Purple Sky

This is a Christmas card I designed for a local arts charity. It will be a short, stop motion piece uploaded on YouTube in 2016, inspired by the works of English animators Peter Firmin and Oliver Postgate, when animation wasn’t dominated by computers. I’m also writing a children’s poem based on the picture, I will collaborate with an illustrator in the near future. The poem and picture came about whilst working as an arts volunteer at an art mental health charity called ‘Open Arts’ which is looking for funding in 2016. Support the arts, and support mental health. Merry Christmas. Dreaming of Purple Skies.

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Dreams and Nightmares with Dominic Currie (Filmmaker)

FROM:

Dom Currie

TO:

jenheloise@yahoo.co.uk

Message flagged

Sunday, 20 November 2011, 16:24

Hi,
Yeah, 20th is good. No, I didn't get round to doing 2 Days Later 
this year but a London company called Whirlygig Cinema screened 
The Ukulele Killer at a chapel in Bethnal Green.  That was fun.
Sounds crazy but can you give me a Title, Genre and Random Word?

I'll try and make a short film by the 20th.

Thanks.

Dom

Jennifer Farfort

TO:

Dom Currie

Message flagged

Sunday, 20 November 2011, 16:37

It doesn't sound crazy at all. I'll call it The third eye (as I 
had a dream about a band called The Third eye.  I blame Lunachicks 
music videos (see YouTube) genre: absurdist drama, and the random
word: face.

Jennifer

Hi Jennifer,

Here's your film.



I suppose it's more  'experimental surreal horror' than 
absurdist drama.

Anyway, it was good fun to make. Don't have nightmares.
speak soon,
Dom

It was the hat. Cardboard…..I thought you were joking when you said you had made it out of cardboard.  I saw it as an homage to W.C. Fields, but found out later it wasn’t. You requested three words. A title: The Third Eye.  Genre: Absurdist drama.  Random word: Face.   Your response was Beckettian.

Oh.. yuck…no..no …It’s not a word that can be passed off as an adjective.

…Let’s start again..Your response was something along the lines of Samuel Beckett, but you didn’t claim to be an expert. 

Dominic: I don’t claim to be expert on Samuel Beckett, but I know he did a play called Krapp’s last Tape,’ which is a one-man show and there’s one of me, so I thought that’s convenient.  I found out that he made a film in 1965 called ‘Film’ starring Buster Keaton.  So the projectionist is just a slight nod to the play, and the hat is made in reference to Buster Keaton.

‘The Third Eye’  What was it?  What is it? 

Dominic: My Dad, a scientist told me that people in the 60s who had dropped a little too much acid would drill holes in their head in search of this concept of the third eye to awaken some dormant part of their brain seeking out intelligence.

I pictured ageing, slightly overweight, Grateful Dead fans with their tie-dye t-shirts straining against their girth going about their everyday lives, with a tiny hole still visible in their forehead. 

ARE YOUR DREAMS AND NIGHTMARES SEPARATE FROM YOUR FILMS, OR ARE THEY INTERCONNECTED?

For a moment, you appeared bewildered.  I repeated the question, but worded it a little differently: 

Jennifer: Where does the dream/film/nightmare begin?

Dominic: The truth is I don’t use the terms dreams and nightmares to describe my films-they’re just me.  Anything that seems unconventional in terms of a modern Hollywood story narrative to some people might seem dreamlike or nightmarish but it’s just me playing around with film.  Obviously, with ‘The Third Eye,’ I was aware I was creating something that was weird, but it wasn’t based on a particular dream.  The older I get the less dreams I have.  Most of them are incredibly corny and Freudian. It doesn’t matter where I am, whether it’s school, back at my old house, at some point in the dream I will look down and realise I’m not wearing any trousers. It’s a classic anxiety dream.

Jennifer: You described ‘The Third Eye’ as Experimental Surreal Horror. It sounds like a mash-up of genres.

Dominic: To be honest I only described it as that because it wasn’t absurdist drama.  I used the genre as a fuel for the ideas in the film. I was doing something I had never really done before, and it was Horror because it has a scene where a man drilled a hole in his own head.  It wasn’t so much genres, I was just describing how I saw the film.

Genres…Genres, categorize, labels, (it’s all film to me)  boxes……..Trapped

DO YOU THINK GENRES ARE NECESSARY?  COULD YOU COME UP WITH A DIFFERENT GENRE?

Dominic: Here’s a genre for you.  I’m thinking Japanese Anime mixed with a Spicy Mexican feel – Chimmy Changa Manga  

or I’m thinking Dada  

and film Noir   and that would be Film Noir-Da.  You could go on and on.

Jennifer: What would you like to see?

Dominic: Camp Australian film with songs that is shot in black and white but with very theatrical scenery that would be Luhrmann Expressionism.

Jennifer: You’ve really thought about his haven’t you.

Luhrmann..Luhrmann.  Did he mean German instead of Luhrmann?

Dom Currie

TO:

Jennifer Farfort

Wednesday, 28 December 2011, 18:10

Hi Jennifer,

Here are two crazy dream images. The Freudian Nightmare is just
a joke. I've never actually had a dream where I've been chased 
by giant carrots.

The war dream is an actual memory. I had Third World War dreams 
quite a lot as a child. Being brought up in a left-wing household 
with older sisters who were members of CND made me all to aware of 
nuclear war.

When I was eight or nine I wrote letters to Ronald Reagan and Leonid
Brezhnev asking them to make friends. I don't think I sent one to 
Thatcher. I must have assumed she was too cold-hearted to reason 
with. I like to think I had a hand in ending the Cold War and 
helping to keep the peace.

Happy New Year!

Dom

Dominic: Dream sequences are inherently fake, a pseudo concept.

Catching yourself, you stopped suddenly.

Dominic: Sorry that’s pretentious but the whole concept of a dream in cinema is a fake concept.  Dreams are nothing like they are in cinema.  Most people, when they tell you their dreams are already misinterpreting them and trying to make sense of them and put them in a particular order.  I remember thinking once that a lot of my dreams happened from above

I made a mental note that a dream sequence with more camera angles would be much more realistic.

 I still pursued dreams: 

Jennifer: Have you seen Salvador Dalí’s dream sequence in ‘Spellbound’?

Dominic: When you’re talking about dreams and nightmares in film, I can’t relate to my own dreams and nightmares, but I really like Bunuel and those kinds of movies.  He claimed those films were based on his dreams.  I’m not sure I totally believe him because they make a little too much sense.

WHILST MAKING ‘MACHINE TIME’ COULD YOU SWITCH OFF OR WAS IT ALWAYS IN YOUR SUBCONSCIOUS?

Dominic: I’m not sure about the subconscious bit, but for most films I make I just start and keep going and don’t stop.  ‘Machine Time’ and ‘The Third Eye’ were similar in as much as the whole process was simply to respond to the words.  In ‘Machine Time’s’ case it was a story.  I tried to respond to the ideas and not to second guess them or over think them or to judge one idea and say that’s not good but that one is.  You just come up with everything, and you throw them all at the screen and afterwards work out what sticks.

Jennifer: I like the way you don’t over think.  Do you think people analyze too much?

Dominic: That could be true but also people will just say look at my films and say what a pretentious load of old wank.

WHAT RESPONSE DO YOU GET WITH YOUR FILMS?

Dominic: Good and bad.  My YouTube channel is a mixture of really odd things like recreational videos for friends, and family and then I started doing fringe theatre, and for some reason, it was a lot of American theatre by writers like David Mamet and John Patrick Shanley.  People kept thinking I was trying to do an impression of Robert De Niro.   I wasn’t.  I was just trying to do an Italian American accent.  So I thought as a joke and I think it was the same time I was at Channel Four, I thought I’d do an impression of De Niro and stick it on YouTube and see if I could create something viral.  That was the idea initially.  It didn’t work but the people who liked them just said, try De Niro does this and so on, but the one that eventually became viral was a De Niro Star Wars one which is awful, and I desperately want to take it off because it’s utter crap.

Jennifer: Is that Jar Jar Binks?

Dominic: No it’s another one.  De Niro does Darth Vader, but it has suddenly gone to 90,000 hits, and I can’t bring myself to take it down.  I get endless abuse from 14-year-old Americans saying (bratty, American accent) “You’re shit man.  You sound more like Harvey Keitel than Robert De Niro”

HOW DID YOU GO ABOUT MAKING ‘MACHINE TIME’?

Dominic: With ‘Machine Time” and it’s a bit rude to say this but Mark Ravenhill had written the story that wasn’t entirely cinematic, but that was actually quite clever because it meant people had to think it through, and really had to come up with good ideas and some people I think made the mistake of simply reading out the story and trying to put images to it, and I just thought it doesn’t really work like that.  I thought what was needed was something else with a narrative, and I stumbled across the idea of doing a bit from HG Wells ‘The Time Machine’ and I made that the narrative thrust of the movie and I just put in little bits of Mark Ravenhill’s story along the way.  I think that’s why the movie worked.

Jennifer: It does work. I think it’s brilliant. I love it.

You thanked me.  I was surprised by your modesty.  Didn’t’ you expect me to say that.


Jennifer: As part of winning the Ravenhill Guardian Film competition you were mentored by Channel 4.

Dominic: Yeah. Whatever that means. I think I had about five meetings over four months and learned absolutely nothing.   It was hugely
disappointing. Believe it or not, I was actually told by Channel 4 that winning the  competition WAS the prize. Second prize was a  Macbook Pro.   I could have done with one of those.
Trust me to win a competition where second prize was ‘something’ and first prize was ‘nothing’. Mark Ravenhill has a genuinely creative aura about him, whereas most Channel 4 execs seemed dead behind the eyes.

DO YOUR IDEAS COME FROM DREAMS, MUSIC, BOOKS, ART OR EVERYDAY LIFE?

Unexpectedly, you laughed: 

Dominic: That’s basically a variation of the question where do your ideas come from.

Yes.  Yes, it is..and

Dominic: Everybody just absorbs information, whether it’s books or theatre and then when you’re working on a particular project those ideas start to brew and usually a combination of ideas comes out, a bit of theatre, and a bit of book you’ve read with bits of diced carrot mixed up in it.

Music…..music videos (promos)

Jennifer: When I watched the music promo ‘Animal,’ I kept seeing vivisection, even though it wasn’t implied, and the idea of thought control.  What did you have in mind when you made it?

Dominic: I can’t remember.  That video wasn’t a professional music promotion. It was just a guy who said I’ve written a song and can you put a video to it. There was no money involved and lyrically there was nothing in the song.  If you listen to the song. It’s about nothing, so I’m left thinking all I can go on is the emotion…

Jennifer: Why monkeys

Dominic:  Oh I just like monkeys. I also made that mask.  I think I have always been a fan of the actors who played the apes in 2001 A Space Odyssey, which is why I put in a little joke at the end where he throws a drumstick up in the air.

Oh.  In jokes. In on the joke, joke

Dominic: I put loads of those in my films

Jennifer: Nobody gets them.  Do they? Weren’t there in-jokes in ‘Jack T’

Dominic: The actual reference in my film ‘Jack T’ was the Brian De Palma film,  ‘Blow Out’,  I read somewhere that John Travolta, up to a certain point, would only play characters in films whose initials were  JT.

Jennifer: That might be a Scientology thing.

Dominic:  Possibly.  He is bonkers. One of my obsessions is sound.  I like playing around with sound so the idea of a guy recording sound…And there’s a line at the end of the film when Travolta ends up using the actual sound of a murdered woman in a low-budget cheap horror film, we stole that line and stuck it at the end of ‘Jack T’, when the young boy gets smashed over the head with a hammer.  The character at the end says “That’s a great scream.”  I didn’t expect people to get it. I can’t remember the question.

Monkeys

Jennifer: Why monkeys

Dominic: I like monkeys

Jennifer:  Did your friend give you a brief?

Dominic: No I couldn’t work to a brief.

Jennifer:  You don’t strike me as the sort of person that could work to a brief.

Dominic:  Ha ha. If someone gave me, a brief and said I want the video to be,.…Particularly, if it was a musician I’d think ‘what the fuck do you know about it.?’

Jennifer:  You said you compose.

Dominic:  Jack of all trades and master of none.  Piano and drums. I’m not a classically trained pianist or a jazz drummer.  I came from a theatre background and did acting.  I used to write music for the theatre.  I have always been fascinated by computer music but I’m not a huge fan of dance music. I don’t have the same kind of response to music videos as some people do.

Jennifer:  That’s quite good isn’t it.  You would look at it with fresh eyes or slightly cynical ones.

Dominic: Yeah everything with slightly cynical…  I think you’re far more interested in contemporary music than I am.

Well..classic punk…some classic rock..

DID YOU WATCH ANY MUSIC VIDEOS BY ‘THE LUNACHICKS?’

That’s what sparked a dream about a band called ‘The Third Eye’ that looked quite psychedelic.  It was like a glorious Technicolor alternative.

Dominic: I don’t listen to a lot of pop music, so I don’t watch a load of pop videos.  I’m more of a Jazz person but I know from experience of making pop videos for people who if the lyrics to the song aren’t particularly interesting, then you just tend to work on images, and you tend to work on emotions and I think inherently that’s dreamlike.

Jennifer:  What did you think of The Lunachicks videos?

Dominic: I saw one that was really fast cut, and it had a bit of the old fish-eye lens going on, and it looked like it was shot on old style vhs video.

Jennifer: They are……

were…were

Jennifer:  are like an old school diy punk band

Dominic: Maybe I should listen to it a bit more.  I did genuinely…..honestly.

……….. …

Rifling through A4 paper, I glanced at typed questions, notes to self circled and highlighted close to hand.  Meditation…Transcendental meditation… David Lynch 

HAVE YOU EVER PRACTICED  TRANSCENDENTAL MEDITATION?  DAVID LYNCH IS A STRONG ADVOCATE, BUT SAYS HE NEVER MAKES HIS DREAMS INTO FILMS.   THEY’RE COMPLETELY SEPARATE BUT SAID IT HELPS WITH CERTAIN PROJECTS. HAVE YOU EVER TRIED……

You looked at me strangely, and before I finished the sentence I started to laugh

Jennifer: (laughing) meditation?

Dominic: (laughs) No of course I haven’t you fucking nutter. When I made ‘The Third Eye’ I looked up the third eye and found out about Taoist Religious Philosophy, and the idea is that you have to meditate and control your breathing and it’s completely obsessed by the process and the process does take (as it says in the little monologue) 10-15 years before you eventually open up your third eye, but the thing is it doesn’t give you any indication of what you’re able to do once the third eye is open.  If I had meditated for 10-15 years I’d want to be able to fly by the end of it.

Flying….Yogic flying….  No.

Dominic Currie Films @

http://www.youtube.com/user/domcurrie

Snapshot. Christine (1986) Director -Alan Clarke

Alan Clarke’s Christine is shocking not in its portrayal of drug abuse, but the ability that Clarke affords us his audience of emotional intelligence where the drama unfolds at its own pace without judgement.

Shortlisted

My film proposal is on the shortlist. It was found to be quite unique, and not obvious in the context of chocolate. I’m 1 of 5 candidates shortlisted in the Divine Chocolate filmmaking competition.

I’ve stopped swearing with excitement and stopped dancing myself stupid around my bedroom. It’s time to get cracking. I’m currently negotiating my way around a storyboard (anyone got any tracing paper).

Voiceover for a film noir circa 1940s – early 1950s

He had my permission to hit her.  I didn’t believe in men hitting women but she stopped being a woman a long time ago.”

Over The Edge 1978(9) Directed by Jonathan Kaplan: Screenwriters – Tim Hunter and Charlie Hass

Contents

Vandalism, teenage wasteland, anti-authority, youth crime and alienation.

Kiss concert ticket references and Cheap Trick on the Soundtrack  

Matt Dillon in a cropped belly top, speed, acid, ludes, house parties and troubled parents.

Teenage love, boyish looking flat-chested girls, the kids are not alright they’re trigger happy.

A BB gun toting Davy Crockett hatted kid, kill the pigs, kaboom and car chases.




Main Cast

SNAPSHOTS -Focus
ATMOSPHERE – Engaging
LANGUAGE – Rhythm
HUMANISM – Conflict
IMAGES – Captivating
DIALOGUE – Show not Tell or Show and Tell (not sure about this) the everyday, ordinary, extraordinary and banal.
FOOTAGE – Art not commerce
75MM – The Golden Age of Cinema
THE IDEA – An outline
REAL – Imaginary
MOODS – Textures
PORTRAIT – Colours, (see above Moods)
FOOTAGE – Record, play, Repeat.
CONCEPT – Change the formula
AUDIENCE – Manipulate
WATCH – Voracious
LISTEN – Ambient
FRAME – Projected
DREAMS – Space and time
CHARACTERS – Observation
COLLABORATION – Risk or Spark. Fuck or fight.

Al-Jolson in White Face.