Thursday, July 27, 2006

Not at school

Where I probably should be, it being the dreaded Parent Teacher Interview night. But I had no interviews between 4 and 5, and it only takes 5 minutes to get home (including the time to walk to the car), so I thought I may as well pop home on the off chance Debbie was here (she isn't, sadly) and spend some time not being at school.

My evening is much busier after the dinner break. Sigh.

I did get to say one of the more unusual things I've ever said to a parent earlier today:

"It's kinda like Days of Our Lives, only with giant man-eating plants, and a world filled with blind people."

I'm showing my class the BBC Triffids series. Because I can.

It came up as a topic when I was writing an example personal timeline on the board, and I got to about 1982, and wrote "saw TV show The Triffids. Became afraid of plants." The kids got quite curious about it (more curious than they were about "1981 Won cycle race while dressed as Spiderman"). It just so happened that a neighbouring teacher had recorded the show back in the day (which probably means it was on later than 1982, but I'm too lazy to go check the dates), and had it sitting on the shelf next to my classroom. I planned to just show the class a minute or two to show them what the Triffids looked like, but they begged me to show them more, and I love that show to bits. So I showed them the first episode, and may end up showing them an episode a day for the next week or so. 'Cos it's cool.

I have to be back at school in about 20 minutes for dinner (they give us snacky dinner to make up for the interviews running from 3pm to 8pm). I aim to get a bunch of marking done during the dinner break, and between interviews. So far I've managed to get about 20 pieces of work marked (before I snuck out).

Right, back to the coal face!

Monday, July 24, 2006

Extreeeeeeeeme!

We open on a city, all grey buildings and flying cars and such. Perhaps a helicopter shot across the bay towards the city.

The camera drops down into a neat alley, lined with manicured trees. There is a funeral procession, black suits and teary eyes, escorting a foating coffin towards a wall at the end of the alley which has an oversized oven door in it. A celebrant stands at the end of the alley, ready to put the coffin into the incinerator and disintegrate it. He speaks:

"Friends, we are gathered here today to mourn the passing of one taken from us too young..."

He is interrupted by a wail of feedback, and the voice of MC Prezley coming through the PA system, and from his flying car equipped with massive loudspeakers that hovers above. Prezley shouts that 'Johnny Hero' was a true skyboarder, and is going to get the send-off he deserves.

Several characters swoop down from above on flying surfboards. One is a leather-clad tough girl called Weevil. Beside her is a shirtless hooligan with a massive tattoo of a screaming face on his chest, his head shaved but for a ponytail with a spiked metal ball at the end. There is a woman in a billowing black dress, with a black mini-veil covering her eyes. She touches a button on her sleeve and the dress morphs into a black suit. There is a blinged up white boy with bleach blond hair and a haughty look. There is a younger teen, slight of build and looking unsure.

They swoop down and grab the coffin, snatching it from the procession. A hunky boy in the funeral procession steps out in front of the tattood lunatic and attempts to stacle him (knock him off his board). The handsome boy is knocked to one side, and shakes his fist up at the skyboarders.

The boarders steal the coffin and fly off, intending to give their fallen comrade a viking send-off. The celebrant touches a comm-link in his sleeve and shouts to the police "Send in the bulls!"

We see several buildings around the neigbourhood open their rooves, and mecha fly out. A spectacular chase scene ensues, with the skyboarders throwing the coffin back and forth, outwitting and evading the bulls until they rendezvous with a massive big rig 18 wheeler, with 40 gallon drums strapped to the sides of it.

The surfers deposit the coffin respectfully into the back of the moving truck, then line up solemnly, the sun behind them. In the cab of the truck, a girl with grease on her hands and a scruffy appearance pushes a red button, and the truck goes into turbo boost. It shoots past several 'road closed' signs, up a ramp. The girl pushes a green button, and the roof of the cab opens. She activates her rocket boots and flies out, as the big rig takes off into air, rockets firing to keep it climbing out into the air over the bay.

Over the shoulders of the gathered skyboarders, we see the big rig climb and climb, then explode spectacularly over the bay in a shower of sparks and flame.

The explosion morphs to form the words:

Extreme Source Boarders Generation 2,000,000

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This was just the first scene of an incredibly EXTREME PTA game I had the honour to play in on Saturday. It was, in a word, EXTREME!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Glutton for punishment

Yikes. I just wrote a post on NZRaG about another film competition for the Jenni's Angels team. I must be suffering from some kind of punch-drunk lunacy.

Of course, it's a different kettle of fish as the Flying Fives competition is open in terms of entry, so we can have the full professionals included team. I could get other people to do most of the hard work, and just help out, or even act if the script has a smelly hippy or crazy person in it. My (probably crack-smoking) suggestion was that we make a zombie musical. I just love the idea of a group of zombies singing and dancing in unison :)

The super film is cut together. It looks pretty good! The current title (suggested by Morgue) is With Mighty Power. Tee hee. We will have to make another cut of it that doesn't use copyrighted music - it's unlikely that we'll get permission to use "Holding Out for a Hero". There will no doubt be other little fine tuning things to do as well.

Anyways, just one day left to the weekend - thank God. I haven't done as much marking as I should have this week, but I have survived more or less, so that's something to be pleased about.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Surviving

Going back to work after a break is hard. This has been made easier by the reduced workload, but it's still rough. I spent in the neighbourhood of 2 hours doing marking last night (well, 2 hours with frequent breaks and diversions). This is for suck.

Debbie soldiered on with the editing of the Super Film, which she has blogged about here. It's a hefty post of some 2000+ words! The film is taking shape nicely, but we'd both love to have more than a couple of hours at a time to work on it.

It would also be cool to have 2 workstations, with shared hard drive space, so I could work on one part while Debbie works on another. But then I'd never get any marking done :)

I have 5 lessons today, which means 2 more before I get to go home, but I'm done with the teaching part of my day - just watching the second half of The Piano and a supervised study class to go. I do wish that I could sneak off and do editing instead. Sigh....

We do strongly want to get a rough cut assembled tonight, so we can give it to Jenni tomorrow. I'm reasonably confident that we can - in fact I think we're only an hour or so away from having it all assembled. It will be teh roXXors to have it put together.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Super Movie Making!

Saturday was a very busy day of film making, with a Jenni's Angels team assembling to create a superhero origin story. There is much to be said about this, but I must keep my comments brief as I have muchos work to do:

- Superhero costumes were beautiful
- Garage set design/dressing was genius
- Spidey-cam was an inspired idea from our wonderful director
- Much fun can be had in spite of pressure
- Misbehaving watches are an unexpected way to boost confidence (we still have time!), but not a good way to actually stay ahead of the sun
- The montage is pure genius. Now we need to find montage music that we can actually use
- Our friends are incredibly helpful and accomodating, and the efforts of everyone present were hugely, massively appreciated!

It was a lot of work, but it was also a lot of fun, and I am damn glad to have been a part of it.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Short Films-a-go-go

It's been a busy holidays.

I think I have finished editing the first of the short films we made last week. It's a teacher-student short for Moviefest about getting a date for the school ball. It was planned on Tuesday (I was there for about an hour towards the end), then shot on Wednesday. We used Norman's very nice camera to film it, and shot in and around the school. Everything was shot inside, as it was raining very heavily on Wednesday.

The editing process started on Wednesday night, then was interrupted by filming on Thursday. We had scripted another short film for the Moviefest competition about a woman getting revenge. It had a cast of 3, and a crew of one and a bit - me, with a little help from actors when they weren't in front of the camera. Fraser helped out with sound, and Debbie did makeup. I was director/camera/sound/lighting guy. There's a rough cut of the film on the hard drive, which Debbie and I put together on Thursday night and Friday morning, before we headed off to Christchurch to visit family.

Since we got back I've been beavering away at the school based film (now finished, barring obvious fixes that may crop up), and helping Debbie get ready for the school production which is looming. Paint shopping, painting set stuff, designing posters, that kind of thing. We may be off to buy fabric later today, but I've inconveniently booked a guy to put in a cat door this afternoon. Hopefully all will go well timing-wise?

We also had a crack at writing a version of the script for the Jenni's Angels Moviefest entry - Jenni sent out her first draft, and several people were riffing on it to feed her ideas. I am pretty excited about short film number 3 for this holidays. Again I'll be technical guy, which means I don't get to play a superhero. If I was going to play MENTOR I'd want to attach a cape to a tweed jacket, and get a pipe and monacle. Heh, that'd be cool.

So, busy holidays. Three short films in 2 weeks. Writing, directing, camera-ing, sounding, editing. I have improved my Premiere-Pro Fu considerably already, and a superhero story should provide some interesting challenges.

Better get back to tidying!

Make Love the Bruce Campbell Way

Whilst on a recent trip to Christchurch (where we ended up hanging out with family rather than going to BoD) I picked up a 6 CD recording of Bruce Campbell's book

Make Love*

*the Bruce Campbell Way
.

It's a radio-play style recording of a book about Bruce being cast in an A-list movie with Rene Zellwegger and Richard Gere. He got a bunch of his friends to join him in recording it. He does the narration as well as playing himself - the book is written in first person, so that works pretty well.

Brief Review: It's frikkin awesome. Hilarious. Genius.

Longer Thoughts: Bruce Campbell is a very funny guy, and has a great voice for radio. The book is a straight-faced send-up of what might happen if Bruce Campbell ever did get his B-grade hands on an A-grade film, with a light romantic comedy devolving into gags with dummies being thrown out of windows and shots using 'shakey-cam', a camera bolted to a 2X4, with handles on each end. It made me very keen to construct my own shakey-cam - it allows you to film running chase scenes, and rise up over cars and other obstacles. Groovy.

The book is filled with (presumably real) anecdotes from Bruce's career, and with highly fanciful scenes of Bruce 'researching' for his new role. One of my favourites is when he impersonates an old Southern gent to infiltrate a gentlemen's club, in order to learn more about how to portray his doorman character (who is a Southerner, and needs to be 'more of a gentleman'). There's also a very, er, prurient section involving an SUV that vibrates at a... stimulating frequency.

There are of course complications that arise, and Bruce faces each one head-on. It's a pacey, entertaining, engaging and thoroughly enjoyable downward spiral.

Well worth every penny, and sure to be listened to many a time. Nice work Mr Campbell, nice work indeed.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

The Wheels on the Bus Go WTF?

Some recollections and reconstructions from the recent celebrations. Please feel free to add more - I'm sure there were many more hilarious moments that I did not witness or do not remember.

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Fraser: Nick speaks in sound bites.

Nick: I'm not your SUV of alcohol consumption.

Fraser: Don't worry Nick, we think of you as our Astin Martin of alcohol consumption, with rockets under the licence plate

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Gino and Steve: Wait, was that a boy or a girl? The entire cast dies in episode one - there goes our idea for a reality TV show. [explaining why 'Platypus Humpers' would never work as a TV show - the male platypus having dangerous poisonous spines on the back of its rear legs]

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Nick: You can tell your vegetables from your fruits.

Matt: Yep, the dirty stinking vegetables live underground, unlike the clean, noble fruits.

Nick: Except for, like, lettuce. Which is a vegetable. But not as low class as, say, a potato.

Matt: Yes, the filthy underground vegetables are the peasants of the fruit and veg kingdom, the dung shovelers and village idiots…

Nick: And the above-ground vegetables are more the skilled workers and merchants…

Matt: While the lofty tree-fruits are the nobility. But what's a coconut? Is it a nut, or a vegetable, or the mighty king of the fruit and veg kingdom?

Luke consults a dictionary.

Luke: It's a seed.

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After inspecting the stove, the conclusion is reached that the names on the dials would make an awesome A-Team style group: Fan Force, featuring Max Grill, his brother Turbo Grill, and… many more?

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The idea of a jigging lane, much like a moving footpath or travelator, was discussed, however it would only move if you were jigging. Such a lane could loop around Kapiti and allow people to move more quickly, in a jigging fashion. The jigging highway would be a multi-lane version of the same, with fast lanes for people breakdancing or rocking out Kevin Bacon style.

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A short competition of running down the corridor going AAAAAAHHHHH! Takes place. Nick walks down the corridor sans AAAAAHHHHH!.

Matt: Nick, do it again, that was totally lame.

Nick: I'm not even in your competition.

Matt: Dude, you got a D minus. You can so do better than that.

Nick: I'm having no part of this.

Matt: You just got downgraded to an F.

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Nick: Those hotdog sticks are too hot. If I tried to eat one my oesophagus would totally rebel, and choke me to death.

Viv: Your own oesophagus would betray you?

Nick: It so would, that slimy bastard.

Matt: Don't worry Nick. I'm totally ready to cut your throat open and stuff a broken biro in there for you to breathe through. I've always wanted to perform an emergency tracheotomy. Eat all the hot-dog sticks you like.

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Giffy sings 'sexy' version of Rubber Ducky. It's all in the intonation (and duck-stroking)