Wicklow Sudbury Promotional Videos

Wicklow Sudbury School is an experiment in Irish education. The first  curriculum ‘free school’ in the country. A school where students spend all day long, pursuing their real interests. The Sudbury Valley model, pioneered in Massachusetts in the late 1960s, puts children in charge of directing their own education. A few years ago I organised some events along these lines in Dublin. Learning and teaching as self directed fun. Those experiences, and my time volunteering at Exchange Dublin – the democratically organised art space in Temple Bar forcibly shut down by Dublin City Council in 2014 – have shown me the power of learning as play. The  importance of genuine ‘third spaces’, where people can explore through play to offer the kind of deep personal enrichment that bureaucratic curricula and educational measures cannot hope to define, let alone measure. These spaces are so rare in our contemporary societies, where every inch is commodified and defined, every intervention tailored, every creative work moulded and marketed to a constructed audience, that they can seem fantastical. They are spaces that literally remind us what it means to be human. Connection, creativity, love in action.

Last year I made a radio documentary, following a year in the life of the school – exploring in a small way the opportunities for more libertine forms of education in Ireland in general. This year, as I moved out of radio and into video production, I offered to head back to the school, to help with their crowd funding campaign. I spent a day at Wicklow Sudbury, shooting interviews and capturing the decidedly unconventional educational environment. I combined short interviews with three staff and five students with footage of the learning through play that makes this place unique. The end results are a ten minute mini-documentary and a two minute promotional video. Unlike the documentary this campaign is decidedly partisan. I’ve worked as hard as I can to convey the enthusiasm of staff and students for this new kind of education. 

Hopefully these videos capture a little about what makes this school so different. This really is a place where kids can be themselves. A place to develop the kind of diverse talents that our rigid bureaucratic education system cannot accept, let alone promote. These kids are passionate, creative, and above all independently minded. They give me hope for a future less rigid, heartless and polarised than the present. This is the kind of place that any misunderstood, creative kid might have imagined into existence. It’s the sort of place that makes having kids worth considering. It’s that revolutionary. If you’re interested in learning more, Wicklow Sudbury staff frequently offer talks about setting up your own community school, and you can find information about these, and if you’d like donate towards the school (which naturally receives no government funding), at their website

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Pardon Me – Shy Mascot (Music Video)

There’s a long tradition of puppet music videos, from Gabriel Byrne’s cameo in the Rubber Bandits’ ‘Fellas’, to Ed Sheeran’s muppet of muppet. But as far as we know this is the first time someone’s remade ‘Smack My Bitch’ up with marionettes. Inspired by the tough guy lyrics of Shy Mascot’s new track ‘Pardon Me’, we imaged a puppet on an odyssey through Dublin, leaving a trail of mayhem and broken hearts behind him. An off the wall idea turned into six months of preproduction, as special effects guru Frances Galligan created uncanny wood and plaster replicas of Shy Mascot’s Jamel Franklin and Fia Gregg. We shot these diminutive rebels everywhere from sex shops to jewellery stores, Dublin buses to cat sanctuaries.
A tiny crew headed up by writer / director Gareth Stack and DOP Siobhan Madden combined storyboarded action sequences with improvised guerrilla shooting. Whenever a location lent itself to leprechaun scale hijinks we found a way to take advantage. Volunteer performers mixed with season pros to seduce and battle lil’ Jamel’s bad ass homunculus. Probably the most ambitious scene features a bloody dustup between Dublin based performance poet Raven (playing a cassocked street preacher) and Jamel’s balsa wood hard nut. We shot in the crumbling remains of O’Devaney gardens while dozens of local kids milled around and cars pulled donuts between abandoned tower blocks. We fought everything from tangled strings to reluctant sex shop proprietors to get this video made. Our action packed finale even had to be reshot when a memory cannibalised itself This happened after we’d snapped off one of lil’ Jamel’s feet and broken his back flinging him through the air first time around! Fortunately, after a short operation this little legend soldiered on.
Our favourite scene features a date between marionette Jamel and our moonlighting DOP Siobhan, shot in Dublin’s only barcade ‘Token’. To sex up this smokey seduction, we used the golden-age Hollywood technique of stretching cotton stockings over the lens for a poor mans glamour filter. All in all, the shoot took nine days, and the edit another three weeks. But the memories – bench pressing Ireland’s largest sex aid, laying half naked on the floor of the Glimmerman’s ladies while a marionette vomited, fighting allergies to give a puppet a chance to visit a cat sanctuary were absolutely worth it!
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Black Magic Pocket Cinema 4k – Test Grade

The new Black Magic Pocket Cinema 4k camera is due at the end of the month. Black Magic have released some test RAW and Prores footage here.

I grabbed it and did a quick test grade (literally 20 minutes) last night. Results below. Video is only 1080p (as I have the free version of Resolve, although the full version comes with the camera). Overall I’d say it’s incredibly easy to grade – although the basic footage out of the camera is a little sepia by default and a little noisy prior to grading.

 

As you can see, the default LUT included for the camera in Da Vinci is way too strong, so you’d want to key it back if you were going to use it, which I wouldn’t recommend.

I graded about half the available clips, might have another mess around later with the other half if there’s any interest. Also might try a more ‘creative’ grade than the neutral one below.

 

The Muse Unbidden Win’s Charles Ogle at the Mark Time Awards

Roger Gregg’s ‘The Music Unbidden’. a moving and surreal musical exploration of the world of performance poetry, has just brought home Silver in the Fantasy category at the 2018 Mark Time Awards. Congratulations to Roger and all the Cast for a well deserved win. The play was broadcast in late 2017 on Newstalk and was funded by a grant from the Broadcast Authority of Ireland. It was produced by Dead Medium Productions, and recorded at Crazy Dog Studios in Dublin. Sound engineer was Collette Kinsella. Below you can stream or download the award winning production. Congrats to Roger & all the cast and crew!

Download: The Muse Unbidden

CREDITS: ‘The Muse Unbidden’ was executive produced by Gareth Stack, writing / direction by Roger Gregg, recording by Colette Kinsella. The cast were Morgan Jones, Tiernan Kearns, Angel Hannigan, Sinead Fox, Katie McCann, Karen Ardiff and Roger Gregg. Music by Roger Gregg.

Funded by the Broadcast Authority of Ireland with the television license fee.

Mic Drop (Radio Drama)

Download: Mic Drop

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Mic Drop is a new one off drama, starring Adam Tyrell, based on the play that debuted to critical acclaim at the ‘Scene + Heard’ Festival in Summer 2017. This one-man show tells the story of Irish web entrepreneur Perry Pardo. Perry is the living embodiment of the new Ireland. A working class boy made good, Perry moved to San Francisco to make his fortune, and now he’s back to teach a room full of eager listeners how to replicate his success. This satirical business seminar rapidly descends into a dark exploration of contemporary Ireland, as Perry’s hard partying catches up with him and he undergoes a breakdown – revealing his background and failings through fragments of story and song. In the process Perry reveals the anxieties and hypocrisies that can underlie the success stories of Irish entrepreneurship, and the dark side of wealth.

Credits

Perry Pardo – Adam Tyrell
Writer / Director – Gareth Stack
Sound Engineer – Brendan Rehill
Script Editor – James Van De Waal
Lyrics from ‘Monto’ by The Dubliners
Audience – Seamus Stackpoole, Frances Galligan, Shane Connelly, Nicole O’Connor, Kenny Stapleton, Dominik Turkowski.
Music – Ariel Beat, Myuu, Marc Remillard and Audio Jungle.

Sound Effects

How I Got Screwed Filming a Pro-Putin Singer

What Happened

On February 10th, 2018, I was hired to film a concert in the Helix Dublin as part of the Festival of Russian Culture organised by The Council of Russian Compatriots of Ireland (dead link). The fee offered was extremely low, but at the time I was willing to do it – both because the job had been passed on by a friend, and to have the opportunity to gain footage from a high profile venue for my showreel.

I filmed the concert, recorded the audio from the desk in stereo, edited, graded and titled the video, and provided it to the concert organisers. Initial changes were requested, which were carried out. Further changes were requested – though never specified, which I stated I’d be happy to make after the fee had been paid. No payment was forthcoming. On 22nd March half payment was received directly into my bank account, without any accompanying communication.

Unfortunately, to date the organisers have failed to pay the balance of the extremely modest fee. Instead they have cut off all contact. Despite numerous emails, phone calls and ultimately letters of demand on headed paper, to date they show no sign of settling this debt.

This leaves me with no option but to name and shame them. Freelancers and others doing business with those involved need to know that they may not pay their bills.

Who Wont Pay

The man who hired me, and seemed to be in charge of the concert was Jaroslav Jankovskij, a resident of Dundalk.

Another organiser of the concert was Anastasia McCabe. On Feb 26th I corresponded by text with Mrs McCabe. Mrs McCabe congratulated me on the quality of the video, confirmed she would organise payment, then asked for minor adjustments to the video. I confirmed I was happy to carry out adjustments after payment had been received.


I spoke to Mrs McCabe by phone on March 5th. Mrs McCabe mentioned (but did not specify) additional changes to the video, which I again stated I’d be happy to provide after payment had been completed. Mrs McCabe then told me I was being rude, and hung up. Despite several attempts, I was unable to reach Mrs McCabe by phone again. Having recovered Mr Jankovskij’s address through the CRO, beginning March 20th I sent him a series of letters requesting payment. These provoked no response.

As previously stated, to date Mr Jankovskij and Mrs McCabe have refused to pay their debt. Be careful when dealing with these people.

Unpleasant Details

At the time of filming the gig, it didn’t appear to be listed on the Helix website. Thus I was unaware till later that the central attraction of the concert was Russian actor Dmitry Pevtsov, whose wikipedia page suggests is both a friend and avid supporter of Russian dictator Vladamir Putin. I was not informed as to the nature of the concert before hand – or it’s connection to the Russian Government / Festival of Russian Culture. During the gig I asked if it was a political event, and I was informed it was not.

At the time I filmed and edited the concert footage, I was unaware that Mr Jankovskij had previously been involved in a violent dispute, involving the non-payment of a debt.

The Listening Stage

Click the image above for lots more behind the scenes photos and videos

Download: The Listening Stage

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Each year, legendary radio dramatist Roger Gregg teaches a unique intensive course in radio drama. The Listening Stage follows students of The Gaiety School of Acting’s radio drama course, as they pursue their hopes and dreams of fame. This fly on the wall doc embeds us in Roger’s annual weeklong workshop, introducing actors to the exciting world of audio theatre. The course culminates in a live performance of a radio comedy. We follow the crafting of this production from initial script reading to rehearsals, to the development of sound effects and music, the creation of memorable characters, all the way through to the final performance. Taking a look, for the first time ever, behind the curtain of this legendary drama school’s radio drama workshop.

Click the image above for lots more behind the scenes photos and videos

We’ll join the students as they learn to tailor their voices for the microphone, create characters, and explore an astounding array instruments and old school practical sound effects.

We’ll follow the student’s journey, learn about their backgrounds and ambitions, their dreams and hopes for the future. Joining them as they discover how sound and music punctuate and amplify the dramatic and comedic effects of performance, tempo and suspense. This will be a unique journey into what it means to be an actor and an exploration of the oldest form of recorded storytelling as it exists today. Finally we’ll hear excerpts from the student’s final production, recorded live at a performance in the Boys School Theatre in Smock Alley.

Writer / Director Gareth Stack’s previous documentaries include ‘Getting into the Game’, an introduction to videogame development aimed at school age children; and ‘Mad Scientists of Music’ an exploration of experimental alternative music in Ireland.

Credits

Music – Mattia Cupelli, Sad Piano Music, Jos Lis – various.

Clip from ‘Whatever Happened to Baby Jane’, and ‘The Party’, fair use for educational purposes.

Clip from original recording of ‘Whose Afraid of Rottwang Krell’ used with permission.

With thanks to the Gaiety School of acting.

Special thanks to Roger Gregg and Gaiety School of Acting Class 2017.

Starring:
Ailbhe Cowley, Aoife Martyn, Aoife O’Sullivan, Ben Thompson Caroline Mathiasen, Danaja Wass, Darragh Byrne, Eadaoin Barrett, Eoghan Collins, Gemma Kane, Hana Leigh, Jack Mullarkey, Jessica Leen, Gilly O’Shea, Leigh Douglas, Maureen Rabbitt, Niall O’Brien, Roisin Rankin, Tara Cush, Thommas Kane Byrne.