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Sunday, December 20, 2009

I Am Immature

Yes, I am a child. This will probably have been changed by the morning, but it made me giggle. So I screen capped it.


Titty. Hehe. Web editor fail. Here's the article.


My Top Five of '09

Yesterday I voted in the ABC At The Movies 2009 Viewer's Choice poll.

It occurred to me going down the list of titles that I didn't see nearly as many movies as I did in the year before. Last year I picked movies that I thought were amazing but didn't nearly get the audience they should have had. My picks this year were generally quite widely seen. Huh.

Anywho.

In alphabetical order, my top five movies for 2009 were...
These were five movies that when I walked into the cinema, I had expectations - sometimes low, sometimes high - and they just blasted them away completely. I included The Wrestler, even though it was technically a 2008 movie, but wasn't released here until 2009.

Honourable mentions go to Drag Me To Hell, The Imaginarium Of Dr. Parnassus, The Hangover, Coraline and Moon. I am yet to see The Hurt Locker, Up In The Air or Inglourious Basterds, all of which I'm told are very very good, but I can't comment myself on what I thought of them.

I'm thinking about maybe compiling a best of the decade, but jeez that'd be an excessive amount of effort for a list of no meaning, worth, merit or sushi.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

I Just Blue Myself: Avatar And The New Era Of Moviemaking


As the world prepares to blast off to Pandora - the fictional setting of James Cameron's Avatar - via a hype-fuelled space shuttle, we should reflect on the true significance of this film.

In the same year Americans welcomed their first black President, overcoming centuries of intolerance, so too do they welcome into their culture the first movie with such a large cast of blues (or, to be politically correct, 'Navy Americans').

Before boldly heading forward into this new world of tolerance towards the blue man, let us remember the actors and actresses who were pioneers, trailblazers, and symbols for equal rights for Navy Americans in Hollywood.








Where will they lead us? A brighter and bluer future. So, yes, a lighter shade of blue. Not to discriminate against those with darker shades of blue... oh boy... you know what I mean. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

But most importantly, movies will never be the same. How soon until we see blue artists moving behind the camera as writers and directors, making stories for, by and about the blue community - the blue-nity? Who will be the blue Spike Lee? Who will be the blue Denzel Washington? Time will tell.

I look forward to Tarantino's tribute film to 'bluesploitation' cinema.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Read Books. Don't Sleep With Dead Foxes By Your Head.

About this time last year, I went down to the Sydney AusOne YouTube Gathering. I wanted something to read on the way home - something more substantial than a magazine or newspaper. My book reading habits had bottomed out in recent years, I didn't really read for pleasure as much any more. On a whim, I went into a Dymocks and saw a big orange wall covered in orange books, all marked at the very reasonable price of $10. I picked up The Picture of Dorian Gray, which I had never read nor knew exactly what it was about.

Somehow, over the past year, I've managed to build a little collection of them, all of which are still sitting on my bedside table, like trophies from a hunt that aren't mounted because mounting is hard and expensive and just not worth it when people don't really hunt books, at least not with guns or hunting dogs.

... maybe some do.

But I don't want a dead fox on my bedside table.
The books will suffice, thank you.

So far, I have...

The Picture of Dorian Gray - Oscar Wilde
The Big Sleep - Raymond Chandler
Tales Of The Unexpected - Roald Dahl
The Chimney Sweeper's Boy - Barbara Vine (Ruth Rendell)
A Clockwork Orange - Anthony Burgess
On The Road - Jack Kerouac
High Fidelity - Nick Hornby
Kingdom of Fear - Hunter S. Thompson
In Cold Blood - Truman Capote
The Adventures Of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
A Confederacy Of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
Farewell My Lovely - Raymond Chandler
And The Ass Saw The Angel - Nick Cave*
Picnic At Hanging Rock - Joan Lindsay*
Dracula - Bram Stoker*
Frankenstein - Mary Shelly*
and awaiting a copy of Fever Pitch - Nick Hornby* to come in the mail.

* have not actually started to read yet, there's an orderly queue to get into my brain.

How many do you have? What's your favourite?
Who are you? Where are you going? Hold me?

Friday, December 4, 2009

Some People Just Don't Listen. Or They're Stupid.

A customer was looking for an item of stationery which was pictured in this week's catalogue.

It was in this shape...



The stationery, that is. Not the customer.

Since we were sold out, I referred her to the courtesy phone where she could ring another store to inquire as to the availability of such container/receptacle for her child's pencils.

On the phone, she described to the staff member at the other store the item as "an item pictured in your catalogue, it's a Tinkerbell pencil box in the shape of a diamond."

I noted her error in geometric identification. I said, looking some papers to shuffle instead of looking at her directly ... "Actually, that's a hexagon."

She says "(to me) Thank you. (into the phone) Sorry, it's a hextangle."

I paused. Giggle. Shuffle.

I made a mental note to tweet, Facebook status update and blog about her.

*sigh*

Sunday, November 29, 2009

It's Just One Joke, But It's Mine.

I also forgot... in the week and a half that had violently swinging highs and lows, one of the things that picked me up from a low was getting a laugh from Michael Apted - the British director who's been in town directing the latest installment of the Chronicles Of Narnia.

612 Brisbane got an interview with him on a slow day while waiting for the weather to clear, so they called out for questions to ask him in the pre-record, and my question got a big laugh out of him, said it was "witty". And I think it sounds genuine as well. :)


(my question comes up about halfway through)

Considering Mr. Apted made me laugh by casting Denise Richards as nuclear scientist Dr. Christmas Jones, I consider us even. ;)

You may say it's a bit much, arrogant and self-aggrandizing of me to blog about this, put it on Facebook, seemingly flog this as some major comedic coup on broadcast media - it's not, and I know it's not. It's not the most brilliant thing ever said. It's one question, one quip, one gag, over in a matter of seconds then life moves on.

But in the last week, I was feeling really really down about myself, doubting my ability, and when someone gives you a compliment that at the very least sounds genuine, it really does help you feel better. And I needed it last week.

So bugger it. Just this once, I'll take that matter of seconds.

Stanhope Tuesdays: Stand Up, Improv, Joke Battles

What a darn week and a half it's been of highs and lows. As you probably saw, I got a response from Web Sheriff re Bob Dylan's Facebook Song - not via email but on my blog (click for comment popup). Their response was at least partially helpful, clarifying their position, yet was laced with sarcastic quotation marks - the kicker being "sorry". I responded via email much more politely and rationally than my initial reaction, but have heard no further response as yet.

I received some more info on Stanhope Tuesdays - a new comedy room starting up this Tuesday at West End. Sounds like it's going to be a fun and interesting night, not just another stand up room, there'll be improv and joke battles of the sort...

This Tuesday at the “Inspire Gallery Bar” at 71 Vulture Street West End, there will be a standup/improv comedy night, commencing at 7.30 p.m. Each act will be roughly 5mins of standup and 5mins of improv after.

At the beginning of the night there will be a hat passed around the audience and members will be asked to write down subjects on a piece of paper and put it in. (e.g. global warming) The comedian pulls one out of the hat and tries to riff on the subject for 5mins. If they struggle they can pull out another suggestion and try to riff on that. All in all 5mins of standup and 5mins of improv.

Then later in the night there will be joke battles where two comedians get up and the audience yells out a topic or a word and both comedians try and make a joke on the spot. Whoever gets the best reaction will stay and the other guy will sit down and another comic will take his place. Whoever survives the most rounds gets bought a drink. ;)

No comedians will get any payment for performing in this venue, and they won’t allow us to do tickets. Please help create a fun room for comedians to perform in and at least recoup your traveling costs. Come and get your friends to come this Tuesday 1st December, and let’s get this project off the ground
!

Here's the Facebook event page for the opening night and the Facebook fan page. I'll be there to support. :)

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Stanhope Tuesdays

Okay. Calmed down slightly. Listened to some pretty music on the CD's sent to me by Spencer Howson for coming up with a funny question to ask Michael Apted. Calming. Slightly. You've really never heard Bryan Adams music until it's performed by a Welsh soprano and sung in Spanish. Sent emails to both YouTube and Web Sheriff. The Web Sheriff one was of a more respectful and inquisitive tone, while the YouTube one was probably written in haste with the anger of a man who knows he's screaming at a wall but doesn't care. I'm still pissed off about it, but I can rest a bit. The video still seems to play from my MySpace page.

--

I want to drop a mention bomb on yo asses of a new comedy room that's opening next week.
It's named after (but not officially linked to) alternative comedian Doug Stanhope.
And it's on a Tuesday.
Sure enough, it's called "Stanhope Tuesdays". (Facebook Fan Page)

It'll be every Tuesday at the InSpire Gallery, 71 Vulture St, West End (not too far from the intersection of Vulture and Boundary) at 7:30PM.

It's free to come along to.

It's an opportunity to give some decent local comics some more stage time and support, particularly the ones who do material with a little more edge that won't find them in the lead role of a family-values-oriented sitcom. That said, Bob Saget on Full House disproves that.

So it'll be a fun little night, please come and support the local comics, so they can keep doing these nights. If the nights are enough of a success, these lesser known acts can even get a percentage of the bar takings.

They have a small liquor licence for the venue so get in quick before it fills up on the night. Should be good!

--

Also, news came to hand that the Wednesday night Rogues Gallery gig at Bramble Bay Bowls Club next week is postponed, so I have that Wednesday night free now.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Fucking Fuckery Fuckbeans

FUCKITY FUCK FUCK FUCKING SHITBEANS MOTHERFUCKING DOUCHEBAG INTERNET FUCKS!

To clarify, I am angry.

I just discovered that my Bob Dylan's Facebook Song parody of Subterranean Homesick Blues was disabled by YouTube, on the basis of a claim by an organization called "Web Sheriff". Web Sheriff was hired by Prince - yes, he, the purple prince of trigger happy tight-arsery when it comes to copyright on the web - so in my view, right off, that doesn't put them in good or rational stead.

I was given no notice, I was given no warning. I now have two strikes against my account where I believe I have a reasonable defense as a blatantly obvious parody. You can search "Bob Dylan parody" and still find dozens of other homemade parodies of Bob Dylan songs, especially the Subterranean Homesick Blues. So WHY ME???

I haven't filed a counter-notice as yet but will do so as soon as I receive more information from either YouTube or Web Sheriff. I immediately sent this email to YouTube, prompting an automated response, and do not - as usual - reasonably expect anything other than that without filing a DCMA counter-notice.
To whom it may concern,

I have just today discovered that YouTube has had my highest viewed video - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YETZnkOipzM - disabled on the basis of a copyright claim by a party known as "Web Sheriff". Not only do I think I have reasonable grounds to a defense on this particular video and there's been a second strike now put against my account, I'm offended that the video has trigger happily been taken down by a party that refuses to even reveal its proper name.

I seek nee
demand clarification and more information on this party - who hide behind another party's name - and has claimed copyright and their reasons for doing so.

I honestly believe that, while my video uses background music, it is ENTIRELY within the context of a parody of the original song and hence defended. It contains the instrumental backing of the original song, but contains none of the original music's lyrics or vocals - which have been parodied by myself rewriting and singing - and then to further establish the point of the parody contains entirely footage of myself parodying the original's video.

I request that YouTube promptly forward me their contact details and the details of their claim so that I may respond accordingly - if not to YouTube, then to the party "Web Sheriff" so I can seek clarification directly from them.

Sincerely,

James Tinniswood

FUCK. FUCKITY FUCK FUCK.

Also, what the fuck is up with Facebook chat? FUCK!!!!!!!!!

Hammock Holocaust

Okay. This just made me laugh out loud. It's silly and funny. XD

Starring Henry Stone and Greg Larsen.



And while we're at it, here is Greg's stand up act which I also find quite funny.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Cawmeddy

Over the last few months I've been gradually getting back into performing at open mic gigs around Brisbane and they've been starting to pay off. Although they're only five minute unpaid spots, I've been getting back confidence to perform on my own again - particularly after being in ensembles for The Complete First Season and Les Miserables. I don't get nervous when I'm part of a group - even when I know I have solo parts - but when it's just me in the spotlight at the mike, nerves are always wracked. Especially when I know I don't have any friends in the audience to support.

So I've usually been getting up and doing a solo performance - more often than not, of the Anne Hathaway song - and it's gone down well. Met lots of awesome new guys trying their hands and wits out and managed to get acquainted with some other comics who I've seen in the past. And I realize that's why I like comedians. More often than not, they're very approachable and humbled. Moreso at these open mic nights, where people get up and do their bits while also holding down day jobs - they're mostly just regular people with little ego about them.

So the nights went down well enough to get me a few extra spots at other venues like the Sit Down and St. Paul's Tavern. Next week (Wednesday the 18th) a bunch of the open mic-ers get to perform our spots for people up from Melbourne on the search for comic talent to use in the Festival Club or the Comedy Zone. Fingers crossed for us all.

So yeah, my coming dates for short spots are...
  • Wednesday 18th November @ St. Paul's Tavern - MICF2010 New Talent Showcase (free tix, book through the Sit Down on 33694466)
  • Saturday 28th November @ Sit Down Comedy Club - both shows at 7PM and 9:30PM, headline act is Pommy Johnson, $30 tickets.
  • Wednesday 2nd December @ Bramble Bay Bowls Club, Woody Point - The Rogues Gallery Comedy Club - a new room that's just opened up, free entry
  • Friday 4th December @ St. Paul's Tavern - another short spot for The Comedy Zone, tickets $25
I did five open mic spots with effectively the same schtick each time. I asked the emcees for feedback/criticism which was given very constructively and I appreciated that. My plan was to then go away over summer, not do anymore spots at the same venues for the risk of becoming stale and write all new material. Will this eventuate? I think it could.

--

I also went to the trouble (and it was trouble) of returning to MySpace to set myself up a musician profile. While MySpace is generally regarded as an antique in terms of social networking in the era of Facebook and Twitter, I've become aware that MySpace is still very useful for marketing unsigned musicians, bands and comedians. I've always wanted to have one of those music players on my profile to play music that I've written but have been too lazy to do a proper video to. So now, it's there.

So here is my brand new MySpace Music page - http://www.myspace.com/jamestinniswoodsings

If I write a song and record it and I REALLY like it, but have no idea what to do for a video (or the video I want to do is just beyond my technical capabilities), that's where it shalt lie. If you still have MySpace, please add me. :)

--

The Complete First Season is still going - the group is still deciding the format and venue of our next show, but mostly certain it's going to be the first quarter of 2010. Still a lot of exciting things to be decided, planned and executed before then though, so no more said or else to jinx it.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Mount Alvernia Head Shaving Scandal Bias

So, in the last few days, one of the most viewed stories on the Courier Mail website has been regarding the Mount Alvernia girl who was suspended for shaving her head in support of her father's battle with leukaemia (link here, image linked from article).

The story first appeared as a news item on Monday night's Channel Nine News in Brisbane and by Tuesday had gone national. As I look at the story tonight, two days later, it is still one of the most viewed and discussed stories, with 279 comments.

Typically, when one of these stories about outrage and disgust at a private school's apparently strict rules comes about, I would feel disgust as well. But I'm a Padua old boy - the brother school of Mount Alvernia - and, this time, it didn't sound right to me. I find it hard to believe that there's not anything more to this than what is being reported.

From the Mount Alvernian girls that I've spoken to in the last few days, they're devastated by the dark shadow that's been cast upon them and their school. They agree that the whole story is not being reported.

I don't know and have never met Emily Pridham or her family. The girls I've spoken to have their opinions on her and what's happened, but those opinions are theirs and not for me to repeat nor endorse. For the tough and traumatic battle the Pridhams are going through at the moment with leukaemia, they deserve our sympathy and support, no doubt about that.

But 97% of the reporting of this story really has come only from the girl involved and her mother. Really go and read the story. Watch the video of the news report. In all of the reporting of this, Mount Alvernia is given a two word quote as their response: "ongoing issues". And yet, go to the Mount Alvernia website and see the full statement that was made. No news outlet has picked up on nor reported this official statement from the school's principal. Here is an extract.

I write with reference to the media reports of the suspension of a student from Mount Alvernia yesterday. Sadly for our college community, the media reports that have been aired do not accurately represent the situation. We value and respect the rights of every young woman in our community and we will continue to respect this student’s right to privacy by not making public details of the disciplinary issues involved.

As a Franciscan school our philosophy is to actively assist those in need and we do this on a daily basis. It is distressing that necessary caring guidance provided to this student over a range of issues has been misrepresented. Her father’s illness has been known at the college and we have continued to actively support the student and her family throughout the years they have been associated with the college. It is unfortunate that this head shaving incident has received wide publicity when all the facts are not known.

Mount Alvernia is taking the high road, whether they want to or not. Their hands are tied (possibly, legally) on what they can say about the girl and hence they're doomed to take the brunt of the media beat-up. And it's not fair.

I'm not saying Emily is right or wrong, or Mount Alvernia is right or wrong - I don't know. Like I said, anyone who is experiencing the devastation brought about by leukaemia deserves sympathy and prayer. I just wish, AS USUAL, there was adequate coverage given to both sides so there wouldn't be 200+ gullible, Catholic school bashing Courier Mail readers and the 4,600+ members of the Facebook group who seem willing to burn a good school to the ground because they read/saw a report on one side of the argument.

Donations can be made to the Leukaemia Foundation - http://www.leukaemia.org.au

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

What?

I sat down at the bus stop on Gympie Road, watching the on-coming peak hour traffic carefully to ensure my bus didn't pass. I'm slurping on a Creme Chocolade from Zaraffa's.

Suddenly an older woman with the detectable dry stench of nicotine appears from behind the wall of the bus shelter and sits down next to me. Between her yellow stained fingers is the cigarette I had sensed.

She looks at me for a moment.

Her: "Hello. Would you be able to give me two dollars for a bus fare?"

Me, following my natural instinct to people who can clearly afford cigarettes asking me for money, is no. I qualify it with "I spent the last of my money on this drink" and claiming (truthfully) that I use a GoCard.

She looks at me for a moment, then reveals to me an old, faded photograph of two young boys - must be aged 10 or so. She's been holding the picture the whole time. The photo looks like it's from the early to mid-eighties.

"These are my boys. This one is 28, and this one is 32."

"Oh, lovely" I say. I make a joke. "They look good for their ages."

She looks at me blankly for a moment.

"This one had his ball chopped off by an Indian."

A pause.

I say "... oh."

She says "Yes. The Indian thought he had cancer down there, but he didn't."

A pause. She takes a drag of her cigarette.

She says "Do you have 50 cents? I thought I had ten dollars on me, but I spent it on this chicken instead."

She holds up the chicken in a Coles bag.

After blinking several times, I gave her 50c, careful not to reveal the five dollar note in my wallet.

The woman got on the Scarborough bus and hopefully made it home to Deception Bay.




Saturday, October 24, 2009

My Les Mis Journey

It's taken me a week to get around to writing my post Les Mis wrap up. It's Saturday night, and I'm home capturing two hours of footage I shot today for a law firm's Christmas video. I'm exhausted from a long day so what better way to fight exhaustion than to write an epic essay of Victor Hugo proportions about the significance of Les Mis and its impact on my life. (Note: Please disregard my own disregard for continuity of tense. :p)

I needed to find the right time and the right words to express just what a journey doing Les Mis was for me. If you've been reading my blogs, following my tweets or watching my YouTube videos, you'd know it was all I could really talk about for the last six months. I thought maybe the best way to revisit the whole journey of it would have been to cut and paste all of the tweets going way back to my audition in March. Part of the reason I signed up to Twitter and use it actively is to keep a personal record of my life and thoughts. But by God there were a lot of them. Also, I realized in retrospect that my descriptions of the rehearsal process weren't all that particular, more emotional descriptions. And those emotions tended to repeat. I was either "tired" or "amazed". So, there wasn't a whole lot of point to that.

So the Les Mis journey started for me when I was in primary school - I'd guess Year 4 or 5. Dad had managed to get a taped copy of the Original Cast Recording from a mate and he would play it in the car on drives. On top of this, Dad photocopied the lyrics booklet and put them into a folder with plastic sleeves so we would be able to read and sing-a-long to the extraordinary music. Whenever there was a swear word, Dad would give a little yelping noise to mask it out. "Comforter, philosopher and lifelong WHOOPS" is how Master of the House sounded to us, followed soon after by "Raise it up the master's WHOOOOOOP!" Of course, the fact we had the lyrics in front of us completely defeated the point of such censorship.

The point is, Les Miserables was the musical I first listened to from start to finish. It was the musical I grew up with. I knew every song from constant play and replay. I would end up seeing it twice at QPAC with Rob Guest as Valjean and Bruce Spence as Thenardier, and then not again for some years.

In 2005, Ignatians did it. This was the first time I'd heard of the group "Ignatians". It was marvellous from what I heard but I didn't get to see it, because of my busy schedule with prepping the Law Revue. Daniel Pizzato - Law Revue legend and one of my best friends - was a Les Mis nut. Dead set. He lived and breathed it. He played Gavroche all those years ago and thankfully never let it die within him. We both connected over the love of Les Mis, as well as Marc McKechnie who convened that year, and we rewrote One Day More to close our own first act. It was an odd instrumentation admittedly with guitar, keys, drums, bass and trombone, but the whole cast leapt behind it with great gusto. Such was the power of Les Mis. I do two more years of the revue before I graduate and leave it behind for good.

In 2008, I join Ignatians' choir based on a recommendation from a friend. It's a fun year, it introduces me to a whole new group of people who I now consider good friends and one very special person who is now my best friend and more. The choir meets every Wednesday night and eventually a show is put on by July. But it seems the choir, while fun, is overshadowed by Ignatian's big production of the year - Into The Woods. I'm gobsmacked by the design of the show and the talent on display, it's the first show I've seen of Simone de Haas's.

December 2008. News comes through to me that Ignatians' show for 2009 will be Les Mis again. After saying "squee" more times than a fully grown straight man should say, I calmly decide to be bold and audition. On a rainy rainy night in March with shitty shitty public transport arrangements, I audition for the part of Thenardier but am more than content to simply be in the ensemble. I brought the pliers from work to use as a prop for removing teeth from bodies in the sewer. The special CD I made isolating the backing music to Be Back Soon from Oliver screws up so I have to nervously fudge my way through Master of the House without properly remembering the lyrics. I do get a call back - there's a lovely guy named Alan who's also been called back. I leave the callback thinking "I'm out of my league here. He's good. He's right for it." There's confusion and conflicting messages from different directors as to what my role will be, but in the end, I'm confirmed I'm in the male ensemble, which I'm more than fine with. There's absolutely no room for ego when you're finally going to get to be in the musical you've loved since you were 10. I say "squee" one more time before I put that silly silly word to rest.

Our first meeting/rehearsal in April. The entire cast of 40-45 sits in a giant circle. There are maybe half a dozen people I recognize from choir, the rest are all new people to me. I recognize Brad McCaw from Starlight's Rent at the Schonell a few years ago and from Into The Woods. In the circle, I'm seated next to a friendly guy who introduces himself as Chris. He knows nobody here. He asks who I'm playing, I say "male ensemble". I reciprocate the question, he says "Javert". "That's awesome!" I say, and I cheekily think "The good villains are always nice in real life. This is good." Simone, Edgar, Harmony, Sara, Bryn and Christine all introduce themselves and their roles on the production crew. We're reminded of how awesome we are to have gotten through 200 auditionees and it's reassuring - the first feeling I get of "this is really going to be good". We're told to not listen to any cast recordings for fear that they will influence our performances. We're told to take three months to learn the music and read the book - to do our research, to base the show on the original source of which the musical is an abridged, condensed and altered version. Simone's vision for the show was gritty and seamy, like the streets of Paris in 1832 should have been. I thought it would be like the Batman Begins version of Les Mis.

In June, the rehearsals start. The strangest night was reading through the show, like a script reading, with only occasional singing. Given the show is entirely sung, it felt and sounded quite odd to hear it spoken, particularly with all the rhyming. It was like Dr. Seuss had written it.

We were shown models of what the set would look like and a description of the lighting and costuming and how it all ties into the concept of the show. There would be a forced perspective design with buildings on trucks/trolleys that will give the appearance of a street with connecting alleyways; as a result, the barricade will completely (and appropriately) block the whole street off, as it would have back in the real Paris of 1832. The lighting would be done in a way to represent the passage of a single day, as if, "this is the life of Jean Valjean, from the moment he changed his life in the prologue to his death at the end". We're all already stunned by how much thought has gone into this.

Week by week, scene by scene, we slowly pieced together the music with Harmony and Edgar. The ensemble parts are cast as we proceeded. Eventually, the staging began. It's also a slow process, but painstakingly done to Simone's vision. We hold a special rehearsal where really really workshop all of our characters, even the ones with no names or lines. It's Simone's vision to have an incredibly detail pastiche of characters with their own storylines happening in the background, reinforcing the fact we are an "ensemble" not a "chorus".

Week by week, the cast began to grow closer. We bonded over Sunday afternoon drinks at the RE or Regatta. At first, there were only four or so people. The next week, there were twelve to fifteen. It kept growing until the majority of the 30-something cast were there casually socializing. We started to see each other three times a week for rehearsals, and if we didn't, we added each other on Facebook and would talk online all the time. We'd get together for coffee and movies and social arrangements outside of rehearsals.

We had our first run with the AMAZING orchestra at the end of August. From the first note of the overture, we were in tears, we were giddy. The music we'd heard over and over on the piano was suddenly a fully fledged beast of an epic, and all of the pieces slid into place. We erupted with applause. There were no words that could describe the sensation of sitting there and hear that first timpani bang, cymbal roll and blast of the brass in the Old Museum that day - shivers, goosebumps, tears and standing ovations. It was suddenly very very real. We were in Les Miserables. There was no doubt, no fear. There was nothing amateur about this show - this was as professional as you could get without being paid for it. This will be spectacular. :)

And it's at this point that I realized that I called it at the start of the year.

I made an observation that, every five years, I'll find myself in a emotionally unhappy place but will then happen to get myself involved in a show so amazing with people that become incredibly close friends. In 1999, I did my high school musical which did so; in 2004, I did the Law Revue with people I'm still close friends with and work with. 2009 was Les Mis for me.

Tickets sales rocketed even before we'd done any real press for it. We had about 8500 seats to fill over 20 shows. By the end, thanks to amazing word of mouth and reviews from the local media, we ended up selling out most of those performances. 420 people a show. People who baulked at the ticket price initially saw the show and rang up the next morning to rebook and demand to be in the front row. The audience reception and demand for tickets was phenomenal. On the last few nights, there were women with signs in the foyer begging for someone to sell them a ticket. I had friends who had to cancel their tickets - when I alerted the box office as to this, the tickets were resold in a matter of minutes. One desperate girl confessed to searching eBay for them (she didn't find any, but still...). In the end, almost 8000 tickets were sold. I can't believe we were all in a show that played to almost 8000 people.

I knew this would be a fun show, but I genuinely didn't realize it would be this good.

Les Mis is a favourite musical of everyone involved - it was such a labour of love. Early on, I proposed to some of the guys that the show was coming along so well simply because of a love of the material, but I was quite quickly met with looks of "I don't know" and told it was much more than that. And they were right. They'd said that they'd been in some right rotten casts with divas and limelight hoggers, of which there were none in our show. It's one thing to love a show, it's another thing to love a show, be talented and be in good personal company. It really came down to the calibre and quality of all of the people involved - the crew, the cast, the orchestra, the backstage, the sound/lighting guys - who aren't just talented but beautiful people as well. Simone continually described us not as a chorus but as an ensemble. There is a difference and it's a difference that changes the significance of a show to the people involved.

It really was one of the best things I've had the honour and the privilege to be a part of. I'm forever personally grateful to Simone, Harmony and Edgar to give me - and all of us - the opportunity to do something I will never forget for the rest of my life.

To me, there will be no other Les Miserables cast like ours and I'll never see or listen to the show the same way again.

They are the people. They are my friends.
I hear them singing.
I will always hear them sing.



For more information on Ignatians and how to get involved in their choir or other productions, go to http://www.ignatians.com.au

Friday, October 16, 2009

A Vloggery Moment Of Self-Indulgence

Again, a long time between video drinks but that's because I've been hella busy with Les Mis, which closes tonight. This is a little video I made backstage last night.

I'll do a proper piece of writing summing up the show in the next few days when I've recovered (and even try and sneak in a longer video showing off backstage and the awesome awesome peeps involved) but this has been more than I'd ever expected of the show. Almost 8000 tickets sold, twenty-one shows, standing ovations... it's been overwhelming and amazing. :)



In other news though, I've been getting back into open mic comedy gigs, getting up and playing a song or two, seeing some cool new talent around the traps. I've managed to score a couple of spots at the Sit Down Comedy Club and St. Paul's Tavern which is awesome! I'm nervous and excited. I'll pimp them closer to the dates.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Les Mis Review Roundup

It's been one week since Les Mis opened at the Schonell last week, SEVEN shows done - it's been energy draining, but it's been so much fun so far. We've had standing ovations, tears have been shed, curtain calls, encores... people are loving it. The word is out and tickets are getting harder and harder to get - with full houses or back row only for some shows.

So here are four rave reviews we've had published about us...

Nigel Munro-Wallis on 612ABC gave us four stars. On air (not in the printed copy) Nigel gave us what I consider the biggest compliment of all from a theatre critic - he has disliked the show Les Miserables for many many years, but we were the ones that finally converted him. I really appreciate that comment. :)
If you have ever enjoyed Les Miserables then get along and see this production. It goes a long way to proving my suspicion that there is a great deal to offer in Brisbane in terms of musical theatre and that there are a significant number of highly talented devotees to the art out there who are doing a great deal to lift the bar with regard to the standard we can expect.

If you can't get out to catch one of the many offerings that are currently showing around town as part of the Brisbane Festival then go and see this. At least it has a descent run, as opposed to so much of what is on offer as part of the festival that only runs for a couple of days.

Well done.
--

Jason Whittaker at Australian Stage Online...
This is a labour of love for many; from the really clever staging (the battle scenes at the barricades are terrific), effective lighting and sound design and dazzling costuming faithful to the revolutionary times, and a tight, well-rehearsed orchestra under the co-batons of Harmony Woollett and Edgar Chan. Experienced director and choreographer Simone de Haas pulls it all together quite seamlessly, efficiently conveying exposition that moves at a swift pace in the first act.

The stage bursts with talent. It is a uniformly excellent cast, right down to each member of the large chorus who really do give it their all.

...

Lovers of musical theatre won’t be disappointed. It’s great fun.

--

Lauren Dillon at Timeoff...
With a cast of voices that would rival any other, an orchestra primed for action and a budget worthy of the requirements of such a production the Schonell Theatre was transformed into nineteenth century France much to the delight of the supportive and appreciative opening night audience.

Director Simone De Haas has outdone herself by being able to wrangle over 20 performers, an orchestra and special effects including gunfire in this mammoth production. Her skill combined with that of co-musical directors Harmony Woollett and Edgar Chan makes for an epic production...
--

From Perform Magazine...
When a theatre company decides to take on a musical of this scale and present it to a paying audience, they want to be very sure that they can come up with the goods. Director Simone de Haas and musical directors Harmony Woollett and Edgar Chan have delivered in spades...

When I saw that Chris Herden was the understudy for the original Sydney season of Phantom of the Opera, as well as having sung with the Queensland Pops Orchestra and Opera Queensland I was relieved. The role of Jean Valjean is so pivotal to the story that a less than professional performance would ruin the whole musical. Herden became Valjean and held the audience in the palm of his hand as he stood on the barricades and sang Bring Him Home. It was one of the finest renditions of this haunting piece that I have heard in either a professional or community production...

The firearms and gunfire in the barricade scene were so realistic that I ducked in my seat every time one of the actors turned toward the audience holding a rifle.

--

DON'T MISS OUT. We're on until the 16th October but don't wait until the last minute to see it. People have seen the show and were initially skeptical about the ticket price and got back on the phone and rebooked to see it again. It's of a quality you'd seen in a professional show at half the price.

http://www.ignatians.com.au for dates and details on how to book.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Interrupting

Got my topical video done, like I said I'd try to. :D

An updated version of an old joke, in light of recent events.



If you like it and you haven't gone and voted for me already, please go to SamProof's Battle Of The YouTube Non-Stars Round #2 video and post a comment with "almostfamous83". That's all. That easy. And if you can check out the other battles' contestants and vote for them, that would be coolios too. :)

And post-script, RIP Patrick Swayze. It was obviously a long time coming but it's still quite the unpleasant shock. RIP Bodhi.

Monday, September 14, 2009

I say "pimp" as a verb A LOT

Round #2 of the Battle is up. I need your votes. Please go here and post a comment with "almostfamous83"

Here, however, is a video in which I plead for your votes but also pimp Les Mis which opens THIS FRIDAY. WOOOOOT.



Les Mis rehearsals are getting tougher. We're in tech week - every single night is a full dress/tech run through with the orchestra, ballistics, scene changes... the show opens Friday night and it's going to be an exhausting week.

Meaning my time is REALLY limited and I MAY not get to do a challenge video. Which would suck. If you can vote me back into the next round, I would be super psyched.

I've also tweeted that if I get voted back in, I will do a future Battle video naked. Unsure how people would react to that, but nonetheless, I need your votes.

Again, Les Mis. Opens Friday. Five weeks. It's tres awesome. Hook into it, musical lovers of Brisbane. :D

http://www.ignatians.com.au

Sunday, September 6, 2009

The Purge - Part 1

I've been thinking about this for a while. I didn't think about it really hard until I received an email from YouTube a couple of days ago saying they had reviewed my channel and considered me a "great candidate" for the YouTube Partner Program.

This could have been sent to everyone or it could have just been sent to a handful based on viewing stats. Who knows.

What would this mean? It means I can allow ads to be inserted in/around them and earn (a very small amount of) money from my videos. I would get more promotion via searches and front page promotion, and have more control over my channel designs and video settings. The money isn't really an issue, as I've heard tales of woe of how little the pay is from Google - what I AM interested in is the promotion.

Unfortunately, if I want to follow through and apply for partnership, things have to change. And for me, it's a big one. Relatively.

I'm going to have to remove a quarter of my videos.
Mostly Law Revue ones at that.

I'm not going to be one of those idiots who AngryAussie often (and quite rightly) rants about - people who put up copyrighted material and whinge incessantly when they get shut down, claiming ignorance and that they "didn't intend to" infringe. I don't claim total ignorance. There were things which were perfectly fine in terms of copyright, things which were borderline, and things which were not. In the end, I used them because 1) they suited the jokes and made the Law Revue videos work as best as they could and 2) I didn't think anyone would care about our silly little sketch show in a university theatre.

But times have changed. Back then, YouTube was still a new thing - it was known enough to have it blocked on work computers but not enough for Viacom to sue it for a billion dollars. It's now synonymous with internet video and it's much much bigger, more technical and more policed. If you couple that with the fact I'm averaging 1000 views a day across my channel, it was bound to happen. I'm just surprised it took this long.

The biggest one I'm going to have to move is March Of The Engineers - the video that a lot of people still really love, still gets favourited, is always in my top 5 rating videos on YouTube Insight, and production-wise summed up the best of the Law Revue years for me. It got me work and got my name around. If I could rescore it with new music, it could stay on the channel as March Redux, but I don't have the raw video files or the original Ross McNab audio recordings in order to rescore it with original music anymore either, so that is the final possible cut. And it has to move.

Now, I don't think it's a guarantee that I'd be made a partner. But even if I don't, in the last week, I've had one video removed (without any notification) and half a dozen others with content identified (even if they were just little snippets) and then links to iTunes as per the content sharing arrangements between YouTube and various record companies. These videos have been up for a long time - for years - and they've amassed thousands of views for me, been favourited, commented upon, forwarded around... but it really was only a matter of time, and I knew it.

My channel is still really important to me, even if they reject the partnership application. I've worked hard on it over the years. In the last year, I've uploaded more and more original content with myself, especially songs, and my subscriber count is pushing 600. I want to start promoting myself as much as possible with this channel, and promoting The Complete First Season with that YouTube channel. Is it worth jeopardizing all this progress I've made (some of which I was foolish not to back up) over a handful of vintage Law Revue videos that are now averaging maybe 10 hits a day at most? No.

So this is the plan.

One day this week (probably Monday or Tuesday), I will delete all of the videos I believe would get me kicked off. This is includes the videos on which content has already been detected but not disabled. A big content cleanse.

I'll then upload them to a new channel which will serve as a depot of sorts for said older Law Revue videos. This should leave my almostfamous83 channel relatively copyright-clean, but with three quarters of the videos left.

Will this be enough? I don't know. But like I said, it was bound to happen sooner or later. I really don't want to completely get rid of a lot of these videos because they are, well, my roots when it comes to comedy and film-making. They're a memory not just to me but to all who were involved in those videos and my channel has always been a place for them.

To be continued.

(I should clarify that I'm not deleting ALL of the Law Revue videos from my channel, just the iffy ones when it comes to copyright content. I'll post the new links here and do up a video to address where they've gone to my subscribers.)

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Twitter's Effect On My Cognitive Processes: A Lengthy Essay

Since joining Twitter, I've been wondering if the short message service has in any way affected my ability to stay focused on one thing at a ...

...

.

.

.

.

.

.

Bored. Onto something else.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

2009 UQ Law Revue Vidjeohs

Yeah. I spelled it "vidjeoh". Like an illiterate Mexican would.

Made it to this year's UQ Law Revue on Friday night and as usual a pleasant night out. Well done to all involved.

Highlights for me were "the elephant in the room"; a Romeo-and-Juliet love story involving royal blue and burgundy coloured snuggie wearing gang members; a seemingly-improvised skit involving an incompetent judge being reviewed; a beat poem (very cool, cat, I dig ya), and; the guest speaker at a Bachelor of Arts graduation ceremony.

And again, the videos by Ryan Van Dijk were of high quality production. Find them here. :)

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Complete First Season's X & Y Gig

I just got home from another Complete First Season performance - this time, an all musical comedy show. Our friends at the X & Y Bar on Ann Street, Fortitude Valley are trying to establish a regular musical comedy room called "Laugh Your X Off" and we were some of the peeps who got to perform, along with MC Chris Wainhouse and Brisbane musical comedic duo The Laundromats. Jo was out due to Law Revue commitments, and Marc was out because... well... just coz, leaving myself, Alex, Grdo and Tom to take it.

One day, all six members of The Complete First Season will do a show together. Someday. Otherwise, 'complete' just isn't the right word to describe us. :p

We essentially recapped all of the musical highlights from "22 Sketches..." and "More Iguana: Now With More Iguana" but played three new songs as well, including a doo-wop rant about Masterchef and a fat-joke laden Beatles parody. All new material went down a treat.

This was a very new format for us, to perform as a musical comedy group, given musical comedy was only a fraction of our sketch shows. But the material successfully translated, which means we can realistically adapt it quite easily should we need to do it again.

I hope X & Y continue to do this event and get it advertised amongst the Brisbane comedy scene. There are so many open mic rooms and clubs that have been popping up over the years, but this is the first event I'm aware of in Brisbane that has a specialty (musical comedy).

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Les Miserables Cast Pics

Here are some supercool pics of the cast of Les Miserables which is being produced by Ignatians Musical Society.

The Cast

AGH! Have I not stressed to you how frigging spectacular this show is going to be??

Every rehearsal there's some new element that's added that makes it a little bit more real and a little bit more cool. Today we sang with the orchestra for the first time, got into costumes and got our pictures taken a lot.

This is easily one of the coolest things I've been lucky enough to be a part of and we're not even all the way there. It's going to be epic. It will be spectacular. Do not miss it. Don't.

20 PERFORMANCES from September 18th to October 16th at the Schonell Theatre, University of Queensland. Ticketing and box office info from the Igs site - http://www.ignatians.com.au. Group and family bookings available.

Valjean
"These men who seem to know my crime will surely come a second time." -- Jean Valjean

Photobucket
"I dreamed that God would be forgiving..." -- Fantine

The Students
"Do you hear the people sing..." -- Enjolras

You Robbed A House
"Do not forget me, 24601." -- Javert

Thenardiers
"It's a world where the dog eat the dogs..." -- Thenardier



Photos courtesy of Simone de Haas.

Friday, August 7, 2009

The almostfamous83 Song

So here is my introductory (and hopefully not the only) video for Battle Of The YouTube Non-Stars #3. I woke up this morning to discover my rival had posted their video and suddenly burst ahead of me in the voting, so I hope hope hope I'm not too late with this submission.

You can vote here at SamProof's "Round 1" video. You can only vote once though and it's gotta be before midnight August 11th. So go! Vote for me! Now! Please! :)

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Battle On!

Super cool YouTuber dctcool nominated me for a contest on YouTube called "Battle Of The YouTube Nonstars" in which a weekly video challenge is set for twenty-four contestants and then people vote for their favourites. People are eliminated each round until one victor is ... well, victorious. User SamProof is running it this time around.

So my battle is up and I'm up against ciwi286 - wouldn't you know it, the first battle and I'm up against a visual effects artist. Dammit. That said, at least I'm not up against another musician who's more competent than I am (and there are much more competent musos in the contest).

I have to write and post a video in the next day or two, but if you want to help a brother out, please go to the video linked here and post a comment voting for almostfamous83. Voting closes midnight August 11th and you can only vote for one person in each battle once (no fake accounts will be accepted).

But while you do, please check out all of the other users who have been nominated in the battles. It is a friendly competition. The whole point of the contest is to raise awareness of YouTubers who don't have as many subscribers as they should and to give them some promotion, so please do check it out.

You Took The Wink Right Out Of My Text (Cold Winter's Night)

I did something silly and wasteful. Saturday night/Sunday morning, I sent a tongue-in-cheek "vent your spleen" text to mX which read like this...
To those loud, drunken women Saturday night who got off the Caboolture train at Strathpine just after midnight and were vocally concerned someone would rat them out to mX for being loud, drunken idiots... you got your wish. ;) - J
When it appeared published in mX today (Tuesday August 4th, 2009), there were two notable omissions. One, the word "vocally" was replaced by "so". I'm fine with that - that was to save space in an already long message.

But, secondly, in the printed version, they omitted the ;) emoticon, meaning it read like your garden variety, petty, idiotic complaining mX reader complaint. It suddenly read without the cheeky tone.
To those loud, drunken women Saturday night who got off the Caboolture train at Strathpine just after midnight and were so concerned someone would rat them out to mX for being loud, drunken idiots, you got your wish.
Maybe I should send a "vent your spleen" text about how the "vent your spleen" column doesn't print emoticons.

I should have added a post-script about fat elderly pregnant women in wheelchair not being given seats on the bus as well...

--

OH, and while we're on rewriting peoples' quotes for space-saving means but making them sound totally fake, how about this... right next to the "vent your spleen" column was one of those people-on-the-street polls, where they ask three people a question, take their photo then publish their responses...
What is your favourite movie comedy of all time?
  • Answer #1 - "Wedding Crashers, because it's funny."
  • Answer #2 - "Aquamarine because it is really funny."
  • Answer #3 - "Friday, because it's funny."
Ugh.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

New Complete First Season Sketches!

So part of the reason I've been a bit absent from YouTube is because I've spent a fair bit of video making time with the guys from The Complete First Season. Tonight, I uploaded a selection of some of the stuff we've gone and shot to our Complete First YouTube Channel. It's effectively material that was originally performed live but we felt would translate well to video. I'm quite happy with how these turned out.

"Twins"




"Kevin Rudd And The GFC"




"A Slight Problem"




"Jay Walk Patrol"

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

It Starts Here

Yesterday was my birthday. I can now no longer honestly say I'm 22 years old.

I'm 26 now, so that rule's sorta been in effect for three years.

But yeah, yesterday the 27th of July was my 26th birthday. The family bought me a thick wool underblanket for my bed. My girlfriend Jac has now bought me an excellent present two years in a row (last year, Tales From The Crypt DVD - this year, two N64 games I wanted) and makes me love her more that she pays attention and gets me the right things. But it must be a sign of ageing when your birthday just feels like "another day". My family and Jac went out to dinner at a French restaurant the night before, but as for the day itself? Same as usual. Slept in till 10, got up, groomed, went to work for 8 hours, did little actual work, came home.

Lying in bed last night - VERY late, didn't properly fall asleep till 3:45-ish - I was overwhelmed by a sense of "what am I doing?" I'm now a 26 year old, two years out of university, didn't go into his studied profession, no idea what to do, still living at home, unable to drive, without full time employment and working a casual retail job I have no real emotional attachment to any more. Other impending private matters I won't divulge here have been put into motion and are compelling me to, effectively, grow up.

I've hence decided to set myself a challenge.

Every single day, I'm going to achieve one act of self-improvement and advancement out of arrested development.

I will force myself to write a song/sketch. Or sort out the clothes in my room. Or actively investigate job opportunities. Apply for full time work. Or cook the family meal. Go to the dentist. Go for a jog. Take a driving lesson. I'm aiming to book in three driving lessons in the next week.

It's basically a New Years Resolution-a-thon. Except the New Year is my twenty-seventh year and didn't begin in January.

One a day. Even if it's small. Something productive. No more wasting time.

Let's go. Self-improvement starts now.

... but first, to bed.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Friday, June 19, 2009

Hello YouTube, I'm Back

I haven't uploaded a video to YouTube since the Comedy Festival back in March. This has been due to
  1. me not having any ideas that I thought were worth doing
  2. working on Complete First Season material (some of which is up on the The Complete First YouTube Channel)
  3. being busy with preparation for Les Miserables (for which tickets are now on sale)
  4. other personal issues that I won't go into here but know I wasn't in a happy place. I'm still kinda there, but more on that later. Maybe.
So this week, I decided I'd get back into putting some things back on YouTube. I have a handful of short songs that I never got around to writing or recording because they were just silly little things.

This most recent one
I wrote for 22 Sketches... back in November and was one of the songs I did at my first open mic at the Newmarket Hotel. It didn't go down that well at Newmarket, but it got a HUGE laugh and cheer at both of the 22 Sketches performances. I have video of it live, but it's out of focus. So here it is: my one joke ode to Brisbane drinking venues.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Separated At Birth?

SEPARATED AT BIRTH?

Former rugby league player and now commentator Peter Sterling, and the principal from Back To The Future (you're a SLACKER, McFly!).

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Radiopedia returns (but not from me)

So this upset me.

Last year, you'll have read - and you can find the blog post about it - that myself and a handful of mates entered a competition for ABC Radio's Comedy Hour project, being launched by Adam Hills, as a means of emulating the radio comedy legacy of Aunty's mother radio network, the BBC.

I was frustrated and disappointed at the time that none of us even received a rejection email to say "thanks but no thanks". Because I had heard from friends down south that they HAD been told whether they were successful or not.

The concept that I pitched was a Wikipedia themed sketch show, providing a very loose structure and narrative to effectively do any radio skits or songs we wanted, while linking it together with a bit of a grammatically poor lunatic of a narrator (like Tom Baker in Little Britain without the pomposity), replicating the often inaccurate nature of Wikipedia. I thought it was unique and a winner of a concept for a sketch show.

I read here on The Chortle, about ten months later, that a Wikipedia themed sketch show filled with inaccuracies has been commissioned by Radio 4 in the UK...

Stand-ups Nick Doody and Matt Kirshen have landed a four-part series for Radio 4.

The pair are currently writing the scripts for Bigipedia, described as 'a malevolent mix between Google. Microsoft and Wikipedia'.

Kirshen says he finds the 12-hour days preparing for the show gruelling, writing on his Twitter page: 'If I'd worked this hard at uni I wouldn't be in comedy.'

Doody has previously described the series as 'a piss-take of Wikipedia, with all the same inaccuracies, written by nutters'.

The show will be recorded from this week, and go out in late July. It was commissioned from independent production house Pozzitive following a successful pilot last year.

It was only a matter of time of course before someone spoofed Wikipedia, and there's no guarantee it'll be exactly the same concept as I originally imagined nor the tone of comedy, but it's just reminded me how disappointed I was when an idea I thought was really good and had lots of potential wasn't even noticed.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

I'm Sorry

I've been bad.

I've been neglectful of YouTube.

I'm sorry guys.

It's been six weeks since I posted a video and that was just a 10 minute video blog about what I was going to see at the Comedy Festival.

Well, the fact is, I haven't had any ideas for things worth putting up on my YouTube channel. I could put shit up, but why?

If I've been doing video work, it's been the weekend shooting and editing of skits for The Complete First Season's YouTube channel and website.

It's been going slowly but progressively, considering we've all been quite scattered location-wise over the last few months, but we're about to get back into it. We've shot three sketches so far. Yesterday we reshot the first Kevin Rudd monologue with Grdo and in doing so, we came with the concept for the next Rudd monologue.

At some point, Grdo adjusted the Rudd wig so it wasn't so "mullety". I had been joking that he looked like Kevin Rudd if Kevin Rudd thought he was Luke Skywalker. He put a hair tie in it, and he suddenly reminded me of Val Kilmer in Heat.



Today we shot a sketch at Marc's new apartment then spontaneously decided to go ten pin bowling. Which we hadn't done in years. The alley still had the original Time Crisis and Daytona USA games. Vintage. :D

So, that's what I've been doing. I really want to get back to making something for the almostfamous83 channel but it's a case of find the time and the inspiration. The very very long overdue video for Unsubscribed could be it, but, like I said, I need the time and the inspiration.

This made me laugh though. :D

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

A Letter To Lars

Dear Lars von Trier,

Do you need a hug?

Please cheer up.

If Mike Leigh can go and make a happy movie, so can you.

Sincerely,

James

P.S. Dogville was great.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

The Prime Minister In My Room

Spent an hour or two this morning with Grdo filming a Complete First Season bit...



The clips attaching the greenscreen to my wall fell off not five minutes after we finished - fortunate timing. Unfortunate for the wall...

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Movie Previews: Subdivision + Gomorrah

Saw two movie previews in the last week...

--

Last Thursday I went to a test screening of a movie called Subdivision starring Gary Sweet, Bruce Spence, Steve Bisley, Brooke Satchwell and Ash from the Nova breakfast show (in, effectively, the lead role). It was directed by Sue Brooks of Japanese Story and set in Hervey Bay (shot on the Gold Coast). It was an interesting experience - I'd never been to a test screening before, had to fill out cards about what we thought about the characters, etc.

Keeping in mind that it was obviously a rough cut and it would be tweaked/edited well before the release in August, I thought it was a pretty average movie as it was. It's about builders and contractors and real estate and working class families. It was trying too hard to be overly Australian - jokes about home brew, blue collar workers, mateship, playing footy, characters named Digger, Singlet, Jack. And you've got the three blokiest actors of the last thirty years (Sweet, Bisley and Spence). It didn't know whether it was trying to be a comedy or a drama - there were overly dramatic sequences and overly comedic sequences. But I only really laughed out loud once. I will be interested to see how the trailer markets it. There was about 20-30 minutes of extra scenes and subplots I would have cut out, it ran for 2 hours as it was - they might have been great, quiet and still acting moments but they did nothing to forward the story.

Anyways, keep an eye out for it, but I myself wouldn't have paid to see it - just doesn't interest me.

--

Last night, I saw a screening of Gomorrah - an Italian film that won a prize at last year's Cannes - a sprawling, disjointed drama following FIVE stories (all at once) that don't crossover that are all linked to the "camorra" (the mafia organization in Naples). It's a gritty and brutal movie - made me feel dirty and uncomfortable. The violence and murders are shocking. I thought it was like City of God by way of Babel - crime organizations in a slum, but incredibly depressing and all over the place. It's a stunning film, yes, but again, not my cup of tea.

--

I'm currently editing a sketch we shot last Sunday for The Complete First Season's upcoming website, but I've had bursts of inspiration the last few days for a couple of songs, that I want to hurry up and write/record as soon as I can and then shoot videos.



"Get off the roof, Gary Sweet!" (Ben and I were both thinking this during the movie)

Saturday, May 9, 2009

For Sale. One bottle of Decore. Very good conditioner.

The bottle of conditioner in my shower says that it's for "dry, coarse and rebellious" hair.

"Rebellious"?

Dry and coarse I'm cool with, but "rebellious" makes me think that my hair is a sentient being. I'm not comfortable with the notion that my hair is developing political attitudes, antagonistic opinions and a moral code.

And also, if it's for dry, coarse and rebellious hair, I shouldn't need to use it when I'm in the shower. In the shower, my hair is not dry nor coarse - it's wet and slick. And rebellious? It's going exactly where I point the shower head, punk.

...

... yes, I still have hair. 

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

I'm Tweetin' For Me


I signed up for Twitter in January and deleted my account ten minutes later after not seeing the point. I then reactivated it in March not knowing why but possibly because it was growing in popularity and I was convinced I'd missed something.

Then I saw the potential of it - I wanted to use it so I could remember the minutae of my life. I'd read Michael Palin's diary and it was a fascinating documentation of the Python years written at the time, so I kinda wanted to do that for myself - quick snippets of my life and thoughts, no matter how pedantic or miniscule they might be. Not particularly caring if anyone read it, I tweeted for me. Ideas, jokes and observations I could use for later material.

Tonight I repeatedly clicked the "more" button at the bottom of my Twitter page until all of my tweets were revealed. I deleted the pointless ones like "going to work" and "off to bed" without any funny twist or comment, and streamlined it.

So these were some of said thoughts and moments recorded on Twitter...

I've signed up to Twitter and I don't know why... (12:22AM Jan 6th from web)

I've restored my Twitter account upon realizing I update Facebook way too much (11:57PM Mar 12th from web)

On a crowded train populated by footy fans - all named Terry, Stuart, Sharon or Deb.

I'm just waiting now for Twitter to fuck it all up like Facebook did.

WHY did the Power Rangers always wear clothes with identical colours to theirRanger outfits if they wanted to keep their identities secret?

Doing bad yoyo tricks during rehearsals.

There are FOUR posters for the stupid looking Dragonball movie on this bus's windows. Excessive...

Gettin my creepy on.

Going to start watching Season 4 of The Wire. (10:28PM)
Where's McNulty? There's no McNulty. (11:13PM)
Oh there he is. (11:17PM) 

Oh you wacky Asian DVD pirates who think the youth of today won't know Helen Mirren's neckline when they see it...

Listening to ABC classic FM through my phone... I feel like I'm in a plant nursery shopping for ferns.

Off to see Tom Stoppard's The Real Inspector Hound at UQ. But first ... pants.

I wonder if these kids wearing 1991 Broncos jerseys know what "Powers" was...

Stabbed a can of V. An unorthodox method of opening a soft drink, I'll admit.

I think I've written the first song to feature a reference to drinking panda blood... wow...

had an idea for doing a short parody of the wonder years with hitler called "das wunder years."

"und standing zere... in ze darkness ... I realized somezing..."

Am I unhappy and depress or just tired? I'll know in the morning... (11:02PM Mar 24th)
Feeling better than last night, was in a dark place... (2:04PM Mar 25th)

What in the hell is Michael Jackson singing in Black Or White other than "it don't matter if you're black or white"??

mX photo looks awesome!! Page 5.

Gerard told me a story about "Two Gay Fishermen Named Walt and Andy". What an awesome title.

Jeanne Tripplehorn sounds like a porn name. And yet it's not.

I think I want to see a Matthew McConnaughey movie ... what's wrong with me?

OWWWWWWWWW... stepped on a bee!! Fuck you bee! (2:53PM Mar 28th)
Ah welcome back, second-to-big toe. (2:38AM Mar 31st)

Vitamin Water is stupid.

Drunk old man just got on the bus at the local football club. I'm betting he chucks.

Family of fatties in front of me at Subway. The mother just stepped out of line and went to KFC.

Trying an orange Rockstar energy drink... tastes like one of thoes Golden Circle drinks... except now I can see through time...

Gold Coast! Stop hogging all the water!

Savage Garden were shithouse philosophers.

I need to open my eyes when I play onstage.

This guy is a dead ringer for Mark from Rent. Repressed the urge to publicly address this.

Bogan at the train station is determined to expel as much spit and gas fom his body as possible. (1:33PM)
He sounds shocked that his girlfriend would leave if him if he was sent to jail. (1:36PM
)

Finally remembered to send back faulty Memento DVD. The irony of this overwhelms me.

Is it ironic to be afraid to do the chicken dance? Quite appropriate really.

Two guys on motorbike are circling each other in the hypermarket parking lot. Oh wait, one has an L on his back ... (9:31AM)
... he must be a member of that infamous Learner Biker Gang that start learner fights in learner airports. (9:32AM)

Let's ... Get ... Miserables.

Girls on the train keep mistakenly saying "pissed as a mute".

Emancipated. Emaciated. Two different words.

Received a Birch Carroll and Coyle email offering to "see Wolverine before anyone else". Huh. Written before the leak, obviously. (11:03AM Apr 9th from web)

I want to see Easter Mythbusters. Bearded guy in beret gets crucified, dies, doesn't come back. MYTH BUSTED... SBS gets angry letters.

My god there was so much dust in my room. But it WAS low fat though.

Is Andrew Hansen the John Cleese equivalent in the Chaser group? The "frightfully witty" one? Andrew Hansen as Q in the next Bond movie...

Evacuated by fire alarm. Not sure if it's a drill, because there's a truck. (4:45PM)
Yup, it was real, but it's over. A wedding party nearby is incorporating the fire truck into their wedding photos. (4:49PM)
The string quartet is told to keep playing, throughout the whole ordeal. Just like the Titanic. (4:50PM)

The church band sound like a Filipino Mitch and Mickey.

A Jew walks into a bar... ... ... mitzvah.

A blonde, an Irishman and a minister walk into a bar and thus reduce the impact of each others' stupid statements to the bartender's question.

I'm eating Mongolian Lamb from a Chinese takeway place. Why didn't I just go to a Mongolian takeaway place instead?

Turned on radio, first song was the theme from Friends. Accurately predicted I was listening to 97.3

Girls on train were loudly discussing boob jobs. It occurs to me that I don't know anyone personally with fake ones... I think...

I wonder how many people instinctively thought of buying a billiard table with their stimulus money.

Two guys on the train who look like James Blunt are trying to chat up two jailbait age girls, one of whom looks like a hot Anna Paquin.

Dylan Moran made a joke about Croatia on DVD playing in the room. Housekeeping maid pipes up. "That is my country. Hehe."

In the cab to the airport. Wanting to scream out goodbye to the landmarks we pass ala the end of Muriel's Wedding. Jac won't let me.

I dislike it when people say "build a bridge and get over it". When they say that do they realize that bridges take some time to construct? (5:27PM Apr 26th from web)

You need approvals and permits, you need to source materials like concrete and metals, machinery, etc. -- it's a drawn out process. (5:28PM Apr 26th from web)

Exploring www.PhobiaList.com - there is no listed "fear of stripes". Interesting.

I have mad people skills, you bloody idiot.

"Cover you fucking mouth when you're coughing, woman on bus." Right, that sounds right, now to actually say it... (12:12PM Apr 29th from mobile web)

... she got off before I could say it. (12:13PM)

Went to the video shop, rented out the movie 'Jumper'. Took it home, put it on, disc kept skipping. Irony?

There was no way that dude was getting a credit card. He was unemployed, picking his bum and didn't realize he had a de facto.

Man on street corner selling the Big Issue described it as "finger licking good". I'm not going to eat the magazine, dude.

I am the least likely candidate to play Tony Soprano. Whoopi Goldberg would be a more convincing Tony Soprano than me.

Separated at birth: WALL-E and Keanu Reeves. Evidence: a love of the word "whoa".

So the difference between "Most Oustanding" and "Most Popular" Logies are that Most Outstanding is what the plebs SHOULD have voted for...

My God. I want to get drunk at the Logies at some point in my life. What's the easiest way to do so? Reality show contestant?

Am going through deleting all of my unnecessary tweets. The irony of me tweeting this is not lost on me. (about 1 hour ago from web)