Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: The Commission, and creative risk

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  • Sacha,

    Outsiders Guide was another example of a writer-centred series, wouldn't you say?

    The value of good writing is evident when comparing with others from around the same time, including the lamentable Orange Roughies.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 15769 posts Report Reply

  • Shay Lambert,

    Or put another way: Roger Corman gave a pretty impressive roll call of talent (from Martin Scorsese to James Cameron) their first credits. Don't know if that's much of an argument for the NZFC funding a string of Z-grade exploitation flicks

    I hadn't though of that, but now that you mention it...

    Argue all you like about the creative merits of Bad Taste, but it was most certainly z-grade exploitation - albeit with less nudity than the average Corman biker flick. And I hear the bloke who made that went on to do ok.

    Auckland • Since May 2009 • 78 posts Report Reply

  • Shay Lambert,

    So, what you want is the kind of shows written, directed and produced by people who cut their teeth (and learned their craft) on industrial strength shit churned out by massive, product-hungry industries we seldom see here?

    Yes.

    Auckland • Since May 2009 • 78 posts Report Reply

  • Shay Lambert,

    Yes, it's "not exactly flicking a couple of grand to some novice so they can learn the ropes." That's my point. Only through his vision did it come off in this case, but this is S.O.P.; $2m to "learn the ropes".

    Glad we agree. Or not. I think. :-)

    Auckland • Since May 2009 • 78 posts Report Reply

  • andin,

    Has anyone ever had a good word to say about 'Radiradirah"?

    Isn't it good to see the cream on this countries comedic talent being allowed to fuck up so royally!
    And the colored girls go Do Dedo Dedo Dedo Dooo....

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1149 posts Report Reply

  • Shay Lambert,

    Look, Craig, the point I was trying to make in a typically long-winded and roundabout fashion is that we will never be able to have a film industry that fulfils all of the requirements. Taxpayers seem more interested in funding health and education than the Scorsese fantasies of every wannabe with a script.

    Movies will always be hit and miss and when only a handful can be funded every year - we can go for 5 years with all misses and no hits. A filmmaker might get one made and then spend the next 15 years trying to get another off the ground, never getting to improve and grow as a filmmaker, and no-one goes to see them when they do get made.

    All I'm saying is that investment in more TV - more specifically, artistically bold, risky drama that rarely - if ever - gets funded now, could be added to the mix. Talent can be nurtured over time by experienced writers and directors and it's not a one-off 30-day shoot. TV series, unless they are complete failures, have the chance to improve over time. TV is also less encumbered by a film audience's expectations of big screen (ie. big budget) spectacle. And more NZers will see even a low rating NZ series than most NZ features.

    Auckland • Since May 2009 • 78 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Yes.

    Well, good luck with that then. I just think it's an impossible ask for the government to keep financing the kind of production framework that exists in the United States (where HBO ultimately only has to convince the shareholders that it's maintaining a profitable subscriber base), or even the UK -- where we may hold up the BBC as a gold standard, but tend to squint past the enormous amounts of tosh it's produced over the years.

    Look, I don't much rate Radiradirah either, but I'll keep saying this: Sketch comedy is extremely hard to do at all well. If you want to talk about absolute shit, ask yourself how James Corden could co-create (and star in) something as good as Gwen & Stacey then put his name on something as horrendous as Horne & Corden. (Least said about Lesbian Vampire Killers soonest mended...)

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11622 posts Report Reply

  • Shay Lambert,

    I just think it's an impossible ask for the government to keep financing the kind of production framework that exists in the United State

    True, and that equally applies to the feature film industry.

    Auckland • Since May 2009 • 78 posts Report Reply

  • amanda peter,

    oh at the risk of being shot down in flames, some of Radiradirah dynamic & interesting, very pythonesque. The animated stuff is well funny but like Skitz , it polarises, is patchy and its certainly not done to admit watching. Know a younger audience 14+ who have grown up with __FOTC__and have no preconceptions about NZ humour and love it.

    From experience know that it is so difficult ( read bloody near impossible) to get humans in decent numbers to attend NZ film even within well supported festivals.

    Otautahi-the flat city • Since Sep 2008 • 11 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    I get about one giggle every five minutes from Radiradirah. Not the best ratio, but they do have some funny bits. I'll give it a few more goes. I found it a lot funnier than Cougar Town, if that's worth anything.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8040 posts Report Reply

  • Peter Cox,

    In siders Guide was another example of a writer-centred series, wouldn't you say?

    At the risk of sounding thin-skinned, yes, I'd like to think so.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 310 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    Have preferred 7days, but at times of late they seem to be, if not crossing the line, at least trampling on it with reckless abandon.

    Meh. To me it's just a rip of Have I Got News For You? with a large amount of the insightful wit replaced with simple coarseness.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    From experience know that it is so difficult ( read bloody near impossible) to get humans in decent numbers to attend NZ film even within well supported festivals.

    Yep, that seems to be a huge problem. Unless it's either based on a classic local novel or about Maori, it's pretty much not going to happen.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • philipmatthews,

    Unless it's either based on a classic local novel or about Maori, it's pretty much not going to happen.

    Sione's Wedding, The World's Fastest Indian, Topp Twins: Untouchable Girls, Second-Hand Wedding, Home By Christmas, Scarfies, Out of the Blue, Footrot Flats, Heavenly Creatures and Goodbye Pork Pie excepted, of course. (All grossed more than $1 million at NZ box office).

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2007 • 638 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    Fair enough.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    In siders Guide

    Doh

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 15769 posts Report Reply

  • Cecelia,

    What's the story about short films? Can they be promoted more? "Two Cars One Night" is a gem and I am also very fond of "Tama Tu" - another of Waititi's shorts. I liked them so much that "Boy" was a little bit of a disappointment. I'm a great fan of the late Brad McCann. Has anyone seen his short, "Possum"? It's on the "In My Father's Den" DVD.

    "Falling Sparrows" on the "Chunuk Bair" DVD is another treasure.

    I think the NZFC can be proud of many of these efforts.

    (This is not really all that relevant to the current discussion but I see the short film as a glorious art form - I'm often let down by features.)

    Hibiscus Coast • Since Apr 2008 • 505 posts Report Reply

  • Peter Cox,

    Short film's a great medium for identifying talent directors but amazingly poor for script. It was good to see the report (rightly, I think) acknowledging that script is our biggest weakness as an industry at the moment. Reducing the focus on short films and putting it into developing screenwriting talent seems sensible for a start. I'd lump the 48 hour film festival in the short film category as well, so I worry a little about suddenly promoting that as the primary source of discovering new young talent.

    If we had a shortage of good directors that'd be another matter, but ask anyone trying to put together a TV series, it's finding capable writers that's the far more daunting prospect.

    On the subject of short film promotion it'd be great to see short film screenings before features, but that's up to the exhibitors really. Not much the commission can do about that.

    In siders Guide
    Doh

    Well, it was 6 or 7 years ago now.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 310 posts Report Reply

  • Peter Cox,

    ...and while I'm on the subject of unreasonably hassling Russell, given the focus of the report, it would have been nice to get a screenwriter along to the discussion rather than just 2 producers and a director...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 310 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    "Footrot Flats" and "Heavenly Creatures" both had books behind them - not classic local novels, but books-

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    What's the story about short films? Can they be promoted more?

    You'd expect a public television broadcaster to screen them, surely? Especially if they're already paid for with public money.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 15769 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Lealand,

    As much as I like the 48 Hour competition (and have been a regional judge in the past), I do agree that the suggestions in the Report do seem to be at odds with the cautions regarding short filmmaking. In respect of the genre emphasis of 48Hours, I have had several recent conversations with women (potential filmmakers too), who think it is very bloke-ish and overly oriented towards to splatter and excess (indeed, I once suggested to Ant that he bring in some rules, in order to create more invention in the narratives eg no guns, knives nor axes; no car cashes).

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2219 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Lealand,

    But then the Film Commission is essentially paying for education, which is really not something I think that the Film Commission should be doing.

    In my submission to the Review, I argued for more attention to be paid to education--but not training for filmmakers, but education of the audience--most especially building enthusiasm and a following for NZ films in schools. Media and English teachers are one of the best--and most passionate--advocates for NZ films (and film generally) but their students do not always share their enthusiasm. The Commission has produced study guides for particular films and these are great but it could do more eg filmmakers/scriptwriters in schools; testing films with students;making direct links with teachers (Jeremy Macey was doing this but he has now left the FC).

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2219 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    Sound idea Geoff, and a good way to grow the audience...I think book-readers are already a potential audience for a film adaptation of ANZ works (which is why, imho, films likw 'Whalerider' and 'Once Were Warriors" were such successes. Sometimes the film is actually better than the book...and sometimes not, of course: yes, I am thinking of Caro's adaptation/mangling of 'The Vintner's Luck.')

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • chris,

    (indeed, I once suggested to Ant that he bring in some rules, in order to create more invention in the narratives eg no guns, knives nor axes; no car cashes).

    Sounds very Dogma, I like this Geoff, one of my favourite films is Von Trier's; The Five Obstructions (2003) . I just watched the Media 7 which I thought raised some interesting questions related to you mentioning the need to address this in education: Namely the 8 groups going through the three month scriptwriting 'bootcamp' (?), and your suggestion of addressing scriptwriting in school. It seems to me that it's not really the Film Commission's place to be overseeing/ workshopping the writing of scripts from scratch, especially with, as Islander mentioned, the girth of fine literature and quality writers this country has produced, and considering that hypothetically a perfect script can be produced on next to nothing with little outside input.

    A key oversight of the Low Budget Features Escalator scheme was that their application process required the submission of three one page plot synopsis, but no scripts. Having applied, I felt our application was inadequate in that one of the synopsis had to be hocked together to make up numbers, but of more concern was that one of the synopsis didn't really do justice to the best story, the script of which had been worked on for three years, basically because the dialogue driven hilarity didn't really translate into a one pager. More often than not a good synopsis is no substitute for a great script, furthermore the skills required to write a synopsis are in no way indicative of one's scriptwriting ability, and so their selection process was primarily aiming for talent who could write a great one page story, a talent which can't realistically be testament to either scriptwriting or film making ability. That's a huge gamble for the commission and the 12 teams involved and I was glad Ant touched on it. It just seems like a harebrained way of going about things.

    But to contextualize (and this won't be popular), if we can't provide free or interest free education for our kids, and when among our chief concerns as a nation are patronage to filmmakers/ musicians/ TV shows, decreasing the company tax, $9 million dollar temporary sheds, $30 million Expo Pavilions, $24 million national yachts and which channel will show the rugby, etc etc etc...

    When we were prepared to lumber a generation with 12.5% interest loans for the luxury of a tertiary education, many of whom now make up the 1 million New Zealanders living offshore, many of whom share the burden of the $10 billion (growing at $1billion a year) owed to the NZ Government, a huge portion of which is interest on that education, while still attempting to present this glistening, cultured, media driven facade to the world, then our priorities as a nation and as people are arguably askew.

    Health and education is everything, but if the mast breaks or the integrity of the hull can't be maintained then just keep that band playing.... is not a long term plan I can spare much loyalty to.

    中国 • Since Jan 2010 • 888 posts Report Reply

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