Sunday, April 15, 2012

Only 4 hours left to help fund my documentary on 2-time Grammy winner Jim Lauderdale

As you probably know if you've been in any kind of contact with me in the last two months - either in the real world or social media - I'm making a documentary about Jim Lauderdale.

For the uninitiated, Jim is the best dressed man in Americana music. Writer of hit country tunes for George Strait, Patty Loveless, Blake Shelton, the Dixie Chicks and more, winner of 2 Grammys for his stellar, bluegrass albums, host of 2 radio shows and the annual Americana Music Awards and tai chi master.

I've been working in the country music industry here in Australia for the past five years and have been lucky enough to become friends with Jim. He may be the nicest man in show business. He's also had an unconventional, twisted kind of career and has worked with everyone from Elvis Costello to Willie Nelson.

We were touring the Beatles museum in Liverpool a couple of years ago when I got the notion that his life and career would make a great documentary film. I pitched it to Jim, he signed off and last June I took off to Music City, USA - otherwise known as Nashville. I got to interview folks like Buddy Miller, Gary Allan, Jerry Douglas and Randy Kohrs. Saw Jim get inducted into the Blue Ridge Hall of Fame. Fun times.

That footage ended up as a 45-minute documentary for Australia's Country Music Channel, which premiered last month and aired six or seven times across March. It was well received too. At the CMC Rocks the Hunter festival this year, one of the artists found out I was the director and hugged me.

But you can only tell so much story in 45-minutes, especially when you're paying for it all out of your own back pocket. So in the intervening period since wrapping filming last year, I got together with a great producer named Chris Kamen and we've been putting together a plan to return to the US and cut a swathe through Tennessee, California and North Carolina - capturing Jim on the road and in the studio and picking up interviews some of the collaborators I couldn't schedule the first time around.

To finance the second round of filming, we took to the crowdfunding site IndieGoGo. Over the past forty-five days, we've raised an astounding $10,783! We couldn't have done this without the support of people like the Americana Music Association, British film and television critic Boyd Hilton, Whispering Bob Harris, BBC Radio FiveLive's Mark Kermode and Simon Mayo and the incomparable Stephen Fry - who continues to be exceedingly nice to me for no good reason.

It's been damn inspiring to see the love for Jim and his music that people out there have. The comments accompanying donations about personal connections with songs and experiences with Jim over the years have made me doubly sure I'm right to tell his story. It also puts a pretty big weight of responsibility on my shoulders to not fuck this up.

The fundraising campaign is almost at an end - but don't fret! You can still give me money help fund the documentary! Just go here:

Every dollar helps. Lots of dollars help more! But seriously, I'm so grateful for everyone who's spared us some of their hard-earned cash. Y'all rock. And when I jump on a plane on Sunday to head to the US, you're the wind at my back.

See you on the LauderTrail!

- Jeremy Dylan

Friday, January 20, 2012

A response to the response to the response

Hollywood screenwriter and part-time Eddie Stubbs impersonator John August has blogged in response to my response to his podcast in response to trends in... and I've gone cross-eyed.

Mr. August's blog post can be found here:

His argument is very persuasive and the benefits of this kind of cloud-style renting scheme are clear. I suspect, as with many technological innovations, the tipping point will be generational. Just the generation of adolescents to follow my own have entered a world in which digital music downloading is a norm and not something they have to adjust to, future generations of kids will ease into a cloud service without reservations.

The biggest hurdle for me is the lack of a transfer of control. The media is controlled by a company, to whom you pay for the privilege of watching it. If your relationship with the company is compromised in any number of ways, you lose that access.

I've been buying DVDs for eleven years now, and my attitudes regarding media ownership have been shaped by my experiences through that period. Were I born today, my adolescent experiences would probably leave me with a very different perspective.

In matters such as these, it's always good to refer to Douglas Adams' rules governing our reactions to technology:

1) everything that’s already in the world when you’re born is just normal;

2) anything that gets invented between then and before you turn thirty is incredibly exciting and creative and with any luck you can make a career out of it;

3) anything that gets invented after you’re thirty is against the natural order of things and the beginning of the end of civilisation as we know it until it’s been around for about ten years when it gradually turns out to be alright really.

Apply this list to movies, rock music, word processors and mobile phones to work out how old you are.

I'm a little over eight years shy of thirty, but I've often been told I have the mind of an elderly British person.

The last paragraph of Mr. August's blog strikes an optimistic tone:

But that’s me. I rarely re-watch movies. I rarely re-read books. For folks wired the other way — which I suspect is a sizable majority — ownership of atoms makes a lot of sense. I think we’ll continue to have ways to buy physical books and movies. It’s not either/or.

Aside from my surprise that August rarely re-watches movies - I thought addiction of that kind was epidemic among writers and directors - this presents a hopeful picture of the path forward.

I see the points in the plus column on this - I know plenty of, mostly my age, people who'd love to the cloud services reach prominence. I just hope they continue to cater to us old timers who like stacking things on our shelves.

Now that's enough procrastination. Time to get back to writing my Sarah Palin origin story screenplay...

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Collapse of the Ownership Society

CDs should be more expensive!

But more on that later...

John August and Craig Mazin are Hollywood screenwriters. August, among other things, wrote the film and upcoming stage musical versions of Big Fish, and Mazin, among other things, wrote the seventh highest grossing film of 2011. Together, the two host an increasingly excellent podcast named Scriptnotes, which concerns itself with screenwriting and the business of being a screenwriter.

In a recent episode, August and Mazin presaged a dystopian future in which entertainment exists only in an ethereal online space and nobody owns anything. Apparently, we are marching inexorably towards this brave new world and any attempts to halt the approach would be futile.

In summary, in the future, people will rent everything. You won't buy DVDs, or even digital files. When you want a movie, you get out your phone, computer and/or television and find the film online through an app or website (ala Hulu or HBO Go) and pay a small charge, allowing you to stream the film across any devices you happen to own that can do so. You might start watching Back to the Future III on your laptop, then need to go buy some milk. So you pick up your iPhone and watch the second act on that while you walk back and forth to the grocery store, then finish it off on your iPad-thin 60-inch television when you return home.

That probably sounds ideal to a lot of people. Personally, I haven't rented a movie since Tony Blair left Parliament. I don't have the time to watch all the DVDs that I own, let alone wander down to Blockbuster and pay money for the right to watch one movie in extremely limited time period. I don't want my viewing habits dictated by the distribution method - except for that wonderful period at the start of a film's release life when you get to sit in a darkened room with a bunch of strangers and watch a pristine print on a massive screen.

I like owning things. I own The Philadelphia Story. I own all seven seasons of The West Wing. I own The Last Waltz. I paid a one-off charge at a store at some point, and in exchange, I own these things. I can watch them as often as I feel like, whenever I feel like, in perpetuity, and it costs me nothing further. I don't need to be connected to the internet to do so. And no one can take away my ability to watch it. If I come across someone who's never seen The West Wing (seriously?), then I can lend them my copy. While they have it, I can't watch it, which is only fair. If they get bitten by the Sorkin bug, they can trot off and buy their own copies, and enjoy the associated privileges I listed above.

To shift gears slightly, I'd like to put forth an idea: CDs should cost more.

I could make a similar argument with DVDs, but it's much more true for CDs, so I'll make it for them instead.

This transition away from ownership and towards a renting/streaming/cloud-based method of experiencing entertainment is a consequence of the devaluation of entertainment products that has been in full force since the beginning of online music piracy over a decade. Young people don't like paying for shit at the best of times, but these last couple of batches of young people don't feel like music is something that should be paid for. I should know, I'm 21.

At a rough estimate, half the people in my age bracket have illegally downloaded at least half of their music collections. I know one aspiring musician who has never paid for a single song, let alone an album. I have a feeling that were they to reach stardom and find themselves unable to maintain a living wage due to the impact of piracy on their record sales, they would fail to appreciate the irony. It simply never occurs to them to buy music instead of stealing it.

One of the results of this is that I pay less for CDs now than I did when I was fourteen. If CD prices had risen commensurate with inflation, they'd be sitting around $40, rather than $15-20. Is that an excessively high price?

If I go to Subway, I pay $6 for a sandwich that I'll finish in five minutes. A few hours later, I'll be hungry and need to eat something else. If I spent $15 - or even $40 - on a copy of, say, Who's Next by The Who, I will experience countless hours of unimaginable joy, comfort, pleasure and emotional release over the next sixty-something years. I'll never need to pay for the CD again (it's already been remastered, so no jokes about that) and I can put the songs on my iPod, phone and computer at no extra charge. That one payment I made to JB Hi-Fi when I was seventeen will still be paying off when I'm in my eighties. I'd call that a bargain. Yet, I still hear people bitching about CDs being overpriced.

Renting makes sense for things you are only going to use once at a very specific time, especially if it's staring obsolesce in the face. I'm not going to buy a large truck because I know I'll need to move house at some point in the future, I'll rent it on the day I actually need to get a wardrobe across town. That money doesn't result in any permanent ownership for me, but there's no reason for me to own a truck. I'm unlikely be sitting at home, too broke to go out for the night, and think 'Thank god I own that truck - there's a night's entertainment', the way I sometime do with my copy of L. A. Confidential.

Renting is dead money. It's like food, except food is a one-off experience by necessity. I'm not one of those people who fetishizes jewel cases, but I want to own things. And I can't afford to rent.

Relevant Links:
- While I was typing this out, John August wrote a great blog post on digital distribution platforms.
- If you live in Australia, JB Hi-Fi stocks an excellent selection of CDs and DVDs at wonderful prices.
- The best movie I saw last year was Midnight In Paris, which you can buy now on DVD or Blu-Ray. Allen's acceptance speech for Best Screenplay at the Golden Globes was the best of the night, although it featured fewer jokes about Michael Fassbender's penis than George Clooney's.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

That Was The Year That Was

According to the Chinese, it was year of the rabbit. But for me, it was year of the penguin. And who are you going to trust - me or a bunch of Communists?

For Seven Shells Media, 2011 was a year of British radio interviews, Tasmanian film premieres and North American documentary making. Our influence has reached far and wide, with our casting ideas stolen by Tom Cruise and business model by Louis CK. 2012 looks to be even more exciting, but as we put a fork in 2011, let's look back at what we got done this year:

- Benjamin Sniddlegrass and the Cauldron of Penguins, my first feature film, premieres at the Dendy Cinema Newtown in Sydney, Australia to a Sold Out crowd. Simultaneously, the film went on sale at as a digital download.


- The DVD of BSATCOP was released to a waiting public, featuring crew commentary, a 45-minute making of documentary, trailers and a music video.

- I traveled down to Melbourne to shoot Jasmine Rae: Inside Listen Here, a short documentary on the making of her new, ARIA-nominated album. The doco aired on the Country Music Channel in May.

- First TV commercials of the year. A campaign for the concert tour of US country star Joe Nichols, which you can watch here.


- We headed down to Appin NSW to shoot the latest music video for ABC recording artist Peter McWhirter, featuring rolling green hills and a vampiress. Check it out here - the Devil's Daughter.


- With the Joe Nichols tour rolling through the country, I joined the DSLR revolution and shot behind the scenes webisodes for Jasmine Rae and Peter McWhirter, who were touring with Joe as special guests.


- It was off to Nashville AKA Music City USA for my most ambitious project yet. Collaborating with the tremendous Nashville native cinematographer Brett Johnson, I conducted interviews with Jim Lauderdale, Gary Allan, Buddy Miller, Jerry Douglas, Tony Brown, Randy Kohrs, Odie Blackmon, Jed Hilly, Dennis Crouch and Mike Compton. This was all in aid of a documentary project, of which some exciting news is coming very soon.


- Rounding up a fantastic cast and crew, including BSATCOP players Catherine Davies and Alec Doomadgee, we took over the Acer Arena for two days of principal photography on Access All Areas, a tale of teenage puppy love and celebrity underwear, which is currently in the final stages of post-production.


- Collaborating with fellow AFTRS alumnus Jih Smith, I co-wrote and edited a short film for the 48 Hour Film Project, which required the film to go from inception to delivery in two days. It's a story about a woman trapped in a loveless marriage, who must travel back in time to stop her husband discovering her infidelity. Watch REWIND here.

- I directed a prefilmed flashback sequence that formed part of the climax of MACMS' excellent production of BATBOY: The Musical.


- After a bitter feud between director Jeremy Dylan and his producer, Jeremy Dylan, BSATCOP was reshaped into a 41-minute short and released for free viewing on the internets. Tidier, tighter and more focused, it retains its off-beat charm and Stephen Fry's narration. Watch it here.


- I had a great time producing a series of video podcasts for singer-songwriter Morgan Evans a couple of years ago. He's just recorded his debut EP for Warner Music and I put together this little EPK for him.


- With the imminent arrival of US country star Dierks Bentley to our shores in 2012 to tour with our own Lee Kernaghan, it was time for another TVC campaign.


- I was pulling behind-the-scenes duties on the set of the Conti Brothers' latest music video for Morgan Evans, shooting footage and stills for a behind the scenes video that you'll see in the new year. Here's a teaser.

So that was 2011. 2012 looks to be even more interesting, with a possible feature-length documentary on the table, various writing projects, a potential short film with international implications and the release to the world at large of some of this year's work.

Special thanks are due to those who I've not yet mentioned who made this year special - Allen Palmer, David Braithwaite, Storme Warren, Michelle Aquilato, Ken Hanke and others too numerous to mention. Brooks & Dunn once said 'It takes a lot of people to make a duo' and that statement is as true for motion pictures with some slight substitutions.

So Happy Hanukkah and we'll see you in the year of the dragon!

Jeremy Dylan
December 2011
Sydney, Australia

PS. Stay attuned to our ongoing projects by signing up to the Seven Shells Media mailing list here:

Friday, December 2, 2011

The Amazing Journey Is Over

I remember him on a camera crane in kaftan and sandals shouting to us through a megaphone: ‘Even greater heights of abandon!” - Paul McGann, on working with Ken Russell.

So Uncle Ken has left us. Never again will he paint his magic across the silver screen. Never again will he cause conservative film financiers to break out in a cold sweat. Never will we see a feature-length version of 'A Kitten for Hitler'. Why does this feel like one of those times he walked out halfway through a Q&A session with Mark Kermode? Only this time we know he's not coming back.

He changed forever the meaning of the phrase 'a British picture'. He showed it could be as fanciful as Fellini, as romantic as any Hollywood classic and as spiritually uplifting as The Who. He was once, ludicrously, accused of 'suffering from excessive vision'. Poppycock. He had the best and the brightest, the clearest vision of all. His genius was his ability to infuse a powerful, deeply human virility and beauty into areas too often portrayed in ways dry and portentous. In a Ken Russell movie, Pete Townshend and Gustav Mahler rock equally and Ringo Starr is the Pope.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Danny Clinch Jr.

A side effect of becoming serious about directing, which happened to me a couple of years ago, was becoming interested in still photography.

I soon as I started thinking of directing in terms of visually composing the film, instead of just 'stopping some blowhard from fucking up my beautiful screenplay', I began to appreciate photography on a serious level.

I picked up my first DSLR (a second hand 30D) in the middle of last year and started snapping in my natural habitat - the live music concert.

Some of my snaps:

Most of my stills can be found at

As always, if you want more or want me to shoot some for you, shoot me an email at

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Radio Radio

I don't listen to the radio, as a rule. I'm fasting to protest Triple M's cancellation of Get This.

I grew up on radio drama and comedy shows like The Goon Show, Absolute Power, In The Red, The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, etc. I'm a Radio 4 tragic.

I don't really get music radio though. It's the worst of both worlds. If I like the songs they're playing, I get irritated by the DJs talking over the intros and playing ads when I could be hearing more Adele (I'm assuming she's the kind of artist who gets played on radio). If I like the DJs, I get irritated when they interrupt their banter to play Nickelback. I realise this is a minority opinion.

But this bold new world of podcasting has been a godsend for the radio agnostic like myself. I get listen to Simon Mayo's Drivetime show with all the songs cut out. I can listen to Wittertainment without the bloody cricket score updates every six minutes. Not to mention I can listen to US and UK shows that air at three in the morning Australian time.

Anyway, the point of this article was really just to lead up to this interview I did on the wonderful Communication Breakdown programme with James and Emmeline on Monday night. Give it a listen:

My main purpose on the show was to plug the new Producer's Cut release of Benjamin Sniddlegrass and the Cauldron of Penguins, which can be viewed here:

Sunday, July 24, 2011


'My daughter Annie has a good rule. No movie over three hours should be eligible for Best Editing.' - Ken Levine

Concision is crucial for a filmmaker. If you feel any sort of empathy toward your audience, you're trying to keep the running time down around ninety minutes. For most movies, anything longer is just rude. Romantic-comedies do not need to be as long as 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Actually, 2001: A Space Odyssey probably doesn't need to be that long either. But at least it manages to go from the the dawn of mankind to the birth of a new species. If you take the same amount of time to tell the story of two pretty people deciding whether or not to make out, you're doing it wrong.

I hear a lot of talk about how short audiences attention spans are these days. Really? Here is the list of the ten highest grossing films of all time.

1 Avatar $2,782,275,172 2009
[# 1]
2 Titanic $1,843,201,268 1997
[# 2]
3 The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King $1,119,110,941 2003
[# 3]
4 Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest $1,066,179,725 2006
[# 4]
5 Toy Story 3 $1,063,171,911 2010
[# 5]
6 Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides $1,032,610,000 2011
[# 6]
7 Alice in Wonderland $1,024,299,904 2010
[# 7]
8 The Dark Knight $1,001,921,825 2008
[# 8]
9 Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone $974,733,550 2001
[# 9]
10 Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End $963,420,425 2007
[# 10]

They're all from within the past ten years. Number six is still in theatres as I type. Only two of them are under two hours. The average length is 160 minutes - exactly two hours and forty minutes. Audiences were more than willing to sit through them, multiple times.

Compare this to, say, The Marx Brothers' Duck Soup, which is all of 68 minutes long. If you tried to get a 68 minute film made today, you'd be laughed out of the studio. Barry Sonnenfeld padded the end credits of Men In Black to push it past the 90 minute mark. I used a similar trick to flesh out Benjamin Sniddlegrass and the Cauldron of Penguins.

This seems somewhat emblematic of a trend in media towards over-indulgence, wastefulness and just generally taking things too far. I mean, look at the length of pop songs.

Heartbreak Hotel, a quintessential 50s pop single, is 2 minutes and 8 seconds.
Born This Way, one of this year's bigger pop hits, is 4 minutes and 20 seconds.

It's also worth mentioning the irrelevant guff that makes up most of the airtime on 24-hour cable news channels.

I recently guested on the Elitist Bastards Go To The Movies podcast and was part of a discussion about Super 8. The thing I most admired in the whole film was the opening two shots, which in the space of about 25 seconds with no dialogue, establish that the lead character's mother has died in an accident at her factory job. Incredibly efficient storytelling.

I'm currently in the middle of principal photography on a short film named Access All Areas. It's going to come in around seven minutes long. It follows the Hero's Journey story structure pretty faithfully. I don't think I could tell this story any more concisely, but I could probably make a less compelling half-hour version with less effort. The restrictions of film festival guidelines have forced me to sharpen my knives and cut anything extraneous. Making short films helps keep you concise. I don't intend to direct another feature until I have some more shorts under my belt.

And if I ever make a film that runs over three hours, feel free to slap me.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

My adventures with Stephen Fry

The (probably) final installment of the Harry Potter series is almost upon us, unless Warner Brothers has worked out a way to subdivide HP7 Pt 2 into twenty new films that each take place in real time and will be slowly released over the next sixty-eight years. It seems an appropriate time to write about a different nerdy kid with an awkward home life, who discovers that the reason he doesn't fit in is because he's really a magical boy, with a magical father he didn't know about.

Last year, I made a feature film titled Benjamin Sniddlegrass and the Cauldron of Penguins. When I say I made it, I merely wrote, directed, edited, co-produced and financed the picture. A team of about thirty-odd skilled and conscientious individuals of varying levels of experience made it with me. If you didn't like it, it's all their fault.

BSATCOP (as it has become known) is the ultimate example of cross-platform entertainment. It could not have existed ten years ago. It's an Australian feature film inspired by a throw away gag from a podcast of a BBC Radio review of a film which is itself based on a book which is derivative of another film series based on a different series of books. Have you gone cross-eyed yet?

In a number of different ways, it represents the high point of my career thus far. I was involved in every aspect of production - from writing the screenplay to producing the soundtrack to taking most of the production stills. I even have an ill-advised cameo as a student. The thing I'm most proud of is that narrating the opening segment of BSATCOP is my boyhood idol, Stephen Fry.

I spent a significant part of my adolescence attempting to be Stephen Fry, or at least a cross between him, James Bond and Pete Townshend. Eventually I realised that I was never going to be a 6ft 4 gay Oxbridge intellectual, but retained my admiration for Stephen's many talents, and particularly his instantly identifiable voice.

Stephen Fry came to Australia to shoot a segment of his (still to be aired) documentary on language for the BBC in July 2010. He filled in his spare time by performing two sold-out one man shows at the Sydney Opera House. Without the aid of a script, he expounded on subjects both autobiographical and obscure. As he took his bows at the end of the evening, I arose my front row seat and handed him an A4 envelope containing a copy of the screenplay and a note. It read something along the lines of:

I am the kid who's making a movie out of the gag from the Kermode and Mayo show. Would you consider narrating it? I have recording equipment and can come to you.

I expected to hear nothing more of it, but two days later, I opened up my Inbox to discover this note:

If you can be at the Park Hyatt at 3.00 this afternoon I’ll do your recording for you with pleasure. I’ve got a 2.30 meeting which should be over by then - we can either do it in the bar of the Hyatt which is usually quiet and empty in the afternoon, or in my room, tho there seems to be daily drilling nearby from some work going on!


I gathered my audio gear and bounded off into the city, arriving with just enough time to sit in the bar and get really nervous. At 3.02pm, a tall man with a bent nose bounded up to me and shook my hand.

Terribly sorry I'm late. I like your blazer.

I'll let Stephen pick up the story.

He was a very shy, very sweet man. We managed to get the hotel to close a bar, and he brought along his recording equipment and I did my best.

Those are two adjectives that have never been applied to me before or since, but may well have characterised my behaviour at the time. My fondest memory of the whole afternoon was this exchange:

So how long is the film going to be? Is it a short film?

Oh no, full length. Probably about 75 minutes.

But how are you paying for this? You're a young person, surely you don't have any money.

[At this juncture, I resisted the urge to make a joke about credit card fraud]

Stephen's business partner Andrew Sampson enters the room.

Andrew, this is Jeremy Dylan. He's the King of Australian Country Music.

That about made my year.

This was the most enjoyable of what became a litany of my long-held fantasies indulged - have my words read out by Stephen Fry, start a rock'n'roll band, have a film premiere at the Dendy Newtown, get one of my films reviewed by Mark Kermode, etc.

Unless I wind up with Sir Ian McKellen and Sir Paul McCartney in my next film, it can only be downhill from here.

If you want a bit more elucidation on how this film came to be and how we managed to make a feature film for $10,000 in under a year, have a look at this video documentary:

If you think the film's worth checking out, buy a copy from

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Feature Length Music Video

No, I'm not talking about this. Nor am I one of those individuals complaining about 'MTV-style editing' destroying contemporary cinema.*

Recently, it has been reported that Harvey Scissorhands has been looking to buy a silent feature film called THE ARTIST. It's made by the French and is in Black and White. No, wait, don't go! It looks pretty damn cool from the trailer.

The Weinsteins are aiming for a full theatrical release in the US, following a big splash in Cannes. There's been much discussion amongst cinephiles as to whether there's a market for it. After all, does anyone still watch silent movies?

My response is that they do, they're just called something different. Thousands are made every year. They air on VH1, GAC, CMT, MTV, CMC, MAX, etc., they're released in compilation form on DVD and some rack up millions of views on YouTube and Vimeo. Yes, they're music videos.

After all, silent movies were never actually silent. Despite the lack of a sync soundtrack, they were always accompanied by music - a string band, piano player, jazz quartet or whatever. The only essential difference between a silent film and a music video is that the accompanying music has lyrics in the latter and not the former.

I've seen many people in the industry (mainly DOPs) assert that sound killed pictures. As an Aaron Sorkin fan, I disagree with this, but I get their point.

Since I've started making music videos, I've grown to appreciate the restrictions the form places on you. No dialogue need apply, keep your shots short and cut to the rhythm of the song. Little stories played out over three minutes and change. No room for anything extraneous. It's a wonderful discipline

So perhaps the secret to marketing THE ARTIST is for Bob and Harvey to bill it as a 'Feature Length Music Video'. Sounds like a fun night out to me, although I suspect Lady Gaga's people will get around to this before I do.

*This is crap. Ken Russell was using those kind of editing techniques in TOMMY, which predates MTV by six years.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Elitist Bastards Go To The Movies

In my spare time, I do the artwork for a film podcast entitled Elitist Bastards Go to the Movies.
It's hosted by Ken Hanke and Justin Souther, the film critics for Asheville, NC's Mountain Xpress newspaper.

I've been reading Hanke since I was thirteen years old. He is, hands down, my favourite film critic. (Sorry, Dr. Kermode). He's had a discernible influence on my writing style and he's worth reading for the prose alone, separate from his cinematic insight. He's always happy to engage with his readers on the Xpress site's comment sections and I've built up a great relationship with him online over the years. He liked BSATCOP.

Justin Souther is Robin to his Batman. Joining the paper a few short years ago, Justin is often dealt an underhanded blow by his boss, who palms off the latest talking animal monstrosity onto him. Mr. Souther was once threatened with having to review Marmaduke, but he threatened to quit rather than throw himself on this particular grenade. Justin's prose style is of a very similar strain to Ken's, to the extent that readers who can't read by-lines often address abusive comments to Ken by mistake.

Exactly one year ago, the two started up a podcast together, under the generosity of the paper (who provides file hosting) and the Carolina Cinema on Hendersonville Road (where they record the episodes). Production is handled by 'Miami' Steve Shanafelt, who has been dubbed the show's Coherer for his editing ability.

From the second episode onwards, I have been providing the artwork - at first variations on Ken's oft-spoken theory that 'nothing can't be improved by a monkey stampede', which resulted in art like this:

After I while, I ran out of simian-based ideas, so I switched over to a more cinematic theme, parodying posters of the films under discussion. These are some of my favourites:

If you're intrigued by the imagery, take a stroll on over to the Elitist Bastards fan page on Facebook:

The podcast is also available through iTunes once a week, but I recommend heading over to the Mountain X site and joining in the discussion.

Monday, May 9, 2011

A Statement of Intent (and Self-Justification)

Hello, I'm Jeremy. I live in Australia and, amongst other things, make movies.

So what am I doing starting a blog?

I've been known, amongst my acquaintances, to decry the practice of people making websites about themselves, especially blogs. Once upon a time, I often pontificate, these were called diaries, and people put locks on them to stop strangers reading them. Websites are for people with careers in public industries like politics and the media.

Well, I turned around the other day and realised I had a career in the media.

So why a blog?

Mainly because I enjoy writing, and it's a good excuse to do so, without the bother of creating interesting characters or situations to write about.

So, what I will be writing about here:
- My work, both shameless plugs and behind the scenes insights (I use that term as loosely as possible).
- The industries I work in (music and film).

What I will be avoiding like a Uwe Boll picture:
- Everything else.
- Particularly politics (unless it crosses over with my work).
- My non-professional life (includes dating and derivations therefrom).

So let me wind back slightly and justify that earlier statement from the up the page that I have a career in the media.

I finished high school on a Friday in 2007, and the next Monday I started editing my first television commercial campaign, for US country singer Gary Allan's 2008 Australian concert tour. I look back on it now and some aspects (the font choices in particular) are a bit embarrassing to me, but it was of a good enough standard to broadcast. I would call that the start of my career.

In the intervening years, I've cut numerous TVC campaigns for artists including Taylor SwiftTommy EmmanuelDe La Soul and Joe Nichols. At least one of those names should be familiar to you. This is probably my speciality, and I've got pretty good at them. Here's the latest one:

My vocational goal has never been to edit TV commercials. I always intended to move into Music Videos and I got my chance when Catherine Britt, impressed by a short film I'd made called Damaged Goods, hired me to cut a clip for her for a song called Not Your Cinderella. Thanks to Catherine's largesse I was now a music video director. Since then, I've shot clips for Buddy Goode, Mark Wells and Peter McWhirter (twice) and one for the soundtrack of my feature film Benjamin Sniddlegrass and the Cauldron of Penguins.

If I'm known at all, it's for that. BSATCOP, as it's become known among the faithful, is about ass-backwards as a film gets. It's based on a title (strike one) that was spun off from a throwaway gag in a movie review (strike two and three). I wrote, directed, produced and edited the thing in 2010 and released it in 2011. Stephen Fry is in it, so the apex of my career has been reached…

So, there's me bonafides. Stay tuned and hopefully we can have some fun here.