Saturday, October 24, 2009

"Fill out your Gaa-dammm census form!" Ah... racial!

A couple weeks ago, we had the pleasure to shoot a spot for the upcoming 2010 US Census, focussed specifically towards an African-American target audience. It was an ambitious 2 day cram-fest of a shoot, with 3 camera units, over 50 different set-ups, and a crowd of about 500 extras on a downtown Manhattan street during a work week. The concept was about coming together as a community, and with one collective voice being able to influence positive change in education, transportation and healthcare. A gigantic crowd collects on the street, but their voices aren't heard until one guy (that looks uncannily like the young version of Denzel from Glory but without the severe back scarring), makes his way down from his apartment and joins in... and one by one, we begin to hear the crowd's unified chant, giving it real power.

We were lucky enough to shoot with the cinematographer of 90% of Aronofsky's films, and the Iron Man movies, Matthew Libatique... and the music composer is the amazing Tyler Bates, from 300 and Watchmen fame. Not a bad team really. And, we beat out some big name directors for the spot too, which is always a plus... I won't say who, cause this blog may come up when he late-night googles his name, but put it this way - we were 13 when he directed his most famous early 90's grunge music video. Weird... for him.

So naturally we embraced the scope of the project, shot the absolute cripe out of it from more angles than Terrance Malick could think up, and came up with a 90 second extended version that's really beautiful and emotive. Only bummer is that it's not available to show anybody until early next year... sooooo, I guess there's basically no reason for us to be posting this right noooow... is... there? How do you delete these things again?

Jon [Josh].

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Mid year update.

I just read the blog post three or so down that talked about us moving to the States, [below the one of us promising to write more posts, which was an obvious lie and now it's quite clear we can't be trusted], and I noticed the photo that went along with that post of Josh struttin' through the LES back in 2006 or something... about one block from where we've been living on Orchard St for the past 14 months. Weird huh? I could literally throw a rock from our apartment to where Josh is in that photo, assuming there was some sort of tear in the space/time continuum right in front of where '2006 Josh' was walking, allowing the rock to safely pass through from 2009 to 2006 and cane him in the head or neck. This is also assuming that I'm that much of a good shot... which is a given, so isn't as much of a variable in this hypothetical daydream. Not even sure why you brought that up.

So... a quick update on 2009 so far, since it's been established we're liars and have barely written a thing. In April we got asked to host a night as directors who are greatly inspired by music of a range of styles, and got to basically DJ the event with support from Q Department, a sound house here in New York. We chose 20 albums that have inspired us over the years, and gave specific songs to 20 different illustrators to interpret the music as artworks, that were exhibited on the night. It was an amazing event, which you can check out here if you'd like. What else? We've been playing a lot of Donkey Kong, which led to a lot of Mr Do! ['Mr Do!' has an exclamation mark in it's title... that wasn't just me being over-eager]. The Hangover came out... and we laughed and laughed. Transformers 2 also came out... and we laughed and laughed. We recently shot a couple jobs back to back - an LG job in New York, and a Cox Communications job in Toronto. Both weren't exactly award-winning, but fun none the less, and I'm sure you can hunt them down if you're even remotely comfortable with Google. Oh, and something else big happened this year, but I can't tell you about that. Okay, see ya.

Jon [Josh].

Friday, January 30, 2009

Morning Light.

2008 led to some interesting jobs for us, but by far the most enjoyable was the Nissan 'Morning Light' spot we shot in Toronto, Canada in early October.  It was so refreshing to see a script for a truck ad that wasn't about action-packed 4-wheel-drive shots and big hairy men, but more about creating a simple little narrative and being able to inject some charm and wonder into the story.  We got to create this early morning routine for a lonely woodsman, driving out into the darkness to fulfill his unthinkable duties... something he's done every morning for as long as he can remember.  There was a subtlety to the pictures and to the music that made it really gratifing for us, and although the climax had a cool visual twist to it, it didn't feel like a big 'effects' spot at all.  I won't spoil it for you, so if you haven't seen the final piece you can take a look over at under Directors - 'TWiN'.

We also got to work with good mate / conceptual illustrator Morten Rowley again, who sketched up some awesome ideas for a giant contraption that appears in the spot.  He did a killer job once again, and that combined with the 3d talent of the guys over at Framestore, there was nothing to worry about.  Here's an example of one of his little drawings, which if you still haven't watched the spot yet, may take it to another place for you.  What am I thinking, nobody reads text without first looking at the image below it!  Just go watch the spot.

Jon [Josh].

Sunday, July 20, 2008

More than three shakes and you're playing with it.

There's something I don't entirely get, and I'm just gonna ramble on about it for a second.  What makes a movie like Hancock, which had a lot of the right ingredients, not a great film?  I mean, it was pretty decent... it had good intentions at least... but it wasn't a solid, memorable, completely fun experience.  Why?  I like all types of movies, and I've absolutely got time for something like this.  I'm definitely not that guy who only watches old Werner Herzog, and craps on anything with Tom Cruise in it.  But even though I followed the film's production, loved the concept and the marketing, it didn't make it across the line for me... I walked out feeling average.  And I don't really get why.  

It had a bunch of things going for it, more than most movies could hope for.  Solid casting - whether you like Will Smith or not, I can't think of anybody that doesn't like at least one of this guy's movies [except possibly the Grand Imperial Wizard of the KKK, but even he can't help mouthing lyrics to The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air while channel surfing].  For every Men In Black or Wild Wild West, there's an Ali or a Pursuit Of Happyness... let's be real.  Then there's Oscar winner Charlize Theron, and although she did bug me in Hancock, she's still a damn good actress, there shall be no denying that.  And you can't look past Jason Bateman, who not only rocked a bigger comeback than John Travola, but makes pretty much every film he's in worth smiling at [The Kingdom - a dude gets stabbed in the head, and it's still 'a funny film'].  Speaking of The Kingdom, look at Hancock's director Petey Burg... a very talented guy, with a stunning visual style, great instincts, and serves up the perfect all-you-can-eat buffet of action, drama & comedy.  I'll see anything he does, without even thinking twice.  

And then look at the spectacle of this movie!... people often talk about 'mindless' visual effects and how they plague summer blockbusters, blah blah blah, but these effects even have the famous get-out-of-jail-free pass - they're integral to the characters and the story!  AND they're friggin cool!  Hancock ripping the roof off an SUV and jumping in the back seat!  Then flying it across town, smashing through buildings and freeway signs... and pretty much everything else mind you.  99% of the effects were done seamlessly, and only 5 to 10 years ago they would have been impossible to actualise at this sort of level... have we become too jaded with 'spectacle'?  Does flying men and smashed buildings not impress us anymore?  That's really sad.  

So I was wondering, is there anything we haven't really seen yet in cinema?... cause when you think about it, from aliens to superheroes to disasters, we've seen A LOT!  Is there anything new to experience?  And I'm betting the answer will come in 2009, in the form of three simple words.  James Cameron's Avatar.  I had the pleasure of reading the script a couple years back when I saw it illegally online, and managed to copy and paste the entire thing into an email and send it to myself.  It blew me away, and I can understand why Cameron's been sitting on the thing for more than a decade... because to do it well, you really need the VFX technology of Hancock and above.  But way more exciting than the thought of another big visual effects movie, is the fact that he's playing with steroscopic 3D technology that nobody's messed with before.  Not just the cliche IMAX 'object flying at your face' tricks, but changes in focus and depth and techniques that will make your brain literally think you're there!  I probably just made it sound lame, but if anybody can kick the crap outta the boundaries of cinema as we know it, it's James Cameron [who even served on NASA's advisory board for years!].  It's exciting to think that there's a lot more to come in the next few years, and 'spectacle' could be in for an overhaul.

Jon [Josh].

Friday, July 11, 2008

Starting over.

As some of you know, in October 2007 both me and Josh moved to New York City to continue directing commercials and music videos as creative crew 'TWiN'.  Everything professionally is going great, and big doors are opening, sometimes even a couple at a time... which is daunting, and exciting and about 7 other adjectives all combined.  

Our previous blog from Australia got pulled down, and so we're starting fresh here at Blogger.  Hopefully updates will be more often than bi-yearly, so be sure to come back and check out what's goin on with life, work and trivial crap in the TWiN camp.  We're also gonna throw up a bunch of the best posts from our previous blog, just to get some points on the board.  Hopefully we'll catch you soon.  Outtys.

Jon [Josh].

Saturday, October 6, 2007

The beginning of the beginning.

Well, I guess the time has come to tell the 4 people who read this blog (mum and dad apparently told two of their friends) about the future plans for TWiN. [Big exaggerated breath... a pause... now go]. We've decided to take over the fruit industry. Well, that's not exactly the whole truth. Let's face it, Jon IS a bit of a fruit, and I do enjoy a dried apple every now and then... but it's more about WHERE the picking and devouring of this seed-based produce will be taking place. Yes people. TWiN is moving to New York City... APPARENTLY one of the largest apples around.

It's been in the twin cards for a while now, and there's a good chance we're not actually telling you something you haven't already guessed... but it's officially a done deal. A couple weeks from today will see 'skinny twin one' and 'skinny twin two' living and working in New York, NY. Keep an ear to the ground for more details, as we're going to do our best to make some noise in the way only a pair of rowdy Australians can. It'll be ads... it'll be more ads... and it'll be music videos of our favourite artists that choose to return our calls and aren't currently winning Grammys OR eating at Hype Williams' house on a regular basis. Or Michel Gondry's. 

Fingers crossed this is the right move. Either way it'll be one of those events where everything else in our lives is either 'before' or 'after' our move to New York City in October 2007.

Josh [Jon].

Monday, September 17, 2007

Little Fella.

It's been a while since we posted last, so let me have a think about what's gone down in the last 2 months or so. 

Kanye West
and 50 Cent had that little release date beef goin on, where 50 said he'd retire if Yay out-sold him... well he DID, and here's hoping Fiddy's a man of his word. Californication hit Aussie TV with both it's witty AND titty dialogue, proving itself to be an enjoyable watch. Oh yeah, the third Bourne movie hit cinemas and kicked a whole bunch of confined-spaces-ass.

Work-wise, I received a script via email about a month ago for Impotence Australia about a little problem known as 'erectile dysfunction'. Gotta admit, I almost deleted it thinking I'd been spammed, but after reading the script and chuckling outloud [in a good way], I decided to take the project on. The ad is basically about a grumpy and overly stressed-out 50 year-old guy, who wakes up with a perfectly half-sized version of himself dressed exactly the same, who follows him throughout his busy day. He doesn't show his 'little fella' much TLC, and after a hectic day at the office they decide to hit the hay. Our big guy looks over and smiles at his wife, signaling for her to 'hold that thought' as he turns over to his 'little fella' for some much needed asistance. Unfortunately he's fast asleep, regardless of how hard he gets shaked. The tagline is 'Look after your little fella, and he'll look after you'. Ha... it's all in good taste, trust me.

We shot the job last weekend, and it looks great... nice humorous moments with some realistic, but very simple visual effects. Should be on TV in early October, so keep an eye out for the loveable 'little fella'. [Can now be seen at, under TWiN's work].

Jon [Josh].

Saturday, July 14, 2007

New York Cabs.

This entry is going to be shorter than most... but I remembered this 5 minutes ago and needed to share. It's just a funny little story which is cool, and weird, and I love when cool weird stuff like this happens. It does seem to happen more to us than most people I know... 

Recently my bro and I were in New York, and were staying in the same hotel room. It was the first morning there, and like most mornings in a foreign country, you spend a good 20 minutes wasting time checking emails [and Facebook]. We're both hangin out - a bunch of skinny kids in boxer shorts - when a cool song wofts out from my speakers [if you weren't aware, WOFT is an acronym for 'Waste Of F'ing Time', which is actually quite accurate in this case]. I remember how much I dug the song the second I heard the first bar, and similarly, Jon looks over and says "I like this... what song is it?". I go into my iTunes to check and suddenly explode with laughter. The song was by Death Cab For Cutie... and I shit you not, was called 'Brothers On A Hotel Bed'. Love it. Couldn't have been more appropriate! [unless anyone's heard of that other song called 'Two Aussie Twins In Their Underwear Tapping Away At Laptops While Sitting On A Hotel Bed' by The Anacdotes. That song is just scary].

Josh [Jon]. 

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Future Jon.

On a recent trip to New York, me and Josh finally managed to live out one of our wildest adulthood dreams - to ride around Manhattan on BMX bikes.  I'm not talkin about those lame riverside kiddie bike paths... no, no, no.  I'm talkin rollin down 5th Avenue against traffic with no helmets on, dodging cars like bike messengers... a hotdog in one hand and a video camera in the other, man.  After a good couple hours into the ride, we zoned in on Washington Square Park and stopped to take in a three man band playing some funky-ass ?uestlove-style drum & bass.  Throwing our bikes up against a tree, we look over and it slowly dawns on us that the drummer looks a little familiar.  Josh glances over to me and jokes "Dude, how long have you been playing the drums?"... but the closer we get, the more freaked out we become.  This guy looks EXACTLY the same as me... freakishly, even more than Josh does... AND HE'S MY TWIN, PEOPLE.  How weird is that?!!  No, seriously think about it for a second.  They say 'everybody has a lookalike', a 'doppelganger' if you will, but I met mine, and he lives in Manhattan!  His band was just as giggley as we were, and said we HAD to get a photo together.  I even got passed a similar pair of white sunnies to throw on... just to make it that little bit more ridiculous.  Ha.  This photo still makes me smile when I look at it.  It felt like Marty Mcfly watching himself in Back To The Future II... me in 3 years having moved to Greenich Village, learnt to play the drums, and rockin the white glasses / wife-beater combo.  So he's now known as 'Future Jon'.

Jon [Josh].

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

"What are you in here for?"

I gotta share what happened to me last night, in a Peter Griffin 'grind my gears' kinda way. I was at the Joss Stone Sydney show, and straight after the encore, these two E-poppin teeny Joss wannabes came stumbling to where my girl and I were standing, and insist on using us as structural support while yelling at the top of their voices. Now it's a show, and I know they're fully in their right to get a little vocal... but I'm talkin everything from "where's the bathroom Joss?" to "Joss, the ice in my drink is cold!" to "I love that colour on you Josssh"... everything BUT. So I politely turn around and smile, expecting to hear a cute "sorry, we'll watch the show now"... but instead, after facing the front again, the bitch... pours her drink... over my head.  

I'm just gonna let that sink in a little... let you think about what reaction you'd have in that situation. Huh? What? You'd smash her? Yeh, that's how people end up with a permanent record. But it sooo crossed my mind. 

So I turn around, grab both their drinks [one a little emptier than the other] and throw them over the front railing, then I look her in the eye with my best Pacino face and calmly say "back... up". She crawls into her shell, just in time for her friend to adjust from go to whoa and SCREAM obscenities all over my face. I'm talkin everybody lookin on with those eyes saying 'dude, I know you're so in the right right now, but I'm thrilled it's not happening to me, so I'm just gonna chill over here in the safe zone, cool?'. I want to hit her, I really do... I even want to grab them by the arms and 'remove' them from the show... but seriously, what are my options here? So I turn around, shake the beer outta my hair, and try to get back into the show... while she screams stuff like "yeah that's right, you TURN around!!" Then the original chick leans forward and sarcastically whispers, "Don't worry, my Dad's a Neurosurgeon... I know how you people are". WHAT?! You people?? Bitch, I'm a music video director..... how much more of NOT a doctor or a lawyer do you want me to be here??? Man, that made my blood boil. But again, throwing a drink over somebody's head probably isn't classed as 'assault', where I can guarantee forcing the bridge of her nose up into her frontal lobe IS.  People suck.

Jon [Josh]. 

Saturday, February 17, 2007

It's in the pudding.

So after months of patiently waiting, TWiN have finally broken into the New York modeling scene, and we ain't talkin' no small time nonsense! Ha. These are some of the final ads for the Converse - John Varvatos campaign that we mentioned in a previous blog [scroll down to "It's ringing!" for the full story], and as promised, our skinny asses can now be seen on billboards and in subways across Manhattan. Funny... I guess they weren't havin us on after all. Apart from the fact we're seen heavy-petting with the same girlie, I just don't like the look of what I'm doing in the background to that there BBQ. I'm 'Stralian, and it looks like this is my virgin incounter with a grill!... ha. What exactly is the point of the two hand stab technique Jon? Huh? You're an embarrassment... now hurry up and cook your young friends some steaks before they get to second base, for goodness sakes!

Jon [Josh].

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Remember back when...

I was thinking back to our childhood the other night, and realised just how great it actually was. When averaging all the ups and downs of our past, it sorta comes up roses... as opposed to those large brazilian jungle flowers that smell like rotting meat, put it that way. I'd like to think we're pretty stable personalities now, with very little going on upstairs in regards to deep-seated* issues from our childhood, and I think I'm gonna attribute a lot of that to the first 13 or so years of our life. Oh, and our parents probably had something to do with it too.  Cheers guys.

As you can imagine, loneliness was never an issue growing up. Competitiveness, stealthy food fights, top and lower bunk rotation, always buying two of everything in blue AND red... those were issues, but never loneliness. We didn't have the widest circle of friends growing up either, but we certainly didn't discriminate. We'd play with anybody... the nerds, the cool kids, the girls and even the little punks down the road that'd burst into tears, pack up their toys and leave in a wild cussing fit if and when they so pleased [what's up Tyrone]. Actually, I'd like to think most kids enjoyed the little adrenaline rush of coming over to the twin's house, because they knew they'd be involved in some activities they couldn't or wouldn't try at their own place. Not that we were the evil kids that peer pressured your ass into shooting birds or something [not AT ALL], think more along the A-Team lines of things... the Ninja lines if you will.  

We were blessed with slightly more adventurous spirits than the average 9 year olds, and this became evident in the post-school hours of the day. Building a cubby house in the sappy backyard pine tree, which honestly only consisted of a single wooden board to seat ONE... it became a race to get up there, and then a charade to make it look like you were having way more fun up the tree than down. This probably started our obsession for constructing things outta the junk in Dad's garage. The ways of the Ninja also became a big part of our childhood... throwing-stars cut from lead or tin, katanas and sais made from sharpened wood, bo-staffs made from... well not really made, more adapted from the kitchen broom. And of course, the black tee-shirt wrapped intricately around the head to reveal ninja eyes, but which had to be taken off due to breathing complications. Night falls, and we'd run around battling nobody, and hiding from nothing.

The 'game' though that achieved legendary, nay MYTHICAL repute in the adolescent community, would have had to be 'Missions'. Missions were born simply through 'dares', like so many other pure games before it. "I dare you to jump our back fence, run through Mr Johnson's yard and meet me on the next street"... or Mission A. "I dare you to walk along our back fence until it becomes the crazy woman's house, then run through her yard, jump the fence into the yard with the rottweiler, over their gate and out through the back lane".. or Mission C [which was only ever done once by the way, and just barely once]. By Mission D, we were on people's roofs, and I'm pretty sure you couldn't complete Mission G without a grappling hook... [or was it bolt cutters?] The one piece of equipment required for every Mission though, was the trusty tennis ball. If ever caught while on enemy territory, you'd immediately resort to making exaggerated head movements while squinting the eyes, and swatting at random plantlife. You'd be surprised at exactly how well "I'm just looking for my tennis ball" can get you out of an awkward trespassing dilemma. One time when I forgot to bring one, I can remember having the owner of the house looking with me for half an hour for a ball that was never there, only to pull out from the garden an actual tennis ball covered in a thick layer of dried mud and leaves that was so obviously NOT the ball in question... "Is this what you're looking for?" C'monnn, what would you have said if you were given such a quick out? Anyway, bottom line is... you came to the twin's house when you wanted to star in your own personal spy movie, and we were proud of that fact [it actually became our most responsive viral marketing line!].

Maybe it was due to not owning a TV for much of our early years? [although I'm definitely sure that's why we're obsessed with it now!] Maybe it was the double-story design of our house that just begged to be climbed up, swung from and jumped off? Maybe it was our parents, that maintained a firm-but-fair attitude of 'just be careful', and were probably okay with letting us prance around because they knew we had each other's backs. I don't know, but I feel like we had a pretty solid childhood... and a part of me wishes we could start up Missions again without the fear of serious jail time.

Jon [Josh].

* 'Deep-seeded' or 'deep-seated'?

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

"It's ringing!"

Crazy things happen in New York City, no-one can argue with that - it's a proven scientific fact. TWiN can be privy to some fairly strange, rare, and some say 'lucky' happenings... but even we were speechless with some of the happycrap that went down on this recent U.S trip. There's really only room for one story here... so let me go ahead and elaborate, thus opening the door for a stream of colourful and pretty unavoidable reader comments. No please, go nuts.

Here we are, crossing 5th Avenue after yet another fruitful session of 'what special edition DVDs can we find in the Virgin Megastore that haven't made it to our shores yet... and look, only $10', when this nice blonde lady stops us in front of a rather potent cart of 'street meat'. She quickly explains that her good friend, who just happens to be 'the best casting agent in NYC', has asked her to keep a peeled eyeball out for interesting faces around the city. She then rather excitedly goes on to tell us it's all for an upcoming Converse print campaign to shoot in the next couple weeks. O... Kay. "Here... take down her number on that mangled DVD receipt from your back pocket, and call her as soon as you can!!" Obviously this doesn't happen to TWiN every day (it tends to be more of a weekly to bi-weekly occasion)... so needless to say we were surprised, and there was definitely more than our regular required dose of cynicism.  

So, four days go by... and it's only on the morning of the fifth day that we come across this now almost unreadable strip of paper from my back pocket. We look at each other and giggle like little girls. We argue about who's going to call... like little girls. I say, "It's ringing", in a high-pitched squeal like a skinny 6'1 little girl that hasn't shaved in a week. For some reason the assistant on the phone asks "is this one of the twins?" [I SHIT you NOT], and before you know it we're standing in a painfully slow elevator on our way up to get our photos taken at the Soho casting office.

(I'll speed through this next bit in point form)... Photos of us are quick, digital, and subsequently quite lame. We're pretty sure we have zero chance. The mood boards and designs for the campaign look quite cool though, and we're pleasantly surprised that they want 'black & white 70's indie-punk-cool' over 'cheesy American kids smiling so wide you wanna kick a puppy'. They give us the "we'll call you when we hear something", and we leave the building expecting that we've just scored a cool New York story, but not much else.  

Soon enough we get a call from the casting office - "The photos aren't great... we're gonna need to get you in to take some better ones".  Again we find ourselves in one of Manhattan's slowest elevators on our way to the office of John Varvatos. We quickly assume this must be the famous photographer on the job ('cause that's certainly how the room comes across), and we sit there flicking through his massive leather-bound folio. Justin, Tom Cruise, Usher, Hugh Jackman, LL, Matthew Fox... and... TWiN(?!?) Our churning guts switch up a gear. Turns out John Varvatos is the fashion designer [derr!], and a pretty friggin well-known one too! [Lucky we didn't compliment him on his 'work' huh?] We meet... he's all smiles... a little gay... jokes that we're gonna have to get naked... they snap a few (moderately) better photos, NOT NAKED... and we're suddenly back in the elevator not knowing much more than we did 20 minutes ago.

A little more than a week goes by, and we're in the back of a cool coffee shop when my phone rings. It's bloody hard to hear much of anything, but I do seem to catch the words, "You've just booked Converse". Pity the shoot's over in NY, while we're supposed to be on a 14 hour flight back to Sydney from LA! Ultimately we decide, 'if the client loves us, and the agency loves us, and the designer loves us... they'll make it happen.' And they did. Flights back to New York from LA, a hotel for 2 nights, and a car with a driver waiting out front to take us to set.

The shoot was crazy. Needless to say, we're usually on the other side of the camera when shoot's get crazy... but it was cool to experience how a fashion shoot goes down on the opposite side of the globe. There were stunningly gorgeous females, iconic Brooklyn locations, and more TV On The Radio blearing from a boombox than you can shake a big American stick at. The track 'Wolf Like Me' is now a permanent reminder of grab-assing/rooftop-pissing/water-spitting/trash-diving craziness that was the New York shoot for Converse - John Varvatos 2006. Big thank you to photographer Cass Bird, Jennifer & crew, and Mr Varvatos. Only in mofo'n New York City.  

[You can peep the final Converse ads in the blog post 'It's in the pudding'].