No Time

March 15th, 2014 in Film Making | No Comments »

Lately, I’ve not been completing my artistic goals much more than I have been finishing them. You could say that I’m struggling a little..

I was chatting with another artistic friend the other day that is currently having a similar experience. We both have kids and full time jobs which means there is almost no time left at the end of the day for artistic endeavours. Unless we pushed our duties onto our significant other.. Which isn’t a long term solution.
At all.
A terrible one actually.

So, one of my goals is to actually finish a project. But what am I basing my concept of a “finished project” on?

That question blew my mind.
Time to go deep..

I see people from all around the world complete short films, or even whole features with minimal crews. They take the lead and create something fantastic. Robert Rodriguez, Gareth Edwards, Neil Blomcamp. These guys are my heros. And it’s not just these super stars, there are many people in my life that I see as “successfully achieving their goals”. Whether they are friends, or people in the media, I hold these people up like gods, people to look up to and be more like. I have an itch in my life to be something more and these guys are seemingly scratching that itch for themselves, and that’s what I should be doing.

But the bad side of it is: These people have set the bar so high, that seemingly, anything that I try to produce just doesn’t come close to their achievements.

I know this isn’t logical and it does sound completely ridiculous. But I think this is how my subconscious has been demeaning my efforts. How my ego has been holding me back. I see other people leading successful lives, following their dreams and achieving their goals, whilst I’m seemingly achieving nothing of importance(Which is completely untrue).

I made it not about what part of the process that I loved doing, but tried to convince myself that my passion was the whole process. And for a dude with a wife, 2 kids and a full time job, telling myself that I have failed if I’m not up to superstars’ level of achievement, it’s a recipe for some good old self hate.

Crap.
I am my own executioner.

So, time to burn all my preconceptions of what success is for me and start over again. Time to condense all my shit down to one laser beam of a passion. Time to be honest about what I really love.

I don’t have the time or the energy to create a film by myself. I currently don’t even have the focus. I need to scale back my workload.
In my art what is it that I love to do?

When it comes to writing, I enjoy ideas and concepts. I like to jot down funny or dramatic little scenarios that pop into my consciousness.

That’s it. That’s all there is right now.
I’m going to just focus on that for a while and see what happens.

On creativity and Goals

March 4th, 2014 in Film Making | No Comments »

I’ve been thinking a lot about my own goals lately and why I’m struggling so much with the bigger ones. So after finding some inspiration, this is what I came up with.

For some people, meeting creative goals in life can be a strangely impossible task. The passion for the goal is there and burning strongly, but when it comes to putting the pieces together, it just never eventuates.

What makes us love and look forward to doing some things, whilst other tasks end up on the procrastination list? We generally chose to do what makes us happy. Things on our happy list that bring us joy and satisfaction can be sex, chocolate, movies, sport, sleep, TV and great conversation. At the top of other people’s lists could be satisfying their partner, cleaning the house, pulling weeds, writing, making films, sewing, gardening, cooking, studying, reading or learning a new instrument.
Everyone has different passions, but not everyone has their passions on their happiness list. For some reason, we have a habit of putting our passions onto our procrastination list. What? Why the fuck would we do that?

Because of past experience, we know that eating chocolate will bring us satisfaction. We know that a movie will make us smile and that sex is generally pretty good. It’s easy for us to fantasise about these things. To imagine it as something we could be doing right now. We close our eyes and the fantasy consumes us, and in most cases, it’s realistic for these fantasies to be brought to life. A short trip to the fridge or a passionate kiss and pinch on the ass. Or both.

But “wait there” I hear you say. “We DO fantasise about the passions that REALLY matter to us”. Yes, sort of. I fantasise about winning film making awards, or even just finishing a script. I fantasise about being an aid worker, finishing the house renovations and growing more vegetables in my garden than 2 families can eat, and I still don’t achieve these goals. Why? because I’m fantasising about the end product, not the journey along the way.

I saw a neat little video the other day, a kind of “life hack” if you will. It’s about tricking yourself to clean your dirty desk. The basics of it were to close your eyes and imagine the benefits of having that clean desk. The organisation, the calm relaxing atmosphere. Before you know it, the procrastination needed to maintain a filthy desk turns into a fantasy of a clean one and you find yourself not even thinking about dashing off for chocolate and a root, because the “clean desk” goal that is now on your happy list is suddenly achievable.

Now, when it comes to your bigger goals, you can fantasise about the awards as much as you want, but it’s not going to make the task of getting there any more inviting. It’s generally hard work to achieve the bigger goals. Organising, phone calls, setting dates, people letting you down, the final product not being just how you wanted it. It has the potential to be a total cluster fuck.
But what if these where the things that you were looking forward to? If THIS was the game that you really want to play? If we can change our desire to clean our desk, can we look forward to all the challenges that pop up in achieving our big goals? Because, as we all know, it’s all about the journey and if we’re not looking forward to the journey, it’s all just going to seem like a big pain in the ass.
It’s easy to get too hung up on the final product and forget to enjoy the ride.

All it takes is a bit of practice. Close your eyes again, think of these daunting tasks and change your perception of them. Make them fun, problems that are easily solved. Working with people’s eccentricities is fun!

Creating art is about CREATING art. Once the art is created, life isn’t done. It’s now time to create more art.

The Awesome Factor

September 20th, 2012 in Film Making | No Comments »

This was first published on my company blog at www.themagnificentitch.com.au/index.php/blog-2/

I first learnt about this concept in film making from Robert Mckee. He didn’t, and wouldn’t, call it the Awesome Factor though. He described it as(and i’m absolutely paraphrasing) “being the bit around every corner that is so interesting and different from other peoples lives, that it keeps the viewer intrigued and glued to the story”. The film he used as an example was Like Water for Chocolate. This film is definitely intriguing around every corner.

Basically, it’s the bits in a film that make you say “Awesome”. They are generally quite satisfying. I like to think that at some point in the production of the film, the film makers asked themselves “What is the most awesome thing we could get these characters to do. What is it that we want to see eventuate in this film that will bring an immense “Oh Yeeaah!” to the audience”.
It’s the part when a character that’s been living small throughout the film, finally steps up to the plate and stands up to his father, or punches the school bully, or she leaves her cheating boyfriend. Looking at it from an action perspective, it’s when the hero realises their true powers.

I find it extremely frustrating when a character doesn’t do what he can clearly do to get him through the trials he is facing in a film. The satisfaction comes when the character/s finally realise their power inside a situation. Strangely enough, these moments are actually quite rare in films. Some films just fall short of satisfying when it’s needed. Admittedly, satisfaction isn’t every films goal.

When the character actually goes above and beyond the viewers expectations of awesomeness, then the real awesome happens. The Avengers movie by Joss Wheedon had a few of these moments involving the Hulk, and they pushed the film right over the line of awesome. The Incredibles definitely has above awesome moments too. When Dash figures out he can run on water, when Elastigirl stretches into a parachute, then morphs into a boat. Great moments that go further than the viewers imagination imagined.

Maybe that’s the catch-cry of the “awesome” film maker: “To go further than the viewers imagination can imagine”.

Kung Fu Panda had them, Prometheus had a solid few, I wasn’t surprised often in Captain America or even Iron Man 2. Iron Man 2 had cool moments, but not many that went beyond what I could imagine. That’s where the second and third Matrix films went wrong too. They didn’t make it past the line of the viewers imagination, in fact, in my case they didn’t even make it to the line.

Nearby Nerd

September 14th, 2012 in Film Making | No Comments »

Here’s another job we’ve just completed.
We’ve been playing with this style of rendering for a couple of projects and I really like how this one turned out. We’re using a similar technique on a short film we are currently animating.

Anyway, here’s the TVC.

NearBy Nerd TVC from The Magnificent Itch on Vimeo.

The Magnificent Itch

July 18th, 2012 in Film Making | No Comments »

Well I’ve been busy lately. New child and a new company. I am now the father of another boy and one of the two fathers of an animation company named The Magnificent Itch.
We kept the project a little quiet because we weren’t too sure if it was going to work, but, things are progressing quite consistently now and we’re pretty confident :)

It’s been great to put the company together. Our niche is character animation and we’ll be plugging ourselves through the website, Twitter and Facebook as such. Although we can do any type of work in 3D really, we’ll be advertising for the work that we love the most :)

Our first TVC even got a little bit of promo on Motionographer, which we were completely stoked about.

DowAgro TVC from Stefan Wernik on Vimeo.

It’s been my dream to have my own studio since I first starting in animation in ’96 and I’m absolutely loving the challenge. The money, the marketing, the client interactions..

Here’s all our social media links if you’re interested.
Twitter Vimeo

Old Man Love

January 30th, 2012 in Film Making | No Comments »

Well I’ve finally made Old Man Love public.

A vindictive old man creates a Voodoo Doll to emotionally torment his enemy. Little does he realise, playing with other peoples emotions can have unexpected results.
Shot in a Katoomba Cafe named Blue Hour, this is a completely no budget short film shot with actors and crew living in the Blue Mountains of NSW Australia.
Shot the Cafe scenes with a Sony Z7 and the Study scenes with my Canon 550D.

This was a big learning experience for me. I loved every minute of it, but there were definite issues that arose in the shooting and editing processes.

Old Man Love from Guy Jamieson on Vimeo.

Digicell TVC

October 13th, 2011 in Film Making | No Comments »

Recently finished animating on a TVC for Digicell. Directed by Stefan Wernik, I was one of the two animators on the project. There are 2 of these TVC’s, and I have to admit, they look pretty nice..

Digicel Pacific TVC from Stefan Wernik on Vimeo.

How to Write a Screenplay

June 17th, 2011 in Film Making | No Comments »

If your trying to get your the first draft of you feature film screenplay completed, like me, and you’ve been reading a mirriad of books in the hope of finding the right tools to help you out, stop looking.

To start off, keep it simple. Keep it very simple.

SCREENPLAY STRUCTURE
THE FIVE KEY TURNING POINTS OF ALL SUCCESSFUL SCRIPTS

I read this article the other day, and it’s helped me out so much. In fact there are quite a number of articles worth reading on this site. The one titled Arena’s and Finish Lines is fantastic. It really convinced me to define my hero characters goals more clearly. And as a result, I’m giving my structure a bit of a rewrite.

Michael Hauge is one of those screen writing gurus that I actually follow quite easily. Although I haven’t read all of his book yet(I takes me a long time to read a reference book), I’ve learnt quite a lot from skimming through the various topics.
My motto is Learn by Doing. You can read and learn as much as you want, but in the end, it can very easily be just another way for you to procrastinate.

I just love it when the pieces of my screenplay puzzle start to fit together..

Movies I’m embarrassed to like

June 14th, 2011 in Film Making | No Comments »

There are a few movies that, as a film maker, I’m kinda embarrassed to let people know that I like. I’m slightly scared that potential producers will see my passion for movies that have done spectacularly bad at the box office, as a bad thing..
But, it’s not like me to keep my thoughts locked up inside. So here’s a movie I like, and one I don’t like, and my reflections on the matter.

Speed Racer
I loved this film. It is such a guilty pleasure to rewatch this movie when I have a night to myself. So much so, that I just bought it on BlueRay. (Even though I don’t have a BlueRay player, figure that one out..)
Why do I like this film? Well for starters, the opening sequence is a corker. I just love it. The race with the back story woven in there. All that exposition rammed down our throats in such a way that i didn’t gag at all. Genius.

The next 2 hours of the film is a story about a boy who wants to follow his passion without the need to sell out to achieve his dream. It’s something that I can imagine a lot of Hollywood film makers go through. Do you leave your dream of making you own independent films to work for a big studio that will try to control your film, but offer you financial and big name success? Or do you step into the unknown, and follow your heart instead of your head?
I wonder if the Wachowski brothers had a similar experience to what happened to Speedy…

The finale, emotionally really pushes my buttons for some reason. I know a lot of people don’t feel the same way, and that’s cool. But it does make me realise how different stories can move people different ways determined by the viewers emotional past.

The story of someone reaching their true potential and changing the world is something that rings true to me. My childhood was spent watching Jap cartoons. Astro boy and Defenders of the Planet were the main ones. I grew up wanting to be a person that saved the world. I believed I was destined for great things. But then life happened.
I remember during one of my many viewings of Speed Racer I was feeling a little sick and maybe a tad emotionally vulnerable. I cried like a baby at the end. Speedy became a hero that battled against all odds, he embraced his passion and purpose and was rewarded because of it, in the greatest possible way. Christina Ricci and Milk…

Up
Yes, the pixar film that scored 98% on rotten tomatoes and 8.4 on imdb. I thought it was terrible. Like Speed Racer, the opening sequence was wonderful. One of the most moving pieces of story telling I’ve ever seen. But then something happened, it turned into a kids film. I completely lost all emotional attachment to the characters. Except the dog. I really liked the talking dog.
But yeah, the old man just wasn’t likeable enough. I had real sympathy for him at times, but I don’t think he ever really stepped out of being a grumpy shit. He needed something else to keep me caring. I admit I’m a little cynical towards the film. As I’m sitting here remembering the movie, there are some great moments. It’s packed with that Pixar sentimentality that we all know and seem to love. But it just seems scattered and the concept a little too abstract.

But what do I know? One of my favorite Pixar films is Cars..

Broken Promises

November 16th, 2010 in Film Making | No Comments »

I recently made a pact with myself and some friends that I was going to make a couple of short films a month. Just small dialogue based things that can be acted by my wife and I.
I managed to finish one pretty quickly. All up it took me about 5 hours of writing, shooting and editing. So, to complete a couple of these every month didn’t seem like too much of of stretch.
I uploaded my first attempt to Vimeo and stated my plan. I was ready.

I’m not a Pussy! from Guy Jamieson on Vimeo.

I started writing, but I didn’t really like anything that was going down. They were sounding too whingy, or they were just going nowhere. In the whole reason for the project, the writing wasn’t even an issue. I didn’t care that the writing was bad, I was doing this to practice directing, editing, writing and even my acting. And once each film was finished, I could step back and look at where I was successful, and where I big time sucked.

But I hit a wall.

My writing block stopped me dead in my tracks. I didn’t know what to do. I wanted to create these films that were theoretically simple. But I could barely jump off the starting block. What was stopping me?

Well for starters, I wasn’t really getting far on the writing. I tried for about a week, then kinda gave up. Isn’t it funny how easily we can break a promise..
Then, I scored a job in the city. I wasn’t going to be home much over the next month, which would make the whole process kinda tricky. And I didn’t have a laptop at the time, so writing would be hard.

But in the end, these were just excuses. I could have written on paper, or even on my iphone. Then filmed on the weekend or late at night.

What I’ve learned in this process is that I can break down any excuse. For every reason that you can’t follow your dream, there’s a reason why you can.

There are no things external stopping me. The only thing stopping me is me.

The real kick in the balls was when a stranger left a comment on my vimeo account saying “So you broke your promise”.