24 Ekim 2009 Cumartesi

Missing the Camera

It has been quite a long time since I didn't shot anything. I am dying to shoot something. Anything. Short film, documentary, music videos whatever I can get. The reason why I haven't shot anything for a long time is because recently I have decided to take part in big projects that I could only work as an assistant director or assistant editor. But now, I have the confidence to take full responsibility as a cinematographer or director to realize projects. The other reason why I stopped working as a cameraman is my thesis project that I have mentioned before. After my thesis project, I felt like I lost my ability and I didn't have what was required for this profession. But I was wrong. I am not going to listen any criticize and I will not be afraid of making mistakes. And I will not apologize because I am using the latest camera, sorry middle age old fashioned cinematographers located in Istanbul but this is the future and you are already too behind.

15 Ekim 2009 Perşembe


From now on, I will write all my dreams on my blog. I always thought about writing my dreams somewhere because I usually forget them even the ones that really affects me.
I think I had this dream in 2008 but I am not really sure. But I know it has been more than one year. I am from Izmir but my parents are from Akhisar, Manisa. I lived all my life in Izmir. My grandmother still lives in Akhisar and she lived in the same house I think for more than 30 years. So I only saw the house that she is living now and didn't see the previous ones.
When I was younger or when I was kid, we used to go there every holiday to see my grandparents. It is one of these usual grandparent's houses where every children may feel annoyed when he is there because there is really nothing special about it and there isn't really a decent television.
In the dream, I am at the same age as I am now and I am alone in my grandmother's house which I think never happened before. I have never stayed there by myself, there was always other people, my parents or my grandmother. A knock in the door and I go to check the door. Two middle age men which from their appearances, you can understand that they are local, they may be farmer or something, they enter in the house without asking me anything. I don't understand and I feel stressed about it but they don't tell me anything except pushing me. They go to the living room and I am trying to understand what is going on. One of them sits by the table where there is a laptop. (I have never seen a laptop in this house before because I never took mine there, and of course because my grandmother doesn't have one.) The other one starts to push me by the window. I can remember harsh light coming in from the window, It is in the middle of daytime and I am trying to get these people out of the house. The other one turns on the laptop and he starts to surf on the Internet. The one who was pushing me goes next to him to see what is on the laptop. They are now not talking and watching the screen. I am going close to them to understand what they are watching and I see that they are watching a porn film on the Internet.
That was a very tense dream which I am thinking about it for a very long time to understand why have I dream something like that. Needless to say, for me, it was a nightmare.

9 Ekim 2009 Cuma

Another Shark in a Suit

Everybody loves you. Pisses me off.

Jerry Maguire: I'm finished, I'm fucked. Twenty four hours ago, man, I was hot! Now... I'm a cautionary tale. You see this jacket I'm wearing, you like it? Because I don't really need it. Because I'm cloaked in failure! I lost the number one draft picked the night before the draft! Why? Let's recap: Because a hockey player's kid made me feel like a superficial jerk. I ate two slices of bad pizza, went to bed and grew a conscious!

Okay. I am going to talk about a film which I think it will give me the opportunity to fully describe what I enjoy seeing and what I intend to do. Actually I am very much interested about male characters fighting for their goals, fighting to earn money, earning respect from the others, get a decent powerful career... If possible conquer the world. I am interested about smart characters who want it all.
The film, Jerry Maguire may seem cheesy to many but I think it is a very powerful film in case of written character and its strong visual storytelling. Jerry is a successful sport agent, he is strong, funny, dependable. He is working in a major company called Sport Management International. "Everybody loves him" is one of the tag lines of the film. But at the age of 35, after a nervous breakdown, he starts writing a mission statement in one night "The Things We Think and Do Not Say: The Future of Our Business", proposing "Fewer Clients, Less Money" but a better personal support to the clients. He delivers it to everyone in the company but of course in the next day, he is fired.
Once he is alone, he becomes the boss of himself, Jerry is so frighten that he instinctively tries to get all his clients back with his new company as opposed to his mission statement that he is about to start but like a destiny, he can only convince two of his ex-clients.He is now confronting with his writings, "Less Clients, Less Money" even he doesn't want to because he just wants to get to back to business to get a revenge from his ex-bosses. One of clients is a very young promising football player and the other one is a black, in his mid-thirties who thinks only about money to support his big family.
At the same time, Jerry who was never alone in his life breaks up with his fiancée and another challenge awaits him. Loneliness.
But the main conflict starts when the young promising football player which he was his only savor decides in last moment to make a deal with Sport Management International, Jerry is now with only one client who doesn't promise a potential as a football player, he is difficult to work with, he is aggressive and everybody finds him a pain the ass in the team. But as oppossed to Jerry, he has a very strong respect and caring for family values which Jerry in the end will learn a lot from him.
So Jerry, in his journey, will have to continue with the most difficult football player to get back in the business and will have the chance to really understand and go through all that he wrote before. In a way, now he has the chance to prove whether he was right or wrong to himself and to really understand what really matters in life. Like his mentor would say "Personal relations are the keys to this business."

Jerry Maguire: I will not rest until I have you holding a Coke, wearing your own shoe, playing a Sega game *featuring you*, while singing your own song in a new commercial, *starring you*, broadcast during the Super bowl, in a game that you are winning, and I will not *sleep* until that happens. I'll give you fifteen minutes to call me back.

Now, another thing which I would like to discuss here has got nothing to do with Jerry Maguire, but something that I shot two years ago as an exercise. I love working with maquette, small figures and stuff because it gives me the chance to experiment things that I really can't in real life because it is expensive. Therefore I like to work with actions figures, light them, direct them and creating a living environment for them. I think the most difficult part is creating the environment, for example this saloon doesn't really look to real because there is really no detail, no traces of past, time, doesn't really look like it is living. And to do that, you really have to work really detailed in order to create a living environment. And it is really a craft. It is what production designers do actually.

What I would really like to do as a long term project is actually combine both. A very well written character and a story with a very strong sense of visual storytelling. But isn't that every filmmaker wants to achieve at the end?

1 Ekim 2009 Perşembe

Sweet Smell of Success

I always think about successful people because in a way I don't want to be a loser in life. I want to be appreciated. I want my grandmother to tell her friends that she is proud of me and that in a way I made all the clever choices in life and I always worked hard and I made something out of my life. When I got in a film program in 2004, she didn't tell her friends that I was going to study film. But what is success really? 2008 was the worst year in my life. I mean it was really bad. I was working for my thesis project which was a short film that I wanted to do but I really got unlucky during the production process. Okay, I have to admit, I had a very weak script and I just couldn't make it better. I felt like the main character in Barton Fink, I mean whatever I did just didn't work for that script. My intention was to make a film about characters because that would enable me to really work closely with actors and acting and I was thinking that could sharpen my skills of directing. I think I was right in that way if there is one thing I don't regret, this is it. But the script? It was a nightmare! The other problem was that I just couldn't find a decent professor who would go with me with all the process of scriptwriting. When it came to casting, it just got worst. I mean let tell you something about the young generation actors situated in Istanbul. Of course there may be exceptions but they are really running away from the hard work. I visited all the universities which had theatre program. I mean what are you waiting for? I am an aspiring film student and you want to be an actor, what are you waiting for? Are you waiting an invitation from Spielberg? This is a chance for you to show yourself, to experiment, to know yourself and even if you don't want that, it is an opportunity to know people. I mean what more can I say. Most of the actors in Istanbul, they live in Cihangir, they usually go to tv serial shooting (which I think is a nightmare) for two or three days a week and the rest of the time, they drink tea in the middle of Cihangir doing nothing! They sit there with there huge ego talking about how big they will become as an actor in the future. Let me tell you something. You are not going anywhere and you are not going to leave Cihangir for the rest of your life! But I am sure the second one is what you expect from life. Like I said before, there are some exceptions. For example, the actress which I could find in the last moment was really great and she really wanted to be a part of it. I was very luck to have her.
The day when I was going to show my film to the professors in my university, I was stressed. There were about 40 or 50 people in the screening room and I always feel weird when I watch my work with the audience. After the screening, when I got up in front of everybody, there was an uncomfortable silence for about a minute. Than people started to yell about how bad the film was. I just coulnd't say anything. And I worked hard not to cry there.
I was feeling very bad but I just had to find a way to get over it. After 3 days of screening, I was going to start to work in a feature film as an assistant director which I was waiting eagerly, I was invited there by my professor which I had a great relationship in the school, I wasn't going to get paid but I really liked the director and I was looking forward to it. At the same time, I got an e-mail from the film school that I applied two months before saying that they were interested in my portfolio but wanted to know more about me and I made a schedule with them on the day of my birthday, 2nd of july, for the interview. I had 2 weeks before that day.
People I started to work with on the feature were really mean to me. I think this is something that I will never understand for the rest of my life because I don't know why they acted this way. My professor too, was very hard on me and I just didn't know what to do. I was trying to be positive all the time but everything I said or did was wrong for them. I was already feeling very bad because of my graduation film and this was very hard for me. Every time, I thought about quitting, I said to myself not to give up and every time I wanted to speak to my professor, he never had time for me and everytime I wanted to ask him about something, he would yell at me for no reason. I mean why?
The day before the interview, I told them that I was going to have an interview tomorrow, we had to go to Beykoz for the production, than at some point, I would go back to my house to get online on skype. Tomorrow morning, when I was at Beykoz, my brother who was staying with me called me that there were calling me on skype from the school. I couldn't believe it. I always thought it was going to be in the afternoon but not in the morning. I was working so hard that I just couldn't realize it was going to be in the morning. I called the school, they gave me 15 minutes!! From Beykoz to Sisli?! I arrived home in 45 minutes but it was already too late. I missed the interview with Brian Tufano and I missed my chance. And it was my birthday. And for a very long time, I really felt like a loser. I still do.