Finding Characters

"I hope there's no more war in Iraq"

Location On the balcony of hotel, overlooking downtown Amman | Mood Tired and tiresome | Date 10 August 2006
Met up with the family from yesterday this morning. Filmed a great interview with the mother (Rasmia) and then were happily sitting drinking tea when something kicked off between Rasmia's brother and sister and a full-scale slanging match ensued. Never quite established what that was about.

Dropped down dead when he heard the news

Location New hotel room. Too many bedbugs and not enough AC in the last room. | Mood Blank | Date 8 August 2006
Franny, and our fixer, Khulood, interviewing Iraqi widows on the streets on Amman<

Best ever team

Location Dingy hotel room. No AC, no lock, bedbugs, gotta move. | Mood Winding slowly into second gear | Date 7 August 2006
Crude Team with taxi Have assembled a crack team with miraculous speed: Ra'fat (Palestinian), fixer. Well connected & persuasive.

Eyes Wide Open

Location Wobbly table outside coffee house, downtown Amman | Mood Eyes wide open | Date 6 August 2006
Amman, Jordan.

Wonder how much oil goes into one tray of airline food?

Location Plane to Amman, Jordan | Mood Nostalgic | Date 4 August 2006
Not sure what exactly changed - perhaps panic that we haven't even found our final character yet - but we're heading out to Jordan, despite the ongoing war. Lizzie's a few aisles away being tortured by a screaming baby. I have the headphones and laptop. Sure is good being the boss. Some pretty profound life and death stuff has been going on post Crude-Camp-with-Mark. Like when someone is diagnosed with terminal illness and gets six months to live - or if they survive a near-death experience - they often say their whole perspective changes.

London is melting

Location Office | Mood Nesting | Date 19 July 2006
London is melting. Today was the hottest ever day in July. 36.3 degrees C. I'm happy to say this is not going unnoticed. The Middle East is also in meltdown.

A Top 10 life moment

Location Four poster bed yet again | Mood | Date 14 June 2006
Met Friend's Sister in the park at a jazz gig tonight, when in Rome. We explained all our worries - could Al handle the potential fame? What if he loses his job? His sanity? Is he too fragile for the film?

Possibly my strongest ever doc character

Location Four poster bed again | Mood Hyperventilating | Date 13 June 2006
Filming Al on the flattened site of his old house. Photograph:  Chris Graythen   

Anyone know an interesting person working for an oil company?

Location Cushion-bed on floor. Some honeymooners have booked our flash room, drats. Why can't they sleep on the floor? | Mood Drunk on music | Date 6 June 2006
A thousand people work for Big Oil in New Orleans. All we gotta do is find the interesting one, right? We've got a few leads - and the phone book - but it all seems a little hit and miss. How do real filmmakers do this? Can't really speed the process up, either - a lot of waiting around for call backs - so we're trying to adapt to the not-knowing grey zone. Writing diary, struggling to get through chapter two of The Prize, press-ups, logging tapes and, frankly, sleeping.

Have we walked into a trap?

Location In chief's bed in village in heart of trouble area | Mood Surprisingly calm and clear-headed | Date 16 April 2006
Found our fourth Crude character yesterday. She is Layefa Malemi , a 22-year-old who has been fishing all day every day for the last two years to save up enough money to go to medical school so she can become a doctor and work in her village. She is quiet, calm, intelligent and funny. Absolutely perfect.