Saturday, April 27, 2013


When I was a kid there were only five TV channels in Australia.

Five. That's it.

Now, before you start claiming I am one of the ancients, this is only my 31st year on the planet.

In 31 years, we went from five channels to over a hundred.

And let's not forget the internet.

Oh yes, as horrifying as it seems, there was a time when the net was only something for oranges, hair, or tennis.

Now, the future of viewing is online, whether on your phone, tablet, or web-enabled television.

The effect of these changes have been like a clusterbomb.

Fragmented audiences.

More content produced than ever.

Increased opportunities to connect with audiences.

Decreased ability to stand out in the crowd of content.

So, like all evolutionary processes, there are winners and losers.

The most significant effect, and one that all filmmakers should pay attention to, isaudience sophistication.

Yes, audiences are becoming more savvy.

No longer are motion pictures something we see only occasionally. They're ingrained everywhere.

Websites. TV. Phones. Even billboards.

The one constant for the human mind, is that the more exposed it is to a stimuli, the more sophisticated it becomes at discerning microscopic elements that define differences and quality.

Case in point. There is a wonderful story of one of the first ever films being shown to an audience. It was a short, black-and-white film of a train heading directly towards the camera.

The audience freaked out.

They were convinced that the train was about to come through the screen and end their lives horrifically.

Can you imagine this happening today?

Of course not. This degree of novelty has worn off of movies and video content.

Today's audiences have become so sophisticated, it takes only the slightest poor artistic choice within a film to lose their engagement.

But it's not all gloom. With the growth in audience sophistication has grown their demand for content.

No longer a novelty, but no longer a luxury either.

Almost a necessity?

That may be a stretch, but it is fair to say that most people in the developed world could not imagine life without their entertainment.

This appetite is good for film and content creators, obviously.

There is, however, a caveat. We creators must evolve with the audience too.

And it is an evolution. The traditional 'we create, you watch' model still exists of course, but video entertainment is increasingly a participatory sport.

Don't believe me? Google 'Harlem Shake'.

Or better yet, watch this excellent TED talk from the Video Trend Manager at Youtube. His job is to watch Youtube videos all day, and he gives an entertaining presentation on the evolution of audience engagement through video.

Pay particular attention to the idea of "communities of participation".

How more sophisticated do you think our audiences become when they make their own content too?

People are even sharing the minute details of their lives through video, socially. A new app by the makers of Twitter, called 'Vine', allows people to share 6 seconds of their life at a time.

You can then watch these tiny snippets, for hours if you are so inclined, at a website called It is fascinating, and (I warn you now) extremely addictive.

Tiny snippets of life, shared in a constant stream of video.

Incredible. Unthinkable not that many years ago. Now a reality.

And this is the world you face as a storyteller today.

But what does it mean?

It means that you can be terrified by this evolving world of increasing audience sophistication.

Or you can realise that the audience will push you to do your greatest work. If you let them.

It means that the way we tell stories today, will not necessarily be the way we tell stories in the future.

But that's not a bad thing. Imagine evolving filmmaking to the point of fully immersive stories and 'choose your own adventure'? How much fun could that be for the creator and the audience?

Most of all, it means that creators understanding and grasping the fundamentals of great storytelling (connection, emotion, entertainment) will be more important than ever.

Because good enough won't be good enough.

The audiences have grown up.

They're ready for your best work.

Are you ready to create it?

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Saturday, April 20, 2013

OA FILMS NEWS - 'Part One: Love' selected for the St Kilda Film Festival!

After a terrific screening in the fantastic Byron Bay Film Festival, followed up by an excellent reception at the wonderful Melbourne Queer Film Festival, we thought we had run out of adjectives.

And then, we received word that 'Part One: Love' has been accepted into the amazing St Kilda Film Festival!

We are deeply honoured to have all of these great film festivals allowing us to screen to, and connect with, their audiences. Hopefully, we can one day repay the favour.

With that in mind, start getting your tickets for the St Kilda film festival now, and come and say hello if you see us there.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013


So, you got what you wanted.

Music is cheaper than ever.

You can buy an album for $16 on iTunes today.

When I was a kid, I bought a Busta Rhymes CD, from HMV, for $35.

Yes, Busta Rhymes. I was young.

Movies are cheap too.

You can get a new release DVD for $22 now.

I remember trying to buy Michael Moore's 'Capitalism: A Love Story', years ago.


So, you won.

Your entertainment is more easily available.

It's cheaper.


But guess what?

These improvements aren't free.


The piper is here. He's playing loudly for you.

I know, I know. You don't want to.

You don't think you have to.

I'm afraid you're wrong.

If you want us to keep making the movies, TV and music you enjoy, you have to earn it.

You have to start giving feedback.

More than that, you have a responsibility to give feedback.

Rate movies online. Spread the word about TV shows. Write a review about a song.

Pay it forward.

You don't realise it, but the content makers of the future are going to rely on you exponentially to help them stand out from the crowd.

Our careers will be in your hands.

We are entering an era of abundance. There is going to be more film, music, TV and gaming content released in a year than you can consume in a lifetime.

It's already happening now.

Traditional marketing will play a part in how you will hear about these new films, games, music and television.

But more than ever, word-of-mouth will be vital to ensure that the best content rises to the top and finds an audience.

Without your feedback, good films will languish in a sea of content.

We have to make it easier for you to give this feedback, of course. An instant, quick star rating prompt after you have watched the movie you bought on iTunes, for example.

But you have to play your part. You have to take the feedback responsibility seriously.

After all, you won.

You wanted the power to be in the hands of the consumer.

It is.

Now it's time to use it.

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Saturday, April 13, 2013


A great man died this week.

But you've never heard of him.

He was laid to rest on Friday.

But there was no fanfare.

When the time came to commemorate his passing, there were only those of us, who's lives he had touched, to say farewell.

There were a lot of us.

So many that some of the mourners had to stand outside of the chapel.

As we cried openly together, it was clear what a remarkable impact Bill had made on so many.

And yet, you haven't heard of him.

And I realised, so much of what we do is built around making a 'name' for ourselves. Fame. Or legacy.

But all that really matters, when the final curtain falls, is connection.

How we have connected with people.

With our words.

With our deeds.

For filmmakers, with our art.

In a world that baffles you with complexity and speed, it is still all about people.

About how we connect to our brethren. How we touch the hearts of strangers and kin alike.

It always has been. It always will be.

Bill knew it. That's why he made sure that he was a force for so much good in people's lives.

That's why I feel his loss now.

He wasn't famous.

But great men are rarely famous, and famous men are rarely great.

RIP, Edward "Uncle Bill" Green.

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Sunday, April 07, 2013


Generational psychology is the new pop psychology.

If you believe in its wafer-thin scientific principles, usually based on a survey with a sample size akin to a football match crowd, you are likely to be fairly pessimistic about the younger generations.

Gen Y in particular takes a lot of flack, most commonly characterised as 'Generation Me', the epitome of narcissism.

Of course, the Baby Boomers, with their focus on wealth and accumulation (remember the quintessential 'greed is good'?) never stooped to self-adulation the way Gen-Y's are alleged to. Of course not. No way.

They accumulated all that wealth and power for the greater good, not for personal glorification.


Personally, I don't believe that you can make broad assumptions about an entire GENERATION of people, based on surveys which cover barely a drop in that generational ocean.

I can, however, make broad generalisations about the people who believe you can trust generational psychology.

But I'll stay on topic.

The overwhelming tone of the verdict on Generation Y is that they are focussed purely on benefitting themselves.

Mixing this base with the effects of 9/11, the dreadful naked-lunch reality check of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and a financial crisis du-jour, leads the Gen-Y cocktail to taste like narcissism blended with apprehension.

An interesting piece in the New York Times articulated the diagnosis quite nicely:

'"Buhler argues that the group she calls Cynic Kids “don’t like the system — however, they are wary of other alternatives as well as dismissive of their ability to actually achieve the desired modifications. As such, the generation is very conservative in its appetite for change. Broadly speaking, Cynic Kids distrust the link between action and result.”

I had many reactions to Buhler’s dazzling paper, but I’d like to highlight one: that the harsh events of the past decade may have produced not a youth revolt but a reversion to an empiricist mind-set, a tendency to think in demoralized economic phrases like “data analysis,” “opportunity costs” and “replicability,” and a tendency to dismiss other more ethical and idealistic vocabularies that seem fuzzy and, therefore, unreliable. After the hippie, the yuppie and the hipster, the cool people are now wonksters.'

An interesting analysis, no doubt.

But totally off the mark.

Call me whatever diminutive term you prefer, but I don't buy the cynical-narcissist-generation spiel. I am instead full of hope about my generation and the next.

The problems we are inheriting are complex, no doubt.

But the age we live in is a golden age (Google age?) of awareness, access-ability and information.

Filmmakers today have the cheapest tools ever to make their art and open people's minds while making them feel something. Writers can blog or e-publish at will. Anyone can learn to write computer code and create the next paradigm changing piece of software in their bedroom.

Why wouldn't we use these remarkable opportunities to evolve our society into something truly egalitarian, sustainable and prosperous?

Is that kind of evolution so big it's terrifying?

Perhaps it's the enormous scale of these opportunities that is the cause of all of the consternation by and about Gen Y. The access to information and technology, you see, takes away the pervasive excuse of ignorance.

Suddenly, we are being held accountable for being uninformed.

And, most importantly, we are also accountable for not taking action to improve the situation. We are not Germany from 1939-1945. No-one is unaware 'accidentally'.

That kind of responsibility is scary at first. But then, exciting.

'You can do anything that you set your mind to achieve.'

Scary. Then, exciting.

But the pop-psychologists would have you believe that Gen-Y's combination of narcissism and negative world events has lead them to be cynical and paralysed by the need to always have empirical 'data' before taking action.

You can believe that if you like.

Or, can you read about the story of the three teenage girls in Africa who developed a power generator that works on human urine.

Or, you can read the recent story of the 17 year old from Britain who developed an App that that he sold to Yahoo for an estimated $30 Million.

A 17 year old in Britain. Two 14 year olds and a 15 year old in Africa.

Trusting in their potential.

Changing the world.

Just like you can, if you put in the work and think big.

Scary. Then, exciting.

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