So I can’t remember whether I’ve owned up to being a geek yet…but you’ve probably extrapolated this, since I already admitted I’m a nerd, and it’s kind of a “potaito, potarto” thing.
I’ve always loved tv and movies with SF / Fantasy by far my favourite genres, starting with (1970s) Doctor Who and (1980s) AstroBoy and Spider-Man comics when I was a kid… This was back in the VHS Age before geeks inherited the Earth and made SF mainstream. I even studied film production for 2 years at uni, fully intending to make movies, but ultimately realised that while I was great on the theory side I sucked at the practical. I’m ok with it; it comes in handy when playing Trivial Pursuit.
ANYWAY, we’ve just finished watching Season 3 of bloody fantastic Kiwi show The Almighty Johnsons (there had better be a season 4, after all the ‘it’s over, it’s over, it’s back again’ kerfuffle after season 2. Update December 2013: It’s officially axed. NOOOOOOO!!! Why?!?!) but it’s ok, I’ve found a new show in the meantime: Mako: Island of Secrets – a spinoff from hugely popular H20: Just Add Water. It’s aimed at tweens and kids but it’s one of those rare shows I actually enjoy watching with mine, as it’s blissfully free of trains, robots, pirates, dinosaurs, and other anthropomorphised critters. There’s a great sense of humour and adventure, and the characters are well written, likeable and outdoorsy. And what I like best about the H20 series’ is that they are totally and endearingly Aussie! Ocker accents all the way; ‘tinnies’, ‘swimmers’ and ‘prawns’ all feature. Thankfully our lingo is used in a realistic, non-cringemaking way though, and is not at all “Carn maaaaate, rattle ya dags and chuck some prawns on the barbie” etc.
It’s such a little thing but to me it’s important that they haven’t internationalised it (and by that I mean Americanised it) because the kids will know from the accents and language that it was made here, even if they aren’t familiar with the Gold Coast locations. And I get a little vicarious thrill that our favourite beach features in one of the episodes! Well it is beautiful.
I started watching Mako not expecting much but have been blown away, not just by all the awesome young actors, but also by the fantastic production values which have been raised beyond the high standard set by the original series.
And can I just also say, the casting director deserves a huge pat on the back:
Meet Chai Romruen – former track & field champ turned dancer turned actor from Nambucca down in NSW; keep an eye on this guy. I was interested in seeing what he’d done prior to this, and was stunned to discover this was his first acting gig. He has been busy though…
1.13: WTF? I had no idea that was even possible. That’s some Cirque du Soleil shit right there. But don’t skip any of it, all the guys are frickin awesome! This is from when he first started out, doing some awe inspiring busking with Beat the Streets around Sydney. It’s been quite easy to
cyberstalk him do research as just before the show premiered in July he cannily set up his own website with links to Tumblr, a Facebook page, Instagram etc, plus he does regular Q&As with his (over 2000 currently) fans on Twitter! Ah these young kids. And he’s popped up in music videos as well; his big break was in Jess Mauboy’s fun music video for ‘Inescapable’.
As well as being a sick dancer he surfs as well, so I’m not surprised he’s so flexible & looks so at home in the water. A pleasure to watch. Really.
He seems a really fun, friendly guy; I love his instagram pics & commented on one, and the next morning he’d commented on one of mine. It was so unexpected, but nice – he’s locked in a new fan.
My other favourites from the show are Ivy Latimer, who, aside from being stunning & a great actor is freaking hilarious; she made the national final of Triple J’s RAW Comedy at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival last year, & has been acting for over 10 years already, including a debut with Geena Davis thanks very much, and a bunch of tv including that Me & My Monsters kids show. I remember the boys’ favourite monster was ‘Fiend’ & they’d laugh their arses off whenever he came on but ultimately they decided the other monsters were a bit scary so we stopped watching it.
Dominic Deutscher, from season 5 of Sea Patrol, gives an assured performance as his character alternates between funny, awkward, and sinister… he’s also a favourite – I hope he’s in it more next season actually. Gorgeous Lucy Fry plays the unofficial leader of the mermaid trio whose initially prickly personality cracked me up even though it went right over the boys’ heads, and Amy Ruffle’s character is a lot like me (a bit of a soppy romantic) but really really really ridiculously good looking and sings a hell of a lot better. The whole lot of them are just awesome; I love to see homegrown talent doing well. Roars & I watch “The Merman Show” every Friday & he loves it too… It makes me so proud to watch a great show which is Aussie through and through! Do yourself a favour and check it out.
P.S. Discovered a clip on YouTube for a short film Chai’s done for the Brisi 48hr Film Project – and it’s on at the Judith Wright Centre this Saturday! I haven’t missed it! Mustbeofftogetticketskthanxbye.
Update: Went to the second Brisbane screening and had a really great night! It’s been ages since I did anything film-related besides sneaking off to a date movie with hubby once in a blue moon. They had some fantastic little films in there (some of them are on YouTube; Pavlomance, The Winds of Chang, Nothing To Lose , A Day in the Death and winner Stinky Jim, Defender of the Earth were standouts for me) and we got to meet some of the actors and filmmakers during the intermission as well… And yep! He was there…
…and I totally chickened out! I felt really weird about going over and doing the whole ‘I’m a big fan’ thing. Argh!! What’s the big deal? He’s an actor in the public eye, and I’m a fan not a crazy person. He’s possibly geeked out on occasion too. I think a fair part of my reluctance stemmed from the fact I couldn’t think of anything to say that was honest and positive yet didn’t sound kinda stalkerish, eg. “Hi, how’s it going Chai? Have become a big fan recently and as a matter of fact am here tonight because of you…”
Technically true, but… NOPE. And some more NOPE. Here, have all of my NOPE.
All I wanted to do was say ‘hi’ without freaking him out. So close and yet so far… maybe next time. What about you? Who would you geek out for?
Meanwhile, Another Fortnight Later:
I am experiencing a personal renaissance in my love of cinema!
I’ve been living in southeast Queensland, a mecca of Aussie filmmaking, for the past 9 years with pretty much zero awareness of our local film industry. Frankly I’m quite disappointed in myself. But one thing I’ve learned today: an honest-to-God superhero short film is going to be shot here! Purryburry Productions, who also produced Pavlomance, start filming in March. They’re still only a brand new, tiny company – they don’t even have a website yet, but you can check them out on Facebook – and they are doing right now what all of the great directors did at the start of their careers; starting small but aiming big. Everyone has to start somewhere; Sam Raimi and The Evil Dead, Peter Jackson and Bad Taste, James Cameron and Piranha 2: The Spawning … actually let’s go with The Terminator shall we? No offense, Jim.
Anyway the name of the short is Gifted and it will star a bunch of great local actors including Conrad Coleby , the very familiar-looking blond hottie from Sea Patrol and All Saints and who was just in The Wolverine. Nicholas Hamilton also stars; a very talented 13 year old who actually took out Best Actor at Tropfest for Time down in Sydney this year! And the resume of the production crew reads like a Hollywood marquee; can’t wait to see what these guys come up with for next year! And then it’s going to Cannes in 2015! Sorry, here I am geeking out all over the place again…