Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Making a difference...

here is an awesome update I just received from NRDC - wildlife action fund.

Less than a week into office, President Obama announced monumental decisions this morning that show America and the world that he will lead our country in a bold new direction to protect the environment and fight global warming.

The President directed his EPA to immediately review the Bush Administration's denial of the right of California and other states to set global warming pollution standards for new cars. He also directed the Department of Transportation to set higher national fuel efficiency standards.

What will that mean in the real world? If Obama's EPA, as expected, approves the California program, new cars sold in that state and at least 13 others will have to reduce their global warming pollution by 30 percent between 2009 and 2016. And the Department of Transportation will require more efficient new cars to be on the road starting in 2010, and set a course for the average new car to achieve maximum feasible fuel efficiency by 2020.

Simply put, President Obama is not just stepping up to the threat of climate chaos. His call for a fleet of cleaner cars will help reduce our dangerous dependence on oil and push automakers to make the cars that the world wants and needs in the 21st century.

NRDC's climate attorneys were present at the White House this morning, and you can imagine their elation at this historic breakthrough. Thanks to your support, NRDC led the fight in 2002 for California's Clean Cars Law -- the very first law to cut global warming pollution from automobiles.

And when the Bush Administration and the automakers threw up roadblocks to that law, NRDC and our partners took the legal fight all the way to the Supreme Court -- and won. But the Bush EPA persisted in its unlawful obstructionism until the bitter end.

This morning, President Obama took America's foot off the brake and put cleaner cars into high gear. The automakers should be lining up to thank him. This is just the kind of turbo-charged policy they need to start producing cars that are better for the planet, better for consumers, and better for the economy.

What a difference a new President makes! But I also want to recognize your generous support and online activism that kept NRDC's clean car campaign in drive through eight tough years and countless courtrooms.

We were in the White House this morning representing you. And I truly believe this is just the beginning. If we seize this rare opportunity for environmental change, there's no telling what we can do in 2009. Congratulations!


Frances Beinecke
Natural Resources Defense Council

I love it when what you believe & what you act on makes a difference, don't you?!

The Green Life - kick the plastic... or paper bag habit - go reuseable: carry Canvas bags!

Check out this great article from NRDC blog called "THIS IS THE GREEN LIFE"

"November 2008
Plastic bags lose their luster

Nearly 75 years ago, soft plastic ranked up there with the Mona Lisa and Tower of Pisa as one of civilization's masterpieces, at least according to Cole Porter in his masterpiece, "You're the Top." Feelings have changed a bit since then.

Glamorous no longer While plastic remains the ne plus ultra as far as convenience is concerned, people are not so thrilled with its nasty habit of never, ever going away. Plastic bags, in particular, have come in for a lashing because of the way they litter the streets, get tangled in treetops, choke sea turtles and other animals who mistake them for food, clog municipal sewage systems and, once in landfills, refuse to decompose.

What we have here is yet another love-hate relationship that we do not have the strength to end. As a result, governments at all levels around the world have found it necessary to step into the breach to save us from ourselves."


Friday, January 23, 2009

365 Flicks - THE TENNIS MATCH - not a movie, but the AU OPEN - the Underdog vs the Champion!!!

Now, some of you might be thinking I'm going to talk about Match Point by Woody Allen... but I'm not and I haven't seen that one yet!

Nope, I'm going to talk about last night's Australian Open, Round Two match between Venus Williams & Carla Suarez Navarro.

Now, I love the AU open... so it's rather taken over my movie watching time... but I gotta tell you... LAST NIGHT WAS ONE HECK OF A STORY!!!

I was watching this nail biting match and all I could think was of BLAKE SNYDER'S STORY STRUCTURE from SAVE THE CAT and all the other screen writing books I've been reading over the past year of Michael Hauge, Syd Field, Karel Sagers blog from the Story Department... This match went like clockwork.

Ok, so picture this:
you start with a relative unknown. You're typical underdog. She young (only 20) ranked like 46th in the world, playing her first Grand Slam tour... and she's up against Venus Williams - a woman who's like a goddess of the tennis court. She has OWNED the grand slam SEVEN TIMES already in her career. This set up was like a no-brainer. Young gun will be shown the back of Queen's racket. Should be a nice quick match to warm us up for the men's game.

And that's what happened in Act I. Venus dominated. Carla Suarez Navarro was hanging in there, but pretty much didn't look like she had a shot. But you couldn't help but feel for her... she was up against insurmountable odds...... This set ended up 6-2 to Williams.


There was a gear change in Carla... it was visible. She had been making some nice shots in Set 1, but here in the second set, something had shifted and she was just GOING FOR IT. She had some fantastic winners from the base line, she would trade with Venus power for power until she had the slightest advantage and then, without hesitation, she would take it home. There were even a few games where they were battling it out at deuce for who could bring it home.

It was clear to us as spectators and audience of this match, that Carla found something deep down and said "You may be big. You may be mean. But I will not go quietly into that good night." and she fought back to take the set 6-3. This plucky, gutsy young girl moved from underdog without a chance to our 'hero' who was willing to do the impossible.

MID POINT. Carla, by now well and truly our hero, wins set two.

Ok, set 3 and Venus comes out with the charge. They trade games with serve until Venus broke and held her next serve (had to hold hard coz carla wasn't backing down) to get to 4-1. Both Carla & Venus hold their serves and suddenly it's 5-2. SURELY, ALL IS LOST??? This is the point where any young rising star must break, surely? Surely they could not have the experience and game fitness to pull back from such a lead to one of the worlds greatest players???

But Carla will not say die! She holds her serve to 3-5 and then BREAKS VENUS to bring it to 5-4.


So here we are, in the final games of the match. And Venus starts to crack. You see it in a double fault here, in a missed line there... But Carla, even as she gets closer and closer to the finish line... does not tense up. She stays fluid, alert... focused... She is, ladies and gentlemen, IN THE FLOW!!!

She breaks Venus, holds her serve in a deuce battle (as in saving match point on her own serve) and takes it to 5-5. At the end of each game she looks like she is about to cry, but by the start of the next, she is clear, calm and focused.

She breaks the champion to take it to 6-5 and then she serves it home for 7-5!

What a match, what a victory, what a story!!!

I was up and on my feet at many points in that match, hollering and cheering from my home...



Wednesday, January 21, 2009

365 flicks - The Yes Man

Well - on Sunday night I celebrated my birthday in my favourite way - a picnic on the beach in the late afternoon overlooking balmoral and sydney harbour... With good swimming, fun games, good food, good wine (moscato) & great friends - Priceless.
After dinner, which we had on the balcony back home, we went to a movie The Yes Man.

Sooooooo much fun!

Now jim carry is an actor I fall in and put of love with (Eternal sunshine of a spotless mind is one of my all time favourite flicks). But this one I knew I wanted to see from the trailer. Good silly fun. I've done a fair bit of personal development in my time (Nlp, Landmark education, The Artists Way - great home course for getting back into creative flow) and I've both gotten HEAPS out of it And found myself frustrated by the organisation or the extreeme that it is taken to by some members... so I knew that I was going to love this film from all directions as long as it was done well.

What I learnt:
That u can take the joke to the ends of the earth, further than ur average audience member is comfortable with IF;
- u have 150% set up that chracters NEED to change
- those actors are willing to go ALL THE WAY for the truth of that moment in a completely ridiculous world

Also that u can fully show all the flaws in a way of life/argument AND still leave people with a subtle tale home which, if said yes to, will have a positive impact on their lives

I loved the kiwi actor from flight of conchords as the boss & the female lead was fantastic too - she is a really interesting actress to keep an eye on...

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

365 flicks - the Holiday - dir. by nancy meyers

firstly I want to say - how cool is today's modern tech savvy world! I am typingthis blog straight from my iPhone to the net where u will read it some 100,000 of km away! That is indeed awesome and inspiring!

Now on sat night I needed some tlc - plus one of my best friends was staying over & she admitted she'd never seen this film. It's one of my all time favourite rom-com's and in my personal top five fav flicks! So I insisted we watch it!!!

What inspires me about this film:
The acting/writing/directing combo - these guys have created a film that really takes u ok the ride. The performances are fresh - they really listen and affect each other.

Jude Law was not my fav actor prior to this film - but esp for jude - he delivers a beautiful performance. Kate winslet has long been a favorite so no surprises that she is brilliant here too and jack black is always good value :)

What I learnt - nancy effortlessly takes u through a great story w fantastic dialogue. Sometimes those scenes are actually quite long - but she proves that length does not equal boring & huge budget action sequences/locations are not necessary to deliver a satisfying journey.

Love it - watch it, if u have't already!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

365 - DAY TWO - INTERIORS by Woody Allen


Now that was a stark contrast to Vicky Christina Barcelona. I had some warning from my inlaws....
What isolation.

There was this soundbite from the first few moments of the film about the central character, EVE, that said she had built an ice palace for all the characters to live in - and that is exactly what Woody and his team did, with the set, with the atmos sound, with the lighting, with the camera angles... everything seemed to be saying "No. You can't come close. You will never get close to me. This is MY story..."

Impressions: I don't think he had a single external shot in the entire first and second act! It was almost a shock when in the third act, a character walked out onto the beach and you saw fresh air on her skin.

It really demonstrated how much you could tell an audience from the 'interior', the landscape you had them inhabit. It was like the walls, the places they inhabited had become a character itself.

Favourite bit:
There was this gorgeous high angle shot through the banisters of the stairs, like a child looking on a couple in the eye of a storm, when they stop a fight for just a moment, to try to really listen to one another. Beautiful.

Another piece that really stuck with me was that gorgeous tracking shot where the sisters are talking as they walk along the beach and you see it all through a rickety, broken fence line along the sand dunes. So much character in that fence - I found it hard to focus on what the women were saying.

Also, the opening images were so powerful. They really set up the whole tone of the film. And a great monologue from the husband too.

What's it left me with:


Thank you Allen. Fun to see a young Diane Keaton, among others. Love your work Di!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


I'm starting with this movie because it was so... bizarre, quirky and unexpected.

I have a confession to make. I haven't watched a lot of Woody Allen in the past. I know, I know, you're probably saying " What? You call yourself a director and you haven't watched Woody Allen?" and you know what... this blog is probably going to be full such embarrassing little secrets get out... but hey - that's what 365 is all about!


First impressions: I have to say, I was NOT attracted to the story or the characters by the trailer. In fact, I had written it off as a story I would not like. And do you know why? Because I wasn't interested in some story about a guy who gets it off with three gorgeous women at once who each and every one of them could (clearly!) find someone better. That was my first reaction. And it was strong, I know!

But the fascinating thing about this movie was that although I continued to have that opinion, as the movie progressed I found myself able to simultaneously NOT like the choices that the character's made - nor the glib way in which woody approached it through his narration - and yet, little by little, despite myself, I found myself identifying with the characters. I felt empathy and sympathy for them. I didn't get LOST in them, as I have in the past - moved by their passions, tears and laughter etc etc - but I did grow to like them. To admire them. To feel for them.

And more importantly (for a comedy) I had a lot of fun watching it! In fact, I definitely think it's worth watching and a great, fun, quirky comedy. I recommend seeing it. I came out of the cinema and the first thing I did was call my best friend and tell her she Definitely had to see it.

It never left me in stitches - but almost every time he did a reveal or went for a comedic moment - I chuckled or laughed out right - sometimes more than those around me (again, something I'm rather notorious for - that and telling the characters off when they are clearly sabbotaging their chances of happiness/a good life etc etc) and once or twice, I groaned!

So all in all, a great movie.

What did I learn from Allen, the cast and the movie?
I learnt that you don't HAVE to loose yourself completely in a cimematic experience in order to enjoy it. I learnt that you could have a completely satisfying experience from a rolling chuckle. I learnt that sometimes, the comedy is in anticipating exactly what is going to happen next - even if you feel like there is a big magic marker arrow pointing to the trap/embarrassing moment/reversal the character is about to walk into.

I also noticed the performances from the three women were fluid and warmed to by all - if not rock your world deep and meaningful - but really solid. And enjoyable. Thoroughly enjoyable.

I also learnt that a director/writer can stamp their style, their voice into a piece so fully that even if you didn't know their work previously at all, you will come away, inexplicably thinking to yourself... geeez, that was SO Woody Allen.

I also came away thinking: I must see more of his body of work.

Pretty good result when I had a no-way-not-ever-just-not-my-type-of-story kind of reaction to the premise, huh?!

So DAY ONE was a success. I wonder what's next.


365 movies - the concept

Ok, firstly, let me introduce the concept.

I was talking to a photographer friend of mine and he said a phrase which I'm sure I've heard before, but for some reason, it stuck with me and I haven't been able to get it out of my mind since...

"What better way to get better at making movies than by watching them"

he was referring to also watching the Special Features and especially any interviews with the filmmakers themselves - be they the writers/directors or producers.

Now I've always had a bit of a love affair with watching movies.

I wouldn't say so far it's been an addiction... but I have the sneaking suspicion that that is only because I haven't fully given myself over to it (as opposed to coffee which I can't stop drinking since I came back from my recent italian viaggio)

And then a couple of days ago I had this idea.... I am committed to making movies. Like, I have given my life to it as surely as I have given my life to my partner and fiancee who I am about to marry in, oh, about 7 weeks! AND I know that in some areas I have a natural talent, a flair and a passion and that is starting to get out and about to people in the industry... but I still feel that I have A LOT to learn. No, correct that, I KNOW I've got EVERYTHING to learn!

And I had this idea.... what if I watched ONE movie EVERY DAY for a YEAR???
How much more would I know by a year's time?
How many more works by directors I love and director's I've as yet not heard of would I have been able to see? Worlds I would have encountered? Characters would I have discovered that titilated, disgusted, intrigued, made me fall in love with...

And ever since that nasty little possibility slid into my brain in the shower... I have not been able to throw it out. I forget about it, I think about other things, become absorbed in my writing, watch a movie on tv... and then, out of nowhere, it comes BAM.
How good would that be???

But I didn't jump on it straight away because I was scared. I was nervous of declaring this crazy intention to the world. Beginning a blog, doing it for a while and then life coming along and all my good intentions might get submerged by the benal, the important, the other things...

and today, on cheap tuesday while my partner was playing ultimate frisbee, I went to VICKY CHRISTINA BARCELONA and I couldn't help thinking... that would be a great movie to start this experiment on. Coz it was so... unexpected. Bizarre. Quirky....

So let's start.
Today is DAY ONE of 365. The movie is Vicky Christina Barcelona, directed and written by Woody Allen.

Inspiration and tinklings of movie magic coming your way,