Saturday, August 30, 2008

Koala Back at Keyboard

Filming went great. In that we teetered on the edge of catastrophe on multiple occasions, but every time we managed to think on our feet and make things work. Not the teleprompter though. That didn't work at all. On the day when one of our filmees was depending on it. It turns out that dodgy cables cannot be fixed with a combination of determination and ingenuity; it takes somebody to drive down to Sydney and back overnight to fetch a new one.

What else happened... It rained on a day when we were supposed to be filming outside. The girl who we were filming on Tuesday went away and didn't come back until Wednesday. The guy who we planned on filming from 6pm to 10pm declared that he had to leave at 5pm. The main presenter had the flu and had pretty much lost his voice, plus he had some of his stuff stolen on the train on the way up and arrived in a deeply grim frame of mind. One of our sets turned out to be a dubious old industrial plant with strange-looking folk wandering about who liked to turn on loud compressors whenever we started filming.

And was great. I'd forgotten how much fun filming was. As for directing...mostly I just told people how fabulous they were, to keep them in a good mood, and let them get on with it, occasionally asking them to try a line slightly differently. It seemed to work. The presenter left gushing about how professional we were, and how he looked forward to working with us again. Which begs the question, who has he worked with before?!

Paca quizzers: it took me an hour of wandering around my hotel room with my laptop to find the best position to log on to a very shonky wifi. Eventually, crammed into a corner between the wardrobe and the door I managed to get sufficient signal to log on and...beat you! Such is my devotion.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

No furry friend this week

Much rejoicing among Paca's Quiz set, because I'll be on set daaaahlings, and probably in an internet-free zone.

In the meantime there will be fun and chit chat over at the grill...

Get the gossip for me, would ya? Thanks.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

How little time do I have...

...I have so little time that I haven't hung up washing for three days.
...I have so little time that I haven't cut the kids' fingernails this week. (Slasher koalies.)
...I have so little time that the nail varnish I put on for a party two weeks ago is peeling off my fingernails all by itself.

For those following the sandwich vs lunch story, guess what? It was more sandwiches. Although one guy did eat them with a knife and fork, so perhaps that counts as 'proper' lunch.

Back to the grindstone...

Thursday, August 14, 2008

First day of filming

Went really, really well!

Clad in my beret and knickers (thanks BT) I lounged in my director's chair, chewing a fat cigar and bellowing instructions through a megaphone.

OK, so clad in jeans and a vaguely funky top...oh, all right, it was cold, so I kept my jacket on for most of the time so nobody even saw the funky top. Anyway, I drifted around artily...trying not to get into anybody's way...

What made it easy was that we were filming a semi-documentary section and our principal interviewee had done this a thousand times before, so he was brimming with useful suggestions and approaches, almost all of which we used. He also added in some off-script information I hadn't had access to and that worked incredibly well.

Once I had made sure that we had all the props we needed, which was a momentary crisis, as the person who was supposed to bring Top Secret Prop A, the only essential prop we need throughout the film, hadn't done it... However, my first lesson in directing was that sometimes you need to fudge things and we fudged it so well that at one point our interviewee forgot he wasn't handling the real thing and while off-camera was discussing the behaviour of Prop A, under the belief that is was the real thing! Fudged Top Secret Prop A is now nestled in a camera bag, ready for to continue its heroic role through the entire movie.

Then it was just a case of making sure I liked the set ups and helping the interviewees with their semi-scripted words - and letting the very experienced cameraman and technical director get on with it.

I think we have a week off filming next week, but I need to do some script adjustments, then we're back on set (that still makes me laugh!) for two or three days the week after.

Oh, and while I didn't have to do any make-up, WO will be gratified to learn that I did purchase coffee and sandwiches. Not because I was the only girl, but because I was the first one there. Note to self: waft in late next time.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Welcome to Hollywood

I'll be a bit thin around the blogs over the next couple of weeks, because my involvement in this corporate video is expanding.

First I was the writer. By Tuesday I was 'executive producer'. By Wednesday morning, I'd added make up girl to my duties (was that a demotion?). Now, on Wednesday afternoon, I'm the director. That's more like it. I think.

So, when I'm not updating the script, organising people and locations, I'm quivering with fear. Sometimes all three at once.

Filming starts tomorrow...

Friday, August 08, 2008


I've coined this fabulous new word to use when people ask what I've been doing. 'Working on my work in progress' is what it means.

Now, I don't want this blog to be a catalogue of excuses for lack of effort, but along with womwip (22,000 and counting!) Dull But Paying Work has been putting the pressure on. In a reasonably exciting way, because I've written a script for a short corporate film and the company loves it. Spent yesterday with the client and film crew in a production meeting and doing a photo shoot, plus some background footage. They want me to be involved in the filming process, not something that always happens when you're just the writer. Often the director disappears with the script and returns with something unrecognisable. 'Oh, we just changed a few things.' Gee, thanks. This time I will get to support the creation of my vision, yippee.

The interesting thing from a writing perspective was that during the meeting yesterday, I noticed some things in the script that I hadn't noticed when I was writing. Good things. For example, the way that my use of negative stock footage at the beginning was balanced out by positive stock footage at the end. It reinforces the message of the script in a fairly subtle way, plus the two sections also work as a fantastic structural device - great idea, wish I'd thought of it. But apparently I did. It's all in there and my head was the only one that it came out of.

Weird. Does that happen to you when you're writing?

Sunday, August 03, 2008

A blind spot at which you may poke fun

Alexander Solzhnitsyn, one of the world's literary giants has died.

I will, however, have to take the world's word for it that he is a literary giant. I have a flaw; a fatal flaw when it comes to Russian literature.

*blush* I can't keep up with the names.

I've tried several times to read Russian authors, starting from when I was in my teens. I kept abandoning my attempts, assuring myself in a year or two it would all be different.

It still isn't.

Let's start with the sheer number of characters. Invariably there seem to be millions of them. Add that they all seem to have at least three names, any one of which can be used at any time. Plus nicknames. Plus the entire cast always appear to be interrelated, so many of the names are similar. Just can't keep 'em straight in my head.

Sorry, Russian giants of world literature. But I promise to take others' word for your giant-ness without a single pinch of salt. It's the least I can do.