I’ve had the pleasure to work with Damien Giglietta and Peter R. McIntosh countless times in the past, so when they offered for me to come on board and direct showreels for their new shingle 88 to 1 Productions, I was thrilled.
The team has partnered with New Faces Talent Academy – a huge entertainment and performance academy developing the biggest stars of tomorrow. I’ve worked in the past with this organization, so I was interested to see what it would be like to work for them. I’ve done ‘one off’ course work before, but I’ve never directed traditional showreel material.
It’s an interesting process, as you are primarily working with younger performers and you have to work very quickly to ascertain the motivations of a scene and what each character wants. I’ve been able to cheat when I’ve directed my own projects, as I already have a relationship with both the performer AND the character. This however, is very different as you go in ‘cold’ and have to find the truth of the piece as you workshop it.
Luckily, the talent I’ve had the chance to work with has been really great. I normally have the performers run through the piece once for me, as this informs be on their approach – as well as it provides a ‘block through’ for our Cinematographer and Sound Recordist. I then discuss what notes I have for the performers and then send them away to run through it without me.
I find I won’t give a lot of notes when we start to cover the scene in the master wide, as I don’t want the performers to expend their energy on a shot that is mostly used for setup, coverage or tailing out the scene. It’s when we hit the close ups, that we’ll start to really work. I personally like to listen to the delivery of the dialogue a few times, and then provide notes on pace, pitch and tone. Pace is especially important to me, as I feel the viewer can bore or tire of a scene if the pace isn’t perfect.
However, I’m finding that I’ve been really lucky, as our clients are very switched on and driven. It’s always refreshing working with younger performers, as they haven’t developed the usual set of behaviors that can sometimes restrict what we can achieve in a scene.
I can’t wait to see what this new role brings on next!
I update this personal blog about three times a year, so I won’t faff about too much. We’re a month into 2016 and I’m all about learning. I’m reading anything I can about Disney’s business strategy, PR and Entertainment PR principles, and how you create long lasting and real relationships with an audience.
If you weren’t aware, I announced Skourge Legacy last year. It’s a tremendous concept, that will be HUGE one day. For now, I’m just having fun. It combines all the things I loved as a kid – adventure, storytelling and a real sense of scope. We’re in the process of developing a series pilot and building an incredible brand from the ground up – no easy task.
For the rest of 2016, my plan is to do nothing but learn, grow and turn my company ENCRYPTION into something very big. I’m also developing lots of other things, but that’s a discussion for another time. What are your plans for 2016? Why not drop me a line on twitter at @WadeKSavage.
Hope you are having a great 2016 so far – I know I am.
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.
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.
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.
I 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.