JOURNAL April 2012
w Wil o l l o F at: com daily spot. g o l b 2. twars n a / / http:
Original photographs of Wilson used by kind permission of TamanduaGirl: www.livingwithanteaters.com
friDay Wilson has been reading articles about The Titanic in this month’s National Geographic Magazine, and while we were in Eastbourne he asked me to take his photo as he recreated an iconic scene from the movie. Since then, W has binned the Jerry can scheme (phew!) and decided instead to re-create Titanic: The Film. He has has already produced the poster and hopes to begin shooting the movie soon. To keep costs to a minimum, he intends playing all the parts himself, and right now he’s sitting in the living room fashioning a Captain Edward John Smith beard out of tumble-dryer fluff. Antony, Wilson’s plush toy anteater, will be chief cameraman; W says he learned a lot on the movie studio tour, and he’s certain Antony will be up to the job. As long as the camera doesn’t have to move, presumably. Wilson has not actually seen the film, so he probably doesn’t know about the nude scene…
saturday I purposely hadn’t mentioned April Fools Day traditions to Wilson, so I was surprised yesterday to find myself strangely disorientated. Throughout the morning he made tiny adjustments to all the clocks - each too small to notice - until I was shocked to find it was actually early evening and dusk was falling, and I had not yet had lunch! I dropped a hint about the CDs, and Wilson was pretty scathing. In fact, he said, ‘CDs are so totally 20th Century. Are you thinking of opening a museum or what?’ I pointed out that he had brought out two CDs himself, but he replied that the physical media were ‘merely to promote MP3 sales.’ sunday Wilson has been re-thinking his objection to CDs being too old-fashioned, and now he wonders whether he could open a museum of ‘old-fashioned things like CDs’ to raise funds for the Sloth Orphanage. I asked him what sort of things he could put in his museum apart from CDs and he told me, ‘Old stuff! Stuff people don’t use any more, like handsaws and floppy disks. TVs that aren’t flat. VHS tapes and newspapers. I shall call it The Wilson Vermilingua OBE Museum of Old Stuff.’ I objected that he sometimes bought newspapers himself, so they couldn’t be so out-of-date. ‘I only buy the papers when I’m in them,’ he replied, ‘to put in my clippings library.’ Because he is so young, anything more that a year or so old is ‘antique’ to him, but most people have still got things like that in their sheds, so I can’t see them shelling out hard cash to look at W’s display of it. It would be like a visit to the local recycling centre!
monday Wilson has now taken over the garden shed to use as The Wilson Vermilingua OBE Film Studios. He’s thrown out all the useful things, like the lawn mower, garden tools, recliners and so on - all of my things, basically - and he’s inside building scenery and ‘rigging lights.’ Notwithstanding all the work on the shed, we did make time to go shopping, where W was very excited by the amount of Easter Eggs on display. He’s really looking forward to Easter. tuesday Production of Titanic: The Film has started, but all is not going well. Antony (Cameraman) has been made to stand outside because of ‘artistic differences’ with the Director. (Bottom LH corner, if you look closely - does he look contrite yet?) When he’s had a chance to ‘think about what he’s done’ he will be allowed back inside to continue filming.
wednesday Wilson has grudgingly consented to let me see some ‘rushes’ from Titanic: The Film. He has tricked out the iMac look like a cinema screen so I could get the right contextual feel of the footage I was shown. After we’d watched the majestic opening scenes of the Titanic sailing out of Belfast Dock W asked me what I thought of the special effects, as he was a bit worried that his arm might be visible in one or two shots. I assured him that I’d barely noticed his arm until he pointed it out. thursday Wilson tells me that he is experiencing continuity problems during the filming of Titanic: The Film. In particular, he has to dry off his model Titanic very carefully after each ‘sinking’ scene. He also says that the Kissing scenes are especially difficult in a one-man show, and are causing Antony (camerman) many problems. However, he has shown me some very impressive footage of The Titanic steaming at full speed across the Atlantic Ocean. He and Antony filmed this at Hove Lagoon in front of a crowd of bemused onlookers.
good friday I’ve just had a call from Security at Tesco. I thought Wilson was in the shed/ studio filming Titanic: The Film, but it seems he’d snuck into Uckfield to do some lastminute Easter Egg shopping... saturday For years now I’ve enjoyed the University Boat Race. Wilson only found out about it last night, but since then has been looking forward to seeing 16 men pitched muscleto-muscle against each other. When the race started, he was astonished to see only two boats - he’d been expecting 16 rowers in 16 boats. I’ve always supported Oxford, and W chose to do so too, because ‘they have a nicer colour’, so we both feel totally robbed by the result. What a fiasco! I’m just getting Wilson’s Easter Egg ready for tomorrow. It’s a Thornton’s Dark Chocolate egg, filled with ants. You’d be surprised how difficult it is to make ants go somewhere they don’t want to go - I keep telling them it’s only until tomorrow, but still they keep escaping from the egg.
easter sunday In spite of the cold, misty weather I took Wilson into the garden for his Easter-Egg Hunt, and once heâ€™d found it he was very pleased with his main Egg! Unfortunately the ants had eaten away at the chocolate from the inside, but they hadnâ€™t consumed much and W said that it made the ants taste of chocolate anyway. Apparently in Costa Rica, chocolate-fed ants are a real delicacy!
Bank Holiday Monday Wilson ate all his Easter Eggs yesterday, and today he is a little poorly - he says he has a Chocolate Hangover and is going to have to de-tox for the next few days. Since he does all the cooking, I assume this means I shall be de-toxing too. He’s just been out for some fresh air and found another Easter Egg, this time in the front garden. He rushed back inside to show it to me and, notwithstanding his headache and nausea, immediately opened it. Inside, he found a piece of paper bearing the message, “I still love you more than ants…” and followed by five kisses. W snorted, and put the egg on the table next to Diesel; then he sank into his armchair and stared at it, broodingly. As today is a Bank Holiday, W has let Antony off filming duties. I suspect this has more to do with Wilson’s upset stomach and headache than a generous gesture towards Antony.
tuesday Well, who would have thought that Crawley had its own iMax Cinema?! Wilson and I have been to see Titanic: The Movie in iMax 3D. Never having been to the cinema before, W was very excited and made me buy far too much popcorn in the foyer. I shall probably have to see about increasing my mortgage to pay for that. The film was very long, and in spite of his excitement I’m sure W dozed off a couple of times, and also his 3D glasses kept falling off, but I think the film affected him. W was very quiet as we left the cinema and during the drive home. Eventually I asked him what he thought of it, and he told me it was quite good in parts and generally better than he’d expected, though of course, ‘not without its faults!’ Expanding on this, W explained earnestly that in film production there were many pitfalls a first-time producer/ director like Mr James Cameron might experience. wednesday Today Wilson showed me a still from the scene where the Titanic actually strikes the iceberg. Apparently Antony is supporting the iceberg in this shot, but I promised that I would never have noticed that and I had to admit that it looks totally authentic. No, really, I had to admit it!
thursday Wilson has just been explaining to me how difficult it was shooting the nude scene for Titanic: The Film. He told me that it was extremely embarrassing, and challenging to film tastefully. In fact, he filmed this scene on a ‘closed set’ with only Antony (cameraman and body-double) present… and even Antony had to wear a blindfold. I was very surprised by Wilson having a problem with this because, as I pointed out to him, he rarely wears any clothes, but he replied, ‘That is just nakedness - a “nude” scene is a different matter altogether... when I am Naked I am innocent, like Adam before his expulsion from Eden, but when I am Nude I have Knowledge and Know Whereof my Nakedness…’
I am very surprised by Wilson’s insight in this matter, but then, Costa Rica is a mainly Roman Catholic country, which probably explains a lot.
friday Following our visit to the iMax theatre, Wilson has just told me he’s thinking of releasing Titanic: The Film in 3D. I started to explain about twin-lens cameras and interocular distances, but W stopped me, saying, ‘It’s okay, New Dad I know how it’s done! I took off the 3D glasses during the film, and it’s just a trick. Look, you put on the so-called “special” glasses, but really they’re just sunglasses; they make the picture so dim that you can’t tell whether you’re watching 2D or 3D! And without them on, the picture looks like this!’ He showed me this 3D-ised frame from his film. ‘Anyway, Mr James Cameron’s film wasn’t shot in 3D either, he did it all afterwards!’ I do have some doubts about this. saturday Wilson is very proud of the sinking scene, which he has just shown me. He explained that while in Mr James Cameron’s movie the ship broke in half, he decided not to show that because it might be ‘too harrowing for the audience’. And he has to return the model Titanic to its owner in one piece. If possible before he notices that he’s lent it to Wilson.
sunday Having now seen Titanic: The Movie, Wilson is re-writing his screenplay for Titanic: The Film. He told me he was changing the ending so it wasn’t so ‘downbeat’. ‘You mean Jack’s not going to die?’ I asked him. ‘I mean the ship’s not going to sink,’ he replied. This is weird, because whenever I watch a documentary about the Titanic, I find myself thinking, ‘I think it might be alright this time’! monday Wilson is so pleased with the ‘sinking’ sequences that he’s decided to leave them in the film. However, in his radical re-write of the ending, the Titanic is saved and bobs back up to the surface. A new character, a humble stoker from Costa Rica, who turns out to be (surprise!) a brave anteater, dives down and plugs the hole with some ant-flavoured queque seco (a sort of Costa Rican cake) which he had in his pocket and had been saving as a gift for his girlfriend in New York. Mmmmmm, a piece of cake from a stoker’s pocket. Sounds... yummy.
tuesday Actual filming of Titanic: The Film has now ended, and Wilson has informed me that it is now in Post Production. This, apparently, can ‘make or break a movie.’ He has now ‘Struck the Set’ which means moving all his props, lighting, scenery etc out of the shed and moving in a load of useless old crap, because The Shed has now been re-designated The Wilson Vermilingua OBE Museum of Old Stuff. What with Post Production of the film, arranging all the exhibits in his Museum and preparing to open the gardens to the public, I really hope W hasn’t taken on too much...
wednesday Wilson is now busy editing Titanic: The Film. He says what he really needs is a Moviola machine or a Steenbeck desk; what he actually has, however, is a pair of scissors, a roll of Sellotape... and a tiny Steenbeck label to stick on his scissors. thursday You may have noticed that you’ve not seen too many photos of Wilson lately. Actually, he’s been dodging out of the way whenever I’ve produced my camera. When I asked him about this he told me that he was ‘limiting his exposure’ prior to the release of Titanic: The Film, when he planned a big publicity splash with ‘loads of invitations to talk shows etc.’ He said he was particularly looking forward to meeting Mr Jonathan Ross and Dr Mark Kermode the film critic.
friday When editing Titanic: The Film gets too much for Wilson, he has started relaxing by playing Draw Something with me and some of his friends. He is such a perfectionist that I canâ€™t begin to compete in the quality of his drawings! Strangely, even though his drawings are so excellent, still I sometimes fail to correctly guess his word. Much to his annoyance.
saturday Wilson has decided to raise some money for his museum by issuing a limitededition Titanic: The Film poster signed by the entire cast and crew. He tells me that this will be available from all good cinema memorabilia shops and also direct from him. Before the money from this starts rolling in, Iâ€™ve given Wilson a fiver to take to the many local Charity Shops to buy some exhibits for his museum. Heâ€™s there now, choosing what to buy. I do hope he doesnâ€™t buy anything too big!
sunday He spent some time watching The London Marathon on tv today - we were looking out to see his friend Jenny running, but we couldn’t spot her. All the time we were watching, I was dreading that he would announce he might run in the 2013 London Marathon - he couldn’t even watch it on tv without several naps! monday Wilson’s fiver apparently didn’t go far at the Charity Shops, so now he’s rummaging through skips. I really don’t approve of this, and I think I’m going to have to put my foot down. When he gets back he’s planning to start work on the cinema tickets and 3D glasses for Titanic: The Film. I told him that I’d assumed the cinema or the film distributors would take care of that sort of thing, but he explained that he didn’t want to leave anything to chance. tuesday Wilson has asked me whether it would be okay to put my iPad in his Museum of Old Stuff. I asked whether he wanted it for showing old films on or something, and he said he wanted it as an exhibit! AN EXHIBIT! My iPad! I was outraged, but he pointed out that it is only an iPod 1 - since that came out there have been the iPad 2 and the New iPad. Mine didn’t even have a Retina Display, and he intended to put it next to his display of printed books,
a fountain pen, a school slate and a box of Cosmic AntiDust blackboard chalks. I put my foot down, telling him that not only was it perfectly fine, it also had great sentimental value to me and had a very special laser-engraved message on the back. W was a bit grumpy about this, but he did promise not to sneak it into the museum. I think heâ€™s just hinting that I should buy him a New iPad of his own. wednesday Here are some car stickers Wilson has made for his friends to print out and stick in their car windows to make your friends jealous.
thursday Wilson has just announced that the post-production phase of Titanic: The Film is now complete! I’m impressed - he really has put his heart and soul into this project. I’d better make this quick because right now he’s waiting impatiently to get on the iMac so he can Skype some Hollywood execs to arrange a distribution deal. I fear that this might be more difficult than he imagines… friday Wilson’s birthday is drawing near. I know what he’d really like is a low-cost Positronic Brain with a USB2 connection for his Bear-Building Robot… but even when that’s finally invented I think it will be too expensive for a birthday gift! I keep finding diagrams like these all over the place, so W still thinks it’s possible to make this a reality. Also, if he ever does get to build his robot, he’ll start to worry whether it is ‘real’ and sentient... I know this anteater too well...
saturday So far, Wilson has had no luck in arranging a distribution deal for his movie. However, a moment ago he ran in to see me, very excited, to say he was listening to ‘the wireless’ and has just heard Mark Kermode, preview Titanic: The Film! W told me his review went: ‘What can I say? Titanic: The Film is bizarre, but mercifully brief. At seven minutes it is the perfect length - even one minute longer would have been too much, a minute less and there would be little more than the opening title and the end credits. If, against all reason, you do find yourself watching this film, whatever you do, don’t walk out before the end - you will be surprised by the ending’. I think this is a bit negative, but W is very pleased. He says the cinema posters will be able to quote Britain’s leading film critic!
sunday Wilson snuck out last night and fly-posted The Picture House with adverts for his film. Heâ€™s hoping that once the cinema-going public sees the posters and becomes aware of his film there will be a groundswell of opinion demanding a showing of Titanic: The Film at local cinemas. Reluctantly, Iâ€™ve grounded him.
monday Wilson is waiting for several Hollywood executives to return his calls. He is also grounded for his fly-posting exploit. However, he is utilising his time at home profitably by rehearsing his tours of The Wilson Vermilingua OBE Museum of Old Stuff. He does this by repeatedly giving me and Antony(!) a guided tour of what used to be known simply as The Shed. By now, there is not much that I donâ€™t know about the history of the shed and its contentsâ€Ś but at least he is waiving the admission charges for Antony and me.
A journal of my life with a talking anteater. I appear to have been adopted by a talking ant-eater called Wilson. This is my journal, listin...