Thursday 31 July 2014

Fireworks filmed from a drone

Remember that dream you had, about flying, maybe even flying through a firework show? This version of the dream was filmed with a DJI Phantom 2 quadcopter drone carrying a GoPro Hero 3 silver. 

(No quadcopters were hurt in the making of this video.)

Wednesday 30 July 2014

A spec screenplay, 1912

The stories came from everywhere, from gag-writing professionals, from the actors (Mary Pickford is credited with several), from Griffith himself. Some even came from the public. By now there were movie fan magazines, and Biograph, like other companies, ran a contest in their pages, offering a $100 prize and production for the best screen story submitted, the assumption being that anyone who'd seen a movie could write one. This ruse to get cheap material backfired; expecting one thousand entries, Biograph was flooded with ten thousand. There was no time or money to read them all, and besides they were either replicas of movies someone else had made, or if they were original, repeated the same story, invariably: an orphan boy or girl makes good.
    But the public finally came through—an unsolicited story dropped over the Biograph transom in 1912, titled The New York Hat, written by A. Loos. The story department, finding it cogent, witty, and entire, must have wept with relief. They bought it, and Griffith shot it with two leads, Mary Pickford in her last Biograph movie and a struggling painter named Lionel Barrymore.
                                          "What Happens Next," by Marc Norman.

Anita Loos (1888-1981) began writing as a child and by age 13 was already contributing stories and sketches to magazines. Her family moved to San Diego when she was a teenager, and she briefly acted in a theater company managed by her father.
    Loos went to work as a screenwriter while still in her teens, writing more than 200 movies that showcased such early stars as Douglas Fairbanks. But her real fame as a writer came in 1925 when she wrote a humorous novel called Gentleman Prefer Blondes, which she started while on a long train ride. She claimed she wrote the book, about scatterbrained blond gold-digger Lorelei Lee, as a spoof to entertain her friend, the writer and intellectual H.L. Mencken, who supposedly had a taste for brainless blonds. The book became an international bestseller, was printed in 14 languages, and ran through 85 editions. It was also made into a hit Broadway play in 1949 and a movie musical in 1953 starring Jane Russell and Marilyn Monroe, who crooned the famous tune "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend."
    Loos, who stood less than 5 feet tall and weighed only about 94 pounds, wrote several other plays and a memoir of her days in early Hollywood.


And, if you're in the mood, here's Mary Pickford's color screen test.

Tuesday 29 July 2014

Trial of Barnaby Finch

To swat or not to swat? That is the question an errant fly poses to our hapless hero, Barnaby Finch, at the penultimate moment of his job interview. Filmed in split-screen, the potential consequences of Barnaby's weighty decision ripple out in absurdist waves, cascading toward an unexpected climax in this 2.5-minute metaphysical comedy. 
Directed by: Sorrel Brae & Sam Stephens. Production Company: humble

Monday 28 July 2014

On Creativity

Superfad's documentary short film version of On Creativity was shortlisted at the OneScreen Film Festival. It should be of interest to all creatives.

Sunday 27 July 2014

Interview with Maree Giles

Maree Giles is an award-winning Australian author, editor, poet, journalist, creative writing teacher and mentor, the mother of two grown-up children, and a Parramatta Girls' Home survivor, who now lives in Toulouse in sunny south-west France. Maree has taught creative writing at some of Australia’s top Writing Centres and been a guest speaker at the Byron Bay Writers’ Festival and the Sydney Writers’ Festival. We met on Twitter.

Where were you born, and where did you grow up?

I was born in Penrith, New South Wales, when it was just a one-horse town, although I remember nothing about it. Not long after I was born my mother left my father, as he was involved with another woman. We went to live in Cronulla, on the edge of Gunnamatta Bay, with my grandmother, Daisy Entwistle. When I was six we moved to North Narrabeen, to a house overlooking Narrabeen Lagoon on the edge of Garrigal National Park and not far from the beach. It was an idyllic childhood but I was a
North Narrabeen
solitary child. I think this was good training for being a writer. I am not afraid to spend long periods of time on my own. I find being with people stressful, although I do love to socialise now and then, but preferably with people I trust and feel relaxed with. Being a Parramatta girl instilled a measure of distrust in people, so I am wary and try to avoid people who might hurt me.

What kind of a family did you grow up with?

I grew up with my mother and grandmother. My mother owned a hairdressing salon, and she was very focused on that. My grandmother basically brought me up. I had enormous freedom. She did not want me hanging around the house as she was not well, so from a young age, around three or four, I was out the door exploring the bush and swimming.
     My mother had a lot of male admirers, so there was never a shortage of men who wanted to take her out. She was stylish and beautiful, with a charming, naturally lovely personality that made her very attractive. But I don’t remember seeing much of her when I was little. We did have a trip to Hawaii and the States when I was six, on a propellor plane. She had met an American who wanted to marry her. We stayed with him in West Virginia, which at that time was plagued with racism. My mother hated the atmosphere and the segregation, so after nine months we returned to Australia.
     Because my grandmother was ill, my mother sent me to a strict Church of England private boarding school, St Catherine’s Girls’ School in Waverley, Sydney. It was unusual for a child so young to be a boarder—I was only six—but the headmistress made an exception. I made a lot of friends, but from the start I got into trouble for climbing trees. This was such a natural part of my life that I was shocked when the headmistress punished me for it.
     I had several female cousins who my mother enjoyed spending time with, but I found it hard to relate to them, being an only child. I preferred being on my own. It was difficult mixing and I always felt like the odd one out. It didn’t help that they bullied me. I was on the outside looking in—again, good early training for a writer. I’m very observant. I like analysing people’s behaviour and motives. In many ways a writer is an untrained psychologist. My mother says this about hairdressing. So, in that way, we are alike. We have a good understanding of people. It’s not a cynicism, it’s an awareness. With that comes a level of self-preservation. We have both been hurt deeply by people, and that also makes you cautious.

Where did you go to school?

When I was twelve, my grandmother died. Three months later my mother re-married. I hated my step-father and the feelings were mutual. Suddenly there was this stranger in our home, a man. We did not get along. I didn’t like the way he treated my mother. He was a bachelor and he brought that outlook with him into our home. I felt it was unfair on my mother. I became very angry and resentful and uncooperative. This was interpreted as rebellion, of course. I spent another two years at St Catherine’s, then they sent me to the local high school at North Narrabeen. 
    It was a shock going from a strict private boarding school to a more liberal environment. The school had a bad name at that time. Many of the girls had fallen pregnant. I was unhappy about going there as I was getting a good education at St Catherine’s. But my step-father wanted to save money. 
    On my first day at Narrabeen High I met the girl who was instrumental in changing my life. She was the opposite of me. Wild, promiscuous, crazy, fun. I was captivated by her daring and independence. She had a real zest for life that was dangerously attractive. I was growing more and more conservative at St Catherine’s, and I was sheltered from the cultural revolution of the 1960s. I knew nothing about feminism or the hippy movement and flower power, and even less about the Vietnam war. All of a sudden I was exposed to all of this. It was such an amazing time. My friend got me into live music and dancing, and hanging out at the beach with boys. So after the freedom I had as a child, and the lack of it at St Catherine’s, I once again craved the freedom I’d enjoyed when young. I think that has never left me, the need for independence.

In 1970, at the age of 16, you chose to attend Australia’s first-ever pop festival at Ourimbah. Three months later you were arrested. What happened next?

The Children’s Court in Albion Street, Sydney, committed me to Parramatta Girls’ Home for nine months for being ‘uncontrollable and exposed to moral danger.’ It changed my life and who I am, forever.

You departed Australia when only 17. Why did you leave?

I was determined never to go back to Parramatta. Many girls were in and out for years. I wanted to avoid that happening at all costs. But my original arresting officer, PC Reilly, a nasty woman, had other ideas. She stalked me, looking for a reason to arrest me again. I felt hounded and intimidated. So I decided to go to New Zealand. In those days backpacking had not yet become popular, so it was unusual for a young girl to go to a new country alone. But I went to make a new life, not to travel. It was difficult, but I made a success of my time there. I made new friends, studied journalism, and learned a lot. I spent eight years there and loved it.

When did you first take an interest in writing?

I was interested in reading and writing from a young age. It was my favourite subject at school. My grandmother and mother read to me every night, and I grew up surrounded by books. But it took many years to realise I could actually choose it as a career. I went into journalism first, because novelists seemed to me distant, mysterious figures who were somehow gifted and special. I did not think I could ever do what they did. It seemed like an unattainable dream, one that did not even occur to me. In those days there were no writers’ centres in Australia, no writers’ festivals and it wasn’t the norm to even go to university. The literary scene in Australia has boomed since I left in 1980. I think it’s amazing, and very exciting to think so many Australians love reading and writing. 
    When I was in Parramatta, my teacher, a Scot, encouraged me to write poetry and stories. She thought I had talent as a writer. She also got me to read out loud because she thought I was good at it. In that way being sent to Parramatta was a positive thing. Her support and encouragement is something I’ve never forgotten.

You wrote several stories which contain elements of your experience, starting in the late 1990s. Tell us a little about each of your books.

I am interested in adoption and therefore, in rejection—my father rejected me before I was even born, so I am able to relate to people who have had a similar experience, whether through adoption or divorce. I am also interested in absent fathers, and family dynamics. These themes recur in all my books. 
    My second novel, Under the Green Moon, is loosely based on my mother’s life as a young child growing up in Botany Bay, long before it was developed and had an international airport. There were very few houses in Brighton-le-Sands, where she lived. It was all sand dunes and creeks—beautiful and pristine. There was an Aboriginal settlement at La Perouse, and they often pulled into Brighton-le-Sands Beach in their fishing boats. I asked myself: what if my mother had befriended a young girl from the settlement? So the story went from there. 
    I loved doing the research for that book. Australian history is fascinating, and I learned a lot about the Depression years and early immigrants from Russia and Italy. I also weaved in elements of my mother’s experience with her first husband. At eighteen she was basically a child bride, a marriage arranged by her parents and her husband’s. He was a family friend, and although she liked him as a friend, it stopped there. He eventually went off to fight the Japanese in Borneo during the Second World War, and on his return he settled in Queensland and they got divorced. At one point they live in a deserted house near Penrith. This is also based loosely on my mother’s experience, when she was pregnant with me and my father rented a convict-built sandstone house in a remote valley. He wanted her out of the way so he could carry out his affair with a woman he’d met. 
    My third novel, The Past is a Secret Country, is also about adoption and separation. The story is about three sisters who are separated at birth and reunited years later as adults. I wanted to stretch myself further as a writer so I asked myself, What if two of the sisters were born black to white parents? I researched this subject and found that it has indeed happened. I was fascinated by it, and how the parents might react, and how the sisters would cope with being separated and adopted. Through my interest in Aboriginal culture and spirituality I thought it would be interesting for one of the sisters, the one who looks white, to be born with an innate Aboriginal spirituality, but not be aware of it until meeting her two black sisters. She is conscious of being different, but has no idea why, until meeting her two sisters. My research for that book taught me a lot about Aboriginal culture. It is complex and so misunderstood.

What was the path that led you to a Royal Literary Fund Fellowship at Kingston University, London?

I wanted to develop and improve my teaching skills and thought this would be a great opportunity to work at a university in London. So I applied. It was a fascinating experience. It is a role that also allows you time for your own writing, in a quiet space on campus. I worked with business and law students, which was quite challenging as they use language and jargon that was unfamiliar to me. It was my job to help them improve the quality of their writing. I met some very interesting people from all over the world—Russia, China, Malaysia, Indonesia, Poland, Greece, Italy, America. It was really satisfying watching their writing improve and this in turn being reflected in their grades.

I know you’ve been working on a screenplay. What is happening with that project?

I am working with the Australian film company, Aquarius Films. Their most recent feature production, Wish You Were Here, won several awards. I am heading up research on the project. We now have a professional screenwriter with a proven track record who is based in Los Angeles to write the script. This seemed a more sensible option than for me to try and write it as a beginner. Screenwriting is a special skill, and although I have learned a lot about it and worked with another producer on the same project, it’s a huge opportunity to work closely with someone so experienced and successful.

Do you have any advice for people who are thinking about writing something of their own life story?

In October this year, I will be running a Masterclass on Life Writing as part of the Parisot Literary Festival here in south-west France. My advice to my students will be to learn all the elements of writing fiction first. The craft of life writing or autobiography is the same as writing fiction. You need to pull all the same elements together: characterisation, plotting, showing not telling, dramatising events in scenes and using effective dialogue. Remembering also to include the five senses to bring the story to life and put your reader right there in the depths of it: smells, sounds, sights, taste, touch. So many people want to write about their life but they make the mistake of telling, and not showing, their story. When you have the above ingredients plus a good story, you can’t go wrong.

If you had to suggest just one book about writing to a newbie writer in Adelaide, which one would it be?

How to Write a Damn Good Novel, by James Frey.

I’ve got a comprehensive library of books about writing next to my desk. I can safely say that these equate to two, perhaps three MAs on creative writing. I am self-taught, and that’s fine. Writing is a skill that evolves and improves with practice and you can never know it all. I learn something new every time I write. That’s one of writing’s enduring attractions. I will never be bored as a writer. Words thrill, move and fascinate me.

What are your ten favourite (favourite, not ‘best’) movies of all time?

Life Is Beautiful (1997)
Volver (2006)
The Pianist (2002)
Walkabout (1971)
Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975)
Samson and Delilah (2009)
Rabbit-Proof Fence (2002)
Casablanca (1942)
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975)
Muriel’s Wedding (1994)

What’s next for Maree Giles?

The film based on Girl 43 and the story of Parramatta Girls’ Home. I’m also working on a collection of poetry. And writing the first book in a romantic adventure series set in the Australian outback, an idea inspired by Australia’s Queen of Etiquette, June Dally Watkins. June gets a lot of flak from people, they think she’s snooty, but she’s actually a really kind person, and her belief in etiquette stems from having respect for other people. 
    I think kindness and putting others first is underrated these days. Selflessness is out of fashion. As a result the world can be an unpleasant place. I am exploring this theme in the book, but there’s a lot of humour too—and romance. So it’s a big leap for me as a writer, although I’m still writing it in a literary style because for me the language is just as important as the story. I love building up what I call word pictures, layer upon layer, until you can see clearly the characters and scenes vividly in your mind. I love the shape and the sound of words and finding the most accurate word for the job. My most precious book is my thesaurus. Of course, you have to be careful not to use words that are inaccessible, you can’t over-egg the prose. I love condensing and editing my writing too—getting to the point without over-writing. It’s a balance. And endlessly creative and enjoyable. I can’t imagine doing anything else.

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Saturday 26 July 2014

'Round the World in 18 Songs

CDZA had the honor of performing at Google Zeitgeist, the annual intellectual summit held in Arizona. A global medley for global people.
1) New Orleans - Saints Go Marching In
2) Jamaica - Stir it Up, Bob Marley
3) Peru - A traditional Peruvian melody
4) Argentina - Por una Cabeza
5) Ghana - Atwer Abroba by Ebo Taylor
6) Spain - Traditional Spanish melody
7) Ireland - Rickett's Hornpipe
8) Italy - Paganini Caprice #24
9) Germany - Bach Prelude to Cello Suite #1
10) Hungary - []
11) Turkey - A traditional Turkish melody
12) Israel - Hava Nagila
13) North Pole - duhhhhh
14) South Korea - Gan
15) China - Galloping Horses (A traditional Chinese melody)
16) Australia - Down Under by Men at Work
17) My Heart Will Go On by Celine Dion
18) Sweet Home Chicago by Blues Brothers

And just to ease the pain caused by that mangled Australian song, here's the original.

No, no, not that version! This one. 

Friday 25 July 2014

The Wes Anderson Collection, chapter 5

Matt Zoller Seitz wrote a book called The Wes Anderson Collection, that deconstructs each one of Anderson’s films, from the cinematography to the set design. It is essentially a “book-long interview” with Anderson about everything that has to do with him as an artist, his evolution, his inspiration, and history.
     Then Seitz did the Wes Anderson fans of the world a huge solid by adapting parts of the book into videos. Here is the fifth in the series.

Thursday 24 July 2014

Dustin Lance Black shares his outlining method

Screenwriter Dustin Lance Black (Milk, J. Edgar) takes viewers inside his creative process in an explanation of his approach to outlining a script.

Wednesday 23 July 2014

Great Adventures

Gerard Lambkin's short film Great Adventures secured Best of Show as well as Best Narrative at New York's One Show - One Screen awards at the Sunshine Cinema, in New York City's Lower East Side, back in January.

Tuesday 22 July 2014

The making of 'Lagaan'

My experience of Indian films is that when they are good, they are very good, and the rest of the time, they're boring. Even with the dancing.

The first problem you run into when trying to identify some good Indian movies is the fact that Indians, between them, speak some 1,500 languages. According to the Census of India of 2001, thirty languages are spoken by more than a million native speakers each. When you apply that to mass entertainment, conflicts emerge. Ask your taxi driver for a recommendation and the answer given will vary with his language preference. 


I found a list of recommended Indian movies online a few years ago and showed it to an Indian woman who was studying in Adelaide. She had previously been employed in television somewhere in Mumbai. She was outraged by the list because they were all made by the 'wrong people.' I don't speak any Indian language; I just get by with the subtitles, so all the in-fighting is wasted on me. I just want an interesting story, preferably with readable subtitles.

One of the best Indian movies I have seen, Lagaan, revolves around a cricket match between untutored Indian villagers and the cream of the local British garrison in 1893. The film was the third-ever Indian film nominated for an Academy Award. It can be found on the list for The 100 Best Films of World Cinema. The soundtrack is listed on's The 100 Greatest World Music Albums of All Time.

Below we have the trailer and a video outlining the making of Lagaan.

Meanwhile, if you get the chance, try some of these Indian films. (I don't know what language they are in, sorry.)
3 Idiots (2009)
Devdas (2002)
Don (2006)
Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Ghan (2001)
Munna Bhai MBBS (2003)
Lagaan (2001)
Rang De Basanti (2006)
Veer-Zaara (2004)

Monday 21 July 2014

Danny and Annie

Danny Perasa and his wife, Annie, went to StoryCorps (one of the largest oral history projects in the world—each conversation recorded on CD and preserved at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress) to recount their twenty-seven-year romance. As they remember their life together from their first date to Danny's final days with terminal cancer, these remarkable Brooklynites personify the eloquence, grace, and poetry that can be found in the voices of everyday people when we take the time to listen.

Sunday 20 July 2014

Movies within movies

This celebration of cinema within cinema was put together by Clara Darko and
Brutzel Pretzel. It consists of 139 clips taken from 93 different films. Have a look and see how many you can recognize first, then scroll below the video to see the complete list of films used.

0:01 Ed Wood
0:02 Singin’ in the Rain
0:03 Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure
0:04 The Purple Rose of Cairo
0:06 The Aviator
0:08 The Majestic
0:11 An American Werewolf in London
0:15 Donnie Darko
0:17 Grease
0:19 Blazing Saddles
0:22 Annie Hall
0:25 The Final Destination
0:29 The Purple Rose of Cairo
0:31 The Majestic
0:33 Ed Wood
0:34 Annie
0:35 Holy Motors
0:37 Up
0:38 The Perks of Being a Wallflower
0:39 The Life Aquatic
0:40 Cinema Paradiso
0:41 Explorers
0:42 The Flintstones
0:43 Taxi Driver
0:45 The Third Man
0:46 La Haine
0:47 In the Mouth of Madness
0:48 Public Enemies
0:49 True Romance
0:53 Hugo
0:54 Curly Sue
0:55 Matinee
0:56 The Purple Rose of Cairo
0:58 Bachelor Party
1:00 The Shawshank Redemption
1:04 Cinema Paradiso
1:06 Avalon
1:08 Biloxy Blues
1:09 Scream 2
1:10 Gremlins
1:11 Inglorious Basterds
1:12 The Artist
1:15 Son of Rambow
1:17 All That Jazz
1:18 Twilight New Moon
1:20 Hannah and Her Sisters
1:22 The Departed
1:24 The Player
1:25 Taxi Driver
1:28 Pierrot le Fou
1:31 Not Fade Away
1:40 Who Framed Roger Rabbit
1:41 Sullivan’s Travels
1:43 Burn After Reading
1:44 Singin’ in the Rain
1:46 Cape Fear
1:53 Bonnie & Clyde
1:59 You’ve Got an Email
2:01 How To Lose a Guy in Ten Days
2:07 True Romance
2:18 The Notebook
2:20 Notting Hill
2:22 High Fidelity
2:24 Brokeback Mountain
2:26 Sunset Boulevard
2:28 Midnight Cowboy
2:29 Amarcord
2:32 Summer of 42
2:34 Diner
2:37 L.A. Confidential
2:38 Donnie Darko
2:40 Confessions of a Dangerous Mind
2:41 Lucas
2:42 Who Framed Roger Rabbit
2:47 Midnight Cowboy
2:47 Sherlock Jr.
2:49 500 Days of Summer
2:50 Twelve Monkeys
2:58 Last Action Hero
3:03 The Blob
3:04 Outbreak
3:05 Inglorious Basterds
3:07 An American Werewolf in London
3:08 Hardcore
3:09 The Tingler
3:11 Scream 2
3:13 Barton Fink
3:14 The Hard Way
3:16 Bachelor Party
3:18 Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure
3:20 An American Werewolf in London
3:21 Manhattan Murder Mystery
3:22 Saboteur
3:23 The Hard Way
3:24 Inglorious Basterds
3:25 Matinee
3:28 Gremlins
3:29 Gremlins
3:30 The Blob
3:32 Silent Movie
3:33 Twister
3:35 Cinema Paradiso
3:38 The Final Destination
3:42 Inglorious Basterds
3:43 Matinee
3:44 The Final Destination
3:48 Inglorious Basterds
3:53 The Cider House Rules
3:58 Sherlock Jr.
3:59 Cinema Paradiso
3:59 Inglorious Basterds
4:01 Waking Life
4:02 Fight Club
4:03 Sunset Blvd.
4:04 The Bad and the Beautiful
4:12 Catch Me if You Can
4:20 L’armée des Ombres
4:21 Leon
4:25 El Espiritu de la Colmena
4:29 Be Kind Rewind
4:30 Bonnie & Clyde
4:33 Interview with the Vampire
4:37 The Green Mile
4:39 Cinema Paradiso
4:40 Cinema Paradiso
4:43 Simone
4:46 Amelie
4:48 The Artist
4:52 Atonement
4:54 The Majestic
4:56 The Aviator
4:58 Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure
5:00 Ed Wood
5:03 Gremlins
5:05 The Cider House Rules
5:07 Hugo
5:09 The Purple Rose of Cairo
5:25 Singin’ in the Rain
5:36 Matinee

Saturday 19 July 2014

The Accordion Party

Sam Reider from The Amigos is here to show you just how widespread the accordion has been in starting every party throughout global history.

Friday 18 July 2014

Jeremy Irons shares some child rearing advice

This made me laugh, so I thought I'd share it with you. That's all. There's nothing deep here, in case you were wondering. It's all quite superficial, unless you have children. That might change things a bit. It's hard to say, really.

The Wes Anderson Collection, chapter 4

Matt Zoller Seitz wrote a book called The Wes Anderson Collection, that deconstructs each one of Anderson’s films, from the cinematography to the set design. It is essentially a “book-long interview” with Anderson about everything that has to do with him as an artist, his evolution, his inspiration, and history.
     Then Seitz did the Wes Anderson fans of the world a huge solid by adapting parts of the book into videos. Here is the fourth in the series.

Thursday 17 July 2014

Word Crimes

This music video is of "Weird Al" Yankovic performing Word Crimes, a track on his new album "Mandatory Fun."

Wednesday 16 July 2014

Shadows in the Valley

Roger Deakins has been at the helm of many of the most beautiful films of the past twenty years, including Skyfall (2012), True Grit (2010), A Serious Man (2009), Revolutionary Road (2008), The Reader (2008), No Country for Old Men (2007), The Ladykillers (2004), Intolerable Cruelty (2003), A Beautiful Mind (2001), The Man Who Wasn't There (2001), O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000), The Big Lebowski (1998), Courage Under Fire (1996), Fargo (1996), Dead Man Walking (1995), The Shawshank Redemption (1994), The Hudsucker Proxy (1994), Barton Fink (1991), Air America (1990), and Stormy Monday (1988).

This tribute video from Plot Point Productions puts his career into some perspective. Relax and enjoy.

Tuesday 15 July 2014

Top 10 Most Effective Editing Moments of All Time

CineFix put this collection together, based on a list published by IndieWire.
Skilled editing is as effective in the creation of a good film as a writer, director, or performer. Though often overlooked, editing brings shots together to make a whole greater than the sum of its parts. These ten movies are a fantastic illustration of just how important editing can be.

Monday 14 July 2014

Transformers: The PreMake

They've been making the new Transformers movie; still working on it. Meanwhile civilians have been making their own historical account of the process.

Kevin B. Lee just produced an excellent example of the new form of filmmaking, called Desktop Documentary, which gathers together the bits and pieces which have accumulated on the internet since filming began. 

Just have a look at this and you'll get the idea.

Sunday 13 July 2014

The Mother of All Action Heroines: Rose Sayer

Although The African Queen (1951) is a far cry from what we think of as action adventure these days, at its center is a female action hero we could all take a few lessons from.

The creator of this short video, Jennine Lanouette, is in the process of creating a series of e-books to examine other movies in this way.

Saturday 12 July 2014

History of Wooing Men

It all went downhill after 1996. Or uphill... depending on how you look at it. Featuring Dylan C. Moore.

Friday 11 July 2014

The Wes Anderson Collection, chapter 3

Matt Zoller Seitz wrote a book called The Wes Anderson Collection, that deconstructs each one of Anderson’s films, from the cinematography to the set design. It is essentially a “book-long interview” with Anderson about everything that has to do with him as an artist, his evolution, his inspiration, and history.
     Then Seitz did the Wes Anderson fans of the world a huge solid by adapting parts of the book into videos. Here is the third in the series.

Thursday 10 July 2014

Interview with Neil McGregor

Neil McGregor is an Australian director who lives in Vancouver, Canada. His short film Out of Sorts (2006) opened the Brisbane International Film Festival while he was still studying. His debut feature, The Little Things (2010), won numerous awards. Neil is one of the youngest people to be inducted into the prestigious Australian Directors Guild. He quickly established himself as working director. Some of his projects include high-end commercials, the comedy series Share House, and his documentary The Brisbane Bard.

Where were you born, and where did you grow up? What kind of a family did you grow up with?

I'm a Queenslander through and through. I was born and grew up in the eastern suburbs of Brisbane, Australia, to a father with a bloody good sense of humour, a mother with a heart of gold, and a sister who had great taste in music and films. It was your typical Aussie family. We lived in a modest house on several acres of bushland where I came to appreciate the beauty in nature. The older I grow, the more I see a part of each family member in who I've become. I have to give my parents the credit for encouraging me to do what I wanted in life, to direct films.

Where did you go to school?

I enjoyed walking to and from Capalaba Primary School, which was close to my home. My high school years were spent at Redlands College, which was a great school that strongly promoted the arts and further piqued my interest in pursuing a career in film. I was humbled to be invited back, a few years after graduating, to talk to Film & TV students and give advice on a career in filmmaking.

When did you first take an interest in movies?

That's something I've asked myself, but I could never really pinpoint a moment of epiphany. My parents often took me to the cinema when I was young, and would show films from their childhoods (the 1950s and '60s) on the weekends. My sister had a love of Australian films. I think that's where my love of cinema originated, in a culmination of events. I've always loved the power that films have, they let you escape into another world, but can stay with you long after the credits roll.

What was your first paying job (in any field)?

At high school I worked weekends at a Pet Store; I was surrounded by fish tanks and aquatic life.

What was your first paying job as a filmmaker?

Before jumping in the Director's chair, I began as a casting assistant and worked my way up to a Casting Director running my own studio, and cast numerous television commercials, television series and feature films. It was here I watched and learned how other directors worked with actors and learned what worked on screen and what didn't.

What prompted your move from Australia to Canada?

I had established myself as a filmmaker in my hometown, and interstate, in Sydney and Melbourne. I was securing regular work but wanted more from my films. I was stuck in a filmmaker's purgatory, with projects on the boil but nothing seemed to simmer. It was all taking too long on the back burner. 
    When you're at a creative crossroads, confiding in your soul mate is the best thing to do. She also worked in the industry, was stuck in a similar place in her career, and suggested we push ourselves outside our comfort zone. So we did, and haven't looked back since. 
    It was not easy starting from scratch, taking a step backwards to take three steps forward. I've worked AD crew roles on Godzilla (2014), The Interview (2014), Monster Trucks (2015) and countless television series, as well as directing television pilots, commercials, corporate and feature films in pre-production, as well as secured an agent.

What are the biggest differences between living in Australia and living in Canada?

Mark Twain is famously misquoted as saying, Everyone talks about the weather, but no one ever does anything about it. People in Canada talk of the weather, often. From the European-styled Summers, the rainy and leaf-changing Fall, to the freezing drizzle, rain and snow of the winters, only for the flowers and trees to blossom again with life. 

Coming from the two-toned seasons of hot, and not-so-hot, tropical Australia, watching the seasons change is the most striking and inspiring difference to living in Canada. It's also amazing to discover how much the weather affects people in their day to day life, while they remain so unaware.

Do you ever wonder if you’d have been better off moving to L.A. instead of Canada?

It was something I had considered and have made many trips to Los Angeles since living in Vancouver. Films with a global reach have, in their storytelling and the way they are made, universal elements. Where you live does not dictate success. Although
Hollywood might be the epicentre of the filmmaking world, most of their films are shot outside of L.A., many of them in Vancouver; and, now that I have a great literary agent, it makes it much easier for me to participate.

What practical lessons did you learn from making The Little Things?

Even with all the time, money and rehearsals in the world, your film will never become the perfect vision you embarked on, so be open to a spontaneity of the moment.

What are three things you wish someone had told you about making a living from movies when you were starting out?

1. If you like 9 to 5 business hours, film is not for you.
2. Not every goal you set yourself comes to fruition. It's the ones that come out of left field that bring the greatest satisfaction.
3. Focus on and enjoy the work itself; surround yourself with creative people you can collaborate with; build a team.

If you had to suggest just one filmmaking book to a newbie writer in Adelaide, which one would it be?

There are many insightful books about writing and the filmmaking process, but there is one book I turn to for characters and building a story. Will Dunne's The Dramatic Writer's Companion is a brilliant book for any screenplay writer, director or actor. I found it by chance in a quaint little bookstore, while taking a wrong turn down a street on the way to Big Sur, California, during a road trip down Route 101, and have barely put it down since.

What are your ten favourite (favourite, not ‘best’) movies of all time?

In no particular order:
Children of Men (2006)
Honorable mentions to Georges Méliès' Trip to the Moon (1902) and Chopper (2001). 

[Ed.: The one Australian film on Neil's list, Wake in Fright, was directed by a Canadian, Ted Kotcheff.] 

What’s next for Neil McGregor?

Between my long form projects, I direct TV Commercials, do some screenplay writing, and keep my creative mind active by working on other projects I'm developing. I have two feature films in early pre-production. One here in Vancouver, a slow-burn thriller based upon the traditional legends of the First Nations people of the west coast of Canada, titled On Savage Ground. Another is a character fantasy/drama titled Indifferent, to be filmed in Wales, UK. I have just secured Rory Taylor, the cinematographer of Dr Who, for that project.

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