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4th JANUARY 2011

Happy New Year to everyone. I took a week off from the Blog, why not, doesn't everyone this time of the year. So this is a bit later than usual.

Hopefully "Beware Of What You Wish For" will be  on sale on Amazon  this coming week. It had to come off while I organised Amazon to do the fulfillment: ie: distribute the sales. Dont forget about it if you're interested in having your very own copy. Enjoy.

I am sorry to hear about the poor people in Northern Ireland without water. Water and who is responsible for it is a tricky thing and often you dont know - if you have a leak. I had that problem in Idaho recently, with a leak that went on for days until a kind neighbour called the water company to come and turn it off. My bill went up about 1000%, bit of a shock! It turned out it was a leak from the City sewer, so in my mind - their responsibility, but shock horror, the bit that was leaking was on my property, so my responsibility! These things are so tricky, but stuff happens!

I did a nice corporate commercial just before Christmas, lovely people in a very pleasant unheated studio. We could see our breath on the air and this was on the inside. However the crew and company were kind, concerned and attentive, which always make a difference. And of course it was good to work. There's even talk of a movie this year, so fingers crossed. The making of all films, big and small is a roller coaster, even more so now, because of the uncertain economy. I never used to think or worry about money when I started. The salaries were relatively small, but largely there! Though not always certain apparently it seems in certain countries like Italy and Spain. There was a time when lots of Hollywood pictures were made in Italy. I heard a story about Robert Mitchum, very wise to the game, who told his producers at the start of a film in Italy, that he expected to be paid his salary at the start of each week of work (generally it's every two weeks) or it would be "no money, no me". Well surprise, surprise there was no money at the start of one week and you guessed it, there was no Robert Mitchum on set. The money turned up pretty sharpish, before Mr Mitchum disappeared on the next flight home. (Always make sure you have a return ticket is the rule). The horror stories of Productions running out of money or starting with no money are legion.

An old acquaintance of mine, who advised us about filming at sea for my proposed film "Alone Around The World" - Arthur Wooster, a superb cameraman - he devised and directed much of the second unit footage- the stunt footage on the Bond films, got caught out on a film about Christopher Columbus. The crew were not being paid, which sad state went on for a few days, might even have been weeks and they couldn't find Arthur to warn him of the state of affairs. Eventually someone reached him and asked him where he was. Arthur came back, the consummate professional- he was at sea filming sequences needed for the film. How are you paying for it all, he was asked. Put it on my American Express card, said he. Oh Arthur what a gesture of faith and love for the film. The production did continue and with money, but there are some in this industry, who love it so much that they will take awful risks with their own money to keep going.

I went out for a walk/jog (I cant run, it's a very slow jog) on the river path today, near where I live and saw a woman walking her three little poodles. And get this, they were all white, neatly clipped and colour co-ordinated, one with orange ears and an orange tip to its tail, one with pink ears and pink tipped tail and one with aquamarine ears and tail. I simply couldn't believe it. The dogs looked much happier than their owner, who looked decidedly grumpy. What a completely mad world we live in. As my mother said animals really are nicer than people. Talk about tripping over your own ego!

I had a nice relatively quiet Christmas, entertaining friends, being entertained by more friends on Christmas day, eating too much and watching films being offered for awards pats on the back. I did much of my shopping online, I couldn't face the crowds in the shops and fighting my way down Oxford Street held no appeal at all. It seems that whenever you go there now, you really need to be Mrs Gump with a large umbrella to scatter people from your path. I get quite aggressive now walking along, holding my line and letting people move from my path. How unpleasant am I. So that's why I stay away. It' s sort of like driving on foot.

Among the films I have seen this season is "Blue Valentine", which on the face of it has little to offer. It's about a couple of sort of 'low lifes' in a marriage in the US, which is going sour. As I said little to offer on the face of it, but there is something about the story, the script and the performances, which is really engaging and watchable. If the subject is your cup of tea, do see it. Saw too "Never Let Me Go", which is beautifully acted and one of the most depressing stories I have ever seen. I wont tell you what it's about, but it's from a book by Ishiguro. Yet people seem to love it. Why do we have to make such depressing films in the UK. We seem to think that sad, bad stories equals good film making. Well we had all that with, admittedly, wonderful films like "Billy Liar", "Saturday Night Sunday Morning", "A Taste Of Honey", but at least they were tempered by the films made at the same time, like the brilliant Boulting Brother's films, Peter Sellers' films and indeed the ridiculous Carry On movies.

Anyway on we go! As someone asked recently about how do you get old successfully and the reply came back "keep going, just keep going"!

Again Happy New Year dear readers. Jane

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