Director’s Blog – The Quiz

ARE YOU A FLEET OR A STANLEY? (or even a Wadsworth?)

Which of the South Solitary menfolk is most like you – or your fella?

Are you the roguish charmer or the brooding loner? Perhaps you’re neither of these, you’re the curmudgeonly old fuddy-duddy? Or perhaps you’re Reef Ireland, in which case you have nothing to worry about. Do this quick quiz and find out once and for all!

nb. For greatest accuracy of results, it is helpful to have watched the film 30-35 times.

1. Which line might you use when wooing?

a) Gee, you’re a sight for sore eyes in that dressing gown. Is that satin?

b) I don’t need company like you do. I’m better off without it.

c) Go to bed. You’re too old to behave like a schoolgirl. It doesn’t become you.

d) Excuse me, Miss. Have you used your bath yet?

2. To show someone you like them, do you:

a) bring your dimples into play as much as possible.

b) stare smoulderingly at them whilst hanging out your longjohns.

c) pull out all her knitting, whilst harumphing.

d) snicker.

3. Is marriage a hindrance to extra-curricular activities?

a) No. Not if your wife is not affectionate.

b) I can’t do it, you see. I can’t seem to be with people.

c) I had thought that other business a momentary lapse, an aberration – but now I see that it’s you, the sort of person you are – a person completely without honour!

d) There’s one in our front parlour, sir.

4. What is your favourite song?

a) Hello, hello, who’s your lady friend?

b) a Welsh hymn. Actually, come to think of it, you don’t know any hymns.

c) God Save the King.

d) There’s a Place in France*

5. What outfit best becomes you?

a) a rather lairy yellow and brown jumper which Alma knitted you from a pattern she found in the Ladies Home Journal.

b) an original hand-knitted garnsey teamed with battered old jacket from the merchant navy.

c) bespoke lighthouse keeper’s jacket, with self-devised merit badges.

d) matching lairy jumper to your stepdad’s, but in green and brown. Best worn with braces over.

* There’s a place in France

Where the ladies wear no pants

But the boys don’t care

‘Cause they like to see them bare

There’s a place in France

Where the naked ladies dance

There’s a hole in the wall

Where the boys can see it all etc etc

How Did You Score?

Mostly A’s: You’re Stanley, the pantsman! Ladies, beware….

Mostly B’s: You’re Fleet, the brooding loner. Don’t worry – women find this appealing.

Mostly C’s: You’re destined to be a confirmed bachelor. You will find great solace in knitting.

Mostly D’s: You should be concentrating on your school work, and not bothering with this nonsense.

Note: If you scored equal A’s and B’s, then you are completely perfect and should send all your details at once to meredith.appleton@sthsol.com.au

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Director’s Blog – The Sound Team

It has come to my attention in recent times that the Sound Team is disgruntled that they have not been “blogged” about.  Really, this blogging is simply too exhausting, especially when people are forever feeling slighted over such things. The Costume Department still feel they are owed some kind of compensatory blog to make up for the “incident” blog; Denise (our editor) is not thrilled at the way she has been portrayed in the Editing blogs; and now Sound are feeling miffed at the fact they have not been deemed sufficiently interesting to warrant a blog in the first place.

So here goes:

Frank Lipson (see above) is our Sound Designer.  He is the Jessica Watson of the South Solitary team (except older, and male). His greatest disappointment on this job was that he was not required  to kayak across the Bass Strait and then down around the southern-most tip of Tasmania to record the actual Roaring Forties – he would dearly love to have done so, and considers us namby-pambies for not insisting upon it.   As it is, he has gone to many extreme lengths to ensure us a richly authentic soundscape.  Frank will shortly be releasing his CD entitled “South Solitary: the Wind Effects”, which he is hoping to get out before Mary gets her music out.

And here is the lovely Yulia, our dialogue editor, fresh from the icy fjords of Norway, where she spends her days alternately yodelling or spearing minke whales through holes in the ice. (I have never been to Norway and may have it mixed up in my head with some other countries.) Don’t be deceived by the charming demeanour she presents in the photo above. She can be an absolute despot in the ADR suite, and carves up dialogue as intricately as if she was disembowelling a baby seal and rendering its blubber for lantern oil. She has become very adept at mimicking a Welsh accent, and – as well as her native Norwegian – speaks fluent horse and sheep.

And here is our mixer, Andy. You may well ask: “What is this young man doing on a film staffed largely by women in their middle years?” Good question. Andy is not yet 30, so by rights, should not have anything to do with “South Solitary”.  However,  we waived our strict age embargo on this one occasion, on account of the fact he is 29 (“That’s not young”, as Alma would say); also, he is a very good mixer.  As you can see by this picture, Andy almost never finishes his lunch, which we find exasperating and incomprehensible.  When he did the “Are you a Fleet or a Stanley?” quiz (soon to be published on the blog), Andy scored halfway between them both, which makes him almost perfect, if any eligible young ladies happen to be reading this…

And here they are on the last day of our mix, with Mary Finsterer (our composer) and my beloved and long-standing editor Denise Haratzis. What beautiful work they have done, and how grateful I am to each of them for all they have brought to the film.

And that same sentiment applies to all of the South Solitary crew, and indeed, the cast.  Making a film really is a collaboration, and a director is entirely dependent on the skills that everyone else brings to it. Making “South Solitary” has been a joy for me from start to finish, as everybody has thrown themselves into it with such passion, talent, skill and good humour. I am completely grateful and indebted to them all.

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Director’s Blog – The Music Recording

The composer Mary Finsterer is an old friend of mine, and years ago I said to her, “How would you like to have a bash at this whaling film I am a dead cert to get up at any moment?”  She was keen, and one day I hope I do get to make my whaling film because we have decided there will be a  lot of double basses and glockenspiel (it is a romantic comedy set against a backdrop of whale slaughter, if any investors should chance to be reading this). But in the meantime, I wrote “South Solitary” and Mary turned her attention to that.

Mary Finsterer with the conductor Brett Kelly



Although she spends most of her time busily writing concert pieces for formidable international ensembles,  Mary got straight  to work  and made sure we had some key pieces long before pre-production so we’d have something nice to play in the car on our reccies. When I was shooting, I would arrive home in the evening to find Mary had not been idle – freshly baked new pieces awaited me, airing fragrantly on the window sill. By the time we started editing, we had masses of lovely music to cut to.  Her music is beautiful, and has been a great source of inspiration.

So it was a grand day indeed when the orchestra came in to play!

How sublimely they played! (although they seem to be chatting in this picture)

Not one, but two harpists!

Interestingly, my daughters overheard two of the musicians in the bathroom discussing the fact that you can buy yourself a  violin these days at Aldi!  I am hoping Aldi has a sale soon on harps so I can force my daughters to play.  Harp features strongly in the South Solitary soundtrack, and these two harpists were extraordinary. But so were they all, and how sublime the music sounded!  It was a privilege indeed to be there.

Photos by Dean Golja.

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Producer’s Blog – The Poster

A poster suggestion from the Producer, aimed at the domestic animal demographic:

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Producer’s Blog – Editing

The room is light, bright even, with the afternoon light through the venetian blinds; not dark and air-conditioned, lit only by the dim lights of the editing equipment where the Director and Editor dwell, locked into their internecine battles of one-take vs another. But still this sunny room doesn’t lift the anxiety weighing down on the Producer as she waits for them to call; to beckon her finally to come see what our film looks like.

Pacing, sitting, raising non-sequitors with the Co-producer who quite properly ignores her; irritating the Post-production Co-ordinator with requests for the crew list to be redrafted, again, in a slightly different, albeit to everyone else, no more illuminating font.

Still the phone doesn’t ring. Still they ignore her. Still they offer her not a skerrick.

Frustrated, unsatisfied, unsettled, the Producer does the only thing left to her: she seeks solace in the always distracting, always exciting world of on-line window shopping for shoes.

“Oh look at these!” she gasps turning her computer screen toward the Co-producer and pointing at a pair of elegant, short, black, leather boots “These are gorgeous – what do you think?” Her eyes are bright, her voice excited it’s as if finally there is purpose to life. “Or are these better?”

“Umm” grunts the Co-producer involved as she is in the process of financing a new film, ostensibly their reason for being.

“Do you think they’d send them from Paris? Maybe I should just send them an email?” comes the unaffected reply “Or do you think I’d look silly in these?”

“Uh uh”

“Maybe I can get them on net-a-porter? Isn’t that what you’re supposed to do?”

“Huh?”

And so the conversation flows until the dark mood that has oppressed the Producer lifts and her voice is now chirpy and her eyes bright; all thoughts of the question mark that hangs over her film have dissipated into a maelstrom of leather and suede and towering heels.

“That’s the Editor on the phone” chimes  in the Post-production Co-ordinator, excited that finally the endless revisions to the crew list will be at an end.

“Oh, tell them I’ll call them back – I’ve found the boots on shoes.com!”

"Or do you think I'd look silly in these?"

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Director’s Blog – The Editing Process, so far

First Pass: Utter despair. Overwhelming sense of total failure.

Second Pass: Spirits lift. Film may not be complete turkey after all.

Third Pass: Be brutal! Trim everything!

Fourth Pass: Even more brutal!  Trim more!

Fifth Pass: What were we thinking? Put everything back again, only longer and more drawn-out this time.

Sixth Pass: Aimless tinkering. Long and earnest discussions over such things as whether to include a perfectly harmless cutaway of a wallaby or not.  He had chanced to hop by the second unit crew, and upon realising he had attracted their attention, proceeded to assume some thoughtful poses; gazing pensively out to sea, sniffing the air as if sensing impending storm etc etc “He has no relevance”, decrees Denise, and wallaby hits the cutting room floor so fast his head spins.

7th pass: Now find ourselves cutting for the sheep’s reactions, not the actors.  “Hold that a little longer!” I cry from my position deep within the couch cushions. “See how Sausage is turning his head as if he is looking at the steamer too?”  Shoulders tensing, Denise grudgingly does as she is bid. And it sort of works, at least if you are looking at Sausage and not Miranda, busily emoting her socks off in foreground.  Although even I must eventually concede that perhaps it looks more like Sausage might be turning about to scratch himself. Which in fact he was.  But, as Denise will readily attest, I am always the first to cheerfully admit whenever I am wrong.

Wallaby: Ultimately Deemed Irrelevant.

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The Crew’s Blog – Sou’westers

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