No, not Dying... but it starts with a D

Yeeeeeeees, that's correct, I'm now officially the Director of a little comedic documentary called 'THIS is Alan Chapman' (working title). Boy did I have to play it hard and fast to get this Doco green-lit.

The night before the announcement of green-lit documentaries I found out that I hadn't received an all important email, telling me that 'THIS is Alan Chapman' hadn't even been short-listed for production. What? I had come second in the class vote which is usually a good indication on being short-listed (not of being green-lit though).

I was at Film School to see some Slide Shows to Music* so I after I had cried in the corner for a while (actually, I ate a muesli bar while seething) I decided to go and see the Doco Producers and ask for some feedback on why the film hadn't been short-listed. Apparently compared to my first Doco idea they didn't think I would be that interested in making 'THIS is Alan Chapman'. What? I'm competing against my own idea... That's not right! I explained that I was competing against the film ideas from other students and not against myself, I believed very strongly in the ideas of the new film, and that I was sorry if only have a weeks prep before pitching didn't allow me to convey that during the pitch. Luckily, I hadn't known I was out of the running so I had written a Treatment (how and why the film should be shot) and I used that to explain why I believed the film should be made. They, of course, thanked me for talking to them but made it clear that the green-lit Doco's would be announced the following day. A nice way to say, 'too late buddy, should have talked to us earlier'.

So, despondent, I dragged myself to school the next day muttering to myself about how I would hold a boom pole** on someone else's production. And when they announced the three Doco's to be made this semester I was really struggling to decide which story I wanted to help make. Which meant I missed the moment where they said that they had decided to make a fourth Doco. Then people where shaking my hand and clapping me on the back and I was all, 'What? Leave me alone! I'm trying to decide which boom pole I want to hold.' It didn't take long before I figured out I'd been made Director.


Never underestimate the power of showing you're passionate about your ideas. Of course, I have a reduced crew compared to the other productions and as I'm 'stealing' other Director's crew I'm going to do Camera Operator on another Director's film. Scheduling is going to be a reaaaal issue for me...

... who cares, I like hard work and I get to Direct a Documentary. Although, I think maybe I should change the title to WHO is Alan Chapman? Because no-one seems to know... the whole point of the Doco.

Alan comes from six generations of very successful people in English Stage and Screen. Actors, opera singers, playwrights, directors, producers. At 19, Alan (now 43) could have been like the rest of his family, successful, but in a matter of weeks Alan went from owning the title role in a motion picture and being signed by a well known Agent to not being allowed to Act within England. He was blacklisted by the Stage and Screen Union. Oooooo, why? And how did that affect him? And how the HELL am I going to make that funny... you'll see!

Anyway, that's been my last couple of days. Highs, lows, stress, relief. And I'm loving it. What have you all been up to?


*Great exercise - try telling a story in 10 Slides paced to music, it's fascinating to see what an audience does and doesn't pick up about your story (on one viewing) and why. One of the best learning experiences so far in the course. Every film-maker should watch and evaluate as many as possible. Our slide show, it's produced in groups of two people, was really hit very hard by the people critiquing it. Appropriately we thought, we were trying to tell a hard story (which I wrote - ooops, my fault). We shot for the stars and missed. Happily, the guy I did my slide-show with was given the position of Director on one of the three 16mm film productions. So our slide show can't have been too bad. I've since come to realise that if the people critiquing your piece are hammering it to pieces it means they see something in it. If they ask you no questions then they're bored and disinterested. They'll be expecting big things from me next semester when I do 16mm productions I'm sure.

**Sound technician is actually one of the hardest jobs on a documentary I've discovered. And I'm baaaad at it! Never underestimate the complexity of any role on any film production.


Uh Oh...

**Graphic Material Warning**

The following video contains video of an

operation on the human face. A 'no go' if you're at all squeamish.

I haven't heard the audio on this video 'cause I'm at home but I think the surgery in the video is because of a tumour. Thankfully not why I'm about to go through this. No cancer is a good thing right? *sigh* Let's hope they don't snip the facial nerve by accident. I like being able to use my face. Luckily the guy performing the Op is considered one of the best specialists in Australia.

In better news, my Documentary pitch went swimmingly. Second in the class vote. Not bad considering I only had a week, compared to 4 weeks for everyone else, to prepare the idea. No thanks the the Royal National Parks there. Now I'm busy doing a full treatment on how I would shoot it. I do need an iconic Australian theatre for one of the scenes though... the lesson for the day, ASK. The management of one of Australias most beautiful and recognisable theatres, and my preferred venue, are thinking of approaching the internationally acclaimed show currently bumped into the venue to ask if I can film in the lobby of the building for a couple of hours one afternoon. How lovely is THAT! I'm very lucky with the people I meet. I hope the shows Producers are as kind as the Theatre's management. It'd be a Coup, a coup I tell you! But really, I'm excited by the idea because it would compliment perfectly the structure of my Documentary in a way a smaller venue couldn't. It'd speak volumes about my subject and his past, present, and future. Fingers crossed there as well everyone :)

That's it, I'll stop procrastinating on my Treatment now. Til next time.



Well, the New South Wales government has shut down my documentary idea. Censorship, censorship, I say! They think the subject matter, a bunch of shacks from the Great Depression, is a far too sensitive subject. Of course, now the shack owners are up in arms and in the process of putting together a formal protest (on paper).

Whoops, my little 4 -7 minute doco has really stirred up a hornets nest.

Of course, I don't have time for a hornets nest as I have to put together a doco proposal just to pass my course. The Shack owners have been wonderful in offering me interviews and so forth as an alternative to my original idea, an experimental piece in 'pictures with music' looking at the balance between Australian Heritage and the Environment, but I just cant do the new interview based doco justice in 4 to 7 minutes.

So now I feel like I've abandoned them... *hangs head in shame* I'm sorry! I will be back to do the doco as soon as I can. I really want to highlight these important pieces of Australian Heritage.

In other news, I shot a photo essay the other day that I think looks pretty great. I also spent last night putting it to music. It's meant to be about two people meeting in a public place using Mise en Scene to give meaning to the meeting. I grabbed a couple of friends who've just had a baby and enacted her going into labour and giving birth with the help of her partner... in public... they were terribly brave and I can't thank them enough. It's called father meets son. The original meeting so to speak. Gawd I'm good! Oh, and so is the guy I've been working with... his ideas were brilliant and really added to the project.

What else, um, I'm dying... weird head lump that's making the specialists scratch their noggins in wonder... I don't have time to die. I'm far to busy making films. Join with me in telling 'Evil Richard', as we're calling the head lump, to piss off!

Til next time, chow!



Where is he?

What's he doing?

Why doesn't he love us any more?

What's that odd smell?

Quiet down you lot. On top of work, I'm a freak'n student now. I thought I was going to be able to grow my hair long. Drink Schnapps whilst pondering the mysteries of life in a black skivvy. Make love to far too thin models from exotic climes to the sound of my own voice haughtily complaining about the Mise en Scene of her Italian decorated penthouse apartment.

But no...

Making films seems to be a lot of work. Who woulda thunk it? Well... me really. Outside of class time, when I'm not working, I've been trying to arrange three different projects to the point where I have enough information and credibility that will convince the school to let me turn the ideas into actual films.

My Doco idea, for I have to make a Doco this semester, is not something that's straight forward or easy but the idea, the story, and the characters involved are ones that I find compelling. Something I can definitely maintain interest in for the next 6 months. So I continue to liaise with four different groups of people, treading the fine balance between their own strongly felt belief systems and navigate their vastly varying bureaucracies. Try that whilst trekking in and out of these communities deep within the Aussie bush with no road access and an inherent suspicion of outsiders and then try to source 'free' archival footage and historical information on top of that. This project isn't easy, no, but I've been dogged and very, very lucky so far and I think by the time I pitch the idea to the school in a couple of weeks the inroads I've made so far will help convince them to make it a film.

...and that's only one of three projects.

So this is where I've been, and what I've been doing, and yes, of course I still love you peoples and I check the blogs as often as I can but bear with me if I don't post or comment often.

Until next time... keep watching the skies! What?

PS. Oh and the smell is me... Sorry... A lot of these remote communities don't have what you'd call 'modern facilities'.