Draw The Line

I contributed a couple pages to the new international anthology called Draw The Line. I thought it was a good idea — a large group suggests loads of political actions one can take if they’re frightened for the world as it is post-Trumkfpth, and illustrators pick which actions they’d like to illustrate.

I chose “Look for the Reason”, and “Check Facts”. Get onto the site if you want to read the actions associated, and to check out more than a hundred excellent suggestions-plus-art. Sounds like there might be a print book later this year?

Look for the Reason

Check Facts

Teasers for two new shows.

Holy what-do-you-know! Some tops people helped me make TWO entries for Movie Extra’s Webfest contest. Prize is $100,000 to make your show, so I figured, “yep”.


Arran McKenna and Adrian Calear in "Pickups".


Arran is a cartoonist, actor and all-round happy chappy, so I cast him as a gangster’s aide who is secretly an undercover cop. Aidzee is a comedian, comedy producer and YouTube star, so he plays the colleague who will kill Arran once the pair of them have taken care of a number of cash “pickups” for their boss, Renn (Renn Barker). The seven episodes would see Arran and Aidzee visit six criminals in one very long day. How long before Arran realises his head’s on the chopping block? Without any means to contact his fellow cops, can he escape Aidzee and Renn?

It’s (kind of) dramatic, and it’s live-action, neither of which I have any experience making. I rewrote the script several times, including on the day when Azza had a very good idea. Luckily I had the help of an experienced video producer, Dave Oakley, who made the shoot very smooth indeed. Things I will keep in mind for next time I shoot live-action:

  • Have someone around to shoot stills of what’s going on.
  • Have someone around to do the lines the characters hear over the phone. I was doing the lines myself (later rerecorded by Renn), and as a result I couldn’t pay attention to directing the actors. Luckily, they were good without my input…
  • Know how the hell the sound will be recorded before arriving at the location! Turned out we needed something with more juice than my Zoom H2 to make the lapel mics work. This almost killed the day.

But I think it came out good, all things considered.


Bret and Sally in "The Bret Braddock Adventures"

Bret (Adrian Calear) and Sally (Katrina Mathers) in "The Bret Braddock Adventures".


This one is, of course, more my speed. A horde of great designers and animators helped with it, namely: Sandra Chiang, Daniel Luke, Paula Hatton, Marta Tesoro, Christien Clegg, Astri Setiono and Kathryn Parker. And it still took me a whole year to finally finish off my shots!

Obviously it’s based on the comics I’ve been doing about working for a jerkoff in the TV biz.¬†Adrian Calear does the voice of Bret Braddock. As always he is a champ. Katrina Mathers is Sally. Both of them were in my old film, Herman, The Legal Labrador. I love the fact they’re both still up for doing stuff with me after all these years; really hate the fact I still can’t pay them for it.

I think we’re inching closer to the day when that changes. Of course, if we win this contest, it comes a lot sooner.

Hint. Hint.

Go here to check out Pickups.

Go here to check out The Bret Braddock Adventures.

We worked very hard on them.

Animation time again!

The MEGA pitch went really well! Unfortunately, none of the broadcasters or entertainment types Justin invited actually showed! True, the pitches were happening right in the middle of the work day, but still… not good enough, ABC and SBS. You really had something better to do?…

TEN THINGS THE REPS FROM THE ABC MIGHT HAVE BEEN DOING INSTEAD OF ATTENDING MY PITCH

  1. Flicking through lists of reality shows, trying to find ones they can buy or produce that are superficially “classier” than the ones on the commercial networks
  2. Watching the hot new young guy, Tino, on Gardening Australia, touching selves lightly
  3. Latte-sipping
  4. “Lefty shit”
  5. Repeating the word “vodcast” over and over while staring, shirtless, into a mirror
  6. Thinking about where they were the day The Glass House got axed
  7. Establishing exciting new online initiative, closing down yesterday’s
  8. Ironing wrinkles out of Triple J presenters
  9. Searching for an even more wanky way to say “documentary” than “factual programming”
  10. Commissioning somethingorother

Obviously I kid. I do it because I love them so!

I’m going to do a video of the pitch so you (and they) can see what I presented on the day.


From the animatic

From the animatic


Meanwhile: it’s about time to make this John Farnham-related Precinct short I’ve been talking up for a while. Now that MEGA’s over I’ll have time to finish off the animatic. Then, it’s animation time.

I’d love to get it done over the holidays, but I can’t do it all myself. What I’m thinking is that I’ll set aside some money and hire on some help! I know a lot of animators who are suddenly out of work

The problem, of course, is that I can’t afford to pay people what they’re worth (or even what they’re used to being paid, which is another, lower, amount). I’m thinking that maybe I could assign individuals a maximum of one or two shots, to minimise the pain.

Not that I’m against abusing animators. They should just know they’re going to be abused before they sign up!

The Precinct: Playing To Win is going to be an “illegal” short, too, in the sense that it’ll be using copyrighted music by John Farnham. The idea is that w’re going to show it to John Farnham and he’ll like it enough to agree to get involved with the show (i.e. sing the theme song!). It so badly needs him.

[kml_flashembed movie="http://nakedfella.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2009/11/0b-Playing-to-Win.swf" width="512" height="288" allowfullscreen="true" /]

So: can you animate like this?


And do you want to be abused?

Hello, MEGAteers

Woody The Producer and I have been accepted into the MEGA program. This is how they (eloquently) describe themselves:

MEGA is an Entrepreneurship Masterclass series which takes participants from the mobile, digital content and ICT industries through an industry-driven development program to build their creative, technical and business skills for the development of new products and services for global markets.

It was only very recently that I had to look up what “ICT” is. It’s just what they used to call “IT” but with an extra “C” added. I forget what the “C” stands for just at this moment.

Sarah just told me it’s “communication”. Thank you, Sarah.

Since we’re also still working on this Film Vic cross-platform strategy, it’s nice timing. We’re looking forward to lobbing a few of our ideas on people. MEGA runs through November.

We’ve been to the first couple talks (there’s many more to come). This week’s was about “Teamwork!” I took notes. Here’s a few.

Venture capitalists like teams Making your team Entrepreneurship

We also heard about trademark and patent registration, but my notes on these are a bit dry.

Some people doing MEGA have interesting ideas, albeit ones which are nascent, unformed, which is sweet because MEGA for them will be about bashing out details and figuring out if the idea’s going to work (many of the other ideas are very tech-based; apps for phones and the like).

Since we’ve been working on The Precinct for a few years now, we’re a bit further along. We have a team (and a larger, projected, team for when the show kicks into production). We’ve got a lot of stuff down on paper (and out in the digital ether). We’ve had government funding helping us get the the show “market-ready”.

So for us, MEGA will be partially about figuring out if our show actually is market-ready (not “good”. We already know it’s good). MIPCOM was helpful in this regard too.

MEGA will also be about learning stuff, meeting people and having a larf. And being accepted into a thing like this is great for keeping our spirits up over what has been (and could continue to be) a long gestation/development process.

Luckily, I still like the show after three years and am real happy to sink ever more free time into it. Which is how I’m spending this sunny Sunday afternoon…

Adam speaks

Guest blogger Adam Wajnberg

Guest blogger Adam Wajnberg

I asked Dave if I could submit my own blog post for the show, the idea being that I could draw in interested parties that know me, and not Dave, and to introduce my own voice to existing followers as the other creative party at this point. So allow myself to introduce myself.

I’m Adam Wajnberg, and I’m the co-writer of The Precinct. I say co-writer and not co-creator, because this has been very much Dave’s baby from the start. Dave and I have been mates since high school, and it has seemed inevitable for years now that we’d end up working closely on something together. It was usually me insisting upon a partnership, because Dave has a much better work ethic than I do, and I wanted to take advantage of that.

My own training is in screenwriting. I completed RMIT‘s Professional Screenwriting course in 2006, a feat which has led to much call centre work with some of Australia’s largest corporations. I have also previously worked with Dave as a voice actor and general sounding board on Herman, The Legal Labrador. Dave has animated a short I wrote called Badlands, which has won much praise despite (or because of) it’s 40-second run time.

Dave was already up and running with The Precinct when he asked me to come aboard. I was unsure if I could add much. I’m a fan of cop shows, but not to the obsessive degree Dave is. Moreover, I recoil at the procedurals and prefer the narrative (so I’ll devour The Wire, and never sit through a whole episode of say, Law and Order). But a couple of walk-and-talks revealed that I had an angle on determining a plot thread that Dave had never really had to do before.

For those who are interested, the working relationship between Dave and I looks like this: we both fall into the “misanthropic, out-of-shape Jewish man” type, a figure riddled with redundancies. Thankfully, we differ in the details. Dave is calm and workmanlike, I’m hyper and lazy. I can burst with a good 15 minutes of productive ideas and then fall asleep, Dave will concentrate for 2 or 3 hours before needing to take a sip of water. Dave agonizes over each beat, I prefer a quick and dirty approach.

"Either we get this scene right or we watch some Daily Show"

"Either we get this scene right or we watch some Daily Show"

More to the point, Dave insists on creating as much realism as possible, while I move more towards creating a cartoony wonderworld. This goes back to Herman, where I insisted on characterizing the voices (ie. making them higher pitched) while Dave wanted the voices to be normally pitched. Dave gets his way most of the time, which is fitting as he’s the director. But if I make a particularly good case, he’ll go with my suggestion. That doesn’t happen often, because I’ll be dozing and/or playing darts rather than articulating why I think a scene should work a certain way.

Beyond that, it boils down to strengths. I’m better at creating plot, but Dave is better at keeping an eye on continuity. We’re both natural dialoguists, but Dave is better at keeping things succinct. I usually err on the side of fewer swears to give them greater impact, while Dave likes to whip them out with impunity. Dave likes a challenge, I prefer praise — so Dave gets encouraged by a scene that doesn’t work, with the mindset being “this needs to be better”, and I prefer to be egged on when things are working. Dave gets stuck with a lot of the re-drafting, because I lose faith when things don’t work right STRAIGHT AWAY.

But overall, we work well together, and much of that comes from the friendship and very similar world-views. I think we’re both looking forward to when we can work at it on a daily basis, in an office, with rolled up shirtsleeves and suspenders and a big whiteboard with random mugshots and scribbles bestrewn on the surface. And mustaches. And steamy parmas.

Rock the vote

These fellows at bigfish.tv make silly cartoons. So do I. That’s why I sent them one of mine (“Badlands”) for their Flash contest. They picked it for the final five.

Five silly cartoons. If you go to their site, you can watch all five silly cartoons (it’ll take under five minutes), then if you register with them you can VOTE for the one you like best. The winner gets $1000. It’s a very simple contest. Fellow Aus-comics guy Jase Harper has one in there too. It’s about a potato. Mine is about European cheese-throwers in tights.

Cheese-throwers in tights

I promise that if Badlands wins this contest I will split the $1000 with its writer, Adam Wajnberg, and we’ll finally sit down and make the sequel, which is about crabs and God.

Go on.