Friday, December 10, 2010

Latest filming

G'day! I may be sunburnt, I may be tired and broke but nothing can take away the excitement of the weekend we just had nor the success it was. I still can’t get over the fact that we had the real ‘Old Mary’ back here for the speed trial re-enactment. The owner, Andrew Lidden, has been enormously generous in sending his mechanic, Mark Worley, with the car down to the south east especially for this event. And for Andrew to agree to run this extremely valuable vehicle on the beach for our filming shows the character of the man and the faith he has in what we are doing. (Mark assures me he will make sure every bit of sand comes off her)

When I first laid eyes on Old Mary as she arrived in town on Thursday night, I could see why John Dutton held such affection for her. Even my wife, who is normally indifferent to the looks of a car, was completely taken with her. There is something quite magical about her.

This re-enactment was an event of almost epic proportions (in my estimation anyway) and required the assistance of many people at many levels. I can’t tell you how grateful I am for the co-operation of all those involved. Words just do not seem enough.

The District Council of Grant for the upgrades of infrastructure and for allowing us complete privacy by closing off Brownes Bay for the duration of our filming session. (Special thanks to Richard Ferguson for coming out early Sunday morning to put the road closures in place)

The City Council of Mt Gambier for their ongoing interest and support of our docudrama and in displaying Old Mary at the Blue Lake throughout Saturday.

To Garry and Trish at the Blue Lake pumping station (Aquifer Tours) for their terrific support and enthusiasm. It was a hoot hey!

Mr Henry McCallum, Senior Sergeant of Police for, and on behalf of the Commissioner of Police, for exempting us from the speed limits for the duration of the filming. It was a thrill to hear that engine open up and roar- I think Old Mary was in her element.

Special thanks to Harvey McBain in his Tiger Moth for the most outstanding fly over I’ve ever seen. Just Brilliant!

To the Port MacDonnell CFS for the 1924 Fire Truck (put in place very early by Grant Fensom- Thanks Grant)

The Mount Gambier Vintage and Veteran Car Club- for the crowd of extras! These people have supported this project right from the beginning and the weekend just proved how much. The attention to detail in clothing, games, tea cups, seats, magazines, period racing clothing and head gear, cars, sand castles and even a kite, was just superb. I am the luckiest amateur film maker in the country. There were about 35 to 40 people there including crew, and I didn’t hear one complaint about anything from anyone. Everyone did more than they were asked.

To Morrie Mashado and South West Freight for bringing in the front end loader on the semi. Morrie is an outstanding supporter of this project and he always puts in 150%.

To Norm and Wendy Dowling and Ian (Yogi) and Maria Haines for the use of their vintage cars and for the support they have shown- thank you enormously.

To Allan and Jenny Childs at Dingley Dell cottage for hosting and looking after Mark! Great people and what a great support they are to me.

To Gaynor and Johnny Smith for accommodating Mark (and Old Mary) at their ‘Springs Cottage’ at no cost. How generous is that? Thanks you two! (Mark told me he just loved it there).

And to ‘The Vanguard’ for everything they do for me and for believing in what I am doing. Finally thanks to Providence for the perfect weather and for a safe weekend.

Wow! That sounds like a Logi awards speech doesn’t it. (steady Brenton!)

Rob tells me the footage looks good. Onward we go!

Thanks again everyone!

Monday, September 13, 2010

General Update

My goodness. The months have just flown. It's not that I haven't been busy; what with the camp, tourism lecturing, the family, the finances, the filming, the performing and generally developing many fronts at the same time, time has just slipped away. But, have we been productive? Yes.
We've filmed more interviews for 'Old Mary's Ride' but not much else. Folks have been away on holidays; others have been busy earning a living and generally some things have simply not fallen into place yet. The City of Mt Gambier have got behind this project and supported us purchasing footage of the Blue Lake from the late 1920's from the National Film and Sound Archive in Canberra.
The development of the new 7 piece 'Brenton Manser and The Vanguard' and its new sound has been a major achievement. After the success of Kapunda as a four piece, we were greatly inspired to increase our practices and increase our numbers and our sound. We have introduced new material and I have been learning to use the Sibelius software to compose new arrangements. One of the products of this new push is the song 'Watch on the Kerb'; a poem by Henry Lawson that I have converted to song. It is the most complex piece of work I have ever developed and yet we are only using three chords. Add to those three chords the unusual combination of sounds of marching drum, electric violin, trumpet, double bass, organ, guitar and four part harmonies over counter melodies and lyrics and I think it will be a song that is like a slow release pill. Listeners will discover something new in it each time they listen to it.
It's really exciting to announce that all of my family (my wife and three sons) are now members of the Vanguard.
The remainder of the year will be spent on filming for Old Mary's Ride, increasing our repertoire as a 7 piece, continuing the recording and looking for opportunities to perform live.
We have just purchased an ex-school bus which will double as our band bus and our holiday camper.
That's all for now

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Upcoming trip to Kapunda

On the 9th, 10th and 11th of April, The Vanguard and I along with our support team, will be heading up to Kapunda in SA's north. This is the town that James Whittaker (perished in the Wreck of the Admella) haled from and is also the town where John Dutton (Old Mary's Ride) had his origins.
On Friday night the 9th we are screening our documentary 'The Wreck of the Admella' in the Lutheran Hall, and then on Saturday night the 10th we will be performing our concert at the Music Society Chappel. In between we will be filming for 'Old Mary's Ride'.
Hope to see you there!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

The Salvage Scene

Wow! What can I say!
This morning, as my son said, looked like the set of a ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ production. These blokes at the Vintage Car Club in Mt Gambier are what I call genuine ‘movers and shakers’.
Not only did they build a replica of the pontoon used in the salvage in 1937 (16x44gall drums lashed together under a large origan crate that held a cast iron winch) in two and a half hours, but here we were about to launch it and re-enact the salvage of John Dutton’s car.
We lined up at the gate to the Valley Lake and waited for the council to open it. We were there before 7am. Morry turned up in the ‘South West Freight’ prime mover with the front end loader sitting on the trailer and lined up. I had Frankie’s clinker built dingy in tow and then Barry Williams lined up with his support boat and 250hp outboard. After the council arrived and opened up, the support team and actors were all in position at the boat loading ramp in no time. We had heard that Murray Langford was bringing the pontoon on his low loader behind the 1979 fully restored Kenworth of which, I am told, there are only 5 left in the world. We were all pretty excited to see (and hear) the Kenworth make its starry entry. The blokes waisted no time in getting the pontoon unloaded; ropes spliced and attached by Barry and we loaded into the water. Collin Thompson kept kicking himself that he hadn’t brought a bottle of champagne to break over the rig. A few more laughs as we watched Murray try to get back on land off the pontoon. He ended up coming with us out into position. A few minutes later and we were on the water, in position, just under the limestone cliff face that resembles the actual spot in the Blue Lake where John Dutton lost his car.
Allan got some great shots on his camera as did Margarit from the car club, and Jesh kept the handy cam rolling hoping to catch some behind the scenes comedy.
The only issue we had was with the wind. It was a little bit strong for Frankie to keep the pontoon in position using only oars. Barry manoeuvred the support boat brilliantly; towing here and there and moving in and out so Rob could vary his shots. Rob rang and told me just now that the footage he got looked really good. We acted out the salvage scene up to where the blokes hooked on to the car and started winching it up. From there we will jump to the actual photos of the car coming out of the water. Because the papers of the day didn’t have a lot of detail on how the salvage was carried out, I had to think things though practically and work it out logically. Things like, what was the dingy in the photos used for? Where did the rope from the winch actually go? Under? Over?
We then took Rob back to shore so he could drive to the top of the cliff and film the last bit looking down.
Anyway, we had a very successful filming session and quite a few laughs in the process.
Special thanks to the City Council for their prompt processing of our event application, for looking after us in terms of the fees and for their well wishes. Another special thanks to the Limestone Coast Rowing Club for allowing us to share the lake with them on their special day.
Once again, thanks to everybody! Fantastic job!!

Monday, February 1, 2010

More Filming 'Old Mary's Ride'

First filming for the new year began on Sunday 31/01/10. We set up above the Adam Lindsay Gordon obelisk overlooking the site of John Dutton's crash into the Blue Lake. As usual we had to wait on the sun to be just right. Last documentary we were waiting for the sun to go, this time we wanted full sun but it was stuck behind a hazy cloud. We waited quite a while until we got the best we could. We could see more cloud coming in from the south so we shot the segment before it arrived. The lake was lovely and blue but I know I've seen it slightly brighter when in the full sun. Never mind! At least I got my costume sorted and we are underway again.
The Wreck of the Admella doco goes to air tonight on the Austar PayTV Christian Channel and is repeated tomorrow night. It will be beamed right throughout Australia, New Zealand, the UK and Indonesia.