Herman, The Legal Labrador - A New Animated Australian Film


Latest entry: Entry 32, Friday August 12, 2005


Entry 10. By David, Sunday, March 30, 2003

I recorded a rough version of the HERMAN script with Adam and Nicola and a MiniDisc a couple weeks back. Nicola is of course better known as "comics girl Nicola Hardy", but we're trying her out in the role of "Sabrina Lloyd", Leonard Palumbo's assistant. The rough recording will go together with the storyboards, some quick FX and bits of music to make the animatic. I just need to fix up the last batch of storyboards to make use of Jeremy's excellent suggestions.

One of Jeremy's most excellent suggestions was to hold a screening of HERMAN at the Old Melbourne Magistrate's Court next to RMIT. This building, located at the corner of Russell and La Trobe St in Melbourne's CBD, has a long and interesting history -- Ned Kelly was sentenced to death in it in 1880 (and was hanged next door, at the Old Melbourne Gaol). The court was closed in 1994, and the Magistrate's Court moved to William St, where everything else that's law-related in Melbourne is found.

Now the Old Magistrate's Court is a stately old building that doesn't seem to be used for much. A few years back it was bought by RMIT. Apparently, everything on the block is owned by RMIT, except the Old Melbourne Gaol.

So I figured if I talked to the Property Services people at RMIT, they might let me put a projector in there for a night. At the same time, I was a little concerned that they might have a problem with letting their majestic, historic former Supreme Court be used to show a cartoon about a dog lawyer, even if he is cute.


I talked to Marcus Westbury the other day. Previously Fearless Leader of This Is Not Art, he has moved to Melbourne to be Artistic Director of Next Wave, a big Melbourne youth arts festival which is held every two years. I made a small contribution to Next Wave's film festival in 2002, and I got a neat bag for my trouble, so I thought I'd like to get involved again. Marcus asked me how I would do that. I suggested this whole HERMAN thing. He reminded me that Next Wave is an "events-based" arts festival, and there'd need to be some kind of "event". I said, "Well, when it's done there'd be a screening." He wondered what would make this screening special enough to warrant it being its own event (as opposed to just putting HERMAN in a larger screening with other films).

I brought up Jeremy's screening-in-the-old-law-courts idea, and Marcus said:

"I can set that up for you easy."

He reckoned the Property Services people had ASKED HIM to find artists to USE THE OLD LAW COURTS FOR SOMETHING!

I'm stoked!

Also, after a wait of a year and a half, NAKEDFELLA COMICS #7 is done, and will be in stores in the next couple of weeks! It's a hefty 44 pages, Swish! And NAKEDFELLA COMICS #8 doesn't look too far off either.

And this week I started accosting people with a video camera in the hopes of scoring some "documentary footage" for use in the HERMAN "making of" film: HEARTS OF BARKNESS. As with a lot of things I do, I'm only doing it because I came up with an awful, awful pun for the title and I'm loath to waste it.


Entry 11. By David, Wednesday, April 9, 2003

Date: Sat, 05 Apr 2003 19:54:33 +1000
From: David Blumenstein <david@nakedfella.com>
To: Jeremy Parker
Subject: funny fun
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii; format=flowed
Jim was on the street the other day and a guy came up and asked where he got his shirt (it was his Herman shirt). Jim told him, and the guy said, "yeah, I was one of the assessors at the AFC that turned it down". Then he talked to Jim for 20 mins and explained to him why I didn't get the grant. Apparently he said I was too young, I don't have a production team, the film's too long, I didn't ask for enough money for the film, and my producer is not a mover and shaker. He told Jim I should give him a call, but Jim reckoned he was a bit less interested in talking to me after he found out I'm only 22.
So Jim told me where he works and I called him up. It was only when he came on the phone that I realised he was [name removed] (which would be how he knew you don't move or shake). He said he really liked the script but I hadn't asked for enough money to cover the production of what, in length at least, is essentially a TV pilot. He was nice and told me I should cut it down to 2-3 mins and resubmit, but when I told him I was pushing along with the long version he said I should resubmit for post-production funding.
So I'm going to do that. Also, on the advice of my production manager, I'm firing you and bringing on a producer who's got more contacts, money and profile: STEVE VIZARD. Also, I'm replacing Adam (Chuck) with SAMUEL JOHNSON from Secret Life of Us, I'm bringing in CHARLES "BUD" TINGWELL to play Herman, JOHN WOOD as the judge, HOLLY BRISLEY as Sabrina and RICHARD WILKINS as Palumbo. Product placements will be courtesy HUNGRY JACK'S, LOVABLE LINGERIE, FOX-FM and AUSTRALIAN PENSIONERS' INSURANCE AGENCY. The film will now be a VIZARD/NINEMSN production, and I'm getting a few guys from VCA to do all the animation work so I can concentrate on the business and merchandising side.
With these changes made, I'm confident we'll get the grant money we're after.
Oh, and Herman is now a beagle. Mr. Vizard says I was wasting a perfectly good opportunity for rhyming in the title.

I've been taking pictures of storyboard frames for the animatic. I've been doing it outside because there's more light. I've been wearing a hat because it's sunny. For the last couple days, people in my street have seen me standing outside my house in boat shoes and a cowboy hat, taking picture after picture of the garage wall. On the plus side, I now know that the mailman's name is Brendan and that the guy up the street has been dumping his grass clippings in my grandparents' wheelie bin.


Entry 12. By David, Wednesday, April 23, 2003

Things moving very slowly. Half my time seems to be spent heading for the post office, and most of my money is going there, too. I've just sent a shiteload of HERMAN press stuff out, with full knowledge that it will likely do me little good.

I sabotage myself in this regard. I can't stand the thought of writing a press release without some humour in it. I hate the idea of following this dictated form -- heading, opening line, quote from subject, bullshit on, details, contact information -- and then tossing the result on the unholy pile, the pile of broken dreams, every freak who wants to be noticed by the greasy almost-journalist behind the desk queuing up in paper form, waiting to be tossed in the bin. No attention paid, no notice taken. Every time a press release gets thrown out, a little publicist somewhere cries.

So I try to be funny in mine. Arts/entertainment journalists generally like a laugh, but if there isn't a story in it it's not much use to them. And (let's face it) at this point, HERMAN is not much of a story.


But you have to try, haven't you?

I got my glossy orange covers back from the printer, and I've been furiously stapling and folding pristine new copies of NAKEDFELLA COMICS #7, which have been going out with the press shit, and also, more importantly, to the local shops: PolyEster in Fitzroy, Alternate Worlds in Prahran, Minotaur in the CBD (tomorrow, ideally), Cumbersome in Collingwood. Then, hopefully, Kings in Sydney and Ace in Brisbane.

I'm about half done preparing the sound for the animatic, and all the frames are in the computer. I'll have it done soon.

I was interested to find out that Film Victoria have decided to start funding animation, particularly after last year's funny little problem wherein I submitted HERMAN to them for short film funding, only to receive a phone call from the guy in charge, who -- very nicely, mind you -- pointed out that they didn't support animation. He was right. I'd written all this info up, got background crap together, packaged it all in an envelope and sent it in to them without noticing the words "LIVE-ACTION" on the first page of the forms. I do things like that.

Thing is, they accidentally sent it to their script assessor without noticing it was a cartoon, and reportedly the guy (girl?) really liked it!...

But they only funded actual -- filmed -- films, so no dice.

So, as I say, I was interested to see they've started funding toony things. I checked out the ANIMATION CONCEPT DEVELOPMENT forms -- closely this time -- and there's a couple interesting lines in there:

"... providing seed money to Victorian-based producers and animators to develop animation concepts that are market-driven."

"... Film Victoria investment must be repayable upon commercialisation of the concept."

(underlining mine)

That's some scary shit right there. Among the requirements for consideration for investment are: an org chart which details your production team and their responsibilities, an explanation of the benefits of your concept to Victoria at large, a Business and Marketing plan.


This, truly, is not a brass ring to be leapt for casually. This poses important questions which must be answered thoughtfully. This requires meeting the people who make the decisions and having frank discussions with them. This means putting serious effort into marketing strategies and tailoring my product for particular viewing sectors. This could mean the employment of "audience insight management".

Which is to say, "fuck it".


<< Page 3   |   Page 5 >>


"Dogs Of Law": The Music Video
Herman, The Legal Labrador Trailer
QuickTime (16 mb - SWEET)
MPEG-1 (10 mb - OK)
"Dogs Of Law" (End Theme From Herman, The Legal Labrador)
MP3 (192kbps, 6 mb)
Buy Herman crap at cafepress.com


About the creator
Making Herman
Latest entry: August 12
Press Notes (PDF)
Herman screenings/awards
The production of HERMAN has been kindly supported by
Next Wave