Funding Troy! And a list of films.

Preparation for About Troy has really picked up speed! Our crew is growing by the day, and we are working on locking down locations and dates. I’ve been busy working on storyboards and shot lists. It’s exciting to see everything come together and start to take on a life of its own.

We’ve just passed the halfway mark in our crowdfunding campaign to get About Troy made. It’s both exciting and nerve-wracking. We’ve been so overwhelmed with the support we’ve had so far, but are also anxious to reach our target. We’re all really passionate about this project and need all the help we can get in order to get it off the ground.

Here’s a little clip we’ve put together of storyboards for the opening scene, cut together with voiceover we recorded with Jack at our poster photoshoot. This is hot off the press! Thanks to our behind-the-scenes videographer, George, who edited this clip.

If you’re intrigued, please visit our kickstarter page and give what you can! Pledges start at $1. If you’re not able to pledge, please like our facebook page or follow me on twitter to keep up with the latest, or share the kickstarter link with your friends and family 🙂

And if you need one more clip to get you excited, here’s a teaser we filmed of Jack in action as Troy:

Enough about Troy!

Recently, I was challenged on facebook (by friend and fellow film nut Chaz Harris) to list ten films that have shaped and influenced my storytelling and filmmaking style. I didn’t do it on facebook – I figure there are loads of friends of mine who don’t really care and would rather hear about the nice lunch I had at the pub yesterday – BUT I thought, if you’re coming here to my blog, then you do care about filmy stuff.

Normally I only blog about things I’m doing, not what I think. So this feels a little self-indulgent. But you can always stop reading!

I don’t really feel like I’m that heavily influenced by other writers and directors, not yet anyway – mostly I’m just trying to get the job done and keep my head above water, without trying to emulate any particular style. So these are largely aspirational influences… and in no particular order:

1. Pulp Fiction: I love the ride, I love the riddle, I love the relentless dialogue which is funny, clever, and reveals character at every turn. I really enjoy watching Tarantino take risks or use techniques which could seem at odds with the rest of the film (eg. the “don’t be a square” moment). And the music! Perfect music choices can elevate a film beyond great to brilliant. Scorsese and Guy Ritchie also kick arse with soundtrack choices (in my opinion).

2. Lord of the Rings – Fellowship of the Ring: I make no secret of the fact that I’ve watched this trilogy more times than I can count. Watching these films – and the behind-the-scenes features – is what made me want to be a filmmaker in the first place. Originally Return of the King was my favourite of the three, but recently I’ve come back to Fellowship. There’s something raw about it, the relationships are authentic, and the stakes are high during the action sequences. There are so many iconic moments in this film which I can replay in my head at will – “get off the road”, Weathertop, the first meeting with Aragorn in the Prancing Pony…

3. Burn After Reading: a controversial choice, perhaps. I have thoroughly enjoyed every Coen Brothers film I’ve seen, but this one is my favourite. The characters are undeniably silly, but very relatable and not just stooges. The story is ridiculous but beautifully crafted. Watching the film descend into chaos at the hands of two of my favourite puppetmasters is sheer joy. If I can someday write a caper of this calibre I’ll be a happy woman.

4. Sin City: this is an example of a film I love, with reservations. Its treatment of women isn’t great. BUT, stylistically, for me this film is incredible. Watching Sin City feels like reading a graphic novel on steroids. It’s a great ride. The performances are heightened without being camp. The use of colour to somehow simultaneously draw attention to, and soften the visceral violence is sublime.

5. The 400 Blows (Les quatre cents coups): I think this was the first Truffaut film I saw, and certainly one of the first French New Wave films I saw. It’s beautiful, simple and heartbreaking. Antoine is a great example of a good, sympathetic protagonist who isn’t exactly a hero.

6. The Third Man: this film made me fall in love with contrasting light. The moment when Harry Lime appears out of the shadows… so great. It’s also a lot of fun (despite the bleak setting) and has a brilliantly clever script.

7. Volver: I completely adore Pedro Almodovar and find it difficult to choose one of his films… but I think Volver embodies everything I love about his filmmaking. The female relationships, bright gaudy colour schemes, machine-gun-fast dialogue; Almodovar presents campy, farcical, heightened situations in which characters have to deal with intense themes of death, family, and the meaning of life. The ultimate in facing serious issues with a light hand.

8. The Godfather: hard to choose between I and II. But I choose I. Watching Michael’s character arc is a writing lesson which keeps on giving. The score is perfect, the performances are surprisingly restrained, and the crosscutting scene at the end is an amazing gut punch, every single time. Coppola is so clever it makes me mad. Epic in every way.

9. American Beauty: I love how dark and dry the humour is in this film. Characters and concepts are introduced in a minimalist, visual way. Kevin Spacey – one of my favourite actors – perfectly embodies the meaninglessness of an unexamined suburban existence, and the audience is invited to live out their escapist fantasies through Lester. I could write about this film for days…

10. The Departed: another controversial choice. I’m not saying it’s my favourite Scorsese film, necessarily… but I do think it’s amazing. The soundtrack is perfect, the characters are all so incredibly flawed. It sets up this dichotomy which it immediately tells you is false – but you still spend the entire film comparing these two characters. It plays with concepts of right and wrong on so many levels. And, it has the Dropkick Murphys. Well played, Marty.

Now I’m going to wake up in the middle of the night with a list of about 100 films I should have in here other than these ones.

I just started to write a list of ‘honourable mentions’ and it went on for too long so I deleted it. I will have to live with my choices!

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