An essay rehabilitating the image of much-maligned Negro movie star Stepin Fetchit?
An explanation for my seeming near-religious obsession with John Wayne?
Annotated reviews of various great yet underappreciated DC comics of the 1980s, maybe?
A wild-eyed rant about how the main reason so many people believe that Amy Winehouse's gimmicky and garish new album is superior to her confidently understated debut is because the contemporary "urban" audience is addicted to "production"?
My picks for the Oscars?
A review of Dreamgirls?
An account of bumping into former New Kid on the Block Jordan Knight in the movie theater when coming out of Dreamgirls?
Or perhaps an appreciation of Gjon Mili's 1944 short film Jammin' the Blues
and some random theorizing about its influence on the aesthetic of hip-hop videos of the late 1980s and early 1990s?
How about an argument positing that the true modern-day heir to pioneering American Negro filmmakers Oscar Micheaux and Spencer Williams, and the most important Black filmmaker in America today is not Spike, not Charles Burnett, but in fact, this guy?
It's been like three whole months since I last updated this blog and for the past month or so, my mind has been a revolving door for different subjects to blog about. I'll admit that most of these ideas have been pretty shitty. A handful of them have been cool. But ultimately, none of them have had much to do with the mission statement indicated in that little marquee at the top of the page ie talking about a little motion picture project I'm supposedly working on with two other guys? A little something called TOO MUCH BEAUTIFUL WOMAN?
Yeah... I haven't talked much about it with anybody since I got back to the States--I mean nobody, not even my family--mainly because... Well, to be honest, I don't really know what to say.
Last time you heard from me, I was still waiting to start production on the TV pilot. Well, I eventually went on and got through that and while I'll talk more about it a little later, for now I'll just say that it was an experience that was simultaneously exhilarating and enervating. On one hand, I came out of it feeling more confident and motivated as a filmmaker; on the other, it made me ever more conscious of the unique challenges inherent to making movies in Nigeria. Both of these discoveries ultimately impact the plan for completing TMBW.
I feel a lot wiser than I was when we started shooting the movie last July--we all do, really. Remember how I had to fight with Denis and Koko to reshoot two scenes? Now I feel like there's almost thirty scenes we could do better, knowing what we know now. I was hesitant to pitch the idea to my partners, but surprisingly, they agreed almost immediately. We've all put so much into this, and we appreciate all the support that our friends and families and even perfect strangers have given us, we're not willing to come back with anything less than best work we can possibly put together.
Originally, the plan was to return to shooting around February, but me and Denis talked about it... The thing that crippled us most--beyond even the lack of money--was underestimating the difficiulty of the Nigerian landscape and not allocating enough time to pre-production. We all want to get back to work as soon as possible, but we had to face the fact that if we go back to Nigeria right now, we're most likely going to face the exact same problems we did last time. So yeah... We decided that the smart thing to do would be to take a few months to plan this thing the right way before jumping back in.
Actually, after we made that decision, it occurred to me that there was even more reason for us to take a little hiatus. You see... 2007 is an election year in Nigeria, and I don't know if you know what often happens during election periods in so-called Third World countries but it's usually not the safest of environments. Hell, even when we were there last summer, the curfews and the killings had already started. It's probably not a great idea to return to Nigeria until after the elections... Which are in June. sigh... The thought of it kills us, but it's better it's better than some political thugs killing us, no?
More recently, another issue popped up that basically clinched it for us. Apparently, for various reasons, Nollywood is going on holiday. There have been moratoria on film production in the past, usually when the market has gotten too saturated with product. We can't get too much done during the break, so we're better off just staying where we are (me in Boston, Denis in New York, Koko in Lagos) and working on getting our organization as tight and effective as possible for when it's time to go back.
It hurts, though; after the intense high of being a flashy filmmaker in Nigeria for a few months, it's a massive crash coming back to life as an everyday schlub back in the States. Now I fully understand the way Denis described being back in the grey little town of Pointe Noire, Congo after our Nigerian adventure: "It's kinda like being dead."
Well... In the meantime, I'll be updating y'all on the pre-production process for phase 2 of the TMBW, as well as filling you in on the backstory of phase 1.