You know how some people do something once and then reckon they’re an expert? Well, I worked on the Secret Garden Festival production week for the first time last month (largely painting signs…), and now my mates and I reckon we can chuck a film festival.
It shall be très bon.
Truth is, we’ve been planning this for a while in our minds and hearts, and we thought it was about time we started planning it on paper and in excel worksheets.
We have a website.
We have accepted submissions from all over ze globe through filmfreeway.
We have a clifftop backyard.
We have some strapping young folk who are willing and able to construct a large screen for us (that’s actually Klaus and I).
We even have the red plastic that we’ll use for a media wall, because who in their right mind wants to go to a film festival and not get papped?
But most importantly, we are still accepting submissions of films 3 mins and under.
So it’s happening. Freshflix Independent Film Festival.
Fest your eyes on our exclusive promo video we shot yesterday arvo. Nothing like a bit of bossa nova to gloss over an uncomfortable situation.
Thanks Crangle and Klaus for being such excellent sports.
At long last, I present to you the trailer for Frisky.
For the love of all things holy, go and like the Frisky Facebook page. And for heaven’s sake, share the hell out of this video.
When two twenty-something women move back to San Francisco, where they had met on exchange years earlier, their high career aspirations quickly become sidelined by their sexual interests. While wildly crass and charismatic in their public personas, they are in fact fundamentally at odds on many levels. Their opposing beliefs surrounding responsibility and romance, combined with their close quarters while crashing in an acquaintance’s living room, find them thrust onto a fast track to discovering what their friendship is really made of.
Based on true events, Frisky is an honest, tongue-in-cheek look at what it is to be a woman in the limbo years between college and “the real world”.
After receiving the first little bit (in hopefully in a long line) of festival attention last week, I present to you the long-awaited trailer for Winning Formula – a comedy feature film I wrote and, alongside Prudence Vindin, starred in.
Go ahead and watch it repeatedly, and share the pants off it. Por favor.
Holy moses, I’ve finally cut together a reel! Hopefully this gives you, my discerning reader, a solid impression of the projects I’ve been involved with over the past three years. That impression will hopefully be described by you, while you share the living daylights out of it over social media, as “a fun-as-f**k film portfolio of frothpocalyptic proportions”. Go forth.
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!
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!
There are many reasons for my comedy feature film Winning Formula (writer/producer) to have taken about three and a half years since its original conception with Anna Bennett as “Dead Broke” in 2011. Personally, it was my first feature film so everything was a learning curve, but at every road block we pushed forward. There was no less than a metric shit ton of improvised problem solving at each turn. Not sure what that converts to in imperial, but by anyone’s standards, the quantity of shit was immense.
Included in the pile, was a car explosion scene that I had written into the script (rookie) and we had nonchalantly said during production “we’ll do it in post” (double rookie).
Fast forward to post production, we discovered quite far down the line that two significant (and rather large) scenes needed to be reshot due to audio issues that could not be adequately rectified with ADR (which was a blessing in disguise as they were reshot as far more impressive scenes than the originals). The only thing was, we blew the budget that was set aside for the afore mentioned explosion scene.
When post production gives you lemons… bugger lemonade, make it into Smirnoff Ice. We’re turning this scene into a classic gag, using scale models à la Indiana Jones… AKA “traditional special effects” (AKA waaaaaay cheaper than the real deal).
So I’m thinking to myself – where do I go to find someone with a penchant for pyrotechnics, a whole lot of property, and a solid collection of earth moving equipment? It’s got to be my Burning Man mentor, Glenn.
Klaus and I researched fake explosions (it’s corn starch, not just regular flour, by the way), we ordered some miniatures of my car online (they only came in blue so we sprayed them sliver), then Glenn took to the side of his driveway with a bobcat and our scene was set.
Diecast model of my car
protecting ‘glass’ from spray
one at a time
Glenn and his bobcat
adding sand to “make it look legit”
So here’s my appalling cut of our explosion scene – the cut that ended up in the film is far shorter, with far craftier editing, so you’ll have to watch that when it screens (keep your eyes locked on the facebook page)… But in the meantime…
(If we lock in a decent distribution deal, we’ll reshoot the explosion scene at full scale. My fingers are firmly crossed.)
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!