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Sunday, December 21, 2008

Anne (Live)

In my opinion, the backing singers make it ten times better than it was before. Since there's four of them, it's suddenly forty times better.

(L-R) Donnie, Grdo, me, Alex, Tom.

(The link.)

Saw Slumdog Millionaire yesterday. Beautiful movie. Thought the Bollywood dance number at the end was a bit extraneous - seemed out of place with the rest of the movie - but still a very worthy nominee for Best Picture.

Seeing Frost/Nixon in an hour or two. High expectations.

Seeing Benjamin Button hopefully on Boxing Day.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Saturday, December 13, 2008

The Laws Of Stand Up

Thanks to Pete Black at Freedom To Differ, who drew my attention to this article - "To Catch A (Joke) Thief" - about the interesting research of two legal academics at the University of Virginia.

Inspired by a viral video of comedian Joe Rogan confronting Carlos Mencia onstage at The Comedy Store of joke stealing, they have researched the comedy club world for a year and examined the protective measures comedians take to ensure they aren't the victims of joke theft.
The Mencia-Rogan argument led the two intellectual property law scholars to an interesting question: With scant legal protection for their work — copyright law plays little role in comedy — why are stand-up comedians willing to invest time and energy developing routines that could be stolen without legal penalty?

After almost a year of research that included interviews with comedians ranging from comedy club circuit neophytes to seasoned veterans of television specials, Oliar and Sprigman found that the world of stand-up comedy has a well-developed system of social norms designed to protect original jokes — and that the system functions as a stand-in for copyright law.
It doesn't really provide any legal recourse in IP for the comedians whose routines are pinched - if anything they draw a distinction between written with shared authorship and jokes/routines with multiple deliverers.

Instead, there's a community enforcement regime in place. It's almost a vigilante/seeking your own justice kinda deal with comedians - they either get revenge by public shaming, boycotting clubs which hire the offenders, threats of physical violence - or they talk to the offenders, compare arguments of who told it first/longest and often simply come to an arrangement to avoid embarrassment or detriment.

Surely the performance of a very particular routine attracts some form copyright protection, right? You can't copyright an idea, but if the wording of a particular bit is replicated, it could possibly fall under Part III of the Australian Copyright Act? As a "dramatic work"? Maybe? Possibly? I don't know.

It's an interesting article to read though.

Here is the Joe Rogan v Carlos Mencia argument...

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The Theme From The Office

New video to the channel. A spontaneous idea I had tonight. A silly and short musical one.

I originally wanted to do the theme from How I Met Your Mother, but I thought I'd try this one instead as a test to see how it sounds/looks...

After AusOne and picking up a dozen or so new subscribers, I've been meaning to do something actually substantial on my YouTube channel, but all I'm doing lately are silly and short ones. Which isn't a bad thing. But I'd like to get back into doing some longer sketches and shorts (3-4 minutes long).

I might do a recording of the False Assumptions song...

Oh, and Megan (jewelchic) finally got to see the song I wrote and recorded for her and she flipped for it and she left a very lovely comment back on the video. Happy Birthday again Megan! Hope you had a great day.

Video Progress...

WHEW. A busy few days of filming. Even though my folks went away for a whole week and I had the place to myself, I didn't have much time to take advantage of that Tom Cruise-Risky Business style.

Thursday was out at Logan in the middle of the heat, lugging around predominantly unnecessary (but rightfully precautionary) lighting equipment. Filmed some interviews with people working as volunteers in a multicultural learning and aid centre and some volunteers at an aged care respite home. Tried a Lebanese Hawaiian pizza for lunch. Damn cheap out there. Like, 1994 prices. It almost made me wish I lived in Logan. Almost. Then the moment passed. :p

Friday was a horrifically busy day at work, but then, it's December and it's the biggest shopping centre in town. What did I expect?

Jac and I attempted to find a park at Chermside on Saturday but literally could not find a single one. We turned around and went home instead.

Sunday I wrapped a Christmas video for a mate's work - had to reshoot a scene because there was a joke involving two men getting married. Wasn't offensive in anyone's opinion - including several gay men at the work - if anything, it was in support of gay marriage, but one politically correct, super serious person got all Marge Simpson-style nervous and we had to go back to the drawing board! Oh well. The video turned out quite well. I'd post it but, well, it would be inappropriate and for internal purposes only.

Today, was out at hilly hilly Kenmore to do some more educational videos for QRC. I also discovered today that the two previous educational/experimental ones I'd shot and edited were online at a site called "Teacher Tube" - a YouTube-style video sharing site with a strictly educational focus.

Tomorrow, it's back into the breach that is Christmas retail and get into some hardcore editing for a DVD due next week.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Porn On A Plane & The YouTube Gathering

So I went to the YouTube AusOne gathering last weekend in Sydney, and I took a camera with me but then sorta decided against it because, realistically, there were going to be dozens of cameras already, filming the same people, doing the same things. And I was pretty much right. You can search on YouTube for all sorts of clips of things shot from different angles and edited differently. :p

The only thing I ended up shooting was this little snippet waiting for the plane...

At this point, I also discovered that my little Panasonic camera I've had since January 2006 is broken - the LCD screen doesn't work if you flip it over (if you want to film yourself talking to camera) :(

It was a fun weekend - met lots of YouTubers I'd seen and subscribed to. Even though I was featured three times earlier in the year, I was really really not recognized (which is fair enough). But like I said, met a bunch of people I'd only seen previously on a 425x344 size Flash video, met some new people, subscribed to them and they likewise to me. So all in all a fun little trip.

Also made a stop at the NSW Gallery and viewed the Monet And The Impressionists exhibit. Saw the famous Water Lillies painting. A very beautiful and intellectually stimulating exhibition and I encourage people around to see it. Alex and I made many many puns about "Monet" and "money". None really stuck with me. :p

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Breakfast At Tiffany's

Meant to film and post this a while ago, but only got around to doing it on Friday...

A parody of Deep Blue Something's Breakfast At Tiffany's. Except ... not.

Monday, November 24, 2008

22 Sketches Breakdown

So, 22 Sketches You Must See Before You Die played on the weekend at the Metro Arts Theatre, and went really well in my opinion.

The show's surreal opener involved three grown men wearing yellow shirts walking around like chickens, suddenly breaking out in some choreography to The Sylvers' Boogie Fever, before a farmer comes in and shoots one dead. It was the second time in my life I'd been in a show where Boogie Fever opened the performance - but I don't remember having a bruised knee from falling down dead the first time I did it. :p

Tom and Grdo played twins whose mother had implemented a unique parenting system. It featured funny digs at Coldplay and Powderfinger.

Grdo then switched to the parent role as a traumatically blunt father breaking the news to his kids that their pets had... run away to the circus.

To conclude the "parent and children" trilogy of sketches, Georgie played a precocious and questioning child with Alex playing her badly influential father, projecting his own marital inadequacies onto why his child's praying mantis has been eaten by its mate. It featured the word "cunt".

Anna played a woman who's convinced she was a gay man trapped in the body of a woman. The transvestite at her bus stop tries to convince her she's just a straight woman and that the estrogen pills she's taking are unnecessary.

Tom played the narrow-minded agent of a black actor who failed to fit the stereotype of black men. Adam - our sound and lighting guy - cameo-ed as the actor very well, very good comic timing.

Georgie played a bizarre HR person interviewing Lawson for a job that for some reason requires the applicants to name as many Pokemon as possible, fit as many marshmallows in your mouth as possible and realistically draw penises.

We also did a trilogy of "shop sketches" following the typical shop sketch formula which was parodied in the third. There were some suitably stereotypically Asian accents.

I pretended to masturbate underneath a sheet to awkward comic effect when Anna my stage wife caught me.

Tom played a stripper. He then proceeded to method act.

Grdo and Alex gave brilliant performances as commentators for a televised race of emotional cripples. Top writing and top performing from both.

We witnessed the evolution of man in an unexpected way which involved the milking of a cow. Very Jo.

Tom and I played rival gang leaders about to rumble - turns into a political discussion about the appropriate usage of the word "nigger". Basically, there is none. There's only one thing less intimidating than me and Tom as gang leaders. And that's me and Tom as gang leaders armed with coloured tee-ball bats.

I did four or five musical numbers - including the Anne Hathaway song; a big number that turns out to be very anticlimactic (the most Micallef-y kind of gag I've done I think); the Twelve Bar Blues; a thirty second parody of Breakfast At Tiffany's which gets aborted after descending into presumptions about ethnicities; and a patter song about things that I've mistakenly assumed throughout my life. I fucked up this last one on the last night - forgot a verse, blanked on stage, moved on to the end.

Tom used me as a last minute replacement for a sketch with him as a terrible backing singer trying to steal the spotlight from the lead singer doing Buffalo Springfield's For What It's Worth.

Closed the show with the Anne Hathaway song - worked like a charm on both nights. Me on lead, flanked by four very talented men singing backing vocals - including Donnie who learned the song only the day before. Outstanding stuff boys. Was nervous about using it to close the show given the randomly specific subject matter, yet it did enable to end the show with a joke about Scarlett Johannson's boobs.

We fit it in under 90 minutes without an interval which was our goal. There ended up being 26 sketches instead of 22, but, meh, so what.
"So ... if the show's called 22 sketches... and there are 26... which four are optional?"
"Well, this one for starters."
For those who missed it, I don't know if I'll post any clips from the show on YouTube, sorry - we did film both nights, but it was done statically and from an angle with nobody operating the camera, so I have no idea of the quality of the footage yet. Nonetheless, I'll end up posting recordings and music videos of my songs that I performed in the show.

I will post some pics when they become available.


It was a fantastic experience to be able to get up on stage with all of these very talented people again - something which hasn't happened outside of the Law Revue for most of us - and it felt really good to be able to collaborate again. Thank you to everyone involved especially Jo - whose brainchild it was - for having the balls and the discipline to lay it down, book the theatre, set deadlines, and effectively force us to commit ourselves to it. Which is what we always needed.

So, until next time, it's back to the writing.


Post script. After party story. I didn't think I could be bruised in a barechested permanent marker fight. But Jo proved me wrong. The most fun I've had being bruised. :p

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

A New Number One

Also, I just looked at my YouTube account and noticed that the Mel Gibson-dubbed ending to 300 I did just over a year ago has surpassed the video of Harry Potter's Scar as my most watched video.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Update - 16/11

Less than one week to 22 Sketches... it's a fun and exciting process, but, Baz Lurhmann-style, it's going to come damn close to the wire. A lot of work left to be done in a week. But like I said, exciting. But nervous.

I'm in a sketch where I have to pretend to do something of a rather sexual nature. And I'm suddenly really happy my grandmother's not going to be in the audience. Yet I feel I'm going to have difficulty looking at my mother in the eye in the foyer afterwards.

I performed some of the songs from the show at an open mic night for Ignatians, and they went down really well - it's a shame the show's sold out that I didn't have any tickets to pimp. I did an extended version of Anne where I was adding extra gags to see if they got laughs. I think it works fine in its current form, and will go down well in the show as well. :)

Due to people being dispersed across the country today and with official law school duties that could not be avoided, I had a Sunday at home for once. I thought about doing a video for this Nova competition which closes tomorrow, but I didn't have a decent idea or the energy, so instead, I recorded and filmed this silly little song.

YouTube user jewelchic invited people to post comments or video responses to a particular video she won't watch again until her birthday on December 8th (here is the original video). I haven't seen a lot of her videos yet (and there are a LOT of them), but I've been in a musical/songwriting state of mind at the moment so I ran on an impulse and wrote a short song for her birthday.

I think it would be fun to just keep posting musical video responses to videos I find interesting. They're a lot of work, but fun to keep my musical intuition active. And it might set me up as something unique online.


Friday, November 14, 2008

AusOne - The Sydney YouTube Gathering

So I've made the commitment - flights are booked - I'm going to Sydney on November 29th for the AusOne YouTube gathering at Circular Quay.

Here's a fun video by Yakovich.

It's the weekend after "22 Sketches ..." Excitement much. The pressure's on.


Excellent movie news of the day - Marc Forster (who is I'm yet to see set a directorial foot wrong) is signed on to direct the movie adaptation of Max Brooks' excellent pseudo-realistic zombie epic "World War Z". Excellent story, excellent screenwriter (the writer of Clint Eastwood's Changeling), excellent producers (the producers of The Departed) and now an excellent director.

Bad movie news of the day - Ridley Scott has signed on to direct the Monopoly movie. There is no way they can make a movie based on a board game good, even if Ridley Scott is directing it. But if you've ever wondered what Russell Crowe looks like with a top hat, monocle and big white moustache, this is your chance.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

This pissed me off...

The Courier Mail today (November 6th) published an article written by Paul Syvret titled "Embracing The Horror" - an article discussing the emergence of Australian horror films over the last five or so years; an article written to coincide with the release of Dying Breed - a Tasmanian-set cannibal feature with Nathan Philips and Leigh Whannell.

It contained these paragraphs:
"The rebirth of the Australian horror film began in earnest in 2004-2005 with the release first of Saw, then the Outback chiller Wolf Creek. Saw was dreamed up by two struggling filmmakers, James Wan and Leigh Whannell, who had only enough money to fund a seven minute short film featuring Whannell with his head caught in a gruesome trap.

They hawked it around Hollywood and Twisted Pictures agreed to fund a $US1.2 million feature. Saw grossed more than $US100 million at the box office and spawned a film franchise that has so far raked in more than $US1 billion in worldwide box office and DVD sales."

Omitting the fact that they were completely snubbed by all Australian financing bodies/companies and making it seem as if Hollywood was their first port of call. And yet it's still an "Australian horror movie".

But this seems to be part of trend when it comes to reporting about Australian horror movies now.

Now Aussie horror is a subject that's personal to me. I was a fan of it before it suddenly became cool again. I love every inch of the Spierig Brothers' Undead from the first moment I heard about it. It was positively inspiring to me. I felt the same way seeing that movie as I did when I saw El Mariachi/Desperado - I could see and feel the filmmakers' love and affection on every element of every frame of every reel of the movie, even if it was just a silly zombie/alien flick. These guys wrote it, produced it, shot it, edited it, did the special effects themselves (which were damn impressive considering the low budget) and they raised the money totally independently. They shot it in their hometown north of Brisbane, they used local actors, they used local crew. And it got a significant following via the web and film festivals and is a cult film now.

I consider Undead to be one of the best Aussie horror movies, because it's fun, it's scary, it's impressive and it's locally made. I really get a sense of pride and inspiration out of it.

I also loved the first Saw. None of the sequels have held a torch to the original. The sequels have been all about the gore, but with little of the tension or character or mystery of the original. And none of the movies have matched the first one's ending twist. Saw II was okay, but a helluva lot gorier.

Like I said, I loved Aussie horror movies pre-Wolf Creek. In 2005 I wrote an essay on Australian horror movies for my Australian Cinema class, and I got top marks for it because, at the time, it was a fairly "unresearched topic". And I was interested because Aussie horror movies presented this combination of the two ideals of a national cinema: developing a national identity (for ourselves and to show to the world) and to be commercially viable (i.e. a bit of dumb fun and thrills). Indeed, there was very little research done at the time. Australian horror was a very cult property - on I discovered an Australian Horror Boxset including Patrick and Long Weekend being marketed to the Americans as a niche item. I discussed primarily Undead and the woeful post-Scream slasher Cut. I got to see Patrick, which I had heard about but never had the opportunity to see it till I chose this topic.

But I omitted Saw from most of the discussion for this reason. It got a mention, but I didn't discuss it in detail, even though it would have been the hot "Aussie" horror movie at the time. And I omitted it for this reason: I don't consider Saw an Australian film.

Now I mean absolutely no disrespect to James and Leigh - if anything, I have so much respect for them, it hurts. I respect any filmmaker who has the balls to go out and just make their movie. These guys are cool. They did it. They had an idea. They did it on a low budget. Between the two of them, they covered the script, the production, the acting, the directing, and probably some uncredited editing as well. They made their movie themselves. And it paid off big time.

But when Saw first came out, all I remember hearing was two things: 1) it was going to make people sick, and 2) these two young Australian filmmakers couldn't get their foot in the door with Australian investors. They had to take it overseas. And there's no doubt that it's paid off well for them.

But now every time there's an article in the Australian press about an Aussie horror film that's being released, there's an inevitable reference to either/both Saw and Wolf Creek. And every time I read them, there's a complete omission of the fact that James and Leigh were completely shut down at every turn in Australia by the film investment bodies. Oh how the times have changed.

Even though these guys were Australian and wrote/produced/directed/acted in their own movie, I do not consider Saw an Australian movie. It may Aussie connections with the crew, but it wasn't shot in Australia and it doesn't have an ounce of Australian financing in it.

And it really pisses me off when I read articles that gloss over the fact of their rejection.

Did it kickstart the Aussie horror trend? Probably, meaning that the quote from the Courier article is probably correct: financiers learned from their mistakes. I don't know if Wolf Creek was greenlit before or after Saw - probably before with a large amount of trepidation and hesitation.

But it really really shirts me when we forget that Leigh and James HAD to go overseas - not just wanted, but HAD to. And the continual publication of quick retrospectives like the article I read today means that sooner or later, we won't remember at all.

(I don't mean to pick on the Courier Mail article solely, but it's just the last one that I read and it was the stimulus for this blog/rant. It's part of a sad trend where we pretend like it never happened that annoys me.)

Anne Hathaway

So this is a song I wrote for the 22 Sketches show - it'll still be in it, so don't watch if you want to enjoy it at the show if you're coming. You've been warned. :p

Watch it here - It's a torch song for Anne Hathaway. Or at least, words that rhyme with Anne.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Updates - 4/11

So this is what's going on with various projects...

22 Sketches You Must See Before You Die

All of our scripts and songs for the show we're performing on November 22nd and 23rd at the Metro Arts complex on Edward Street in Brisbane are about to start being rehearsed.

There's some very funny stuff that I've read from the others guys that are provocative, surreal and snappy. I have so far been cast as a chicken, a horse and an Asian... not all at the same time, of course. I can't wait to get into rehearsals. I've contributed five songs and one sketch - more than likely at least two of those will be cut for time/not making the show too musical. Two of the songs I've written I will make videos for and post on YouTube.

Engineering Videos

I have four more engineering/mining/resources videos in the pipeline (pun intended) - one is a song that's recorded and I have to shoot, another one I'm waiting on approval to do, and two more that I'm yet to crystallize as ideas, just vague concepts.

Second Chance Program

I'm also assisting a local organization called the Second Chance Program which raises awareness and raises funds for other charitable groups which assist homeless women. They're a small group of benevolent and very caring locals who do this job selflessly and for no pay to try and get accommodation for women who would otherwise be living in extremely dangerous conditions on the street. They're prone to violence, rape, poor hygeine, unable to access dental care or clean underwear. It's shocking to hear that in Australia, 1 out of 57 females between the ages of 15-19 are living on the streets.

I'm helping them out by producing two PSA's for them for a fund raising function next year, but I thought I would raise awareness of them on my blog here first.

From their site...

Nearly 80 women who would otherwise have been sleeping rough have been housed through the SCP partnership with the Brisbane Housing Company – and the ‘bridge the gap program’. Close to fifty women have been accommodated in Bed 14 at the Anglican Women’s Hostel, and have been provided with counselling, services, and assistance with appropriate accommodation.

Because it is young women who are now in such great need, most recently SCP has embarked on a program with Zig Zag in housing young women and assisting them to lead independent lives: Funds have also been provided to Bahloo to reunite young women with their supportive families.

I'll keep a link to their page on the side of my page as well. You can click through and learn about what they do and how you can get involved - whether it's making a direct donation or organizing a school/church raffle, etc.

Other YouTube stuff
  • The YouTube AusOne Gathering is coming up in a few weeks. I am still as yet unsure if I will go, since it conflicts with some personal/family stuff up here, but I would love to go down to Sydney if I can.

  • I have a video where I can FINALLY use my Guy Fawkes mask coming up this week.

  • Nova 106.9 is running a competition for their breakfast crew I want to enter soon - a 20 second tv spot that could score you $20,000.

  • A prominent Aussie YouTuber liked my Unsubscribed song (which I admit I botched the performance of in that video) so I sent him the much much better mp3 file I'd recorded and mixed and he may have a go of doing a very cool video to it. No time of arrival yet, but I'm super psyched to see what he does with it. :)

  • Bob Dylan's Facebook Song may appear on British TV by the end of the year, but I'm yet to get confirmation on that, so I won't say anymore, but that's pretty cool.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

The (Un)Life Of The Author Plus Seventy Years

Since Halloween has just passed, I thought I'd reproduce a horror-themed, moderately factual satirical essay I wrote about this time back in 2006. It was from when I was one of three co-editors of Obiter, the UQ Law School's student comedy magazine (you can read the issue in full colour here with pictures of Sadako crawling out of an iPod and everything...)

If any aspects of the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth) have changed rendering this article legally incorrect now, just keep in mind that it was only a joke and was written two years ago.

And it was probably legally incorrect then too. :p


Intellectual Property Rights In Cursed Japanese Videotapes

The Japanese horror film Ringu (and its American remake) featured a cursed videotape which condemned its viewer to death seven days after watching its series of bizarre images. In the climax of the movie, it is revealed that the only way for the viewer to prevent said horrific death is to make a copy of the tape and screen it for someone else. If not done, the ghost of Sadako Yamamura emerges from the nearest TV screen seven days later Candyman-style, in a mess of matted black hair and kills the lazy arsed viewer with, quite literally, a death stare.

Chances are you’ve seen the famous scene by now, but in case you haven’t, my description really doesn’t do it justice without watching it in the context of the film. You can say “the shower scene in Psycho”, but it just doesn’t have the same impact until you watch Mother’s silhouette rip the curtain away. Sadako crawling out of the TV was one of the most fuck-you-up scary moments I had seen since the final scene of The Blair Witch Project.

Filmic and horror value aside, Ringu (or The Ring) highlights significant problems in the treatment of the legal rights of the undead, particularly the neglect of Sadako’s intellectual property rights in the cursed tape.

It seems somewhat ironic and unfair that for a tortured artist like Sadako to be able to exercise her rights as the author of the work and express herself in an adequate manner, it must done by infringing copyright. It’s a lose-lose situation for her audience: if you infringe, you could be liable under the Copyright Act. If you don’t infringe, she will emerge from your TV and murder you.

First of all, it’s important to note that the video in Ringu would attract copyright protection. It may do so under Part III of the Act which deals with “works” and would be likely to be classified as an original artistic work.

It may also attract protection under Part IV as a “matter other than works”. In the movie, it is revealed that the video originated from a broadcast to a remote cabin on an unknown television signal, where it was then committed to tape. Therefore, it is possible to assume that publication occurred upon broadcast of the images and sounds. Sadako holds copyright as the broadcaster, since the images were being transmitted from her dying (or already dead) thoughts while she was still in the well.

International agreements on copyright have also affected the rights of the undead. Ringu’s success ensured that it would be remade by Hollywood and was done so successfully in Gore Verbinski’s The Ring, featuring a second haunted video and a second murdered girl who emerges from the TV – “Samara”. Japan, the United States and Australia are all parties to the Berne Convention. It is therefore irrelevant which version of The Ring we are talking about, since this international agreement bestows upon Sadako/Samara the right to bring an action in Australia as if she were an Australian national (see Zeccola v Universal City Studios). If she really wanted to sue here.

On the other hand, other international agreements severely disadvantage the undead. The US Free Trade Implementation Act 2004 extended the period of copyright protection under the Copyright Act to “the life of the author plus seventy years”. This not just neglects the rights of the undead like Samara, but creates even more confusion. What happens if the work is created after the author has died? It is unclear whether or not this protection is afforded to authors of published artistic works that are vengeful spirits and/or already dead at the time of publication.

The Australian case law and legislation are, at best, “hazy” on the civil rights of the dead, or even the undead. However, if one interprets it as Samara “publishing” the “work” while she was still alive in the bottom of the well, there would be no issue of her rights as owner of the copyright. Unless of course she was never really alive in the first place, which has been suggested from subsequent Asian sequels to Ringu – kind of a “half-spirit” from hell. And that just makes the matter really confusing.

Of course, if you haven’t guessed already, the most likely defence available to any infringement of copyright in the tape is that Sadako/Samara provides her viewers with an implied license to copy. Licenses do not need to be in writing, and thus can be given, say, ooh, I don't know, over the phone, perhaps?

Sadako/Samara had created a legitimate artistic work from which they have the right to enjoy the benefits. It seems somewhat odd then that the only safe method for patrons to enjoy her work is to have it continuously infringed upon. Why would she impose such a restriction upon her own curse? It just doesn’t make sense. When she calls the doomed viewer, she merely says “seven days” - not “you will die in seven days”. People assume that the impending death is inevitable. But her shyness as a reclusive artist (so reclusive, she lives in a well) prevents her from properly telling the viewers what she really wants — “Please show my work to the world. I have a MySpace and everything..." If you don’t I will murder you in a week.” It’s really her own fault. Sadako is essentially the Blockbuster Video From Hell. “I’m sure other people want to watch this. So be kind. Please rewind.”

So that aside, if one were to view the video somehow, how does one go about defeating this curse? Well, you can use the neglect of the undead under the Copyright Act to your own advantage!

With VCRs going the way of the dodo, it’s going to become increasingly unlikely that copying the cursed video onto tape is a sustainable medium of transfer. However, advancing technology has given us potentially twisted-face corpses the chance to avoid their fates with a little technological know-how. The Copyright Amendment (Digital Agenda) Act 2000 has made it possible for the digitization of works to constitute an act which falls under the terms of the exclusive rights within s.31. Therefore, it should be adequate enough to defeat the curse by digitizing the cursed video to your computer and uploading onto the internet! File sharing programs such as Kazaa and You Tube have made it infinitely easier for a file to be copied and viewed by anyone in the world - as long as one person views the video within those seven day you’ll survive!

And don’t worry about copyright infringement IF ANY – they’re off chasing down people who post Metallica songs and bootlegged
Lost episodes to worry about someone posting some weird David Lynchian shit like this.

BUT if worse comes to worst and you just have to let seven days elapse without copying the video AND showing it someone, why not learn a lesson from the movies? In the Ring movies, Sadako/Samara crawls out of a television screen, allowing her to emerge at her full size – why not transfer the digitized video to your iPod?

So when the seven day time limit is up and you’ve been too lazy to show it to someone else, make sure your iPod screen is the only screen available and she’ll be forced to crawl out of it. She’ll be two inches tall at most! Can you take something that small trying to kill you with an evil eye … seriously? Better yet, transfer it onto someone else’s iPod and trick them into watching it.

So there you have it – the undead have a pretty rough trot under Australian copyright law. No superior court judge is yet to give an opinion on where these individuals stand (or levitate or hobble or lurk) in respect of the law, for fear of being accused of betraying their allegiance to the fully living… or just for the fear of having their brains eaten. Either way, The Ring raises significant issues for future consideration – IP is a booming area and, like the vampire that could very well become tomorrow’s litigant, will eternally be in need of fresh blood.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

"It Doesn't Work"

Another story from the returns desk at work. I dressed up as a girl for this one.

I apologize for the epically failed split screen - I should not have left my white balance on the camera set on auto, hence it changed when I changed costumes.

Oh wells.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Room

My brother Harry scored the title of "Film Of The Year" at his high school's Student Film Screening & Awards Night for his surrealist piece "The Room". It's suitably twisted and I'm really proud of him. :)

He also co-won the Audience's Choice award for a mockumentary he co-wrote and co-directed with two other talented student filmmakers.

For good measure, I thought I'd also post "The Last Stand Of Ezekiel" - a spaghetti western shot and directed by Nelson DeMartini that I thought was quite impressive as well. Harry got a "script consultant" credit for his bizarrely excessive knowledge of spaghetti westerns. ;)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


I thought I'd start a series entitled "Adventures In Retail" which brief anecdotes of stupid things people say and do while in the process of transacting with a department store.

Here's my first entry.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

My New Camera

On Friday, I bowed to demand that I take my videomaking a little more seriously and dropped a pretty penny (as opposed to a slapper of a penny) on a Sony HVR-Z1P. I've previously blogged about it. It's the most expensive item I've ever bought myself.

Some people buy cars, some people buy houses, some people buy trips overseas.

Me? I bought a camera.

When I asked a handful of different people I know who use them (filmmakers, actors, video producers, etc.) it was the model that came up the most often as highly recommended. It's a significant jump up from the Panasonic consumer grade camera I'd been using before - significantly higher resolution (hi-def 1080i v my old one's 720x576), 16:9 widescreen, audio control levels, focus and zoom dials, iris adjustment - basically a LOT more control over the image than I used to. Emily speculated that if I'd shot Pass It On on this kind of camera it would have done better in Tropfest. I don't know about that, but it is a more heavy duty camera.

I shot the Corrs Christmas party video with it on Saturday - risky since I hadn't had too much of a play around with it - but it worked quite well. It was a fun day. :)

The resolution when I captured the footage to computer is impressively clear. There's still a few tricks I need to work out with it though...

I wanted to test it out and see what it would be like for posting video blogs/songs to YouTube - particularly the mike. I did a test video of me singing Unsubscribed - a song I'd written and recorded but not shot a video yet - to test it out. Not entirely happy with it (mostly due to my shitty performance) but it's an experiment. When I get around to doing the real video, I'll delete this one.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Nailin' Palin

Sarah Palin in college with a funny shirt. No wait, it's a pun. It's not as funny. But there is a point.

I don't think I can remember a time when a political candidate has had "sex appeal" used as a positive descriptor. And yet, here we are.

Hustler is fast tracking a porn titled "Nailin' Palin" to be released before the election to capitalize on the mood. See the report at the Huffington Post with further details links.

Just what we need - a probing and incisive cinematical insight at an important political time in the United States.

Fast tracked to coincide with the election. Just like Oliver Stone's W.

Well... not exactly like W.

One is hoping W. features no graphic Bush-Cheney-Rumsfield gay love three way. While Condy operates the camera.

Then again... Stone DID make Alexander...

Anyway, since the two hallmarks of Governor Palin that satirists are drawing on are ... well, take your pick, but let's just go with 1) her sex appeal as a MILF and 2) her lack of foreign policy experience.

So I thought I would highlight three funny comediennes playing up the "political sex symbol" angle of the potential Vice-President. Or President.


Contestant number #1 - Tina Fey.

Because, seriously, who else at SNL was going to play her? ... well, Kristen Wiig maybe. Tina's nailed the impression but do you think it's actually sexy? I know she's got some people crushing on her. She may not be Scarlett or Jessica or Natalie, but she's got boys (and girls) who think she be a sexy mama.

Dear god. If those Tina Fey crushes combine with Sarah Palin crushes, and then they collide over the Eastern Seaboard, combining with a front coming in from the north.

... My god. It'll be the Perfect Sexy Lady With Glasses Storm.


#2 - LisaNova.

The wacky YouTube funny lady could have easily just flaunted her D-cupped cleavage, like she seems to do with almost all of her other characters. But she's yet to do with that with Sarah Palin, and I think that's a good choice. Bespectacled, pursed lips and business suit attired. She doesn't do the voice as well as Tina, but it's definitely better than I could do. It's a solid character for Lisa and she looks quite a gosh darn bit like Sarah.


#3 - Amber Lee Ettinger aka Obama Girl.

Definitely the youngest of the three competitors, her take on Sarah Palin is not nearly as subtle as Tina or Lisa, with her in a bikini or removing her underwear to put on eBay. She's not so much going for subtlety or satire. She's just putting the sexuality out there.

But, hey, it's Barely Political - really, what were you expecting?

Monday, October 6, 2008

Mark Wahlberg Talks To Animals

I love Andy Samberg. Hot Rod - like Anchorman, A Night At The Roxbury or Kung Pow: Enter The Fist - is one of those so-stupid-it's-funny-but-it's-supposed-to-be movies.

This was on last week's SNL. Excellent stuff.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Crime After Crime

YouTube user pennycake has posted an audience's view of one of my favourite pieces of the Law Revue this year - Crime After Crime. Artie and Ev are the crooks, Georgie and Donnie are the cops. A beautifully funny little ballet. I grinned. :)

Monday, September 29, 2008

A Little Sheep

"Mary had a little sheep... lamb..."

Wrote a script on the bus yesterday, transcribed it tonight. Shot and edited it. This was intended to go into the sketch show I'm involved with in November, but I wanted to see how difficult it would be to say. It is. :p

Thursday, September 25, 2008

"Penis-Related Vocation"

Let me stress - I do not have anything against urologists. I respect anyone, any doctors, who save lives.

This was simply a random thought process on voluntary penis-related vocation offspun from a little bit of overheard excessive revelation.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Short Films In Canberra

This week, Canberra's Floriade Festival is having some themed short film nights, tying in with the theme of this year's festival "Films That Shaped The Nation".

Thursday night (the 25th of September) is the "Comedy Shorts" night, where they'll be showing comedy shorts from Over The Fence, Tropfest and The Comedy Festival - starting at 7:30PM.

Luckily, a few months back, I was asked to submit The Westpac ATM, after it won in Melbourne. I'm not going to make it down to see it, but hopefully, they'll still screen it on Thursday night. :)

Also, Wednesday night is the Top Of The Trops / Best of Tropfest Night and Friday is the Best of the Melbourne International Animation Festival - both of which should be very fun and have some quality flicks.

For more info on Floriade, click here. It runs from September 13th to October 12th - a fun and beautiful Spring festival.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Nerds Who Steal

Just one time at work, I would like to someone to get caught shoplifting a World of Warcraft subscription game card.

So when security takes them away, I could laugh and tell them NOW they got pwned.


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

An Inconvenient Engineering Truth

So this is the sixth engineering related video, "An Inconvenient Engineering Truth".

It was my first time experimenting with chroma key. It kinda worked.

Like I said in the last post, a big thanks to all of the guys and gals who came along for an hour on a Friday afternoon to the Hawken Building to help out. :)

This also turned out to be the 100th video I'd uploaded to my YouTube account.

I have another editing job to do then I'm going to work on a music video/non-engineering one, so stay tuned. :)

Monday, September 15, 2008

One Hundred Kay

Another video on my channel crossed the 100,000 view mark - "300: The Mel Gibson Ending." Yay! Posted on September 20th, 2007 - just shy of a year ago. Not strictly viral, but still, yay. :)


I've finished an early cut with effects etc. of the next engineering video - I'll post it in the next week, pending approval. I like it. I wish there had been more engineering kids who came to help with it, but I was very grateful to the ones who did come along for an hour or two and help out, so thank you to those guys. You'll get to see your work soon. :)

Here's a teaser image ...

I'll try as hard as I can to get a non-engineering video posted at the same time, so that there's something for everyone.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

The MPAA Hates Kevin Smith (AV Club)

Like most, I am regularly stunned by the hypocrisy of the MPAA. It's been a while since we've heard about the Office of Film and Literature Classification kick up a stink about censorship (movie censorship I mean - there was that itty bitty bit of hot water the Bill Henson artwork fiasco boiled up).

Here is the MPAA's latest. This was pointed out by The Onion's AV Club (both images taken from that page - "The MPAA Hates Kevin Smith")...



Amelie Gilette at The AV Club comes to the quite funny conclusion that...
"The MPAA hates sexual imagery, unless it involves Dane Cook. "
Fully clothed and quite innocently looking people with tufts of hair: bad. Dane Cook, completely nekkid, smug and cocky smile with a blonde head of hair at his groin: okay.

The AV Club pointed out that they're not sure if the Dane Cook one (or the Jessica Alba one with her clutching a phallic, dripping ice-cream cone) were approved by the MPAA or if they were just part of an internet campaign, but the Dane Cook one does turn up on the IMDB page for the movie - does this mean anything?

After watching Kirby Dick's This Film Is Not Yet Rated - a hilarious and scathing documentary about the MPAA - a part of me is suspicious that it's the image of Elizabeth Banks getting head and that big happy grin on her face. In fact, not even the grin - it's clearly a ridiculous, non-in-the-throes-of-ecstacy grin - I think it's just the cunnilingus they're uncomfortable with. It seems - from the evidence in that doco - that seeing women being pleasured sexually freaks them out a lot more than men.

I also recommend this short but funny article posted there too about censoring/revising Watchmen E.T.-re-released style ("The MPAA Thinks You're Stupid").

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

How You Could Have Spent The End Of The World

The Courier Mail had this as the first sentence of an article written at the time of the activation of the Hadron Collider...
A SECOND deadline for the end of the world has passed after scientists switched on a massive machine which some experts feared could destroy the planet.
Read that. The second deadline for the end of the world. Two deadlines in rapid succession. Of the end of the world.

How could I not have heard about this device until today? I can't really be that ignorant can I?

Then again, I only just found out last week that Andrea Bocelli is blind. I'm sorry, but I always just assumed he was concentrating when he was closing his eyes.

Actually, that's not true. I heard about it once before - in the "offbeat" section of the news. You know, the section where there's a story about some crazy person in Asia or Europe who's done something wacky like set a world record for the most bras he can unhook in a minute or survived a fall from a space shuttle while nude or something. The story I'd read said some German scientist was attempting to get a court order to prevent it being turned on. A week later, the machine's being turned on.

Now, I'm not a particle physicist and I know absolutely nothing about atom smashing, so perhaps I'm missing something here, but from what I gather, if it works, this device is potentially a $9 billion dollar Genesis machine. Which in theory sounds cool.

Was this not the villains' plan in Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Khan? You can't use a Genesis device where there's already life!! It fucks it up, all doomsday like!

(NOTE: Methinks this "end of the world" thing has been spectacularly simplified for the 98% of the world who don't get particle physics nor own Particle Physics For Dummies.)

Anyways, it concerns me either way that when I turned on the TV tonight as it was being switched on, not one single news network in Australia was covering it live - a $9 billion dollar device fifteen years in the making which has a chance of destroying the earth, and nobody's on top of it. I followed along with a Twitter account had set up to follow it.


But I thought a couple of things when I discovered this potential doomsday device was being turned on today...
  • One - if the world is destroyed by physics nerds, I'm going to be so pissed off.

  • Two - if I had been at work when the world ended, the last words I could very well have said could have been "Did you have a Fly Buys card with you today?".

    Yup. Nothing deep and poetic like Ned Kelly ("Such is life.") or witty like Oscar Wilde ("Those drapes go, or I do."). Nope, the last words to pass my lips in this world might be "Team member to stationery please for customer assistance."

Someone I know (a female) mentioned that if they knew that the end of the world was imminent, they'd go out and instigate a spontaneous orgy. In fact, not even an orgy - they'd go out and just get one last root. Now, in theory, this sounds like a great idea - it's the end of the world, there are no inhibitions, no consequences, but then I thought...

"Hmmm... I don't know if I handle that kind of pressure."
"What pressure?"
"It's just a case of go out and say what the hell, why not?"
"Well, you say that, but, look what if it goes wrong?"
"What do you mean?"
"You're going to be the last person that this woman has sex with. The last ever."
"So I mean, with a lot of guys, they're nervous enough as it is about their performance. To be the last ever man to have sex with her, that's pressure."
"Uh huh."
"It's crap enough to go through an apocalypse. Imagine that coupled with frustration of having not reaching orgasm moments before."
"Oh my god..."
"And worst of all, I don't want the last thing I say is "That's never happened before. Sorry. Can we try again in half an hour?" "No! No we can't try again in half an hour! There'll be no planet in half an hour, let alone another erection!""

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Post It Notes And Paper Planes

Last night, I was working with a green screen I've made in my living room for an upcoming engineers video, took a break and watched a video by Michael Buckley, aka WHATTHEBUCK, on his more personal channel peron75.

I decided to be bold and posted my first video blog as a response to a video of his about grade five, and me being me, decided to tell two stories of heartbreak that in retrospect are kinda funny.


Played around with a Sony HVRZ1P camera today for about an hour to do a test run - worth about six grand, shoots HDV. Love it. Want one.

I also watched the videos for the 2008 UQ Med Revue today. I was stunned. I didn't see the show with an audience, but holy good goddamn I was stunned. In a bad way. Terrible. Usually, there are one or two videos that are good - last year's Nathan Proctor: Bush Doctor was very funny and the law revue guys loved the dig at us. But from what I heard, the videos for the 2008 show were made by the guys who did the atrociously bad and unfunny Harry Potter/Big Brother video last year. Technically and humourlessly bad. Ryan's Law Revue videos were miles - countrysides - better conceptually, technically and comedically.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

In A Woooooorld Without Don LaFontaine

One of the legendary trailer voiceover artists Don LaFontaine passed away on September 1, 2008 from complications from a blood clot in his lungs. He was 68. He started performing movie trailer and TV spot voices overs after filling in as a replacement on the MGM produced Gunfighters of Casse Grande in 1964. He is credited as the man who introduced the phrase "In a world ..." to the movie trailer vocabulary.

Here is an interesting look at one of the most loved Hollywood figures. He is survived by his wife and three daughters.

And HERE is an excellent short film of Don and other voice-over actors parodying themselves.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

More Revue Videos ...

Some more videos from the show have turned up today on YouTube, on Ryan's channel.
  • The Jury Room - a very slickly written, shot and performed mockumentary about the operation of the jury system and the people who inhabit it.
  • Law Puns and More Law Puns - good to see the Curb Your Enthusiasm theme is still getting played, I always thought it was a wacky sounding theme, it works well with these.
  • Library Noir - again, a really well written and shot one. Forgan Smith looks so seedy...
  • I Heart Learning Guide - a sweet little tragic romance that's doomed to end badly.
There's still the opening credits to be uploaded.

Again, here's the playlist I've set up...

So that's what a Law Revue looks like ...

Last week, I attended my first UQ Law Revue that I wasn't involved with since 2003 - "No Contracts For Old Men". As usual, it was an excellent show - congratulations to Jo Sri, Steve Mylonas, Arthur Abal, Evelyn Peter, Nick Spinks, Fee Whaley, Pav Zielinski, Julia Noble, James Schlunke, Donnie Mourginos, Anna Carlson, Whitney Kapa, Matthew Hendry and Georgie Horsburgh.

(I put in all the names of the cast because I know some of you are going to google yourselves and see who's talking about you and the show. ;p )

I went twice - Thursday night, I had my anxiety attack and got emotional; Saturday night, I went and appreciated the show again.

Stage highlights for me? Billy The Tallest Kindergartner In The World (a one joke sketch that doesn't overstay its welcome); The Joke Shop Sketch (deconstructural humour at its best); Crime After Crime (a very funny and beautiful ballet); The Garden Of Eden; Pride And Bias (a Jane Austen-ish period drama scene breaks the fourth wall until the whole house comes down).

A sketch about a solicitor getting dumped by his clients didn't work as well on Thursday night, but was fantastic on Saturday night.

Low point? The staff sketch was poorly and hastily written in my opinion - it was akin to Meet The Spartans and Epic Movie in the sense that there was no plot, no story, no forward momentum, just a parade of impressions of staff saying who they are - "I'm ... " - "Hey everyone, it's ... !" - "Harrrrooo... I'm .... ". You may as well have had them come out, say their name, they get them kicked in the balls, or run over by a bus. The lack of plot made it seem nastier than usual. But I liked the gentle ribbing of Russ Hinchy's way of telling students to write things down and then suddenly change his mind and "just listen". That was cute.

It was probably the most self-referential revue I'd been to - with injokes, references to past shows. After one sketch where this ran rampant, someone behind me exclaimed quite loudly "I don't get it!"

The choreography was excellent (well done Ev), particularly in Crime After Crime and a reworded version of Feist's 1,2,3,4. Sound issues meant a lot of the lyrics for the faster and/or louder songs were not always clear e.g. Fall Out Boy's Thanks For The Memories (Thanks For The LLB), Mamma Mia (My Career), a Girl Band Medley. I was humming Mika's Happy Ending (Revue Is Ending/SWOTVAC's Pending) for two days after - a very sweet and vocally impressive finale.


And then the videos...

Now, I did the videos for the show for three years, and they were pretty successful, both at the show and on YouTube. I got a job or two out of it. I was the Revue Video Guy. I got a rep. This year, Ryan Van Dijk took over. I met Ryan at Tropfest this year, he'd auditioned for the show a few years back, now he was a fifth year law student who made short films in his spare time. He did a quite funny Tropfest entry called "Right Hand Man" which I saw and laughed at - I told Jo to get in touch with him, he could be useful.

The predominant reason I had an anxiety attack Thursday night was because I was floored by how good they were.

Ryan and his brother Shaun (co-director) knocked it out of the park. Armed with a six grand camera and a Mac to edit on, Ryan produced some very slickly planned, shot and edited videos that ranged from the gutbusting hilarious to the subtle and quite sweet. It convinced me I need to get a better camera. I'm shopping this week.

Massive congrats to Ryan - from one revue video director to the next, I feel like the torch has been passed now. I have closure. :)

Ryan's started posting the videos on line (in both standard and high definition). I'll post the links as they come online...
And here is a playlist I'm making up ...


So yeah - that was my first revue back that I wasn't involved with. It was a fantastic two nights out. A suitable mix of laughter, regret and a little bit of judgment. It was a shame that, unlike last year, there wasn't one big ex-revue group going to sit in the audience - just another indication of the passage of time. I hope this group of revue kids keeps on doing it for some time.

It makes you again wonder why people want to be lawyers, when they could be doing this. :)

Thanks Pete

A blog post just to say thanks to Pete Black for pimping me on his excellent blog Freedom To Differ, which I regularly read, as a part of Blog Day, where bloggers recommend five blogs they read. Peter was kind enough to mention my blog as one of his five recommended blogs, so thanks Pete. :D

... blog.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

How To Structure A Comic Book Movie Franchise

I've noticed a pattern with how comic book movie franchises develop...

Part one: the origin story.
How did they come to be, how they discover their powers, how society deals with the introduction of this superhero.
  • Superman (1978) - the birth and arrival on Earth of Superman, he puts on the costume and starts saving people.
  • Spider-Man (2002) - how Peter Parker becomes Spiderman, learning to deal with his powers.
  • Batman Begins (2005) - how Bruce Wayne psychologically and physically turns into Batman.
Part two: superhero wants to give up their superhero life for something simpler, but then realizes that it's what they're supposed to do.
  • Superman II (1980) - Superman wants to marry Lois who now knows his secret, gives up his powers, tough shit - realizes people need Superman too much.
  • Spider-Man II (2004) - Peter Parker wants to have a relationship with MJ, is happy to lose his powers, tough shit - realizes people need Spiderman too much.
  • The Dark Knight (2008) - Batman wants to have a relationship with Rachel, is happy to give up his superhero status, tough shit - realizes he has to keep being Batman.
Part three: superhero becomes an asshole and people hate him. Promises never to be an asshole again.
  • Superman III (1983) - Superman is exposed to red kryptonite, becomes an asshole.
  • Spider-Man III (2007) - Peter Parker is exposed to the alien symbiote, becomes an asshole.
  • Whatever the next Batman movie is called (20??) - Batman is now the most wanted criminal in Gotham. He's an asshole.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Acolytes Headed Straight To DVD

Des Patridge's "Movie Guru" blog at the Courier-Mail reports that Acolytes - a creepy serial killer teen horror thriller shot on the Sunshine Coast and had a phenomenal sold out screening at the Brisbane International Film Festival - is not going to end up with a cinema release.

Distributors Palace Films aren't going to spend the money on making prints and distributing the film, which is a shame, because it was a solidly creepy piece of work that had more than its share of scary moments in it.

I don't fully understand how the distribution deal was set up, but why couldn't they apply to Screen Australia for some funding in making prints? Did the Government via the Film Finance Corporation (one of the predecessors to Screen Australia) not partially fund the production in the first place?

It wasn't a brilliant movie (the kids' acting was pretty terrible for a great deal of it), but it was definitely a different kind of movie than the ones we're used to seeing being produced in Australia.

It's disappointing, but, ah well.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Monday, August 18, 2008

No Contracts For Old Men

Tickets went on sale today for this year's UQ Law Revue - "No Contracts For Old Men".

It's the first law revue since 2003 I haven't been involved with, so I'm quite excited to be sitting in the audience again. The guys in charge this year are very funny and solid writers and the cast is top notch. I anticipate laughter and nostalgia, with maybe a pinch of regret. :p

(check out the 2008 Revue Facebook group -

Wednesday 27 Aug
Thursday 28 Aug
Friday 29 Aug
Saturday 30 Aug

Showing at the Schonell Theatre, University of Queensland. Curtains up at 7:30PM. Reserved seating, but all of the seating is good. :)

$15 LCard / $20 non-LCard.

Unfortunately tickets are only on sale from in front of the Law Library in the Forgan Smith building between the hours of 10 and 2 (the UQLS does not have EFTPOS facilities yet apparently).

Any queries should be directed to Jonathan Sri at j.sri [ at ]

Friday, August 15, 2008

I Owe It All To Ace Of Base

Have the spent the last night or two working on a song that had been nutting around in my head for a while. It's a YouTube-themed song and is done in the style of Kelly Clarkson/Pink/The Veronicas. But with me instead. :p

Anyways, this new one is alright. I'm doing it in a weird way - I have the backing track of guitar and midi drums, bass and strings. But I've had no lyrics - just the title. So, I'm writing a verse and a chorus at a time, then picking up the microphone and recording it over the top of the track. Then I doing the backing vocals where I feel it needs it. So what I'm working with is the patchiest and most unnatural songwriting procedure ever. But it seems to be working.

As an experiment, I muted the midi track and the song sounds really good like that as well (if not better). So when I finish it, I'm going to do a version with the drums, strings and bass, and then mute the track with those and call it the "De-Spectorized Mix". Or "Acoustic". Whatever.


People take up the guitar for various reasons, but most of the time, they've done it because they love a particular player or song. In music class in high school, it seemed like every boy in the class didn't give a shit about playing Louie Louie, never mind that it was three simple chords and a basic one to learn for beginners; they wanted to play Wonderwall or Smells Like Teen Spirit straight off the bat.

But for me? The song that made me want to learn guitar was not a traditional guitar hero song. It was not Hendrix or Marley or Cobain or Gallagher or Clapton.

It was an acoustic version of Ace of Base's "Lucky Love" on my cassette copy of "The Bridge".

It's an unorthodox inspiration, but it's the truth. It's an average pop song and one that most people don't remember (even though it went to number one throughout Europe).

So why Ace of Base? They of the woman who only wants another baby, seeing the sign and days of not for working but "a day for catching tan"?

Because I was a fan of Europop in the early-to-mid 90's (and we all were to some extent). Particularly within the Europop craze of the mid-90's, there was an extravagant emphasis on synthesized music. When I voted for songs on the Hot 30 with Stuey and Zoey, I'd vote for the song I knew would be the most popular of the night so I could have a better chance of winning the prize, but if I really wanted to, I'd often vote for the latest Ace of Base track. :)

So I got The Bridge cassette for my birthday and on the second side, they'd included an Acoustic Mix of Lucky Love. Intrigued I skipped to it.

Suddenly I heard a real instrument on a track I was already so familar with on the radio. That steel TWANG of the strumming of the opening chords pierced through the haze of the synth and electronica that came before. Then a real bass. And a real drum kit and shakers. And the guitar kept twanging and plucking, the shakers kept shaking, the keyboard kept tinkling.

It was an instrumentation I wasn't used to with Ace of Base, and it had an effect on me.

And that's the moment I wanted to learn how to play the guitar.

Unorthodox yes, but true.

So when I muted the track with the midi and synth tonight, of all the thoughts that could have come to me, Ace of Base came back into my memory.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

My BIFF Experience

Tonight, the 17th Annual Brisbane International Film Festival comes to a close with a sold out screening of John Maybury's The Edge Of Love. For me, this has been one of the most interesting BIFF's that I've been able to attend. Usually, I've only ever attended one - maybe two - movies that screened at BIFF. I remember seeing The American Nightmare in the State Library Theatrette on my 18th birthday, Donnie Darko (before it became the huge cult movie it since has) in the Myer Centre while the Regent was being refurbed, and I remember seeing This Film Is Not Yet Rated at the Centro last year which has yet to get a general release in Australia (yet appeared with an MA rating on World Movies earlier this year).

This year was definitely my favourite BIFF yet. I highly regret not volunteering and getting even more involved in the festival.

I ended up seeing four films, all of which I rated quite well, and I encourage you to see them when they come out in general release.
  • Not Quite Hollywood - as cool as I thought it would be. The highest energy documentary I've seen in some time. See my post elsewhere about it. Getting a general release in a few weeks.

  • Son of Rambow - this was my favourite of the four I saw. Saying the title to people will bring up ideas of what the movie is about, but it's not even close. I got choked up in the last scene. It was so incredibly sweet and nostalgiac and the two boys in the lead role were extraordinarily good. I compared it to Billy Elliott (little boys with dreams beyond their locations) and am putting it up there with Dark Knight as one of the best movies I've seen this year. General release in Australia on September 4th.

  • Acolytes - co-written by my screenwriting tutor (who remembered me when he sat in front of me in the audience), a serial killer thriller about three high school kids who try and blackmail a local serial killer (Joel Edgerton) into murdering a bully who tormented them. But all is not as it seems... More than a few jumps and scares in it, it had a chilling twist at the end. The Glasshouse Mountains never looked so creepy. Wait, yes they did. It's screening in Toronto, and getting a general release in Oz in 2009.

  • Three Blind Mice - Matthew Newton's completely independent shoestring budget movie shot on HD was screened on DigiBeta (they couldn't yet afford a film print), and followed three naval officers in Sydney for one night only before shipping out for another 6 months at sea - one is considering going AWOL after an incident on their ship, one wants to see his fiancee one last time and the other just wants to party hard. Shot entirely at night over two and half weeks, it features a dazzling array of recognizable Aussie actors who pop up completely unexpectedly (won't give them away ;) . Dragged a bit, but it was definitely the little movie that could of all the ones I saw. Solid performances from all involved. It's some promising stuff from Matt Newton. No word on a general release yet though.

I also made it to a very useful seminar hosted by the Australian Film Television And Radio School about how to actual go about entering things into festivals, tips on formats, planning, shipping, etc. Well worth the two hours and $15.

Interestingly, three of the four movies I saw at this "international" film festival were Australian. The advantage of this was that those Australian movies which screened enabled the filmmakers themselves to attend. Not Quite Hollywood was attended by Mark Hartley (director), Antony Ginnane (infamous producer), Brian Trenchard-Smith (director of Turkey Shoot and BMX Bandits), etc. Acolytes was locally made, so there was the writers, the director, producers, costume designers, you name it. It was a sold out session with the home crowd. Matt Newton came to the screening of Three Blind Mice with Gracie Otto (his female lead/editor/girlfriend, who I briefly talked to afterwards about editing - she was self taught as well, awesome!). Matt looked tired, like he'd had a night out the night before, possibly because there was a screening the night before as well, but he was still chipper and interesting during the Q&A.

For the first time, I felt the same way about BIFF as I did about when I first attended the Comedy Festival at Melbourne - you can just go up to the filmmakers/performers at the end, say hey, congratulations and a chat. And they love it, they don't think you're weird. Granted, it's a film festival, so the audience could sometimes be a little snootier than comedy club audiences, but still, it was great for there to be an actual festival atmosphere for once at BIFF.

Congratulations and well done to all involved. :)


Big regret? Not volunteering. Will remedy this next year.

Bigger regret? Not seeing Turkey Shoot, Long Weekend or The Man From Hong Kong on the big screen.

Slightly bigger regret? Not going to the Ozploitation seminar at GoMA because I was scared I'd have nothing to add to the proceedings. You idiot.

Biggest regret of the festival? Being too chickenshit to not say hello to the Spierig brothers and tell them that I got top marks for an uni essay I wrote on Undead and I think they're the bees knees. Mike and Pete, if you read this, I'm sorry and thank you. :)