Monday, September 30, 2013

Surpassing that #200 Milestone

So I've published over 200 posts on this blog now. Impressive? Not really. I've had since 2008 to do that. I managed 100 by 2010 and then kinda slowed down. So... what has happened since 2010? Well that was my first year of University and now I am nearing the end... the final semester is now nearly complete. I'm writing my bigger assignments and things are starting to heat up.

It's ending. It's ending.

But what about the past? I learned so much... This is weird because I'm trying to engage in some nostalgia, look forward to future, and also I woke up with an annoying cold so I'm all "ooh, ahhh, uuugh" all at once.

Looking back I don't think I accomplished much. Was I meant to? As a rule I should not compare myself to others as that creates a selective bias that only really reflects my self esteem not reality (if I think lowly of myself I'll more actively think of things that support this and the opposite if I think I'm superior). Other people are not the measure of a person.

Back in 2010 and I was just studying Film with a minor in Photography and a minor in Journalism I believe. I enrolled in that minor without actually having done any journalism units but was going to do intro to journalism anyway so figured why the heck not? Well the heck not was because I hate journalism and I am terrible at it. I ended up failing the last assignment so hard I was told to resubmit it. (To be fair I had completely got the assignment criteria mixed around in my head with an assignment for a different class so it was one part me being a bad journalist one part complete misunderstanding of what I was meant to be doing.) I ended up quitting it and leaving a note to the tutor that said "so long and thanks for all the fish" on the back of my resubmitted final assignment (her response was "?"). I then went on to enrol in a minor in Creative Writing instead. I liked that a lot more but then decided I didn't want a minor in it. I wanted a major in it. As I had to drop the minor to pick up the major of the same-ish name (English and Creative Writing with a minor in Creative Writing is, not surprisingly, not allowed) I decided to change that minor to Scriptwriting. I'm not studying a Ba Film, Ba English and Creative Writing, minor in Photography, minor in Scriptwriting. I plan on having a very fancy piece of paper by the end of it all.

Oh, also my 100th post was when I voted for the first time. My 200th was a few posts ago and happened a few days before the election. So yeah... 100 posts chronicling what I did and thought between one election and another. Since that 2010 election I have become a more political person, formed stronger opinions on matters, and have learned more about different ideologies and perspectives. This has led to greater acceptance and understanding... or alternatively weeping at the thought that some people out there honestly are just that illogical and bizarre. Politics! Where everyone can agree on one thing: the other person is an idiot and if they're in power they'll destroy (insert thing of interest here)!

In late 2010 I got a tumblr. It gradually consumed more and more of my time until it became a problem. I don't recommend it to people. Get. Run. Flee! You don't need that in your life... unless you're a big fan of shipping characters, homoeroticism, social justice, feminism, occasionally over zealous activists who are a bit self-righteous but avoidable, gifs, cat gifs, puppy gifs, arguments about the pronounciation of gif, beating memes into the ground until they're no longer funny, and the main tumblr fandoms of Supernatural, Harry Potter, Sherlock, Doctor Who, and Merlin.

Though if you like ALL of those things and don't mind that it'll STEAL YOUR SOUL then BAM! GET ONE NOW! I personally found that somehow, without trying, you'll make friends on there. I did. My best gosh darn friend ever comes from Tumblr. What she doesn't know isn't because it's a secret but because it hasn't come up in conversation yet. So that was a bonus out of the productivity-sapping website...

They've been a great help these past couple of years as I went through the ups and downs. The horrors of assignments, the late nights in editing labs, the times I spent 30+ hours awake and nearly died driving home... and I mean literally nearly died (multiple times) due to exhaustion. Yeah. How many people can say that their degrees nearly killed them? The more I study art the more I realise just how completely and utterly wrong the stereotype that arts majors are lazy are. We're so hard working... and yet no one wants to pay us. We're so under valued.

So that's what the past 3 years has helped give me. Perspective. Perspective, a tumblr addiction that I had to break through cold turkey, a better political mindset, and a bunch of HECS debt that will slowly be payed off in the future...

But oh the fun I had earning that debt and oh the fun I'll have paying it back in a career that I love.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

The Long Journey of Film Making

So I'm sitting in the bedroom of my editor for my latest film typing away as he fiddles with the credits. It's been quite some time coming. It was a lengthy process... See in 2009 Darkstone Entertainment released a teaser trailer for their upcoming film Plan 9: a remake of the classic Z-grade cult film Plan 9 From Outer Space. Well I loved the film, as do a lot of people, thanks to its super-low budget special effects and terrible acting/plot/everything. It is very aptly called "the worst film ever made." I got interested in it because of the involvement of Caitlin Hill, a popular youtuber back in the day who decided to drop out of the production but oh well.

Fast forward a bit: It's 2010 and I'm in my first year of film school. I've just finished my first assignment film. An OK piece of work for a first year film student. Nicely shot but unfortunately opened with a shot of an alarm clock with the main character getting out of bed (to be fair it had a nice pull focus and isn't followed by a montage of them getting ready so I only am cursed with half of a film student cliché). I show to the director of Plan 9 and he tells me it looks good then tells me that he's going to be holding a competition sometime soon would I be interested in taking part of it? Heck yeah I would!

2011: first semester of Uni and I have a film to make for this competition. It's a 2-3 minute re-imagining of the original Plan 9 From Outer Space and I decided, foolishly, to do the majority of it by myself. Armed with a cast that outnumbers the crew and only my mother helping me with the costume I decided that I would make a short film that would require more effort on my part than my major film assignment for that semester... in less time. I constructed the sets (deliberately poorly made cardboard to mimic the super low budget cheesiness of 50s B-grade), composed the music, filmed, directed, produced, and edited it. It wouldn't be a David Cox film if I didn't do at least 4 different things.

Spoilers: I won that competition near the end of 2011. What was the prize? I get to make a new film! This film is a prequel (or "sister film") to the feature film and gets to be on the special features of the DVD release. Pretty sweet. Everyone gets to see my work. Well now it's 2012 and I've written the script. Time to make it. After a bit of getting distracted with the final major project of my film degree I start production at the start of 2013 and we shoot it in January. Only now, September, have we finished it. It was stressful as all hell.

The schedule was ridiculously tight. The two lead actors as well as the crew were both intensely busy so we had two shoot days to get everything with them done and then that was it. We managed this, thank goodness. Then we had to edit it. Unfortunately there was a specific thing that needed to be made (outside of the actors) to be filmed and it took forever. There was an issue at every step of the process which I won't go into but it could've been done a lot better. Delays delays delays.

I'm no longer sitting in that room with my editor. We exported it and I sent it off to Darkstone. Good times.

Months later we had to do ADR because issues forced me to rewrite a piece of dialogue we'd already shot. Can't reshoot anything so have to talk over it. This was incredibly difficult as I had to find a sound person who was available at the same time as the actress who was going off to Europe for 2 months and thus had a few random days of availability. Sound people are in high demand all the time and literally every time anything sound related needed to be done it'd be a different sound person. Sound recordist was different each day on set, we did two ADR sessions with two different sound people, and I went through a list of 20ish people before I got directed to someone in Canada who directed me to someone in Sydney to do the sound editing. This stressed me out so much that I became an insomniac for a week as this horrific deadline loomed. I managed it. Yay.

Insomnia isn't fun. You have so much more time to do things but everything becomes so difficult that you can't function properly and so all that extra time is a waste... a waste you're conscious for.

After a long and stressful search for a sound editor and many hour long drives to my editor's house to overlook things we made progress... At times I wanted to bang my head against a wall. Everything felt like it was taking longer than it should've. Our deadline was extended twice. But we managed... we did it...

It got done.

Then I got really drunk.

I finished a thing. I made a film and it's pretty alright I guess. I finished it and just in time for me to finish my last semester of my 4 year long stay at University. I can sigh in relief now... that this horribly lengthy production is over...

...and pick back up where I left off on Birdman nearly a year ago... Birdman that I wrote back in... 2011. Oh for...

Why does everything take forever to make? THEY'RE ONLY SHORT FILMS!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

The Post-Voting Sorrow Party

As optimistic as my friends and I would like to be it was clear that Tony Abbott was going to win from the start. Polls exist for a reason and that reason is to allow you pre-emptively plan how much despair you'll be in. As someone who likes, you know... human rights and the internet... the news of Abbott's inevitable win was a horrifying one so with 4 different plans to get drunk in various places I picked the closest one for most convenient stumbling home potential.

I was getting ready to leave when Kevin Rudd came up on the TV to give his defeat speech. Oh no! Everyone will be drinking in sorrow without me because of this! I headed forth with booze in bag and arrived to a bunch of 19 year olds sitting around with bottles in their hands and watching the horrifying event unfold.

We were watching it stream via the internet and put onto a TV. This led to it being pixellated and occasionally pausing the image while the audio continued underneath it. Somehow it managed to pause on Abbott's horrific reptilian smile as he told us "the government of Australia has changed" over and over to the sound of the cheers from the Liberal crowd. It was like he was mocking the progressive Youth of Australia and rubbing it in. "That got a good cheer so I'll say it again. The government of Australia has changed." He then went on to say it in a variety of different ways while the ABC would occasionally cut to the grim visage of John Howard. His might eyebrows made him look somewhat concerned and the poor lighting that didn't illuminate his face made him look like a dark figure staring up and out of the crowd at a hideous malformed creature (which wasn't too far off).

"Well Abbott's PM now so we need to get used to this shitty internet." We all laughed then drank to wash away the pain of how real that statement is.
"Tony what?"

"Oh... sweet fuck no..."

We decided that we'd turn it into a drinking game and drink whenever he said "Australia" (we didn't have enough alcohol for the amount of times he said "government" + drinking games, preferably, should not lead to death). I told them my story about how I had confronted the Liberal supporters with the question "why as a gay man should I vote for the Liberals?" (a question they poorly attempted to answer and left me unsatisfied as "because of his other policies" was like saying "I actually have nothing to respond to this but I have to say something.") Then someone replied with an even better story about how one of the Liberal supporters handing out pamphlets to encourage him to vote Liberal had hooked up with him at a party. I don't remember who sucked whose dick but that's just a minor detail in the irony of "loves gay sex but supports Liberals."

The rest of the night involved enjoying the odd names of various politicians all over the country like "Jane Austen" (no really) and making fun of Abbott. If we are to suffer him for the next 3 (and hopefully only 3) years then we might as well find ways to lighten the mood. Human rights progress might have been put on hold for the next 3 years and the internet is going to be terrible but it's OK... slow internet is still enough to read my new blog: The Abbott Chronicles.

I will be writing satirical short stories about the misadventures of Tony Abbott: Australian Overlord, Lizard King, and Bungie Smuggler Enthusiast and trying to ease the pain.

Which I really right now because I'm so hungover from last night... I really did try to drink away the sorrow of a Liberal government being elected but alas... The news of Tony Abbott's election last night still greatly outweighs the hangover from today.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Voting in an Animal Onesie

I did it. I voted while in an animal onesie. A raccoon to be exact. I figured my attempts to blend in with the rest of these things called "adults" are going to be met with odd looks anyway so might as well have fun with them.

Photographic evidence of my sheer commitment to the democratic way:

My mother saw this and was dismayed, as she usually is when I do things, and told me not to do anything silly/don't get arrested because people know she's my mother. Geez mum, arrested? Ye of little faith... I'm sneakier than that when breaking the law...

First up: the people handing out last minute sheets of information to tell you all the wonderful things about their parties while excluding all the really terrible things like "we're actually a bit racist". The only piece of paper I took was from "Rise Up Australia" just so I can go "ugh" and scrunch it up right in front of them. They need to know that I don't care. I was approached by two Liberal supporters and I asked them both "so as a gay man why should I vote for Liberal considering how homophobic Tony Abbott is?" (I'm not gay but hey, it doesn't matter if you lie to Liberals. If they get upset about it just stare at them menacingly for 30 seconds and then go "I've given you the response you deserve" before staring for a bit longer and then walking away.) Their responses were simply "because he has other policies" and "Kevin Rudd is lying to you." I should've said "as an immigrant gay man who is also a high school teacher" and watch them fall apart. The Greens said "oh you clearly care about animal rights so you should vote for us" and I gave them an odd look and said "what gives you that idea?"

I hadn't gotten to the back of the line yet when a pimpled boy approached me and asked if he could shake my hand (clearly because I was so awesome in my onesie). I allowed it and started saying "no autographs please, no autographs."

Once in line I tried talking to the elderly lady in front of me to tell her how great Liberal was "because they cater to my kind" just to creep her out but it didn't seem to work. People liked my onesie. A Greens supporter said "nice costume" and I said "what costume? This is who I am." "Oh sorry, I used the wrong word" she replied.

While collecting my ballot papers I struck up a conversation with the girl who was checking off that I was present to vote. I told her her the entertaining story of how I had confronted the Liberals with the harsh reality that their policies outright offended me as an advocate for marriage equality... Only when I walked away did I realise I'd put in the "as a gay man" bit but had forgot to clarify that I wasn't... woops. And once I had finished voting she had disappeared. Apparently I had looked familiar to her? I forgot her name (I'm terrible with names) so I can't find her on Facebook... I tried to give her my Youtube url but whenever I say it out loud people confuse it for "one day at a time" so I'm pretty sure she won't remember it. Curses.

Then came actually voting. Spoilers: I'm definitively opposed to the Right. Unfortunately there are so many Right Wing parties when it comes to voting below the line... and I did vote below the line. The first few options are pretty simple because there's limited Left-Wing options and not all of those are actually that good. I had to fill in 62 little boxes, which isn't as big as it gets I know, but the problem is eventually it gets to a point where trying to figure out who is less appealing than another party gets increasingly difficult... and I wanted to do it properly so I would give them thought as to whom I ranked "slightly less despicable" to the other. Naturally One Nation gets put last and things like "Stop The Greens Party" can go shove it (which is the most ridiculous party I've ever encountered in my life as stopping the Greens is basically just voting for something other than Greens and another party as a middle step between voting and not electing the Greens is a waste of time and effort). I reached the end... finally...

...and wrote "60" down in box #62... wait... what?


I awkwardly asked for a new piece of paper and quickly filled it out with less accuracy than before when it comes to the lesser appealing parties but still ranked my proper preferences properly. At this point I was realising that a onesie with a jacket of it is a bad idea because gosh it was hot. BAM. VOTED. When I got home my mother told me she thought I had gotten arrested because I was taking so long... thanks mum. Your confidence in me is amazing.

Now I can sit back and hope... hope that the progressive youth of Australia are numerous and passionate enough to prevent Tony Abbott from ever getting elected. Now I can finally go on Facebook without seeing all those HORRIBLE ADS FOR LIBERAL. Just SHUT. UP.

Also I'm going to get super drunk tonight. Super drunk. Either to pre-emptively celebrate or pre-emptively weep for a terrible loss for politics for the next 3 years...

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Seeing A Mirror In Another's Blog

Isn't weird to see yourself in other people's lives? I don't mean in a romantic sense where you co-habit their life alongside them I mean looking at another person and going "I can relate to you... I understand what you're going through and I'm doing it too."

See the thing about people is they're so varied and different. Their experiences are built up of different social situations, cultures, environments, what age they were, where they grew up, what class, who they know and see and meet and talk to and and and... so on. Naturally when having conversations with people you find yourself disagreeing on basic things. That's fine as opinions are so varied too.

That's why it's weird when you find someone who shouldn't share things with you but does. Like looking into a murky mirror, bit and pieces of you are reflected back in the words you read that were written by a different mind. People that should be dissimilar but somehow they're channeling the same things... not like mental health issues because a surprising amount of people have those (unfortunately) and it's not that shocking that someone out there can relate to you (even if it doesn't seem like it there are people who know) but simple things instead... things that aren't obvious when you think about yourself. The words on the screen read out a passage that seems to unfold itself into a moment from your life through the eyes of someone else.

It creates this sense of a shared human experience. That there are ideas, thoughts, and problems that can unify two separate people. But these are just snippets of life played out and recorded in blog form. They don't make up a person...

The mirror is only a few chance reflections and then its back to being an image unlike yourself. It seems absurd now to reach out to that person and get to know them better. They're not really like you all that much after all... But it's still interesting to have caught a glimpse at someone out there who had thought your thoughts and faced your fears.

Good Enough for Liberals

Election time is looming over us again. In the Right we have Tony Abbott, resident exercise enthusiast and expert swimmer (he thinks if he swims enough eventually he'll be able to patrol the coast himself to better help stop the boats) and in the middle we have Rudd who looks somewhat like a balding koala and in the Left corner we have Christine Milne who comes from Tasmania and thus is from down under Down Under so to speak. If I had to describe them all I would say they are all candidates.

That's what's happening in the big league boxing ring of the political sphere but the lesser famous politicians are important too. They help make up government, not just the fearful leader of their parties. Yep it's important to have good local politicians for the different electorates and so that's why the Liberals have put forward to replace Dr Mal Washer with this guy:
Ian Goodenough. Yep.

Good... enough.

"Vote for Liberals! We're pretty acceptable I guess."

It's good to see that at least someone out there has a level head when it comes to politics. But really though, out of all the unfortunate names for someone who is trying to sell your trust in them to you... Goodenough.

"I promise to have some decent policies. I will stand for at least some change but not in any radical sense that allows to actually solve problems. I will make sure you are kept at least moderately content with my performance as a politician or at the very least displease you less than average. Of this you can kinda assume! Be rest assured I won't be terrible."

Slow clap. Slow clap for the Liberals.