Thursday, February 7, 2008

Film School. Lesson One.

Triton and myself have been toying with making films for a couple of years now. I believe our first effort was a stunt piece with Triton filming me attempting to consume a hamburger in a single bite while driving a rented car at 100km/h. In New Zealand.
Our second attempt was a Lego animation piece called The Crazy Count, which contained no animation. Here it is below.

Late last year you all enjoyed the single shot masterpiece that was my birthday invitation.
The basic flaw with all of our film-making efforts has been lack of planning. Having both been involved in the creative arts since we were old enough to remember, we often take process a little easy, relying on basic skill and spontaneous talent honed from years of falling over for the benefit of small children.
The creative process on the birthday invitation was me thinking about it for a few minutes each night before I went to bed and then luring Triton over with a promise of beer and perhaps, like, you know, making a little movie or something. We were lucky with that one because we planned it on the run and it was a simple concept. We were unlucky because it turned out just as good as we hoped it would, teaching us no lessons about actually working out what the hell it is you're going to do before you run out the door and start filming everything.

Our latest effort, an audition tape for the Australian version of Top Gear, was just such a learning experience. After talking about it for weeks and regularly promising "To go out and film a few cool things" it came down to a boozy Saturday night at Triton's new house on the final weekend before auditions were due.

'Right. Tomorrow. Definitely. We gotta go film this Top Gear thing.'
'Yeah. YEAH. How about ten thirty? Let's give ourselves time. Be here and pick me up at ten thirty.'

At one thirty in the afternoon I opened my crusty eyes, popped a few panadeines and felt a great deal of relief that Triton had not followed through on his offer of a ten thirty wake-up call. However, it only left us with around three hours to conceive, script,
location scout, rehearse and film a ten minute audition tape with enough panache and quality to actually make it worth doing in the first place. So we went to Vili's - a well-known 24 hour pie factory - to work out what to do. Fortunately, since Vili's is located in an industrial area, it also turned out to be A Brilliant Idea In The First Place. Filming was another matter. We recorded about half an hour of me standing knocked-kneed in front of my car saying 'Um' and occasionally breaking out into dance and then we called it a day.
What we produced was a rag-tag bunch of shots that bore also no resemblance to one another, so I spent every night that week editing the piece together and recording dodgy voice-overs in an attempt to thread the thing together. It was like getting all the lumpy bits from the bottom of the biscuit barrel and attempting to assemble a complete biscuit.
On the Thursday before the tapes were due, I spent eight hours straight in front of the computer editing and looking at the clock. It's fascinating the brilliant ideas you come up with and jettison when time is running short. The good news is that I did actually finish, render, burn the thing to DVD, fill out the application form (with fuck knows what) and make it to the post office in time for an Express Post delivery to Sydney. The bad news is that I went home and discovered that I had included a doubled-up sequence in the video, one without voice over, of an inexplicably silent pan over my car's dusty dash, followed by the same shot with me saying the car's dash isn't so pretty to look at. And I did that twice.
That isn't the version you see below. Pride made me edit at least that bit out, but I didn't go back and add in any music or extraneous clips. All you see below is me reasonably hung-over and attempting to sound scripted and knowledgeable off the top of my head. A complete biscuit.

Goes to Murphmeister for his speed, his creativity, his connections ... and his recent engagement to a lovely young lass in Florence.


  1. Don't be too hard on yourself. Just think of the poor reviewers watching hundreds of wogs who no doubt submitted videos of their valiants, the only adjectives at their disposal being "fully" and "sick".

    You're a shoe-in.

  2. our best yet. made me laugh, made me cringe. the perfect home video.

  3. Actually, a search in Youtube for 'top gear australia' reveals about 100 other audition tapes which people have bravely uploaded. And they're good. This ain't a bunch of cockatoos yelling "Killa!" down the camera. They've scripted their pieces, edited them well and are very knowledgeable.
    All the polar opposite of what Trit and I were doing ...
    The upside is that I reckon we'll actually have a half-decent Australian version of Top Gear.

  4. Yours was BRILLIANT, Franzy! I always coveted the civic back in the 1980s, but had to make do with my poo-brown 1971 Renault.

    I laughed, I cried, I farted (just the once, sorry) and laughed some more. I hope you get the job!

  5. I laughed too. you should send it to farno. what a cack.

  6. That's a spiffy looking toy car in your header, reminds me of the models my brother used to build.

  7. I loved it!!...

    ...up until the bit where Trit was wearing crocs...

    Nice Guns tho Franzy! - Not sure if a muscle-T isn't the fashion equivalent of yelling "Fully-Sick" tho??

    327, any thoughts?

    Trit - put a shoe-on!


An explanation of The Joy Division Litmus Test

Although it may now be lost in the mysts of thyme, the poll below is still relevant to this blog. In the winter of 2008, Mele and I went to live in Queensland. In order to survive, I bluffed my way into a job at a Coffee Club.
It was quite a reasonable place to work: the hours were regular, the staff were quite nice, it wasn't particularly taxing on my brain.
There were a few downsides: In the six weeks or so that I worked there, there was about a 90% staff turnover (contributed to by my leaving). This wasn't seen as a result of the low pay, the laughability of staff prices or the practice of not distributing tips to staff, rather it was blamed on the lack of work ethic among Bribie Island's youth.
However, one of the stranger aspects of the cultural isolation that touched our lives during our time "up there" was the fact that nobody at my work had heard of the band Joy Division.
The full explanation is available here.
But please, interact a little further and vote in my ongoing poll. The results are slowly mounting up, proving one thing: people read this blog are more well-informed about Joy Division than anyone who works at the Coffee Club on Bribie Island.

Have you heard of the band Joy Division?

Chinese food, not Chinese Internet!

Champions of Guess The Header

  • What is Guess The Header about? Let’s ask regular “Writing” reader, Shippy: "Anyway, after Franzy's stunning September, and having a crack at 'Guess The Header' for the first time - without truly knowing what I was doing mind you - I think I finally understand what 'GTH' is all about. At first I thought you needed to actually know what it was. Don't get me wrong — if you know what it is, it may help you. I now realise that it's more Franzy's way of invoking thought around an image or, more often than not, part of an image. If you dissect slightly the GTH explanatory sentence at the bottom of his blog you come up with this: “The photo is always taken by me and always connects in some way to the topic of the blog entry it heads up.” When the header is put up, the blog below it will in some obscure way have something to do with it. “Interesting comments are judged and scored arbitrarily and the process is open to corruption and bribery with all correspondence being entered into after the fact and on into eternity, ad infinitum amen.” Franzy judges it, but it's not always the GTH that describes the place perfectly that gets it. “The frequent commenters, the wits, the wags and the outright smartarses who, each entry, engage to both guess the origin and relevance of the strip of photo at the top (or “head”) of each new blog and also who leave what I deem the most interesting comment.” It generally helps if you're a complete smartarse and can twist things to mean whatever you feel they should mean - exactly the way Franzy would like things to be twisted." - Shippy Blogger and GTH point scorer.
  • Nai - 1
  • Lion Kinsman - 2
  • Will - 2
  • Brocky - 2
  • Andy Pants - 2
  • The 327th Male - 3
  • Mad Cat Lady - 3
  • Miles McClagen - 4
  • Myninjacockle - 4
  • Asheligh - 5
  • Neil - 5
  • Third Cat - 5
  • Adam Y - 6
  • Squib - 6
  • Mele - 6
  • Moifey - 7
  • Jono - 8
  • The Other, other Sam - 14
  • Kath Lockett - 15
  • Shippy - 19
  • River - 32