The Eloquent Garden

The garden you create or dream of creating is a mirror of yourself

Category Archives: Papagajka

My Brilliant Career as Unit Manager and what I found out about Actors and filmmaking

Many people who’ve had Brilliant Careers have to work very hard at them.

But sometimes they just fall into your lap. Or you fall into theirs.

And that’s how I discovered my Talent.

My Daughter, aspiring Director, was making a short film ‘The Storymaker.’ I said “Ok I’ll donate the money for on-set  food.’

Possibly right then, memories of culinary delights as she was growing up, a nostalgia for times past, overtook her.

oldpics007(1)More likely she was always on the lookout for a free, reliable worker. ‘How about you come down and do the catering?’

I discovered I had a Title. Unit Manager. That’d look very good on my CV.

I discovered that every day at 6AM the Crew would arrive, feeling very hungry. That they would be busy all day so would need many many cups of tea, coffee, snacks delivered on set for between takes.

And I discovered the Actors wait around, a lot. They’re therefore able to consume great quantities of lollies, chocolate. Amazing since they were all svelte.

SM_ScribesAtDoorA clue to why this is so, after the shoot. The DOP (Director of Photography) said ‘I won’t need to eat for a month after this.’

Ah. So now I know actors are special humans, with camel-like abilities. Fascinating.

I discovered that every afternoon a Call Sheet would be delivered to me. It’s an impressive document. It lists precisely the scenes, time of each scene, which cast or crew is involved. For me that meant how many would need to be kept fortified with tea, coffee, snacks, meals, drinks.

Next day, I discovered that the Call Sheet should have come with the disclaimer…”any resemblance to these stated intentions, will be accidental and hugely co-incidental.”

I discovered that if a scene is going well, there could be a sudden visit from the 1st AD (first Assistant Director) telling me that instead of lunch in an 15 minutes, it’d be in an hour. Then in ten minutes again would come the 1st AD with change of plan. ‘We need lunch, for actors in 20 min. For Crew, in a 50 minutes.’

I discovered my Talent for inventing recipes. If there’s an Olympic Category for innovative, speedy Recipe switching, I’m in with a chance. It was a lot like Demand Feeding, of which I was a proponent in the 80’s. But more menu variations and people involved.

I discovered that Haribo (Bears are excellent but any Haribo good) and Chocolate are essential. That without them the film won’t get made.

Actors have many fascinating tales to tell. They are obsessed with Film, stage, dancing, Haribo bears, and know hardship that they deal with in innovative ways.StorymakerStill1b(1)

Then, 4 years on, Emma’s lives in London. Again my Talents are called upon. She’s shooting ‘Scuffle’. Will I cater again? Love to.

This time I met a group of Dancers as well as actors.  Because the film was shot in  London, I had to order Good Weather as well as good food. Luckily for my reputation, I was able to deliver on both.

One recipe I served the Cast and Crew was Tuscan Vegetarian Terrine from Dr Heidi’s Anti-Aging Cookbook.2014-11-02 16.33.58 There are lots of Superfoods in her book, as they are now called. Dr Heidi was ahead of her time, she wrote that book in 2007.

It’s very important for actors  to remain looking youthful. If it’s a long film shoot, actors need to remain looking the same age as when shooting began. That’s called continuity.

Those actors prone to Cosmetic enhancement could save a fortune on Botox and plastic surgery if all Unit Managers knew Dr Heidi’s as I do.

If word got out, Actors would probably refuse to be in any Films at all, unless I was Unit Manager. My Brilliant Career would become Stellar.

But I guess the Actors Plastic surgeons would probably put out a Hit on me then, movie-style. So I’ve decided to work exclusively on Emma’s films, as I like a quiet life.

For the  Terrine I layered sliced tomato, cooked pumpkin as the centre layer, basil, mozzarella cheese. I mixed together the salad dressing of fresh herbs,  1 tspn wholegrain mustard, 2 tblspns Balsamic Dressing, 2 tblspns Olive oil. Put dressing all over Terrine and refrigerate overnight.

IMG_4915Look at them. Director, and AD, thinking. IMG_4917

Sound Engineer, DOP, AD, Actors.  They look so hardworking. Soon they will consume amazing amounts of food.  And say “OH good, Haribo.’IMG_4918

Being a Director, you can change the way men look. You can put moustaches on them, without anyone crying assault, or control freak.

Here’s an Actor, choosing his Fruit salad. He looks a bit startled. Maybe he’s never had a woman put a moustache on for him.

IMG_4924Go ahead, choose exactly the one that’s perfect for you. Eat with abandon, because I have  a feeling things are not going to turn out well for you.

As I predicted, dead. IMG_4922

Gosh, Emma’s taken his moustache off him after he’s dead. IMG_4933

There’s a word for that, I’m sure. I won’t talk about that  on this Blog. My readers are sensitive people.

In January 2015,  Emma will shoot her first Feature full-length film ‘Papagajka.’

Emma’s written the script  and her film will be set in Sarajevo. It’s the first psychological thriller to be made there. It will be exciting to seeing how a year in Sarajevo, doing her MA at FilmFactory under the mentorship of the great Director Bela Tarr, has impacted on her film-making.

Sarajevo in fullon Winter? Not ideal for me or my Brilliant Career. I would be too cold.  I wouldn’t be at my best.

I met some of the other Film Factory young Directors when I was in Sarajevo. I discovered that Directors are very into Superfoods, so Emma will find one of them to be Unit Manager, I am sure. I could be UMC (Unit Manager Consultant) if she wants. That would look good on the Film Credits.

Perhaps the film after ‘Papagajka’ could be set somewhere warmer. Montenegro? Albania.

I believe they’re lovely in Spring,  fascinating places. I am bound to feel very creative in Warmer climes.

Emma’s film will be funded by her Indiegogo Campaign.

Please go on over to the site #PapagajkaFilm on Indiegogo,  and consider donating. There are some unique, fabulous Perks.

Emma’s mentors believe in her project, so they donated Perks too.  Bela Tarr! Guy Maddin, Brothers Quay! Jonathan Rosenbaum! Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Cristian Mungu!

Oh, look at the Vimeo! The Director herself talks about her film.

Gosh, Emma looks very good.  She looks about 21.  I think it’s all those Superfoods. You can see ‘Papagajka” in Sarajevo, in the background! Read about the Actors, Adnan Omerivic I met him in Tusla. And Susanna Cappellaro

The Crew, Aleksandra Niemczyb, I met her, she’s also into Superfoods. So she’ll be around for a long time, making  Artworks. Look at her website, I love ‘overheard – overlooked’ oil on wood works. And Guy Fixsen, wonderful with Soundscapes. That’s what the Sound, Music is called, I discovered. I’ve met him, too. Talented Annika Summerson DOP, Emma’s excited she will on her Project.

I discovered those are the perks, too, of being Unit Manager. Meeting diversely talented people who are, and will be, Filmmaking Greats.

And finding out all their food quirks.  But that’s a story for another blog!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Getting Lost, finding yourself, midnight plane snack-bars and duels for Papagajka Perks

IMG0137AI take a long trip, three flights in 34 hours, gloriously in defiance of gravity.

I discover Thai Airways now have adjustable-height foot rests that I can tip gently back and forward to keep that circulation moving. This is very comforting since I’m a fanatic avoider of DVT. I’ve got such a stash of anti DVT stockings, I expect anyday to be contacted by a TV show that feature Famous Collectors.

Watching ‘The Devil wears Prada’ for some extreme fashion tips completes my flying pleasure. Listening to ‘Flight of the Conchords’ just seems so right.

And reading matter ‘How to Kill Your Husband and other handy household tips’  (Attention: Potential Husbands, this was put in by someone else. Possibly the so-called deity who’s just seeing how far he take the limits of ridiculousness in my romances. Extreme Romance, is that an Olympic Sport?)

If the plane goes down, this book’s perfect for your Last Moments, such a soothing shade of Pink.

Then I discover! As if all these entertainments aren’t enough, now I can check ‘yes’ to “do you want to be available to chat to other passengers?’ Gosh!

Am I the kind of person who talks  to strangers? Am I that person? Am I losing myself, already, after leaving Australia for only five hours?

What then? Perhaps meetup and discovery of a common DVT phobia? Then finding this common ground, unhampered, uninhibited access to the midnight snack bar with another consenting adult?

You know about the Midnight  Snack Bar, yes? Late at night, the Flight Attendants are fed up and resting Somewhere at peace from audacious requests. Hopeful of maintaining satisfaction, they leave creative snacks out for those passengers unable, or unwilling, to sleep. Not everyone knows about this. Good place to swap tips on anti DVT exercises.

When we put ourselves in a different country, a different world, do we lose ourselves? Explore being someone else – try out new ways of being? Free of the usual encumbrances to be serious, funny, responsible, extreme.

I remember after my Daughter left home, went to live in Sydney. She said it was interesting seeing herself through the eyes of people who hadn’t known her all her life. Through the eyes of people she hadn’t grown up with or gone to school with. In a way she lost herself, left herself behind to begin to discover who she was.

And now, she’s in Sarajevo. Seeing herself, and the films she makes, through the eyes of people who speak another Language. Through the eyes of her fellow-students, this group of talented filmmakers and documentary makers from many countries – Spain, France, UK, America, Portugal, Singapore. Through the eyes of her mentor, Bela Tarr at Film Factory

Are her films autobiographical, I ask? Ways of seeing herself through her imagination?  She smiles. ‘There’s a little bit of many people  in my films.’ Her first Feature film ‘Papagajka” a psychological thriller, to be made next January, is about a woman who finds herself disoriented, in Sarajevo. As she comes to, she gradually takes on the life of someone else. There’s more. It’ll take you aback!

Rebecca Solnit has an article “A field guide to getting lost’ in Brain Pickings. She says “Leave the door open for the unknown, the door into the dark.’ And, “Never to get lost is not to live, not to know how to get lost brings you to destruction. And it is somewhere in the terra-incognita in between lies a life of discovery.”

I spend three amazing weeks in Sarajevo. I see myself through the eyes of my Daughter. I see her through new eyes.

I lose myself in the culture, the sounds, the intensity, the mystery, the wonder of this brave, rose-filled country. I experience the unknown, or at least a small glimpse of it possible in such a short time. Sarajevo, Bosnia has such a long history, it would take much time there to know it.IMG0005A

I find myself there, too. I find possibilities. New pleasures. New friends. Imagine meeting a quantity surveyor from Melbourne, as I stare up at the gorgeousness of the newly renovated Town Hall. A  place of destruction and the burning of over 20,000 books during the siege of 1992-96. He was riding a bike all around Europe for three months, in Sarajevo. Discovering himself, perhaps? His friends seeing him in a different light as he sent home stories and photos.

I discover the smells of incense, like no other incense I’ve ever experienced, while walking up the amazing glass stairs beside the Synagogue. The pine scent of the sauna, clean pool smell, where I meet my Daughter for a swim, every day after she does her quota of writing her new script.P1050512

I discover I love the meditation, the  inspiration of swimming.

I bring that self home with me. I find a Gym here where I can swim and sauna. Yes in Brisbane, where it’s not even Summer, yet is very hot. Am I mad, or just renewed? Taken back to my Sarajevo self, that self visiting my Daughter.

A blog I’ve long followed is  Bucket List Publications, by a young woman who loves to travel the world.

I love that blog, not so much for the extreme of things she does, but for the feelings she has about her travels. Recently she wrote about the letters she gets and all the  different ways people see her for what she does, and doesn’t do. She’s criticised for traveling with her child. For leaving her at home. For traveling with her husband. For leaving him at home. It’s as if she’s two different people.

I’m back home now. The person I found, swims a lot, does a lot of yoga. Chats with strangers in steamy saunas. Is single. Sits in groovy coffee shops writing blogs. Does holiday things every day.  Smiles as though she’s on holiday. Plans to be in Albania in 2015. Leaves the door open for possibilities.

I help my Daughter promote her Campaign to get her Film Made. It’s an Indiegogo one  j.mp/1tAEIOD #PapagajkaFilm

Go on over to look now. Do something different. When  you donate even a small amount, that’ll help make her film. And you’ll be part of that. Your name on the Credits.

The Perks are one-of-a-kind, groovy ….a handwritten cocktail book invented from Bosnian spirits, especially for the post-shoot Cast party. You, drinking the cocktails at the Cast Party! Film props, custom decks of cards the Characters play with in the Film. Signed DVDs and postcards from famous filmmakers, A character named after you. The chance to be someone else.

Gosh you could even get together a group to go for the Extreme Reward, ‘Producer Party Perks’. Groovy! Party at Cannes with Emma, the DIrector, herself! See her do the famous Happy Dance.

You could all put together the money, then duel to decide who actually goes with her! (Tights obligatory!)

Come on, Antonio Banderas, rally a few close friends – maybe Simon Baker, Guy Pearce, Nicole Kidman, The Hemsworth brothers – just a suggestion…..

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