Sunday, May 24, 2009

Ever wondered about moving to LA to pursue your career???

Here is an article that Kate Davies posted on her facebook group called "The Actor's Journey" discussion board. i thought it was pretty awesome, so I'm reposting it here for you to read. I think, regardless if you're going over there for acting or other filmmaking career aspirations, that there is plenty of gold nuggets to mine!

Make sure you go and join her facebook group too! See the bottom of the page for the URL:

Hey Gorgeous actors and film folk,
Many of you have been asking me where I am studying etc. So here is some info on moving to LA.

1. I am studying at TVI actors studios, the reason I chose them was it is an intense 8 week course covering mainly the audition process, american dialect class and the way to market yourself for the American Market.
The 8 week course cost $3500 US. There is also an 4 month course which gives you the chance to work in the industry for a month.

2. To find accommodation, the school will help you or you can check craigslist:

The average monthly rent is about $750 - $1000 US per person.

3. There are also some other visa options on the discussion topic here on the AJ " 10 ways to get a visa to USA"

4. Please be careful and don't part with your money unwisely. To set yourself up for a 2 month stay in LA here is a breakdown of costs:
a) $3500 US for 2 month school
b) $1000 AUD for a return flight from Sydney to LA (I flew Virgin, they were great and it's a 13 hr flight)
c) $750-$1000 US a month rent.
d) Budget about $100-$150 US a week on food and living.

5. Getting around LA is a pain if you don't have a vehicle. If you study at TVI you can get a place quite close and walk it is quite safe. The buses ($1.25US per ride)are cheap but getting to Santa Monica from Sherman Oaks is a 2 bus ride and takes about 1 1/2 hrs. Buddy up with someone with a car and you can share petrol it costs about $28 US for a full tank of gas.

6. TVI are quite lax and as long as you have some acting experience you can get in. Don't do yourself a dis favour and go without acting lessons as you will feel out of your depth.

7. I studied acting for screen in Australia at NIDA and Screenwise as a part time student but I also worked extensively in the Oz industry. For some of my work check my website:

8. If you have a few credits, an IMDB or lots of PR you are probably better off spending the $3500US on getting a lawyer in Oz to sort you out with a 2 year work visa, that way you can get out here and work straight away and fund your trip and stay that way.

9. Don't think it is any easier here in LA, yes there is more work, but there are 20 times more actors, going for the same jobs. You really have to market yourself as a business here and not rely on your agent or manager. Relying on them you will starve to death and just end up getting jaded and leaving the industry.

10. Everyone is really friendly here and there is a huge Ozzy community. So it is up to you to get out and go the the networking events. There is something different going on every day.
Also classes out here are roughly about $250 US for 4 x 3hour classes. But again do your homework and go and do an audit of the class (sit in and watch for free) to see if you like it.

Adopt a smart proactive attitude, seek your own work and network like crazy! It is definately not what you know but WHO you know in this town.

I am loving my experience and the classes are teaching me a lot about the business of acting.

I hope this is helpful. Feel free to add some comments if there is anything I have forgoten!

And remember:

"The person who gets the farthest is generally the one who is willing to do and dare. The sure-thing boat never gets far from shore."
–Dale Carnegie

Good luck guys and keep on believing in yourselves.

Best wishes


Best of luck!
from Lunar Wolf Productions

quote. a creative life: mastery in the offering...

Here's a cool quote i read on a facebook group I just joined called A.C.D.C:

"There are those that learn to swim by being thrown into the water and there are those that learn to swim by acquiring knowledge about everything to do with the process of swimming, and play around with various conscious ways of entering the water as well as propelling through water.

The former become good at not drowning - the later may swim in a range of styles, understand the nature of water and it's various forms, and most importantly can consciously identify the experience of doing as well as interpret it's impact on the viewers.

The former doesn't take very long to achieve, the later is a life time commitment."

Cool huh?


posted on a fb by Greg Kurapatkin

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Sydney-siders: check out this photographic exhibition @ CAFE LOUNGE

Cafe Lounge has an exhibition on at the moment called LOUNGIN'

It's out of this world!!!

My favourite portrait was a gorgeous image of a woman as if in a japanese tea house which had been flooded... complete with green fog rising off the water --- magical!!!

Congratulations to Alex Weltlinger and his team who worked LONG hours on this series.

All of the models are actually the STAFF from CAFE LOUNGE.

Alex's vision was to bring out the unique characteristics of each of the portraits, placing them in their element and highlighting the shocking, the funny or the irreverent inside each of them.

EVERYTHING was shot at the Cafe Lounge! Amazing use of space, lighting and context to transport you in each photograph to a whole new world.

Congratulations to everyone involved once again - and to the Cafe Lounge for partnering such a visionary project!

It's called:

It's on from:
19th May - 9th of June

Cafe Lounge, 277 Gouldburn St, Surry Hills

Find out more about it:
(PS check out the awesome feature on the bottom of the screen - hint, it's a rollover so swipe the mouse across the figurines - be prepared for image overload!!!)

or on this blog:

He also has a funky profile on Model Mahem:

This is a photo of Alex's, but not from the exhibition. Just an example of his extraordinary talent to get the juices flowing so you hop on down to the CAFE LOUNGE to experience it for yourself!!!

To see more of Alex's photos and some sneak previews from the LOUNGIN' exhibition, check out:

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Synchonicity... at the Opera Bar

Having been lately participating in a great discussion on the importance of music in films, that can be found at:

Here's a story of Synchronicity that occurred last night while out on an "Artist's Date" (see Julia Cameron and her fabulous books in The Artist's Way series, if you don't know what I'm talking about)

I was at the Opera Bar soaking up atmosphere of the romantic imagery of the opera house & Sydney harbour and the sounds of a singer/pianist with a cheeky glass of champas before returning home... and the musician and I get to chatting in his breaks. Of course we share a bit about ourselves, what we do... and he tells me he wants to get into writing soundtracks for films. His name is Gerard Masters.

Gerard Masters... Gerard Masters... The name was familiar. I felt a bit sheepish that I couldn't place it. It was clear from our convi that he knew some cool people and did a lot of touring and recording with his two bands (one pop, one jazz)...

Anyway, we had a great chat - about all things creative, favourite movies, travelling spots, vacation plans - and it comes out that he's a kiwi too (my goodness, us kiwi's are a talented bunch!!!) We exchange details, he invited me to a gig (It's on tonight at the Basement, unfortunately I can't go, but you should catch it if you're around!) and we agreed to catch up when he gets back from touring for the new CD launches.

Of course when I got home, I googled him. Turns out he's pretty well known!

Gerard Masters is one of Sydney's most in demand keyboard players. As well as leading his own groups, he performs and records with top jazz, funk and rock artists from around Australia and New Zealand.


Double the sheepishness - I have to admit, I got pretty excited to learn that he toured with Missy Higgins (one of my all-time fav. AU singer-songwriters). His bands have done a bunch of recordings and live gigs at various international locations and festivals. But that still didn't give me how I knew him...

It wasn't til I loaded up good ol' iTunes that I realised why his name was so familiar to me --- The Gerard Masters Trio (the jazz band) was a favourite of Chrissie Koltai, my old movement & dance teacher from the Actor's Centre! I had a copy of their CD "Palindrome" at home and had even used it in the soundtrack to a piece I directed for stage while studying at The Actor's Centre...

How is that for synchronicity! Pretty awesome huh?

I was really just there to lap up the gorgeous sounds & atmosphere! -- but it's great to have met him. I could tell he was talented. Was great to hear he was also being recognised and in demand for his skills!

Needless to say, am looking forward to exploring possible future collaborations :)

Loving it up!
from Lunar Wolf Productions

PS For a further note on the synchronicity of that - just last weekend I saw an Italian film called "QUIET CHAOS" and they were talking about Palindromes in the first few minutes of having walked into the cinema... freaky!!! lol.

PPS Gerard if you are reading this, the song I mentioned covered by the Whitlams (but I think originally written by Bob Dylan) was "Tangled Up and Blue." And I loved your rendition of "Fire & Rain" - you may have noticed that it had me singing along in my chair. he he. Great song. Next time, play more of yours!


My info from a little birdie who works there (thanks for the water, Ben!) says that:


And Gerard mentioned that through winter they often get a little baby grand down there to help warm the winter-nights. Make sure you pop down to hear him play, it's food for the soul :)

Related links:

Gerard Masters Trio MySpace:

Gerard Masters MySpace:

Friday, May 8, 2009

Samson & Delilah - a film Australians can rave about!!!

So for those of you who haven't seen this film yet, get your butts to the cinema and SEE THIS FILM!!! And STOP Reading This blog because I am about to rave and I don't want to spoil it for you!!!! Honestly do yourself a favour, grab a friend and go to the movies - you will be moved by your time with this story!

For those of you that have seen this movie...

WOW, huh? I have not been so confronted and so riveted/engaged in a cinema experience in YEARS!!! Incredible. I kept wanting to fill up that silence with inane chatter. I was hyper-aware of how used to the convention of dialogue and chatter I was. I was itching for someone to say something, anything. I wanted to scream at the characters to look around, to open their eyes, to wake up to what was happening. It was like being 5 yo in a pantomime and yelling at the hero "look, look, he's behind you!!" Fantastic.

What I also found inspiring was how shocked and repulsed I felt at the same time as being riveted to the screen. I both wanted to get away, whilst forcing myself to stay, desperate to see what happened next. And I came out the other end of the movie not only knowing that this situation was NOT ok with me, as a fellow Australian and global citizen, and also feeling compelled to explore what I could actively do to make a difference to this poverty. So often I find I've come out of a powerful movie about social issues, shaking my head and thinking "god, that's awful" and yet actually not compelled to act. But Samson & Delilah left me with "What could I do?" "Would this work?" "What if I started an awareness campaign" "What skills/resources do I have that could make a difference to these kids?" Quality questions flowing from a world-class film. I'm sure it will rock the audiences at Cannes.

I am immensely proud to be an Australasian filmmaker when I see films like this come out of our community.

Congratulations to the Director/Writer, Warwick Thornton, the Producer, Kath Shelper, & the whole team who brought us such a deep & moving film.

And congratulations must go to all of those - the local and national government agencies, industry professionals and independent financiers who invested time/money/faith in this project - YOU MADE IT HAPPEN!

Inspired Fellow filmmaker,


The official blog & website:

Here's an article in the Times about Samson & Delilah going to Cannes, published 11/05/09:

Samson and Delilah quite literally took my breath away!!!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

making things makes a difference!

I've started a wee project, just for myself. I'm writing a novel. Don't know what it'll come to or whether I'll ever publish it or perhaps make a movie of it... but for now the pleasure's all in the writing and playing in the world!!!

So it was 12:30 AM when I managed to tear myself away from the 'work' computer last night having been lost in a silly spiral of online time wasting and got into bed to grab my laptop and start writing.

For me, climbing into my warm bed with the duck duvee and getting out my laptop to open final draft is more like rubbing my hands together when sitting at the kitchen table just before thrusting them into a big bowl of playdough...

Now there's a thought, when did I get too old for playdough or lego for that matter?! And who says I have to wait to have kids before I can play with it again?!

Ha, perhaps I'll look up a recipe for it online. I'm sure there's a million out there by mum's, dad's & fellow rebellious artists who are getting back in touch with their making/playing/doing side.

Speaking of which, here's an amazing video I watched that gave me inspiration today...

Hope you get as much from it as I did!!!

Take care,
Miri from Lunar Wolf Productions

Monday, May 4, 2009

Loud & Proud... Standing up for where you come from!

If there's one thing pretty much everyone seems to agree on - world leaders, trend setters, artists, filmmakers, spiritual leaders and personal development coaches - you can't have a future without first dreaming about it and then TAKING ACTION towards it.

Well, here's a story that I hope will inspire you.

A couple of years ago, my friend and I decided to make a film for Tropfest. We had never made a film before. We had no idea what you had to do to make a film. But we had watched PLENTY of films and seen Tropfest for many years running, so we figured, what the hell, let's just make one.

And we did.

From the point where we committed and decided to make a film, we wrote, directed and shot it ALL within TWO WEEKS!

Now, this was no filmmaking feat. I'm not claiming brilliance of any kind. But what we did do, is we got in there and had a go, from exactly where we were at and with what we already had - Passion and a Love of StoryTelling!

Actually, the film we produced was very much a first film. A student film. A first encounter with the magic of the black screen.

To tell you the truth, by the time we had finished editing it and I sent it off festivals, I had already starting judging the work. My tail was already between my legs. The stinky part was that I felt embarrassed. I'd already started comparing what we had produced to all those amazing directors and films that I loved so much and I had become painfully aware that THIS film, was not a match. For my dreams or for the kind of product I could be proud of.

Not surprising then, with that kind of energy behind it, it did not find a place in the festivals I sent it off to. I had spent hundreds of dollars on entry fees to festivals that I thought weren't aiming for the holy grail but a realistic place for our film and I became even more embarrassed and disheartened... So I put it away in a drawer and tried to forget about it. Whenever anyone asked me about it, I tried to fob it off as quickly as possible and move onto other things, probably making a joke out of it.

Thank god I didn't let that cynicism and resignation actually stop me from pursuing my career as a filmmaker! If I'd listened to that snarky little voice and let it poison me completely, I would never have been able to continue taking steps towards my dreams. Luckily, my friend and I had already started Lunar Wolf Productions and we moved our focus onto new projects.

But the other day, I found the quicktime version of my film and I watched it again. In some parts I still cringed, in other parts I found myself nodding my head and thinking - Actually, for a first time director, this sequence really worked, I'm actually feeling the tension here - or - oo, that's not so good, what would I do now to cover that scene - or - oh yeah, I remember that moment on set. I was frustrated and I let that get in the way of communicating with the actor. I wonder what I could've said to help them find a fresh moment...

And by the end, I watched it through again. With less of the cringing and more of a growing sense of pride. Sure, it was definitely a first film and I had made PLENTY of mistakes. But in amongst it, was some gold, some space for true reflection, and a sense of gratitude for this first record of our baby steps into filmmaking.

So I decided to take action. In stead of leaving the film to rot in the drawer, I decided to make it into a new exercise. Seeing as I had never cut a trailer for my films, I thought, what the hell! This is a first film - what better material to cut a first trailer from?! Can I make it exciting? Can I show the tension? Can I hint at the story? Can I create the impression of the film I meant to tell?

Here is the result. It's the trailer I loaded onto our youtube channel for Lunar Wolf Productions. The channel URL is

The short film is called UNEXPECTED HAPPENINGS.

I am proud to have this up as an example of where we've come from. I'm proud because I hope it will encourage other beginning filmmakers to get out there - LOUD AND PROUD - show their work, gather the feedback and enjoy the process of making films. Because filmmaking is a practical art. You have to be in the game to win it. You win be telling stories, learning on the job and finding bigger and better solutions every time - always chasing that illusive image that is haunting the moments just before/after sleep...


Love Miri
From Lunar Wolf Productions

PS as you can probably tell - this film was made on $0, for the love of the thing. All the talented people that came together to help us make our first film are all legends - especially Jemore our DOP and editor, Irma our art director, Katey our producer and all the others that spent a weekend with us, often late into the night, to capture this story on tape. You guys are all legends and I hope your work is blossoming out in the industry! Big thanks must also go to Mario Leonti & Michelle Scullion from New Zealand who created a kick ass soundtrack to the film.