Videoblogging The Conversation

(yes, my side of the screen is supposed to be silent)

this one has a bit of a story behind it.

5 years ago, we came out here to the Comox Valley for six months so I could finish writing a novel that i’d already been working on for a year.

it was about a young wannabe director who goes to America, visits movie locations and starts to lose the line between fantasy and reality. it was pretty funny – and I had a great agent – and everybody thought it was going to be a massive hit – and i fucking BLEW IT

i came back from Canada with the book unfinished and started working for my dad’s aluminium company. i blamed this on a car accident, which i said had stopped me writing. really though… (i’ve never admitted this before) i could’ve finished it if I’d just fucking knuckled down and applied myself. but there you go. 18 months and multiple thousand quid down the bog. RAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

then we had Amy, three years passed. the aluminium company went bust, and i went freelance (same thing, more or less).

but before i got properly lost in freelance hell, i gave the book one last shot. i flew out to San Francisco by myself in november 2006 to revisit the movie locations i’d been writing about. the idea was that i’d write and videoblog while i was there – the sights and sounds would fuel a reimagining of the story – and i’d return with a vision of how to tie together all my unfinished fragments.

instead i just lost the line between fantasy and reality.

so these clips have been sitting unwatched and unedited on my hard drive – a bit too guilt-inducing to open – until now. life is a bit more back on track, we’re back in canada, i have a good steady job working for someone i like and i’m starting to feel like i can write again… so i reopened the box.

i haven’t looked at them all again yet, but i have clips from movie locations all around the san francisco bay area. if you like this and want more, let me know and i’ll hack some of them together.

i’ve also just installed the AddThis plugin, something i’ve been meaning to do for a while. so if you like a video, you can easily add it to a social bookmarking site like StumbleUpon or Delicious so other people can find it, too.

and the answer is Yes, this really was shot in Room 773 of the Cathedral Hill Hotel (map), formerly the Jack Tar Hotel, spinetinglingly unchanged 32 years later. and if you haven’t seen Coppola’s (and Murch’s) The Conversation, then what are you doing still reading this? you should be on Amazon or Netflix buying or renting it.

Podcast file (iPod/iPhone compatible)

26 thoughts on “Videoblogging The Conversation

  1. That’s so awesome, and amazing how you got all the cuts/angles so perfect in your side to match the films’. Wish you luck with your writing, the thing i do to motivate myself is, i don’t want to be full of ‘what ifs?’ when i’m 70+, so i have that in the corner of my brain whenever i want to do something big. You can do it 🙂

    Did the setting look as amazing in real life as it does on the screen? i’d love to visit sets of some of my favourite films but would be worried about being deflated as the awe of them on the movies is enhanced in that context. Great video!

  2. Thanks 🙂
    I’ve visited a *lot* of movie locations. Very rarely have I been disappointed. Maybe that’s because I’m a massive geek, but there’s something extraordinary about standing inside an ordinary place that you recognise from your favourite movies. Most of the time, everybody else is unaware, so it’s like a secret code that you’ve uncovered in public.
    It was the same feeling when I went to Italy and Greece when I was studying Classics. I’d stand at a remote crossroads – just an ordinary rural junction – where Oedipus killed his father, or in the pass at Thermopylae or on the spot where Julius Caesar was stabbed in the Forum, and for a moment I’d be somewhere in between myth, history and reality. Secret location archaeology 🙂

  3. Ahhh…Monumentally brilliant!!! 🙂

    Just watched it 24 inch full screen.

    How did you remember all the shots? Superb videoblogging. Great idea, fantastically executed. And beautifully romantic, too. Yes, definitely more, please.

    F. F. Coppola

  4. Thank you Rupert. I’m having a the kind of day (and month) where it feels like that “novel” will never get done and that I’ve probably already blew it. So here’s to the hope that it all really can work out (I guess it always does one way or another).

  5. I all too “feel” this video…..bravo to you for going back to the footage and doing something with it…..that takes guts…..great job as usual!

  6. well well mr bond.

    that was a very welcome surprise. excellent. amazing work on the angles and remember those. did you have the film with you on laptop or did you just remember it? – or just shoot lots of it. Definitely want to see lots more.

  7. Wow – thanks, everybody.
    I’ve moved on from trying to complete that particular book, because I got too stuck and it got too stale, but other things call. Got to just keep on improving the work/life balance so there’s time.
    @Phil, I didn’t want to lug my 17″ Powerbook around SF with me, let alone get it out in public and play movies on it, so I loaded up my iPod with the best San Francisco movies. That’s what I’m doing here – checking out the shots on my iPod and trying to match them with my little digital stills camera. I couldn’t believe how exact they were when I came to match them up with the original yesterday.

  8. God, Ru. You are a totally brilliant human being. Proud to call you friend, novel or not. But I hope you manage to write it at some point. Grateful you posted this.

  9. I had never heard the whole story about the book. Funny, Ive only known you making online videos. I can only assume you’ll figure out how to bring all these little pieces together. We got a long path ahead of us.

  10. You never cease to amaze and enlighten me. Seems as though every time I read something you write or watch a video that you’ve created, I’m left wanting more.

    You’re an inspiration.

  11. good show, old chap! looks like that was fun, and a great story to go with. yes, please, bring on more of the same. it reminds me of my very young experience driving past the hotel where The Shining was filmed, as I lived in Colorado until I was 12. i didn’t actually see the movie until years later, but I still remember the imposing edifice of that hotel. thanks!

  12. Really great, Rupert. Believe it or not I’ve never seen The Conversation so I just added it to my rental queue. Thanks for sharing your story, too. I can relate!

  13. Exceptional – what an outstanding son in law I have – makes me proud. And when you get going on the next book give yourself an exact deadline and you’ll do it – but of course you have to make the film of the book as well, and star in it!

  14. Remember discussing that book with you in London. I also remember thinking what an awesome idea it was. I understand your need to move forward, though. Always gotta be movin’ forward. I’ll still hope because I think it would be a great read!

  15. Amazing. I love The Conversation. Back in the day I kept a highlight reel on Hi8 of scenes from movies I loved. About a third of The Conversation was on there. I love Hackman’s place as a location . . . you should try to find that, although it was probably a set. Anyway, remember that scene where he’s talking to the woman and his nasty friends are listening in . . . heart breaking. And people are riding around on bikes and there was odd tracking going on. It’s been years I must see it again now. All that and Cindy Williams too.

    BTW, great pinky ring touch!!

    Goes without saying, but I’ll say it, let’s see more.


  16. @marge, cheryl & jim – hurray! thank you 🙂
    @jay i hope so, on both your last two points
    @tim you never know…
    @rick yay! i’d be interested to know what you think of it.
    @adam funny – the book began with The Shining – but the Oregon location, not the Colorado. more video fun to come from there one day…
    @granny in england yes, you were right about the deadlines. sigh.
    @rob i like that you noticed the pinky ring 🙂 although it’s gone now, hackman’s place was real – all the locations were. the integrity of the film’s geography amazed me – the same with quite a few SF films. i’ve always wanted a little caged techie production office in the corner of a huge warehouse like his – my basement here is the closest i’ve come. that one moment where he finally comes out of his cage and opens up to the woman in the middle of the warehouse… ugh.

Leave a Reply