Tuesday, May 19, 2009



That is all.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Alright then, The Last One is off to the races. Today I filled out seven film festival forms, sent them off, then leaned back in my office chair and slowly wept as I saw the total amount debited from my credit card.

And so begins the cycle of press kits and entry forms, of filling out director bios and daily trips to the post office . Submitting to film festivals almost feels like gambling to me- you hurl a massive amount of cash on the table and see if the cards go your way. As much as I'd be happy to just manually burn DVDs and hand them out to friends, common sense (as well as my inner producer) always whacks me on the head on that one. Why take great pains to make a film if you don't make the same effort to show it to the world? Granted, there are a lot of films out there that should never leave the safe circle of biased friends and blinded family. As a former festival director myself I have been subjected to the good, the bad, and the what the fuck were they thinking?

I'd like to think my film is good. Definitely not bad. And even if it was shot more than a year ago, I still think I knew what I was doing. To be honest, I've seen the cut so many times I don't know what to think of it anymore. That's when I knew it was time to just stop over-analyzing, and just get the damn thing out and while people are leaving the theatre and debating amongst themselves whether they liked it or not, I've moved on to the next one. And yes, I do have a next one...and a two...even a three. You always gotta have a 'so what's next?' answer up your sleeve. And I'm pleased to say I have 'em.

Modern Filmmaker Battleplan- use the web more than ever to promote your film. It's cheap (mostly free), and extends to the far reaches of the planet. On occasion some cool site will gladly spare some bandwidth for you. Like so.

*Thanks to Simon de Bruyn from Inside Film for bugging Enzo to make this happen.

So naturally all TLO-related web presence begins with this blog. Hopefully as good news (and what the hell, even the bad, I shouldn't discriminate) trickles in, I shall crow about it here.

Enzo has been bugging me to get on Twitter. To that I say Aaaaaarghhh...is Facebook not enough? I mean, I've just barely completed The Last One's MySpace page and already it's yesterday's news. Or, "so Friendster" as a workmate would say. Yes, everyone in my office is tweeting too. At some point I know I probably will because I'm too much of a techy bandwagon slut to not jump on. But at the moment it's just another thing to get cross-eyed with on my iPhone while I'm riding the train. And it's so much more filmmaker-y to look around, observe people, their looks, their mannerisms, their...goddammit they're all Twittering.

Monday, January 26, 2009

I wish there were more three-day weekends. Then there wouldn't be that looming sense of doom on Sunday to go back to work the following day, and Mondays wouldn't be as reviled as it usually is on a normal work week.

I unleashed my inner jock this Australia Day weekend. Played 27 holes of golf, did some laps in the pool, hiked the Spit-to-Manly trail (half of it at least), went fishing and lost all my bait to the annoying juvenile nibbler fish that were too small to hook, and played some tennis.

After waking up for two straight days at the crack of dawn to play golf (a newfound addiction which probably merits its own entry soon), I slept in today and woke up feeling more aligned then I've ever been this year. I felt good. Rested.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Refuse to Lose.

I refuse to succumb to all this Mercury-is-in-retrograde stuff. Granted, 2009 does seem to be starting a little sluggishly- from a mental and emotional standpoint I don't seem as sharp as I was last year, and the fact that I've been waking up with a stiff neck every morning doesn't help (but I'll blame that on spinal rather than planetary misalignment).

I could choose to accept this cosmic imbalance and make it the perfect excuse to just coast through till Mercury behaves again (which coincidentally, is on Valentine's Day). But thankfully I've been ignoring that urge and adjusting my psyche on a daily basis.

If I wake up feeling particularly chipper I'll go on a limb and give myself a lot of things to do that day and set about finishing them all. If I wake up feeling lazy and slow I'll start off by setting smaller goals for myself, while still aiming towards the bigger picture.

An example:

Good Mood Day - Goals: Write 5 pages of script, finish edits one hour earlier, do the laundry.

Shitty-Ass Day - Goals: Remember to eat breakfast, write something- anything, and do the laundry.

The lesson? You will have good days and you will have bad days, but you will always need clean underwear.

One of the things that helps me at the start of each day as well is to give a quick non-verbal thanks to things and persons I am fortunate to have. Being grateful for the things I already have makes me realize that whatever troubles me on that particular day isn't as grave as I might think.

Here is how my thought process usually goes, whilst riding the 8:30 shuttle that takes me to Strathfield Station:

Problem thought: "Goddamn, I hate taking this trip. I'm sitting next to the guy with B.O. again. Now his smell might permeate onto me and I'll get to work and my workmates might think I have B.O. and I'll never get my permanent visa sponsored now on the basis that I have B.O."

Grateful thought: "I'm grateful for the fact that I have a job, one that is cool enough to allow me to wear my B.A. Baracus 'I Pity The Fool' T-shirt to work."

So, B.A. over B.O. anyday.


Problem thought: "My car window won't open again. Plus there's birdshit smeared all over it."

Grateful thought: "That same birdshit-smeared electronic-malfunctioning car worked well enough to haul you and your crew to the beach last weekend."

And finally:

Problem: "I look like crap today."

Grateful: "You just said bye to your girlfriend who is hot enough for the both of you. Now quit whingeing and get your day happening."

So for those of you who've been waking up feeling the side-effects of this cosmic crunch, I say refuse to lose. Battle through doubt, wake up with your proverbial guns blazing, scull down a glass of water, and get through the day by being grateful that you're alive.

Happy Two Thousand and Mine everyone.

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Thursday, October 16, 2008

I know, I know...

Nearly four months without a single post. Shameful.

Lots coming soon. I promise.

How cryptic!

Monday, June 30, 2008

Just came back from a film-scoring session with Anthony, our composer for The Last One. Anthony lives far from Sydney, in a lovely farm house surrounded by acres and acres of shrubbery (Anthony bluntly calls them 'weeds'). We had a very effective session despite me getting lost and taking two hours to get to the place. The music is shaping up very nicely. We are trying our best to veer away from the typical orchestral Hollywood score and I think Anthony's accomplishing that.

After our session ended I entered my car and realized that there was not a single light around. Not for at least a mile. As a result, the night sky was amazingly clear, I'd never seen so many stars in my life. I swear I would've stayed and stared longer, but the cold was seeping quickly through my hoodie and the growing fog around my feet conjured up images of a faceless lady running dementedly towards me.

The drive home was pretty quick.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Behind The Scenes, Part 1.

Producer Luke Torrevillas speaks:

Stay tuned for more behind-the-scenes videos.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

BMX Bandit

Greetings from Mount Beauty, Victoria. Whoever named this place Mount Beauty was stating the obvious because the place is just that- a small valley town (population 2,300 says the Welcome sign) nestled amidst a mountain range. The number of ski shops indicate snow action in the winter and I would love to come here again when that happens.

I'm here covering the Red Bull Dirt Pipe event, and while the 20-hour shoot-then-edit-onsite days have been grueling, it's a welcome change from the usual corporate talking head stuff I usually do. Doing this shoot has taken me back to both my BMX childhood and my Gameplan producer days and I find myself wishing I had been fortunate enough to have filmed these BMX riders then because these guys are just sick- launching themselves off of dirt jumps and doing stuff I've only seen in my old Betamax copy of Rad. Yes, they do get that high up there. It's insane. Some screen grabs:

The past two days have been the practice runs and tomorrow is the actual event. According to one of the organisers, the riders have been "holding back" and "wait till you see the shit they're gonna be doing tomorrow." Can't wait.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Made the Grade

After what's been quite an arduous slog, the colour grade for The Last One is finally done. When i was writing the film I was very set on how I wanted the film to look. I wanted to avoid Matrix green since that palette's been pretty much done to death and instead I opted to rely mainly on two primary light sources- street lamps and moonlight. As a result the film is both amber and blue, punctuated with high contrast daytime scenes to further emphasize the difference between the scenes set in the present and the flashbacks. I'd like to take more credit for how lovely the shots look, but really, it's Fung's mad skills with the camera that got the film looking the way it does.

Some screen caps:

Many thanks to Yoomin Lee from The Lab for doing the grade and making Fung's shots look even better.

Almost there, almost there!

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Me Wiki

How bizarre! For some reason I'm on Wikipedia and whoever put me on there got my birthday wrong. Don't they know that there is no way I would ever allow myself to be born so close to Christmas and therefore run the risk of receiving two-in-one gifts from people? Never!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Here's me killing time at the office, waiting for Cat and Ger to pick me up after their dance class...
Had a 12-hour shoot today shooting several corpies in front of a green screen. It's always a trip doing green screen work although it's something I don't think I will ever hang my hat on as a filmmaker. Put it this way, which is far more impressive: the CGI backgrounds of The Phantom Menace, or the intricate hand-built sets of Empire Strikes Back?
In between takes I rolled down the blinds and stared out at the view of Darling Harbour and beyond. After weeks and weeks spending hours squinting at a computer screen, it felt good to train my eyes to see 'far' again.
Why is Sydney so mind-numbingly cold? In April?
I need a new coat, but currently cannot afford it. Will depend on Gabbi's generous offer to buy me one.
It does pay to blog about your birthday wishlist! Last Monday (my birthday), my ever so loyal friends got me a shitload of stuff- tools for my car mainly and most especially, a bad ass flashlight. It was so bad ass I actually crawled underneath my car and shone the light on the chassis, just because I could.
I love how my current barkada situation almost feels like an episode of How I Met Your Mother.
It's really pathetic that my only source of NBA action is via Gamecast on ESPN. Seriously, nobody in Australia cares about the tantalizing possibility of a Lakers - Celtics Final. No one.
Apparently I ate someone else's cereal at the office, which I thought was mine. Whoops.
Showed Cat a cut of The Last One last night, and she liked it. But then again, girlfriends are supposed to, right? Looked down at my hands this morning and discovered that my left thumbnail had been totally chewed out. If I was that nervous showing my film in front of one person, I can only imagine my mental state when I finally screen it to everyone.
Every year I've had a constant tradition of teaching myself a new physical skill- I've gone from rock climbing to downhill mountain biking to Ultimate frisbee. For 2008, it's been poi. It's good fun and an awesome arm workout. Once you get past the initial stage of getting smacked in the nuts and eventually find your groove, it's incredibly addicting. Who knows, I may someday get good enough to do it- drumroll please...shirtless. Wooh.
(It helps that I have a good teacher by the way.)

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Some portraits I've taken recently...




Friday, April 18, 2008

My Birthday Wishlist

There was a point in my life where I stopped wanting things for my birthday. Or at least, stopped publicly declaring that I wanted things. I guess my conscience deemed the act too selfish, too materialistic, and despite my best efforts to shoo those thoughts away, they always prevailed.

As a result, I hardly ever got gifts. I became known as The Guy You Don't Have To Get A Present For Because A Simple Text Makes Him Happy.

Well screw that. As I inch towards my mid-30s this year, I realize that I am slowly sailing towards the Realm of Old Age, and it's a proven fact that old people don't get gifts at all. I think this is because old people prefer to forget their birthdays because they think acknowledging it validates how old they really are, and that's a depressing thing.

You see it's like this- when we're young, we can't wait to get older: "Man, I can't wait to turn 18 so I can drink and smoke and be as cool as Corey Haim in License To Drive."

And then it's "Man, I can't wait to be in my twenties so that I can stay out all night and have my own place and not have to have sex in a parked car anymore."

As a result, we eagerly look forward to our birthdays, celebrating each bash with style and aplomb, possibly even throwing in a few costume parties in between. What better way to announce to the world that we're young, hot, and paychecked than by ledge dancing in a toga outfit in front of 300 of our closest friends?

Then we hit 25 and suddenly we're like "Waaaaitaminute. In five years I'll be THIRTY? SHIT." The panic that ensues results in us spending our birthdays "quietly", usually an "intimate dinner" with 2 of our closest friends (who are often the same age and thus feel our pain). It's almost as if by celebrating quietly, the world won't notice and will always remember the legendary 24-year old toga-clad ledge dancing you.

I used to have this mentality till I spent my 30th birthday on a plane. Alone, en route back to Manila to deal with some very sad news. On that trip, I thought about how trivial my birthday was that day in the current scheme of things. It was, at that moment, just another day and I didn't mind at all if people forgot to greet me.

But when I got home, I was immediately approached by my family with a hug and a "happy birthday Carl." While I did not receive a single present that day, the best gift was being in the presence of people I loved. Despite all the turmoil that clouded that entire week, I still had people who remembered me on the day I was born.

Ironically, it took the passing of someone to make me really value the importance of celebrating my day of birth, and celebrating life as a whole. As we get older, we are so afraid of aging that we forget to live, and it doesn't have to be that way.

And so, on the year I turn 33 (look how fearless I've said it), I choose to spend the day with the people closest to me. I want it to be a good day, and I know it will be regardless of what the weather outside is like. Typhoon Milenyo could suddenly appear over Homebush Bay and it wouldn't matter because I will be with people who value me and put up with my jokes and love me enough to tell me that my lamb roast rocked even if it really didn't.

And, with fingers crossed, here's what I am hoping they will get me, because I now believe that once a year, it's perfectly okay to be selfish:

1) A pair of sunnies, since I lost mine in a cab recently. That stung because it is extremely difficult to find shades that match my abnormally small elf-like face.

2) Jeans. Two pairs of dark, nice-fitting jeans. No skinny jeans please, as I am too bow-legged and too happy to look emo.

3) A nice pair of leather shoes. Because I think that maybe if I wear them with item number 2, I might finally look decent enough to get into some proper clubs.

4) A new lens for my camera. My 18-200mm is currently out of commission thanks to a large dose of Port Stephens sand.

5) A new winter coat- I have been using the same coat for so long that it was in fashion, went out of fashion, and is now back in style again. Nevertheless, I think I need a new one.

6) A Wii- What better way to emphasize my alpha male status at home than by punishing my housemates repeatedly in Wii Tennis?

7) An iPhone. I don't really need one, but as a Mac whore, this is my current default lust gadget.

8) Things for my car. Ah yes. My new (second hand) car, who I have affectionately named Tonks (short for Tonka). I never used to be a "car guy" but in a karmic twist of fate I am now as obsessed with my ride as much as the gearheads I used to ridicule. It must be the novelty of finally owning a car again after four long years. In any case, I like being a Car Guy. And so for Tonks I would like:

A pair of subwoofers, and I need this ASAP, while the Boots With The Furrrr song is still relevant.

A GPS- because the sound of a robotic female voice telling you where to go is kinda hot.

A lifetime supply of Hungry Hippos- It's no joke getting a 17-year old car smelling like new again. After countless hours vacuuming and spraying and scrubbing, I've finally gotten Tonks to not smell like a damp foot, and I have every intention of keeping it that way. So, those fantastic odour eaters would be a very welcome gift.

Tools- every man's car needs a tool kit. We may not ever know the purpose of a 3/4" Sprocket Wrench, but at least we have that peace of mind driving down the highway that in the back seat, we do have a 3/4" Sprocket Wrench.

A bad ass flashlight- The uses of a flashlight in a man's car are infinite. We can search for things that we've dropped under the seats, signal to other drivers to let us know we've stalled, but most importantly, we can use the flashlight to make it seem like we actually know what we're doing when we open the hood and try to figure out what's wrong. Whether or not we can fix it doesn't matter, because by then we would have impressed the girls enough. An example:

An empty cold desert highway. Night. Carl is driving Tonks when suddenly, it stalls noisily and comes to a complete stop. Carl and Bryan step out, looking concerned. Bryan pops the hood and smoke billows out. In the distance, a dingo howls.

Monica (from the back seat): Oh no, we're miles away from the nearest town. What are we going to do?

Cat: Relax Mon. The guys have got it covered.

Monica: What makes you say that?

Cat: Because they've got...flashlights.

On cue, Carl and Bry switch on their flashlights and begin pointing at random stuff.

Carl: So what do we do?

Bry: I dunno man. Just keep pointing.

Carl: Okay. (Pause) So do you think we need the 3/4" Sprocket Wrench?

The End.

Monday, March 31, 2008

So this is how I spent my Easter weekend...

No amount of words can describe the experience so I'll let some pictures do the talking:






With all that, you could pretty much say we saw the Light. :)

Friday, March 07, 2008

Random thoughts on a Friday night

I'm sitting on the living room couch, listening to Marley fill the room, the reggae perfectly matching the fried bangus Migs is cooking in the kitchen. It's pouring outside now, and for the first time in a long time I don't curse the weather because the rain gods have blessed me with enough sunny days in the past couple of weeks and made them days that really mattered.

Trips to Bondi. Barbies galore. Camping at The Basin. Good times all around.

I have officially settled in my new place with Pete and Migs. The house has long lost its fresh carpet shampoo scent and has taken on a fragrant mix of food, laundry soap, and sweaty tennis shoes. By no means are we living in a sty, but finally the place looks and feels lived in.

Haven't had much work the past two weeks but it almost feels like it's a sign telling me that it's okay to slow down once in awhile. As a result, stepping back from my corporate job has allowed me to allot more mental energy into my personal stuff, and as a result the proverbial ideas bank has been filling up. I always knew 2008 was going to be good year for me, but I didn't know it was going to be this good.

Bottom line, I am the happiest I've been in a long long time and what's scary is that it just seems like it's going to get better. :)

Yes, that was a smiley face. That's how happy I am goddammit.