Monday, December 26, 2011

Shameless Self-Promotion

Hello friends!
I feel like I'm awkwardly trying to re-connect with a long lost friend who I neglected for a while... But I'm sure that you have all been very busy and haven't noticed my lack of writing at all! If you have noticed, thanks for being a reliable reader and I'm sorry to disappoint! But for the rest of you, I'm sure a simple explanation will suffice. I have been very busy of late, finishing my musical theatre course, performing in the Showcase, and much more! But most importantly, I wanted to talk to you about my musical.
I've mentioned it a few times in this blog, but recently my writing partner and I have decided to take it to a new level and put on a big showing of the show. We have a venue almost booked, we have a rehearsal room booked, auditions scheduled, rewrites being planned and technically minded friends being put into a list to be contacted later. I'm mentioning it to you because I know there may be some of you who perform and love to be a part of amateur shows. Here's your chance to be a part of something special, because the opportunity to be involved in a brand new, original piece of Australian theatre comes along very rarely. As the show is still growing, this is your chance to make a mark on the show - help it reach that next level. Heck, help it become successful! We need you enthusiastic, creative, generous people to give this show life in any way you can, so if you are even slightly interested, check out the event page and maybe even book an audition. And if you have no performing talents/interest whatsoever, maybe you could come see the show and support the young writers of today.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

From Pen to Paper

I have two main passions in life - 1. Performing, which is the one you guys hear the most about. 2. Writing.
With performing taking up most of the space in my brain, I haven't had much time for writing lately, but I miss it terribly. As I've mentioned before, I'm working on a musical currently which is a great challenge, but what I miss the most is writing my novel. Creating a world and populating it, and following the characters on a journey that flows straight from my imagination onto the page. It's such an amazing thing to do. I can't wait to start writing my next book (an eight part series is the plan, I'll probably be done sometime around 2054...)
I've been turning my mind back to my book lately, just to see where it's at. I've had a few people read it. Gotten some more feedback. I've emailed literary agents to try and get represented and get the book somewhere more significant then my own desk drawer.
AS it turns out, I have picked a terrible time to try and do this. Most of the agencies specify on their websites that they're not taking new clients, so I don't even get the chance to email them a query letter. I'm wondering, if I can't get my book to an agent, how will I ever get it to a publisher? I guess the thing to do is keep working on it and putting it out there but I'm new to this, writing industry, I don't know how it works!!
If anyone is a writer already and has some advice for me it would be greatly appreciated! I'm sure there are some bloggers out there who have moved around in literary circles, any suggestions for what to do?
In the meantime, here's an excerpt from my book just so you know what I'm going on about:


A sound came to Arein. It was as if the volume was being turned up slowly until it was too loud, pounding in his head relentlessly. Eventually, the sound became distinguishable as the chatter of children. He could hear it more clearly now. He could also feel his body, though he wished he couldn’t. There was an oppressive weight spreading from his head to his toes. Arein’s breath hitched in his throat as he felt the heaviness. It gave him an awful feeling as if the pain was bearable but was about to get a lot worse.

Trying to feel past the weight, Arein realized that he was sitting upright. He could even vaguely feel something underneath him – a chair. He tried to open his eyes but the awful feeling weighed in on him. He fought with it for a moment and, slowly and painstakingly, he wrenched his eyes open.

His bleary surroundings focused after a few laboured blinks. As he had guessed he was sitting upright in a chair on what appeared to be a large stage. A thick, red curtain separated him from whatever was causing the noise.

He forced his neck to the right, seeing two more chairs. In them sat Sedalia and Rem. On his left was Arella. He breathed a sigh of relief; they were all there at least, they weren’t… He forced away the lump in his throat and made himself focus. The others were asleep, or so it seemed. They sat straight up in their chairs, although there were no ropes to force them into their positions.

Arein went to turn around, to see behind him but the weight on his body pressed down even harder, causing Arein to flinch and gasp. He didn’t feel pain, but he felt, again, as if he was pushing the boundaries and any minute the weight would snap and crush him to death. He didn’t dare try to turn around again, but he needed to move, to get off the chair and get out of wherever he was. Panic started to rise in his chest as he became all too aware of where he must be; the Kasimir Castle.

He fought with the weight on his body, desperately trying to pull his limbs away from his side, his torso away from the chair, but again and again he felt the invisible pressure of the boundary and could not stop himself from pulling back. The prospect of the pain it would bring to break the barrier was too frightening, too terrible to even imagine.

A low groan came from his right. Arein whipped his head around as fast as the weight would allow. Wincing with the pain, he heard another groan. It was Rem.

Rem,” Arein hissed, surprising himself with how softly the sound came out. “Rem!

Another groan.

Rem, wake up!” Arein hissed again, focusing on making his voice louder. “Rem!

“…Arein…?” came a small voice from Arein’s left.

It was Arella. Arein turned his head, more slowly this time, to see her eyes searching the room. When she spoke, her voice was almost too quiet to hear. “W-where are we…?”

Arein didn’t want to say it aloud, foolishly hoping it wasn’t true, but his silence wasn’t the answer Arella was looking for.

“Arein, tell me.”

“Kasimir Castle… I think.”

Arella’s eyes widened. She seemed to struggle for a moment, her eyes cast down on her body. “Arein,” she whispered urgently, her eyes still focused on her frozen frame, “I can’t move.”

“Neither can I,” he said lifelessly.

What’s happened to us?” Arella’s eyes were terrified as she whispered the words. Arein had never seen her normally serene face so frightened, and it frightened him even more.

“I don’t know,” he replied, fighting to keep the panic out of his own voice. “I think we’ve been drugged or… or something… I don’t know!” His voice caught on his last words and Arella’s eyes widened even further. They flickered to the curtains as she noticed the noise coming from behind them.

“Who’s out there?”

“I don’t know,” Arein repeated, wishing he could say something else. “It sounds like children though.”

It reminded him of the dining hall at the Kasimir School, the constant chatter as voices fought over one another to be heard,

Just as Arein finished speaking, the noise died down. The area behind the curtain became completely, unnaturally quiet as though the people there had suddenly disappeared, or were at least sitting extremely still.

Then, a loud voice boomed from behind the curtain.

“Boys and girls,” it said slowly. It was a male voice, rich, indulgent and faintly familiar to Arein. “We are all here together to celebrate this momentous occasion. We are finally one step closer to our goal!”

The invisible crowd gave a cheer in unison, sounding strangely rehearsed at it.

“We have been training long and hard for this, have we not?” the voice continued, taking on a sympathetic tone. “But there is hope. We do not have much longer to go now.”

Arein was hardly listening to his words. Something about the voice was familiar but wrong, like an old favourite blanket that still felt the same but had taken on the musty, mouldy smell of the attic that it just couldn’t get rid of.

And then he realized. It was Olle. It was the same voice, had the same intonations and the same tone but it was too youthful; too strong; not the voice belonging to the old man.

He continued his speech unaware of Arein’s frightening discovery. Olle was here, talking to a crowd of what could only be the Kasimir students…

A whoosh of air came from behind Arein as if someone had opened a door. He could hear footsteps behind him and he turned slightly to Arella, only seeing a glimpse of her frightened face before a voice spoke.

“We better get you ready for your… performance then,” a woman’s voice murmured from behind them.

Arein turned his head just slightly until he could see a woman’s figure standing in front of Sedalia. She raised a gloved hand and gave Sedalia a sharp slap across the face. Sedalia gasped, but Arein could not see her face.

“Wake up,” the woman ordered, moving over to Rem. She raised her arm again and Rem was slapped awake, though he stayed silent. The woman came to Arein next.

“Well Arein, I should have guessed you’d be awake already.”

Arein gaped, only just remembering the name of the girls’ coordinator at the Kasimir School. “Miss Shyla?”

“Mmhmmm…” Miss Shyla said dismissively, looking at a small notebook she held in her gloved hands. She glanced up to Arella. “Oh. Your friend is awake as well. What a shame.” She stuck out her lower lip in a fake, baby-like frown. “I’ll have to tell them that the spell’s not strong enough, or that you two weaved a little bit of magic of your own… Mathius won’t like that.” She chuckled darkly, turning her attention back to her notebook and pacing in front of them.

Arein’s eyes moved over to Sedalia’s, trying to see her face, to tell her it was all right. As their eyes met, Sedalia gave a whimper and Miss Shyla twirled around.

“Quiet, girl,” she said harshly, striding over to her. She took Sedalia’s face in her hands, her voice dripping with sudden sweetness. “You need to put on a brave face for the crowd. You don’t want to embarrass yourself now, do you?”

Sedalia tried to wriggle her way out of Miss Shyla’s grasp, but stopped suddenly. “Ah –

“No control for you,” Miss Shyla said, cutting off Sedalia. She giggled in a childish way. “I can’t having you jumping off the stage!”

She released Sedalia and strode away, moving around them and out of Arein’s view.

“Wait!” Arella called suddenly, her voice wavering.

The footsteps stopped. “Yes…?” Her voice was both warning and taunting at the same time.

Arella closed her eyes. “What’s going to happen to us?”

Arein could almost hear the grin in Miss Shyla’s voice when she replied. “Wait and see… although you’ll have to wait quite a while. It’s a slow and painful process, having your very being pulled out of your body… or so I’ve heard…” She laughed again, but it was drowned out by another cheer from the audience. “Well, your public awaits.”

They waited in silence for only a moment before Olle’s voice boomed out from behind the curtain. “ – I now present to you, four of the Twelve!”

The crowd cheered again and, as if on its own accord, the curtains flew open. The noise was suddenly deafening. Hundreds of children calling, jeering and shouting at them, all seated in a massive hall filled with row upon row of chairs. Every student that had ever been through the Kasimir School now stood up from their seats, their face’s twisted with malice and a hatred fed by Mathius. Arein, Arella, Rem and Sedalia winced at the insults they could hear, and the even worse ones that they couldn’t. They were on show, frozen in their seats to be paraded as trophies.

Arein squeezed his eyes shut willing himself to ignore the crowd of children below. After what seemed like an age, the crowd quietened and Arein forced himself to open his eyes again and see what was to happen next.

“That’s quite enough,” came Olle’s voice from the corner.

Arein wrenched his head around and had to bite his tongue from screaming at the pain it caused him. The invisible barrier throbbed red hot, the pain slowly easing away leaving Arein gasping. The crowd noticed his pain and laughed as one. Ha ha ha – all together, again, as if it had been planned and rehearsed.

Arein kept his eyes on the floor, but he could hear slow footsteps advancing towards him. He raised his eyes and saw…

Sunday, October 30, 2011

It's the Circle of Life!

As you can see by my most recent blog post, I have discovered a new love. No, it's not for buying shoes, or going to the gym or other such things people seem to have love affairs with. It's for a much more geekier past-time. Yes. I watch documentaries.
Since I discovered a website where you can watch them for free, I've been addicted. I've watched movies on the human mind and body, on religion, on racism, on heaps of incredibly interesting topics that I find fascinating. I know many people think that documentaries and mind-numbing boredom go hand in hand, but if you watch documentaries on topics that you're interested in then it's absolutely riveting.

With this discovery, I have learnt something about myself. I have learnt that I can NOT watch documentaries about...
There. I said it.
I just find them far too emotionally traumatising. Animal documentaries lull you into a false sense of security. They show you clips of adorable sea-otters holding hands and deer frolicking in the meadow while birds sing and the sun shines. And then, they flash up a few clips of these sea-otters being swallowed whole by a seal, or the deer being slowly chased until they collapse with exhaustion and are descended upon by wolves.
I know what you're thinking. "It's the circle of life, Emily. Everyone needs to eat." I try to remind myself the wise words of Mufasa. The lion eats the antelope but "When we die, our bodies become the grass, and the antelope eat the grass. And so we are all connnected in the great Circle of Life. "
At this stage, I'm surprised I even manage to get through the Lion King without falling into an emotional heap.
I understand that it's all natural and proper but I can't help but feel terribly sad. I watched a show about baby turtles and how they have to find the ocean once they're hatched, but birds fly by and snatch them off the ground so only a small percentage ever make it to the sea. The rest struggle helplessly in the birds claws.
Or take tonights documentary for example, in which whales played a hunting game with a poor seal until it was slumped, exhausted on an ice float. A sneaky whale came up, bit it's tail and slowly dragged it into the water, with the seal looking helplessly towards the camera. Maybe it was the fact that the seal reminded me slightly of my dog, but whatever the reason, I find animal documentaries far far too sad.

So from now on I shall watch informative documentaries that steer away from the animal kingdom. To avoid being ignorant, maybe I'll read wildlife articles... That way I don't have to see their puppy dog eyes as they're nommed on by a lion.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Hiya friends!
Is there any point me saying 'long time no see'? I have realised by now that I am well and truly not a routine blogger. I could never keep a diary either and this is, I guess, along the same lines. BUT the upside of my irregularity is I only blog when I have a thought/idea so hopefully that means my blogs content make up for the lack of updates!
Anyways, I have missed writing on the blog for you guys (whoever you may be). I miss writing in general but I just can't seem to find the time. I've been writing occasionally - working on the musical, composing brilliantly artistic emails and the like. But I do miss blog writing and novel writing - once the year ends (as it will very soon) I'll get right back into it!!

So, onto the main topic of my blog. I'm not sure if you know but I've been staying with a friend from Showfit in the city during the week (apart from wednesdays when I head back to the land of Mornington to work). Recently, we discovered an amazing website in which you can watch documentaries FOR FREE online and they have EVERY documentary you can think of. So we've been spending our nights educating/entertaining ourselves with documentary after documentary.
Last nights film was called 'Multiple Personalities', and boy was it frightening.
It followed the stories of three adults who had multiple personality disorder. The first woman ended up having to be hospitalised because she was becoming a risk to herself, as several of her alternate personalities were self-destructive, and wanted to hurt her. The man was a police officer, who's alternate personalities (or alters) took over depending on different situations. The last woman was a mother of three, who's alters included a young child (who came out whenever her daughters wanted to play) and a teenage girl who stole credit cards and went on shopping sprees.
While fascinating, the show was deeply disturbing. All of these three adults had this disorder as a result of terrible abuse they experienced as children. Being young, they didn't have the capacity to cope with what they endured, and so their minds created personalities who could.

Am I the only one who finds this absolutely incredible? Their minds did this to help. This was the only way they could cope. And though it was done to help, it does so much harm. It is, mentally, a huge huge thing. It seems almost unbelievable, as often the person themselves have no memory of what the alters do, yet the alters themselves communicate within the person. They are aware, they take control and they consider the person they inhabit to be separate to themselves.
This is such a display of the power of the human mind. What's most bizarre is the power it has over the body, for instance one woman wore very thick glasses due to very poor eyesight. When she switched to an alter, she didn't need the glasses anymore as her eyesight had improved.

My friend and I were discussing the movie this morning in a state of 'I'm-still-really-freaked-out'. What scared us the most was that we consider our brains and our minds to be the same thing. Our thoughts come from our mind because we put them there. We control them. Furthermore, we control our brains involvement in our body. When we want to move our arm, we think it, and we move the muscles. What this disorder proves is how independent our mind/brain is - how it can function independently from our thoughts. Most people with multiple personality disorder don't remember the trauma that happened in their past. Instead, the alters bear the brunt of the painful memories. Often they want to find out what happened, as it will help them heal and move on. But their mind won't allow them. One woman was watching a video tape of herself in which her alter (a small child) was recounting memories of abuse. Whenever any detail was revealed in the video, the woman's mind would automatically shut out, her eyes would close, she'd pull away from the screen and, basically, her mind rejected the information despite her wanting to find out. This woman had an alter called Enigma, who's role it was to kill her if the abuse was ever remembered.

I could rant about the things that happened in this documentary for ages, but you'd be better to watch it. It's just so intriguing and so unsettling. It's terrifying to think your mind can turn on you like that. It's terrifying because it's a loss of control, and none of us like to lose control so utterly and completely like that. There are people who believe it's a hoax, some sort of act that these people put on for attention, but I can't understand why a grown man - a police officer and a seemingly good person - would pretend to be a 6 year old child, clutching a stuffed animal and absolutely breaking down as he relives traumatic moments in his past over and over again. People are complicated, more so then we could ever imagine. We only use %20 of our brain, as they say. And that %20, maybe even more, would do anything to make us safe, even if that means creating someone stronger then you to take control for a while.

I can't really wrap this post up as there is no conclusion I can come to other then WOW we are crazy. But that's how I finish most of my blog posts, isn't it?!
Ah well. Maybe one day I'll accept how crazy we are. I'll let you know if I do.
Until next time!

Friday, October 7, 2011

I am not a very angry person, by nature. Not many things make me really angry. Occasionally though, I stumble across something that I disagree with SO MUCH that it makes me furious. One of these things is to do with something I love and have grown up with and cherish - disney films. One day, I was watching some old disney clips on youtube when I stumbled across a video with someone talking about how racist, sexist and generally discriminatory disney films are.

Needless to say I wasn't happy. At the time, I was trying to find a topic for my English year 12 Oral speech, and this made me so angry that I figured it was the perfect topic for a nice long rant. So I did my research, and argued that disney films are NOT sexist, and NOT racist in the way that a lot of people want to believe they are.

This is the speech I wrote:

I would rather entertain and hope that people learnt something, than educate people and hope that they were entertained.

These words were said by Walt Disney himself, the maker of dreams, the creator of countless classic films that have gone down in history. He has made fairytale characters ageless; Snow White, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty – household names nowadays in most families. So much creation, so much inspiration - and yet Disney is flailing under recent, and in my opinion, baseless criticism. Disney programs have become the target for unfair judgement. The Internet is littered with opinionated videos claiming that Disney is sexist and racist. They state that Disney’s animated films promote an unrealistic set of moral values that are corrupting the young minds of today with, and I quote, “subliminal messages”.

According to these anti-Disney activists, each Disney character is riddled with these “subliminal messages” designed to mould the minds of young boys and girls. We should really break down these messages into specific areas. Firstly, the portrayal of men and women within Disney films.

Like most girls, I grew up with the Disney princesses dancing across my T.V screen while I watched in awe and admiration. The princesses represented everything good in my eyes; kindness, generosity of spirit, and optimism. My sisters were the same, as were my friends. And yet, despite our childlike admiration of the princess’s good qualities, some people find it necessary to destroy the fragile innocence that children only just maintain by seeing bad where there is none.

As long as Disney films have been created, there has been argument over their portrayal of gender. No matter what era, some over sensitive parent finds fault in a certain look or word that a character may say in a potentially offending tone. Unfortunately, not everyone in the world can be universally pleased and, by now, Disney well and truly understands this. And so, the Disney we see today is a careful company. It markets to its audience intelligently, using their films as a representation of modern times and this is the key point to my argument. Disney films reflect the time they were made in. Snow White was not a rebel, nor a strong, feminist woman because the traits that were admired in women of that time were gentleness and reliance on men. Now, in a time where individualism and emotional strength are the admirable qualities, we see far more feminist-like characters. Take Mulan, Pocahontas, and Meg from Hercules. These are women who promote bravery and determination. Yes, Snow White is a subservient character, yes, she relies on men, but we can’t deny that once, this was the ideal woman.

When it comes to men in Disney films, the arguments are not dissimilar. The public say that not all men can be strong and handsome, that Disney promotes an unrealistic standard in their heroes. What the public so easily forgets is what the Disney films are; cartoon animations. As Walt Disney says himself, “All cartoon characters and fables must be an exaggeration, caricatures. It is the very nature of fantasy and fable.” There is no greater representation of this cartoon creed than in the Disney films. The characters, especially the men, must exaggerate their qualities in order to communicate whether they are good or bad. For a child to understand easier, their qualities take outward manifestations. A person with inner beauty (the protagonists of the story, most commonly) will show this with their appearance. Blackness of heart will also show through appearance, meaning that the evil characters are most commonly not referred to as beautiful. In short, Disney does not create heroes as powerful men and subservient women like some people claim they do, but rather they use the surface of the character to show a deeper motivation.

The topic that raises the most controversy in regards to Disney is racism. The public has made it increasingly difficult for Disney to use different races in their films due to the uproar it normally causes and yet still, they demand racial equality. Disney has no way around it.

Take for instance, a film that I would never, never, have thought could be targeted for racial slander. The Little Mermaid was one of my favourites, and everyone knows the crab Sebastian who sings the famous song, ‘Under the Sea’. Much to my horror, this character was listed as one of the top ten most racist characters in Disney films. The writer declared that Sebastian’s lyrics, suggest that Jamaican people are lazy.

What does this say about people today? It seems like the only characters that do not spark outrage are those with American accents and white skin. Is this a reflection of Disney films, or a reflection on our own racial views?

Disney tries. It is obvious that they try but they are constantly stopped in their tracks by protestors. Their first film in which the heroes were not American, Aladdin, was instantly met with angry Muslims and Arabs. The monkeys from Jungle Book also caused arguments, along with the crows in Dumbo due to the fact that they had African-American voices. It seems that, with our canny knack for finding fault where there is none, the human race is never happy with anything.

I have watched Disney my whole life, and I am neither racist nor sexist. I am not disillusioned. I do not expect a fairy godmother to help me out of my troubles, nor do I place a stigma on any step-mothers I may know. I am my own person and while I love Disney, I do not base my whole life education on their films. These people who complain that Disney is “secretly trying to brain wash us”, are forgetting key points about life itself. They are first of all forgetting that Disney films are for entertainment. They are films, not social commentaries or political documentaries. Second of all, and most importantly, they are underestimating the intelligence of our children, who are not so suggestible, despite some claims, to see an evil character who may be Chinese and believe that all Chinese are evil. They do not see what we see. It wasn’t that long ago that I was a child myself and I still remember. Children are so willing to be innocent - to cheer for the good guy and laugh and be entertained. If the adults of today are so intent on seeing the bad in a company that creates immortal films that made me feel happy every time I watched them, then we better say goodbye to our children’s innocence now because sadly, Disney, there’s not much hope.

Sunday, September 18, 2011


Stunning dance animation - wow some people are amazing!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Just Me.

Acting is a dangerous game. Performing in general is a dangerous game. It is easy to see why so many performers have break-downs/are incredibly egotistical and self-important.
Especially when we're learning, as I am now. Every day, from morning to night, all I am thinking about is myself - am I working hard enough? Am I doing this right? Should I sing this for mock audition? Is this challenging me enough? Am I improving?
Is it incredibly difficult to not be self-focused, because in every class we are being encouraged to let our thoughts revolve around ourselves because, really let's face it, it's the only way to improve. If you don't pay attention to yourself and your abilities how will you know where you are and what you need?
On one hand, I understand that this is a brilliant and necessary thing because it makes performers so self-assured. Some of the teachers we have are just so incredibly sure. They seem to know themselves back-to-front and exude such an amazing energy of being totally at ease. And you need that as a performer because you have to face endless rejection. You have to be aware of where you are to the point that if someone says they don't want you, you can still have faith in what you have to offer. Anyone who hasn't spent enough time in their own head will soon collapse under the pressure of rejection.
On the other hand, it can make many people selfish with too much self-importance then is good for them. It's a dangerous game. Unavoidable of course. I suppose it's all in how you let the game play you. If you let yourself become too entangled with yourself you'll have no hope. If you can be impartial about yourself, if you can understand yourself and improve yourself without losing sight of others then you're on a good path.
The people around us probably suffer a fair amount. I love my family so much, but often times when I am at home I just want to be by myself because the effort of social interaction seems to make me even more aware of me. And if I'm on my own it feels more as if I'm not so present. I can tune out, watch a movie, listen to music, read, and not need that constant focus.
At the moment, I just want to get out of my own head. As a serial over-analyser I feel as if I'm really having constant arguments with myself, because I can see both sides, agree with both sides, understand both sides but can't for the life of me pick a side to be on.
Do I sound a tad crazy right about now?
But what is this blog for if not to vent. Hopefully other performing-students can understand what I'm getting at.
But as much as I am struggling with the self-regulation of performance, I am feeling an odd thing for people who aren't experiencing it. I guess you could call it pity. Because I can't imagine a life in which you don't try to understand your own thoughts (and yes, you do need to practice understanding them because really, how complicated are we? How hard are we to decipher even in ourselves?). A life in which you don't try to be better, don't try to learn more and become more at peace. It creates beautiful people, it really does. Yes, as I've said, people can become very egocentric, but the flip side of that is the community of generous, loving, open, funny and just incredibly unique people that pursue performance. They are a special breed of people, they really are.

So, if this blog post doesn't prove my state of mind I don't know what will. I hate it, I love it, I admire it, I don't understand it. Whatever it is. I love what I'm doing, and hopefully what I will do, but it doesn't come easy, that's for sure.
But it's worth the struggle.