Preparing for: Lights, Canberra, Action

Well, perhaps preparing is a bit of an exaggeration - at this point I don't have much of a clue what to do or how to do it. There are still 10 hours though so nothing to sweat about.

Lights, Canberra, Action is a short film competition run as part of the annual Celebrate Canberra festival - a 10 day extravaganza dedicated to showcasing the many interesting things about ONC (our nations capital).

The competition allows you 10 days to make a short film of up to 7 minutes and must include 10 items (generally locations) which are provided at the start of the competition. Extra points are given for working to the theme of the festival - this year it's "Canberra's best kept secrets".

I've entered this competition each time it's been held - in 2004, 2005 and 2006 - with varied results. (Unsuccesful finalist in 2004 & 2005 - though in my humble opinion criminally robbed of best screenplay in 2005)

The 2006 effort was a brave failure - far too ambitious for the time frame. I tried to incorporate machinima, sequences of still photos animated, relatively complicated commentary on the Cole (AWB scandal) inquiry and Flash animation into the one thing and just didn't get there. (As far as I'm concerned, it's still unfinished)

Some of the lessons I've learnt over the last three years - group scriptwriting generally doesn't work (someone has to take the lead), the more people relied upon the more difficult organisation is, Flash animation is a bastard to convert to video, a simple story well told is better than something with layers upon layers (don't be too clever for your own good), don't affectionately take the piss out of Canberra in a festival that is part of the celebrate Canberra festival and do spend the time getting your script right.

Other lessons are that there are some fantastic people out there who are reliable, helpful, surprisingly talented and giving of their time.

I haven't yet had a chance to put these works online but when I do I'll pop them up here.

Thoughts for this years are, as I mentioned, fairly vague. Even though I'm pretty sure also that it's only you, me and the cat reading this blog, I'm still a little reluctant to put them up online just yet.

There is a chance I'll take out the PXL2000 though - a toy video camera released by Fisher Price in the late 80s which uses audio tape to record video. It produces very pixelly black and white images and I've really been hankering for a chance to make something with it for a while.

This is a bit of a prime example of putting the technology before the story though, always a bad idea, so we will just have to see where it might go first.

The timeframe this year is going to be a little compressed though, as I'm off to the Golden Plains music festival at the end of next week (heading off on Friday) and the films are due on the Monday, so whatever I/we do, it's going to have to be pretty easy. This is where a good story will make all the difference.