Enchanted Ground 1: Reviews


Review 1: Slenderman


Slenderman has become a popular cult sensation for horror enthusiasts and people interested in the paranormal.

The Slenderman myth was created during 2009 on the somethingawful web forum as an experiment in the creation of folklore-like images through photo manipulation.

It’s all about a gaunt, abnormally tall figure who stalks children and lurks in narrow places. It blends ancient European demonic myths, traditional terrors and modern memes to produce one of the internet’s most terrifying stories.

Distorted pictures. Disturbing sightings. “Found footage” video. All have been spawned through the inspiration this spindly, faceless figure has generated. This particular story has succeeded beyond its creators’ dreams, and has been a popular topic of fan-fiction on a wide variety of websites. In short, Slenderman has become firmly entrenched in urban legend. (http://www.news.com.au/technology/online/a-brutal-stabbing-attack-by-preteens-obsessed-with-the-slenderman-puts-spotlight-back-on-the-popular-culture-of-horror-stories/story-fnjwmwrh-1226942516909)

I heard about Slenderman when I discovered my students playing a videogame in class. I am always intrigued by new forms of pop culture and I thought this was quite curious. The student played the game as a character of a little girl who would walk through the woods and eventually get a fright as the Slenderman would appear all of a sudden. He told me that this character is real! Of course I laughed at the students naivety. I heard more about the character as classes went on and I thought it was an interesting idea similar to the Blair Witch phenomenon from 1999.

Slenderman is a great idea for a digital story as it mixes historical myths with modern and traditional terror mixed with stories, memes and video games all found online.

Unfortunately it has become the centre of a crime in Milwaukee, US. Where two teens tried to murder their friend as a sacrifice for Slenderman.

Check out this website for more stories and myths regarding Slenderman but beware if you’re about to go to sleep.



Review 2 Hurst

Similar to Slenderman, Hurst is an online horror story told through the popular social media website Twitter. Screenwriter Kristi Barnett is using transmedia to engage her audience in a new way. Transmedia is a technique of telling stories through multiple platforms and formats.

Her story revolves around Karen Barley who is convinced by her sinister boss to take an outdoor trip with sinister repercussions to not only herself but her boyfriend Darren. Using Twitter to drop hints at what is happening, Barley uses the format to introduce a new way of telling ghost stories.

A great idea and with everyone using twitter to put bite sized film reviews or opinion pieces why not use it to tell an overarching story. Much like how Dickens used the paper to publish chapters of his novels back in the day why not use Twitter to market and create your own story. I think this is a great way for up and coming artists to get a leg into the industry without getting a book deal. More and more writers are using this format and it is exciting to see the young talent coming through.


Review 3 Goldilocks

The action packed Goldilocks starts with an exciting short film/intro on Vimeo and to continue the tale of Goldilocks or Locks you have to purchase the app Majek.

The link from Enchanted Ground 1 leads to a short film shot entirely on an iPhone 4 and iPod Touch. It is exciting and full of action. The camera techniques are original and incorporate low angles on a bike riding and a shot under a glass of wine. Also the fast paced editing and quick cuts push the audiences adrenaline. This is a great intro to what can possibly be an interesting series found exclusively on your mobile phone.

Digital Storytelling Reviews: In Sight & The Aussie Affair


For the final stretch of this course I need to review my peers work. Having viewed a few I am now very nervous about my little amateur production.

Review: In Sight

First off is Bo, Jarrod and Matthew’s In Sight. What a beautiful little film. Amazing cinematography and use of colour and light ad depth and emotional resonance to each frame of this short film. Acting was great and this didn’t feel like a University project it felt like something I could see in a short film festival. Well done to Bo, Jarrod and Matthew. All the best for the remainder of your course.

Rating: 4 Stars

Review: The Aussie Affair

Very well shot documentary dealing with the lives of international students studying in Melbourne, Australia. The cinematography and editing is well done and shows the highs and lows of life as an international student. Insightful and humorous at times. Well done to all involved.

Rating: 3 Stars

Digital Storytelling: Film Review Podcast – Hq Movie Reviews Podcast May 2014


I have just finished my very first podcast. Since being introduced to the idea of creating a non-fiction digital story I wanted to do my own Film Review Show just like David and Margaret’s At the Movies on the ABC.

Since I was completing the digital story on my own I wasn’t allowed to make a film (or show) so I decided to do a podcast. I love listening to lots of film review podcasts such as Now Playing.

The episode layout for my podcast would be looking back at a particular month. Review the big releases and make a top ten list relating to the most popular film of that month. Since there were three Marvel superhero blockbusters in May I decided to review them all back to back and also create a top ten list relating to superhero films.

I enjoyed completing this podcast and I got help from Alex who is also studying her Masters in Media. Alex agreed to be a special guest and help out with my top ten list.

I thoroughly enjoyed this whole podcasting process. From reviewing the films, writing a script and the final editing. I wrote a script of the program. Recorded my voice using my Macbook Pro and edited it together using Adobe Premiere Pro. I included audio from the films I reviewed and downloaded the audio online. I also found a song to play as an intro and outro from freesound.org. Alex recorded her voice and sent it to me through Google drive and I edited it together.

However it didn’t all go smoothly and I would do things differently for my next podcast. First of all I would record Alex and I’s top ten together to include more of a rapport between us. Due to lack of time I got her  to record it on her own but as I was editing I realised it could’ve been better if we were in the same room. Also this week just when everything is due I caught a nasty bacterial infection which affected my throat. So halfway through the podcast you can hear my voice drastically change.

My digital marketing strategy includes advertising on facebook, twitter, instagram, linkedin, and on this blog. I want to upload the podcast to an RSS feed and hopefully get it on iTunes in the coming weeks I’ll definitely keep working on that. I hope to continue with this series and hopefully build up a fanbase.

All in all though I did love the experience and keep posted for more Hq Movie Review Podcasts coming out every month with more special guests.

Bridge-Less River 1: Ebooks


*I have made it to Level 2 yay!


Unlike most people I talk to I actually love ebooks. Many people still prefer the printed paper books. To feel the weight of the book in your hands and dog tag the pages and add your own notes to each page. However I prefer the light and flexible ebook. This started around 2011 when I got my first iPad. At that time it was the iPad 2. I was so excited to get this brand new apple product to add to my apple collection of my iPhone 3 and Macbook Pro. The iPad 1 was released in April 2010 and just like the iPhone before it became apple’s next big hit. Since then the iPad has received many upgrades, with iPad 2, 3, Mini and last years iPad Mini, it has also sold over 200 million units. In 2010 I was dying to get my hands on one. Then for my birthday in 2011 my then girlfriend (now wife) bought my an iPad 2 for my birthday. Best birthday present ever! Anyway this post isn’t about iPads, it is in fact about one of their apps that has since changed the way we read books, iBooks.

Using the app iBooks users were able to purchase a book through iTunes (usually at a pretty standard rate) and read it on their iPad. These books were published digitally and allowed readers to highlight text, enlarge text and bookmark pages with the ease of touching their screen. Today iBooks isn’t the only ebook app as there is Kindle for Amazon subscribers, Google books for Android users and many more ebook apps. However as a user of iBooks I’ll stick to that app. On iBooks some books were free but most popular and recent titles would not be free. As with other iTunes products there are sales here and there and you can get updated on your favourite genre, author or series. The first book I bought on iBooks was A Song of Ice and Fire: Book 1 – Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin. After watching the excellent first season of Game of Thrones I was interested in catching up on the books. As we were planning a holiday on a cruise ship it was the perfect time to catch up on some reading. I found reading on the iPad so much easier than lugging around a massive book. (Game of Thrones is an especially big book coming in over 1000 pages). It is easy and versatile and you can read wherever you are. I could read in my dark room as the back light allowed me to read each word without needing to turn on a lamp and I could read in the sun with my glare free screen. Since then I have enjoyed many books on my iPad and haven’t read a paperback since. I have a lot of friends that disagree with the ebook phenomenon and believe a book should be felt but I find the versatility and sleekness of an ebook/iPad so much easier to carry around and enjoy on any occasion.

If my film criticism takes off and I want to write a book one day and make it into an ebook there are different ways of doing this. One way could be to get a deal or contract with a publication company and get them to edit and publish my book both paperback and ebook. They could use EPUB format for IOS devices and Kindle for Amazon Kindle products. If today I decided to do it myself I could use BookWright a downloadable book making tool. To create a book you can publish it in print, as an ebook, or both. Bookwright keeps it tidy for you in one project file. You can also use Adobe InDesign to make an ebook. You can choose your fonts, edit your blurb and control how everything appears aesthetically using the Bookwright tool.

Other ways of making an ebook can be found in these links;



BookWright – http://au.blurb.com/ebook




“I hate flying. The lines. The Crowds. The delays…” Bill Marks

“I always kinda liked it. Six hours. One seat. Nobody can get to you.” Jen Summers


Bill Marks an alcoholic flight Marshall is threatened on board a flight and is demanded to deposit $150 million into a bank account or someone will die on the plane every 20 minutes.


In the style of the classic Hitchcock thrillers comes Non-Stop a tense and gripping thrill-ride with a solid performance from its star Liam Neeson. It is interesting that in 2014 our most popular box office action star is the great Liam Neeson. Action films are in somewhat of a rut at the moment with Arnold Schwarznegger and Sylvester Stallone failing at comebacks with recent flops such as Sabotage (2014) and Escape Plan (2013). Younger action heroes are more popular on the direct to video market such as Scott Adkins (check out Undisputed II & III (2006 & 2010) or Ninja (2013) for a look at this remarkable action hero). Jason Statham who has developed a strong fanbase in the last decade, has also fallen on hard times with recent flops such as Homefront (2013) and Parker (2012). With recent hits such as Taken 1 & 2 (2008 & 2012), The Grey (2011) and Batman Begins (2005), Neeson has established himself as the most profitable action star today. In the 90s Neeson was a respectable actor known for his dramas such as Schindler’s List (1993) and Rob Roy (1995) however he always had a strong screen presence and now in his 60s he brings a gravitas to his performances that Stallone and Schwarznegger could only dream of. (Side note; he was also in the 1990 b-movie action film Darkman as the hero). Taken was a hit because he changed people’s perception of him. He brought his Schindler’s List credibility to a B-movie action flick. A formulaic action adventure dealing with the kidnap of his daughter and some post-James Bond espionage. The film was a hit, with quotable dialogue and great action set pieces, Neeson delivered what other action stars couldn’t, entertainment for men and women. That’s right, women love him, with his old fox looks and his gruff delivery, he’s an old bad boy. He’s also an excellent actor and he can sell the formulaic action conventions to everybody. He doesn’t need to rely on martial arts skills (Jet Li, Jason Statham) or nostalgia (Stallone, Schwarznegger) he brings a presence and credibility to everything he does. Welcome to the new action hero, smart, gruff and old weary.


Non-Stop, directed by Jaume Collet-Serra (Unknown, 2011), is the perfect vehicle for Neeson in his career reconnaissance, B-movie storyline and a troubled protagonist for Neeson to flex his acting muscles. The film plays out like a Hitchcock thriller with the ticking clock becoming the main threat in the film. It does fall to many conventions with the standard side characters, love interest, helpful flight attendant, angry bosses, foreign characters who may or may not be threats. However its Neeson who keeps us captivated as he plays a cat and mouse game with an unknown killer taking out passengers every 20 minutes. What I enjoyed was that it played on genre conventions such as the possibility that the plot is all in the protagonist’s head. The killer wants him to believe that and sets up a bank account in his name so he may even believe it. The plot keeps up with its fast pace for the majority of the film and rarely gets boring. Unfortunately it all builds up to an unsatisfying climax that can’t put together all the plot points the film brought up throughout.


Rating: 3 Stars

Media Objects: Editing Task


For this task I decided to create a horror trailer. I cut together the footage from my Single Shot Video Assessment as well as footage from archive.org of different horror films. I also cut in my photography work and audio tasks. I used iMovie to create the horror trailer with their trailer template. This created exactly what I was aiming for and with the audio playing over each other it created an eerie and action packed trailer.

My video task was somewhat of an action film already so it was easy to cut that footage together and create an action packed trailer. Inspired by the films The Ring (2000) and a Touch of Evil (1958) as seen on blackboard, I wanted to create a real sense of horror that would impact the audience both visually and aurally.

The task asked us to explore editing based on the theme or idea of ‘impact.’ Impact to me represents being affected by what you watch. Horror films have always left a big impact on me and would affect my sleep and day to day activities if it were particularly scary. I wanted to capture the horror genre in my trailer and leave the audience craving more. I wanted my trailer to incorporate impact not only through story telling but also in the fast paced editing required to leave an impact on the audience. The visuals I used hinted at a dangerous and off putting course of narrative. I wanted the style to be fast and sharp hinting at danger in every corner. The audio used was a mix of iMovie stock horror audio and my audio assessments including the heartbeat track, catalyst song as well as my own audio tracks of raining.

For the most part I am happy with my trailer however I would have preferred to just use my video project as the only source of footage. I am proud of what we shot for the single video assessment task. The black and white cinematography and action packed sequence provided plenty to use for a horror (or thriller, action, mystery) trailer. I feel using found footage off the internet cheapened my trailer and gave it a tacky youtube mashup vibe. Originally I planned to use horror films of the black and white period to match with my black and white single shot video. However as I searched for footage I found some quite frightening video of clowns and steamy alley ways that I couldn’t resist including in my final. Although the footage doesn’t match with my single shot video I found the impact is more disturbing juxtaposed with my footage.

I enjoyed completing this task as I love editing. I want to continue editing films and I believe the opportunity will arise again as I complete my Masters.


Sources of my found footage video included in the trailer;






Sources of audio

Catalyst by Zilmrah at freesound.org

Heartbeat at 60bpm by klangfabrik at freesound.org





“I can give her wrapped candies” – Foy

Plot Synopsis

Set in the 1880s a young Sheep herder falls for a mysterious young woman who is new to town, while dealing with the harsh life of the wild west.


Seth Macfarlane’s hilarious second feature film delivers everything you would expect from the man who created Family Guy and 2012’s Ted. More hard R-rated raunchiness and references that fly at you as fast as a quick drawing cowboy.


The film much like Ted plays out like an extended skit (or cut away) from an episode of Family Guy, this time based in the old west. Lucky for Macfarlane he has plenty of material to mine from the popular westerns of yesteryear. The plot however differs from most westerns and centres on a cowardly Sheep herder, Albert (Seth Macfarlane), who has just been dumped by his girlfriend, Louise (Amanda Seyfried). To make matters worse she has moved on with a smug local business owner, Foy, cheekily played by Neil Patrick Harris. One night while drinking his miseries away with his friend Edward (Giovanni Ribisi), Albert meets Anna (Charlize Theron). Anna is keeping low in town while her husband, the evil cowboy Clinch (Liam Neeson) is away robbing other towns. Albert and Anna form a friendship over their mutual hatred of the wild west.


The wild west in this film is a dangerous place to live. People die while transporting ice, going to the fair, having a drink at the bar, or just being the mayor. Macfarlane uses the west to deliver high quantities of post-modern humour looking back at how absurd day to day life was for a commoner in the 1880s. Macfarlane succeeds for the most part, with a quick-witted screenplay mixed with great site gags. Macfarlane’s direction has improved since the quite bland looking Ted in 2012. The west looks beautiful and the director of photography shows a great love for the western genre. Macfarlane puts himself front and centre for this film, writer, director and actor. I believe this is Macfarlane’s big screen debut as he only provided the voice of the teddy bear in Ted. Unfortunately Macfarlane’s screen presence isn’t quite there yet and he struggles when next to acting heavy weights like Charlize Theron and Liam Neeson. Macfarlane has a sitcom appeal and perhaps isn’t quite ready for the big screen. Time will tell whether he succeeds in a big screen career, but with this and 2012’s Ted he is in the right direction.


Rating: 3.5 Stars