Film Making Mentors: Piece 19

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Mick and Me -Courtesy of Nathalie Fernbach – ABC


I couldn’t end this journey of who shaped me without special mention of Mick Bromage and Leandro Palacio who have helped shape my beginnings as a film maker.

They have taught me that you start with your imagination and a storyline.  You begin to create that storyline through images and sounds.

You match the images to the interview narratives, and cut between them and the person speaking to add interest.

You need to be alert and aware to the atmosphere of sound.

You add to that a layer of music.

Equipment wise all you need is a video camera or a smart/(video)phone or digital slr to begin.

As you develop you might start to collect your sound with a microphone or tablet.

You can map out the kind of pictures you are going to collect, and do a range of close-ups and mid shots, establishing scene shots, and conveying the story shots.

I will never forget the day Leandro taught me about exploring all the angles to find the perfect images for the Dance for Recovery video.  I raced wherever he asked me to and he gently called out instructions as to what kind of footage to attempt.

Other times I have learnt by watching.  Accompanying Mick to Murray Upper, I collected audio for a video and watched as Mick used his camera, set up lighting, and encouraged the children to relax as he took photos of their dreams.

They have never let me feel overwhelmed by editing programs and equipment but let me learn lots by myself and given me handy tips when I had a perplexed look on my face, or asked a question.

I like that they are meticulous and honest and will tell me at precisely which point the editing needs fixing and how to maybe do it.  They also give handy feedback and debriefing so I know what to do better next time.

I learn a lot by watching their films carefully, and wondering, now how did Mick do that, how did Leandro do that?

They are always very busy, as so many people and organisations want their help and they cover such large areas, but they have taught me most of myself to believe in my ability to learn, and to research how to do things not just simply rely on their help.  At some point when your being mentored you need to be confident to learn stuff yourself.

This year I had a short film shown at the Mission Beach Film Festival.  It was thanks to their mentoring and encouragement.

If you want to see it click on the link: Dance for Recovery

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Leandro and June – Taken with Self Timer- June Perkins

Inspired by the Who Shaped Me project for ABC Open, this month’s  Pearlz Dreaming blog theme will be about the people who inspire me and there are lots of them! Goal 19 pieces on Who Shaped Me.

Now and Then; Series 2 comes to Tully

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Participants and producers preparing for a now and then photo

So yesterday it was time to walk around Tully to take our Now and Then photos.  We prepared for the task in the morning at a workshop with ABC Open producers, Michael Bromage and Leandro Palacio.  They showed examples, and took everyone through the steps of what we needed to do.   It was during this process we were delighted by a walking history storybook of knowledge of the area, Jean.  She knew so many things having lived in Tully since she was a young girl.  I think she would give the most brilliant guided tour to visitors.

Local librarians were on hand to find and give us more background to old pictures as well, to assist us to make those dates of the then photographs accurate. But what a wonder to see all Jean’s kodak box pictures, many of which are in the local library collection, but we got to see the originals not just the scans.

We were asked to participate in a mini video documentary of the day, and to tell our stories of the photographs to camera.  The story doesn’t end there as some participants, much to their surprise, were also asked to have a go at sound recording and were given many tips on many types of storytelling, photographs, to video and blogs.   Jean was such a wealth of knowledge that she became a star storyteller, and there is no other way to describe her contribution other than generous and brilliant.

The group for the day were warm, funny and open to learning. They shared laughs, and took to the task with enthusiasm and zest. They are definitely going to tell all their friends about how much they enjoyed the experience.

All the participants contributed well and got right into the spirit of the day.  They were energised and keen to learn more about everything the producers had to share.  Some participants didn’t have email before the workshop and made little use of the internet but now they think they will.  They were happy to hear our local library gives two free hours a week to locals with library cards to make use of the internet each week.

Participants look forward to seeing the documentary about their history walk of Tully, some of it recent and some going back half a century.  They collaborated not only with producers, but with each other, to produce some contributions – already uploaded to ABC Open. 

You can see my documentation of the workshop HERE.

Thankyou ABC Open for a great day!

Tully Church Lady Sees Change
My now and then photograph completed..

She sees change, after cyclone Yasi the broken buildings just hinted at in the photo.

Now a year on the church is gone, containers hold some of her memories and she will soon witness a rebuild.

Memories of the Winds of Yasi

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June Perkins – Trees after Yasi

This morning the wind woke me up.  It’s waking up a lot of us who remember the storms of Yasi not to mention the flooding afterwards.  We often get flooding up north, but the Yasi floods were full of debris, and on top of already coping with blown away rooves.  Rain meant life felt even trickier for all those camping out and retrieving things from their properties and clearing roads was harder.

We know that was all a  year ago, but our bodies feel and hear that wind throwing leaves, left over debris, and branches around – and can’t help but pay attention even when our minds think we can deal with it.  In the same way my youngest feels thunder storms in his tummy and he doesn’t have control over it, not yet.  My husband is always aware to make sure we drive when the roads are safe and to head home when floods threaten.  He doesn’t want us to get stuck anywhere, and so we curtail conversations we’d love to have for longer and apologise – it’s time to go home while we still can.

It has been an amazing few days where I’ve felt the need to be with small understanding groups of people who get this feeling of slight apprehension when the wind blows.

In a radio interview I was doing I was listening to footage of our experience prior to being asked questions, and the emotions suddenly came to the surface and almost overwhelmed me.  I  did feel over Yasi – and had a lovely afternoon yesterday sharing stories of the brilliant events since Yasi with Emma and Leandro – and watching butterflies but listening to audio of us prepare and go through the cyclone that’s just very emotional still and it’s taking me I think unwillingly back to inside the experience of a year ago.  Luckily the interviewer was so understanding as I explained how listening to that footage made me feel and was able to empathise without being trite about it so I got through the rest of the interview, partly by focusing on the stories of others and the team at ABC Open.

At a book launch True Spirit of Cyclone Yasi I notice that people are reflective, contemplative as we know there are people under tarps, and there’s so many more stories than can be fitting into the book of this experience.  Launch goers smile almost hesitantly and there is much beneath the surface, but also much to celebrate.  The scaffolds and clearances are still going on.  Rebuilds are being halted by the rain.  Yet, there is something trimphant in every time we come together and see the positive.

To understand how I feel if you weren’t in the cyclone – try going to visit the links I’ve put together in storify  – Yasi in Storify – that will give you a glimpse into this experience, or buy Bernadette Lawson’s book True Spirit of Cyclone Yasi.

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At the Tully Book Launch True Spirit of Cyclone Yasi – June Perkins

Here is a first draft of my early morning poem:

Wind mock me with memory

shock me with sounds of past long gone

strongly felt

mysterious and hiding all that moves

Turn me inside out like a shirt put on in the dark

and placing ridges  on my outer being

where everyone can see I’m outside myself

remembering all that was

Turn your clouds into rainbows

and paisly patterns of the soul

Sprinkle brilliant flecks of colour

into stepping stones to the doorway of optimism

You laugh at me

knowing I love you when you’re a cool  calming caress

to humidity and blazing eat your skin sunlight

I can sense the need for poems

as floods return to places they once were

and more disasters loom.

In poetry perhaps optimism can find a place as

fickle nature takes only a course it understands.

(c) June Perkins

Guest blogging makes me brave and leads to discoveries

Yes, my guest blogging for abcopen continues – what a great bunch those producers are – busy creating, workshopping and out and about getting to know the community.They inspire me to do the same.

Mick, Leandro, Sonya, Miranda, Benji, watch out for all these names I am sure they will produce many great stories.  Their short videos are gems in my daily websurfing.

I love interviewing people and sharing their stories.

This picture at the top of this blog is of Joe Galeano a recent interviewee.

I was lucky as Pam introduced me to her husband Joe and although I didn’t know him that well by the end of the interiew I had a lot of insights into Pam and Joe’s life in the country and living through cyclones.You can find my latest blog up now and soon there will be some videos! I have been working on mastering pinnacle editing programs.

At first it was tricky but it is getting easier.  Once I master the basics I am keen to go on and do more complicated stuff.

You can read my latest guest blog:

http://open.abc.net.au/projects/aftermath-08vh8ac/posts/pam-joe-and-the-mighty-yasi-00fi7yg

(c) all rights reserved, June Perkins

Moment Behind the Photograph – workshop in the Cassowary Coast

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Photographs can be amazing story sparkers, as a small but enthusiastic group of participants found when Leandro Palacio came to C4 to run a free community workshop.

Weaving, Cyclone Yasi stories, lessons from nature’s creatures, and empowerment of Aboriginal youth were some of the themes to emerge from participants’ photographs.

Leandro introduced ABCopen by playing a few sample Moment Behind the Photograph presentations and its one year celebration video, as well as navigating participants through many exciting and creative projects.

We worked on telling a story about our photographs, such as:

-where we were when it was taken

-what it was about

-why it was important to us.

Once we had  made a few notes on our photographs – in a handout Leandro had earlier prepared, he recorded audio of us telling our story.  He shared with us how we could sound record on  iphones or smart phones.

Leandro gave us handy tips on minimising background noise when recording, and demonstrated how to use the video editing programs.

We asked him all sorts of questions about sound scaping, where to obtain ‘free’ copyright music and sound effects and programs we could access for free.  He showed us a few of his posts as well.

It was a productive day!  Thanks must go to c4 for providing a free workshop space and to Leandro for giving us insight into ABCopen.

The other participants were lively and chatty,  so we had an informative discussion on the difficulties of accessing broadband in some regional areas and learnt more about each other.

(c) June Perkins all rights reserved words and images.