business, who love and play golf. It has and has had many elite names in its membership, it’s the place, where I was privileged to meet the great Eric Sykes - Laurence Olivier was a member and the whole thing goes back to the turn of the last century! We are based at the beautiful Richmond Golf Club and I am struggling to acquire my handicap so that I can join in some of the matches. May still take a while!

Anyway we had our annual Christmas game and lunch on Friday, good fun. I met another wonderful writer Evan Jones, whose daughter Sadie Jones wrote “The Outcast”, a wonderful book, which I strongly recommend. Evan told me that she had first written it as a screen play and when a Producer showed interest, he immediately set off the path of “we need this change and that changed”, to her credit she wisely and bravely said ‘No’ and moved on. She now has a Producer, who likes the script as it is and it is apparently to be made. Good for her, she took her courageous decision not to compromise, before the book came out and now look! This is a business full of people who have big egos and are bullies, you have to be prepared to fight back. Not easy, but definitely the way to go.

It will be cold I think in Idaho, but pretty and snow in the mountains I should think, very Christmassy. It used to be quite mild at Christmas in California. One of the things I remember was cooking a turkey for Thanksgiving and then a month later another one for Christmas. My husband and son liked turkey! The first turkey I cooked, I cooked upside down - I didn’t have a clue! My ex-husband really didn’t like Christmas and was not a great socialiser - one year we spent it on our very bare bones sailing boat in the harbour. It was quite fun, except that the meal was cold turkey sandwiches.

When I was making ‘Adam’s Woman’ we were in Australia, which was very hot and we had a jolly time with John and Mary Mills, who hosted us all for lunch, where we ate too much and of course drank too much. On the whole though I think I prefer Christmas in a cold climate, familiarity I suppose. The main thing is for everyone to relax, not get too stressed and remember what it’s really all about. In church this morning at the lighting of the Advent candle, the priest asked the very small child, who was lighting it, who we were expecting at Chritmas and she promptly said “Santa Claus”. Oh well, it’s not surprising given that it has become so commercial. I do think it was better when it was simpler, when there were sixpences in the pudding, not TOO many presents, lots of Christmas cards. One year my grandmother posted all hers without a single stamp on them! But they were delivered. It was forgetfulness on her part, not plain meaness. She’d probably had an extra glass of Guinness, her favourite tipple.

More soon dear readers. Jane
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