We are all in search of that illusive golden Maccas fry… Figuratively and literally. So when Klaus asked me to slap some new art on his skateboard I thought “It’s a stretch, but I think we can make it work.”
When Klaus and I were being dragged along like a bag of oranges behind a speedboat (?) by Sydney rental market search we had embarked upon, we decided to get into some zen activities to balance ourselves out.
So we painted.
But first, we built our canvas out of timber, then blackwashed it…. then we painted. Then glued and added some of that gloriously floaty GOLD LEAF (like the classy bastards that we are), then varnished it all.
We reckon it’s a picture of the moon.
We did finally find a place (thanks for asking), and as it’s a rental, we can’t put any holes in the wall. So it sits on the mantlepiece, which turns out to be more trendy than hanging it up anyway. So what I’m trying to tell you, is that we are somewhat on point in this instance.
Check out le processé:
black washed canvas with solid black shadow line
dem geometries doh
filling in the blanks
painting with glue
adding gold leaf
post-gold leaf sealer, pre-varnish (keeping the shadow line matte)
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!
When I first met Klaus back in Los Angeles circa February 2012, he was working… wait… “working” for a small (and magnificent) wakeboarding company called Humanoid with his good mate, and company owner Jeff. Their days consisted of “testing products” on the boat (which I would try to involve myself with as regularly as my “work” schedule would permit), building mini ramps for “brand culture” purposes, and occasionally shipping out wakeboards when people ordered them from the website.
Jeff had a vision for a board design – an abstract interpretation of the humanoid word itself.
The brief went something like this:
“Claudo, I just want it to be a shitload of bloody guts and brains and severed body parts, smashed together with greasy, oily boat engine parts.”
These were hand sketches that I then threw into Illustrator to schmick up a bit.
Turns out the company was moving in a more tasteful design direction so this never went into production. Can’t imagine why…? … Guys? Your brand slogan written out of guts in cursive? No?
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!
Just on the edge of China Town in San Fantastic-rancisco is a tech co-op space called The Vault. It’s underground, it’s full of computer-bound entrepreneurs, and it’s on the old site of the famous Ghirardelli chocolate factory (circa 1863). That’s right, this one’s an antique.
As nobody in the space seemed to have the foggiest idea of the place’s historical significance, the community manager (SO MANY STARTUP WORDS) decided an old advertisement for the chocolate factory would be the perfect fit for the reception area’s mural. Only problem was that I’d never actually done any text on a mural – ever… And as this was more of a ‘replicate and exaggerate’ sort of job, I needed to be a little more planned/precise/particular about how I would get this thing up on a wall, rather than just freestyling it as I usually do. It was also to be on a grey wall and using only black paint, unlike my standard bright colours – so I managed to pull the ‘artist’ card and bargain a bit of gold into the equation too.
The whole thing was rather a trendy sounding idea.
So I did a bit of photoshop work to see how it could be placed, fused the advertisement with some doodles from an old Ghirardelli sign that I liked, projected it on the wall, slapped some masking tape on the straight line edges, and got hectic with the black paint. When I say hectic, I mean as precise as possible. (Neck pain for days. I’m fine now though, thanks Klaus for the amateur chiropractic work.)
I did have to take some liberties with the text as the blocky resolution of the projector proved to be only adequate for a rough guide. Anyway, once it was all done, I had intended on gold leafing just the shadow of the heading (as planned, and shown in red on the projection). Needless to say, that freestyling side of me came out in the eleventh hour, and significantly more gold leaf ended up getting chucked on the wall. Which I’m stoked about, because not only does gold leaf look like Willy Wonka’s golden ticket, it is also just basically extremely epic.
I have been breathing out gold leaf dust flecks ever since, like a mythical creature. Note to future users of gold leaf: probably wear a respiratory filter unless you plan to attend some sort of dungeons and dragons convention every day for the rest of your life.
I had not planned to attend Burning Man this year, although I’d considered it and ruled it out. So in a massive yes-man move, I accepted my architecture client’s offer of a ticket on the Saturday (as he was the only person I really needed to work for that week) and drove out with a 16-year veteran (nice to meet you Glenn!) and my megapal Katie (who took the above photo) late on Sunday night.
I won’t go into the whole thing too much, but suffice to say that I had the opportunity to play the flute for a herd of cows on the way out to Black Rock City (life highlight) and the week maintained that standard of epicness throughout.
After painting several people and items of furniture (clearly all of which were ill-documented), I noticed a mate in my camp, Rowan, assembling a cart to pull some speakers behind his bicycle for that night. All the time in the world on my hands at that point, I offered to paint it. Playa landscape inspired.
In the spirit of what is truly an inspiring festival of fleeting art, it only felt right for the work to be completely transformed by the environment, come morning. What I’m trying to say is that it was completely buggered, but that was cool.
started off like this
left the camp looking like this (plus speakers, etc)