Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Festival time! and a big 2011

Pic 1#  Ricky at Mad Max pub in Silverton (I became a member, don't ask how)
Pic #2 Ricky with mini inceptor. (Silverton's like 30mins out of Broken Hill)
Pic #3 Ricky in Bhutan! That's the Tigers Nest in the BG.

Hello friends,

Happy New Year!   Well, almost. Love this time of year.

Had a fabulous last couple of months with trips to Bendigo, Broken Hill (see fun pics above), Perth and Sydney again.  Not to mention BHUTAN! I filmed an episode of ABC series Cheese Slices there. Absolutely spectacular... and I can recommend the Yak's cheese. ...Kinda.

Screening at the Perth International Arts Festival (PIAF) was the bomb! Outdoor auditorium that holds 1,100 people.  Something about watching Summer Coda in deck chairs with a brewski or bottle of vino really works! Funny that, probably because that's how the film was written!

Ricky also attended the Access Film Festival in Sydney, a beautiful event promoting access to cinema for all. Totally lovely to sit in a cinema with blind people experiencing the film.  The festival had organised an audio track that describes the actions of the characters around the dialogue, so everyone gets the full experience.  I was asked why a blind person would want to come to the cinema? Silly question when you've experienced it! Nothing really compares to the atmosphere of a cinema, whether you can see the screen or not. Ah, and lets not forget the popcorn and choc-tops (plus cider where available).

Don't get me started on Broken Hill!  Film lovers paradise. Drink at the hotel were they filmed Priscilla AND THEN drink at the pub where Mad Max II, Razorback, A Town Like Alice and Dirty Deeds were filmed! Or maybe take a tour of the brand new Mad Max 4: Fury Road studios! Amazing. I can especially recommend "becoming a member" at the Silverton Pub. It involves sticking a large red funnel down your pants. Nuff said. Thanks very much to Lyndall Roberts for setting up such a fabulous tour!

Next stop PALM SPRINGS!  Summer Coda has just been selected for the Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF). Very excited. We're heading over on Jan 5th. ...And so begins our international sales campaign. We've signed on with Entertainment One (E1) as our sales agent, whose recent Aussie films include Animal Kingdom, so we're in super duper hands. The next 6 months is all about getting seen in as many new territories as we can and hopefully Ricky can score a few freebie plane tix too! Nothing better than watching your film OS at a film festival. nothing better in the world!

What else is news? I've started a new production company with a bunch of other film crazed champions and we're basing ourselves in LA (just leased an office!) as well as Oz. We have a simple mantra, passed down by the king himself:  The best thing young filmmakers should do is to get hold of a camera and some film and make a movie of any kind at all. ~ Stanley Kubrick 

Sounds good doesn't it? We have a fabulous slate of brilliant screenplays and we're gonna do exactly what the great man suggests. Make films.  Pronto.  We're gonna do more for less. 

I was very interested to read about and watch Ed Burn's new film Nice Guy Johnny.  Made for $25k. 3 man crew, unknown actors (but for Ed himself). Everyone on profit share.  Released straight to iTunes -- no cinema release. It's doing incredibly well and it's a distribution strategy that's looking more and more appetising for Indie filmmakers.  Now Ricky is always gonna want to play at the cinema, and our next films are quite a bit bigger, but a great little flick like Nice Guy Johnny provides fantastic perspective. Write a great script, get out and make your movie! 

Massive shout out to all you wonderful supporters. What a fabulous year.  Onwards and upwards my friends!

If you're in or around LA we're screening at Palm Springs on the 13th and 15th of Jan. You can pick up tix through their website:

We'll also be having an "Australians In Film"  Summer Coda screening in LA on Feb 24th -- more info on that bad boy soon. Come along and say...     Cider!

Lots of love,


PS. For Summer Coda's Facebook site with all the info click here  ...LIKE US! and you can follow Ricky on twitter here.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

In Release!

Hello Friends,

What a whirlwind!  As I write this, Summer Coda is now playing in all Australian states and territories!  Ah.... with the major exception of W.A. -- but don't you Westerners take any offence -- we have something extra special planned for you: We're OPENING the big ol' Perth International Arts Festival (PIAF) on Nov 30!  Followed by ample opportunities to come out and see us in season.

What an eye opening experience this whole Aussie release thing has been. Talk about ups and downs! I'm pleased to say there's been many more of the former. Thank god. We've had absolutely beautiful audience responses, but completely mixed reviews. Some amazing, others so-so and a couple poisonous. But the varied opinions on Summer Coda have been quite satisfying in an odd way. It provides something to talk about!

Of course I'd prefer EVERYONE just love it! (and "get it" mainly) But the weird thing is, differing opinions create a talking point, and film discussion is one of my fave nerdy past times.  I also love sitting in the back of theatres and hearing the different reactions: The laughs at different moments and individuals having different fave characters and / or performances. As I've said before: It's all so subjective and completely fascinating.

What's fabulous is the online love we've received.  Thanks champions! Right around the world. Not only online though, but at the dozens of local Q&A's and events in every state.  I love getting the opportunity to introduce our film; providing a glimpse inside of what we set out to achieve and what we went through to get here today. It's a rare opportunity for us and I've really adored it.  The only downer is the lack of popcorn I receive. Yes, the lack of popcorn. I think because I get looked after by the cinema manager or local town mayor I kinda get ushered into the cinema at the last minute -- We bypass the candy bar! It totally sux.

Maybe when I'm big and famous I'll be able to make rock star demands like: Ricky requires x1 Medium Popcorn x1 Boysenberry Choc Top and x2 Ciders for this evenings Q&A session. Bam!

In the last month we've visited (in no particular order); Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney, Nth Qld, Regional NSW, Regional VIC, Mildura, Tassie, Adelaide and next stop Perth!   What a road trip! Dozens of fundraisers, special events, mini festivals and Q&A's. Love it!

18 months ago we didn't have a cent of our budget in the bank and had no real clue on how we'd make it happen. It's quite amazing really, to look back and think what might have been had we not taken the jump. Best decision of my life. You want something enough, you just have to do it! It will certainly never be handed to you. Very simple stuff I know. But it's the simple stuff that works.

Do you want to know a big secret? My fabulous team and I made Summer Coda for $680,000. Total. That's all in. Not a cent more. Finished with print. We didn't want anyone to know because we didn't want to be seen as just another low budget Aussie film. I'm so bored with that stigma. But now that we've been reviewed and judged and seen, I can let you know.  Because we believe we've made something really beautiful, with an amazing cast that looks and sounds like FIVE TIMES more than we spent. And we're really proud of it. We can do MORE for LESS. You just have to insert the key words: CRAFT and PASSION.

Big shout out to our wonderful distributors and our beautiful cast who have been absolute troopers through this whole crazy fun ride!  And to our marvellous Investors, Film Victoria and Screen Australia who have helped us so much in release. W.A. here we come! (not to mention Broken Hill, Bendigo, Rose Bud and Devonport!) That's how we roll!

Thanks for all the love,

Ricky : )

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Week of release!

Hello friends,

Been doing a looooot of talking about our movie this last month. Hmmm, does that read like loot or lot, was supposed to be lot, but a loooooot. Like lots of lot. Anyway, you get it. 

Been on a mammoth Summer Coda campaign trail and man has it been a hoot! Ricky's in his element. So cool to travel with our actors and talk the talk and meet audiences and chat to press right around Oz at our advanced screenings and Q&A's. SO MUCH FUN. It's gotta be the best bit about making a film: Finally getting to sit back and see what people think. 

The greatest thing about Q&A's is you get to reflect on things you've forgotten about: We're ideas for the screenplay were first born (the image of a girl hitchhiking home with a violin case), how we found Mildura (by googling citrus), and why it took six years to fund (I now have all the answers -- want to buy my book? : ).  It's a lovely thing to sit in a cinema and have an audience genuinely interested in the process. I love it.

Something that is more difficult to grow comfortable with are reviews. Your pride and joy being critiqued by so many. You grow very close to a project and it's a surreal exercise reading opinions from all over the globe. It's both beautiful, humbling and gutting, depending on the outcome! I'm far too sensitive to not take things personally, which means I can hit the highest of highs and the lowest of lows with a simple mouse click! It's all so subjective and completely fascinating. 

Almost forgot: We had a massive premiere in Mildura! Overwhelming fun. After 6 years of visiting the great town we finally had something to show off. The response was awesome and I'm happy to say Mildura will always be a 2nd home for Ricky. Big shout out to Film Victoria for making the event so special. ...Mildura Brewery had something to do with the successful night too. 

As you can see from the pic up top, we have a Soundtrack! (you can order online here:  /   OR pick it up from JB Hi Fi, Borders, Readings...etc). This baby is one of the things I'm MOST proud about. Since I was 18 I've been blasting movie soundtracks in my car (film nerd) -- and now we have one of our own!  Glenn Richards (Augie March), Liam Finn, Dan Sultan, Amaya, Horse Stories, Custom Kings, Goodbye Motel, The Stems, Jim Keays -- just to name a few! Not to mention some of my fave score from our wonderful composer, Alies Sluiter. 15 Tracks. As Molly Meldrum would say... Do yourself a favour and go out and get it! 

It's been an absolute whirlwind and tonight and tomorrow we have our lavish red carpet premieres in Sydney and Melbourne! Rach Taylor has returned from Russia (shooting big action US flick) and we can't wait to show her the film on the big screen. We caught up yesterday, and she's so pumped about the movie it gave me goosebumps. She's such a fab leading lady, can't wait for you all to see. And if you're more into leading men, just wait for Alex Dimitriades' performance! They were both such a treat to work with. Generous, smart and funny -- what more could you want? 

Thank-you all for your incredibly support. The thought of writing this blog (and Twitter and FB) at first seemed a chore -- how quickly that changed! Love writing it and I'm not gonna stop anytime soon. Big shout out to all my new social networking buddies! 

As I've previously penned, SO MUCH depends on our first weeks box office result. So much. So get along and see our baby, and let us know what you think!  Summer Coda is playing at many, many fab cinemas right around Oz. Check out for all the cinemas. Book a ticket for our opening weekend and If you don't like it, I'll refund your ticket! *

What an exciting week!

Lots of love,

Ricky xo

* Ricky may not actually refund your ticket. : )

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

6 weeks until release!

Hello friends,

Sitting at Bangkok airport I had a sudden heart pang about what an amazing year it's been. The best of my life. Funny that I haven't earned so little cash since I finished film school. Interesting. Money certainly can't buy happiness in our trade. ...Um, not that I'm against it or anything. Actually, scratch that, can you spare a dollar?

Summer Coda is complete, MIFF screening was an absolute blast and we're now revving up for our Australian cinema release on Oct 21st.   

The last couple of months have been particularly eye opening. The cinemas (the exhibitors) hold so much power. I knew this of course, but I'd never experienced it first hand. Particularly on an Indy release.  Your distributor works their butt off on your film's campaign, gets the press and as many exhibitors as possible to come see your pride and joy. Then exhibitors get back to the distributors on whether they'd like to play your film, and how many sessions. And then let the games begin! Seriously, exhibitors and the distributors have very, very difficult jobs. A phenomenal juggling act really. 

I'm excited to say Summer Coda will be playing at 90% of the cinemas we wanted - which is just awesome. The size of screen and how many screenings you get a day are also crucial.  So the bargaining begins. Fascinating to watch. You have to fight to give yourself the best chance to be seen, and hang around long enough for positive word-of-mouth to spread. Hopefully.

Being an Indy film (but hopefully commercial too), you wont be seeing Summer Coda at a lot of mega plexes, you will however be seeing it at all the best art houses in Oz as well as a few of the finer big boys. Perfect for us. I  think we're looking at about 25 metro screens. We're also rolling out on a whole bundle of the best rural cinemas. We're thinking Summer Coda will go down well in the country, so l'll also be heading out on a massive road trip to visit as many of these cinemas as possible. 

You hear a lot of talk about PER SCREEN AVERAGE. This is the average of how much cashola your film takes at each cinema you're playing in. You need this bad boy to be HIGH. High means that people are coming along to your sessions -- not a lot of spare seats -- which means the exhibitors are happy for you to keep all your sessions for the following week, because it's clear punters want to come for a looksey. This is why your first weekends box office is so important.

It's hard to get Aussies to go see our home grown films at the best of times, let alone needing them to watch your pride 'n joy in the first week!  That's why your marketing strategy is so integral and why you live and die by your distributor. We're lucky enough to have two. 
Two champions that have put it all on the line for Ricky (and more than a few others ; ). Big shout out to Natalie Miller @ Sharmill FIlms and Jamie Bialkower @ Jump Street Films.
I have loved being in the trenches with them. As well as marketing, media, print, booking cinemas, other deals like TV, DVD, NZ and airline sales have been intriguing.

Summer Coda was privately funded. 90% anyway, 10% from the champs at Film Victoria (who have been backing Ricky for so long it's lovely to finally have something to show them). "Privately funded" means we have a bunch of investors that have taken the punt on Summer Coda. Beautiful people, because as you can imagine, backing a film is not the most 
blue chip of investments!  This brings massive responsibility to the production, to scrutinise every penny spent. Which doesn't mean we don't want to spend money -- because you certainly have to to market your film, but it just means you gotta get bang for your buck. You must know what type of film you have, who your key audience is, and what films in the past have worked. Not to mention what you can learn from the ones that didn't.  

Your $14-18 ticket at the box office gets split many ways. The exhibitor and the distributor take a big piece (as they should), and the rest flows back to the production company -- who pay the investors. However, the production company doesn't see a cent until the P&A is paid back. P&A is the costs of the film's Prints and all Advertising that the distributor has forked out for. The distributor (who's taken a large financial risk)  must recoup their costs, AND THEN money flows to the investors, while continuing to be split with exhibitor and distributor.

Summer Coda is in an amazing position where we have already paid for our P&A before a single ticket is sold. Which is due to the hard work and selling of our distributors. This is extremely rare in our country. This means from the very first ticket sold on Oct 21st, our investors are beginning to recoup their investment. This might not sound like anything too special, but let Ricky assure you, it is amazing. And it's taken some bloody hard work. 

Many Australian films aren't able to pay off their P&A by the END of their cinema run, let alone before the movie screens for the first time. The above is usually confidential, but we're working on a very different model to the vast majority of Oz films, so i think info sharing is constructive. I certainly would have liked to learn this stuff at film school.

Often we celebrate Aussie films that make over a $1m at the local box office, without looking at important things like - P&A spend and the film's actual budget. It seems like millions of dollars in losses are acceptable in our business. And maybe they have to be? Because If more than $3m is spent on an Australian film, it is virtually impossible to make your money back through local box office. As I've illustrated above, after all the splits, your film would need to make over $10m at the box office. That's if it was made for just $3m. 

As you know, many films are made for a lot more, and so those numbers compound terribly. And how many Aussie films made in the last 10 years have grossed more than $10m at the box office? And when they did, were they also made for a lot more than $3m? When you do the maths, it's not a pretty picture. But does it matter? Who cares? The general public heading to the movies don't. They just want a to see a good film.  I have no problem with that. 

However, it matters when you're trying to protect your investors so that they'll invest AGAIN.  It matters if you want to think of our industry as a business. I've been told many times just to worry about the creative: "You're the filmmaker". However, if this filmmaker wants to make another film, he needs to look after his investors. Not a bad thing to do because:

If Summer Coda's investors make their money back, they'll invest again. Meaning more privately funded Aussie films. Meaning other like-minded producers can sell this as a model and more investors will gain confidence in investing in Aussie films, when they are set up correctly. 

And so, with every ticket sold to Summer Coda -- from the very first ticket -- cashola flows back to the people that made it happen. Awesome. This is why our first week, starting Oct 21st is so crucial. 

We are very fortunate to have a film industry largely funded by our government. But we should respect that money, like we would if it was our own 2 cents. 

And that was mine. 

Lots of love,

Ricky : )

PS. By "liking" our Summer Coda facebook page you help us broaden our social network. Wink wink. Nudge, nudge....   Same goes for Twitter

Monday, July 26, 2010

Week 25 Trailer, MIFF and Premiere countdowns begin!

Hello Friends,

I'm excited to announce Summer Coda is complete! Seeing it in a cinema for the first time was TOP 10 moments of my life. It was only a test screening at Digital Pictures, but emotions hit me like a ton of bricks... and I'm not talking soft mud brick -- I'm talkin big bluestone bad boys! Totally knocked me for 6. Not because I hadn't seen it before, or didn't know what to expect, but because it's finally finished after 6 years of dreaming about it. Beautiful feeling! And now she heads out into the wide world. Wooot!

No rest for the wicked though, it's now festival, sales agent, exhibitor / media screenings and world premiere time! Very important phase. Perhaps the most important, as building awareness is so crucial. We have a soundtrack to release too. Mushroom and Liberation Records have come onboard and it's an absolute cracker album -- as well as our original score, we have music from Liam Finn, Dan Sultan, Glenn Richards, The Stems, Goodbye Motel, Amaya, Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros -- just to name a few!

I'd always dreamed of releasing a Summer Coda soundtrack (2nd dream mention - brain clearly still mush from Inception). I spent much of my youth listening to them. From the moment I got my drivers license I've been blasting John Williams, James Newton Howard, Hans Zimmer and Jon Brion in my car. Not so cool when you're 18... actually, not so cool now but who cares!  

Summer Coda is playing at MIFF on August 4th. Very pumped about that. I've been going to MIFF for years and years. When I was at film school, I remember sitting in the Forum (drinking a lot of Stellas) looking up at that ceiling, thinking how much I'd love to play at the festival. Last weekend I was sitting in the forum (drinking lots of Magners) and it's FINALLY HAPPENING! Perhaps my switch to cider played a part.  Yes, that must be it.

The pic of Alex above is one of my absolute faves. He's introducing the film at MIFF -- hope you can be there! If not, we'll be doing a mountain of Q&A's in the lead up to our Oz release (Oct 21st). Come along and mention the blog and let's have a spritzer or two after the show. So keen to hear all your thoughts. 

Finally, thanks for all your fab feedback on our trailer. If you haven't seen it yet, you can find it here. To think that 12 months ago we didn't have a dollar in the piggy bank for this movie. Desire is a powerful thing!

Much love,

Ricky : )

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Week 22 Poster time!

Hello Friends,

How exciting. There it is! Man does it feel like a movie now. So happy we were able to make use of my fave production still. It's a key romantic scene in the movie too, so all good things. Was the most perfect sunset and we got about 40mins our of magic hour filming -- just perfect.

So much time and effort goes into movie posters, and I'm proud to say ours conveys the type of story we're trying trying to tell. Should feel warm, beautiful and romantic, and should also hint at a new world that our characters are discovering. Love having our fab cast up in the clouds too.

More than anything, the poster should feel inviting and make you wanna go check it out! Hope you think so.

Next step trailer! It's all happening.

Come and follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Clicky clicky!

Website's been updated with production stills of Rachael and Alex too:

Lots of love,

Ricky : )

Monday, May 10, 2010

Week 18 Mixy Mixy

Hello friends,

Ricky's had more time on his hands lately -- It was easy for me to pretend to have a great deal of input in the grade, but it's a lot tougher in the sound mix. Truth is I'm just sitting back and listening to everything sounding better and better. I might occasionally say "I'd like to hear a magpie there" or... "would it be cool if we had some water sprinkler fx there"... but that's me just trying to earn my keep... and my toasted sandwich.

Truth is I've been spending much more time thinking about distribution. There's a couple of new considerations that have come to light: The fabulous AFI Awards have an Oct 6th deadline (if you wanna make 2010 awards), which means Summer Coda would need to be released before Sept 30th to be eligible (that's the last Thurs before the 6th). Now, you certainly don't wanna set your release date around an awards deadline, but you do stop to think about the fact that your film might be forgotten about 13 months later at the 2011 awards -- that said, there's no guarantee we wont be forgotten in 2010! -- but you gotta be in it to win it!

There's also a bunch of other fab Aussie flicks set to release around Sept. At this stage i think Matching Jack, Blame, Kin and a couple others too. This is interesting cause you don't wanna hurt each-others box office potential. In my humble opinion people that see Aussie films are largely a lovely loyal crowd, but they might not venture out 3 times in the same month. So that's more food for thought. The other issue with Sept is school holidays -- makes it harder to get screens for Aussie content when all the kids flicks are on.

So why all this talk of Sept you ask? Well, Summer Coda will be completed in June and you wanna give yourself 3 months for long lead reviews and publicity so Sept sits about right, but so does Oct which is why the AFI dilemma is an interesting one. Hmmm... much thinking to be done. Thankfully, smarter people than Ricky are working on it.

In other news: We finished the trailer last week! Woot! We're now in a holding patten for the appropriate time to release it. I HOPE SOON! POSTER TOO!

Anyway, back to the sound mix. "How bout a bit more wind in that night scene on the river?" 
..."Um, I don't think so Ricky, could you keep it down mate?".

Much Love,

Ricky : )

Monday, April 26, 2010

Week 16 Darkness Falls...

Hello friends,

Sitting in a dark room again. It seems to me that windows would make a nice addition to post houses. You know, stop my skin from turning grey. Yes, yes, yes I know: It has to be dark so you can fully appreciate the pictures and yes, the room has to be sound proof and cinema-like to appreciate the sound -- buuuuuttt, surely a couple windows wouldn't kill anyone, or even some art on the walls -- heck I'd settle for some retro wallpaper!

Shouldn't whinge though, and it's not like my irish skin is ever anything but pale anyway. Truth is, this stage of post production is FUN. Everything's pretty. Pretty pictures, pretty sound FX and pretty bloody good toasted sandwiches! I don't know what it is, but there's just something about having a toasted sandwich made for you. It's such a simple pleasure and it takes me back to when my Momma used to make me jaffles (or Brevilles as we called them on account of the brand name of our jaffle maker). I'd come home from school and be served up a piping hot Breville. Yum, yum yum. You could fill those bad boys with anything! Cheese and tomato, pizza toppings, baked beams...  Hmmm, I'm clearly a man that enjoys simple pleasures (or just a simple man).

But I'm guessing if you're reading this you're not doing so for my love of toasties. HOWEVER, I can inform you that it was my love of COOKING and a movie called Julie & Julia that got me started on this whole blog thing. So I happy I did. I look back on my first blogs and although I may not have shown it, I was pretty bloody nervous: First feature, privately financed, away shoot, new crew, untried cast members -- but I gotta tell you: it couldn't have gone better! ..and this bloggy thing has  been very therapeutic.

Was Ricky's bday on the weekend! Anzac day. The big 30. Was always my major goal after finishing VCA that'd I'd make a film before turning 30. Have done that. But is it any good? Proof will be in the pudding -- Mmmmm pudding. Am hungry now... think I'll order another Breville.

Much Love,

Ricky : )

Friday, April 16, 2010

Week 15 Picture Lock

Hello friends,

This week has been super stressful for Ricky (as u can tell from the pic), but man has it been rewarding.

You begin to scrutinise every frame when it's time to sign off on an edit. You begin to worry about scenes and shots you never had before, only to change them, only to change them back because it was gold and you where messin with it! But after much tossing and turning and watching and re-watching I can happily announce: we have PICTURE LOCK! AND I'M SUPER PUMPED ABOUT IT.

7 years of love and effort comes in at round 110 mins. It's been a long time, but now more than ever I know it was worth it. Never been broker, never been happier. That's filmmaking in Oz!

Now we can start to think about release date. Another tricky subject. our distributors have this well under control, but picking a date is bloody hard. There's so many factors: time of year, season, school holidays, what else is being released, proximity to other Aussie flicks. And before all that; which international film festival to premiere at? What's the wish list and what might fit best to coincide with potential OS sales. Oh, the list goes far deeper than that -- Ricky's musings are merely chicken scratchings on a dusty road map at the best of times. Case studies can only take you so far too. So many great films don't make an impact at the cinema. This distribution caper is a hard one.

Any ho, it's gonna be exciting and I wouldn't miss it for the world. We'll be releasing our poster shortly, and then our trailer... can't wait to hear all your opinions.

Big shout out to my bud Jamie who's distributing Eclipse which opened in Oz this week. Go and see it if you can -- It's a cracker.

Much Love,

Ricky : )

Monday, April 5, 2010

Week 14 Post Production

Pic #1 Ricky, Virginia (prod manager), Greg (DOP), Pacharo (plays Monty in Summer Coda), Nathan (plays Joey).

Hello Friends,

Summer Coda picture lock is upon us! Ahhhh! Time to make those final edit decisions. Time to weigh up which test audience results you want to agree with. Tricky, but exciting.

Once we lock pictures the sound boys take over. We spend as much time on sound as the picture edit, which is awesome cause it provides new pangs of excitement when you first hear a scene properly mixed with our original score. It's those elements that make test screenings (of unfinished films) so hard to gauge.

After sound comes the GRADE! Finally get to see all our pretty pictures in full resolution. In my petty world, watching Summer Coda in shitty low res has been like watching Godfather on YouTube! Well kinda. Well, no not really but you get the point. Either way, can not wait to sit down in a theatre and see our finished pictures with a 5.1 mix. Ace.

Had an awesome time in Hollywood -- as if there was ever any doubt! So cool to be living in a city that lives and breaths film. Oh, and it's way cheaper to see films there -- so there's a BIG bonus.

Which fool thought it was a good idea to start charging $18 a ticket to see a movie in Oz?

We wonder why it's hard to get peeps to go see Aussie flicks. I completely understand: I reckon a lot of folks that fork out $18 want a BIG experience, like Dragon or Robin Hood or even Avatarded. So how bout this for an idea: $1 from each ticket sale for box office smash hits goes towards subsidising the cost of an Australian film ticket? So you could go and see your Aussie films for $10. Even if it was 50 cents it would still work out, and who would mind paying $18.50 for a ticket to a block buster if it meant you could see any local flick for $10. Sure you'd make less profit from each Aussie ticket sale, but you'd sell soooooo many more tickets and develop a culture of supporting our local product.

I reckon that would be gold. Of course it'll never happen... until Ricky gets a few more runs on the board and then it's WHAM, SMACK, POW movie ticket revolution baby!

And if you don't like that, how bout just 50cents from each non-Aussie movie ticket goes into a fund to produce more local flicks. That's millions of dollars in the kitty. We MUST make more films -- and preferably from varied funding sources.

Anyway, enough dreaming. Onto more thirst quenching things: We took a tour through the vineyards where Sideways was shot. Just beautiful. About an hour out of Santa Barbara, near a place called Buellton. Turns out the winery where Sandra Oh worked is owned by an Aussie. He hooked us up with a reservation at the Hitching Post. Just awesome. And no, we didn't drink any f*cking Merlot! Pics below.

Much love,

Ricky : )

Pic #2 The road to Santa Barbara. Pretty. Those yellow bad boys are mustard flowers.
Pic #3 Little Aussie vineyard making delicious Zinfandel.
Pic #4 The cellar door where Sandra Oh worked. Check out the Aussie flag on the roof. Wall to wall indigenous art and a Sideways poster too.
Pic #5 The Hitching Post bar. Ohhhhhhhh, their own red wine is divine!
Pic #6 Ricky with mini bottle of '05 Highliner. stunning. the right size for drinking in the car on the way home! 

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Week 12 Post Production

Pic #1 Filming in the desert is fun.
Pic #2 Rocks are cool.
Pic #4 Our motley U.S. crew.
Pic #5 Our cowboy DOP relaxing outside the church from KILL BILL.  

Hello Friends,

We FINALLY wrapped the principle photography of Summer Coda! And what a place to do it. Weather was perfect, locations spectacular, performances... well 2 out of 3 ain't bad! ; )

We put together a cracking local crew and headed out into the desert. Great to make new friends, and awesome to film in a country where we'd like to do A LOT more. Big shout out to TJ and our U.S. production arm at Dilated Pixels.

The coolest thing about shooting here is that everyone, and I mean everyone, knows a little something about film. You could be 3 hours out of the city in the middle of the desert and the person selling you a burrito will have acted in a movie way back, or her cousin is a producer, or she'll ask questions like "what are you shooting on?". You just don't get that in Oz, and I adore it! Surrounded by peeps that actually have an understanding of what we do for a living (or attempt to earn a living from anyway!). LOVE IT.

So now we just need to get this gold footage back to Gaz in the edit suite. Then we can finally insert our U.S. scenes and make the final few calls before picture lock. Hmmmm, PICTURE LOCK, there's two scary words. No turning back after that... We'd best get it right!

We've become increasingly confident with the edit, but it's always hard to know what an audience will respond to -- particularly in Australia. So the best we can do is concentrate on story and performance, and then market the hell out of this baby!

Can't wait to show y'all!

Now onto more important things... DISNEYLAND! and then tickets to a ROLLER DERBY! (OMG).

Ricky xo

Pic #7 That's a wrap! Greg (DOP), Virginia (Prod Manager), Ricky (Slacker), Johnny (Producer)

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Week 10 post production...

Hello friends,

Well, it turns out I'm not as powerful as I remember from my primary school days. Apparently posting pics of Rachael Taylor in a bath to coincide with the storyboards I posted last week is NOT a good publicity idea. I've been told this is for 3 reasons:

1. Not one pic of Rachael from Summer Coda has been released yet. These are the "hot items" of our long lead marketing campaign (snore).
2. Rachael in the bath MAY attract the wrong kind of dudes (ah, if they pay for a ticket they ain't wrong to Ricky).
3. No one reads my blog (hmmm, can't argue there).

So instead, here's something EVEN BETTER:

I think the little rubber duckies really cap it off nicely.

Believe it or not, the marketing of Summer Coda is something we take super seriously. We only get one crack at it. We had a super duper Unit Publicist in Tanja Nedel and now we have the all-conquering Chris Chamberlin (fresh from Samson & Delilah) taking on our release publicity. So crucial we get it right and the hero shots of Rachael and Alex Dimitriades are kinda like our ace-in-the-hole. People wanna see what they look like in the movie, they wanna see what chemistry is going on and we think we have something very special here.

Ricky enjoyed the Oscars this week, however I will say that if they really needed to politicise and drum up a David vs Goliath battle, they should have pitted Avatarded (thx Miss Lomas - LOVE that word) vs Up In The Air. I adored Up In The Air and believe it was kinda left behind when all that Hurt propaganda started building. For me, its story and screenplay was on a much higher level. Kinda reminded of when Crash won the oscar. But i know a lot of people loved that too, so i should just pipe down.

Anyway, the set looked fab and I'm a tragic Baldwin and Martin fan, so was still much fun and laughs to be had. Like the dancing -- that gets me every time!

Had awesome news this week: Looking very much like a Summer Coda soundtrack will be released! ACE, because we've been we've been working with Mushroom Records on the music in the film for a very long time and we reckon we've got some killer tracks! Love a good movie soundtrack and don't get many Aussie entries, so fingers crossed.

Heading to the U.S. on SUNDAY! WOOT!  Finally filming the closing scenes of the picture with Alex Dimitriades. I can highly recommend the months of pain and bags of cash it takes to get someone a work Visa. Thank God that's over!

...Did I mention I'm going to Disneyland? Expect photos. Expect MANY photos. Might even try to get Mickey in a bath with me for a pic. ...Vomit.

Lots of love,

Ricky : )

PS. Summer Coda twitters here. Ricky twitters here. Facebook is here.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Week 9 post production...

Hello friends,

Thought it might be cool to show some Summer Coda storyboards and then follow up next week with the actual shots from the film.

I'm a massive fan of pre-visualization. I don't dig just rocking up on the day and "feeling out" a scene. That's kinda lazy. When you storyboard you force yourself into closely examining what might work best for a scene. You can always improve those images on the day -- and often do, but you'll never walk away with a scene that wasn't AT LEAST as well composed as you'd originally imagined. It's a director and DP's homework, but man does it feel good to nail. 

I hear a lot of talk about letting the scene play out in front of you and then designing camera moves to suit, which is fine, but only to a point. Even that handheld / doco-feel (when it's done well) doesn't just evolve naturally. Intricate planning is required to pull off the photography of films like The Insider, Amores Perros, City of God, Eternal Sunshine, Constant Gardener, Children of Men. They are some of my absolute fav films . 

I think that's were most crappy handheld films go wrong -- thinking that you can just use handheld to create immediacy and forget about the planning -- cover things "organically". It's BS and annoys Ricky when he's watching shaky, funky-junky cam in the cinema, getting nauseas for no good reason.

Anyhoo, Ricky ain't here to preach and certainly doesn't have the runs to teach. Was just wanting to make the point that it doesn't cost anything to plan. You don't need a big budget to visualise every frame, and after the YEARS it's taken to get your baby up, it's not like you haven't had the time! You'd might as well create with craft. 

For me, it was growing up with Scorsese, Coen Bros, PTA and Wes Anderson flicks that really highlighted the importance of choice and composition.  Flicking through their DVDs frame by frame is all the film schooling you'll ever need. 

Here's a fav quote:  "...the language of film is our own interpretation of reality. You have to select what is important from the jumble of images we see in our everyday lives. You can speak without using words by the decisions you make about movement and composition."    THAT'S GOLD.

Being in the edit suite day after day is really hammering that message home. Many lines of dialogue that were necessary at script stage (to tell our story) become obsolete when we nail our visuals.  The cinema audience is REAL SMART too, don't need nearly as much exposition as we'd planned. If you can see it, really see it, you don't need to say it. Okay, that quote above might be a little flowery for some, but flowers are given to people for a reason. They're beautiful. 

Now isn't that pretty, more soon.

Ricky : )

P.S. Follow Ricky on TWITTER

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Week 8 post production...

Hello Friends,

Summer Coda is really smoking now. We're into our 4th draft edit and it's looking great! Starting to get a few expert opinions and we'll soon be playing for our distributors and potential sales agent, so very exciting indeed.

As I've mentioned before it's inevitable that Ricky will like the looonnngggeer version of the edit. What's also inevitable is that Ricky will need to bow to popular opinion -- I'm a tad too close to the production to be entirely objective. So test screenings are the key. But not to friends and fam unfortunately. Hardcore Aussie film haters me thinks. That's the audience I'd love to attract, but then again, that ain't ever gonna happen, so we'll turn to the demographics we think might like to see the film if properly marketed.

It's a delicate subject, but I'm not sure we market our Aussie pride and joy properly. I'm certainly rarely bowled over and hanging out to see a local pic. Maybe you're different? I do love when we have a good year though. I remember seeing The Proposition, Wolf Creek, Look Both Ways and Little Fish all in 2005. Now i didn't love them all, but what a year! Something for everyone and some real quality. I'm hoping 2010 can be the same, and wishin' and a prayin' Summer Coda will be a part of the quality list. I think it can be!

Been having a fab week making final selections on the music in Summer Coda (and hopefully for release on our soundtrack too!). Don't get to hear many Aussie film soundtracks these days, so really pushing for a CD release cause I think we have some super cool tracks. Love a good movie soundtrack. Big shout out to Julie Hodges at Mushroom Music who's been helping me with this for just the last FIVE YEARS! Better late than never.

So we're finally off to the U.S. on March 14th to complete the filming of the final scene in the movie. It feels funny to still be shooting, but it's actually a blessing as we've been able to tinker with the script and ending now that we've seen the film. Ace. It also means I can head to LA with an almost finished DVD, so we've set up sales agent meetings which is a bonus.

Heading to LA of course has other major bonuses: Disneyland and Universal Studios. I am a MASSIVE TOURIST when it comes to those places. Look out for Ricky in front of Hollywood Hills pics too! It's what the fans have been calling out for. Well, me and my Momma anyway.

Lots of love people,

Ricky xo

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Week 7 post production...

Hello friends,

So that's where I've been spending my days, weeks, months! In the edit suite with Gaz.

It's getting tough now, really tough. Having to make major decisions on the flow and length. It's difficult because some scenes have to go, a necessary evil for the overall betterment of the film. Of course this is nothing new, you always have to cut things down and even great scenes don't make it sometimes, but that's what DVD Special Features are all about!

It sounds wanky, but the audience's journey through your story is the only thing that matters. So pace is unbelievably important. Of course as the writer / director I tend to HANG ON TIGHT to every little moment, which makes my relationship with Gaz somewhat tumultuous. HOWEVER, it's that good kind of tumultuous because it leads to better results.

We both have the same goal, we just come at it from different angles -- hopefully meeting in the middle. Soooo.... what's it gonna be?  90, 100, 110, 120, 130mins?? TIME WILL TELL. Oh god, that was a shockingly bad pun. As my lovely wife would say "Father humour" -- you know, those bad jokes your Dad once told you... or still does? You know when you start telling Dad jokes that you're almost ready to be a father yourself. It's all a part of no longer being cool to the younger generation. If you stayed cool what else would kids have to cringe about. It's Lion King again... The circle of life. I still got a little cool left in me though, just gotta keep telling myself.

Speaking of cool... check out the co-stars of SUMMER CODA below.

Lots of love,

Ricky : )

PS. Join our FB fan page for heaps more pics and news.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Week 5 post production...

Pic 1) This was one of my fav shoot days. Orange picking with the full cast during the day and then a spectacular sunset from a shed rooftop, just in time for a cracker romantic scene.

Pic 2) I usually get in trouble from publicity for posting cast pics, but if you can't really see them you can't really get in trouble right?

Hello friends,

Well it's been hot as a fire cracker in Melbourne town, and looking out the edit suite windows onto Port Melbourne beaches has been like a slap in the face. Hmmm, let me re-think that. Port Melbourne doesn't really have beaches does it? More like sand and water. I can never really get that excited about our bay, but hey, it's better than nothing. I'm just saying Ricky wont be swimming in it anytime soon. But I digress, BIG TIME, or BT as our "Behind The Scenes" Producer likes to say.

Any-ho, in the air conditioned loveliness of our editing abode we've begun fine-tuning scenes, adding music, and recutting sequences to explore different takes and performances. It's not until we watched the first rough cut that we were able to gain perspective on how the characters where working together, and now it's time to hone in on the smaller details.

I'm loving it, and now more than ever feel so freakin lucky to have cast such fine actors. It ain't hard to find a good take when you're watching Susie Porter or Jacki Weaver I can assure you. I think people are gonna be blown away by Rachael Taylor too. She's in almost every scene and man can she carry a movie. Gold.

I've been cutting a few draft trailers for Summer Coda too. I shouldn't say "cutting" actually, I should say fiddling as I'm a real "hunt and peck" final cut pretender when it comes to editing. But I get by. FIDDLING WITH A TRAILER IS HARD. Man, it is SO hard. The trailer is the single biggest way  to sell your film to the public and you've got 2 MINUTES and 30 SECONDS. Hard core. You can't show too much, but you musn't show too little. Gotta be cool and emotive, but not too cool or hammy.

Gotta sell an audience on coming to see your baby. Cause you gotta see the baby! But if the trailer sux, why would you want to see the baby? Like when your friends have had an ugly baby and you wonder what you're gonna say to them. Who are you going to tell them the baby looks like? Or are you going to go with the "Oh, he/she has soooo much character" OR "What an old soul". That's the movie review equivalent of "Wait for the DVD".  So your trailer, like your new born, must be pretty special otherwise people are going to feel awkward about going to see it. And we can't have that!

Well, I've managed to rabbit on for a whole page without actually saying anything. Is that a skill? I used to try it with book reports back at school. I'd be lazy and not finish the book, but pretend that I had, and then waffle on with analogies and points of view without ever really tackling the issues or the ending -- because I hadn't read it! Well, if it's a skill now it wasn't then, cause my marks were NOT flash. Lets pray that's not the case for the TRAILER!

Booking flights for U.S. shoot tomorrow. BT FUN.

Lots of love,


Note from distributors: Ricky is not actually responsible for editing Summer Coda's trailer. A quality UK company is producing that for us. Ricky just likes to "Fiddle", as being the writer/director/producer he struggles with delegation.  As well as other things. ; )

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Week 4 post production...

Pic #1 Back at the airport -- this time LEGALLY.

Pic #2 Airport Security weren't happy with the size of Greg's lens. I can understand why. Told him it was a compliment. They were worried about punters thinking it was a Bazooka I think.

Hello friends,

Just watched the first complete rough cut of Summer Coda! OMG! We have a film and with a bit of fine tuning I believe a great one! So very exciting to see all the scenes come together. Probably the most surreal and rewarding moment so far. Watching all the characters come to life, for the first time I forget I was watching multiple scenes and sequences and just sat back and enjoyed. BLISS.

Julie Hodges from Mushroom Music has been helping me with the Summer Coda soundtrack for 5 years!! Was so happy to finally be able to show her some scenes. Music is a MAJOR component of our film and she's gathering some absolute CRACKER tracks.

Speaking of music, just about to catch up with our composer Alies and watch the film with her too. Her hard work starts now. Our score is just so crucial. Alies like so many others has been listening to me (at nauseam) rabbit on about Summer Coda (and her doing the score) for YEARS. So happy to finally hand it over.

We've had to delay our final shoot in the U.S. till March, but it's been a blessing as I couldn't have hacked leaving the edit suite at this stage. It's the best part!

Big shout out to VIRGIN for getting us on the tarmac at Melbourne Airport to film some awesome planes landing LEGITAMATELY. I remember way back to "17 days till shoot!" when we were sneaking around a back airport paddock to film some planes landing, standing amongst cows! Now we roll in style. Thank-you Mr Branson.

Thinking back to October last year amazes me. I was so excited, but equally scared. 4 months later I'm watching the film. UNBELIEVABLE.

Right-E-O, I'd best get back to it.

Much Love,

Ricky : )

Friday, January 15, 2010

Week 2 post production...

...Ahhhh, the memories. These were the best fruit pickers a director could have ever dreamed for.

Hello friends,

Yep, I've been slack. Where's Week 1 post production? Well on top of being slack I've been too busy getting fat. After 8 weeks in the hell fire heat of Mildura, Christmas and New Years was a sight for sore eyes! Ooops, pardon the pun, Jo. (Jo, our EPK producer almost lost an eye to a flaming cigarette on NYE! Seriously).

Now we're back in the saddle. Organising a few last shooting days here in Melbs: Close up tarmac shots of Heidi's plane landing (Rachael Taylor), which our lovely major sponsor VIRGIN have kindly helped us with. Heidi in a Taxi through Melbourne CBD. Helicopter shots for Mildura and the great Murray River, and of course, the BIGGIE: Michael's (Alex Dimitriades') scenes in the CALIFORNIAN DESERT!

So we're off the States to shoot the last scenes of Summer Coda and I gotta tell you, I'm rather PUMPED about that one!

Meanwhile, our main man Gaz (our editor) has been CUTTY CUTTY CUTTY and it's been awesome hanging in the edit suite with him. Having done so much short form, reality and doco over the last 4 years it's so bloody refreshing to sink my teeth into a long form drama. We just don't make many films in this country, so it kinda feels like a privilege to be doing what we're doing.

Gaz has of course been working from the day after we started shooting. Much to do: First you gotta SYNC all the footage, day by day. That's 2 hours of footage a day, shot by shot. Then you gotta lay it all down on the timeline and start blocking out all the scenes. There's 157 scenes in Summer Coda. AND THEN you can finally start to take a look at your best takes and start piecing your pride-and-joy together. And that's when lazy Ricky hops into the edit suite! And then let the good times roll!

Quite surreal seeing all the footage in front of you. Such a lot of hard work, but so much fun as well. Beautiful seeing all the actors again. I had forgotten just how much we'd done.

Next week, while the cutty cutty continues we head to our friends at Soundfirm to do some ADR. Meaning we gotta replace some slightly noisy dialogue we recorded on the Highway at high speeds with the window down, with some crystal clear dialogue recorded in a studio.

Memo to self: Never EVER write 5 pages of meaningful dialogue to be performed in an old truck, on a bumpy road, with the windows down. This may lead to average sound. Instead, pull the truck over, and have one actor to say to the other: "Let's go do this meaningful dialogue scene over there -- on the bench, in the quiet park near the lake, where the film crew can stand in the shade".

Oh well, next time for sure! Truth is 99.9% of our sound is bloody brilliant (BIG SHOUT OUT to our awesome soundo Deano!) and replacing a few lines was bound to happen regardless, so it's a blessing -- cause I get to hang with our two lead actors again. Ace.

...I wonder if they'd like to try my new Jelly Shot recipe: Lime Jelly with Tequila in a little plastic shot cup of goodness. It's very refreshing and is going down a treat with Gaz in the edit suite. It could make this ADR business that much more pleasurable.

More soon champions,

Ricky xo : )

PS. Join us on facebook, tweet and our Summer Coda website mailing list. U know u want to. Just click those lovely coloured words and I promise to reveal another refreshing Jelly Shot recipe in my next bloggy.