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THE COMFORT OF STRANGERS

Tuesday 3rd February 2015

angelina_jolie_christopher_nolan_and_director_alist_on_their_toughest_decisions_dreadful_first_cuts_and_mike_nichols_1_dbf0f473846c.jpg

Every lunchtime I take a break and try and recharge a little before heading into the afternoon. Sometimes I read a book, sometimes I watch something, but I always try and use whatever it is to inspire me, to fuel a few more hours of productivity before I need to switch off, pick the kids up from school and become a fully-functioning person again instead of the coffee-sipping, thousand-yard-staring weirdo guy in the corner of the cafe.

One place I return to a lot is The Hollywood Reporter site and their archive of roundtables. They started these a few years back and they’re never anything less than inspirational – to me at least. The format is simple: get a group of creative peers together round a table and talk about their craft. It’s a bit like getting together with your creative mates and talking shop. Only, being The Hollywood reporter, these tables are populated by A-listers in all their various fields – writers, directors, actors, cinematographers. What I find fascinating and inspiring is that, no matter who they are or how accomplished, their tales of creative struggle are all very familiar. No one finds it easy and the thought of this always makes the prospect of banging my head against a blank page for another few hours just a little more bearable.

This lunchtime, for example, I watched this and learned that Mike Leigh abandoned a project because it wasn’t working and Christopher Nolan and Angelina Jolie love Sidney Lumet’s ‘The Hill’ as much as I do.

So have a watch. Be inspired. We’re all struggling away, trying to tell our stories. It’s supposed to be hard.

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