Sunday, October 23, 2011

What a shitty week

My grandma's in the hospital and they figure it'll be any day now. She's 96 and has had a pretty amazing life. Just last month she was out to conferences and out doing social things. Still, am afraid to open my email every day expecting the news. So it was an extra shot in the junk today when I checked my mail to find out our beagle, Molly, had to be put down. She was a great little dog, happy, curious, playful and loving. She was 16, which is about 96 in dog years. Go figure.

Anyway I'm a little broken hearted to say the least.

The other day I was sitting at sidewalk cafe table drinking a cappuccino and working on a short student film I'm editing. This drunk homeless looking aboriginal man had been stalking the sidewalk for a while, slugging a brown paper wrapped bottle of something and randomly asking for change. God knows we owe it to him. I don't know how good you are at your job, but this guy is an absolute prodigy at being a drunk homeless guy. If anyone deserves additional remuneration for their efforts and expertise at their chosen vocation, it was this guy.

On his third fly by of this particular row of cafes he stops at my table, looks at me and says, "that's dirty!" pointing at my Mac. I look up at him, his lips flakey and dry, teeth rotting and yellow from what I would assume is the result of years of crack or meth abuse. Noting how much he spit when he spoke, I covered my coffee with my hand.

"That's fucking dirty!" he reiterated, pointing again. "You should get a fucking life, your pathetic!" he slurred, struggling to to maintain his questionable balance.

"I've got a life pal, why don't you walk on now" I muttered, looking around the sidewalk for help from the other caffeine junkies on my block, most of whom are now engrossed in their newspapers, or some insignificant irregularity in their table cloth that has become monumentally important for the time being. Thanks

My domestically challenged friend launched into another tirade about how disgusting and pathetic I am when I finally looked at him and said "Im just trying to do some work here pal, go away please"

Now here's something interesting about people of an ethnic descent with a history of being displaced by invaders resulting in cycles of poverty lasting decades if not centuries. They don't like being told to go away. It's like the statement some how justifies or encourages the attempted genocide, or extermination of their culture. Now I've pissed him off

"oh, you'd fucking like that wouldn't you?" he spat with venom.
"yes, I would I replied, that's why I said it" a replied. Well, that confused him. It's like I used Eddie Murphy's Jedi mind trick on a dried out old crack head Mr. T. With that, he wandered away cursing the white man.

By this point I'm flying. Adrenalin had me all pumped up and spoiling for a fight. I'm in no mood to edit the kids movie I've been trying to cut. So I just sat there, drinking coffee. After a few minutes it dawned on me. The guy, the homeless guy that called me a pathetic loser, he wasn't relly being a dick. I thought he was paying me out for working on my computer at a coffee shop like some prissy wanna be script writer dying to be seen (guilty). But, now that I think about it, I think he was making a joke, like I was looking at porn on my computer and was trying to embarrass me, the way I would do to a buddy. Like that email that went around a few years ago that when you opened, it showed porn and a siren went off drawing the attention of all your coworkers, who would then bray like jackasses at your stupidity.

So, assuming I'm right, all that adrenaline and anger was over a joke that I misunderstood. Well, jokes on me then. Sorry homeless guy.
Homeless craziness -1
Wannabe script writer -0

Monday, October 3, 2011

Making movies - Freelance work

Here's an interesting thing about freelance work in art. A lot of the time you work alone. Hell, MOST of the time you work alone. The meetings, consultations and all that jazz take up only a small percentage of your time, its the actual production, where you roll up your sleeves and get things done where you spend the bulk of your time.

Here's an example. Take my upcoming job editing "The Fence" a short film a friend is producing. I will no doubt spend about 40 hours in the editing suite getting this done. The first 5 will just be organisational. They're shooting RED so I'm sure they will have overshot the hell out of everything. So I'll have to go through and pick out the usable takes, get rid of slates and end cuts.

The time actually working with the director and producer on this project will be quite minimal, until we get to the end of the edit. After that we will be living together for the next 30 hours or so hammering out the little details. Which take should we use to show the little boy's reaction. How many frames should we sit on that reaction before the cut. Which direction do we grade...etc etc.?

Happily I'm working with a team of editors during this project. We are all regular FCP users who are simultaneously learning Avid and have decided to work together to help each other grow as editors. This should be a fun, yet frustrating experience.

Another project I'm doing for the fence is creating a children's book as a prop. I sat down with the director, over the course of a few meetings, for about an hour, hashing out ideas. Now that we know what we want, I have to create it, which involves actually painting in the studio for several hours creating this book, then bringing that work into the computer digitally, fixing it up and sending, adding the text and creating a version for the print shop to produce the final product for us.

Working alone can have serious pitfalls that can slow down or even stop your workflow in its tracks. You need to have constant communication with your client. Missed communication can mean spending hours on an idea they didn't necessarily want, or is fundamentally flawed over some small detail. Sometimes this is just the product of the creative mind expanding on an already great idea. Other times it is a simple misunderstanding of the facts.

Lack of communication can mean waiting for important details that will allow you to move forward. Downtime is expensive. It can also mean not being privy to changes in a project. Often the off site supplier is forgotten in the decision making process when they can provide valuable information that may sway a decision one way or another.

Freelance work is a great way to earn a buck. You need to be disciplined, smart and open to alot of new ideas. The key creating a good working relationship with your clients, especially if much of your work will be off site and solo, is to keep the channels of communication open. Having those channels closed can be time consuming and costly.

Insomnia cures in australia

So I can't sleep. I went for a walk, watched tv. A friend suggested warm tea. Yeah I don't have tea.

So i decided to take matters into my own hands tonight. I made a turkey sandwich. With cheese. And a glass of wine. And a beer. AAAAND one of these ingenious little blue things that my doctor prescribed (not Viagra, moron) but they knock me right out. Usually. I'm REALLY wired tonight. HOWEVER, I think with my turkey, dairy, alcohol prescription medicine regiment I should be alright tonight.

In the mean time, Happy Days is on.

Insomnia on the high seas - Things to do late at night

So, the other morning I came home around 5 am and I was still wide awake. This whole insomnia thing is driving me nuts.

Last night I stayed up and was watching the Love Boat. They show reruns of shitty 80s tv shows here in the middle of the night. Like home.

Anyway. Gopher fell in love last night. To a beautiful rich italian girl who had a horrible italian accent. It was a to be continued episode. So I have to watch tonight to see how it turns out.

But then i realised, when I woke up around noon, that EVERY night, some staffer on the Loveboat falls in love. I mean, I've seen the captain fall in love at least 3 times, Adam ( the doctor, but we're on a first name basis, it is my blog) has fallen in love with several women an even married a russian...gymnast? contortionist? violinist? drunk? one of those stereotypical russian thingies.

TheLoveBoat_S1V1.jpgThis is my 5th time seeing gopher fall in love. And it occurred to me. Most cruises are between 5 and 7 days aren't they? Can someone fall in love, on a boat, in that amount of time? I mean, I'm suppose its possible. But then, lets say the crew is actually falling in love when they do. They must be falling out of love by the time of the next sailing. So they're falling in and out of love in the span of a week, once every couple of weeks. I think they should be aging faster.

The last time I fell in and out of love I had most of my hair. Ok, that was a while ago, but there is a noticeable difference in photographs between now and then.  Now, given that effect on me, I think it shows, scientifically, that the crew on the love boat are FAR too young looking to fall in and out of love so many times every year. Gopher still has all his hair, its not even grey. Isaac's fro stands as high as ever. Julie doesn't even have crows feet. And the doctor, well, lets be fair, he's probably been shooting himself up with HGH for decades. He could be 120 yrs old for all we know.

Television is full of shit.


I have two followers on my blog! AND THEY'RE CHICKS!!  I feel as popular as Tom from MySpace!

Ok, bye.


Sunday, September 25, 2011

48 Hour Film Fest

Four friends and I entered the 48 hour film fest. We showed up Friday night, paid the $50 and got our package. We picked a genre out of a hat. Time travel. Cool. Then they announced the other elements we had to include:

Prop - A piece of chalk
Character - Stephanie or Steve Palmer, a chef
Line - Something's not right

We left the theater at about 730 and went to Maccers to hash out an idea (Maccers is australian for McDonald's) Several ideas went around the table. Going into the future to find out what people will order before they do, going into the past to take credit for creating the world's best dishes, a bucket of chicken that lets you travel through time...

We settled on not too distant future where all the world's chickens are destroyed by avian flu, and a mad scientist who just wants an omlette.

We shot near the school in Redfern. Think forest lawn but with crazy people, drunks and assholes wandering around everwhere drunk. While shooting on one corner we had to stop because a screaming match broke out between a guy on one side of the street, and the butcher on the other side. After that we had to stop because a small aboriginal man decided we had "killed all the indians and were stealing from the abo's"

So I made an executive decision to move to our shot inside the nearby store. We grabbed the gear and moved inside. Buddy then stood outside and screamed at us through the windows. Sweet.

We got our shots and moved outside again. This time a car screeched to a stop so the passenger could lean out and yell "You're the ugliest mother fuckers I've ever seen" This coming from a toothless fat man.

Tired of this we moved up the street to get another shot. About 10 mins in a carload of tradies from the nearby construction site drove by and screamed "You fucking faggots" and spit at us. SPIT at us. FFS. Who spits on people. We wrapped after that.

We ended up getting the movie edited in the car on the way to the drop off point. We arrived just in time to drop off the film and headed home. We watched it complete for the first time at Maccers on the way home. It's not too bad. I'll post it up here soon.

Being true to one's self

I've heard people say that, if you want someone to like you, you should just be yourself and speak from the heart. I think that's good advice. Unless you're weird. Then you should hold back a little at first, and ease into being yourself.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

National Beer

Oh, so after my food rant I thought I'd hit up a beer rant. Not really a rant. A, noticement. Yes. Something I've noticed. Every country has a beer. Most have several.

In Canada we have several. There are the big breweries, Labatts, Molson, Moosehead, Keiths, and smaller microbrews putting out gems like Propeller, Thirsty Beaver, Innis & Gun and probably thousands of others. Unfortunately the Americans have started sending their sexing in a canoe northbound. I read recently that Budweiser, the king of awful swamp piss, is now the number one beer in the country. I blame that fully on drunken asshole wannabe cowboys during Stampede who believe that the superbowl Clydesdales really have something to do with beer. In Canada you say cheers by clinking your glasses together and saying "cheers!". Or, if you're French "Sante", or even "Salut", which is what the Italians say. I don't know what their beer is.

In Cape Breton you might say Slainte, due to the desperate clinging to celtic roots they're doing there.

In france we drank this stuff called 1853 or something like that. French beer isn't great.

In thailand they had 3 major beers i noticed. Chang, Shingai and Tiger? maybe. I know there was a third. You say cheers there by saying "Chok-tee" In Cambodia it was Ankor. Truely great beer. I had so much I don't remember how to say cheers there.

I have several Swedish friends here in Aus. They say Skaal, which sort of sounds like Skoal. Here in Aus there are several major beer labels. VB seems to be a working class beer. Its good I think. There's Tooeys, XXXX, and Carleton as well. They have many smaller breweries making some really great beers. They say cheers here.

I met a girl from Austria this summer and we hung out for a few days. They speak german there. She told me that they say Prost, which is specific to cheersing beer. There is another for wine, and yet another for good health. Too much work. Prost it is.

The most common beer in the world is Henekein, which is dutch. They say Proost. Thats easy to remember. They're close to the germans, so is their cheers.

On that note, I'm about to have a corona with my fajita! Salud!! (Spanish for cheers)

The Australian National Food

Australia doesn't have a 'food'. You go anywhere around the world and there tends to be a national dish, or, in larger countries, regional dishes. Now I love food. I love going to places and finding new food. So travelling around recently has been a bit of a treat food wise.

In Thailand we had tons and tons of Pad Thai,  and in the South, Massaman Curry. In Cambodia I discovered Lok Lak, this amazing, sort of Lemon Grass curry. In England I had fish n' chips and scones, in France I had baguettes, wine and cheese, and amazing 4 and 5 course dinners. In Scotland I tried haggis. Never again.

Back in North America there is a huge diversity in regional food ownership. In Canada we've taken maple syrup, donuts and bacon as our own (bacon in the rest of the world is not the same.) America has the hot dog.

In New Brunswick we have poutine and lobster. La Belle Province also lays claim to pouting, and the dubious honour of being the fattest province. The only separation going on there is the mitosis of engorged fat cells. Alberta has steak. Oxford NS has blueberry pie. Newfoundland has boiled dinners, cod cheeks and flipper pie. In the southern US the barbecue is so good it could make a man weep, and different places have a different idea of what BBQ is. Books have been written on the subject. I had bbq in Austin that made me question the existence of time itself. Texas has Tex-Mex. San Francisco has crab places dotting the wharf. Chicago has pizza. New Orleans has Jumablia (I've never been, but apparently the food in NO is amazing and diverse).

Poor ol' Australia doesn't seem to have their own dish. The pubs all serve schnitzel. But thats German. You can get Kangaroo, but its not really popular. It's good, not popular. So I think Australia needs to work on creating a national dish. I don't know what it could be but they need to get on it. There are millions of Kangaroo, so that is a front runner. Most people don't eat it though. I've yet to see it on the menu here. Shark are becoming endangered so thats not a good choice for mass consumption. I think killing Koala's is illegal...Look, I'm not saying I have the answer. I'm just saying they need to have a think about it and come up with an answer. And schnitzel doesn't count. Ok, i'm off to have a fajita.

Petit Miam

jerry-maguire-kid.jpgmultipacks.aspx.jpgIf there's two things I hate its child actors and the French butchering the English language. Let's face it. Most child actors are awful. Except for that kid in the 6th Sense maybe. There might be another one who wasn't bad. But for the most part, they're about as good as the artwork they bring home forcing their dutiful parents to litter their refrigerators with so much wax covered refuse.

And the French. For the love of God, it's TH. Not D. How hard is that really? I mean, LITTLE kids can pronounce TH. You're telling me an adult Frenchman can't press his tongue against is front teeth and blow? You're not even trying!

In all honesty, the French accent isn't as hot as it is in the movies. There are a few rare exceptions. I had a 23 year old blonde neighbour who managed to make it sound like a chorus of drunken pillow fighting angels. But thats it.

france-flag.gifWell, the two banes of my existence collided recently when a television station here in Aus started showing an ad for some sort of kid-targeted yogurt. The premise is this: They named the yogurt Petit M'iem, which is damn near impossible for a four year old to say. So they hire a four year old to say it. Over and over. He stumbles and stutters through a rambling story about the benefits of this fruit filled vomitous dairy cocktail. Each time he gets to the stupid product name, and stuffs it up, his older, obnoxious, precocious sister corrects him. Smug little brat. If I wanted to hear a stuttering French kid talk about dairy I'd go to france and find some special school for kids with speech impediments, slosh my way through the saliva coated floors and find some poor wretched farm kid and ask him what le Vache does.

Honest to God, if the representive from Yoplait were here right now, I would throw them in a pit in my basement and force them to eat gallons of shitty yogurt that I would serve to them via a basket on a string. If they didn't eat it they would get the hose.

Here is an open letter to Yoplait. Dear Yoplait. Fuck off. The Petit Miam ads; not cute. Annoying. I hope your marketing person gets some sort of lactose intolerance disorder that causes severe bloating and noxious gas when they even think about yogurt.

Monday, September 12, 2011

I yelled at a homeless person

I'm usually pretty laid back, but every once in a while someone really pisses me off. Tonight, on the way home from the grocery store, this really drunk dude comes up to me, quite quickly, and starts asking for change, I said no sorry, and he stepped in front of me and told me to give him a chip (there was a bag of chips at the top of my grocery bag) I said no again. He stepped in my way again. So, I don't know why, but I yelled at him and told him to get the fuck out of my way.

Anyway, that lead to him following me down the street asking me where exactly my way is that he should get the fuck out of, screaming that he was going to kick my ass, telling me to suck my own dick and, at least once throwing a very dramatic karate kick to illustrate how exactly proficient his ass kicking skills are.
He almost fell  over.  The drunken homeless aren't that flexible.

Ska Weekender

I saw a poster for a "Ska Weekender" Turned out it was a boat ride along the harbour with 4 ska bands playing as we went along. I called some friends and convinced 7 other folks to go with me. We had a bbq at a friend's place at 11.  It was great, burgers, sausages, corn on the cob...perfect.

We hit the peir at 2. The instructions on the tickets were vague, didn't say exactly which pier we were supposed to go to. It didn't take long to figure out the pier surrounded by kids with cheap fedoras, bowlers, mohawks and suspenders was the right one.

We loaded up and were out on the harbour by about 2:30. For the next 4 hours we got to listen to some pretty solid ska. One group even had a 3 piece brass section which was very cool. About half way along some jackass started a fight so they let him off at the nearest dock. Of course he wandered up the stairs from the dock with his shirt off, waving his arms in the air like he'd won something. I love stupid.

The rest of the cruise was alot of fun. We ended up back at the wharf just as the sun was coming down. We hit an afterparty for a bit then hooked up with friends at an irish place. Pretty good night all in all!

Here's pics:

The Adventures of Jimmy NoShoes: Dangar Island

A friend mentioned, what seems a lifetime ago, this little island an hour away where a bunch of artist live. They have a jam night the first Friday of each month. Over the last few months we've tried to make it up there but its never happened, too busy with school.

Right now a few of us are waiting to hear if our script ideas will be selected to be made into short films by the school, so we have some down time. (My script is not being considered at the moment, because, obviously, the people that run the school are not only incredibly stupid, but they have no sense of humour).

I got a text the other day, "Platform 9, 6:45" I headed down around 6:30 and ran into my friends heading the other way through the tunnel at central station. There was an accident somewhere up the track, and after some confusion (we sent our talled swede to figure it all out) we eventually got on the right train. We arrived at our stop, Brooklyn. Deserted. No people, no ferry, just a place to sit. We found a phone number for a water taxi and booked a trip across, for about 3 times the cost of the ferry. Supply and demand.

We arrive on Dangar island around 9...ish. We wandered a short distance to the lawn bowling club, thats where jam night is. There are no cars on the island, it's quiet, you can see all the stars, dogs run free. It was pretty cool. We ran into a lady who's friends with my buddy Dan. She took care of our bags and stuff for us and we enjoyed some music. The talent was pretty amazing. One girl got up and played some dixie chicks songs and was incredible. Then they broke out the digereedoo for some weird experirmental jazzy kind of stuff.

When they closed the place down they let us get some to beer to go and we were invited to go hang at Jimmy No Shoes place. Jimmy's an artist, and an former sound engineer. I'm not sure if there was electricity there, but he did have goon, which is a nasty boxed wine they have here. We sat and chatted and about life, and sound and the little island we were on.  Eventually someone came and brought us to a new party.

At the second party we sat around a fire and drank beer, while someone played the guitar (it wasn't me but it was still good). Later, the digereedoo guy from the bar started playing. It was a really cool relaxing evening. Eventually we moved down to the beach to watch the sun come up.

We left a note at our host's place at about 730 am and headed down to the dock to catch the ferry. We had to take a couple of buses home because the trains weren't running.  We stopped at a great breakfast place on the way home and got bacon n' egg rolls.

Pretty good weekend.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Sydy Streets

See what I did there? Sydy? Pretty clever right.
So, last week was our break. I needed break, hell I EARNED a break. I've been working my ass off. Its 1am and I'm still at school. I work, go to class, do school work, work at my other job and then go to sleep. I didn't take a break, I decided to work. I need the money and its been too long getting stuff sent off to the office so I busted down and worked. When I wasn't working I was doing movie software tutorials.

One night I was at school late and one of the staff was locking up and asked how long Id be. I said no worries, I'll lock up when you go, I know all the alarm codes etc. So he says, ok, just be careful when you leave. I must have looked at him funny because he continued to say that one of the boys got mugged the other night. Walking home late, 2 dudes walked over to him and demanded his wallet, not smart enough to realize what a camera bag and laptop bag looks like, they walked away with a few bucks.

We go to school in a rough area. Think Forest Lawn in Calgary, or east end in Moncton. I wander around fairly oblivious to all that because I don't tend to get messed with much. My friend that got mugged is a 120 lb italian guy who looks like a strong breeze could knock him over.

Since then I've started to take more notice of whats going on around me. There is a huge homeless population here. More so than Calgary. There are people sleeping everywhere some mornings. The parks, alleys, doorways. They rarely pan handle though. It happens but not as often as home. You can't walk 10 feet down 17th without some guy asking you for a dollar. In Sydney the homeless guys do this thing where then put down their hat then kneel down before it like they're praying to Mecca. Sometimes people approach me for money and its always a specific amount. Usually 2 dollars. Inflation man.
Giant world heritage listed Coke sign at Kings Cross

The other night I was walking home from Kings Cross. Thats the Red Light District here in good ol' Sydney. Lots of strip clubs, bars, and hookers galore. Me and a buddy met some folks to see a band at a pub there. Believe me, I'm not above strippers, I just can't afford it. I was heading home and I got to my street and these four dudes were standing there. One of them throws his hands up in my face and makes some sort of gang sign or something. I just kept walking. Well that really riled him up. The nerve of me ignoring his flamboyant gang sign. He started yelling that he was going to kill me. Kids.

On the way home there's a motorcycle shop that usually has dozens of bikes out front. At night there are none. Apparently some jackass thinks its cool to knock over bikes. I've had this happen to me twice, on both bikes I've owned. Very annoying. I did the responsible thing, took a picture and ran away.

Theres a lady near the school here that feed that stray cats at night. She just dumps cat food on the ground and dozens come running. Not scary but what a weird hobby. 


Other than that I really haven't found Sydney to be all that scary. I found out some of the guys at school find me scary so, it just goes to show that Australian guys are candy ass bitches who need to back up before I go off. Well, now that I've tempted fate...time to walk home through Redfern. Knock on wood!

Ice in Oz

So here's something kind of funny. Aussies bring in ice an attraction to outdoor festivals. Bear in mind that its winter but it's still around 10-15 degrees during the day here.

I was jogging the other day and I passed this park and they had this set up. They rent them these bright orange skates that fit over your shoes and people skate around for a half hour or so. They had one set up at the beach the other day too. People were surfing while others were ice skating.
Pretty funny if you ask  me. I don't care if you didn't ask me.

Dawn at the rink

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Diary of A Film School Student

When you read about writing, the one common thread you'll see is how much work it is. Its a labour of love. You have to write. Then rewrite, and review and rewrite. The problem with screenplays is once you understand the format, how little you can actually put into your story.

A screenplay is a blue print. Its an outline. What you write is what can be seen on the screen. You can't write what someone is thinking, unless you plan on showing it somehow, a voice over, a flash back. Something.

I recently started writing a story based on a photo from a newspaper I'd picked out. It was part of a writing exercize for a class. So I wrote and wrote and got a story I was happy with and presented it to the teacher. He liked it. Said so. Had me read it out in class. Then he decided that what I wrote wasn't fiscally feasible for a student film (one of the guidelines of the project) so I rewrote the setting to fit an aussie landscape. Presented that. Well recieved.

So I show up to class on Tuesday and we had classmates read our scripts outloud, different people playing different parts, the author reading the big print. (the actions, the scene info etc) Suddenly, my script sucks. They can't "relate to the characters". There's nothing that "grabs" them. FFS!!

So now I'm rewriting it again so that it grabs people. Hey...have you ever thought of going to film school? really? Be prepared for the occasional kick in the nuts.

It's worth it .

What I learned from Taxi Driver

Film festival is this week. A chance to show all our hard work to the waiting world! As you can imagine, it's a stressful week. There is a lot of pressure on first time directors, producers editors and sound people to put their best foot forward and represent not just our own work but the work of the camera crew, production designers etc etc.

It's been a mad dash to the finish for us. Getting final cuts, last minute changes, music selection, sound mix, colour grading, exporting to a file the festival needs, transferring data to the festival organizers, writing up synopses-es and statements from directors. It's all stressful and time consuming.

Tonight I sat around and listened to some students discuss the merits of two digital camera... Red and the new Arriflex, duscussing lattitude and other equally exciting technical aspects of the new digital realm debating which on they'd rather the scho should by for them to use next term. For three guys who have never shot a real film in their lives, nor put their hands on either camera, they spoke with the confidence and expertise of grizzled hollywood veterans.

So a couple of us went out to see Taxi Driver at 7 over at the Danby Theater in Newtown. It's this little boutique style theater in a trendy neighborhood frequented by students and lesbians. Mmm, lesbians... I digress, um, right, Taxi Driver. Brillant film. Put boylth scorsece and dinero on the map. The film was shot in 76. At the time Eastman Kodak ws supplying fairly shitty 35 mm film. Taxi driver is grainy as hell, and typical of many 70s flicks, it the colour isn't perfect. In darker scenes the black is too black. The contrast is too high in spots. In others they desaturated the film to take the red out if the blood so they could get an r18 rating.

Given all that, it's still a great movie. Sit and talk about lattitude and resolution all you want, fact is, you can make a great movie with grainy film. No one in the audience gives a shit if you've memorized a bunch of spec sheets.

Halfway through the movie it stopped, froze, then restarted... Out of sync. The projectionist stopped it, took us back to the place it freaked out at and hit play. Life goes on. It will be the same at our student festival. Glitches will happen. Things will have been missed. Life will go on.

I'm glad I went to see Taxi Driver tonight. Ive learned so much!

So I'm An Actor Now

I'm holding an audition for a promo I'm doing the other day and some buddies are holding an audition for their Thesis film. Oh, actors suck by the way. They don't show up to their auditions for non paying gigs. Fine. Give me a call then, just let me know. But no, these precious thespians can't be bothered. Bite me actors.

Anyway, I'm waiting for some guy who isn't going to show up. I go chat with the boys and their actor isn't showing up. I ask about the project and they're tell me about it, they're casting a bad guy. Then one guy looks at me and goes "You'd be a good bad guy!!" They hand me the script and tell me to get back to them. Just like that.

Script is good, I sign on as "DARK FIGURE". You always capitalize the important things in a script. Thats me in this instance. First rehersal I'm a half hour late (Told you actors suck didn't I?) They're cool with it though. Really first rate guys. I go through the lines with the other actor, who's a good guy too, the director's happy, producer's happy, it's on.

5:30 cast call on Thursday. Running on 3 hours and fighting a cold. No problem. I'm not supposed to look good. I'm the bad guy. We hit a servo (Australian for service station) and get brekky (Australian for breakfast) Meat pies. They love meat pies.

We then drive out to the country to this national park. Its gorgeous out there. We get onto this old deserted road. The whole scene is there, on this deserted road. We started shooting early, sun barely cracking the treeline. These guys are great to work with. Couple of takes and we're out of every scene! 

Late in the day, I'm giving a long speech to my victim. The camera is on him for the take. But he's not feeling it. So he asks me to slap him. Slap him. Cool. So, I slap him. Not too hard, apparently I don't know my own strength...Ive knocked a few people over in the halls here by accident (they guys here are kind of feeble for criminal stock) But the guy is black. So now i'm worried I've committed a hate crime. But then I'm like, its Australia, I think I get a parade now! Kidding. Sydney is a wonderfully diverse melting pot.

The next day I'm hanging out and it turns out the sound machine we were using didn't work. I was doing sound on a guy's movie and the part of the psychologist was played buy a teacher from the school, just a voice over. The VO got ruined. So the teachers no longer available, and the guy is scurrying around getting people to say the lines. Actually he was just standing asking people who went by. I happened to come out of the edit suite and he said, "How did she say the line?" I said it and his buddy was like. Get Luke to do it. Now I'm a voice actor.

Isn't life funny!
(ok i'm not like a real actor, but I've acted in 2 student films...thats cool right??)

Wednesday, July 6, 2011


I headed out to get a bite to eat the other night during a marathon editing/searching for music for the movie we're working on.  A friend suggested this chicken place around the corner. Ok fine, yeah chicken, deep fried chicken, sounds great. SO I go in and order a 2 peice meal with chips (what they call fries down here). Anyway, its a pretty good deal. Until. I go to walk out. I turn and look at the gentleman behind the counter. "Oh, hey, can I get some ketchup with that?"
Dude looks at me, and, I'm not kidding, looks at me and says "Sauce is 30 cents."
Are you freaking kidding me?! Thirty cents for some ketchup. After I spent 7 bucks for 2 little tiny peices of fried chicken and some potatoes, that have clearly been french fried, masquerading as chips?
I looked at this fine entrepreneur and said "Really?"
He just looked back at me and blinked. I turned and walked out, never to darken their doorstep again.

KFC pulled the same stunt about 2 months ago. I haven't been back there either.

A couple of days ago I stopped at the hotbread place up the road from school. I asked for a schnitzel. I get a schnitzel there once a week or so. She starts to make it and I say, "yeah, can you put BBQ sauce on that?" She looks at me, and with no amount of shame whatsoever says "Sauce is fifty cents."
I just looked at her. "You're kidding"
She just looked at me.  "Yeah ok, fine, here's another 50 cents." Normally I'd revolt boycott the sauce at this point on principle, but really, a schnitzel without sauce is just too dray and bland to be choked down.
But, there are several hotbread places in the area, I am now boycotting "Terry's Hotbread." Bite me Terry!

Anyway, my point on this whole sauce thing is that, I think if someone is spending good money at your shitty little hole in the wall eating establishment, you should give them some free ketchup for their fries. I mean really? Whats next? 10 cents for each side of the bun? 15 cents for napkins? Where does it end?

Thursday, June 16, 2011

One More Reason Why Vancouver Sucks

Way to go Vancouver. A riot? Really? A hockey riot? The only other city that does hockey riots is Montreal...You don't have the pedigree for a hockey riot. And I have no love for Montreal. Tell you what Vancouver, do something amazing sometime. Become a dynasty team. Become a team that breaks records. Become a pioneer and you can earn the right to have a hockey riot. Right now, you're just a spoiled, pathetic embarrassing excuse for a city. Fuck you Vancouver. Fuck you.

Drinking with the swedes again

I've made friends with these three swedish girls from school.  Not only are they really good around a camera, but they're alot of fun to hang out with. 

The other night at about 11 I got call from one of the swedes. I was going to turn in early but, what the hell, they were at a bar just up the street. I wandered up the road. When I got there I saw the girls and a friend of theirs, a girl from New Hampshire. Nice girl. Had no idea where New Brunswick was. We'll not hold that against her though.

One of my friends has a broken foot from a drinking accident. These things happen. Being the nice guy that I am I offered to ferry drinks from the bar for her. On one trip a very attractive woman ran her hand down my back and then turned around like she didn't do it. So of course I called her on it and ended up chatting with her. Unfortunately she was boring as hell. Oh and she wasn't interested in me, she was interested in the three swedish chicks; who were all making out at the time.

So, me, the three Swedish chicks, the chick from New Hampshire and the Aussie lesbian all started drinking. I was going slow because I had things to do the next day. One of the swedes left and wasn't allowed back in. The drunk lesbian started telling me how much she hated me. Then she started really hitting on one of the Swedes, which sorta freaked them out. The girl from New Hampshire told me she wanted to make out with me. One of the swedes went to find the swede that got kicked out. Appearantly the burger place accepts people too drunk for bars, cause that's where she ended up.

The bouncer came over and told me the lesbian had to leave. I told him I didn't know the lass. He told me that she's been sitting at my table. (Typical bouncer logic) I told him she's been sitting at lots of tables, but I didn't show up with her, I ain't leaving with her, if she's gotta go, that's his problem. Well, he didn't like that much, but I was still standing so there wasn't too much he could do. Plus he was confused now.

End of the night, 2 out of 3 swedes are booted out, our new lesbian friend is on a couch crying on some other girl, the girl from New Hampshire gave me her number and I walked home. Ok, not a barn burner of an evening  but, hell, what'd you do this weekend?


I miss hockey. I really do. Not so much that I want to see the Bruins and the Canucks play for the cup. God. Who do you hate more? The Cancucks obviously, but then again do you want to see the cup go to the states AGAIN? Hmmm.

So the other day I was speaking to one of the directors at school and we got to talking about AFL. Aussie rules football. I had mentioned that i wanted to go catch a game. Well, it turns out he's a huge fan of the local team, the Sydney Swans. Don't let the name fool you, these guys are incredibly tough. The next morning I got a call quite early, about 10am (it was Saturday, gimme a break), and the directors wife decided she didn't want to go to the game that day so he asked if I wanted to go. Apparently he's got season tickets, which they call a membership here, and never misses a game.

The game played was between the Sydney swans and the Tigers. I can't recall where the tigers are from. It was pouring rain. Leslie (the guy who took me to the game) introduced me to all the other members in our section and was kind enough to explain the rules to me as we went.  There was a lady in front of us who was at least 70 who was screaming with pure venom at the umpires. A tigers fan in front of us was losing his mind when the calls didn't go his way. Much like home.

The sport is pretty wild. 18 players on each side. 4 umpires (refs) 2 endzone officials and a couple of sideline officials. Plus there are people running out constantly to bring messages to the players, and people with water bottles too. So it looks like organized chaos out there.

Here are some differences between Canadian sporting events and this one. Not one single person got into a fight, or at least tried to fight someone wearing the wrong jersey. The aussies have the common sense to cover parts of their stadium, so when its pouring rain, let alone snowing, the fans don't catch pnemonia. Season ticket holders, or members, get a scan card with their seat number on it instead of a book of tickets. At the concession stands they don't sell burgers or nachos, but they do sell fish n chips and meat pies. Now, given how hot and warming meat pies are, I think this should be a new Canadian CFL tradition. Just a thought.

Here are some similarities. The concession stand in Australia do like to bend their fans over and give em a nice high hard one for the privilege of eating shitty concession stand food, just like Canada. The ride home took twice as long as it should have. At half time they had some local kids come out and play a smaller version of the game. Thats great! Thanks for shelling out for some entertainment team owner. But keep exploiting kids, that's good.

Anyway, I had a great time. AFL is a great game  and its a great plug for the five hole in my heart!

Next game....Rugby union!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Vegetarian Non alcoholic Indian Movies

Went out for a birthday party this week. Went to a place called Godiva. Indian food! Sweet!

So we get there.Smells good. Oh wait...somethings amiss! VEGETARIAN INDIAN FOOD! Dammit!! Sigh. Ok, no problem. I'll try it. Hey, how about a beer while we're waiting? Hmmm...something else seems amis! NON ALCOHOLIC BEER!? Dammit! I had a full on Homer Simpson moment.

The meal was actually good. Love a buffet. Eat till you can barely move. Come to find out, there's a movie theatre downstairs. AND they don't have seats, they have these big cushions you lean back on. AND its only $10. Movies here are insanely expensive. So this is great news!


Sydney is incredibly expensive. My neighbor lives in a small one room place and pays 300/week for it. Oh yeah, under the equator they charge by the week and water swirls the other way in the toilet. To offset this dramatic upshift in the cost of living I took a job as an apartment manager. That means I have to put out the garbage, write a weekly report (its usually late) and check people out when they move out. For these tasks I get my rent reduced to 80/week for an incredibly small apartment. About twice the size of a prison cell. With grill and my own shower.

When a friend of mine moved in I hadn't checked the room out yet. I mis understood the process. I thought the last group was moving out at 2 on tuesday, not that she was moving in at 2 on tuesday. So I show up to clean and the place is a disaster. Oh, and she's moved in. And cleaning. And angry.

Anyway, I offered to clean but she was already into it so yeah...that was that. She complained to the company, I explained what happened, I apologized again. All was right with the world. Except...the previous tennant left bed bugs. That the new tennant inherited. And it was my fault that it wasn't caught before she moved it. She had to take a day off work because the itching was so bad. Apparently they like the warmer parts of the body, underarms, groins....  Its amazing weve become friends. She made me spanikopita one day.

This other guy moved in recently. I had pulled an all nighter that day and didn't get home from school till about 6pm the next. It was friday, I was beat and crashed, out like a light by 730. At 830 he called to say hi. Then he asked what time a good time to call would be. I told him if he needed something he could call any old time. He said not to worry, he'd never call reallly late like after 10 or something. I told him that if was important enough to call me a at , it would be ok to call me after 10. I thought that he might get the hint.

He just called me to let me know his vaccuum isn't working. FFS. It says right on the rental agreement that for shit like that you need to log a report with the rental agency. But, its easier to call the guy downstairs. God knows I've got a stock pile of vacuums stored in my incredibly tiny $80/week apartment.

Another guy came by tonight. "hey, there's water leaking from our shower into the kitchen"
Me: "did you log a report on the website?"
Guy: "No"
Me: "you should do that"
Guy: "Oh"
Me: "'member the last time this happened?"
Guy: "yeah"
Me: "member that I said you should log it on the website?"
Guy: "yeah"
Me: "So its the same thing right?"
Guy:" yeah"
Me: "I'm gonna get back to making my omlet then"

Oh, and no one here speaks english as their first language. Bed bug girl - French. Water in the kithcen guy - Danish. Guy who keeps parking his truck in the back where he's not supposed to - Irish.

Anyway, off for a run with the bedbug girl.

Bollywood BABY!!

So my friend Sam calls me the other day. I'd just stepped into the shower, but answered the phone anyway. Why do I do that? So there I am dripping on the carpet telling him that I just got back from shooting a doco 5 mins before. He asked how tired I am, I say am fine, whats up? You wanna be the focus puller on a Bollywood movie in Strathfield?

Well where the fuck is Strathfield I ask, not that it matters, I'm going to say yes.

I dunno, says Sam, you can take a train though, its in the city.

Yeah ok, what are the details?

You need a focus pulling kit.

Shit, I don't have one, nevermind, I'll call around or pick up the gear I need....Uh, whats the directors name?

Guy's name is Shane, give him a shout. I'll be joining tomorrow I just happen to be out of town.


So I call the guy, get the details and grab my shower. FINALLY a hot shower. I call around and I can't get the stuff I need so I hit a hardware store for a tape and get some markers and gaffer tape from a new agency (Magazine shop back home) and hit the train.

I show up about 2 hours after I got the call. Oh hi Luke. Hi Shane. We're just setting up. Sweet.

Theres a massive gaffer truck outside with a HUGE generator. They type you tow. The gaffer is the dude that does all the lighting. This guy's got tons of it. The house is brand new and huge. And spotless. Almost no furniture. Inside I meet who I think is the producer, Stanley. Really nice guy. I speak with the gaffers, they're cool. Some dude named Nate was there, he runs his own production company, just starting out, hoping to get some work with Stanley in the future.

Suddenly people show up everywhere. All these old indian folks. Apparently we're shooting a party scene. So we take some measurements and start to film. The thing is, Shane isn't the director, Stanley is, but he's not really directing, he's kind of producing. And theres no AD. So no one is running the show. So Shane is sort of running the show. We film a few scenes of this STUNNING girl coming down stairs to announce the start of the party. Then we film some mingling, a close up of the girl again, then a guy coming down the stairs.

Suddenly, everyone is gone. Like that. (Picture me snapping my fingers) Like that. (Good) Now, for some reason, the people who own the house have a stage build in front of a window in the front room. What we find out is that there will be three dancing girls on this stage doing a routine. Traditional indian dancing, but kind of modernized and super sexy. The girls show up and they are gorgeous. Drop dead gorgeous. The only problem is, no one rehersed their routine with the stage.

We set up to shoot while the choreographer goes through the motions. 3 hours later, listening to the same shitty indian pop song watching these girls do the same three things over and over and all of a sudden they just decide to leave. Bang. Gone. We're standing their with this set up ready to go.

I'll shorten the next days story. about 2 hours set dressing, they decide to go back to the way we had it the night before. 2 or 3 hours standing around while they reherse. We finally get the shots. Then they reherse the stair part. Candles everywhere, one girl dragging this veil down the stairs, she alost lights herself up as the veil goes through a candle. About 9 my buddies leave. At 11 I left to make sure I can catch the last traing.

The next day I hear that just after I left there was a huge blowout. The producers husband ( oh, Stanely's not the producer, this lady that's been hanging out and is really annoying is the producer, she's a doctor and finanacing the whole thing. First movie, knows nothing about making movies juest always wanted to make one.) ...anyway the producers husband comes out, tells everyone to fuck off and get the hell out of his house. Apparently an entire day of listening to the same shitty Indian pop song (its actually pretty good if you're into pop) has a negative effect on the aged.

At the end of the day (2days) I made 200 bucks ($40 of which i spent on supplies) and I haven't been paid yet.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The things you learn

My most recent project was a documentary about Sufism . Click the link, I won't attempt to explain it in detail. Basically its a kind of religion with roots in Islam and many paralells to Buddhism. Its about being in the moment and understanding that the moment changes.

Anyway, dude in the Blue Mountains is a teacher of Sufism. Cool guy too. American from Cali. Grew up just after the Height Ashbury days.  We chatted about all the cool spots there are to visit in California as I told him about the bike trip I did there a few years ago. He told me about all the hippy rockers hes met, including Jerry Garcia.  Speaking of which, this guy is also a composer, and a fairly talented one at that, as well as having an interest in film and is piloting a TV series.

Last weekend he and, I'm assuming his wife, or 'partner' at any rate, invited us to stay and film "Sufi-night", a non denominational evening where people could come and learn about Sufism. Much of the teaching was parables, and the poetry of a guy names Remi, a 13th century intellectual. It was a long day, we filmed till about 9 and then hung out for a few hours. I was the camera guy, which is alot of fun. I tried to be creative and film all sorts of things to jump to during the interviews. Its harder than it looks.

Everyone went to bed at about 11, so 2 of the guys and I went outside and smoked a joint on the deck. I've never smoked a joint on a holy man's deck before, but I think we were in the moment, so it should be ok. At anyrate we didn't do it to be disrespectful, it just seemed like a damn good idea at the time.

The next day we shot some interviews of people who study Sufism, the girlfriend of one of the students who is not involved, and the Shake (leader). He then took us downstairs and played some music for us. It was excellent.

We then drove home. The ride back was quiet. I jumped out downtown as we were passing a park close to my house.I walked home feeling tired but pretty ok. I needed a shower, and I was covered in bug bites from being out in the country. Mosquitos are rampant there. 

I walked through the door and dropped my kit and turned the shower on. Just as I stepped in  the phone rang. It was my buddy Sam calling to ask if I wanted to work on an Indian action movie with a Bollywood dance scene.

Ok then....

Monday, April 4, 2011

The diary of a film school student - Cinematography

"What'd you do this weekend?" she asked me.
"Well, I put rails on the ground then pushed a guy with a camera down the rails on a little wagon called a dolly."
"Why'd you do that?"  I can smell half a carton of Camels, or whatever they smoke here, on her breath. Its nice.
"Well, so we could get the shot we wanted."
"Why didn't your mate just carry the camera across?"
I'm feeling quite patient tonight...
"Well, cause your footsteps make the camera sort of bounce on your shoulder, so we make like, tracks sort of, and then it moves smoothly"
"Yeah well, maybe your camera guy should practice. Sounds like a waste of time to me."

I guess that's what you get for drinking at the local bar on a Sunday night. Not that I was out drinking on a Sunday night. I went out for a beer down the street to get out of the house for an hour after spending about 5 hours struggling with a POS computer that doesn't like it's new 3D program.

This weekend was actually pretty damn cool. Spent Saturday working indoors on a set setting up camera arrangements, and light readings. You ever notice those little numbers on an SLR camera lense. 1.4, 2, 2.8, 4, 5.6 and so on? Those control the aperature. Each number is a stop. That means that if you move from 2 to 2.8 you've gone 1 stop, and you've just cut the amount of light getting into the camera in half. You knew that though.

Here's something you might not know. Film only sees about 7 stops. So if you're looking at something kinda grey, you can go 3 stops in either direction before that grey thing looks pure white or pure black. Thats what those little light meters photographers use are for. To figure out if what you're taking a picture of is going to turn out.

The next day we went outside. Shooting with film outdoors can be a nightmare. A cloud can turn half your picture into shadows. Clouds come from no where. Clouds don't care what we're doing down here. Oh, and here's something else. The moves. So, that great reflection you got at 1, its no longer there by two. Which sucks because your focus puller needed to take measurements, so did your DOP, and the actor wasn't quite getting it, and for some reason the camera guy couldn't see through the eyepeice, turns out it was simply the shutter position, and  it took about 40 mins to get set up. Oh and the guy in the corner, now he's so far in the shade that he's completely dark in this aperature. Damn.

But the cool thing is learning from people that actually do this for a living. People that have seen the pitfalls, know what's going to go wrong, and think of things you haven't thought of. Even cooler, is they don't tell you, they let you flop, and figure out where you went wrong.

All in all a very good weekend.
Oh, the chick from the bar thinks I'm pretty stupid. I told her I'm American.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Diary of a Film School Student - Producing a Short film

I've been having brutal insomnia. I don't know why. Had a long day yesterday, went for a run with the girl next door, should have slept like a drunk baby. Ended up watching Mork and Mindy, the Dukes of Hazard and The Love Boat reruns till almost 5am.  Slept through 'an audition' which isn't a big deal because I'm not an actor and they had just asked if I wanted to try to fill in for a single scene in a student production. One of the guys is really pissed but to be honest I'm not here to make friends and I really don't care. Wow, thats callous! Ok I do care a little but really....

Had a meeting with my mentor today for my Producer's role. I thought I had everything together. Nope. Need to find a make up person, figure out catering and lock down my locations. I need to get my DoP to figure out our film stock, book the gear and get her crew together to practice. Need to get my Director and Production Designer talking. Need to get crew agreements signed. Need to decide on the cast so I have to book the applicants and then book a room and the film gear to do screen tests. It never ends. I don't think producing is for me. Maybe I should have gone to that audition. Hm.

So after the meeting I booked another meeting with my department heads for Friday and spent the next hour making notes about everything I need to do. Then I sat and chatted with a director from one of the other productions. I actually didn't think I'd like her (because I generally dislike everyone at first) but she turned out to be very cool and easy to get along with.

Fortunately I have a really good camera crew, for students anyway. They know their way around the camera and are excited about using it. My DoP is trying to figure stuff out already without being told so thats cool too. My Director and 1AD are a couple which is nice because they're both heavily invested.  My 1AD is also one of 2 people in the school who seems to want to actually do that when he's done.

Well, 19 days to go....we'll see what happens next.

Handling Swedish Bi-Curiousity at an Advanced age

When you go back to school in your mid 30s, things are definately different. I can't drink until 4 am and get up at 8 and go to class anymore. I didn't before but I COULD if I wanted to. But I slept in usually.

Another thing I've noticed is that I don't relate well to younger people. Right now I'm acting as producer for a short film. I'm the oldest person in my group by far. On other guy just turned 30 I think. My entire camera crew is 20 and under. One of them asked me the other day what I thought I'd do after film school. I said "Make movies". She said "Oh really? I thought I might go back to school and figure out what I want to do." Really.

A nude male infant swimming in blue tinted water toward a dollar bill which is attached to a string.Some of the people in my class were born after the first couple of seasons of Sienfeld. They never saw the Smurfs on Saturday mornings. Not even the later episodes when they were holding on for dear life and introduced smurflings and a stupid prince. Some of these kids were born AFTER Appetite for Destruction came out. Most were in the cradle when Smells like Teen Spirit hit the charts.

The other night I went out with these girls I know from school. Notorious party animals, but really good at the stuff we're learning. I get to the bar, which has $4 drinks all night,  and I can't find them because we're on 2 different levels. They finally find me and 2 of them are hammered. They go off to dance and I hit the bar with the 3rd. We get our drinks and look for the girls. They're on a couch making out next to the stage. I laugh and say, hey, your room mates are getting busy over there. So she just laughs and we head over. I figured they'd stop when we got there. Nope. The third one just joined right in.

So I'm sitting on a couch with three 20 year old swedish girls who are all making out. One ends up halfusitting on my lap for a while. Guys in the club are looking at me like I'm Hef. So they break it up for a while and this dude buys me a drink. He says, "I don't know which one's your girlfriend, but that's awsome mate!!" I just smiled. Later one of them would tell me I was the coolest 35 year old she knew. That made me feel good.... She then told me that if she was older, like 25 or something, she'd totally try to pick me up.

We get tired of the crazy loud techno/house/rap/dance/electronic 'music' we're being subjected to (to be honest I kinda liked it) and head to an Irish place called Scruffy Murphy's. I get wanded before I go in and have to pay cover. I hate paying cover. Most places don't charge here.

Now this place is weird, to get in you have to go through one door, up stairs, across the length of the bar, then back down stairs where there's another set of doors your only allowed to leave through. One of the girls decides she's too drunk about half way through. Right out of the blue. I go get her some water and she's just about comatose when I get back. Some dude was trying to pick her up. Then he acted like I'm an asshole when I told him to shove off. Oh, and her friends have ditched her. So I threw her in a cab. She invited me back to her place, but the shade of green she's turning tells me that that isn't a good idea. (Find out the next night she got kicked out of the cab for redecorating the back seat in a nice shade of sea food).

So, yeah, thats what I'm dealing with. How was your weekend?

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Me And The Roaches BABY!!

Yeah so, Australians don't put screens on their windows. And they don't seem to give a shit that Canadians can't deal with the kind of heat they have here when it's still minus 30ish at home, so we have to keep the windows open. I was getting pummelled by mosquitos in the night. Awful.

Also, theres a gap under my door, which leads not out into the hall but directly outdoors, thats about an inch high. So anything that crawls hops or slithers has free reign to come on in, have a beer and make itself at home.Which, from time to time, they do. One night I came home and two crickets were hanging out in my bathroom. It was funny, they were sitting very close to one another at 90 degrees. If there were a little tiny table in front of them it would have looked like a date. A creepy little date. Anyway, they died a horrible death before anyone could make up an excuse about having to get up early and probably should go home and get some sleep.

Another day a cockroach wandered in. I saw him coming. Face full of bug spray for you my little brown friend. As I was spraying him a cricket, collateral damage from the spraying, came banging out from under my fridge like he was on fire. Poor little guys. But if they didn't want to get gassed they should be insects, am I right? Of course I am.

So, and here's where it gets nasty, I was going to a photo shoot one day. Very uncharacteristically, I was late. So I got dressed, threw on my hikers and ran up to the train station. So I'm sitting there and my foot is itchy. Oh well. Train shows up and I got my little ticket and got on. So I'm on the train, cranky cause you dont get wifi down in the tunnels, exactly where you'd need it if anything went wrong on a the train, and my foot is itchy again. So I ignore it. Then i felt the itchy spot move. So I yank my foot out of my shoe, and this cockroach pops his head out, climbs down the heel of my shoe and went to find another seat on the train. I never saw him again. I have no idea where he got off, but I was horrified. I had bugs in my clothes dammit! I'm not a dirty person. That doesn't happen to me!

Oh well. Off to buy more bug spray.

The guy who won the oscar

So the guy who produced "The King's Speech" won an Oscar for best producer. He's on the board of directors and was into the school the other day. He didn't bring the Oscar. Dumb ass...

Anway, I got my picture take with him. It's actually a group shot. I'm kind of behind him. I've never seen the picture actually. But I remember it being taken. Because I was there.

The next time I saw him was on TV. He was meeting the Prime Minister and showing her the Oscar. He remembered to bring it there. I wonder if he'll even vote for her at the next election that's coming up.

So, in honour of that here are some fun facts about the Oscars. I'll put the answers at the bottom. I have to give credit to a guy from school who was posting some of these on face book and inspired me to steal. Thanks Robert.

1.Guess who won the most Oscars.
2. First woman to win Best Director
3. Most awards won by a single film
4. First African to win an acting award
5. First black actress to win for acting in a lead role
6. Most nominated living person
7. First X-rated film to win for Best Picture

Ok, i'm getting tired of this. Go look at the answers then pop some popcorn.

Emile Sherman Showing His Oscar to The PM of Aus.

Answers to Luke's awsome Oscar quiz. If you used Google you cheated. Bastard.

1.Walt Disney won 26 Oscars (22 competitive, 4 honorary). He also won the most Oscars in one year, with four. But c'mon, the guy was puting out 4 or 5 movies a year towards the end.
2. Kathryn Bigelow for The Hurt Locker (2009)

3. Three films won 11 Academy Awards. They are:
4.  Charlize Theron (from South Africa) won Best Actress for Monster (2003).
5.  Halle Berry won Best Actress for Monster's Ball (2001) 
      If some african had been in  Monsters Inc. they would have been a shoe in for best actress
6.  Film composer John Williams with 45 nominations. You can thank him for the Star Wars music   
     (somewhere a geek just got a chubby)

7.  Midnight Cowboy (1969). It was also the first X-rated film to be nominated for Best Picture.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Things I'm Learning At Film School

Well, the first thing I've learned is I'm almost always wrong. Which is a huge pain in the ass cause I'm used to being almost always right. Like clockwork. Hmmm.

Today I described music as ominous but the instructor said it was more unhappy. Damn
Then I said that I liked the way they used depth of field to create distance in their shots. He then explained that depth of field was how a camera's focus worked and that I was somehow mistaken on what I said. Hmmm.
I'm getting tired of being wrong, it doesn't sit well with me.

Also, film making is hard. We did a photo essay the other day. My partner and I, another Luke, did a spoof of a speghetti western called "Fist full of soda". Had to tell a story about 2 people in 10 shots with a 35 mm film camera using 100asa. We story boarded, scouted a location, bought props, and costumes, changed the aspect ratio of the shots to 9:16, downloaded sounds, recorded sounds, timed everything to go with the photos. HUGE pain in the ass the whole thing. But alot of fun. And it turned out pretty well. People apreciate hard work I think. Who knew?

Here's another thing I learned. Check your batteries. We went out to do a shoot the other day, I wasn't the director this time, just an actor filling in for some friends, and their batteries died on the 3rd shot. We have to go back out Wednesday.

Another thing to note. You're on your own. People will help you, but you gotta ask. No one reminds you of deadlines. There's no one to blame for anything but yourself if shit goes bad. You forget your one cares, at the end of the day you don't have a picture. Next. You forget to check your lighting and your film doesn't develop right? That sucks, but hey, that guy has his shit together. Next.

However, people are willing to help. People are very enthusiastic actually. Everyone wants to be involved. There are tons of actors willing to be in a film for free just to have some experience. There are tons of people willing to help out on a slim to none budget in the hopes that, hey, one day you might make it and need a sound guy, or DOP or whatever. Its a pretty cool industry all together.

Anyway, pitching a documentary and producing a 2 min script tomorrow. Should go home and sleep. Good night world!

Friday, March 11, 2011


Everything here is a lot like home but just a little different. Here's an example; they drive on the wrong side of the road here.

In 1971 Burger King tried to move in here, but couldn't because the name was already taken. Well kids, you just can't keep a good franchise down. They made a deal with this guy jack Cowan to run all the franchises here and gave him a list if names he could use. Hungry Jack was a name Pilsbury, who owned BK at the time, already owned so jack picked that but changed it to Hungry Jack's. Vain I'd say.

Anyway, it's just not the same. They don't use strips of bacon, they use these slices of back bacon that are more like ham. They don't have a creepy king in their ads either. They do have a whopper, and a whopper jr though.

In Australia they have drunk driving laws like we do. The limit is lower, .05 instead if .08. Oh, and they call it drink driving. No idea what that means. Drunk driving means your driving drunk. Drink driving means that you sound silly when you're saying it.

Oh, and the standard beer size here seems to be the schooner. However, for my Calgary friends, it's not a big ass beer. It's more like 3/4 of a pint. But more expensive.

Australia is full of bugs, and some are quite venomous. They don't put screens on their windows in a lot of places. I don't have any. I get bitten in the night.

You can drink beer on the streets here. You can sit on a park bench on a busy street in front of a gay boutique and drink a box if wine (that may have come in contact with nuts, eggs and/or fish products) and scream at people as they walk by without much resistance. There are alcohol free zones here though. During a big street party I wandered through one of said zones unaware, passing a phalanx of cops, and not one said a word. In Moncton the local Mountie would have thrown his mountain bike on the ground, seized the contraband, poured it's contents onto the road and given the author a stern lecture.

Australia is not a very religious country. In fact, one in 5 say their not religious at all. If they were all illiterate the missionaries would be quite busy. Unfortunately they are all quite educated and have rejected the idea of religion instead of being ignorant of it. The Vatican will have to settle for keeping the sex lives of poorer populations in check for a while longer.

Public displays of affection are common here. It's not odd to see a couple in the grocery store kissing. Oh Margret, this summer sausage is turning me on...Me too Gary!
The other night while having a drink on a patio overlooking the opera house a couple close to us was having a full on makeout session. I think he got to second. (that means he got boob) No one paid them much attention.

Flip flops are called thongs here. That would make the Thong Song a lot less risqué.

The bouncers here are friendly, professional and trained. Dear Canada, the rest if the world doesn't let steroid raging cretins with authority issues loose on it's drunks. Take notes.

There seems to be no end to Turkish take out restaurants here.

Many bars here are called hotels. I dont know why.

There are some similarities however. It appears that the phone companies here are run by assholes, just like home. Speaking of which, Bell can go fuck themselves. I sincerely hope their board of directors get some sort of painful disease that slowly causes them to go deaf and disfigured them in some horrible way. I'm thinking elephant man here, or that movie Mask that Cher was in, or like Gary Busey or something. Something awful. I would really like to kick their CEO in the balls. I'm not talking a little ankle flick here either, I'm talking coming off the ground a foot or two, Rochambough kick. The kind that hurts so much he throws up. I think there is probably a special place in hell for phone company execs. If Robert Picton was picking up phone company execs instead of hookers, a jury would have let him go. Probation at best.

Other than that Australians seem to be a fun group of folks who take things in stride and seem to have fun. I think I'm going to like it here!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Throw Shit At A Smoker Day

I remember working at the record store when I was a kid that the smokers all took 'smoke breaks' on a regular basis. This was outside the normal 15 everone got in the morning or afternoon. I thought it was just a thing because all the bosses, managers, anyone with any authority whatsoever smoked like a pile of Salem witches during the dry season.

I was talking to sone people the other day, watching some lady sucking back her milligrams of tar for the morning, and it turns out 'smoke breaks' is a very common phenomenon. It also turns out that it annoys non smokers tremendously.

I recently worked with a woman who is frequently away from her post. About half that time she's wandering the halls doing nothing but trying to look busy, the other half is unabashed smoke breaks. No one thinks anything of it.

So how is it that someones filthy habit becomes a viable and socially acceptable because for them to take mire time off than the rest if us. Is it because it's an annoying, unhealthy habit that one has to partake in away from their coworkers so as not to annoy them and or poison them? If that was the case my new habit (should I ever decide to work again) is going to be sex.

Sex is a great habit, and alot like smoking. It makes you grumpy if you don't have it, happy when you do, it can be addictive, your Visigoths don't want to be around you when you do it, and it's potentially fatal. Especially when you get older. Thanks to Viagra it can cause heart attacks.

I think a sex habit would foster good employee morale too.
"hey, I'm going on a sex break"
"ok, want some company?"
"sure Jane. Steve if you can convince someone to come along you can join us too"
"oh sure you dont want me just to come now..."

Sexers would be way cooler than smokers too. Our tent would be nicer and smell better. There would be no ashtray, just a condom machine and some handi wipes.

It would be a great icebreaker at parties and bars.
"I'm gonna go outside and take some sex, you wanna come?"

Another thing that pisses me off about smokers is their firm belief that the world is their ashtray. A lady in front of me on the side walk finished her cancer delivery system then pitched the butt at a tree. Imagine if you did that with a food wrapper, water bottle or some other garbage. People would lose their minds. At the very least someone would say something.

Smokers just toss their refuse any old place with reckless abandon. You could be at the most beautiful place in the world and it's guarantees that some jackass dick head fire breather has tossed a butt nearby, and it's still there making the world an uglier place.

So, I am declaring today, march 10, Throw Shit At A Smoker Day. Anytime you see a smoker standing in the cold when they should be working, or tossing their filtered end out in public, you have the right, no, duty to throw some sort of garbage at them. Anything you have on you that you don't want to keep is game. Water bottle, gum that's lost it's flavor, dead hooker, anything at all that you've finished with will suffice.

I don't know if this will change the world, but I'm willing to bet that after getting pelted with disguarded tissues, wrappers or hypodermic needles, your average smoker might have the common decency to carry their tobacco garbage the extra block and a half to the nearest ashtray or garbage can, and dispose of it properly.

Throw Shit At A Smoker Day. It's my idea to make the world a better place. I wider if I could get one of those Pepsi grants. I think I'll apply.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Sydney's amazing music scene

I'm from a town of about 80,000 people. Once a year some monster rock band, the stones, def leppard, meatloaf, someone like that will traipse through town and do a festival concert and everyone loses their minds and french guys put extra light on their cars and buy new ball caps with the name of the band on it so that everyone knows who they're going to see.

So here I am in a town of 5 million. The other day I saw the Trews were coming to town. Thats cool, they're from halifax, I used to hang out in Halifax once in a while, its fairly close to home, not a bad band, good canadian boys and all that. So I picked up the local music rag to see where they were playing. Holy shit. The music scene here is insane.

Here's a little taste of who's coming to town. These are just the people I know of. I am no longer aware of the latest shitty pop act that the Much Music/MTV zombies are being spoon fed because, well, not my job anymore.

Deez Nuts
Third Eye Blind (the beatles broke up at one point but these geniuses have the nerve to stay together all this time and TOUR? You had one song. Maybe. Its time to let it go...or did they have a recent hit again? Ok two songs...die!!)
Queens of the Stoneage (sold out, shit!)
The Trews
Chemical Brothers
Ke$ha (someone say shitty zombie fodder?)
DOA (going to this wearing my team Canada jersey, I don't care if its lame)
Mark Ronson
Afro Celt SOund System (at the opera house...tempting)
Eddie Vedder
Neil Diamond
Stone Temple Pilots
Chris Isaak
Lionel Richie
Doobie Brothers
Motor head (going to this one becase I think Lemmy's already dead and they just haven't told him yet)
Cyndi Lauper
Uriah Heep
City and Colour ('nother good halifax band I think)
Jimmy Eat World
Cherry Poppin Daddies
Good Charlotte
Dead Kennedys
Weird Al
BB King (tickets are outrageous....second job maybe)
Elvis Costello (be worth seeing)
Grace Jones

Tribute to Hendrix, another to Miles Davis

And thats just between now and the 20th of April
I've also seen signs around for Iron Maiden, House of Pain, Sum 41 (last night)Social Distortion, Michael Buble, Tim Robbins (he's got a band, who knew) and Alan Jackson

Then there's about 10 music festivals.

Outside music...Billy Connolly is at the opera house doing stand up for a few nights, theres an Annie Leibowitz exhibit at the museum, the terra cotta warriors at another museum and half a dozen film festivals.

I have no closing thoughts on this, I'm just amazed, thats all. here's a link if you're curious