Chronicles the epic rise and fall of Angelo Morello, a young Calabrian who finds himself entering a life beyond his wildest dreams from small time gambler in the 1960s to controlling the Australian cannabis trade during the 1970s.
I played Tina Morello, a flight hostess and Angelo’s wife. Great script. The whole project was a lot of fun (apart from the time I fell down the stairs running out of a slippery bathroom scene and ended up in the Royal North Shore Hospital emergency ward. More colourful language has never been uttered. A story for another time.)
So we wrapped principal photography on the film and I got antsy for a poster so I offered up my services of art direction and graphic design. Only problem was, I needed to be in the poster, so I couldn’t shoot it. Oh, and it needed to be shot from directly above. On a bed.
Oh how the stars aligned.
No more than a week after I had drawn the concept sketch (when I should have been doing architectural CAD drawings at work), mum informed me that there was a huge scaffold at her house as the ceiling was being painted. Bingo. I called my mate Tristan F-S who shimmied out on what was similar to a pirate ship plank setup over a bed sheet and some pillows that we hand thrown on the ground, and we shot that weekend.
If you find yourself in San Francisco this Sunday evening at 6pm, and you’re as jazzed on indie filmmaking as I am, come on down to the 9th Street Independent Film Center in SoMa and catch the super-ultra-mega-advanced-screening (aka. sound and colour isn’t done, but we have a picture lock) of Frisky – my feature film directorial debut! A lot of legends helped make this project a reality, so bloody get there! Tickets available here: https://friskyscreening.eventbrite.com
In an interesting turn of events, I will have my first two feature length films completed within two weeks of each other… Although they were shot twenty months apart.
If the first film, “Winning Formula” (writer/producer) were a human, it would be in preschool by now. Probably painting macaroni necklaces, collecting cicada shells to stick in other children’s hair and singing the Good Ship Lollipop while masterfully tapping its foot to the teachers’ amusement. Or not. But probably – because there’s a ton of me emotionally jammed into that film in every aspect and I really did love those damn cicada shells with their clingy little claws and shiny little bulb eyes as a kid. The second film, “Frisky” (writer/director/producer) would know virtually nothing beyond the realm of it’s own mother’s bosom.
One of the many notches in my belt was punched by the series of animators brought onboard to tackle the title sequence and graphics throughout the film. I seemed to have a knack for hiring people with an ability to vanish. Slippery little suckers.
So after my third attempt at desperately shackling one down like a dateless sixteen year old on the eve of the year ten formal (that’s prom, America), I realised that none had really nailed the aesthetic we were looking for anyway.
Fortunately, while I was back in Australia in October, Pru and I had filmed each other acting out the Winning Formula Title Sequence Script against a green screen (AKA a piece of green fabric my mum plans to sew into a dress that we pinned to the curtains in my mum’s bedroom), just in case the animator needed the reference images, which is what I used to create the polaroids. It’s all about looking after your future self, even if you don’t directly mean to.
Pru Vindin and myself green screening.
There we were, Klaus and I, a couple of days before Christmas, at his parents’ house in Ohio, with no animation experience, just giving it a red hot crack. I had photoshopped some polaroids of the two protagonists, Liz and Tilda, marauding across the United States and ordered a few maps off Amazon. So between 9pm and 1am, with a giant block of styrofoam, an old cork board, a tripod (that we returned to Walmart the next day), some map pins and a brief discussion, we did it.
Our night sounded like this: “Hold. Click. Move. Hold. Click. Move.”, and looked a lot like this:
But by sundown the next day, the spoils of our evening efforts and my hasty editing looked like this:
Massive thank you to The Greencarts for their legendary track, “Ride or Die”.
Stay tuned for the Winning Formula trailer – we had our special advanced screening in Los Angeles last night! And keep ’em peeled for more info on Frisky – to be screened in a couple of weeks in San Francisco! YEW!
How civilised am I? Spending my Sunday riding my bike… well Klaus’ bike, up to the Golden Gate Park botanical gardens with my housemate KatieK (who was on my bike) for a macro photography session? Bloody civilised.
I rented a couple of nice lenses (Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM, and Canon 85mm f/1.2L II USM) and thought I’d try my hand at some macro photography using an extension tube (Canon EF 25 II)… which I had never done before.
As soon as I slapped that extension tube on there… something shifted. Figuratively, but permanently nonetheless.
I tested it all out at home on a vase of dead flowers leftover from shooting Frisky… pretty stoked that I had neglected to chuck them out as they are great in all their shrivelled glory. I also tested on KatieK’s asparagus that she was in the middle of consuming for dinner.
Before extension tube
With extension tube
With extension tube
With extension tube
With extension tube
With extension tube
With extension tube
Next day, KatieK and I hopped gracefully (nope) upon our respective bicycles and headed to the park where I cracked open some dreamy floratography (not a real word).
All these shots are exactly as they came off the camera (except reduced for web). I’m quite chuffed.
Slap your eyeballs all over the poster for my feature film directorial debut, “Frisky” (director/writer/producer).
Frisky is a comedy feature film about two twenty-somethings who move to San Francisco to chase their career, but end up chasing tail instead.
Very high brow stuff, as the poster implies.
The film is a patchwork of my own experiences (or things I witnessed others doing) throughout my move from Sydney to Los Angeles for film school in 2009, then again to shoot a pilot in 2011, then for love from LA to San Francisco in 2013. Only it’s just one story. And it’s heaps good. For serious. And the writing. Also good. Like this paragraph. But seriously, it’s going to be a ripper of a film, so stay tuned for more very shortly.
As for the poster, The finished product holds true to the original concept sketch that I drew on the back of a script to pitch the idea to Christiana, the film’s cinematographer/DP and the poster’s photographer. I then fiddled for more time than what is reasonable with the graphic design in Photoshop to produce this beauty!
Do you have an appalling LinkedIn profile pic of you draping yourself over a work colleague (tastefully cropped out) in a shiny paper party hat while clinging onto a glass dirtied with the remnants of a piña colada? Call me for a headshot.
Are you a brilliant actor, singer or dancer who has been photographically jibbed up until now? Does your agent constantly say “For the love of all things holy, Susan! Get a decent gosh darn headshot instead of this headsh*t!”? Call me for a headshot session, Susan.
Do you own, or have designed a house or building that deserves to be immortalised and publicised? A structure that demands documentation, so that it may finally bathe with its peers in the lofty glory that only the architectural works of Rem, Zaha and Frank have known until now? Call me for shoot.
Does your pet blow your mind? Ever wondered why none of your friends can see why? Put an end to all those underwhelming ‘doesn’t-do-fluffy’s-good-looks-any-justice‘ images that you keep posting online: The ones with the ill-placed shadows and out-of-focus stares. Stop being a tightass and invest in what you love. You need to call me.
Do you have a rock on your finger that’s weighing down your hand like your inability to decide on a sensational wedding photographer is weighing on your conscience? Call me, and let’s do this romance thing right.
Call me Claudia, call me Claud, call me Thedarclaud, call me whatever you like… just make sure you call me. Actually, it’s just email listed on the site, so do that. It’s the 21st century for heaven’s sake.
P.S. Can you believe the freaking Golden Gate Bridge shot with the bird?! That thing is straight-off-the-camera, no editing, right-place-right-time, mother-nature-meets-engineering-masterpiece, pure photographic glory. I may never take a better photo than it in my life. Fact.
My favourite part about wrapping production on a film is blabbing about it to EVERYONE (as long as post is going smoothly). And what better way to blow my own trumpet than to make a killer poster, and slap it on every last inch of the internet?
In the week between wrapping Winning Formula in Los Angeles and me moving to San Francisco, I bought a shockingly cheap photo studio setup – 3 softboxes and a backdrop rig – and got the entire cast to come in and have their character photos taken for promotional purposes.
During this session, Prudence and I shot the poster as per my concept sketch.
So there I was with a film poster that was unprintable. Bloody useless for all the good people at Sundance and Canne who will be champing at the bit to get their clammy hands on a full size 27″x40″ 300dpi poster for my micro-budget slapstick comedy. Because if there’s one thing I know, it’s that those good people love micro-budget slapstick comedy.
Prudence Vindin and Claudia Pickering with George Clooney leaving Canne in a limo in the future. He has really enjoyed Winning Formula. They are indulging in Moët mimosas.
A new poster was needed. Lucky for me, Pru was back in the United states a few months later, and we still had access to our costume headdresses (which were later stolen, so this really was our last shot at it).
We strung up some white fabric in Cassie’s (the costume designer) house, and with the help of Klaus, we reshot a poster far superior to the original. YEW!