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DeZ Vylenz Log
A captain's log of activities and projects, affiliations and developments involving the Shadowsnake ship and various guerilla film expeditions. Updated in between storms by DeZ Vylenz, Writer - Director - Martial Arts Choreographer
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Wednesday, December 16, 2009
The Shadowsnake X-mas shopping list for 2009
Mind-expanding books I'd highly recommend:
Genghis Khan: And the Making of the Modern World by Jack Weatherford
Then Kodansha International bring out a great range of small hardcovers on Eastern Philosophy and classics:
The Lone Samurai: The Life of Miyamoto Musashi by William Scott Wilson
A fascinating account of an artist in the purest sense of the word. Check out his painting "Shrike on a withered branch". It captures the complete essence of the martial arts all in a few brush strokes.
The Book of Five Rings - Musashi Miyamoto
The Unfettered Mind: Writings of the Zen Master to the Sword Master by Takuan Soho
Fiction: Tony Hillerman - Dance Hall of the Dead. Navajo detective investigating in and around reservations.
The Bug - London Zoo (Got it fr X-mas last year 2008, an inspiring dubstep album)
Skream - Skreamizm Vol 2, more dark dubstep, only available on Vinyl (contains Welcome to the Future, fantastic track)
Future Sounds of London - Dead Cities and most of their albums are atmospheric and original.
Amon Tobin - Supermodifed / Out from Outwhere
Miles Davis - Bitches Brew
Posted by DeZ Vylenz
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Development Hell / Rambo is a pussy
25th Nov 1975: Suriname became independent from The Netherlands. The colonial age was over.
Incredible, time moves on relentlessly with no quarter like a train drilling into the night. Been nearly 2 months since I updated this journal. What happened since then? More business, more routines, more travels. Mid Sept Zagreb in Croatia to meet friends and look into the option of shooting a thriller there, great locations, great hospitality, checked out the set of a TV series, very pro, sets build in a nature reservation. Then back to London. End Sept Amsterdam, October in Suriname in the middle of a Caribbean Shipping Association conference, seminars, training, corporate film work, writing, more sword for hire work to draft business plans for clients. No jungle trips this time, hardly had time to meet friends, hardly time to even reply emails.
Nov back to Amsterdam, no culture shock this time upon my return in Europe, since the bulk of my time in South America was spent in airco conference rooms and offices or stuck in traffic. Birthday steak dining. Then back to London again to get all in shipshape. Slate of 5 low budget films (action-thrillers) planned with my business partners, complicated financial structures in place to raise funds for the features.
Now I understand why they call it development hell. I love cinema as a medium, but as Alan Moore puts it, the industry like most industries is just cumbersome, slow and has almost nothing to do with true artistic quality.
I've been updated by the producers who pitched my work that the broadcasters and companies liked the docu ideas, but thought they might be too intelligent. They're looking more for "reality" TV. Interesting conclusion 1: As technology advances, mediocrity increases. Conclusion 2: Even the word "Reality" is now perverted, false, stripped of any last impartial meaning it once had.
The docu about gold mining in Suriname would feature a lot of aspects and is basically a story about survival, pollution and the idea of what's really valuable. The consultant on it told me about guerillas in one of the islands around Papous New Guinnea and that they drove jeeps on coconut oil. This kind of jungle engineering feats were a chapter in the elaborate 3 part TV film I wrote. It might still happen, but with thousands of staff being made redundant in TV and film in this crisis it'll be hard to get funding. And my focus is more on the fiction anyway.
Then this week a friend sends me a link of a streamed docu and it turns out to be about the guerillas I was given as reference. Amazing stuff, it puts the standard of basic infra-structure such as running tap water and heating in a different perspective.
Watch it, stand in awe of some seriously ingenious survival mechanisms at work. Compared to these people, Rambo is a pussy. MacGuyver, watch and learn:
Posted by DeZ Vylenz
Wednesday, September 09, 2009
Special 360 Limited
I've been incommunicado for a while again, transmission faltering in the middle of the storms of business, avalanches of paper and swamps of development hell. Film business is a bitch and then you shoot. Good thing that there are the mystical mountains of martial arts to meditate the body and mind back to silence in this urban rat race.
It doesn't help that I'm a notorious perfectionist, which made me turn down a number of projects I didn't feel would follow the path of my heart. And that is the hardest path, because true art often doesn't pay the bills. But I'm quite pleased with the material I've been working on for a while, but writing demands more seclusion and focus. As both entrepreneur and artist I continue to be involved in a whole gamut of endeavours ranging from consultancy to design project. Too much in fact and I'd rather focus purely on films and martial arts, but things have been growing in parallel ways rather than serial.
One special long awaited art project that combines several fields of traditional crafts has just gone into its last phase. We sent out a broadcast earlier today, but to summarise it for those not on our mailing list:
At the moment the first 27 copies of the Special Limited Edition of The Mindscape of Alan Moore have just been completed. Thanks for your patience, but there were several complications and gaps in what continues to be a laborious process. Each artefact is individually handmade by a craftsman bookbinder with carefully selected materials. Genuine sheepskin leather with shades from light to dark brown in naturally occurring patterns.
The Special Limited Edition of The Mindscape of Alan Moore was exclusively designed as an antique grimoire by Shori Jie and Shadowsnake to contain: The double disc DVD edition of Mindscape, the music CD of the original soundtrack and a mini print of the original film screening poster all secured in the lined box by a brass button.
The cover and spine are heat branded with the production entity’s emblem and the film’s title.
Each artefact is individually numbered from 0-360 and signed by Alan Moore and DeZ Vylenz.
The book shaped box is around 4.5mm thick and will fit on a book or film shelf with 23 cm in height or in a special vitrine.
The total prices of the package ranges is £ 87 + shipping (between £ 9.50 and £ 14.50 depending on global location).
There are obviously not enough to place this on our online shopping cart as an instantly available item, so we will only post images and a description, but reservations have to be made by sending an email. This way we ensure that our earliest supporters and real collectors get a chance to purchase this special edition, which will be registered by name (e.g. number zero is reserved for Alan Moore).
If you bought a copy in the pre-order phase in 2007, you will not only get priority on the list, but also have the purchase price of the DVD deducted from the total package.
We will post more images online in the next few days, but please email for further enquiries to email@example.com with in the subject: Special 360 Limited.
Many thanks again for all your support for Project Mindscape.
Posted by DeZ Vylenz
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Crime movies and classic books
What's new? More swine flu panic, more mediocre comedy and horror movies on release. Went to see Public Enemies by Michael Mann. Had higher expectations since I enjoyed Heat, but this all felt a bit dry. Scene to scene, good enjoyable action, but no real sense of context of the times. Nothing really visible of The Great Depression, people starving with no prospects of jobs and so on. It felt more like a movie about heists and get aways, nothing interesting or new to the crime genre I would say.
Haven't seen it yet, but far more interesting as a character study seems to be the films about Mesrine, with the similarly titled Public Enemy no.1. But since it's a French language film I doubt you will see this on mainstream release. As if subtitles are that hard to read. Unfortunate, but then again there are far more gems in different genres from different countries we'll never see as they're all drowned out by big studio releases.
Lately I find myself more inspired by books than by films. The best way to spend the time on public transport anyway. Over the last few weeks rushing to production meetings in the long stretched territory called London, I gobbled up a few paperbacks. The Animal Factory by Edward Bunker, haven't seen the film yet, but it read like a gripping study of friendship in jail and the survival of the human spirit in the most oppressive of circumstances. Written with a gritty realism far removed from any kind of "baddest motherfucker-gangster" glorification that so many media seem obsessed with now. A lot of wannabes caught the syndrome.
Then there's World War Z by Max Brooks. More survival, but on a large socio-political scale. Great idea and well executed. Rights already bought by Plan B Productions, so a film adaptation is underway.
The Maltese Falcon by Dashiel Hammet. Coincidentally another book that was adapted to the screen (brilliantly by John Huston).
Now I'm starting on Eye of Cat by Roger Zelazny and working through a pile of far more interesting material than what the multiplexes are screening.
Posted by DeZ Vylenz
Friday, June 26, 2009
Addendum on The King of Pop
When I wrote, sordid fallout of plastic surgery, I meant that a number of professional surgeons noted later that they would not have taken Jackson's money and the ones that did not warn him of the consequences clearly had no ethics.
At present there still is no regulation and plastic surgery is now as common as a nail job.
But then again, what can you except from a society that pushes legal painkillers and other prescription drugs that are longterm just as harmful as the illegal ones.
It revolves around one thing, manipulating fear. Fear of not fitting in, fear of not fulfilling standards of beauty and so on.
Posted by DeZ Vylenz
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