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Archive for August, 2009

The Script Crypt

Jane and I are busy scripting…as always. Or, should I say “scripting” (=thinking of team name and premiere outfit).

too many, if any

too many, if any

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Escapades with Oscar

It was a dark and stormy night. Actually no it wasn’t…just an ordinary Dunedin evening… but it was already dark that Thursday in early August, when Nic Millar finished her day job as a busy doctor. Instead of going home to relax, that night she had another appointment, down in the dingy cold back room of the Science Communication building. Jane would probably tell me to quit being dramatic here and get to the point. Nic owns a rat. A very large Norway rat who goes by the name of Oscar. And Nic selflessly gave up her evening all out of the goodness of her heart (and a payment of Poppa’s pizza), so we could film Oscar. Oscar was great to work with and did lots of good ratty things for us- aside perhaps from swimming lengths in a little tepid aquarium. Oh, and he was a little…ah..rotund for doing the rope shot we had dreamt up. Without giving too much away- we just wanted to say THANKS to Nic for the use of her lovely fat rat in our film.

Nic and Rat

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On Thursday afternoon we had a date with Sandy the vet, at Elles Street Vet Clinic, Invercargill. She helped solve Henry’s little problem (all to be revealed in the film, so hold your horses) about 10 years ago, and we wanted all the juicy details. Sandy turned out to be a fantastic person, a great vet (say thanks, Henry!) and very obligingly re-enacted the drama and let us hug her cats, Gannet and Tuku Morgan – yes, that Tuku ‘Underwear’ Morgan.

Sandy the vet with tuku

Sandy the vet with tuku

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Carla and I have been repeatedly abashed and humbled by the kindness of the people we have met throughout the making of our film. Irrespective of whether the film is a success, it has been fantastic to meet such a huge number of people who have all helped or wished us well in some way – from Margie and Robert Lau taking us out to lunch in Wellington, to chatting over the merits of taxidermy and amateur theatre with Rhys at Nga Manu.

The latest person to bless our filmmaking path has been Andrew, from the Tuatara Lodge in Invercargill. Naturally, whenever we go to Invercargill (which has been a lot!) we stay at the Tuatara Backpackers. Andrew, noticing this trend, was quick to dub us ‘ the tuatara girls’ and gives us key deposit discounts whenever he can. Upon learning we were poor Scarfies, he shouted us lunch on his tab at the Tuatara Café. He even agreed to star – so watch out for Andrew, the big-hearted vox-pop.

a giant tuatara!

a giant tuatara!

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We had a fantastic interview with Invercargill Mayor Tim Shadbolt a few weeks ago, but we wanted some more of the local perspective on tuatara-love. So we hit the streets of Invercargill, vox-popping anyone who would stop, give us a few minutes and a smile. However, although truly hospitable, it’s fair to say Southerners are a little camera-shy.  After multiple failed attempts we were quickly losing hope (I think one lady thought we were making a porno), but a friendly young mum, an Irish dairy farmer and a smiling taxi driver saved the day. Roll those Rrrr’s Invercargillites – you’re our stars!

those wide wide streets

those wide wide streets

jane

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Needing a farm for some, well, farm shots; we called in a favour from a friend, Andrew, and this week went to visit his family farm near Wyndham, Southland. The Mackintosh farm on Mt Surprise was just what the doctor ordered. The cobwebs Carla and I had been gathering in dreary Dunedin, were soon blitzed away by a 4WD bike ride to the farms’ windy, sheepy hilltops, stunning Southland vistas, a strong cup of tea and a hug from Simba the (fat) cat.

The farm has had it’s fair share of media attention – next time you see a NZ National Bank ad, have a closer look at those green, southern hills the horse is prancing about on! Their cat Pocket has also featured in a children’s book by Gwenda Turner. Pocket was a tiny little feral kitten (who used to be able to fit in your pocket, get it?!), who was adopted by the family’s dog, Penny, as her own.

Penny and Pocket

Penny and Pocket

Big thanks to Alistair Mackintosh, for taking hours out of his afternoon to ferry us around the farm, do some wicked wheelies on the bike and answer all my city-girl questions about farming sheep. We truly loved the Mackintosh slice of heaven and that famous southern hospitality.

a sheepish hillside

a sheepish hillside

Random facts about sheep farming:

–        Alistair can call to his sheep and they baa back

–        They ultrasound the ewes to tell who’s preggers, who’s having single or twins etc.

–        There is a special type of shear that combs the wool a certain way so the shorn sheepies don’t get too cold

–       Sheep cough like us when they have pneumonia

–       Cross-breeding sheep makes lamb chops taste even yummier

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