Toni Fitzgerald’s Cult Following – Preview Screening

On Wednesday the 1st of May 2019, Toni Fitzgerald’s Cult Following had a preview screening for cast and crew at Golden Age Cinema in Sydney, Australia. It was followed by a Q&A with me and producer Harry Reid, hosted by The Music Arts Editor Hannah Story.

Below are some pictures of the night.

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Facon gets special mention at Flickerfest and is included in Flickerfest National Tour!

Flickerfest

Two updates from the festival front! Facon got a special mention at the Flickerfest Green Flicks section. Joshua Dang, Barbara Ings and I were thrilled to hear it, since there were really really good films in the section. Greenflicks was judged by Costa Georgiadis, Gregory Miller and Kate Harris. The judges praised Facon for its sense of humour dealing with environmental issues.

We’re also really happy about how well the film played at all the screenings. The Short Laughs Comedy sessions were sold out and it was great to be alongside such hilarious company!

Facon at Flickerfest

Shaun Colnan, who starred as Travis, makes a short speech after Facon receives an honourable mention at the closing night awards ceremony. 

The other great news is that Facon has been chosen to tour nationally. The full tour dates can be seen here.

Flickerfest Closing Night 1

Me (Writer / Producer), Barbara Ings (Producer), Jane Watt (Tia), Costa Georgiadis (Greenflicks Judge), Shaun Colnan (Travis) and Kate Harris (Greenflicks Judge) at the Flickerfest Closing Night. Facon director Joshua Dang was sadly unable to attend.

Flickerfest Closing Night 2

Shaun Colnan (Travis), Barbara Ings (Producer), Me (Writer / Producer) and Jane Watt (Tia) at the Flickerfest Closing Night. Director Joshua Dang was sadly unable to attend.

National Young Writers’ Festival 2015

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This year I was lucky enough to be a festival artist at the National Young Writers’ Festival 2015. When I found out that I had been offered a spot as a festival artist I literally screamed and ran around my house, much to confusion of my housemates. National Young Writers’ Festival is a hoot! I had attended in 2014 and had absolutely fallen in love with the festival.

If you need any proof of how magical National Young Writers’ Festival was, you can just have a watch:

OH MY THE FEELINGS! It was a truly beautiful experience and I cannot recommend going to NYWF more. So many lovely exciting people just having a go. As one person said to me, what makes NYWF so special is that everyone is just trying their best. For many people it’s the first time they have chaired a panel or read to such a large audience. It’s a space where people are allowed to fail and experiment.

I attended a lot of things, but my favourite events were the Late Night Readings: Flirting with the Law, Screenwriting Workshop with Magda Wozniak, Late Night Readings: Breakups and Breakdowns and the Under The Sea Enchantment Ball (of course).

The Screenwriting Workshop was my favourite. I’ve always been curious about how writing rooms work and this session gave me a lot of insight. In the session we were treated as Home and Away writers and worked through the process of how to script a weeks worth of content. People were pitching ideas left right and centre and  bouncing ideas off each other. It made me realise that writing for tv is a lot about writing to constraint and working as a team.


I was on two panels:

The Plays The Thing –
Host: Kate McDowell. Participants: Felicity PickeringPhillip KavanaghLiv Satchel

Blurb:
When it comes to the writing community, playwrights and playwriting can often get swept under the rug. With playwriting one of the oldest forms of literature, it’s high time we put the spotlight back on the stage. These bards spill the beans on the playwriting industry, and the issues they face as playwrights today.

A Newcastle Story –
Participants: Felicity PickeringFinbah NeillThandi Chindove, Ewa Ramsey.

Blurb: In partnership with the Newcastle Museum, NYWF takes you on a trip into Newcastle’s history. From lightbulbs to biscuits, earthquakes to coal heaps, join these brilliant young storytellers as they delve into the museum’s collections and dig up some fascinating tales of Newcastle past, present and future.

The Plays The Thing was a great relaxed session. It was my first time being on a panel.

A Newcastle Story was more nerve wracking. A few weeks before the reading I had caught the train to Newcastle for the day to get a private tour of the Newcastle Museum. I had to find something in there that inspired me and write something in response.

Newcastle Museum had a series of portraits of hotels and pubs from Newcastle with stories about the pubs displayed on the side. I ended up writing a piece about an 18 year old girl who starts working at a hotel in Newcastle that is filled with backpackers and the hotel comes to represent that period of her life.

I have a few snaps from the A Newcastle Story reading:

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All in all NYWF was such a great experience and I hope to attend again next year!

 

Luke Lloyd Alienoid @ ATYP

Luke Llyod Alienoid

Luke Llyod isn’t like other boys at school but luckily he knows exactly why he doesn’t fit in: he’s half alien. Being half alien comes with many benefits: he can talk to animals and can become invisible. But when the school ‘fathers vs students game’ comes up, the school bully insists on meeting Llyod’s father. However, contacting aliens is never easy.

Luke Llyod is a great twist on classic story of a boy who is struggling to fit in. While the story is definitely geared to younger audiences, it’s a production that anyone can take something away from. The acting is great, especially from such a young cast and stand out performances are made by the Bully and Luke Llyod. The production uses three projectors that are seamlessly integrated, for a production that feels entirely modern in both themes and technology. I recommend it.

Tickets
Full: $20
Earlybird tickets: $15

Times
Wed-Sat 7:00pm
Sun: 5:00pm
Matinee: Wed and Fri 11:30am

Bookings
atyp.com.au or 02 9270 2400

Venue
ATYP Studio 1 – The Whair
Pier 4/5 Hickson Road

Mixology Review

Mixology is a tv series that takes on a challenging premise, the entire series follows what happens to a group of people in one night. That’s right, enough drama goes on in one night to cover thirteen entire twenty-two minute episodes. And the creators of the show Jon Lucas and Scott Moore pull it off, almost.

Mixology is set in a bar in Manhattan. It’s a character driven sitcom: each episode focuses on one relationship or group. You have the usual collection of stereotypes: the whipped guy who just got dumped, the career driven man eater, the New Jersey housewife, the naïve girl, the charming British guy, the hot but dumb bartender, and any number of caricatures. As the series moves on you get little snippets into the background of each: who’s sleeping with who, who’s got a thing for certain types and it is entertaining to watch the different characters interact and flip flop between choosing which sexual partner they will eventually (at the series finale) go home with.

Watched in several doses the series would be enjoyable, but if you watch it all in one go (as I did) you see all the flaws laid bare. The humour is, at all times, light and obvious. The night never ends, and for the more critical viewer, it’s sometimes hard to continue to sustain disbelief: ‘You just got rejected by two guys you liked, why would you not just go home?’. If you are looking to be challenged, don’t bother. But if you’re looking for an easy to watch extended romantic comedy about life as a single person, then you’ve hit jack-pot.

‘Tiny Furniture’ By Lena Dunham

After I reviewed Lena Dunham’s first film ‘Creative Nonfiction‘ (2009), I knew I wanted to review Lena Dunham’s break out film ‘Tiny Furniture’ (2010). It has been said that the high praise received for ‘Tiny Furniture’, led the Creative Writing graduate to receive the notoriety needed to grab the attention of HBO (producer of GIRLS). The film premiered at South by Southwest, which led to it being awarded Best Narrative Feature.

The bildungsroman follows twenty-two-year-old Aura during her ‘post graduate delirium’. Aura returns after studying film studies at a Midwest liberal arts college to her New York family home.

The film shows considerable growth from ‘Creative Nonfiction’, released only one year earlier. Many similarities, as with lots of Dunham’s work, arise. Again Dunham includes a great deal of nudity, a central character who is (we can only assume) similar to Dunham, a focus on sexual relationships and ‘coming of age’ themes. Many of these factors are present in  ‘GIRLS’, ‘Tiny Furniture’ and ‘Creative Nonfiction’.

‘Tiny Furniture’ illustrates considerable finesse in the cinematography. No longer are we subjected to bad lighting and the wavy hand held camera of ‘Creative Nonfiction’. The shots are often wide and there is impressive framing of interior space. Scenes within Aura’s slick TriBeCa apartment are powerful. The costuming emphasizes Auras black sheep status within her household. The mis-en-scene places Aura, often shown without pants and with unkempt hair, against a slick, white, modernist apartment. This juxtaposition of clean and derelict, demonstrates how Aura is seen in the household; as disruption of order and bringer of chaos to an otherwise idyllic household.

Tiny Furniture is filmed in a mumble core style. Dunham often chooses to cast from her inner circle and use non-actors. Within this film it definitely works. There are strong performances made by both Aura’s sister and mother, played by Dunham’s real life sister (Grace Dunham) and mother (Laurie Simmons). The scenes between the family are natural and organic. Their lack of acting training is unnoticeable, which is either a testament to their innate acting abilities or Dunham’s directing prowess. The ability to get great, natural performances out of non-actors is no feat to be laughed at. Additionally, the physical resemblance of both Grace Dunham and Laurie Dunham (they are both tall, thin and clean) in comparison to Aura further reifies Aura’s otherness in the family context.

Alex Karpovsky and Jemima Kirke from GIRLS are featured in the film. Karpovsky (Ray Ploshansky in GIRLS) plays Jed, a YouTube celebrity called the ‘Nietzchian Cowboy’ who stays with Aura. Jemima Kirke (Jessa from GIRLS) plays Charlotte, plays Aura’s friend since birth. Charlotte is a very similar character and displays very similar mannerisms to Jessa. Interestingly however Charlotte is portrayed as an annoying overbearingly friend, while Jessa is more of an aloof flaneur.

In terms of storytelling, I feel what really ties the movie together thematically is Dunham’s discovery and reading of her mothers diaries, written at the same age. It is through these diaries that we see that no matter what generation, the twenties are somewhat lost, meaningless and yet meaningful discovery years.

The films ending is poignant and solidifies an otherwise character driven narrative. Aura and her mother lie in her mother’s bed, a contested space that symbolizes her mothers approval.

Aura recants the tale of how she has earlier had unprotected sex with a man in a pipe on the street. Aura’s mother shows concern about her lifestyle choices. Aura questions her mother about the people who she wrote about in her diaries. The mother, who has often been shown as harsh and unsympathetic to Auras choices, hardly remembers them but when provoked begins to tell of strange encounters with sometimes toxic friends.

What I suppose I’m most attracted to in Dunham’s work is her complete lack of vanity in her storytelling. Every character is both glamourized and reduced to there most annoying trivial form. Although her characters are clearly self-obsessed, there self-obsession isn’t exaggerated and they make no apologies for it. What comes through in all Dunham’s films is a lively mind and a great creative capacity.

Tiny Furniture is a film that is well worth a watch.

Have you seen Tiny Furniture? What did you think? How do you see it in the larger context of her other work?

BITE ME

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My monologue ‘Facon’ is being performed in an amazing show called ‘Bite Me’. There are only four more chances for you to see it! Make sure you get down to Australian Theatre for Young People before it’s gone forever!

Check out some of the great reviews for Bite Me:

…”this is a production that fascinates and impresses. It is thoroughly original.” Suzy Goes See

…”is a delightful picaresque performance centring on food.” Australian Stage

…”a flowing, varied and physically interesting showcase for the Australian Theatre for Young People’s fourth instalment of its Voices Project. It is the best to date.” Jason Blake, The Sydney Morning Herald

…”Bite Me brings quite a lot to the table.” Lloyd Bradford-Sykes, The Daily Review

It’s a great show that has a huge team of creatives behind it. Support Australian writing and young people in theatre!

To buy tickets just click here.

Work-Shop – Introduction to Street Art

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Street Art classes held at Work-Shop in Chippendale

Straight off the bat Work-Shop is a creative space that intrigues. Snuggled between the Abercrombie and the ultra modern Central Park, the Chippendale located workshop appears like a modern day curiosity shop, with eclectic mix of cacti, motorbikes and guitars on display.

Work-Shop's snappily designed logo.

Work-Shop’s snappily designed logo.

The brain child of Matt Branagan and Chester Garcia, Work-Shop hopes to engage the community in a range of new skills. The concept fills a niche demand, providing whimsical, fun and affordable lessons in life skills and alternative art.

Classes on offer refuse to be predictable, with a smorgasbord of ways to get ya’ quirk on. The workshops change throughout the year and have been determined organically with close collaboration with local artists. Past classes include flirting workshops, crotchet lessons and terrarium-making.

I attended the ‘Introduction to Street Art’ class. The availability of VB stubbies sets the night in a casual tone. We begin with an introductory talk with street artist, and our instructor for the night, Sidney Tapia. Sidney explains how often the illegal nature of street art leads many to under-develop their style, since at any minute they might have to bolt. Sidney is the owner and director of label Crown St, a skateboarder, a graffiti artist, and a damn fascinating man.

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The canvas.

Rough sketches and ideas are mapped out in the main space, then we head to the back garden. The noise and banter of the Abercrombie over flows into the space, giving the class an easy-going buzz. We find our metre of canvas and begin to spray. 

It’s a bit of a high to spray paint legally, like smoking weed in Amsterdam you feel like you’re going to get in trouble at any minute and just can’t quite come to terms with the normalcy. Sid talks to each participant personally and gives them notes on the finer touches of spray painting; how to get thin lines, how to add depth.

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Learning the finer techniques of street art.

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A participant getting a handle of the can.

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Sidney Tapia, our instructor for the night, giving some advice.

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Tomfoolery.

After swapping cans, discussing each others works, and a little tomfoolery, Sid brings the class together. He encourages all to find spaces to spray paint legally in Sydney and continue the craft.

‘Introduction to Street Art’ would be perfect present for the badass that’s always been afraid to get out the spray paint and go for it. The crowd was university student types and young professionals, but I think any demographic would find it a thrill. I would recommend it as a Christmas present for someone you can’t quite find something for, or for an off-beat date option. Gift certificates are available for those who like to give ‘experiences’, and at the price range offered (this class was $35), I think it’s a steal.

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Getting tips on where to spray paint legally.

For more information about the classes on offer at Work-Shop, check out their website, add them on facebook or follow them on twitter.