And away we go! The first episode has gone live and there is no turning back. Stayed tuned for the next ten days to witness the complete series.
In episode one: THRILL! to the lethal charms of Stella and her kitchen knife. GASP! as the You Are Here Hub space is turned into a scarlet canvas of gore. MARVEL! at my garish choice of shirt.
Featuring Ali MacGregor as Stella. The Facebook audience are already clamouring for her ressurection, sure sign of a breakout genre character!
Quick, rambling brain dump before the first episode is released (and thus maybe my last chance for a while).
My taste in film oscillates from the hyperkinetic (Sherlock Jnr, Scott Pilgrim Vs The World, Run Lola Run) to the languorous and deliberate (Mauvais Sang, Ghost Dog, In The Mood For Love). What connects these movies for me is their forceful cinematography. In music, you’ll often hear people talk about using the studio as an instrument. In these films, the camera (and the editing) acts that way. I wasn’t always conscious this was what I was tapping into, I just knew I loved these films. Picking up a camera myself clarified it.
Of course people argue that’s style over substance, that it’s irrelevant to story. I disagree – what medium you choose is the first creative decision you make. How something is framed – its style – directly influences the stories you can (and want) to tell. Heartbroken Assassin couldn’t be a play, or a novel, or a spoken word piece. It’s unmistakably filmic.
We are now deep into shooting, which means really deep into editing. It’s a learning experience – FILM CRIT HULK wrote that you learn what you need from the script when you’re shooting, and you learn what shots you needed when you’re editing, and so on, always one step behind. That’s holding true, but we’re fast learners.
I’m also experiencing firsthand what I’ve read so much about – that filmmaking is a war of attrition, that the only way to make something that’s merely “good” is to overreach. And also why directors don’t wear a shirt and tie – it’s hot work. Combine that with the fact I’m on the You Are Here diet (so far already I’ve missed two dinners and a lunch), and I will be a husk by the end of next week. But a happy husk.
As Luke has already said in his previous Heartbroken Assassin post, this is the most ambitious project we've ever done. A ten-part Webisode series shot over ten days, one episode uploaded every day. Every episode including an original song, a scene of violence, and a cameo from at least one You Are Here festival artist and producer. Riskiest of all, I'm playing the lead role myself, drawing on the one week of acting school I did 12 years ago.
I had the idea for this a few days after You Are Here 2012. I was browsing through the racks of an op shop in Melbourne when it came to me, and I sent a text to our head producer Dave right there and then. I knew if I didn't then I would definitely puss out.
So by the end of this fortnight we'll have shot a ten-part musical action series set at an experimental arts festival. No sweat, right?
Oh, except two days ago I injured my knee pretty badly during the bronze medal match at Australian Wrestling Championships. I'm quite sure it's the meniscus but I can't get into a Physio until the Canberra Day long weekend is over. Either way, I can't straighten my left leg.
How will this impact on the epic saga of the Heartbroken Assassin? Starting this Friday, you will find out!
Okay, enough reminiscing! Now is the only God and the only time is now!
It's exactly one week until You Are Here begins, my first as a fully-blown producer. There are 110 events with six producers divvying up supervision between them, stretching across visual art, music, dance, theatre and decidedly more esoteric zones of endeavour. You can check out the full program at www.youareherecanberra.com.au, but in the meantime I'll zero in on the few events that are specifically 'Nick's Baby'.
Well, one, to take my obsession with short sets and micro-gigs to it's logical conclusion. That's a whole post in itself.
But primarily, it's just another way to prove that cream of the ACT band crop can cut it no matter what crazy restrictions you put then under. This is going to be 8 stellar performances of 8 excellent songs. Any random foot-traffic punter will be giving it up for the talent on display, and that's a fact.
And that's really what's going on here. There are still thousands of Canberrans walking around oblivious to the pop music renaissance happening under their nose, and I'll try any hare-brained scheme to bring it to their attention.
(the above photos feature Waterford, Julia Johnson, Fun Machine, The Ellis Collective and Crash The Curb)
Remember when I said in my last post that the success of You Are Here had emboldened me to push my artistic practice further than ever before? Well, the above photo demonstrates the ridiculous consequences that have since been unleashed.
I've covered my bodypaint exploits in detail in a previous post, but it's worth noting that the above job was the result of about 90 minutes of tireless effort by You Are Here visual-artist-in-residence George Edwards and our operations manager Karmin Cooper. The paint job was my cockamamie way of contributing to The Beach, a day festival in which we made over the rather scum-tacular Tocumwal Lane into a fully-blown faux beach party.
After basically sandbagging my way into the first You Are Here, I was fortunate enough to be invited back as a festival co-ordinator for the second one. Reuniting with my fellow co-ordinators (such as the inimitable Sarah Kaur, pictured above) felt a lot like returning to some kind of awesome summer camp, or a new school term at Hogwarts.
Apart from all the runny-roundy supervisory duties, I was again tapped for a bunch of performance and writing roles. These included:
The You Are Here Music Quiz, in which I insulted the hard-core quiz night culture of the Phoenix bar with such concepts as The Iron Man Challenge (in which different musicians competed to see who could teach a drunken punter the riff to Black Sabbath's Iron Man the quickest).
The B-Ball Band Bash, in which four of Canberra's most semi-athletic bands competed in round robin four-a-side basketball to decide the running order of their gig (I acted as one half of the commentary team alongside Naomi 'Mad Milthorpe' Milthorpe).
Easily my most ridiculous/greatest achievement was the Ghost EncounTour, in which I took a small group through the spectral hotbed of the Centerpoint building and performed a short exorcism. The EncounTour wasn't even part of the program, it literally grew out a jokey conversation between David and I on day 2 of the festival and escalated almost as a creative game of Chicken that I don't think Dave realised we were playing. The whole thing was heavily improvised in the moment but seemed to make a heady impression on several of the attendees (I'll see if I can work out how to imbed the video in this post ).
Of course, focusing on my events undersells the ever-increasing scope of the festival, which took in an even bigger range of visual art, theatre and dance than the previous year. Our crowd numbers increased steadily across the ten days and before we'd finished You Are Here 2012 we were already deep in brainstorm mode for this year.
Scant moments after I had wistfully put my lanyard in the drawer, the guy approached me about graduating my role for 2013 from co-ordinator to producer. I like to think I kept an inscrutable poker face as I said yes, but the truth is that this festival is the most worthwhile creative project I've ever been involved in, so the more I can do to push it on and up the better.
Which leads to my current, comically over-committed state! Next post: You Are Here 2013!