Tuesday, 26 December 2017

Books out for Courting 101

A few weeks ago it was a delight to be a part of Corrugated Iron's little production of the short comedy play, Courting 101, in Malak's Chambers Crescent Theatre. I played a crazy professor teaching a class (the audience) how to go on a date and basically succeed in love.

Well done and thanks for a great time director Kate and dramaturge Phil and actors Isaac, Amy, Jack, Lily, Michael and Haylee.

Friday, 10 November 2017

The Future is Bonkers

I like talking about the future, because it's mental. So here's the first in hopefully a bit of a series of irregular videos in which I'll take a look at some futuristic concepts.

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

A Very Bedroom Farce

Last week I got to play an idiot called Trevor in Alan Ayckbourn's very-rather-British 70's comedy, Bedroom Farce. It's a very understated play featuring particularly unique staging: three beds. The characters move between these three separate beds/bedrooms throughout the play, which takes place over one night, getting twisted up in all kinds of hilarious (but again, very understated!) hi-jinx.

There's Malcolm (Andrew) talking to Trevor (me). He comes to hate Trevor by the end. Everyone hates Trevor. Trevor hates Trevor. Poor Trevor. 

Sniffing a prop.

There's Kate (Lizzy), Malcolm (still Andrew), Susannah (Haylee), Trevor (me again) and the wonderful behind-the-scenes duo who made it all happen: Tony Rive and Tania Lieman.

And finally the full cast. Candid. Thanks for a fun time!

Friday, 15 September 2017

Conductor of Earth short film

This fantasy/sci-fi short film I spent vast swathes of 2016 working on is finally online and available for you to watch! So many cool people helped make it. I can't speak highly enough of them.

And so, as Tiny Tim said: "A Merry Christmas to us all; God bless us, every one!"

Thursday, 7 September 2017

Danny Elfman scored my short films

That's a lie, of course. Rather, I made short films for Danny Elfman's music.

Two of them. It was for a competition held on indi.com earlier this year. The brief: simply make a short film with a piece from Danny Elfman's wonderful ballet score, Rabbit & Rogue, as the soundtrack. Elfman is obviously one of my favourite composers of all time, so this was an opportunity I couldn't pass by.

The two films I made were quite a challenge to produce. They were both shot over about a week, in Darwin's unpredictable wet season, with many first-time actors and an absolutely bone-thin skeleton crew. In order to make production achievable I decided not to record sound on set. So every single sound you hear in both of these films, every piece of dialogue, every footstep, was added in post. It's quite funny to think that just about everything you hear was either composed by Danny Elfman or recorded in my bedroom.

The first is a fast-paced fantasy-comedy-adventure about a boy who summons an imaginary friend.

And the second is a strange little story about someone who cannot see the real world.

Monday, 4 September 2017

The Sketch Files 3

A few years ago I made a short film comprised of a series of unconnected quirky skits and called it The Sketch Files. Last year I made a second one. And now here is the third!

Obligatory BTS shot to show that I really was there during filming and this isn't some elaborate hoax

The Sketch Files 3 continues the series by doing what every stereotypical sequel must: it's bigger, longer, darker and more complicated. Even more than the previous instalments this one really is a collection of pretty wildly contrasting scenes. I think of it as Key & Peele meets Twin Peaks, with the punchy genre-bending farce of the former and the slow, abstract absurdity of the latter. But made in Darwin, and by me of course.

Thanks to the many(!) people who helped out on this one. It was a lot of fun and kept me well amused and I hope you find it interesting.

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Bamboo Moon: The Tale of Princess Kaguya

I loved Studio Ghibli's 2013 film, The Tale of Princess Kaguya, based on the ancient Japanese folktale, The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter. What a beautiful, honest and tragicyet equally upliftingfairytale about love and loss. And told with a particularly delicate minimalism which only Studio Ghibli can make sexy.

So when I heard local Darwin youth theatre company Corrugated Iron was putting on a new adaptation of the very same Tale of the Bamboo Cutter, I obviously got myself up in that hotness. Bamboo Moon was the title of the production, and it reshaped the classic story into a dynamic short live show.

It was put on as a free show with a three night run at the start of August. It was also staged outdoors in the wonderful dry season air, at the George Brown Botanic Gardens, and with excellent set design, props and costumes; it was a visually spectacular show.

That's a snap from a rehearsal. I played Haru, the son of the Emperor, a very important and pretty cool guy, whose only real flaw is that he enjoys a wee bit of violence and war. Doh! There also is Taylor who played the eponymous Princess Kaguya and Tahlia who was my guard and lieutenant.

There's me on the night. In character. Feeling things. Emotions. Drama. Acting.

That's some of the other actors being funny on stage. Don't worry, they were also in character.

As a dynamic outdoor youth performance, this show of course also included music, dance and circus! Look bamboo spirits on stilts!

And aerialist moon people!

Unfortunately there are far more wonderful images of all these people than I can include here, but you can have a look at the show's photo gallery on the Corrugated Iron website.

Finally I want to congratulate the dedicated crew, some of whom can be seen here...

...and the enormously friendly extended cast, some of whom can be seen here:

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Darwin Fringe Show: Vaudeville Variety starring Chaplin

Here's the facts.

The Darwin Fringe Festival was a month ago. It was good. I got to perform in two shows. One of them was "VAUDEVILLE VARIETY STARRING CHAPLIN".

It was... well, it was what it sounds like. A madhat Vaudeville-inspired couple of hours of comedy, song, slapstick and skits. It was produced by an insane chap who I shall refer to simply as Russell "Rusty Rhubarb" Smith, and directed by a terrific gentleman called Tony Rive.

Russell "Rusty Rhubarb" Smith (shown above) was the centrepiece of the evening, singing and larking through a variety of comedy bits. One of these was a slapstick restaurant skit starring the titular, aforementioned and again shown above Charlie Chaplin, played by Russell "Rusty Rhubarb" Smith.

That photo displays a few other characters from the very same skit: (left to right) Haylee the gangster, Isaac the waiter, Damon the gangster, and me! I was the generically named "Male Lover". In this case referring to the facts that I was A) a lover and B) of the male gender, as opposed to my defining character feature being that I "love males".

This one's a snap from the night itself (thanks videographer Nathaniel Kelly!) in which Russell "Rusty Rhubarb" Smith and I can be seen performing the famous Abbott and Costello skit, Who's on first. Beast of a piece to learn, but it's mega funny.

Thanks to all of the wonderful cast and crew and brilliant musicians and everyone who came to see it. A great experience.

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Dance Academy film review

Dance Academy was a pretty big hit among people my age when it aired on Australia's ABC TV a few years back. Now they've made it into a full-fledged movie. Of course I was excited to see it and record a little podcast discussion about it.

Listen above or click here to find more episodes of You Are What You Watch.

Seabreeze Festival antics

A few days ago the annual Seabreeze Festival was held at the Nightcliff foreshore in Darwin. This year my pimp Jennifer Dowling roped me into performing some monologues from the Spoken Word Stage, which she ran masterfully with a varied lineup of poets, singers and storytellers.

The canopy buckles under the strong breeze as honoured guest speaker Kate Holden shares some words

It was a lovely afternoon. Basically the Seabreeze Festival is just such a brilliant event. The weather's great this time of year, and the setting is superb; blue sky and blue ocean was our exotic backdrop.

The palm trees buckle under the strong breeze as myself says things

I mostly shared some monologues which I already had pretty much learned from previous projects, which were primarily by Shakespeare and Tom Stoppard.

The night concluded with an excellent excerpt from a show by Jazmine Productions

Cheers and congrats to JD and Samara Erlandson and everyone involved, good times.

Sideshow Sound does Rogue One Score Guide

I'm an enormous fan of so many podcasts, and Sideshow Sound Radio is one of the big ones. One of their coolest projects is a series of "Score Guide" episodes, in which they present and discuss the entirity of a beloved soundtrack, including clever insights and a range of opinions. To make these episodes hosts Wendell Jones and William Dodson regularly seek contributions from listeners. So when I heard they were doing a new Score Guide on Michael Giacchino's fabulous Rogue One, I thought I'd better send something in.

The episode is out today, and it's excellent, and sure enough you can hear a little bit of me towards the end. Here's a link to the show.

I find these podcasts so enjoyable and relaxing; it feels like listening to a full album of superb music with other people who love it just as much as I do. Which is very special because honestly, how many people do you come across in everyday life who listen to film soundtracks every day?

Not many.

Monday, 17 April 2017

Podcasting Doctor Who's 10th Season

The new season of Doctor Who has begun, and so returneth the Doctor Who recap podcast A Bad Case of Loving Who.

On this first episode I'm joined by regular co-host Chris to talk about the latest episode and some general issues surrounding the show. Listen below, or find out more about the podcast and all of its previous episodes over here.

Escucha"Season 10, Episode 1: "The Pilot"" en Spreaker.

It should be a fun season, and we'll likely be having a few guests dropping in along the way. Geronimo etc!

Friday, 14 April 2017

The Message of Doctor Who Video

Doctor Who, with all its stellar highs and cringeworthy lows, is my favourite TV show. As we head towards the beginning of the 10th season of the show this weekend, a made this video to renew my excitement. In the video I attempt to demonstrate just how pervasively recurring the show's themes of perseverence and optimism are. It's my belief that if you boiled the whole thing down, all it's action and style and adventures and monsters, those are the key elements you'd have: perseverence and optimism. Part video essay and part salivating fan montage, here's the video:


 Like many things in life, if I had known how much time and effort it would take to make this video I probably wouldn't have done it, but I'm glad I did.

Saturday, 4 March 2017

Two New Podcasts: Movies and Memes

You know me, always keen to try a podcast.

Here are the first episodes of two new podcasts I just started, with hopefully many more episodes on the way!

The first is You Are What You Watch, a podcast for the charitable discussion of films, TV and occasionally games. I say charitable because I'm very keen to give bad movies a bit of respect. Even horrible movies are hard to make, and have their merits. That's irrelevent here though, because the first film we talk about is the fantastic Logan. Listen to the episode below, or go to the show's page here.

The other podcast is called Memeology. Memes are absolutely everywhere on the internet these days, and there are new ones popping up all the time in all kinds of places. In this podcast we casually study some of our favourite memes. Listen below or go to the Memeology page here.

As expected, there are a few audio issues in these programs, but I hope you enjoy them anyway! I can't wait to continue and improve them!

These shows aren't on iTunes just yet, but should be shortly.

Saturday, 18 February 2017

The Making of A Feature Film

Over the past month I've been involved in the production of Nathaniel Kelly's first feature film, The Adopted One (working title). The crazy guy's made countless short films, and attempting a feature was the logical next step!

The production was modest, and no-budget as ever, but for this film Nathaniel not only made good use of his regular stable of cast and crew, he also pulled in some extra special talent. Key example: Phil O'Brien.

Nathaniel Kelly directs the leads: Journey Kelly, Phil O'Brien and Joseph Baronio

Phil's a great bloke, who has been involved in a lot of film production in the past. He really dived into his role as a father in The Adopted One. He's a natural in front of the camera, and I think his gravitas is going to shine in this role.

Max Conaghan and Phil O'Brien on a beach

Then there's some of the regulars behind the camera. Me. Max Conaghan. Max is really tall but he's still a great guy.

Max Conaghan being a stand-in for a scene with Denis Franklin

Feature films are long. This one was (mostly) shot over about two weeks. That's not normal. It was hard. Hard and fun.

Joseph Baronio and Nathaniel Kelly dragging a bath through the rain

Nathaniel hopes to finish the film this Winter, so look out for it!

Sunday, 12 February 2017

La La Land: Worst thing ever or best thing ever?

La La Land is a fun musical and an optimistic fairytale about the entertainment industry. I would have thought it'd be an unlikely target for critical controversy, but here we are. People love to hate La La Land just as much as others love to love it. Most audiences and critics I've come across are firmly on one side or the other.

Seems like a lame division to me. Firstly, haters: you're wrong. The film just wants to be pure joy. How can you hate pure joy? Or even an attempt at pure joy? Are you Hitler? Hitler probably didn't hate joy, so who do you think you are?

Secondly, lovers: I love your love, but you know those hugs that are painful? Like, bear hugs, you know? Many of you are hugging La La Land to death! It's a movie, an imperfect movie, possibly a great imperfect movie, but there's no need to stab its critics in the face. I mean, are you Hitler? I don't think Hitler stabbed people in the face, so who do you think you are?

But hey, I get it. It's emotional. It's a movie about a glowing spirit in the face of adversity. A song and a dance in hard times. The other day I was in a lovely casual conversation when one guy said he walked out of La La Land. WALKED OUT. Hated it that much. Yes, that triggered me. My lips wanted to scream-forth: "BUT THAT OPENING NUMBER WAS IT NOT MAGICAL?" But I held strong. I extracted myself from the conversation, taking deep breaths, thinking about simpler times. Then I got a knife and ran back and stabbed the idiot in the face.


Yes, it's going to win too many Oscars, but we simply ought not start a war over La La Land. La La Land wouldn't want that. Respect La La Land.

Some people just don't know how wonder-filled this movie (and soundtrack) is. Are they wrong? Yes. Are they Hitler? Probably not. They're just not La La.

Sunday, 5 February 2017

Michael Giacchino: King of Composers?

If, like me, you're a fan of film, TV or video game soundtracks, then The Soundcast is one of the podcasts you should be listening to. Not just because it's a high quality show, or because I appear on it as a guest from time to time, or because it's one of the not-many soundtrack-related podcasts out there, but because regular hosts Christopher Coleman and Erik Woods frequently do a great job of discussing the state of scores and soundtracks in a broad sense. Their show stands out because they don't just debate whether La La Land is the worst thing ever or the best thing ever (one of the most over-discussed topics of recent months), but also attempt to dive into interesting, original and timely subjects such as is modern Hollywood music "dumbed down"? and what actually makes a popular theme great? They're interested by what it means to be a soundtrack fan, and how that meaning is ever-changing.

In their latest episode Chris and Erik discuss the concept of composer dominance. They cite John Williams and Hans Zimmer as dominant film composers of the past, and note that Michael Giacchino - through the abundance and prominence of his recent projects - is clearly next in line.

Have a listen to the episode for their discussion, including their thoughts on whether composer dominance is a bad thing (spoiler: they decide it probably isn't (sub-spoiler: I agree with them)). Here, I want to briefly jot down some thoughts I have about Michael Giacchino being the latest head honcho in the film music business.

Friday, 27 January 2017

#HeWillNotDivideUs: First Impressions

A single video camera hangs from a wall on 37th Street in New York, beaming live pictures around planet Earth, for anyone to see. It was activated last week and shall continue for the next four years. But what is the significance of this one shot; what is this little camera hoping to capture?

"He Will Not Divide Us" (#hewillnotdivideus) is the latest experimental social art project published under the name of anti-celebrity Shia Saide LaBeouf.

Yes, Shia LaBeouf. Once the uninteresting star of Michael Bay's TRANSFORMERS trilogy, now one of the weirdest and most unpredictable contemporary celebrities.

LaBeouf has been a strange fellow, neck deep in drama and run-ins with police for over a decade, but the turning point in the LaBeouf saga, in my view, was Rob Cantor's music video from a few years back about the "Actual Cannibal Shia LaBeouf".

From that point on, LaBeouf was no longer just a Hollywood performer, but also a man with a mythic aura. Shia surprise, indeed.

Then came his stunts, of which there are many. Most notable are probably #ALLMYMOVIES and I AM NOT FAMOUS ANYMORE.

Now comes Shia's latest, and most ambitious, livestream project. A four year long livestream in protest of the presidency of Donald Trump.

Monday, 2 January 2017

The Return of Doctor Mysterio (New Episode of A Bad Case of Loving Who)

It's been a whole year since I joined Chris to do an episode of our Doctor Who fan podcast, A Bad Case of Loving Who. Join us in this impromptu episode as we struggle to remember not only last year's Christmas Special, but also what even happened in this year's episode, The Return of Doctor Mysterio.

Us, as we mangle together this podcast episode
You can find the latest (and every) episode of our podcast over here, on it's dedicated page. And we'll be back in a few months to talk about Season 10! Hopefully slightly more prepared.