Category Archives: Uncategorized

And another new release: Hounds of Love

A new post from Ric about a film so tense that I had to remind myself to breathe…

Ric Curtin

hounds-of-love-cinema-australia-1.jpgHounds of Love, now playing in cinemas across Australia, was written and directed by Ben Young and is his first feature film. After premiering at the Venice Film Festival, the film has propelled Ben’s career onto the world stage, and he is already directing big-budget American movie Extinction.

The film has had great reviews all over the world, including 4 out of 5 stars from Australia’s leading film critic, David Stratton. This is not a film for everyone but, as one critic said, ‘brave audiences will be rewarded’.

My role on the film was the sound design and mix. As the subject matter is very confronting, the film was a great sound challenge. Much of the action is implied rather than on the screen., and the film relies on the soundtrack to tell the story.

For the house backgrounds, I used all natural sounds—cars, birds, etc.—so that…

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Until it’s gone…

I was in early adolescence when Gough Whitlam became Prime Minister in 1972. I’m afraid to say that I was not a politically minded adolescent. I had other things on my mind—important things like problem hair, who was coming to the Perth Entertainment Centre, and how I was going to get out of dissecting a frog in Biology.

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Spare a thought for my long-suffering grandfather, whom I made drive around Perth following the Radio 6PM van so I could win this T-shirt

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And yes, I’m a bit of a hoarder…

But recently I came across this quote by Whitlam:

A healthy artistic climate does not depend solely on the work of a handful of supremely gifted individuals. It demands the cultivation of talent and ability at all levels. It demands that everyday work, run-of-the-mill work, esoteric and unpopular work should be given a chance; not so much in the hope that genius may one day spring from it, but because, for those who make the arts their life and work, even modest accomplishment is an end in itself and a value worth encouraging. The pursuit of excellence is a proper goal, but it is not the race itself…

I look at our current politicians, and those of recent times, and can find no trace of this civilised and civilising attitude towards the arts and their place in our cultural life.

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Four New Releases…part 2

Here’s another instalment from that quiet guy I know, who has been a bit busy lately…

Ric Curtin

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I am glad to report that both recently completed TV series, Railroad Australia on Discovery and Outback Pilots on 7 mate, are rating well. Fingers crossed for a new series of both.

WHITELEY_A4 Poster.jpgThe feature documentary Whiteley has been playing to great reviews. Margaret Pomeranz gave the film her first ever 5-star review on Foxtel Arts.

Whiteley was directed by James Bogle and edited by Lawrie Silvestrin.  The documentary does not have a narrator; instead the story is told through archival footage and re-enactments. We recorded actors reading contemporary newspaper articles and then played the voices coming out of radios, matching the quality to archival sound—something of a challenge.

See the trailer.

Ash Gibson Greig composed the music for the documentary, weaving his music around the music of the time. The soundtrack was complicated, so Ash moved his music suite into my studio for the days of the final…

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PRECIOUS THINGS: AMANDA CURTIN

Perth writer Lee Battersby has published three novels (including MAGRIT, recently shortlisted for the NSW Premier’s Award for Children’s Fiction), two collections of stories, and more than 80 individual stories in the sci-fi, fantasy and horror genres—a publication record I find as enviable as it is impressive! He also has a fabulous blog series called ‘Precious things’, and I was delighted when he invited me to contribute. Take a look at other contributions while you’re there…

Lee Battersby

Amanda Curtin has always been one of those authors I’ve found slightly intimidating, as well as an aspirational benchmark. It seems like she’s been on the stage at every Perth Writers Festival I’ve ever attended, always speaking with an encyclopaedic understanding of the industry; her name is always attached to every study I see produced about the state of WA writing; she appears to be associated with every literary market in WA I can’t get within kilometres of getting published by…. men stand aside as she walks by, women swoon, horses stamp their hooves nervously……

Having finally met her this year, she is, of course, utterly lovely. She still dresses up as a bat and fights crime at night, but gently, with a soft-spoken voice and an interest in how the criminal is getting on. She’s also published two novels, Elemental and The Sinkings, and a short story collection, Inherited

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Four New Releases…part 1

This is from a talented guy I know, who doesn’t post very often… 🙂

Ric Curtin

In the next two weeks I have a feature film, a feature documentary and two TV series being released.

Bad Girl is a feature film that was shot in Perth. After being edited in Sydney by Simon Njoo, the rest of the post production was done in Perth, with Sandbox creating the visual effects and grading the pictures and Curtin Productions doing the sound.

One of the big challenges on the film was the music. We were fortunate to have Warren Ellis, of Bad Seeds fame, as composer. Rather than compose to the picture cut, he created themes that the director, Fin Edquist, and I would then manipulate, remixing the stems and editing the music around to fit the picture. It was a fun challenge, and in meeting it I relied heavily on my many years of experience as a music engineer.

I was the dialogue editor as well…

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Shelf Awareness — Amanda Curtin

Here’s my contribution to ‘Shelf Awareness’, a great new blog series created by my friend and fellow writer Maureen Eppen. If you happen to be a compulsive checker-of-other-people’s-bookshelves (which makes you one of my tribe), take a look at posts by Norman Jorgensen, Jane Rawson, Jennifer Ryan and Natasha Lester (as well as Maureen’s own), and sign up for the many more to come…

MAUREEN EPPEN -- WRITER

amandaThe first time I read the opening lines of Amanda Curtin’s novel Elemental I was utterly captivated by its protagonist, Meggie Tulloch. The wee Scottish ‘herring girl’ has rich red hair, which makes her a target of suspicious fishermen in the village where she lives, at the turn of the 20th Century. By the time I’d finished this poignant, sometimes harrowing but exquisitely crafted story, I knew this book deserved a place among my all-time favourites. I am now also utterly captivated by the gracious, soft-spoken and incredibly talented woman who created the tale. Amanda Curtin is a freelance book editor, occasional workshop presenter and an author of immense talent. Her other books include The Sinkings, a novel inspired by a mysterious death in the campsite of the same name, near Albany, Western Australia, in 1882, and Inherited, a collection of finely wrought short stories, as well as other…

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March 27, 2017 · 10:47 pm

2, 2 and 2: Julia Lawrinson talks about Before You Forget

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Julia Lawrinson has long been one of my favourite writers. She’s also one of the smartest and most articulate people I know,  someone I admire and respect enormously, so it is a thrill, and a privilege, to have this opportunity to feature her new novel, Before You Forget.

Julia has an impressive publication record: 13 novels for children and young adults since 2001. Her books include Obsession, 2001 (winner, Western Australian Premier’s Literary Awards), Bye Beautiful, 2006 (Notable Book in the Children’s Book Council Awards, shortlisted for the Queensland Premier’s Book Awards, shortlisted for Western Australian Premier’s Literary Awards), The Push, 2008 (shortlisted for the Queensland Premier’s Book Awards) and Chess Nuts, 2010 (Notable Book in the Children’s Book Council Awards). She appears regularly at schools and writers events, including the Melbourne and Perth Writers Festivals, the Asian Festival of Children’s Content (Singapore), the Celebrate Reading Conference at the Literature Centre, Voices on the Coast (Queensland) and Kindling Words East (Vermont, USA), as well as in regional Western Australia (Albany, Geraldton, Bunbury, Newman and Port Hedland) for Children’s Book Week and for the Literature Centre’s Youth Literature days.

What Julia has written in response to the 2, 2 and 2 questions below gives a deeply moving context for this new work—in terms of its subject matter and her motivation for writing it. I would always be looking forward to having another Julia Lawrinson on my bookshelves, but this one feels special even before I read it.

Here is the blurb for Before You Forget (Penguin Random House):

Year Twelve is not off to a good start for Amelia. Art is her world, but her art teacher hates everything she does; her best friend has stopped talking to her; her mother and father may as well be living in separate houses; and her father is slowly forgetting everything. Even Amelia.

At times funny, at times heartbreaking, this is an ultimately uplifting story about the delicate fabric of family and friendship, and the painful realisation that not everything can remain the same forever.

And now, here’s Julia…

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2 things that inspired the book

1 My daughter’s struggle with her father’s younger onset Alzheimer’s disease
My daughter was 12 when her father started displaying the alarming symptoms of younger onset Alzheimer’s disease, and 15 when he was finally diagnosed. The most noticeable thing about younger onset is not so much memory loss, at first, but personality change. Her dad began stockpiling food, bringing strange men home and giving them money, getting up in the middle of the night and bellowing at us, driving erratically, and becoming furious over the smallest things. Worse, he was unaware of what was happening, unable to acknowledge or discuss it. The change in personhood was disconcerting, disorienting and difficult for me, and worse for my daughter. It was hard to understand, to deal with, to explain to others. So, the need for the novel.

2 The transformative power of art in everyday life
I’m not sure where I picked up the idea that any difficulty in life is endurable if only you can transform it into art, but I became convinced of this from an early age. In Before You Forget, Amelia is an art student who struggles to find visual form for what is happening to her father, and to their relationship. But she also experiences that sense of losing yourself in the act of creation, which is the pleasure of any art form, whether it is writing, music, painting, acting. Making something from what has been destroyed, or has disappeared.

2 places connected with the book

1 Fremantle
I spent a lot of time wandering around Fremantle when I was writing Before You Forget. It was a terrible time in my life, but walking soothed, and I tried to get as close to the water as I could. I was sprayed by water in winter as I walked into the wind at South Mole; picked my way around seaweed on Bathers Beach, listening to the hush of waves; watched dogs large and small gambolling on South Beach, fetching sticks and balls, racing each other on the sand. I like to think that the rhythm of those walks can be felt in the writing. Certainly, Fremantle features large in the novel.

2 Ground Zero
Amelia is obsessed with watching and re-watching 9/11 footage: the unanticipated horror of it is her personal disaster writ large, as well as an exemplar of the randomness of fate. She wants to understand how people survived it, how they found a way to think about what had happened. How life, however changed, continues after catastrophes of all kinds.

When I took my daughter to New York, we spent sobering days at the memorial and the museum. In the museum, the Virgil quotation ‘No day shall erase you from the memory of time’ (repurposed from its original context) stretches out among a sea of blue tiles. Many of the exhibitions are dedicated to remembering those who perished by recording the ordinariness of their extinguished lives: when they were born, things their families and friends most recall, their favourite subject at school. It struck me as a worthy aim of any memorial: to provide a continuing existence for the spirits who are lost, to honour the past for the comfort of the living. A testament to the centrality of memory.

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2 favourite characters

1 Hecta the Jack Russell
Hecta in the novel is very much based on our Hecta in real life. As Simon’s condition deteriorates, fictional Hecta behaves much as actual Hecta did: becoming naughtier and naughtier. He escapes out of carelessly open front doors, climbs onto tables, steals carers’ sandwiches out of their handbags, and eats the same, still covered in cling wrap. Anyone who has had an untrainable Jack Russell (is there any other kind?!) will recognise Hecta’s antics!

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Hecta, by Annie Lawrinson

2 Ms M the art teacher
Ms M is a formidable art teacher who expects her charges to do their best work, and is not afraid of sharing her disapprobation if they do not. Ms M is reliable in a way Amelia’s parents suddenly are not, and the art room becomes her haven. Although I am entirely unskilled in the visual arts, the teacher and the space were analogous to my supportive English teachers, and, of course, the library with its written treasures.

Before You Forget (Penguin Random House) will be available
in bookshops and online
on 30 January
You can contact Julia via her website

 

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