The process diary of film director Glendyn Ivin
Filtering by Category: Development
Select pages from a visual and tonal document I put together to hand out to cast and crew in the lead up to shooting Gallipoli. Made up from a selection of archival material, paragraphs from Les Carlyon's wonderful book, poems from some of the great war poets and my own photographs.
Jo Ford our production designer has said (half jokingly) that she wished the project wasn't called 'Gallipoli' as it brings with it such an immense amount of scale and preconception that it overwhlems with expectations. So I found an alternative title which helps establish an idea and an over arching theme that is constant throughout the project.
Gallipoli. A 4 x 2 hour drama series produced by John Edwards, Imogen Banks and Robert Connolly, written by Christopher Lee and based on the No 1, best selling book Gallipoli by Les Carlyon which is heralded as the definetive account of the Gallipoli campaign. Les's book is dense with history, highly detailed and spiked with the most beautifully poetic descriptions of the people, the landscape and events of that chaotic and bleak patch of turkish coastline where over a 100 000 men died over the ten month. It's this powerful combination of truth and lyricism which has drawn me to the project with both excitement and fear.
We started early pre-pre-production last year, and will go into official pre-production early 2014, shoot and edit 2014, to air (on Channel 9) 2015, coinciding with the 100th year anniversary of the Gallipoli campaign, April 25th 1915.
I've begun working full time on this over the past few weeks and will finish sometime late next year... crazy times ahead. Stay tuned.
At the end of April I'm heading back to Sydney for Puberty Blues Series 2. I'll be setting the show up again, directing the first two and the last three episodes (5 of the 9 eps). I can't wait to get sucked back into that world. It feels like a best friend that I'm desperate to catch up with, span time and create new adventures together!
The above trailer is cut from the four episodes I directed from Season 1.
I have a few heroes. Pete Townsend from The Who (please do watch all 9 minutes of that clip, live rock n' roll doesn't get to much better!) is one of them. Just flicked through his recently released autobiography in an airport and was struck by the wonderfully simple and inspiring 'coda' right at the of the book.
A couple of posts ago I mentioned the Apocalypse Now mash-up featured one of my all time favorite quotes about filmmaking. Francis Ford Coppola dreaming of the day when the professional (out of reach) world of filmmaking would fall away and technology would allow "a little fat girl from Ohio" to make a beautiful film with her fathers camera. There is no doubt the democratisation of filmmaking which Francis prophesied is well and truly with us. Some truly great cinema has been made with minimal 'off the shelf' equipment. I still get excited by a back-pack full of gear (camera, microphone, laptop) being all you really need to shoot and edit a film. With more recent cameras like the 5D greater aesthetic and quality control has been firmly placed in our hands and I'm in still in awe at whats possible with a DSLR's these days.
But today I was sent a box which I believe contains the next giant leap forward in breaking down the technology wall. The Blackmagic Cinema Camera is a very new and very exciting camera. It provides stunning, jaw dropping image quality (Pro-res or 2K uncompressed RAW) that is so far above and beyond what any DSLR can provide. It's built like a brick and everything that plugs in and out of it has professional connectors that are strong and reliable. No more mini-jacks and fiddly HDMI. It records onto removable SSD and this version comes with an EF (Canon) lens mount.
The Blackmagic doesn't have a lot of bells and whistles. Infact it's really basic in it's design and feature set. Personally I find this refreshing. Anything it doesn't do, and it does have limitations, in my mind is instantly erased by how much it costs, a mere $3000(!). I've seen this camera up against the Alexa in the grading suite and it's comparative in look and feel. It's different of course, but not $70 000 different. And way, way different to say a 5Dmk3 which cost the same.
I'm planning on testing the camera from a directors perspective as apposed to a cinematographers. I'm not overly technical though. I'm sure there will be a ton of sites out there providing all the specs and pixel peeping tests that will do a way better job of the geek speak than me. I just want to know it's a reliable easy to use camera that provides good colour depth and gives me gradable detail in the highlights and in the shadows. I kind of already know the Blackmagic does this in spades. DOP John Brawley help test and develop the camera with Blackmagic Design and we used it a little on Puberty Blues. (John has a bunch of info and tests on his blog). But the camera we used then was a beta model and the one I'm holding below is the production one. It will soon to be flying off the shelves and into the hands and hearts of filmmakers around the world.
Spent a few hours sitting with my Dad in Gosford hospital yesterday. He was much more together mentally than last weekend, but far more frail overall. At least we were able to have a chat. Topics covered as he drifted in and out included. Forgiveness and regret. What constellation 'heaven' might be part of. About how it seems he decides on whether a film is good or bad by how much swearing there is in it. How big a mouse has to be before it's a rat. And how his illness might be in some way related to the fact that no-one in the hospital will give him strawberry ice-cream (the only food he seems interested in).
Kind of pleasant in a weird way. And perhaps some of the better time I've spent with my Dad over the last decade or so.
Tonight while having a break from the edit we watched an episode of Australian Story about the very different lives led by Kathy Lette and Gabrielle Carey who wrote Puberty Blues (a truthful account of their teenage exploits growing up in Cronulla in the 70's) The book was published when they were only 18 years old. Soon after the book was published they had a huge falling out and haven't really spoken since. While I understand that people can grow apart it seems strange that two friends that were so close and shared so much could not have spoken for over 30 years! Regardless I find their stories really fascinating. Especially Gabrielle who has had one incredible chapter after another.
I must say it breaks my heart to think that the Debbie and Sue in our version of Puberty Blues could ever 'break up' with each other. They are so beautiful onscreen together. And it's been an absolute pleasure as a director bringing it to life on screen.
So... I'm directing a film on the Beaconsfield mine rescue (if you are from Australia you should know the story). The film, to be screened on Channel 9, is being produced by John Edwards (Southern Star) and Jane Liscombe and is written by Judi McCrossin. While I'm still in the thick of developing Cherry Bomb and other things, the offer to direct a project like this was to good to refuse. I dipped my toe into the world of commercial TV with Offspring last year and really enjoyed the experience. So I've been keen to do more when the timing and the project was right.
I've been in 'pre-pre-production for the last month or so (scripting, casting, crewing) and official pre-production starts next week. We start shooting in just under 7 weeks for a scheduled 23 days. The film will be around 2.5 hours in length. Fast and furious to say the least. But that's how it rolls in TV land.
I'm heading back to Beaconsfield in the north of Tasmania today and will be going down the mine for the first time to have a look. The kid in me is quite excited about going a 1000m underground into the dark and the heat. The older, perhaps slightly wiser part of me feels a little uncomfortable about it. Much more to come...
Have just returned from a week in Adelaide where I was invited to be part of The Hive, which is a bit like a creative think tank encouraging the 'cross pollination' of ideas amongst artists from different creative disciplines. For five days I was in the 'lab' with a bunch of really inspiring people. Film directors, theatre directors, choreographers, artists, actors and musicians. I felt very lucky to part of the talent pool but perhaps the greatest thing was the time that we were given to just talk about ideas, with no real quantative outcome in mind. To see how for example choregrpahers Meryl Tankard or Gideon Obarzenak would approach a story idea or just ideas in general. It was a great amount of time very well spent. I went in with a film idea and came out with an idea for exhibition, one that I had been thinking about for a while but it was only half an idea, now I have a full idea and I'm very keen to develop it further. It was so nice to be in a development based workshop that was about 'ideas' and not funding or structure or distribution strategies.
It was held in conjunction with the Adelaide Film Festival, which has fast become the best and most progressive film festivals in Australia. We launched Last Ride there two years ago this week. Festival Director Katrina Sedgwick is one of the coolest people I know. I saw her introduce world premieres, launch programmes and funding initiatives, drive guests around and hug the caterers. Katrina has a the very special quality that I have tried to implement in my own life where when she is talking with you, it feels as though you are the most important thing at that time, regardless of the room full of people around her, or the hundred other things that might be taking up her headspace. She is very present in this way and I find it a most generous quality in her and in people in general.
Beautiful light in Adelaide at this time of year...
Like most of you, I procrastinate. Otherwise, why am I writing this and why are you reading this? No doubt, a part of my motivation to have a blog is to somehow legitimise the amount of time I spend fucking around on the internet, and not doing the things I actually want and need to do. While I love the internet and all the great things it has brought us, I hate the way my already gnat like concentration span can be even further reduced by the constant and nagging promise of something awesome that might be just a few simple clicks away. But... I have found some heavy duty artillery in the war against time wasting. A little bit of 'free' software called Self Control.
It essentially does what I can not. It cuts me off from the endless stream of distraction that the interwebs provides. Sure you could unplug yourself, or switch off your wi-fi. But as I have found there will always be a valid reason (best cat youtube clip ever) for you to 're-connect'.
The genius of Self Control is that once you start it up and you bar yourself from the internet for the allotted time you have set, there is NO WAY of unblocking it. You will get no email, no web, no nothing, not even if you quit the software, not even of you restart your computer!!! Once you are offline, you stay offline until your time is up. So be really careful before you start off with setting the time limit to the maximum of 24 hours!
Last week I went to a taxidermist to research an element of a film I'm developing which I haven't mentioned here (yet). Needless to say the place was pretty fascinating. I've always found taxidermy and the process itself interesting. This particular place was large and sterile and they delt with a huge number of dead things from both here and over seas. It was very 'factory' like. I'm actually looking for something a little more, shall we say 'backyard'.
Also... on this same day while riding home from the office I crashed my motorcycle when a driver changed lanes and didn't "look left, look right, look bike'! I ended up slamming into the gutter and breaking my arm. So while I may not be as stuffed as our little friends above I am a little battered and bruised and will be typing with one hand for the next five weeks or so. Bummer.