Monday, 29 August 2011

Plot holes.

I have plot holes. Much like potholes, they lead for a bumpy ride. So I have written a plot outline for a film and my lecturer has given feedback that 'this is heading in a very positive direction.' He unfortunately also pointed out two major holes in the plot, which I was aware of but was trying to ignore in the hope that anyone reading the script would be stupid. Alas my plan has failed and so I have some hole mending to do before I write my treatment. And as everything is usually intertwined in a film this means pulling everything apart and starting again.

Meanwhile it is a public holiday here and I am sitting in my grey London flat. Lots of my friends are off sunning themselves around Europe but no I am not bitter, because while I have my plot holes and negative bank balance, I also have grapes, a bathroom light that is now working again and I am wearing a hat. So now I must write. But first here are some creative ideas that I like:

1: This one sold me a song. 

Watching New Zealander Liam Finn perform at XOYO, London.
2: This one sold me an event. 
Long copy for an Adidas London Olympics advertisement currently in London Undergrounds.

You don’t know me. You don’t know anything about me. You don’t know what i’m made of or just how much I’m capable of. You don’t know where i’ve come from nor where I’m heading. You know nothing of my highs or my lows. You don’t know how fast I am, how strong I am, how resilient I am. You haven’t got a clue what breakfast cereal I eat, what fragrance I wear or who I’m dating. You don’t even know my name. But you will.

Background to this advertisement being made.  

3: This one made me cry. 
Not long ago I signed up to the Facebook group for The Cool Hunter. It is a great news feed and website full of inspiring photos, quotes and videos. A good one for procrastinating. The visual statements photo album is particularly good. Here is some good copy from one of the statements:

"It is not the goodbye that hurts, but the flashbacks that follow."

A while back the following video came through on The Cool Hunter Facebook feed and I started to well up at my desk.

I couldn't watch until the end incase it led to full blown sobbing. A few hours later I took some deep breathes and skimmed through the ending with one eye shut. This comment I saw sums up my reaction "is someone cutting onions around here?" 45 people liked that comment. Although I just saw someone's comment ask "how would he hear the thud?" Damn hole hunters!

4. And this little piggy made me want to get me and my hat out of here!

Cheers to creativity and those who endure the bumps along the road. 

Monday, 22 August 2011

The Tree of Life - the aftermath.

There was much anticipation leading up to seeing The Tree of Life. Friends had warned of numerous people walking out and even shared tales of how they had fallen asleep. One review described how the audience did a joint nervous giggle at the end. To me that made it sound all the more interesting.

For those of you not familiar with the movie, here is the trailer:

So off I went to the movies to see it. I did see people walk out and I can imagine some people did fall asleep but I liked it! I think people who know me wouldn't find that much of a surprise though. I did discover what the nervous laugh is, it is that moment at the end when you turn to your friend, or your other half as in my case, and you know they hated the last two hours of their life and all that comes out of your mouth is a weird giggle thing as you try to calculate if they will punch you or vomit on you.

People I believe didn't like it because this movie makes you think and some people don't want that from a movie. And that is fine because there a plenty of movies that are just made to entertain, fit the genre and keep the audience happy.

I like many people didn't like how long the evolution/nature sequence was but my interpretation of that is that it was suppose to make you feel uncomfortable, and wake you up from just going through the motions of watching yet another movie. Sometimes people need a fright to appreciate/learn things.

Anyway here is a random brain dump of what I wrote down about an hour after watching the film.

If you work too hard, you'll miss all the things around you.

Why does Sean Penn have his break down at that age? What is going on at the beach? What does walking through the door mean?

What was the shot of the loft with the tall man and the boy in chair?

You can be the best person and bad things will still happen.

Babies are cute. 

Good people don't always win. 

Strict, perfectionist yet patents job looked fun. Nice house at the end.

Like the finale of Lost, so many questions? What did happen in Lost? Damn it! 

Reminds me of losing to the French in the Rugby World Cup and thinking 'wtf just happened?'

Grief, looking for answers.

Snapshots of life, cinematography. You see something you want to remember, blink really hard, replays.

Don’t know the characters names.

Makes me miss the country, the quiet life.

Republican voting Christians - did he grow up amongst that or is he guessing/researched. 

Was written and directed. Imagine if separate, trying to decipher the screenplay. Love to see the screenplay!

I thought I would be loved because I was successful.

So as you can see it will get your brain buzzing. In comparison I went and saw Rise of the Planet of the Apes. The only thing I was thinking after that movie was James Franco is hot, which I already knew. The best Russell could come up with was "why was the ape wearing pants?"

I do recommend The Tree of Life if you want something different. It will make you stop and take a look around, for the nearest exit for some or for others, life and all it has to offer.

Thursday, 14 July 2011

The plot melts.

Tonight I begin my 17-week paper on film screenwriting. It is part of a larger film course I have been doing part time for the last year and half. In 17 weeks time I will need to have written an entire movie screenplay and I am slightly freaking out. 

This week I need to write a plot outline that shows my knowledge of three-act structure, along with plot points – the moments that push you on to the next act. This outline also needs to fit in to one type of genre.

But first I need an idea for a story, ah yes this is where it gets tricky. So far this evening I have sat with my notepad, staring at a spot on the opposite wall, listening to my potatoes boil. My page currently has about 10 lines of scribble on it. The most productive thing to come from ‘writing Thursday’ so far is to learn that potatoes boil for a long time.

Where to start, where to start, where to start.

So I think about movies I like and why I like them. Then for the first time I think how acts apply to them and have a guess. The key word being guess!

Act 1: Characters and families are introduced
Plot point 1: Romeo and Juliet meet
Act 2: The dramas of their relationship unfold
Plot point 2: Romeo decides to poison himself
Act 3: People die and everyone is miserable

Act 1: Dysfunctional family introduced
Plot point 1: Olive gets the chance to compete in the beauty contest
Act 2: The dysfunctional family set out on the road trip
Plot point 2: Olive arrives at the contest
Act 3: Olive loses but in style and the family realise they like and need each other

For some movies, I struggle to think what plot point 2 would be. Is the pp2 in
The Notebook, when Allie decides to go to Noah’s house? And what is the pp2 in Garden State? When Andrew changes his mind at the airport? That seems too close to the end. Love Actually blows my mind; I can’t even begin to think of acts among all the characters. I realise this is getting too stressful. I walk over to the pot and look at my potatoes; I wish for a second that I could be a potato who doesn’t have to write. Later I thank god that not all wishes come true.

So then I turn to Google. I actually Google “how to come up with good film ideas.” I read things mostly not helpful and then I come across the Writers Guild's list of the 101 Greatest Screenplays. My eyes scroll down the list for inspiration.
This movie on the list jumps out at me.  I remember liking it at the time and as I watch the trailer, I see the key messages and they are good. I decide I want to write a movie like this. So then I read about the writer Cameron Crowe, he has had a cool life. I like the part in his bio about his mum and how people in Indio have tortoises. Coachella was held in Indio. I am procrastinating.

Characters, characters, characters I have to come up with some of those as well. Shit. Who are some good ones…the non talking Dwayne in Little Miss Sunshine, Elizabeth Bennet in Pride & Prejudice, any character Hugh Grant plays, pretty much the whole cast of Empire Records and 10 Things I Hate About You.

I still need an idea, some of the notes I scribbled down include:
Fear and what it prevents people from doing
Quarter life crisis
Right and wrong
The Share Market
Creativity vs. wealth

Then there are key scenes and one liners. The one liner ''spectacular mistake'' from Pirate Radio comes to mind as I think about my decision to do this paper.  

Right I’ve got to go, I’ve got to write a movie, or vomit, one or the other. Sleep might also be good. Deep breath! 

Thursday, 30 June 2011

That thing with the Australians.

I recently returned from doing some travelling around England with my parents who were visiting. While out in the countryside several of the locals mistook us for Australians. All were extremely apologetic for their mistake once we broke the good news that we were in fact Kiwis. This story is inspired by them.

It is a chilly September evening in London, I’ve rushed across town to Clapham Common and have just sat down with a table of New Zealanders to play bingo. Stoaked I’ve got here on time, I say ''Hi'' to my friends and survey the room to find plenty of them…the Aussies. All of us ‘twenty-somethings’ are here for bingo, but it is no ordinary bingo though, this is Bogan Bingo!

Hosted by two Australian bogans, we are encouraged to be as bogan as possible, told to shout obscenities such as ‘six, show us your tits’ and be generally grotesque when the balls roll in our favour. There is mullets, there is 80s music, there is smoke machines, there is slow motion running and there is mockery. I’m in heaven! I smile with my newfound enjoyment of Australians.  

You see until I was 24, I disliked Australians immensely. George Gregan, the halfback for the Wallabies had a lot to do with this, but I believe the two mains reasons were:
1) my very Australian name Kylie and 2) my full blown jealously.

Reason 1: Being called Kylie in the early 90s  
So when you are 10 and out on the school field you want to be the coolest of the cool, cooler than Teletext even. But it is pretty damn hard to be the coolest of the cool when someone with the same name as you is on TV singing, dancing and wait for it, dating Jason Donovan! Her name was Kylie Minogue and the school children didn’t let me forget it. 

But back in the day, there was an even worse Kylie to be compared to and her name was Kylie Mole. She was a character from an Australian comedy show whose key characteristics were to be an obnoxious teenage, who wrapped chewing gum around her finger and spouted inspiring quotes such as "She goes, she goes, she goes, she just goes." But even more painful was that Kylie Mole had a tendancy for peeing her pants and blaming it on her doll with the words "Dolly did it!" Ah yes, can you hear the children taunting me with ‘Minogue, peed her pants"? So what is a girl to do? Well you start to get annoyed at Australians that is what. Although I should put a disclaimer that I did own a Kylie Mole t-shirt at the time, a hypercolour one that changed fluro colours in the heat, mean 90s mean!

Reason 2: Full blown jealousy
As I got older I realised the Australians had some cool stuff, a lot of it actually, and it was annoying. They had my favourite Director 
Baz Luhrmann, my favourite Actor Heath Ledger, they had the Olympics, they had doctors that just weren’t doctors, but 
Flying Doctors (who could save kangaroos also…god they were good). They had daughters that came from McLeods, they had bays where winter never came and they even had neighbours that became good friends. 
They had it all and I hated them for it! This of course had nothing to do with the fact that they bet us in every crucial rugby, cricket and netball game. Nothing. 

It wasn’t until I moved to America, I started to appreciate Australians and dare I say it, even miss them, spew! I missed the banter, I missed the self-deprecating humour that is usually followed with a pat on the back and a funnel each. The majority of the Americans I met seemed to be too well behaved for such nonsense. I spent a lot of time lost in translation with the Americans which meant for a number of awkward dates. In one particularly bad date, a guy from the Mid West was listing off all the things he was awesome at: studying for a masters, in the top LA football team, doing charity work. No one talks like that back home so the best response I could come up with was "So when do you have time for fun?" By fun I meant when do you go to the beach, do road trips, go to concerts. The blood drained from his face, much like it had when he offered me cutlery to eat my burrito with to which I responded "I’ll just use my hands." Shortly after the fun comment went down like a cup of cold sick, a pack of seagulls descended on the table and began pooping on it. It didn’t work out.
Back to the Australians, a few weeks ago I was at Stonehenge and this happened:
An Aussie walked up to my Dad, no ''Hi" etc just "Take a photo for me won’t ya?"
Dad’s response "But you are Australian, oh I guess I'll just take it anyway."
About 5 minutes later, I’m lying on the grass trying to line up a shot and the same Australian walks up to me and says "Hand me the bloody camera, you look like a bloody idiot down there." Without flinching, I jumped up, wiped the grass off me, and with a smile, handed him the camera and ran to get my photo taken. No more words were needed, we help each other out, that is what we do. 

The Americans asked me a lot about our relationship with the Australians, mostly due to the Flight of the Conchords. The English however know exactly what is going on and therefore seem all the more horrified when they guess the nationality wrong. The guide on our boat cruise who announced "I believe we have some Australians on board" even went as far as saying "I’m really sorry about before" as we stepped off the boat, upon learning he was wrong. 

So what is the relationship? Well the Australians are our stinky big brothers who we love to hate, but secretly like to hang out with and live in their country...have you seen their beaches!

While travelling around America I looked forward to getting to the accommodation because I new there would be at least one Kiwi or Aussie there. Someone who would be up from some random adventures and some laughs. Plus I new they would have my back. Like when I flew to Canada to spend Christmas with friends. I arrived in Calgary only to find my poor shuttle bus driver had had a heart attack and there was very few other ways of getting to Banff, an hour and half away, that late on the night before Christmas. Stranded I looked around the airport for support. There I saw a tanned girl with long blonde hair, surfy clothes and highly inappropriate footwear for snow, much like mine. Yes!! I walked over to her, and asked "Hi are you Australian and are you trying to get to Banff?" She was! I then asked something along the lines of "Should we help each other out?" We both looked down at the four pieces of giant luggage between us. She looked at me and said "Yes, what should we do first?" And then it was all go! Both of us operating like a slick transport finding machine. After 15 minutes I found us the last two spots on the last bus leaving for Banff on that Christmas Eve night. I turned in the snow outside the bus door, just in time to see my new Australian friend coming through the doors of Calgary Airport. As she went down the ramp, she struggled to maintain our two overpacked trolleys in her inch high, non waterproof boots. Once she was steady again, I yelled out to her, gave her the thumbs up and then ran to help. We were the happiest Down Under kids as we jumped on that bus to defrost. 

Back at Bogan Bingo in Clapham, I break out of my reminiscing to find Bon Jovi is playing. I realise I am staring at an Australian male just as the chorus for ‘Living on a Prayer’ begins. My head yells ‘disengage eye contact, disengage!’ I can see his Australian mates behind, all clad in hoodies, banging the table, pumping fists in to the air and stomping their flip flops under the table. It’s too late, I know it’s coming before it happens, he’s singing to me and as the words 'take my hand’ fill the air, he doesn’t fail, he reaches out his hand to me. I have no control at this point, the inner bogan takes over, I reach out my hand for his and we sing to each other ‘and we’ll make it I swear.’ Brought together by Bon Jovi, this was Trans-Tasman bonding at its best. It felt good to be home!

If you too would like to sing Bon Jovi with Australians, check out Tourism Australia.

To catch the Bogan Bingo boys live in London, head down to The Underdog Bar in Clapham Common on Thursdays. You'll bloody love it.

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Getting your foot in the door.

I knew coming to London and trying to get a job in production was going to be hard, it is hard anywhere in the world. But in London, the term ‘getting your foot in the door,’ took on a whole new meaning when on my job hunt I encountered London’s secret buzzer door society.

How hard can it be to open a door? I mean if a cat can get through a cat door, myself a twenty something female, blonde but that is irrelevant, should be able to get through a door right? Not so quick my friends, ridiculously hard to open doors have been built around the city to trick you, break you, right in the very places you are trying to make your upmost impression, your job interview.

Let me take you up the steps to the predicament. It is the day of your interview...
- You’re primed, prepared and polished, well, up until you go to exit the tube station and that blast of air up the escalators hits you and then you’re screwed! But that is a whole other blog post.
- Your sweaty hands and your trusty London AZ have guided you here to the entrance.
- All you need to do now is walk inside and blow them away with your complete lack of experience (but I did PR for four years does that count? No, ok).
- Take a quick look around, swap the jandals (flip flops) for the heels, like any good Kiwi.
- Deep breath and in you go.
- Bang! You have just walked head first into a door. 

Now before you start judging me, let me talk you through the menu of different London door varieties. Keeping in mind from the moment you press the buzzer you have less than a second to determine what type of door is staring back at you. Here they are:  
- press buzzer and push door knob.
- press buzzer and twist door knob (ah yes, it is starting to get complex).
- press buzzer, door automatically opens, whatever you do, do not push.
- press buzzer, wait for intercom, talk and then:
         - push
         - twist
         - let it pop open
         - have a mental breakdown

Perhaps I find this difficult because I am from New Zealand where we have traditional doors, twist door knob, walk in, Bob’s your uncle. Infact back home some people never shut their doors so you can just waltz on in. It is amazing.

So in London, I started to get really serious about the door situation. When approaching a door I would take some deep breathes, do some wrist stretches, imagine probability stats appearing around me like I was on some sort of game show. But then I realised some also had cameras, shit! So my weird pre-door rituals got ditched for a new cool, calm, I’ve totally got this door (yet I’m totally freaking out on the inside) look.

One interview I had a complete blow out. I had got to the address bang on time, only to find no creative company in sight. Surrounding me were people joyous and oblivious, entertaining themselves in multiple restaurants. I scrambled for my London AZ, desperately flicking through the pages, mumbling to the map "do not lie to me friend!" I was confused, I should be in the right place, the clock was ticking. Panicking, I started to spin. Yet it felt like I was still, and the people in the restaurants were spinning around me. I was like Sarah in the masquerade ball scene in the movie Labyrinth just minus the 80s dress. I had to do the unthinkable and call the interviewer to say I was lost. It turned out I was on Charlotte Street rather than Charlotte Mews and there on my map, in writing made for ants, it suddenly appeared. The running on cobblestones began. Through a brick archway a hidden street emerged, I had arrived and there was a buzzer door! Shoot me now.

“Hi my name is Kylie, I’m here for the interview.“
“Come right in.”
Click, bang!
“Hi, sorry missed it, can you try one more time?”
Click, bang!
"You are not going to believe this but…”

I didn’t get the job. At the time, a friend tried to make me feel better by telling me how he once knocked himself out walking in to a glass door at an interview in front of an open plan office. It did make me feel better. Trying to keep a straight face, I asked if he got the job. His response “there is no coming back from that really.”

This leads me to the point that the humiliation doesn’t just end at the front door. In multi-story London buildings, the front door will usually be easy to open because inside waiting for you is reception/security. You need to check in with them and get a security photo ID. This would be fine if the photos came out alright but on my two occasions they didn’t. The first was a picture of my neck; the security guard had taken it too late and at the point where I was bored and looking at the ceiling. I really don’t know how a picture of my neck was going to be of any use to anyone. If anyone was to stop me in the corridor they would have to ask me to look up before being able to clearly identify it was me. And what happens in a fire...
Security to Fireman: "from our records we are missing two people and what appears to be a neck." 
So at my second security photo ID shoot I tried really hard to make it look good. So much so it came out with eyes closed and all teeth. I stared at it as the receptionist reminded me I must have it visible at all times. Brilliant! I hung my head in shame and headed to the elevators where I spent my time trying to find a location that was technically visible but yet not visible.

There is however a happy ending to this door dilemma; I did get a job in production. I could finish with a sweet, inspiring ending like sometimes you have to try, try, try again and eventually the door will open for you but I’m not going to. Although I secretly just did.

Lastly, here is a video I saw around Christmas that warms my heart every time I watch it. Something tells me little Jamie and I would get on quite well. View here: Little Jamie major fails. Bless him x

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Stop motion go.

While lunching with a friend in Soho an idea for a stop motion video popped into my head as I listened to her talk about the perils of the dating world.

I thought back to this amazing dance I saw on the US version of So You Think You Can Dance. I first watched this dance probably two years ago and it has stuck with me. View here: Travis Wall Dance

I started to think it would be fun to tell a similar story but in stop motion. Now I have never done stop motion before and know very little about it but from the small amount I have seen, I know I like it.

This was probably the first piece of stop motion I remember seeing, a clip from Eagle vs Shark, a great movie written and directed by the very talented New Zealander Taika Waititi. View here: Eagle vs Shark 

Some other inspiring stop motion videos:

So for now my idea remains just that, an idea. But who knows after the creation of a detailed storyboard, the purchase of a decent camera and some conversations with the clever people I work with every day, it may just come to life. 

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Fashion crazy!

I think it would be a fair comment that a large proportion of British women are mad about Mulberry. Born in Somerset England, the luxury English brand has the ability to leave ladies swooning. If you are not in possession of one of their deliciously designed handbags it can be quite traumatising. It can be hard to sit opposite the proud owners on the tube without thinking, bitch! Or to contain yourself long enough not to reach out and stroke their leather branded gift from the gods.

But it was another UK brand that had me in a frenzy in the lead up to Christmas last year. While aimlessly wandering through a department store in Wimbledon, I stumbled across a jacket by Barbour. It was love at first sight, but not in my size!! But not to worry there are other stores and the internet right? Wrong. I searched them all and my beloved Barbour jacket, soulmate, warrior against the outer elements, was nowhere to be found, and dear I say it sold out! Shit! Not once, but twice, I was teased in to thinking I had it, only to look down at my arms and discover it was a childrens size jacket. Do you think anyone will notice if there is no material below my elbows? Answer: yes, yes they will.

I never thought I would fail, but I did and it seemed every second male on the streets of London was wearing one. I don’t know where all the women were with the Barbour jackets, maybe at a Barbour convention for the seriously awesome? All I know is that the womens jacket I wanted was not on the shelf. Recently, I went to the Thames to watch Cambridge and Oxford row their boats along the river. Meanwhile on the shores it might as well have been a Barbour fashion shoot. Everyone was looking so dapper. I wanted to shout out “I get it, you have Barbour jackets and I don’t.” but I refrained. In times like these I guess the best thing to do is sigh, immerse oneself in complete self-pity and hold on to the slight glimmer of hope that there is always next season. 

To fall in love with Barbour visit:
To go mad about Mulberry visit:

Just keep your hands off my jacket. I’m serious. Kids however, you can go wild,
I don’t fit your damn jackets anyway!

Afternoon tea break at the Barbour Convention For The Seriously Awesome. I could have been one of them!