Oscars 2019: a seismic shift ~

Each year, as many of you who follow this blog might know, I make my Oscar predictions.

I’m normally pretty good, with a strike rate usually in the mid 90%.

This year it will be more of a guess, because I haven’t seen many of the films, in part because of my living in Mudgee where sadly there is no working cinema – but also very few of the films have compelled me to get in my car and drive 4hrs to Sydney to sit in a cinema and watch them.

Bohemian Rhapsody was one such film, and it was well worth the total of 8hrs driving.

This year will see a seismic shift in the power of Hollywood. The Netflix film Roma will take out Best Picture and a slew of other awards, including Best Director for Alfonso Cuaron – and deservedly so. His black and white forensic detailing of his early upbringing in Mexico is an exquisite piece of craftsmanship and artistry.

Most punters though, if they’ve even seen the film at all – or had the patience to sit all the way through it – would think it a boring load of crap and wonder what all the fuss was about.

Oscars celebrate the epitome of craftsmanship and cinematic art, not popularity.
So punters – suck it in.

Why a seismic shift?
For two reasons –

Firstly, I think this will be the first time that the Oscars will be host-less. Because of a twitter controversy involving the formerly chosen host, comedian Kevin Hart, both Hart and the Oscar organisers figured it was best he step down from being host.

But the real seismic shift will be the enveloping power of Netflix.

Not only is the streaming giant represented by Roma, but also the Coen Brothers brilliant and crazed metaphysical ode to Death, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs. Recently Netflix was admitted to the MPAA – the Motion Picture Association of America, an organisation reserved for the traditional movie studios only. This was seen as a huge political move.

Netflix now has a yearly purse of more than $8 billion to spend on production – more than any of the studios. So it’s at the cutting edge of change in Hollywood. And when Roma picks up Best Picture in a few hours, it will give it even more leverage to shift the creaky old power levers of Hollywood.

Thing is – Netflix is producer, distributor and exhibitor of content – and by law none of the studios are allowed to own cinemas to screen their movies. So Netflix has a major advantage. The other advantage is that its long term viability doesn’t depend on the mercurial nature of box office revenues – having hit movies – but on subscription numbers.

It’s a whole new ballgame, and for those of us that relish innovation and change, it’s exciting times ahead.

So, here are my predictions / guesses –

Best Picture
Roma

Best Director
Alfonso Cuaron
Roma

Best Actor
Rami Malek
Bohemian Rhapsody

Best Actress
Glenn Close
The Wife

Best Supporting Actor
Mahershala Ali
The Green Book

Best Supporting Actress
Marina de Tavira
Roma

Best Documentary
Hale County This Morning

Original Screenplay
Green Book

Adapted Screenplay
Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Foreign Language Film
Roma

Cinematography
Roma

Film Editing
Bohemian Rhapsody

Production Design
Black Panther

Visual Effects
Avengers: Infinity Wars

Original Score
If Beale Street Could Talk

Original Song
A Star is Born

Sound Mixing
Bohemian Rhapsody

Sound Editing
Bohemian Rhapsody

Costume Design
The Favourite

Makeup & Hair
Vice

Animated Feature
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.

Them’s me picks – in part from having seen some of these films, and also based on heat from the respective guilds. Irrespective, it will be seen as a watershed year for the Oscars.

The Camino as equaliser ~

We each walk through this world and we form certain opinions about others based on their appearance, their trappings.

That person has a Rolex, they must be rich.
That person has sneaky eyes, they must be untrustworthy.
That person lives in a caravan park, they must be destitute.

These are judgements we have made based on very superficial factors.

The person with the Rolex might be bankrupt.
The person with sneaky eyes might have cataracts.
The person who lives in a caravan park might have millions in the bank.

The Camino is one of the few places I know where it’s very hard to make those kind of judgements, because there’s often very little to make judgements on, other than attitude and behaviour.

Most pilgrims don’t take expensive jewellery or watches on the Camino. Most pilgrims wear the same kind of hiking clothing. You can’t make judgements on them based on what car they drive, or what house they live in.

Often you meet a pilgrim and you have no clue if they’re a judge or a janitor.

The Camino, in that sense, induces a base level of status. Very few come to the Camino with their status on display. And if they do, often the Camino strips them of that status in very humbling ways.

That’s not to say pilgrims don’t immediately judge. They judge the “trueness” of the pilgrim, often by asking the seemingly innocent question: Where did you start?

That’s far from an innocent question.

If the pilgrim being asked that question states Pamplona, or Burgos, then the pilgrim asking the question, having walked from Le Puy or Seville, can puff themselves up a bit and think they are a “truer” pilgrim, whatever that means.

Of course, like any form of judgement, it’s based on ego, a need to feel superior, which in turn stems from lack of self worth, and ultimately fear.

Largely, and I say largely, the Camino is a leveller. People who, in their lives back home, might be famous, might be rich, might wield enormous power over others, sit down at communal tables, eat €10 pilgrims meals, and you’d never know.

And in the end, what does it matter? It’s who we truly are that matters, not what resources we might have accumulated elsewhere.

The Camino helps us find out who we really are…

 

You are all intuitive. “I’m not!”

Reminds me of that classic scene in Monty Python’s The Life of Brian.

Brian is addressing a huge crowd that is mindlessly following him, thinking he’s the messiah. He tries to impress on them that they should think for themselves – and tells them they are all individuals. They are all different. And then a meek voice comes from somewhere in the crowd: I’m not.

Life of Brian 45sec clip

You are all intuitive. You were born with intuition – it works as a legitimate functioning system within your body, connecting to energetic systems outside your body.

I call it your Personal Guidance System. 

Jennifer and I have started doing workshops. Teaching people how to become more intuitive. We emphasise the word more, because everyone is intuitive, irrespective of whether they acknowledge it, or trust it, or deny and suppress it.

What our workshops do is teach you how you can become more intuitive, and bring forth these nascent skills and powers so that you can begin to make better choices in your life. Because in the end, that’s the purpose of intuition – to help guide you along your journey through life.

One of the things we do in the workshops is detail the thirteen steps you can take to prepare yourself for intuition. These steps are a necessary precursor to embracing your PGS.

If you want to host a workshop, get in touch: billbennett.pgs@gmail.com
To view the film, go to http://www.pgsthemovie.com
To buy the book, go to Amazon – PGS Book page

Do what matters ~

At this time of the year, I start to think about how I should best use the next twelve months.

Being someone who has been self-employed since 1982, running a film production company, the decisions I make impact directly on my wife, my family, and my own personal and professional circumstances.

The times when I’ve made these decisions rationally, and based out of fear, have been the times when those years have been tough.

The times when I’ve made the decisions intuitively, and had the courage to follow through with those intuitive choices – well, things have worked out.

Lately, I’ve been thinking of how I can be in service to others.
And by that, I mean: what can I do that ultimately will matter? 

There’s a lot I could do that wouldn’t matter.
And it might well make me a lot of money.

But I’ve learned through hard experience that when I’ve gone down that path, often it hasn’t led to the financial rewards I was expecting, it’s only ever led to difficulties and disappointments.

I’ve learned that if I act in service, then the rewards will follow. And if they don’t, then that’s cool too – at least I’ve contributed something. At least I’ve done something that matters. 

And that’s reward enough for me.

To be in service doesn’t necessarily mean you have to do big things – service can lie in the little things that light up someone else’s life. It’s an energetic transaction.

The energy you get back is the pleasure from giving.

This coming year, think about being in service.
About doing what matters.
The rewards will be wonderful.

Crux de Ferro – Camino de Santiago

End of year audit and hopes for 2019 ~

As followers of this blog know, at this time each year I do an audit of what I achieved this past year, pegged against what I said I wanted to achieve – and I set out what I hope to achieve the coming year.

How did I go? I did some, didn’t do some. Here’s what I wanted to achieve in 2018, and what I did achieve –

  • PGS the movie will release globally and be a success.
    Yes it was released and yes it was / and is a success.
  • Jennifer and I will travel and help market and promote the film.
    Yes, we traveled extensively, met some remarkable people, had many sell-out screenings.
  • PGS the book will be published.
    Yes, I wrote and published PGS the book – an expansion on the film. It’s available here on Amazon – PGS the Book
  • JOURNAL OF A JOURNEY – the book on the making of the film – will be published.
    NUP – didn’t get around to this one. The book is largely written – 120K words or so – it’s a big book – but it needs editing and this year I had other priorities.
  • The first two PALACE OF FIRES books – INITIATE & UNHOLY – will be published by Penguin Random House to great commercial success!
    Yes – INITIATE was published in February, UNHOLY in September. INITIATE has gone into several reprints, and UNHOLY looks like it will go the same way. 
  • I will complete and deliver the third in the PALACE OF FIRES series – BEAST – to Penguin Random House.
    Yes, I completed this on time – 104K words delivered by the end of October. It was a huge task to tie up all the narrative threads from the first two books, but BEAST promises to deliver a fitting (and suitably scary) ending to the trilogy.
  • BUEN CAMINO, the feature film, will be cast and set for filming in 2019
    This didn’t happen, however the distributor in Australia, the sales company out of the US, and our co-producers in Spain now want me to make a film based on my Camino memoir, THE WAY, MY WAY, so I’ll be writing that this next year, and getting that off the ground.
  • I will walk 3000kms from my front door to the end of the world.
    This didn’t happen either. I simply had no time, and quite frankly by the end of October when I was due to set off I was so knackered by the writing of BEAST, plus all the travel and stress of the earlier months, that I wasn’t able to do it. 

What do I have planned for this coming year – 2019?

  • Continue the marketing and promotion of PGS the movie.
  • Shift into the educational side of PGS, through workshops, and online training. 
  • Write the screenplay of THE WAY, MY WAY – and begin casting and financing. 
  • Complete the manuscript of the third in the Palace of Fires trilogy – BEAST.
  • Penguin Random House will publish BEAST.
  • I will write my next book, a thriller called Again, I Die.
  • I will commence production on my theatrical feature documentary on fear. 

I’m not going to put my “Front Door” walk of 3,000kms on the list – if I have time, I’ll just do it. One day without any fuss I’ll simply walk out my front door. I would like to find the time, but I need about 4 months. 

I have interest from the Adult Commercial Fiction division of Penguin Random House for Again, I Die. They loved my treatment and now they want me to submit what’s called a “partial” – some chapters for them to consider. The pitch for Again, I Die is a cracker. 

Once again there’s a lot on my plate for this coming year, but I’m actually going to focus on doing one thing at a time, doing it as best I can, and finding time in amongst it all to relax, and think about things. 

My health this year is going to be a priority. 

A cool last minute Christmas gift idea ~

How about a Christmas gift that could change someone’s life?

Seriously. 

So many people have told us that our movie, PGS – Intuition is your Personal Guidance System, has changed their lives. What better last minute gift for Christmas!

It’s either US$5.99 for a two day rental, or US$16.99 for unlimited streaming – so it’s not going to break the bank. Just go onto the movie’s website – http://www.pgsthemovie.com – and follow the instructions. 

If you’ve already bought the movie for yourself, you’re going to have to clear your cookies to access the rent/buy page. If you have any trouble, just contact us at support@pgsthemovie.com

And have a great Christmas / New Year holiday. 

Bill & Jennifer 

Hope Bridges

I did a Facebook Live video the other day on the concept of “Hope Bridges,” and thought I’d do a blog too, for those that never saw the video. 

A Hope Bridge is someone who provides a bridge of hope from one part of your life to another. 

To give you an example: during the making of my movie: PGS – Intuition is your Personal Guidance System – at critical points in the production when I needed finance to keep shooting, various people at various times stepped forward and offered me funding. 

Sometimes these offers were considerable – in a few instances I was offered big bucks to complete the film. Sometimes I was left dangling for years – literally years. But for one reason or another, these offers never materialised. 

Often, fear kicked in. 

That’s ok – because I later realised that these people served an important function – with their promises of help they bridged me over a period where, had they not made that offer, I might have given up in despair. 

They provided me a bridge of hope during a vulnerable period. 

It’s easy to consider these people as giant time-wasters, energy-wasters, to look at them disparagingly and call them flakes, or worse – and there were occasions where we ourselves invested money, as well as time, in traveling to meet with them, take them out to dinner, or pick up the tab at lunch – not to mention the emotional investment involved.

And later, you discover their promises are worthless. 

Now I realise that wasn’t their purpose – that’s not why they came into my life. They came into my life to give me hope – sustained hope until such time as someone else presented that did step forward and enable the film to continue. 

So these people, who in another life I would have called nasty names, in this life I say Thank You! – for being a hope bridge, and for allowing me to gracefully transition across an abyss of worry and despair, so that I land on the other side, my hope fully realised.