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This is the second installment of my transcripts of conversations I have heard. This particular time, I was in a car on my way to have lunch out for my sister’s birthday. In the car was myself, Mum, Dad, my sister Paige, and long time family friend/sort of aunt/crazy cat lady Gail.  It all started when I saw a headless terracotta chicken ornament on the side of the road, waiting out for hard rubbish….

PDF File: Sh*t My Family Says

Unlike the last one, this one is nearly verbatim. I say nearly because I can’t quite remember what was said, although I did jot notes, and I can’t think of anything missing. They say you can’t write this sort of stuff, though to be honest,  I can’t see in what situation this sort of dialogue would be relevant in a film. It’s just real life weirdos at their finest!

This is a piece that was written on the journey to and from VCA on the tram today. I haven’t written the script yet, and I’m using this spare time to try and get right into the back of my story, and explore the origins of the characters. This is a diary entry from the protagonist, James, probably from a time after the period in which my film ill be set. It explores the first night he suffered sexual abuse by his mother, and some back story to their relationship. This isn’t a back story set in stone, but it gave me an interesting insight into the psychology behind the Mother-Son relationship in my story.

22/5/12

It wasn’t that weird at first. She used to come into my room some nights after I had gone to bed and show me pictures of my Dad. Ones from when he was younger, fooling around with all his friends, and ones of him and Mum, before stuff got bad. She won’t show me the later ones. I always wondered if there ever were any. She told me over and over, and I had to admit I shared a certain likeness to my father. I looked nothing like her. There was something in the eyes, and the chin.
This one particular night she came in. I didn’t know it at the time, but it was the night of what would have been their tenth anniversary. I think she’d been crying. Her face was still a bit red, and her voice slightly haggard as she came to say good night. She tried her hardest to hide it, though some of the photos were stained, and still slightly damp. I tried to hug her, but she felt stiff, strange, distant. And then in a moment she became like water, and fell into me, squeezing me tight. She wore that exact same perfume that night I would come to dread over the coming years. Light and fruity at first, then fuller, richer beneath.
She pulled away from me, as suddenly as she had fallen, and looked me dead in the eyes. “It’s been ten fucking years, and now he still won’t leave me alone! Bastard!” she slapped me sharply across the face. My cheek stung, but I sat for a moment, too stunned to say anything. Then I sobbed, unsure of what was wrong. She grabbed me and pulled me in tight. She stroked my hair softly, just as she used to when I came to her, fearful from some nightmare. I quickly hushed in her warm embrace, still confused about her reaction to the hug. She spoke quickly and softly. “It’s okay, darling, I’ll be here. You won’t leave me. I love you, don’t fret. You can’t leave me”. She rambled on. I think she was comforting herself more than anything else. I felt her free hand begin to trace to bones of my skinny chest. Her caressing touch was so soft and gentle. I didn’t move, but as her hand moved with more urgency, I shifted back. She held me down tighter. “It’s okay darling, I’m here” she cooed, trying to abate my agitation. Her hand then went lower, reaching my leg, though I didn’t move then. My mother knew what to do, and I loved her. She was all I had. But somewhere in the back of my self I knew this was something I couldn’t tell anyone else. It was something so intensely private, but I’d never felt so exposed in all my life.
After what felt like an age, but was really only minutes, she left me. “Now go to sleep honey. I’ll see you in the morning”. She smiled and tucked me in as though nothing had happened. “It’s okay, not many people know what it’s like to have to grow up without a daddy. We’ll keep this in this room, special yes?” I nodded mechanically at this, not knowing what it entailed. “I love you James”. She kissed me on the forehead and left me alone in the dark. I lay awake for hours afterwards. I didn’t know it was possible to feel so exposed and ashamed and love at the same time. I tossed and turned, weighing up the feelings in my mind that I knew I could share with anyone. I finally fell into a restless sleep. I was ten.

Monday was finally the big shooting day. My cast and crew braved the cold and the myriad of curious passer-bys to shoot this little film.  The final shooting locations were in Prahran, on Commercial Rd and Greville St.

I scored some fantastic performances from the talented Jeremy Kewley and Lucas Linehan, who nailed the necessary ‘one-take wonders’ needed to squeeze the four-page script into 400ft of film stock.

There was some fantastic visual stuff going on, especially at the Greville St location in front of Greville records, and the red and blue flashing lights worked nicely.

Tuesday night was unfortunately very wet and miserable, as well as being my designated night for collecting my city ‘atmos’ shots. I believe that we found some interesting features of the streets, especially a big ‘liquor store’ sign. How very fitting for the script!

Anyway, here are a few stills from the shoot:

The other night was the first location search for my film Beat. I need two locations. One needs to be a busy street with shops and a service lane, the other needs to be some shops in a quiet place (like a lane or carpark) that I can cheat to look busy.

I also took the liberty of taking a few shots that I felt captured the atmosphere of my piece. These were shot with a Canon 7D with an 18-135mm lens. Where I could, I kept my settings at the widest aperture, ISO 500 and shutter speed at 50 in order to emulate the amount of light I will get out of the film stock, though this was often not possible.

I will need somewhere that has access to power. Iwas unable to find one, but a ‘nice’ carpark with a few shops would be ideal.

Also I would like to apologize for the horrific formatting of this post. I still haven’t got my head around it.

Corner Fawkner and Acland StThis Milk Bar was very close to home and one of the first shots I took. I like the look of it, but nearby restaurant noise and music made it a bit unusable. I think I perhaps want a bit more of a ‘metropolitan’ feel? This was at the corner of Fawkner and Acland St, St Kilda.

The Laundrette and car park were two contrasting places.  The laundrette had the advantage of being well lit and open throughout the night. The car park with its dim light and dump masters gave the ‘dirty, gritty’ feel I’ve wanted. Might make for a good shot in the film opening.

The following photos I took because I liked the colours and atmosphere. I cannot necessarily recall where I took them all, but at least one of them was taken from a tram.

The soft focus of the city lights, oranges and reds and warm greens contrasted against dirty blacks and browns. Although I don’t feel I’ve captured a busy, living place, if I could liven up this sort of atmosphere, it would be perfect.

Some more locations for filming:

 An arcade at the back of a carpark near a supermarket on Carlisle st.

 Near a pizza restaurant.

 An undercover car park.

I didn’t find any places I specifically wanted to use, as none suited my needs. I found wandering the streets at night very interesting. I think that I understand my film visually a lot better now.

The other day, I found what I hope will be suitable for my film. A little lane off Chapel st in Prahran. I’ve forgotten its name at present but I am going there tonight with my camera. I will use the clothing store/ record store as the main background. Here are some photos I took at dusk. There is a convenient car park just across the road, and it is close to public transport.

Now I just need to work out power…

Oh shit.

Posted: March 27, 2012 in Stuff I make, Words of inspiration
Tags: ,

I just worked out what my film is about:

It is about finding the strength to have empathy in a harsh, judgemental and selfish world

How far does someone have to be pushed before they choose to emotionally shut themselves off from the world?

Somehow that has got to happen in two minutes. Crikey!

2-Minute Film Script, draft 2

Posted: March 21, 2012 in Stuff I make
Tags: , ,

Because my major production has been giving me a headache, I’ve been working on my smaller film. Here it is, the day before I hand it in for feedback.

Ext. City. Just after sunset.

A shop is closing up for the night. People and cars move across a bridge. An electronic Billboard lights up the street. A tram pulls around a corner. Police sirens fade into the background to the sound of traffic.

(All these shots are optional/changeable. They are intended to establish the city, give it character. Show the many possible stories of this city, before focusing on one)

Ext. City Street. Night.

A few people shuffle along the gutter, around a crime scene roped off with police tape and then back onto the pavement. A few people peer in at the remains of the crime: A mess of blood, a sodden towel and a half full bottle of water.

Two police officers stand sentry, idly watching the crowds. One is an old, hardened sergeant. He has been around the beat for years, and this is just another night. He checks his watch. The other is a rookie constable, barely out of the academy. He nervously adjusts his cap.

Constable

It looks much redder than I thought it would.

Sergeant

Huh?

Constable

The blood, I mean. I thought it would’ve been a bit more brownish, you know?

Sergeant

You reckon that’s just from a little cut? Why don’t you ask the poor bastard whose guts are spread out on the pavement?

The sergeant laughs. The constable smiles nervously, trying to hide his naivety.

Constable

D’ya know if he’s alright?

Sergeant

Bah, wouldn’t have the faintest bloody idea. They had him packed up well before we got here. But what do you think? They taught you some things in that place, didn’t they? Jesus…

The constable glances in, visualizing the blood spilling out of a human body. He tries to lighten the Sergeant’s gruff mood.

Constable

Guess he’d be feeling a bit sore then?

Sergeant

Probably too damn pissed to feel it. Fucking Abo’s. Can’t hold their bloody drinks.

The sergeant digs around in his jacket and pulls out a small flask.

Sergeant

Then the next thing you know it, they’re smeared out across pavement. No wonder they’re a bloody endangered species these days!

The sergeant finishes and takes a heavy swig from his flask. The constable shifts uncomfortably, unable to reprimand his senior. He glances around, trying to gauge the reactions of the sergeant’s remarks from passersby. From the crowd, a teenager takes a picture on his iPhone of the bloody scene.

Constable

Excuse me, you can’t do that-

Sergeant

Show some bloody respect, you filthy scoundrel!

The sergeant makes a show of chasing after the youth, before returning to his post.

Sergeant

Fucking vultures.

He takes another swig, and waves the flask at the constable, who shakes his head.

Sergeant

Ah, whatever.

Constable

When do we know anything?

Sergeant

What? Oh!

The sergeant laughs, loudly.

Sergeant

What you see is what you get, kiddo. A couple of blokes, pissed no doubt, tearing each other up on the streets. Probably be the last we hear of ’em, s’long as they’re both still alive.

The constable twitches.

Sergeant

Someone’ll press charges, someone’ll get their arse kicked I’d say. Open. Shut. And hopefully we’ll be home before fucking daybreak.

He spits on the pavement.

Constable

And that’s it?

Sergeant

Ha, you think you’re on fucking telly do ya?

The sergeant fiddles with the cap of his flask as the constable watches the road. A cleaning van pulls up alongside the curb. A man in heavy duty cleaning gear steps out then, and the sergeant hands him some paperwork.

Cleaner

So, all right then?

The sergeant nods, an then turns to the constable.

Sergeant

Thank Christ. I thought we’d be here all night. You sure, kiddo?

He waves the flask in front of the constable again. This time the constable accepts, and takes a nervous sip. The cleaners get to work.

EXT. CITY STREET. NIGHT.

The officers and cleaners are gone. The police tape has been removed. Crowds move through as though nothing has happened. A siren is heard in the background.