Last month I mentioned Project Z – I’m now able to spill the beans.
As part of next March’s You Are Here festival, I’ve been commissioned to compose a soundtrack to a silent film. The final work will be performed in front of the film at the National Film and Sound Archive (NFSA). It’s an incredible opportunity and I’m mega-excited.
The NFSA has given myself and two other artists access to several 20s and 30s films – each of us will create a 20 minute ‘response’ to the material. I came across the Cineconcert movement in Edinburgh last year, and was fortunate enough to experience several performances. Bikini Machine live-soundtracking Desperado is one of the top five gigs of my life. Ever since, I’ve been enamoured with the concept and looking for a way to do something similar.
My intention is to find a suitable 20 minute segment (or edit together something), compose a soundtrack, and then form a scratch ensemble from members of the Canberra band scene to perform it. Stylistically, I’ll combine electronic and acoustic elements, and at this point, I want to do something bright and summery. Pieces will vary in length as appropriate to mirror the footage – I envisage it will comprise short pieces (5-20 seconds), some longer passages (up to a couple of minutes) and one or two full songs, all matching the mood and themes onscreen. To create an immersive experience, the musicians will be costumed and the stage set to reflect the film.
I took carriage of the films last week, and will spend the next fortnight figuring out what footage to use and brainstorming ideas. Check back – I’ll be blogging as I go…
After the frenetic pace of the WAR promo (and the anarchic nature of One Pot Punk Rock), it was bliss to work on something languid and deliberate. I had the idea for this scene, then Nick and I went back and forth on the script. It’s only three shots, but I’m pleased with all the nuances, both in the editing and the camerawork:
Car tail lights (bokeh’ed into blinking orbs) as stand-ins for stars (both already shorthand for longing and desire – I recently re-watchedIdiot Boxand love the scene on the overpass where they imagine the bright futures of the people zooming past underneath them).
How the tail lights initially lead Death towards The Antichrist. When they return, they push away from her.
Death’s footsteps falling in time with the music.
Pulling focus on Death’s face when The Antichrist directs a question at her, then having the focus shift back, in time for the line, “… distant and mysterious and inscrutable.”. Depth of field as subtext.
I also had fun with the text – finding the right shade of honeyed moon, and bunching it together for a bespoke look. Just little things, but that’s all filmmaking consists of – tiny, constant decisions building towards a whole. I love how every shoot teaches you something for the next as well – filming live music in a car gave me a couple of tricks for getting decent sound in imperfect locations.
If I could make another 89 minutes just like this, I’d have a hell of a feature.
My brother graciously laced up a mask to star in what (I think) is our best episode so far. It was hilarious to edit and discover all the scene-stealing shenanigans going on behind my back. What’s more, the twist at the end (Jarito’s idea), sets us up with plenty of gags upon his (hopefully soon) return.
It’s exciting to look back and see the growth the show’s had in three months. I know it’s only an internet cooking show, but it’s one with its own story-world, which grows with every episode – new characters, catchphrases, callbacks, sound and visual motifs. Can’t wait to witness what directions the next seven episodes take!
Big shout-out to our executive producer (and camera operator) Louise – each shoot gets more elaborate, but she’s climbing that learning curve like a drug-pumped Lance Armstrong up a French hill.
While editing the video for The Last Prom’s Half In Shadow, Half In Light, I had an idea for their Nothing But Flowers cover. If Half In Shadow was the flagship, I wanted to make something underground. Inspired by this, and all the crappy/great public access videos online, I indulged my inner Harmony Korine and turned Toby King’s beautiful footage into a garish, fuzzy VHS daydream.
I think it meshes with the band’s jangly 80s sensibility perfectly. Hopefully it confuses a lot of people.
After a two and a half week hiatus (brought on by guest chef cancellations, and a desire to perfect our cookie recipe), episode six is here. This is the first to include Miguel in anything other than the post-episode sting. Now he’s had his official “coming out”, expect to see a lot more of him – it’s fun to have jokes you can bounce off someone… even if that someone is a creepy hand-puppet/cameraman.
Pictures by Adam Thomas, and they’re worth a thousand thousand words! Except to say huge thanks to The Sinbirds, Leon the Sound Whisperer and Joel ‘Son Of Netblade’ Barcham. And to all of you for being such an incredible crowd.
What better performer for our second night shoot than cultured vampire Marc Robertson? We had heaps of fun testing some mood(y) lighting. Watch out for the glimmer of keyboard that flashes up in the back window around the 1.20 mark – pure cinema.
Last night I supported The Last Prom at their WAR-themed extravaganza. Barring a couple of acoustic country sets pre-Bluffhearts, it was my first time solo. I performed a mixture of old (Babyfreeze track Ghost Breath), new (dancehall jam King Handsome Luke), and in between (Cool Weapon track Invisible, with all new melody and lyrics).
It was a tremendous amount of work getting “gig-fit” with a new set, even if I was only practicing with myself. Now I’ve ripped off the bandaid, I’m keen to do more.