Monday, 10 September 2018

You Do You (Darwin International Film Festival Spark Film 2018)

This year I was lucky enough to produce and co-direct one of the Darwin International Film Festival's five "Spark" films. These are five ten minute scripts that are picked to be produced over a short three months and screened as a part of the festival in September.

It was a hoot having all these actual school kids play fake school kids in the film. The magic of cinema.
I entered several project ideas into the program this year, and the one that was picked to be produced was "You Do You". This is a short film I've been thinking about, vaguely, since late last year. When I tried to write it earlier this year however, I found myself to be not very confident with the voice of the main character, a teenage girl. So I asked long-time collaborator Lexie Gregory to write it for me.

Here's Lexie herself, with DOP Nathaniel Kelly and star Koko Lawton
Turns out that was a great decision. Because what Lexie wrote was quite unlike my original plans, and quite unlike the films I've made before, but felt genuine and personal. The story is a little more honest than the stories I usually write myself. I was very excited to work on something that wasn't my usual speed though. This experience was unique. The first time I've directed a film I didn't write myself, too!

Koko, me, and hey look it's Max Conaghan
Anyway, we shot the film in July. Worked with a bunch of lovely people. Shooting had its many challenges, as shooting always does. We had to be pretty disciplined about schedules because most of the crew currently resides interstate and were only in Darwin for a couple of weeks. There were some difficult times but overall it was actually one of the smoothest shoots I've been involved with. Co-directing with Lexie was lovely not least because it took some of that crazy pressure off my shoulders.

Koko, Joseph Baronio (beautiful producer), Nathaniel, Johanna Hayes (beautiful assistant producer) and Lexie
Additional shout-outs to Joseph Baronio and Johanna Hayes for being good producers. Oh man don't you just love producers? Also Koko Lawton, who starred as the character Mickey. Koko is You Do You. If You Do You is anything it is because of Koko. The boppin' soundtrack is by my favourite music-wizards, Natalie Gall and Thomas Field.

You Do You, and the four other DIFF Spark films, will be screening this Friday evening at the Deckchair Cinema. Nervous-excited to see what people think of what we've made!

In the meantime, here's the trailer:

Darwin Fringe Show: Vaudeville Knockout

Yes, this was the sequel to the 2017 Fringe show I was a part of, "Vaudeville Variety".

This was several months ago now, but better late than never!

Vaudeville Knockout took the production to new heights for two evenings of wacky old-fashioned humour at Darwin's Brown's Mart Theatre. Many of the same cast and crew returned, but the characters were honed and polished a little further.

Russell (Charlie Chaplin) practising his boxing with new co-star Josh (Buster Keaton)
Russell and myself performed Who's on first again, just like last year. And of course there were songs and there was comedy and a big silent comedy set piece in which I played the villain.

I'm the one with the massive cape and hat and pirate cat
Thanks to all the lovely cast and crew, and of course everyone who came along to see the show. In many ways these ambitious little Fringe shows with a lightning-fast turnaround and little-to-no external support are more exciting than anything else.