Victoria’s education system

I hate the way people cry and moan about their universities and colleges here in Melbourne. Like, seriously, come on! We’ve got some world class universities, and even the smaller vocational colleges are top-tier.

I never complained about my university when I was studying and since looking into the IT courses in Melbourne for my recent documentary, I have an all new, almost zealous appreciation for our education here.

The people who piss me off are the arts students who hit the streets whenever there’s a cut to university budgets. They’ll kick up a big stink about losing some insignificant and pretentious subject like philosophy or literature, subjects that don’t get people anywhere in life. They’re just big expensive wastes of time. What these twerk students of the humanities don’t realise is that the universities are culling the inessential superfluous subjects to streamline the education system and make it better. Like, hello! You’ve got to get a job some day.

There’s a stark difference between arts students and those who will do, say, a video game design. Melbourne vocational colleges are modest in comparison to the big universities, but this is why the students are more down-to-earth and no less talented. Sure they lack the prestige, but the teaching staff are up to par and the quality of the education is in no way compromised.

Even I myself, as a documentary filmmaker am a complete advocate of cutting funding to the arts. If you want to be an artists, you’re clearly over-privileged and sitting on a pile of money. This is white privilege at its most critical. If lazy white kids just get off their arses and do a real job, then perhaps there’d be less inequality in the world. They’re hypocrites really. They all cry poor and think they’re being virtuous by riding their bikes around town, eating vegetarian and doing yoga, but what real difference are they making? None, all they do is mooch off the welfare system taking 10 years to complete their three-year arts degrees and swallowing up state funds with hecs debts they’re never going to repay!

Inside the sick sad world of game development

web dev course MelbourneI had a new idea for a documentary series. It was going to be about sexism in pop culture, ranging from sitcoms to video games. The works were going to shed light on how women are represented in these forms of media, their under-representation as autonomous subjects and portrayed as mere objects. As part of my research for this video work, I went to several colleges to interview people first hand on their thoughts of the industry.

First of all, I approached people in an app development course. I have to admit that I was expecting a bunch of misogynists, and while there was a higher ratio of men to women enrolled in the course, the guys were pretty on the level. They seemed to agree that women should be depicted in more positive ways, giving them agency in video games and some interviewees even touched on the issue of sexuality.

This was a big surprise to me. Like I mentioned, given the way women are treated by pop culture especially in the gaming industry, I thought that the people behind the scenes — those making the games — would be equally as contentious. However, the people I spoke to seemed aware of the pitfalls of gaming culture and political incorrectness that pervades it. I was filled with a sense of optimism, that these men (and some women) were taking on a game design course and not some others. Perhaps when their generation comes of age and starts producing major games and influencing the mainstream world of gaming, we’ll see huge changes. We may see powerful female leads without being compromised by cleavage, and perhaps have relationships with other women. So I’m thinking of re-titling my documentary to something like, “The future of gender in gaming” or perhaps “pop culture and popular change”. Either way, it’ll be good viewing. Be sure to check out my patrion coming soon.

I’m becoming a builder

It turns out making documentaries isn’t incredibly lucrative. I figured I could work on sets as a runner or camera hand to make up the cash to fund my creative pursuits. This hasn’t quite panned out and now I am poor. I have had to take a break filming and take up a job with my someone my Uncle knows. I will just be helping out on a construction site in Melbourne. Maybe this soiree into the world of home renovation will provide some insight into my next filming project. I believe I am going to be lugging a wheelbarrow full of bricks in and out of the main site. My Uncle told me we will be working alongside the bathroom renovators in Melbourne. He made it extremely clear not to get in there way as they will be handling very expensive equipment. My uncle also made it clear that it would be labour intensive hard work and I may want to hit the gym before I start. The plus side is I will be finished by 6ish each day leaving my evenings free to get on with script writing. The injection into my bank account should also be useful, I have student loans to pay off. I never imagined myself working construction, a recent liberal arts graduate with a passion for documentary filmmaking doesn’t quite seem the description apt for a high-vis jacket wearing builder. Apparently it is now. There is value in taking a job, hard work pays off and I needed to learn that lessons. I am sure I won’t be working in construction forever but I will entirely dedicate myself to assisting these bathroom renovations in Bayside while I have the chance. There are no doubt lessons to be learned, muscles to be gained and friends to be made.

Melbourne, city of limos

airport transfersMelbourne is many things. It’s been nominated as the UNESCO city of literature among other things. But I like to refer to Melbourne as the city of limos. It’s not that we have tonnes of limos here or anything — no more than other major city, I imagine. It’s just that Melburnians love their nightlife. Melbourne is considered Australia’s most European city, because of the style of the architecture and the cafe culture and alley ways.

When you go out on a Friday night, it isn’t unusual to see a limousine or even a hummer driving past. I guess a lot of rich and famous people come here to soak up the sights in this beautiful city. They arrive in the CBD by private airport transfer, Melbourne city awaiting them on the skyline. You can sometimes spot them, shamelessly three sheets to the wind, swinging Champagne glasses out of their windows.

Other times you see limos are for wedding limo hire. Melbourne, again, is a beautiful place so a lot of people get their wedding photos taken outdoors like in parks, outside of iconic buildings, even in front of graffitied alley ways (“street art” is considered trendy in Melbourne).

It isn’t surprising that such an attractive place is associated with opulence and luxury. Melbourne, though comparatively small, is as expensive as places like London and New York. The rent might be cheaper but goods and services make up for it. It has something to do with how isolated we are, and also because our economy didn’t suffer as badly from the crash a few years ago. Of course, all of this enables us to hire more limos. If you come to Melbourne, I recommend seeing the city views from the comfort of a streamlined limousine.

Documenting the societal ideal of beauty

dermal fillers MelbourneMy darling mother is now entering into her middle years. She’s doing well though, she takes care of herself. She keeps fit with lots of jogging and yoga – you’d actually probably pick her to be in her late thirties not her early fifties. Lately however, she’s been experimenting with cosmetic treatments.

I guess those detox smoothies and superfood salads weren’t enough. He skin is visibly aging — crow’s feet, fine lines, all the inevitable signs of a long and fulfilling life. I was disconcerted at first by her ambition to change her face. She’s an attractive woman and I believed women shouldn’t succumb to social ideals of what it means to be beautiful. However, after she got her dermal fillers near Melbourne CBD I started to change my mind.

Like many people who are opposed to cosmetic treatments, I must’ve had the image in my mind of a celebrity’s face gone wrong. You know, puffy face, stretched out eyes, lips like franfurts attached to the face. But actually, Mum’s anti wrinkle injections looked pretty good. They were natural, you’d never be able to tell that she had any work done, except of course that she looked slightly younger and better. Then I saw the impact it had on herself esteem. She was glowing. And that’s when I changed my mind about the whole beauty industry.

Now I’m thinking of making a documentary about Melbourne’s beauty scene, the good and the bad. I want to depict a balanced portrayal of the pitfalls and benefits of having beauty treatments, especially as a woman. I’ll be investigating local clinics that do treatments like dermal fillers, lip enhancements, cheek augmentation and laser hair removal.  Melbourne city is literally brimming with such services — so there’s obviously a huge market for it. My preliminary study, interviewing people on the street, showed that most women have had at least something done, whether that be permanent hair removal or some kind of non surgical face lift. Pretty interesting stuff worthy of further documentation.

The essence of skating

I loIce skating Melbourneve what I do. Capturing the essence of life, filtering it through the lense of my camera, distorting it with my own interpretation. Although I’m by no means an expert in my craft, I hope that I have enough skill to be able to call myself a documentary maker. Only, often I find it hard to narrow down my ideas and focus in on a specific one. There are so many topics I could pursue, directions I could follow that it can become all tangled up inside my head. Sometimes, I find the best sources of inspiration are those you glean from someone else.

A mate of mine works in some of the coolest function rooms in Melbourne. It’s unlike me to make a pun, but I mean not only in the sense that they have state of the art facilities, but that the function rooms are placed above Melbourne’s premier ice skating rink. We talk about his work quite a lot and he took me there once as a bit of a favour. Nothing too major, I was simply keen to check it out. Immediately, my attention was caught. The glittering of the fluorescent overhanging lights refracting off the surface of the ice, the poise with which the skaters slid across the glistening, opaque surface – it was simply mesmerising.

Before that moment, I’d never thought ‘ice skating in Melbourne’ could be a topic for anything of significance, much less the documentary I was now obsessed with making. For days, now, it’s been the only thing I can think about. Ways to capture the manufactured grace, the story behind it all, because there must be a story behind it. Humans are complex creatures, even the most seemingly meaningless of pursuits has a wealth of interconnected decisions and rationales behind it. There’s a story behind the Melbourne ice skating scene and I’m going to find it.

 

Firewood: Ashes to Ashes

firewood brisbaneMy latest project is focusing on sustainability across Australia. I love the travelling that comes with making a documentary, it is dictated by the subject and often leads you to places you would otherwise not go. Unfortunately this time for me it is not a far off and exotic land, it is Brisbane. I was looking into how we reuse things instead of throwing them away and a family friend of ours in Brisbane drew my attention to how they get their firewood. I was going to follow a tree from its life in the ground, to its removal and through to its production of firewood. The Story of Wood. Ok it won’t be a major hit but I figured it would at least have a powerful environmental message. I started by observing some land clearing, Brisbane is home to some big old trees and it takes real skill to bring that timber down. I filmed over 10 tree loppings and even assisted with some land clearing in my friends yard. The company was kind enough to let escort the wood back to their grounds so I could film its journey. It’s chopped and then split into similar lengths, then is dried and stored to age over the year. The stock of potential firewood is continually contributed to by ongoing land clearing jobs, the cycle of wood is incredibly productive and very beautiful to watch when its sped up. Once the wood has aged for long enough and is fit enough to be burnt it’s packaged into one cubic metre bundles and delivered to empty fireplaces across Brisbane. I went along to deliver some of the firewood, Brisbane is pretty familiar to me as I have spent quite a few summers here, it was great to see the wood complete its journey. It started as a tree, turned to rubbish and became heat.

Hello J Marlow

bathroom renovationsOk I have given in. I made a blog. I know, another skinny graduate who deems themselves too misunderstood to be categorized by real life interactions. What could I possibly have to say that is worthy of anyone’s time? Even if there is such a thing as original thought left in this world, what are the chances that I will be graced with even one, let alone enough to pepper this entire blog with interesting content. I suppose I’ll just jot things down in the hope that someone may stumble upon it and relate and some kind of positive impact is felt from these words. What better way to get to know me than through my parents. I never met my Dad. Enough said there. My mum is an interior decorator and specialises in the design of Melbourne bathroom renovations, she is very successful and has been an extremely important creative influence on me. You should see the bathroom we have at home, it’s incredible. The bathtub is made of copper and is big enough for me to stretch out in and have a nice long soak. When I get a place of my own I’ll be getting mum to work with the bathroom renovators to come up with something special.

 

What else can I mention…I am an only child but continually strive not to fulfill the stereotypes attached to this solitary familial situation. A film of my life would be averagely reviewed at present time but I think in the future critical analysis of it would uncover key themes of childhood and adolescence in 21st century Australia. I am fairly aimless right now, I have a degree under my belt, i’m a fairly competent guitarist and a passionate documentary filmmaker. My latest piece was actually based on my mum, I followed her around for two days trying to capture the essence of a single mum come business winner but I mainly ended up with extensive footage of bathroom renovations in Brighton. It’s a work in progress but I think there is something to be uncovered there. The plight of motherhood has definitely left its mark which on my own mum has been positive but on many others has been less fortunate.

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