Documentary Seminar

I was on a workshop today on directing documentaries, with Leeanne Pooley. It’s a two-day seminar at the Film Archive, presented in association with the Screen Director’s Guild of NZ, the NZFC, and the NZ Film Archive. I suppose also with Leeanne’s production company, Spacific Films. We got given a free copy of Take, the Screen Director’s Guild magazine, with a SDGNZ sign-up sheet. [But, I’m not a full-time student, so I don’t think I can take advantage of the student rate. Oh well, I probably won’t sign up yet then.]

Before the workshop, we were sent a DVD copy of Leeanne’s documentary on NZ male ballerina (ballerino?) Douglas Wright, called Haunting Douglas. The film has an amazing opening scene, btw. Douglas dancing naked with a candle. We were also asked to watch Pooley’s acclaimed documentary on the Topp Twins, Untouchable Girls. I watched it last night – again, a really good doco.

The first thing Leeane asked was whether we had googled her. Uh… no. She pointed out you should always google the person giving a seminar before you sign up or pay any money, to make sure that they know what they’re talking about. Lesson learnt – I’m googling now, in preparation for tomorrow.

For my Honours study next year, I was considering doing a documentary film. Within the first hour of the seminar, I realised that my possible topics need a massive amount of work before I shoot anything!

So far the seminar is going really well. Leeane knows her stuff. She’s given us a huge workbook of notes (so we don’t have to take our own), and a list of docos that we should see. Out of the list of 28 films, I had seen a grand total of 1 (The Corporation). So I went to Civic Video and got a few of them out. I just watched The Kid Stays In The Picture. (Fantastic. Really great). I’m considering watching Capturing The Friedmans, but I’m really tired. If it’s around 90 minutes, I’m gonna watch it tonight. If not, I’m saving it for later, along with The Fog Of War.

And, I finally remembered to take my business cards to a film event. I’ve swapped cards with some people in the workshop. Two thumbs up for me.

Eva Prowse Album Release

I Cant Keep Secrets
Eva Prowe Album – I Can’t Keep Secrets

My friend Eva Prowse is having her album release tonight. I’m gutted that I can’t make it (as I have a meeting for The Lake, and then I’m attending the Script-To-Screen discussion with Peter Briggs, and then I’m meeting a friend about a job, and then have a skype date. Phew!).

For anyone who can make it, do go along. It’ll be fantastic! Eva was interviewed in The Capital Times this week.

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Short Filmmaking Seminar

On Monday 15 November, I attended a seminar on making short films, as part of the Show Me Shorts Film Festival. The Bergman Theatre at Paramount was packed with filmmakers after tips, and perhaps plebs wanting to know more about filmmaking. The event was hosted by

Three filmmakers who have shorts screening in the festival were interviewed. The filmmakers were Paul Stanley-Ward, writer of Choice Night; Michelle Savill, writer/director/producer of Betty Banned Sweets; and Paul Campion, writer/director of Eel Girl (official website here) (IMDB page here). We got to see the films, and ask the filmmakers questions.

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Remakes – ugh

A good article on the Hollywood remake, with reference to The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo films and Let Me In / Let The Right One In.

I loathe Hollywood remaking great foreign films. I loathe overdubbing. I think people should learn to read subtitles.

That said, something that also irks me is when people with a similar view to mine blame Americans solely. As in “Americans should learn to read subtitles”. 1) that is a gross generalisation, and the American audience shouldn’t be lumped into one ‘can’t and won’t read subtitles’ box; and 2) it’s not just the American Hollywood audience who don’t like to read subtitles. When I was in Belgium, my host brother complained that he didn’t want to see the version originale of an anglophone film, as he didn’t “want to read a film!” So, not just anglophone audiences (pardon the generalisation) who dislike subtitles.

A thought I had is that it may be easier for foreign markets to translate from American English into their language. It may be easier to find an English translator than an obscure language translator. Also, if there are cultural translations available, due to the globalisation of American culture, it may be easier for an audience to understand and for a translator to translate. Sad but true.

And then there is the dumbing down… being a cinephile, you’ll have to get used to any patronising attitude on my part to losing cultural significance in movies for the lowest common denominator. However, someone suggested to me once that concepts are easier for the international audience to understand if they are dumbed down. Hence my thought about translation being easier. So Hollywood makes films more basic to understand for the international audience, not the American audience? Something to think about.

Development Tools

I just saw this. I’m thinking that it might be something worthwhile once I’m working on feature films. For those wondering, I’ve applied for a scriptwriting course in 2011, which will lead to writing a feature script. As a producer, getting into feature film script development interests me. But I think having written a feature myself would be extremely beneficial before looking into feature script development in a producing role.


The first post.

Now why would I create a website of me?

Quite frankly, as a marketing tool. To put up my CV in a place where I can direct prospective employers, collaborators, and students to find out more about my work. Where I can put my opinions about various things in a public online forum – because with the permanence of the internet, that is always a good thing to do. *cough*

I shall try to keep this website up to date as best as I can. However, note that this blog is called ‘Busy Times’. Most notably because of how busy I am. So I make no guarantees. It could get out of date quickly. Know that if it is out of date, it is because of how busy I am doing creative (and sometimes not-so-creative) things. Sometimes I may even just post a link to something I find interesting. Or something I’d like to look at later.

That is all for now.

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