Apr 30, 2010

Thesis Character Reference: Justin

The lead character of my thesis film "This Is Not Poetry".
Justin, 19
A young man out of school, and madly in love with a young girl in his lit class. He wants nothing more than to be with her, but does nothing more than dream and write about her. He is quiet, introverted and loves writing poetry. Writing is a talent of his.
The overall look of Justin has been inspired by my youngest cousin. I simply can't imagine anyone else than my cousin to play the role of Justin, but alas - restrictions, restrictions being that he is currently in Melbourne completing his IB course at school. I remembered he found his Doppelganger, a very accurate match with Joseph Gordon-Levitt. To me, he has a type of sullen look in his eyes. I love the humbleness he emits, and I think this would be key in the characteristics of my main character Justin.

I liked JGL in 500 Days of Summer, and could probably relate some of my film's concepts to it (including character similarities). I have heard some interesting things about Gregg Araki's Mysterious Skin and intend to watch it some time soon for character references.

Now, to find someone who possesses just that!

Apr 28, 2010

Jon Brion: Some Kind of a Musical Genius

Jon Brion is currently the best music discovery I've had in a long time, if not ever.

His music makes me feel both happy and melancholic at the same time, and it isn't one riddled with turbulence much like the rest of my busy life right now. Much like "Theme" from Eternal Sunshine in my last film "Night", I feel like he has written the songs to my life. I'm becoming really inspired by his music, from Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind right through to Synecdoche, New York's score - I think he is a genius.

If I find a composer who is influenced by Brion, I think my thesis film will be complete.

Apr 27, 2010

Green To Go!

So today we had to sit with our thesis teacher and basically pitch the project to her to be greenlit for production. I was fully prepared to be told I would have to do more work on the development side of things, including the treatment and shot list, but for some odd reason I felt the urge to just push for success.

Having heard we needed either a script or shot list to be greenlit, I immediately whipped out my laptop and began to write my shot list up to present in class. I spent at least an hour on three pages detailing the shots I wanted. Together with the treatment and example film (I showed her "Night", which basically demonstrates the style and shot-type I am after for this thesis film), I basically nailed my pitch and was given the greenlight on my project - given that I still don't have cast and locations organised.

The title of the film is "This is not poetry", derived from the thesis statement. Since I'm in a fairly good mood, here's the working synopsis of the film:
A young man with a penchant for poetry writes about his affection for a girl, only to achieve nothing but beautiful expressions of love and lust. He slowly becomes obsessed with his works just as he has with the girl, till he realises the only way out is to overcome his feelings – and as a result, destroys his memories of an unrequited love, with a click of a button.
And now the hunt for actors and locations begin.

I shall reveal more later!

Apr 26, 2010

Last "Night"

Since that last post about my thesis film, I have come up with a completely new idea and story which I am confident will make a great short film. It is along the same lines of my initial concept and thought, but down a different path.

The new concept or thesis statement is "May I remind you, this is not poetry". It will be a simple, under 10 minute short with a narration or voice-over of a piece of free verse poetry over images. That's about all I intend on giving away at this stage of time!

Yesterday I watched Michel Gondry/Charlie Kaufman's beautiful Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind for the fourth time, and it had made more sense than it did the last time I saw it. I found how much the film's themes and ideas related to my new thesis film idea, and found inspiration to adopt a similar Gondry style to my proposed film.

As I am supposed to have my film greenlit tomorrow, I decided to start writing a treatment for the new film, or some sort of a proposal. By the end of the day, I had not one word down on a document, but a two-minute short film titled "Night" inspired by Jon Brion (who composed the music on Eternal Sunshine) and Michel Gondry, starring my very helpful boyfriend, Kieran. The film is an extract of a young man's sleepless night. I'll eventually have to write that treatment tonight, but check out the two-minute short we shot and edited last night. Also, I shot this on my new Canon 7D with a 50mm f/1.8 prime lens. There seems to be a problem with the quality of the film as there are clear lines moving over some of the pictures. Nevertheless, it looks quite the success.

The song is "Theme" by Jon Brion, from the soundtrack of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

Apr 18, 2010

Writing My Big Thesis Film

I'm currently in the midst of writing a treatment and script for my final film, otherwise known as my 'thesis film'. We have been developing thesis statements in which we are required to explore a concept, thought or idea. The end result will be a film we would produce, direct and essentially make by ourselves.

I haven't been progressing as well as I should be, considering the thesis production period is in about 5 weeks, and I'm only just getting started in preparing for the major drama film I'm producing with my classmates. I only found out a few days ago that our thesis films need to be 'green-lit' by the end of this month, complete with a detailed treatment (including cast, crew, locations, possible budget, technical wants/equipment, etc).

My working thesis statement at the moment is "Feelings For Sale", which I shall let you interpret for yourselves till later down the track.

I don't particularly want to reveal as much about this project as perhaps being discrete could help me build the best film I can. Nevertheless, I will keep you as informed as I can about how the project shapes up as I get closer and closer to the end.

Here's a quote I found, which relates to my thesis statement to feed your curiosity:

"All the books we own, both read and unread, are the fullest expression of self we have at our disposal"

- Nick Hornby, author

Apr 15, 2010

"Accidents Happen": Yet Another Accident In The Australian Film Industry

I managed to catch an advanced screening of Accidents Happen starring Geena Davis yesterday morning, and felt that I needed to talk about the film as a clear indication of where this ignorant film industry is heading. Oh. Did I say too much for an opening sentence already?

I'll be curt here, so watch out.

Accidents Happen is the result of a very poorly opinionated, dumb film industry in this country. The film, short and pointless story short, is about a dysfunctional family with the Midas touch of bad luck. Geena Davis is probably the only big name among the cast, including some fairly 'big' Australian television names (ones I am not going to bother looking up, anyway). I believe the crew is mostly if not completely made up of Australians, including Elizabeth Mary Moore who gave a talk at our school about production design.

The only thing I liked about this film was the production design. The look of the sets had a glowing, warm 80s feel, which I found very appealing. I liked the way Moore decorated the rooms and managed to fill every space while being both expressive and 'natural'.

Now apart from that, the film just didn't work for me. Bluntly speaking, Accidents Happen was complete and utter shit. How the Australian film industry has allowed for this to first of all, be funded by Screen Australia and secondly, get Hopscotch onboard as their sales agents (possibly distribution?) - well, I don't know. Looking back on all the films that have come out from the Australian film industry in the last year, I think this has to be one of the worst Australia has produced. It's clear that they've tried hard to make it something more than your average My Year Without Sex and Charlie and Boots. Heck, they even casted Geena Davis as the foul-mouthed mother of the unfortunate family. If that isn't desperate enough.

The writing was a fucking disaster, I'll be perfectly honest with you. All of Davis' lines were one line jokes, and when she wasn't telling one, she was either cussing or grunting through her plasticised lips. The supporting actors failed with their American accents, which made their already unnatural dialogue look completely awkward between the actors who were meant to be acting out a 'drama'.

Right, now here is where I began to question the state of this film industry - how could our industry's professionals let a film like Accidents Happen, well, happen? To be funded by Screen Australia, they would have had to sell the story or make use of some form of bias made through relationships (just someone I know who knows someone who is married to someone with a sister in Screen Australia). That being said, all films that go through Screen Australia go through a process of some kind. Okay, straight to the point: these films that come in the form of treatments would be analysed by a group of professionals, who decide whether they'd like to fund the project or not. Now, with a film like Accidents Happen, I wondered: who in their right, dumb mind said yes to allowing this terrible film to be produced?

Kieran has so rightly said time and again: the Australian film industry is made up of two factors: women, and business-minded people. I can see the latter being logical, but if you haven't noticed already, this industry is full of women who don't know anything about film (apart from Jennifer Anniston's latest film, and Gerard Butler's body awesome new rom-com), and don't have the balls to properly critique a film made by the industry they work in.

It's true. I saw Bright Star, directed by Jane Campion (who also did The Piano). The amount of women the film appealed to was astounding, yet the film lacked any substance. There was no plot, no storyline and no character development in my eyes. I had seen better period pieces from the roots of Jane Austen and the likes of the British film industry.

The general audience are totally soaking up all of this shit coming out of the Australian film industry, and it's working in a cycle. People pay to see these movies, while later on their damned, filthy mouths speak words of ignorant delight, which in effect sells these craptastic films throughout the community. It happens in a chain reaction, and once it starts, it never stops. It's just really sad that nothing can be done about it. You see lots of independent filmmakers trying to make it in this industry, only to be shot down by big funding bodies like Screen Australia and distributors like Hopscotch based on the fact that "it's just not appealing", yet you see films like Beautiful Kate and Lucky Country that make absolutely nothing in the box office. There is no wonder everyone is moving overseas, making it around the international festival circuits in hope for some attention and money. And there is no wonder everyone is flocking to the internet for the same reasons too.

Perhaps, I am simply living in a film-based apocalyptic era, where only a precious few of us quietly build our secret, independent society of film-makers and industry professionals who actually know what they're doing - and more importantly, an age who knows exactly what they're saying. It truly angers me to know that there are films like Accidents Happen out there in cinemas with wide theatrical releases, and big name funders and distributors attached. It frustrates me more when fellow industry professionals lie through their teeth about these films based on facts like "it's not patriotic to say it sucked" and "I know someone who worked on the film, isn't it amazing".

But till that day we finally break out of this spell, I'm going to do my very best to start this revolution. The Australian film industry doesn't need REVIVAL. It needs to be left behind, and started anew.

Rant aside, I rated Accidents Happen 3/10.

(I was extremely generous, only for the production design, and nothing more)

Apr 14, 2010

Tully's Recall

My boyfriend has finally popped his blogging cherry and if only I wasn't this crude about everything has just opened a blog about film and other things. He doesn't know it, but he's a great writer. Check it out.

Apr 13, 2010

I could be a champion of sorts


This is awkward.

My last post was about a week ago and it was only a plug. I hope you haven't been assuming the worst, as I have (honest to the blogging Gods of the interwebs) been genuinely busy with the two internships I accepted not long ago and school.

I recently just started a two week, 30 hours in total Pro Tools sound editing/mixing workshop, which has been occupying me over the weekends. I've also been busy producing my second major drama film at school, which I have yet to realise is nothing but a mistake I will regret by the end of semester. Don't get me wrong though - I do enjoy being producer, and I love the power of management. In the long run, I am aiming to develop myself into that sort of organised, managerial role.

Apart from that, I have been managing two internships, one of which is 110% more demanding than the other. At this stage, I'm unsure if I can last with this one internship. For now, I must persist.

I am currently writing my thesis (final Diploma) film now which has to be greenlit in 3 weeks (complete with treatment and/or script, actors, locations and the whole lot), which will be a huge challenge with everything else resting on my shoulders. If I can get through this next couple of months, I think I might come out a real champion of sorts.

Apr 7, 2010

"My Paper Mind"

Let this blow your creative minds.

"Inspired by the Stratacut technique, Stratastencil is an additive process. Stratacut removes material to reveal another layer, while this technique adds another layer while still showing the layer before it. In this case, the material is paper, but I look forward to applying the concept to other mediums as well."

Apr 4, 2010

"4907" Goes Online

4907 from Fan Chan Pictures on Vimeo.

Any constructive feedback would be highly appreciated.