Why Blighty?

November 19, 2009 at 12:34 am | Posted in holiday, Me | Leave a comment

A Festival in “Summer” purely dedicated to a month of comedy.

A bookstore on every corner.

A second-hand bookstore on every corner.

Comedians on par with film stars.

The BBC.

Lush countryside.

Giant supermarkets in the middle of a country town.

Waitrose.

Moody weather.

The local pub is the family restaurant.

The tube, the trains and the buses.

2 1/2 hours from Paris.

Production.

The people.

Getting your foot in the door … where’s that doorbell?

November 12, 2008 at 10:06 pm | Posted in Me | Leave a comment
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So here’s the story. I left the comfort of a great job, surrounded by great people, on the road to a good career, with some great friends, in a beautiful country where the sun shines. What did I decide to do? Chuck it all in, move to the UK and try to get a job in one of the most notorious industries for being incredibly difficult to get a start! The lovely land of Film and TV. HA! I love a challenge.

So what I’d thought I’d do, is plot my path so far. I think for me, as a learning curve, to look back on this time, and to really appreciate this experience, I need to write it all out.
First off, went travelling. Probably the best thing to do to get some life experience, visit some countries, see some new things and overall just relax and not think about things too seriously. I mean the only stressful thing to think about was, where should we go today? What should I eat? Nice!
Secondly, I was fortunate to have a partner in crime. That is my sister. Thankfully, she’s been around, and it’s great just to have someone to talk to, and also to have a familiar face.

So when I arrived in London, what did I do? Well, what everyone does who has been on holiday. Bummed around a bit! Did some touristy stuff, went to see all the sights etc. Then came the moment of realisation after catching up with some friends here who are established here in the UK. “Crap, I don’t have a job, and haven’t really done much about it!”. Ok, so out comes my shiny mcshine laptop. Start, and restart doing my CV. My current one isn’t going to cut it, too wordy. Good for what I was currently doing, although in truth, people tend to hire people based on word of mouth, references and reputation rather than a piece of paper. So I blew off the dust, wiped away the cobwebs of my CV and slimmed it down. I changed format from Word. By the way, I hate word. I think it sucks. Formatting wise it doesn’t work. When you insert a pic it stuffs everything up. Anyway, so I decided to actually put my CV into Excel instead. The great thing is, it is really easy to add to it, delete, and mix things around. And in actual fact looks a lot cleaner, and I can fit more in, especially for production projects where it really is a list of credits. So my CV was more streamlined.

I began approaching companies. Since I have the bare minimum of contacts here in London, and in particular in film & tv, it would be starting from square one. But hey, that’s what it’s all about. If it was easy wouldn’t I be doing this in Oz instead? So I began cold calling companies, spending hours searching for not just the right companies, but also the right people. Luckily, I am quite good when it comes to searching for things online, and managed to extract some good names.

So far, I have come to realise it’s a combination of
a. Luck
b. timing
c. persistence
d. contacts

Although in truth, the above isn’t surprising. What a time to try to get some work though. It’s heading towards Christmas and we’re in the middle of a financial crisis. Way to go!

Luckily, the Producer at Quiet Storm Films, extended me an opportunity. I will never forget the fact that they extended this opportunity to me, it has been a blessing. I worked in their office, helping the team out in preparation for a few shoots. They were shooting a short film and a music video for a charity called Bondage for Freedom. Bondage for Freedom is the charity arm of the company Coco De Mer, which is headed up by Sam Roddick (daughter of Anita Roddick, founder of the Body Shop). She, alongside Jamie Catto (Faithless fame), pulled in Quiet Storm to produce these pieces to raise awareness of freedom of speech as well as justice. So I helped out on the shoots, worked with two amazing creative directors, worked with some fantastic crew, and became involved in very hectic but professional shoots. What did it prove for me? That this is what I wanted to do. I loved every minute of it. Sure there were late finishes and early rises. Sure I woke up the next morning with sore arms and legs from lifting and running everywhere. But it was worth it. I have the bug.

So what now? Well I did what I was doing before helping out at Quiet Storm, trying to uncover contacts and contacting as many as possible. It has been an interesting experience, because you contact about 50 + people, and may get one lukewarm hit. I have two contacts that have mentioned that they will be crewing for some shoots in Jan 09. So that’s pretty cool. And also got another contact that offers internship at their production company from a development capacity, which is quite exciting considering this is the very front end of a production, and the very start of the whole process.

I also managed to go in for three interviews, one an animation production company and two post production houses. All three are incredibly different, on different scale and of course two being post as opposed to a production house, different stages of projects. But so far, one has offered me the opportunity to come in for a trial, which is great news! I am really looking forward to it, if it does work out, I’ll be working for an award winning, reputable, global post house, therefore the opportunities are great.

On another note, I also have two contacts who are meeting me in the next couple of weeks. A chance to really pick their brains, see if there is anything on the horizon that could come up. So I am really excited.

My aim is to try to get as much experience as possible. Unlike other people who visit the UK from Oz, I don’t have the advantage of an ancestry visa, so for me it is about making the most of the limited time I have. And getting as much experience as possible, on as many projects.

Change is a coming, and I am getting all excited. So although I have been getting many slammed, or politely shut doors in the face. There are a couple of doors that are slightly ajar. I hope they lead somewhere and that I don’t look back.

–Completely self indulgent post–

The first snow of the season?

October 31, 2008 at 1:24 am | Posted in Me | Leave a comment
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Look everyone snow!! My first snow, well I have been to Perisher in NSW, but snow in the backyard. Crazy! I can’t wait to see more. The cold snap has hit. And whilst my family is baking in the sun, I am rugging up for the winter.

Neglect, Neglect!

October 14, 2008 at 11:13 pm | Posted in Me | 1 Comment
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My blog is crying neglect. I have a few observations and things that interest me at the moment and will blog about them. They will mainly be about ol’ London town and my adventures.

New York, New York

September 7, 2008 at 5:37 am | Posted in Me | Leave a comment
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Thankfully the weather wasn’t as hot as Japan. A little bit of relief! My main observation of New York was the food. There’s lots there but a small is a medium, a medium is a large and a large is an extra large! You end up ordering something small and they pile on the food!

Art Deco galore: One of the most beautiful architecture styles (in my opinion) and New York is full of these buildings. Empire State, NBC Studio, Radio City Music Hall, Chrysler Building to name a few.

Times Square: well there was the Naked Cowboy as well as all the broadway shows

Chicago: I decided that whilst in New York, must go to broadway. So went and saw Chicago. I haven’t actually seen it before, have seen the movie before. Verdict? Well I actually thought the musical was much better than the movie. It was interesting the amount of comedy that was actually weaved into it, when the movie version is far more serious.

Art Museums: WOW. MET is huge. I was extremely happy as I got to see works by some artists that I really admire (Hopper, Degas). Seeing the works that I studied in school in real life was humbling. I couldn’t believe how big it is, as well as how long you could spend in there. The Guggenheim wasn’t as good as what I thought it would be. I found it to be a little bit empty in comparison to MET. There was a small single exhibition on Kandinsky which was probably the highlight. The Museum of Modern Art housed a fantastic special exhibit on Dali. I was not a big fan of him to begin with but this exhibition completely changed my opinion.

SOHO: I loved it. The vibe was very much cafe culture, small boutique stores, lots of cool shops, and great places to eat. Spent a long time there. Would love to go back.

Central Park: I wish I had my rollerblades for this leg of the journey. Some people had thought of that, and in the centre of the park there seemed to be a small exhibition happening of people with their blades. One woman looked like she was ice skating such was her skill. It was nice to be surrounded by green for once.

World Trade Centre, Staten Island Ferry, Financial District: Of course fitting that the day we went to see the WTC it was raining. By the time we got there it cleared up slightly so at least we didn’t need to keep running under awnings. You couldn’t really see anything (not that you would probably want to). I just found it interesting that it was previously a place where people came to go up the towers and look out at the city. And now tourists are getting photos taken in front of the rubble.

Tokyo – Need I say anymore

September 7, 2008 at 5:21 am | Posted in Me | Leave a comment
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Righty-o, Tokyo a whirlwind of lights and shopping, shopping, shopping. Of course there is the old mixed in with the new, and the crazy kids and their outfits. What a place.

Stayed: Hotel New Star in Ikebukuro

Verdit: It wasn’t that bad. We didn’t have to walk very far from the station to the hotel. It was small as they all are and really just a place to lay your head.

Sights:

Nanjatown/Ikebukuro Gyoza Stadium: That’s right a whole place dedicated to Gyoza (Japanese fried dumplings). The ‘stadium’ is located within Nanjatown which is pretty much a place for kids (or big kids in this case). There are so many stalls to choose from, and many varieties of Gyoza to choose from. Yummmy

Imperial Palace Gardens: You can’t go inside as this is the actual palace of the royal family. But you get a chance to see the outside and the beautiful sculptured gardens.

Rumik World: I was fortunate to be in Tokyo at the time when my manga hero had an exhibition on. Rumiko Takahashi is the creator of one of the only comics that I am committed to ready Ranma 1/2. I stumbled upon the exhibition of all of her works in a department store of all places. Bit of a pilgrimage for me…

Senso-ji: The place was swarming with tourists, it was boiling hot. It was very spiritual but I would probably go on another day. Did however see a Geisha there! Felt sorry for her, as it was at least 35 degrees celsius, she must have been melting.

Studio Ghibli: The museum for the wonderful world of Miyazaki. If you are familiar with Miyazaki’s films “Spirited Away”, “Howl’s Moving Castle” etc you’ll understand what sort of place Studio Ghibli is. Lots of animation cells, explore a recreation of his studio, beautiful garden and a bespoke short film created and shown in the theatre.

Harajuku: As well as the shopping, there is the kids that dress up in those outfits. When we walked around there, tourists were swarming and wanting to take photos of the kids. There were ‘minders’ who were shielding the kids. Once again I felt sorry for the kids because it was really hot. I was impressed that their make up didn’t run!

Meiji-jingu shrine: You have to walk past the goth kids, and end up walking the length of an beautiful garden till you reach the shrine. There were monks there praying, banging the big drums and we also saw a traditional wedding between a Japanese woman and a non Japanese man. It was great to see everyone dressing up in the traditional clothes.

Shibuya: The scramble crossing is what it is most famous for (apart from the shops). You can get a great view from the Starbucks which is what all the tour guides tell you to go. What they don’t tell you is that you can’t take any photos up there. The scramble crossing is definitely as crazy as what everyone say it is. The statue of Hachiko is also located there.

Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum: That’s right a ramen museum. A museum full of noodles. My heaven. Essentially the first floor is dedicated to the history of noodles. It looks at the varieties found in Japan and traces the evolution of the cup noodle. There was a cup noodle with Arnie’s face on it! The bottom floor has been designed to look like an old noodle market. With traditional ramen stalls and places for you to try the different varieties. You are expected to buy at least one bowl of noodle.

Tokyo Metropolitan Government Office: This is actually a free observation deck where you can see the whole city. Unfortunately the day we went it was incredibly smoggy, therefore you couldn’t see that far out.

That’s the end of the Tokyo trip, I didn’t mention any of the department stores or the shopping because it would fill a whole blog!

Mixedlollies is going on holidays!

July 14, 2008 at 8:15 pm | Posted in Me | Leave a comment
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Mixedlollies is going on a world tour! Therefore, I have emptied the lollies out of the jar and have put them into a pre-approved airport security plastic zip lock bag in preparation. Adventures begin on the 26th of July!

Nepotism is alive and well!

June 22, 2008 at 6:14 pm | Posted in Me | Leave a comment
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My sister came bursting into my room to announce she’s started her blog. Finally! I’ve been harping on about her starting one for a long time. She’s an amateur photographer, specialising in live concert photography. She gets to combine two of her great loves, rock concerts and photography. Now if only I can find something that combines watching stand up comedy, eating noodles and rollerblading, I’ll be in business!

Do I look like a JB Hi fi employee?

June 2, 2008 at 12:21 am | Posted in Me | Leave a comment
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That’s not meant to be aggressive, although it probably sounds like it! It just sums up what I was feeling a couple of weeks ago. I was at one of their stores with a mate, and was staring at the wall of iPods, playing that lovely game “If I could have any iPod which would I go for” (surprisingly difficult game given the different options and uses available). Anyway, I was standing there staring, when an older gentleman walked up stood next to me and was staring too. At first I thought, hey someone else knows how to play my game, but then realised he was actually seriously evaluating the products. This actually became more evident when he turned to me and asked “What is the difference between these iPods and these mp3 players?” I looked at him, looked around thinking perhaps he was talking to a phantom employee (didn’t see anybody else), then realised I was probably spending too much time doing mental gymnastics that I better actually answer him. I went on to explain the difference between them, which morphed into a conversation around what an actual mp3 was and how to get mp3s, whether you could get them from CDs etc. All of these questions would probably seem rather normal for a JB Hi Fi employee but I didn’t think I would be answering them on a Thursday night.

It did get me thinking about how much I take technology for granted, I mean right now I am listening to my mp3 player and typing on a macbook whilst connected to the internet using wireless. So it seems quite natural for me to be able to grapple the mp3 formats, sliding between iPods, mp3 players, macs and pcs. But I realised for someone like this guy, it must be difficult. I felt that I couldn’t really explain everything properly and felt that I possibly made him more confused! He didn’t know what mp3 was, what it actually did and why it was different to music on an audio CD. I think through this one interaction it really brought home that there is a gap in knowledge that exists in generations when it comes to technology, sure parents, grandparents use the net etc, but I wonder whether they do actually have the same level of, I suppose, just ease when it comes to understanding something new when it comes to technology.

It’s interesting that had a JB Hi fi employee been available at the time, I might not have had this one moment of realisation … good deed done!

What do you do if you’re middle of the road?

March 2, 2008 at 10:54 pm | Posted in Me | Leave a comment
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I’ve been listening to a lot of music and watching the Aussie version of So You Think You Can Dance, and you hear about all of the ‘sob’ stories from the dancers, and I was just thinking about the fact that the reason I am not a painter, a writer or a singer/song writer. I have come from an average household (we weren’t poor, nor were we rich), from an average family (parents who occassionally fought but that was about it), achieved average results at school (wasn’t the top of the class, but wasn’t at the bottom either) and went to university (getting a credit average), so my path in life hasn’t really leant itself to being frought with anguish, despair and given me that emotional gravitas that seems to drive a lot of artists. I don’t know what I would write about! What I had for dinner the night before? The train trip into work? Having to line up in the supermarket while someone in front of me gets a price check on an item? Mediocrity a blessing or a curse?

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