My First Ever Podcast: Director’s Commentary Episode 1

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After purchasing a basic USB mic a few months back for an interview, I thought it was time to try my hand at a short podcast. My idea is to interview a range of artists and get their opinions on all kinds of things – but mainly to explore their work and how and why they do things.

In this first episode, I blather about artistic freedom, “outrage culture”, #changethecover, the Charlie Hedbo attacks and Bill Burr. I’d love any feedback you have and would appreciate you sharing it around if you like it. Until next time.

WKS

https://soundcloud.com/wade-k-savage/directors-commentary-episode-1-552015

Adult Content for Adults

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There’s a weird trend happening throughout the Entertainment Sector at the moment. Pockets of the next generation are becoming increasingly freaked out by particular types of art that challenge their sensibilities. It happened with movies years upon years ago (see the Video Nasties of the 80s) and now it’s happening with Online Content, Serial Dramatic TV and of course, video games. What’s most bizarre is that it’s being championed by elements of the press that should be both scrutinising and celebrating aspects of the art-form.

As a content creator, all that matters to me is that good art is made. Art deemed illegal or outside of the boundaries of good taste or consumption will not make it into the market. I can’t always speak to the quality of the decisions that Classification boards make (especially in Australia), but let’s use Video Games as an example and the ‘R’ rating in this country. It took years to happen and was established just in time for us to get ‘The Last of Us’. If you haven’t played this game – do it. Beautifully written, it has a  tremendously nuanced narrative that is one of my favourite stories, well, ever.

If there hadn’t been the work done to secure that rating, we would of gotten a watered down version of the title, or we wouldn’t have got it at all. But now as we enter a world of ‘Outage Culture’ and the continued assassination of artistic freedom it seems like ‘Adult Content for Adults’ is some kind of bizarre thing to aspire to. There is some especially sophisticated art being created across the spectrum – Games, Film, TV – but there is always this move to file the edges off. Or worse yet, brow-beat creators into self-censorship.

There’s a lot that can be said on why these particular narratives are bandied about and a lot of it comes down to the kinds of outlets we consume our news through. There’s an alarming trend of modern news outlets producing intentionally divisive content so they can basically make you fight in the comments and then sell ad space. Sadly a lot of the times, these outlets use Artistic Freedom as a crutch to do this.

That’s not to be said there are always things that can be improved across all industries – better developed and written characters with more representations of a diverse set of characters for one – but the freedom for Adult artists to produce content for an Adult market shouldn’t affected in the long run.

WKS

2015 and Beyond

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I didn’t write any New Years Resolutions at the end of 2014. In fact, I was so tired of 2014 I didn’t want to really spend any more time in it that I had to. For the record, I didn’t enjoy 2014. There was a truckload of things that happened that I could of done without – so I’m over the moon that 2015 is here.

And what a year it’s been so far. My partner and I have taken on a huge personal project, I’ve had some incredible progress with a new IP and I just spent a wonderful weekend away at the Wedding of Mr. Peter Gurbiel, himself. This is how 2015 will go, and so help me god if it doesn’t stay this way I’m going to drag this year into the direction I want kicking and screaming.

No excuses. No time wasting. Just do it. I spent a lot of time in 2014 developing things and keeping my head low, that’s not how this year will be going. I’m hoping for real, tangible progress this year. My company ENCRYPTION is launching a new IP. I’m starting a podcast. I’ll be doing more performance coaching. Barrow just had it’s World Premiere in California. More training and development. Never stopping.

2015 is all about action, and far less about being a spectator. I like that. If you’ve felt like me, all I can say is get up off your arse and do it. Over and over again until you’re happy or it breaks you. The first will happen before the other, I promise.

Also, I will wear suits and tuxedos way more this year because they are amazing.

WKS

Teaching my first ever Performance Workshop

Wade DirectingI don’t normally post about ‘day to day’ stuff here, but I wanted to write a little about teaching my first ever Performance Workshop. A little while ago, I was approached by the very talented Fern Nicholson about running a one-off “Intensive” for her school. NASA (Nicholson’s Academy of Screen Acting) has a great reputation, so I was excited to be asked.

The exercise itself was simple – the students would draft 5 scripts and we’d workshop each one. Fern had invited a collection of great indie directors to take this on (including Co-Conspirators of mine Peter Gurbiel and Damian Giglietta). After reading the scripts, I marked them up with notes and then thought about how I wanted each piece to be pitched and paced. The great thing about the exercise being that the students would perform the script their way, and then I would follow with notes.

I found that the exercise ended up being quiet theatrical in nature. The students would perform their particular scene for the class, and then once they had finished I would give them feedback. I discussed with them that I’m a big fan of being collaborative. I like my performers to have a sense of ownership of their deliveries. If they’re not happy with what they are creating, that can only lead to issues down the line.

So, after each script was performed, I would ask ‘How did you feel about it? Did it work?’. From there, they would feedback to me what they thought worked and didn’t work and we’d move on from there. Funnily enough, I spent the most amount of time saying I wanted things paced up. I also spoke a lot about how I don’t really dig lots of dialogue, preferring to work in a visual way where possible.

I was really impressed with how quickly the students took on my notes, and I found them all very effective at what they did. Fern’s influence was evident as they all had a very realist approach to both their performances and career goals. After we ran each script a few times, I spent about an hour chatting about the indie film industry and “making it”. It was a very frank discussion of the WA film industry and how things were moving in Australia.

I basically ended up saying what they already knew – the Arts is hard for everybody. It’s especially hard for creatives in WA, where we have solid funding bodies but zero commercial organisations. I said I couldn’t imagine being an actor in Australia, with it being hard enough being a creative. They asked me what I thought would happen and all I could say was that I didn’t know. The one thing I did commend them on was that they were making it happen. The best bit of advice I had was: Don’t wait. Get out there and do it. Make mistakes, learn, grow your network and be “politely aggressive” with producers and agents.

I found the whole experience really positive and I would do it all again in a heartbeat. I found the students all really refreshing and I wish them and Fern all the best for future. I’d love to be apart of that future if possible.

WKS

VITOLA – The Celebration of Cigars, Drinks and Classic Jazz.

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A little while ago, I think I joked on Twitter that I should start a blog that explores three things I really love: Cigars, Drinking and Classic Jazz. Well, I might as well just do it whilst I wait for some film deals to happen.

I’ve never had a Hobby/Enthusiast blog before, so I’m finding the whole thing pretty exciting. I do also need to ensure that the “fun” aspect of this is always the most important – my partner’s always been very clever in telling me that “You should never make what you love your work”. I agree wholeheartedly.

That’s where Vitola comes in. My new publication is a stripped back and fun look into a culture (or a subset of cultures) that have existed for a long time. I will be presenting Editorials and Reviews on new Cigar, Alcohol and Jazz products. Well, maybe not new Jazz, as I really only want to cover Jazz from the 20’s to the early 60’s. It’s basically a blog by me, for me.

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That’s not to say it isn’t already getting attention. Vitola was live for 3 hours before I already had a major Cigar company offer me to review some stock for them. You can also follow the blog on Facebook.

Cigars, Drinking and Classic Jazz give me a tremendous amount of pleasure so I can’t wait to meet a lot of great people involved in these industries. I’ve been reaching out to the plethora of people I know, and I’ll be running a whole host of different interviews in the future.

My favorite aspect of the new publication is what I’ve called ‘The Combination’: We combine a Cigar, a classic Drink or Cocktail and a Jazz Album and discuss how they all compliment one another. It’ll be somewhere between interesting and just a little wanky. So long as it’s fun, it’ll run on Vitola.

Be sure to stop be here: http://vitolamagazine.wordpress.com/ 

ENCRYPTION

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For years and years I’ve struggled to produce a production company that really captured what I wanted to do. 

I’ve dabbled in nearly every aspect of film-making, but simply making short form work after short form work isn’t really going to cut it. As you would of seen from my earlier posts, I like the idea of bringing storytellers and brands together. I especially like the idea of making branded content that doesn’t suck.

But, what I especially love the idea of, is creating worlds that sell. What if there was a company that created content and ideas? What if there was a service that could aid small and big companies in developing their IP’s into something people connect to? If people naturally connect to a world (IP) then there is a better chance they’ll pay for something connected to that world. What if it doesn’t have to be awful merchandise and cheap cash-ins? 

What if it’s stuff we want?

That’s what I hope to do with ENCRYPTION

I’ve mentioned before about our internal projects, which will start the company off. From there, I then want to start reaching out to companies and seeing what they’re looking for. It’s a crazy idea, but all good ideas are (unless of course, they’re aren’t). 

Oh, and Barrow is nearly done too. It’s looking incredible. 

 

On Serial Dramatic TV

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The best cinema happening today is on television. 

I know you’ve heard that before, but I can’t help but feel it’s true. Every major TV series there is, I’ve come to late. And each and everyone of them I’ve fallen in love with. I love stuff that’s dark, compelling  and paints it’s characters in a very grey way. Hence, I love Breaking Bad and Game of Thrones.

Now, I’m falling for True Detective. 

There’s a lot to be said about letting your characters breathe. There’s also a lot that DOESN’T need to be said. All three of these shows never rely on dialogue, and what dialogue there is, is very, very good. Cable television is now being called “creator driven content” and it shows.

There is real heart and soul that gets poured into these projects – and you can sense it in every frame.

There is such a huge divide between Serial Cable drama and Network drama. In fact, it’s kind of embarrassing to finish watching an episode of True Detective and then catch a little of some Network show. Artistically, they just can’t compete. 

The other wonderful thing, is that the millennial generation has grown up on these great shows and it wants them now. Which means it’s our job to cater to the demand.

I’ve been working on two very different IP’s at the moment – both of which are online serialized live action shows. Both of which cater to the audience first and foremost.

All I’ve wanted for years is to direct “My First Movie”.

But now? Man, I want to make the kind of TV that I’m watching. The kind of TV that is better than movies and people want more of.

It’s a new Age of Cinema on your laptop and I couldn’t be more excited.

WKS