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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, April 30, 2008

Still Riding the Hurricane

Crazy Urban Commando Missions. Haven't even had time to update this web log in 3 weeks since I came back from Suriname (with plenty footage and stills). Very intense time in London and Amsterdam now, manoeuvring between 5 different projects, one of them a challenging commercial. Had a meeting in The Netherlands-The Hague with a very creative advertising agency, and we were suddenly caught all in a buzzing brainstorm for 4 hours, although we met for the first time.

Usually as a director you don't get in this early at the initial conceptual stage, but they want to fully integrate the entire proposition. Can't name the brand and product yet until it materialises this summer. Anyway, this was in between numerous meetings and other business obligations, so frustratingly had little time to write.

Film is business is always like that, because projects take time to develop and get financing, the work has to be done parallel. Next few days wrapping up some more Corporadski stuff and Bureaugrad loose ends, then lock myself up again for a few days to enter Fiction Land.

A great book to drag with you to utilize time on trains and planes: James Ellroy's The Cold Six Thousand (but it's part 2 of the American Underworld Trilogy so American Tabloid comes first). Takes time to get used to the telegram style, but as a utterly dark and cynical mosaic of America it's a strong voiced piece of fiction mixed with history.

Don't read if you can't handle the testosterone and adrenaline, becaues it will stick with you. Check it out.

Posted by DeZ Vylenz  

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Suriname

Got back in Europe end March after a few weeks in Suriname. Strange to switch from a country with wild open space (except the traffic jams in the capital) and sunshine to the concrete landscape of Amsterdam and then now the hectic buzz of London.

One of the misconceptions I often hear about the Caribbean is that (all) people are more laid back (often intended as a euphemism for lazy) than Europe. I didn't manage to meet most of my old friends, because they're working hard from 7-16:00 and then rush back to rest half an hour or so before starting a second job e.g. in teaching part time or repairing cars or anything to pay the extra bills for their family. The cost of living is not cheap and some things I find are close to European prices, while wages are insufficient.

Occassionally --e.g. in the Easter weekend-- do people find the time to leave the city and enjoy a break in a nature resort.

I moved like a hurricane from place to place, part research/work, part social and was entirely energised when I left, having seen a great number of young people persevering in their endeavours despite the corrupt political situation that would demotivate most starting entrepreneurs.

In some ways Napoli reminds me of Paramaribo, in the sense that the it's all about "la arte di arrangarse", to make due with whatever you have, without planning too much, survival despite the hardship and lack of support from the system.

Anyway, here's a link of Suriname in the New York Times:

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/23/world/americas/23suriname.html?_r=2&oref=slogin&oref=slogin

Can't wait to shoot my next feature film there.

Posted by DeZ Vylenz  

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Scouting and Pre-Production

Haven't updated the weblog for a while, have been loaded with work in London, then on the move for the last 3 weeks, scouting locations in Suriname at the moment, both jungle and urban, while organizing logistics, security etc for the next feature film project. Only occasionally access to an internet work station and little time to sit down and write, except business emails.

Been writing a great number of ideas down since 2003, but had to put them in the freezer while the business structures and mercenary jobs took up most of my time. Now everything is much more chrystalized and the overall style and vision are crisp clear, so the script is evolving rapidly.

Am putting together a really great crew, brilliant music composers and so on. Very inspiring to work with people who are top in their field.

Several meetings as well with local companies for corporate films and commercials and another documentary project. But I'm hungry as hell now to shoot the planned fiction feature (part 2 of the Shamanautical Series).

Will write more about it when things have materialized a bit more. Only one week to go before I'm back in Europe, so am making the most of my time here in wild tropcial open space. Gotta go.

Posted by DeZ Vylenz  

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Jim Thompson

In between running the business, meetings, writing and preparing the next expeditions, I've been constantly on the move again in London, From E-W, N-S, writing while on trains, but mostly reading.

Some of the best stuff to read while moving on public transport is crime-noir fiction or hard-boiled as it's often called. Some of the obvious names are of course James Ellroy, whose American Confidential is very good and testosterone driven. But if you want to shove a far thinner paperback in your coat pocket, I would recommend Jim Thompson.

His style at times feels a bit dated to me (the way he interjects with emotions in that free indirect style) but it does help to give greater psychological depth to his characters and it's all part of the rawness that he brings to the genre. Sam Peckinpah's The Getaway is totally different from the book, but the relationships between the characters is quite similar, although they tend to be more ruthless and brutal in Thompson's novels than most film audiences would stomach from protagonists.

The strongest point for me is the sense that it's all written by a man who really knew life on the street first hand, not through a DVD collection or books. Even when it concerns minor characters, there is great attention to detail and a clear sense of context of criminals and society.

The Getaway, The Killer Inside Me and Savage Night are the ones I've read, but more info on the man:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jim_Thompson_%28writer%29

I knew some of his work before, but only recently realized he'd worked with Stanley Kubrick on a number of films or that so much of his work was adapted to film.

Anyway, check it out.

Posted by DeZ Vylenz  

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Power of the Written Word

On 2 February Alan Moore was signing at Gosh comics in London. The event was scheduled from 14:00 till 17:00 but overran till !8:30. I popped in quickly to the basement before it all started to say hi, but Melinda had not been feeling well so wasn't present. The main entrance and shop upstairs didn't seem to crowded, but then I was told that there in fact was another entrance with a line around the block. So when I left to come back towards the end I was surprised to see people still waiting in line. Was a good reminder of how writers build up a loyal fan base over the years and are an important cornerstone of the media industry.

The power of the writer has also been reaffirmed by the Screenwriter's strike in the USA, where most of the Los Angeles economy has been paralysed for months. The downside of course is that a lot of film crew (including a few of my friends in Hollywood) are without a job and TV programming is getting back to cheaply produced reality TV.

But it does prove again that without imagination, without the actual craft of constructing narrative, all the million dollar special FX, equipment and facilities are useless toys.

Posted by DeZ Vylenz  


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