Herman, The Legal Labrador - A New Animated Australian Film


Latest entry: Entry 32, Friday August 12, 2005


Entry 25. By David, Tuesday May 25, 2004

Date: Tue, 25 May 2004 00:27:11 +1000
From: David Blumenstein <david@nakedfella.com>
To: Ben Arber
Subject: yo

So the Herman premiere's come and gone. It was a huge disaster because the render to tape failed that afternoon, so three out of four screenings for the night were cancelled. I'd been up 36 hours already and I went a little bit psychotic, but thankfully everybody made with helpfulness. Adam held the crowds off with talking, then I made a speech about how everything had gone pear-shaped and asked everybody to wait til the 10:30 session so I would have time to pissbolt home and get a crappy VCD version to play. Everybody said I was too fucked up to drive so Adam's brother drove my car home while Jim of BAM fame drove me back to my place to make the disc. Meanwhile Lenny took half the audience to a bar round the corner and got them discount drinks (luckily they were having a slow night). At 9:30 they played Shit Party and BAM and humping brain which apparently got good response. Jeremy from my animation course (who is Herman's PRODUCER and also EXECUTIVE PRODUCER because I felt like it) ran back to AIM studio and got a laptop and stuff to play the disc, which we did at 10:30, where there was still a packed out room. It got lots of laughs and big applause (probably as much for our efforts to hold shit together as for the film). A nightmare couple days, but all came good in the end, and then Lenny and others bought me vodka drinks which I drank happily, and I wore my fez. Then we went for souvlaki and the taxi dropped me home at half past three and I slept for 12 hours.

This is what happens when you try to fix shit until the last possible second, start your render late and don't prepare a backup plan.

So anyway, the film is finished, barring small tweaks (post-production!).

I'm pretty happy with it. With a couple fixes here and there, hopefully it'll be in a final version soon. In the meantime, it's time for me to find some work wit der paymönie so I can afford to throw away my cash on film festival entries.

I've fixed the render problems in time for a lovely full-res version of HERMAN to play at another Next Wave event (a compilation screening of stuff by Next Wave artists) tomorrow night.

An interview with me from a couple months back is now up at videogeek.net (cheers Kate), and it even includes references to my lack of professionalism foreshadowing the screening disaster:

Do you find time management becomes an issue?

No, because I don’t manage my time. I end up working on things at the last possible second a lot, though.


Entry 26. By David, Sunday June 6, 2004

Well, I've had a couple weeks which, if not exactly relaxing, have definitely been a nice change from tick-tick-tick pressure bomb. I've been doing a lot of busywork that got neglected while the big HERMAN push was on: adding to the website, catching up on e-mail, filling orders for shirts and stuff (thanks to those who've been asking... more coming soon, in ladies' sizes this time -- BAM).

Also been reviewing my old list of film festivals and figuring out which ones I should be sending to, which I can afford to be sending to, shit like that. I was real impressed to find out that entering a short film in the AFI awards costs $330. I understand they need to put on an exciting, glamorous night-of-nights in order to get FOX FM djs and Big Brother contestants to come grace the red carpet, but at this point I cannot justify parting with that kind of cash so I can receive a nicely typed rejection letter and Jackie O can receive the good olive oil drizzled on her asparagus or some shit. I guess maybe I'd get an invite to the ceremony, but I'm pretty sure I couldn't contain myself if I was there when Thunderstruck wins the award for "best script". Now there's a film that's not quite as annoying as Garage Days, but comes close at times.

It's saddening when yet another Aussie flick comes out, starts with promise, then devolves into formulaic, obvious, vaguely insincere piss. It has Stephen Curry, but even that can't save it. I can't believe they made a movie which purports to seethe with the fiery spirit of AC/DC and scores a climactic action scene with Europe's "The Final Countdown". Nothing more to be said, really.

Actually, I just realised that if I skip the next twenty-nine Australian films that come out, I'll be able to save enough money to enter the AFIs one day.

Hey, check out this press release I found:

International Animal Law Conference Comes to San Diego

SAN DIEGO, March 22, 2004 - The world’s animal lawyers are coming to San Diego to participate in an International Animal Law Conference entitled "Protecting Animals Through the World's Legal System." The conference will take place April 2-4 at California Western School of Law, in downtown San Diego. Speakers will address how the treatment of animals is impacted by laws and cultural practices around the world and what actions can be taken to improve animal welfare through the world's legal systems.

You can imagine how excited I was when I read the bit about "the world's animal lawyers", but I'm pretty sure the lawyers attending are all human. Disappointing.


Entry 27. By David, Saturday August 21, 2004

Long time between drinks.

For the last couple months, HERMAN's heroic Post-Production Supervisor, Chris Dea, has spent his off hours assembling the film's final edit. This is a heavy and boring task, as he's conforming it to the rough edit and all the dialogue and sound fx need to be matched perfectly.

The reason this has happened is that I initially edited the film on my home PC with an editing application which failed to output a usable EDL (the EDL standing for Edit Decision List; this being the little text file which theoretically can be used by the editor to instantaneously open all the sound and video bits and put them in the correct places).

So while he's been doing that, I've been making copies of the rough edit (not actually so rough, and almost entirely representative of the final film) and sending them to film festivals. This costs an assload of money, as I mentioned in the last post. Even festivals with free entry end up costing a good ten bucks each once you consider the VHS tape and postage to somewhere in Germany (lot of film festivals there for some reason).

So I've been entering a lot of free festivals in Germany. I have started hearing back from them now, and so far the answer is "no". This is OK, and certainly not as bad as the rejections from American festivals, where you've paid US$50 up front for "WE REGRET TO INFORM..." They should save themselves money by just printing WE REGRET TO INFORM on the outside of the envelope and not enclosing a piece of paper at all.

That said, HERMAN had its film fest premiere at the FUCKING FABULOUS FILM FESTIVAL in Seattle, WA, in an animation session laden with pieces by a bunch of Yank comics people, including Jim Woodring, Ivan Brunetti and Tony Millionaire. Obviously I couldn't be there, but it sounded cool.

I met twice with a chap from the AFC, ostensibly about my plans/opportunities now that HERMAN's finished. I realised, talking to him, how little I understand about the business of filmmaking and bullshitting your ass off to the government (which, in Australia at least, are one and the same).

I have a new idea for a short (this time, one that's actually short -- less than five minutes) and I'd like to apply for a grant to make it, although just LOOKING at the forms gives me a headache. I'm not confident that anyone is particularly interested in handing me money to make a cartoon. I'm mad at them for being the Lords and Ladies of artistic patronage, and I'm mad at me for not knowing how to give them the groveling they require. Business-speak makes me want to punch things. Actually, it makes me want to go away and draw, which is what I do every time I look at the forms. I must sound like a sweaty pit-bull trying to chase its own back legs when it hasn't got any.

Thankfully, the numbing confusion and irritation is being broken up by the part-time graphic design job I got, and by the organising of a number of HERMAN screenings: one at the Supanova Pop Culture Expo in Brisbane, one at the Newcastle Young Writers Festival (where I'm also organising some comics/animation forums) and one at the Builders Arms here in Melbourne, a double feature with LAAJOOL, a full-length film made by Cumbersome's Aaron South. So this slightly discouraging lull should be over soon enough.

And the really cool thing that's happened lately is that Marcus from Next Wave social-engineered a copy of HERMAN to Richard Fidler at ABC-TV. Richard, for those who don't know, was one-third of DOUG ANTHONY ALL-STARS (the third who played the guitar), the nastiest, funniest Australian comedy group ever to sing a song called "I Fuck Dogs". And now he's the one who works at the ABC and has had the least embarrassing TV career of any of them.

So now virtually all my Australian comedy heroes have told me they like my film (or are in it). This is fucking fantastic, and if I ever hear from Tony or Mick I may just cark it.

So I now owe Marcus murders. He picks the victims, I'll do 'em night or day. Two of his choice.


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"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