Wednesday, October 8, 2008

visual poetry: Depression and Creativity

visual poetry: Depression and Creativity:
...during a depressive or manic phase, an individual is not motivated or organized enough to actually create. It is only after they emerge from that state that they are able to use those experiences as fuel.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Pork and Beans

dir: Matthew Cullen

Genius music video that pooled as many internet youtube memes into one music clip as possible. As Cullen himself says, 'The web has become the new home of the music video... MTV has become an afterthought.'

Friday, September 26, 2008

Guitar Zero - Uber Expert Mode 100% with No Hands!

an 8 second short i did for Hamish and Andy's Infuriatingly Short Film Festival.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Aaron Stewart-Ahn on Nagi Noda

Aaron Stewart-Ahn, director of several Chris Walla videos, wrote the following on japanese multimedia artist Nagi Noda who passed away last week:

I was lucky enough to have met Nagi. It was one of the more interesting evenings in my life. What was supposed to be a short chat over coffee turned into an up til 3am ramble on just about everything. One time meeting a person is never enough, but she was extremely endearing.

Nagi exuded and lived art, as it was something to be lived. It made me feel like an amateur - so connected was her feeling about life invested in what she wanted to do. She had no barriers, pretty much laid as much of her life story in our awkward English (littered with impressive words) as she could. She talked about the unfairness of being a female director, how she felt she had to act twenty times as tough as she was just to get the modicum of respect necessary to do her job. She told me about the start of her artistic life lived with her parents - both artists themselves who had given her a sense of how difficult it can be to navigate the world of art. She also talked about the need for artists to not be divorced from the divine, past lives, a recent trip to Angkor Wat so full of meaning - which planted the seed in my head which led to me shooting there in my last video.

The drawing above was something she put down on the napkin in front of me - she told me it was the secret to the universe, but I shouldn't tell anyone. I think it's ok now. She said most of us look out at the world, but if you close your eyes and look up, you're looking at the universe through your mind, looking at the universe.

She struck me as free spirited, eccentric, and beneath it all incredibly strong. In one evening in her company she affected me greatly. I miss her.


Sunday, September 14, 2008

Daniel Powter - Bad Day

dir: marc webber.

horrible, horrible song. But one of the nicest, fuzziest videos I've seen in a while.

A strong story with a gorgeous mural in the subway being the interplay between two characters who live similar lives but who never meet.

(Yes, I made my film even before I was aware of this clip. Jung's collective unconscious to blame again.)

Brilliant piece of narrative for a less-than-average song. Compare with previous two.

Counting Crows - American Girls

dir: marc webber

case in point (see previous post)

Very beautifully shot with very beautiful people that serves the purpose of the song, but doesn't do much more than that. Can't argue with the snappy editing and stylish visuals. And the pretty women. Great direction and choreography. And the pretty women.

No wonder this became a coke ad soon after.

Compare with previous and next post.

P.S. Universal has limited video embedding for this song, so if it says the video's unavailable, just go straight to youtube at this address:

Weezer - Perfect Situation

dir: Marc Webber

Marc Webber makes expensive music videos for expensive people and often (not always) rises above the cookie-cutter moulds by telling an empathetic narrative.

The very lovely Elisha Cuthbert stars as the faux ex-lead vocalise of 'Weeze'

Friday, September 12, 2008

eugonline > toronto | three film thursday

eugonline > toronto | three film thursday

Looking forward to Hizokazu Kore-Eda's 'Still Walking', when it eventually comes down here. Screened at TIFF this year. Loved 'Nobody Knows' - a story about abandoned children that harrowingly mirrors some recent events here in melbourne.

Monday, September 1, 2008

5 cans of 16mm film.

I checked my fridge and realised that I still have several cans of 16mm film leftover from last year's film.

My options are to sell the film, or write something quick and fast, and shoot that for november or december's film.

why not? it's my last year in melbourne. if i don't do it now, i'd probably regret it.

R.E.M. | Imitation Of Life

A brilliant idea delivered to perfection.

"The single's video, depicting a scene of an elaborate pool party, was shot in Los Angeles by Garth Jennings. Michael Stipe, in an interview with MTV UK in 2001, explained how the video was made. "The entire video took twenty seconds to shoot. What you're watching is a loop that goes forwards for twenty seconds, backwards for twenty seconds, forwards for twenty seconds, backwards for twenty seconds, with one camera, static, and then using a technique called 'pan and scan', which is a technical thing that is used when they go from a widescreen format and reformat to fit your television or DVD, moving in on certain parts of the entire picture. And you'll see that we do that picking up various people within the frame."
from wikipedia


By the genius that is Garth Jennings.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Shameless Plug

vote for my photos. thanks. :)

Monday, May 12, 2008

Sunday, May 4, 2008

3films - Director's Statement: What?

‘3films’ is the working title of a series of 3 short vignettes in the secret lives of several disparate characters; part of a pentalogy of 5 films, which are in turn inspired by the 5 human senses. Each film is a micro-short of no more than 2 minutes in length, and will be screened in conjunction with each other as a collected narrative piece of no more than 15 minutes.

Each film blossomed from the seed of a random daydream, or the excited epiphany that follows the inadvertent observation of something that interested me on the way to work or school in the morning. They are among other stories that
write themselves, that are hastily scrawled in a Moleskine notebook I keep in my back pocket. They exist in this compendium of 5 because of their anthropologically sensorial origins. Their stories are separate, but because of their common source,
share the themes of connection/disconnection. Human beings are strange, social animals – these films are a small testament to that.

struggling with the third film.

it's already May and I'm still struggling with the last film of the '3films' trilogy that is scheduled to shoot in August, September, and October.

I know what it's about, and I know how it'll look, and I know what themes I want to tackle, but I still haven't got a narrative.

It's one of those things where I know I just need to keep doing other stuff and BE INSPIRED but it's hard when the clock's ticking away at the back of my head.

anyway, back to work. May's film is shooting this week. A documentary about designers. Meeting with my production manager tomorrow.

(And Elise has passed me a link to this, which might be useful.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Future of film school

Fom Crikey, Tuesday, 29 April 2008
A Canberra arts watcher writes:

The 2020 summit had one group thinking up big creative ideas to build a big creative Australia.

"Aim to double creative output by 2020" they said, and "link the creative arts and education".

A PowerPoint prepared for summiteers beforehand includes a graph showing a massive rise in spending on Australian feature films but notes "consistent success has not accompanied this growth". It's a coy way of saying the box office has been tragic, and most of us have been unimpressed and uninterested in Australian films.

Having twice as much to be disappointed in doesn't seem such a big, clever idea. Instead we should rethink the value we attach to feature films and the expensive machinery we use to train people and to make them. For example, some easy money for arts education in schools can be found at the Australian Film Television and Radio School (AFTRS).

It has an annual budget of $20 million and a yearly student intake of little more than 50. The costs are easy to see. We're spending nearly $400,000 each on a tiny clique. What is hard to see is real benefit for taxpayers.

Maybe the School was relevant when films needed equipment beyond the reach of an ordinary punter. The world has changed but the school has not. Now there are many ways to learn to tell stories with pictures. Equipment is cheap and accessible. Avenues like Tropfest and YouTube can start careers, even aiming at feature film, without a government-funded short film.

Australian feature films are a cost to the wider economy, impossible without subsidy, and make a relatively small contribution to contemporary Australian culture. A dispassionate cost-benefit analysis would reallocate most money spent on them to cultural activities with more impact. Make television. Give some more to the ABC. Double the budget for performing arts. If it's really worth $20million a year to have a special school for visual story telling, put the priority on television, where the business is, or on digital.

The future lies with digital technology, the interactive and the adventurous, with games and stories told using modern tools. LonelyGirl15 was a watershed as much as Pamela was.

AFTRS sits like Miss Haversham with the windows closed, rereading 1950s issues of Cahiers du Cinema, dreaming of auteurs that might have been. It has a few digerati who struggle to open the curtains, but at its core the School is still a shrine to the idea of the art house feature film. There are departments for producing, directing, editing, cinematography, screenwriting, design and sound. Then there's just one for television, and one for "digital media".

It has always been a place where idealist film-makers turned teachers passed on to captive acolytes not only their craft skills but also the true faiths of their guilds, replaying among themselves obscure disputes over the rights of directors, the limits of a producer's authority, and whether documentary actually is really important.

Now it's a horse and carriage school after the Model T.

The feature film clergy, both inside the school and outside, have welcomed the appointment of Sandra Levy as the new director like Catholics celebrating the accession of Queen Mary. But broader forces of change cannot be resisted forever. Like the Elizabethans, a fresh vision and a golden age may be only around the corner.

Getting rid of the clergy and doing something smarter with the $20 million might bring it closer.

My off-the-cuff, didn't think before i spoke, reply (that probably needs some editing but i'm too lazy):

can't disagree nor agree entirely.

most (arguably) esteemed/olde-and-renowned film schools anywhere on this planet need to rethink filmmaking for the future, not just AFTRS. TV isn't the future (in fact, it's also arguable that there are less local programmes that make it overseas thann local films.) - the internet's probably our best bet.

but it's not just that. for the perceived 'international success' that the writer seems to be rooting for, i'd argue that 'filmmaking' need to be approached far more holistically than the way it is taught now. there are clear cross-disciplinary approaches to motion-picture storytelling that encompasses animation, video-gaming narratives, and user-created-content-internet-youtube-shite.

i'm frustrated with how lines are constantly being drawn in the industry between TV studio production, film production, and animation; and how storytelling in video-games are structurally similar to conventional 'cinema', but no one seems to like acknowledging that.

the problem isn't that we're spending money on expensive equipment - it's on the education of how stories are told. the fundamentals. across all them disciplines. it doesn't matter if we give more money to the ABC or to TV if 'filmschool' graduates still have lecturers who quote from the french cahiers and champion 'the idea of the art house feature film'

so what film schools should do, in my humble opinion, is to make every potential storyteller go through FUNDAMENTAL storytelling core subjects, the same way design cores are taught to potential designers in design schools - before they choose to specialise in a field (or choose to be inter-disciplinary, if they so desire).

and at the same time, employ sessional educators from across the industry. i agree that there shouldn't be inside, stodgy lecturer-cliques in film schools - they age in thinking along with the school. sure, we need someone to teach us film literacy... but what about art literacy? animation literacy? video-game literacy? literary literacy?

it's a changing world. film is just a means to an end.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

"Say they not cottage pie, in their own tongue?"

ACT I SCENE 2. A road, morning. Enter a carriage, with JULES and VINCENT, murderers.

J: And know'st thou what the French name cottage pie?
V: Say they not cottage pie, in their own tongue?
J: But nay, their tongues, for speech and taste alike
Are strange to ours, with their own history:
Gaul knoweth not a cottage from a house.
V: What say they then, pray?
J: Hachis Parmentier.
V: Hachis Parmentier! What name they cream?
J: Cream is but cream, only they say le crème.
V: What do they name black pudding?
J: I know not;
I visited no inn it could be bought.

metaquotes: Pulp Fiction, as performed by the King's Men

Monday, April 14, 2008


Because it rocks my world and I like their culottes.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

April's film.

Was supposed to be an animation, for which i've some conceptual work prepared for.

The dicky thing is that I'm already so far behind some of my other work, and it's already mid april so i'm not sure whether or not i've the time to prepare something in two weeks, whilst juggling my other commitments.

(stupid wisdom teeth removal threw me into a daze for two weeks.)

So the big question is, should I revisit my 16mm film from last year, and finish the thing once and for all? (am i emotionally and mentally prepared to trough through the olde thing again? after all, the actors are waiting for a final print.)

or should i still make that animation? whilst juggling two freelance assignments, preparation for May's film, and preparation for October/November's film? (alongside finishing my movie-watching quota of the month, and practising the guitar so that i can remix the NIN ghosts songs.)

or, as my housemate said, should i work on a short 30s TVC with the two weeks that i have left; or spend time preparing for it now while juggling my olde film?


Monday, April 7, 2008


Hello! It's the girlfriend hijacking this blog to say :

You can create a story from just about anything!

It's true. Right now, I'm watching Lobster Wars on Discovery Channel and simply put, it's a show about fishermen (mostly Canadian) going out to sea to catch .. lobsters...

And who knew that a show about lobster fishing could be so riveting?

What will happen to the deckhand that got pissed at his employer and jumped ship? What happens to the trawler Rachel Leah, who isn't bringing in as big a haul as the fishermen would like? And all the anger when the fishermen find crabs (not the STD kind) instead of lobsters caught in their traps! Even worse, watch fishermen cut the traps of other boats who have encroached on their territory! The drama! The scandal!

And just for fun, here's a bunny video. Because bunnies are awesome. (And this bunny video has garnered 1,779 responses so far on youtube. Further proof that you don't need a plot to get people talking.)

Sunday, April 6, 2008

A soundtrack for daydreams.

"This music arrived unexpectedly as the result of an experiment. The rules were as follows: 10 weeks, no clear agenda, no overthinking, everything driven by impulse. Whatever happens during that time gets released as... something." - Trent Reznor, March 2, 2008

Ghosts I-IV is Nine Inch Nail's latest album, released under a Creative Commons Attribution License.

This means that I am allowed to use their music to inspire, affect, and even score my films; provided that they are attributed, and that the films are released under the same license.

Which is actually what might happen.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Tonight, Tonight - The Smashing Pumpkins

Dirs: Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris

A homage to Melies, and proof that there's still magic and charm in less-than-modern technology.

Anyone seen Little Miss Sunshine? This husband and wife team are geniuses.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Knife in the Water was an original, and unusual screenplay. Where did you get the idea for it?

It was the sum of several desires in me. I loved the lake area in Poland and I thought it would make a great setting for a film. I was thinking of a film with a limited number of people in it as a form of challenge. I hadn't ever seen a film with only three characters, where no one else even appeared in the background. The challenge was to make it in a way that the audience wouldn't be aware of the fact that no one else had appeared in the background. As for the idea, all I had in mind when I began the script was a scene where two men were on a sailboat and one fell overboard. But that was a starting-point, would you agree?

Certainly, but a strange one. Why were you thinking about a man falling out of a sailboat?

There you go, asking me how to shrink my head again. I don't know why. I was interested in creating a mood, an atmosphere, and after the film came out, a lot of critics found all sorts of symbols and hidden meanings in it that I hadn't even thought of. It made me sick.

(Playboy, December, 1971)

Scissor Sisters - She's My Man

dir: Nagi Noda

highly reminiscent of the 'matrix ping pong' skit that featured on a popular japanese variety show, this isn't fantastically original, but kudos still to nagi noda for pulling it off in the context of a scissor sisters' clip.

(her unaired spot for coke that featured jack white of the white stripes is probably a little bit more impressive, imho.)

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Jarvis - Dont Let Him Waste Your Time

Directed by dougal wilson.

When I grow up, I want to make a video like this one.

(i had a chance to intern at colonel blimp's US sister-co 'furlined' when i was in LA. only problem - i didn't have a car. oh well. tough.)

Feist - I Feel It All

Patrick Daughters strikes again.

I wonder if his one-shot takes for almost all of his feist videos are premeditated, or done at the request of feist? or is it some sort of trope that he plans to continue for all of feist's clips? am i asking too many questions again? am i still high on codeine no thanks to my post-wisdom-teeth-op?

(note to self: night-urban-film, light with sparklers.)

(edit: upon closer inspection, there's probably also a gaffer with a large flickering light just behind the camera...)

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Listening Man

cute, simple, and sweet. The Bees' 'Listening Man' music video directed by ex-one-third of hammer and tongs' Dominic Leung.

Dark Roasted Blend: Nightmare Playgrounds

Dark Roasted Blend: Nightmare Playgrounds

Creepy playgrounds. (think, sculptures with bleeding eyes. cows on lampposts, and a crocodile impaled with cutlery.)

Massive potential for a one location, one story idea. 

(someone sponsor my ticket to prague, the ukraine, or stockholm NOW...)

Pareidolia - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Pareidolia - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

"...describes a psychological phenomenon involving a vague and random stimulus... being perceived as significant. 

Common examples include images of animals or faces in clouds."

Another idea worth exploring. Think.

obsession: an elderly woman and her obsession with symbols, faces that appear on mundane household objects. The idea that she's being haunted by the ghost of her dead husband whose face keeps appearing in various forms around the house...

religious: a couple chance upon the image of the virgin mary on a grilled cheese sandwich... (oh wait. this actually happened...)

supernatural: self explanatory. a character plagued by a negative emotion such as depression, guilt, or remorse fails to notice objects in her house arranging themselves in faces which constantly glare at her, and occasionally, at the audience.

sound: a feedback loop that begins to sound increasingly like a worded message. Electronic Voice Phenomenon (EVP)

significance...? maybe. sometimes. depends on the story i want to tell.

(more random scribblings to continue...)

Monday, March 24, 2008

So far.

In case anyone's wondering, I'm feeling obliged to at least talk a little about the three films of the year thus far.

Jan - 'Taste. (tent)' An exploration of one man's obsession with his mother's pet goldfish.
Feb - 'Smell. (tent)' A girl's obsessions with a particulr fragrance.
Mar - 'Neon Blue' - a short documentary about an artist's obsession with the colour blue.

(I just realised that all three films had 'obsession' as a motif. unintentionally. coincidence or a reflection of latent themes in my storytelling? hmmm.)

That is all. I'm a lazy blogger and will tell you more in time to come.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008



Or, where does Sophie Muller get all those nice dresses?!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Asian Film Awards 2008 - Alternative Film Guide

 Asian Film Awards 2008 - Alternative Film Guide

So many films to watch, so little time.

Everyone I know in the industry over here in Melbourne seems to have had something to do with The Home Song Stories, but I haven't actually watched that yet. Not sure if I missed the general release or not... or if there ever was one.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

The Genesis.

It began with an idea for five short films based around the 5 human senses. That was an exercise I started end of last year when I wanted to delve a little more into very-short narrative fiction. I was also in a little funk, and a quite burnt out from a huge project last year. 

I'd realised a great deal of my time last year was spent in development, and too little in production. For a person who was about to graduate from film school, there really wasn't alot under my belt. All you film school grads can probably attest to this - you'd be lucky if you came out of film school with 2 -3 films shot on 16mm. 

Maybe it's just me, but if I dedicate myself to just one project, I'd spend more time neurotising over it than actually developing it. I realise that the longer I spend on one project, the more over-developed it gets, and the more passion I lose for it.

My journal at that point was full of scrambled little ideas that were more 'moments' than 'stories' - but there were five that could thematically be wrapped around the five senses. It seemed to fit nicely and I was in a mood where I wanted to get films out quickly and practice my directing chops, than to spend too much time in development.

At the end of three weeks, I walked away with 2 x 2min films. ('Taste', and 'Smell', both tentatively named.) They were both successful in varying degrees, but it proved to be a much more enjoyable experience than directing one large short-film. And it brought confidence back in my work and convinced me that the exercise was worthwhile.

I'd realised that the less precious I were about my ideas, the less I obsessed over them, and the more fun I have on set and in post. Sure, most of these films might not win awards at festivals, but I know that I will have walked away from this, at the very least, a well-practised storyteller.

That was last year.

I've taken a break in Jan and Feb, given myself a sabbatical where I did nothing but watch films and be inspired. (one of my resolutions for this year is to watch 200 films. I'm up to 50 now.)

It's now March, and the third film is almost wrapped. So far so good.

First Post

I hate these first post things. People expect you to write something astoundingly spectacular introducing yourself and your projects. I hate living up to expectations. 

I'm such a hateful beast, that you probably wonder why you're at my blog.

Well you're either from my school assessing this 'online journal', or you're actually interested in my project of making a film a month.

Ambitious project, or a sadomasochistic venture into a lonely, dark path into insanity? Check in till next Jan, and find out.

(much due inspiration thanks to the always funny, always clever Jonathan Coulton and his Thing a Week)