Monday, December 28, 2015

Pretty People, Australian States, Michelle Lehman, and Jahla Bryant

1. Started to watch an episode of Scooter: Secret Agent.

2. Finished watching the episode.

3. Started watching my first 2015 episode of Home and Away.

So far, it reminds me of a Days of our Lives type soap operas—a bunch of young people, who look like they belong on the cover of teen magazines, getting themselves into very melodramatic situations.

4. Saw a scene with a bus accident. A woman is crying as she holds onto a guy with a major bleeding neck injury.  Then someone, who seems to be taking charge, tells her to relax.

I understand he's trying to be helpful and reassuring, but how does one relax in such a situation? Should she walk away from the dying man, and go to a spa...get herself a massage?

5. Didn't like the episode so far.

I hope it gets better.

I hope it changes.

There's just too much drama.

Every storyline I've seen so far is huge and melodramatic—Bus accident! Guys trapped somewhere! Cancer patient running away from chemo!

I think one or two melodramatic storylines is fine, but I like when soap operas also have fun, daily-life type stories.

I'm thinking (hoping) the episode is like this because it's the season premier.  Maybe it will calm down later.

6. Saw that the episode also features a date-rape drug storyline.

7. Wondered if Maddy, the cancer patient escapee, is the daughter that Roo (Justine Clarke) gave up for adoption.

I remember reading that Roo eventually reunites with her lost child. And now New-Roo (Georgie Parker) seems to be Maddy's mother.

I just don't remember the name of the baby that was given up for adoption.

8.  Tried to remember the father of the baby. Frank (Alex Papps) was tricked into thinking it was his child. But who was the real daddy?

9. Remembered. It was the preppy son of that rich, powerful, greedy man—the one who caused grief in Summer Bay.

I don't remember his name.

10. Reminded by Lord Wiki that the name of the baby's father was Brett Macklin (Gary Sont).

11. Learned the baby's name was Martha; not Maddy.

12. Learned that Maddy is a teenage runaway that Roo took in.

13. Saw, from IMDb, that the reason Josh (Jackson Gallagher) looked mildly familar to me is he's the one who played Patrick in Patrick.

14. Had hopes the show will get better.

I'm thinking, though, of when I started watching Coronation Street. I decided I wanted to get into a British soap opera. Eastenders was my first choice, but it wasn't available on Hulu. I tried HollyOaks and didn't like it for the same reason I didn't like this episode of Home and Away.  There was too much drama, and too many young, pretty people.

I didn't stick around to see if I'd like the later episodes. I just moved right onto Coronation Street.  I am going to stick with Home and Away—probably for the whole 2015 season. I'm hoping it either changes into the type of show I prefer; or I grew to like it despite my complaints.

What I love about Coronation Street is that the pretty, young people don't dominate the show. Many of the main characters are my age or older, and most of the characters are not above-average when it comes to appearance. They look like very normal people—the kind I'd encounter in my daily life.


Yeah, there are some intense storylines—murder, infidelity, blackmail cancer, etc. But there are also low key storylines such as a community trying to stop the closing of the public library; a mother obsessing over her child eating unhealthy food; a woman getting offended because the owner of a gym assumed she was there to lose weight, etc; a mother feeling neglected because her adult children didn't want to watch Titanic with her, and another woman trying to plan a wedding while staying within budget.

15. Saw from Twitter that Bob Hawke wants Australia to get rid of its states.

Speaking as someone who's not from Australia, it makes sense.

Or maybe I should say for Americans it makes sense.

Before I knew much about Australia, it was really just Sydney, and all the rest of it.  I don't think I knew about Tasmania, South Australia, Western Australia, New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria, and Queensland.

16. Wondered about my fellow Americans. Are most of them smarter than past-me?  How many Americans can name at least one Australian state?

17. Wondered if there are political benefits to having less political and geographical divisions within a country.

18. Started to read an article about Bob Hawke's ideas.

19. Learned he doesn't want to give up local divisions—just the state ones.

There'd still be districts.

That makes sense.

I can't say I see the benefits, but I also can't see how it would be harmful.

20. Liked that Bob Hawke supported improving the lives of Aboriginal Australians, treating Muslims decently, welcoming refugees, and gay marriage.

21. Thought what would be better than no states is no countries.

I'd like countries to be like states. Each country would have their own leader and laws; but people would be free to come and go. There'd be no passports. There'd be no question of refugees. Moving from Syria to Australia would be like moving from New South Wales to Queensland.

22. Also wanted to add....

Because we read Robert Frost's poem "Mending Wall", the other day I tried to imagine a world without fences.

Maybe there'd be fences at places like Disney World—or any outdoor place that offered some kind of service. But neighborhoods would have no fences.

23. Realized there'd at least need to be gates around pools.

Besides that, though. What if we could just wander onto each other's property?  Or it wouldn't even be someone else's property. We'd share all outdoor land.  Only indoor spaces would be owned and privatized.

24. Realized I'm living in la la land. How would people decide who gets to build where?

Oh! I know.

People could still own property.  But they wouldn't and couldn't keep people off their property.

25. Decided if you owned the property, you could make the rules. It would be like a public park. Some allow dogs and some do not.  Some people would have a community garden, and other people would have a look but don't touch policy.

26. Decided, like public parks, neighborhood yards would close at sunset. That way you wouldn't have people creeping around your window at two in the morning.

27. Looked at 2008 Tropfest Finalist films.  I see some faces I recognize.

I think one movie has the teenage girl from Upper Middle Bogan.  That's the film I'll be watching today. I'll see if I'm right or not.

I see the guy from Farscape and Underbelly. I forgot the actor's name.  I was about to say "Terry", but that was his character's name on Underbelly.

28. Saw Callan Mulvey.  Probably?

And I see Hugh Jackman.

 29. Looked up the Farscape/Underbelly actor. It's Matthew Newton.  And he IS in the 2008 Tropfest film called "Ascension".

30. Started to watch "Marry Me".

I think it might actually be the winning film, because its image is the one used on the Tropfest menu to get to 2008.  "An Imaginary Life" is used for 2007, and that was the winner for 2007. Although with 2007, they have it listed as the winning film. There's no winning film listed for 2008.

31. Decided to not keep myself in suspense.

I Googled and saw that "Marry Me" was the winner.

32. Thought the movie has good sounds.

What would that be called? Sound mixing?

33. Started to read an article about sound in film.

It says production mixers record the sounds on set. Foley artists are the ones that create sound effects off set.

Then there're the music people.

The sound mixer puts it all together.

34. Finished watching the movie.

I loved it.

I have to admit that at first I only loved the music and sound. I wasn't really getting into the storyline. But then towards the end, I loved it.

The film is a great story of feminism.

Chloe (Jahla Bryant; NOT Lara Robinson as I suspected) has a crush on her neighbor Jason (Ryan Fitzpatrick).

Jason's really into his bike and gives Chloe little attention.

He has a bike accident, and Chloe is kind enough to offer her bike for borrowing. He flat out refuses. because it's pink. So Chloe takes a magic marker and changes the color of the bike. Again, she offers her bike to Jason. He still refuses, because despite the color change, it's still a girl's bike.

It reminds me of something I realized lately.

I was thinking of parents who get nervous and rigid about their boys wearing pink clothes or playing with dolls. I used to think it was all about homophobia. And it might be that to some degree. But I think the main factor playing into all that is sexism. It's the idea that girls are inferior.  Boys shouldn't wear pink hates because they might be mistaken for a girl. Boys shouldn't play with Barbies because that's what girls do. Boys shouldn't become nurses. That's a woman's job.

Otherwise, why does there seem to be less anxiety when young girls want to play with trucks or prefer to wear jeans rather than dresses?

What would bother most parents more—a boy who shops in the pink aisle of a toy store; or a girl who's looking to buy a Star Wars action figure?

35. Disappointed that I was wrong about the actress in the film.

It kind of reminds me of when we saw Frozen, and the whole time I thought the snowman was played by Jonah Hill.

36. Saw that many of the cast members of "Marry Me" have the last name Lawson.  I'm guessing they're from the same family. Maybe they're neighbors or friends of the director (Michelle Lehman).

37. Saw that there's no foley artist listed.

I can't really remember seeing the term foley artist on IMDb lately. Maybe it's because I wasn't looking for it? Or maybe the term is not used as much?

38. Looked at the sound department for Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

There IS a Foley artist—actually multiple ones.

And there were around fifty people who worked with the sound. That's sound alone, and not including music.

I say around fifty, because I might have miscounted somewhere.

39. Looked at the Home and Away episode I watched today.

There are no sound people listed.

I'm guessing they exist, but just weren't added to IMDb.

40. Saw that "Marry Me" has a sound recordist. Maybe that's similar to a foley artist.

41. Saw that IMDb does list the sound people for the whole Home and Away series in general. I guess they do that rather than doing it for individual episodes.

42. Saw that someone named Brooklyn Scheers did baby sound effects for one episode in 1992.

I'm guessing she was an actual baby who made sounds for the show rather than some kind of professional sound person.

 43. Learned, from IMDb, that Michelle Lehman, the writer and director of "Marry Me" makes short segments for The Disney Channel.

She also wrote a TV show and TV movie, but IMDb has very little information on them.  A cast isn't even listed. I'm not sure why.

44. Saw that some members the crew of "Marry Me" worked on a 2015 short film called "Stockholm".

This includes the producer, editor, composer....

Actually, that's it.

The producer and editor have the same last name (Conti). I'm guessing they're related. Maybe brothers?

45. Saw that one of the stars of "Stockholm", Martin Crewes was in Patrick.

It's the second time I've run into that movie today.

46. Heard someone use the word "mozzies" on Coronation Street. Is that also a British term; or was the character trying to sound like an Aussie?

47. Learned from Lord Wiki that "mozzie" is a British derogatory term for Muslims.

I don't think that's what the show was going for there.  From the context, I could tell they were referring to mosquitos.

Also, I think Coronation Street is the best TV show I've seen in terms of having positive and relatable Muslim characters.

48. Found a random photo on the ABC website of Michelle Lehman standing next to Geoffrey Rush after winning her 2008 Tropfest award.

What's random about it is the photo was published on November 12, 2015. There's no article attached; just a brief caption.

I don't get it.

49. Went to Michelle Lehman's Vimeo page.

50. Started to watch her showreel.

51. Finished watching.

It was cute—all stuff geared towards children, including "Marry Me".

I didn't really realize "Marry Me" could be a good film for children until I saw it in the showreel.

I think it's the first Tropfest film I've seen that's fully young-child-appropriate.

52. Watched one of Lehman's Disney Channel segments. It was a Monsters Inc. related thing called "Guide to Scaring Your Family".

53. Watched an adorable Lehman segment called "Once Upon a Princess".

54. I watched a Lehman thing about toy reviews.  I was confused at first. It seemed like the kids were jumping from toy to toy. Then I realized it was a showreel.

If I had read more carefully, I would have noticed the video is titled "Toy Talk Reel".

55. Saw that Jahla Bryant, the young actress from "Marry Me" has a showreel on YouTube.

I'm going to watch that.

56. Saw that Bryant won a best actress Tropfest award. I didn't realize they gave out acting awards.

57. Impressed with Bryant's acting and her beauty. I'm not impressed with the editing of the showreel. It does strange things, like including shots of the end credits of the films she's been in. I'm not sure why we need to see that.

58. Saw a really depressing commercial where Bryant plays the sister of a boy in a coma.

It's for HBF?  What's that?

59. Saw that HBF is a private health insurance company.

60. Felt the commercial was a little manipulative. Or exploitive, maybe?

I probably feel that way because it was a private health insurance company.

If it was something else, I'd be less...judgmental.  Probably. With this commercial, though, I felt they were saying, Hey, now. Don't forget one of your kids might end up in a coma.  You better buy some health insurance.  

61. Thought it would also be more okay if the injured person wasn't a child.

Using children to scare parents into buying private insurance seems a little low for me.

62. Learned that Jahla Bryant was ten in 2008.  So, now she's about seventeen.

63. Looked at Jahla Bryant's acting resume page.

They have photos of her as a teenager.

She continues to be very beautiful.  I'm not sure why she's not getting more screen jobs.

64. Felt it was somewhat messed up that I complained earlier about Home and Away having too many pretty people; and now I'm wondering why a pretty person doesn't have more acting jobs.

Can I explain myself?

Not really.

65. Started to understand it.

66. Forgot what I was going to say.

My brain is all twisted like a pretzel.

67. Wondered why I used a metaphor. I usually hate metaphors.

68. Sort of remembered what I was going to say.

I do like when TV shows and movies has a variety of characters in terms of appearance.  I don't want to see everyone looking young, thin, and beautiful.  I want to see shows that have characters of various weights, beauty-levels, ages, ethnicities, etc.

I do understand, though, that beauty is highly valued in the film and television industry. And I value it too.  I like seeing pretty people, just like I like seeing pretty mountains, pretty birds, and pretty shoes.

So it seems a bit strange to see a young actress who's exceptionally beautiful; is talented enough to have won a prestigious award; and still seems interested in having an acting career, have so very little credits to her name.

Maybe she's too beautiful, and the industry is trying to move away from that.

Maybe she looks too similar to other actresses—such as Lara Robinson.

69. Remembered that I am this extremely, super, amazing, talented writer (who's not always modest) and all I have to show for it are some self-published novels that very few people want to buy, this blog that not many people read, and some free online fiction that is very ignored.

I should be a an extremely rich and famous  writer; and Jahla Bryant should be the next Jennifer Lawrence.

But the universe doesn't always work that way.

70.   Don't care much about being famous anymore, but I do want to be very rich.  Then I can tour all over Australia, visit Iceland, and get the awesome Platinum Dining plan at Disney World.

71. Felt greedy for not thinking of donating to charity first.

Maybe that's why the universe is not making me rich.

No...that's ridiculous.

I think there are plenty of rich people out there, who are greedier than me.

Plus, I DID think of charity right after I thought of my selfish wishes. It's not like I forgot it all together.

72. Thought of that insurance commercial with Jahla Bryant and decided I'd use some of my massive fortune to help siblings of children who are in comas, have cancer, Cystic Fibrosis, and other catastrophic problems.