Hard News by Russell Brown


Healing the family feud

This week’s Media7 show was the third we’ve done from the annual conference of the Screen Production and Development Association and, for reasons which ought to be obvious, the most newsworthy.

There was an address by the Minister of Broadcasting, Jonathan Coleman, who subsequently joined me for an interview on Media7. As I noted in the introduction to the programme, if you were waiting for the grand plan for public broadcasting … you’re still waiting.

The minister did advance the view that there should be a split between TVNZ’s commercial and public service activities, with the public service broadcasting component probably resting with TVNZ 7. He also pointedly referred to the total $230 million the taxpayer spends on public broadcasting annually, and acknowledged that any new initiatives would rely on a reallocation of that funding rather than new money.

But the issue that loomed over the whole conference was, of course, the Hobbit dispute. I chaired the opening conference session, ‘What really happened with The Hobbit: the producers’ perspective’ -- which was excerpted here on the New Zealand Herald website -- and then a Media7 panel featuring actor Peter Elliott, producer Richard Fletcher, writer Peter Cox, and employment law specialist Daniel Erickson.

I think the whole, fraught issue got to a pretty good place by the end of the conference, and that everyone recognised that this sort of destructive family feud couldn’t be allowed to happen again. Having had some practice at listening to each other over the two days, the respective parties will, I trust, make a habit of it henceforth. There will be a hui to that end.

A word of praise for Hugh Sundae and the Herald video team, who turned up when it mattered (not everyone who wrote about the conference did that, frankly) and took the event seriously. See also, the text of Brent Impey’s John O’Shea Memorial Address (note that NZ On Air CEO Jane Wrightson has popped in there to correct Brent’s homework). Brent is also interviewed on Media7.

And, again, you can watch the Media7 special on demand here.


If you were at the Orcon Great Blend this year, and you chanced into the Taj Mahal room, you’ll have seen Grayson Gilmour playing. In addition to being a live performance, the show was also a video shoot for the song ‘Humble Punk Rock’. And this, uploaded to NZ On Screen this week, is the rather lovely result:

As the NZ On Screen notes tell it:

This was created as part of the 2010 creative collaborations edition of the Orcon Great Blend. The fanciful clip is a suitable match for the moody minimalism of the track. Planned and shot in a day it achieves an eerily cohesive finish, belying the fact director Jesse Taylor Smith hadn’t heard the song prior to filming, and Gilmour was in the dark as to shooting plans. The ‘actors’ were crowd-sourced and harassed into hair and make-up; from there the footage was developed, the song was 'properly' recorded and all the pieces thrown into place – UFOs included.

Like I said, lovely. Thanks to NZ On Screen and Flying Nun --- and most particularly to Grayson and Jesse, who are fine young men who must make their mothers proud.


Also added to NZ On Screen this week: some classic TV commercials, including the BASF ‘Dear John’ ad, shot in a Wellington quarry:


Earlier in the week, I invited readers to contribution fan fiction based on The Trons, the robot band from Hamilton. The entries were not many, but they were bloody good. But not everyone can be a winner, so, after careful deliberation, I have chosen those by Robyn Gallagher and Karen White. Ladies, click the little email icon at the bottom of this post and let me know where to send your Trons CD and DVD.


A quick heads-up with respect to the Gang of Four show being advertised hereabouts for next February at the Powerstation. It should be a cracker, and the promoter is a nice guy.

Woot! The new LEDs CD has arrived! It's a double gatefold CD comprising an album called Glass Comforts and an EP called Goodbye to the light. I gather the making of it was a bit fraught, and they managed to misplace their drummer by the end of it. But Blair, Helen and Marcus are back on the job and will have some more new recordings early next year.

For now, they've kindly agreed to a little MP3 gift for Public Address readers. Just right-click (or control-click with a one-button mouse on a Mac) to download a 320k MP3 of 'All Gone' from the new album. You can find out more on the LEDs' MySpace.

And some more music from Christchurch, with a singer from Iceland. It's been out for nine months, but I found myself singing along to it yesterday and thought I should tell you about it. I'd say it was my favourite Ace of Base cover, but it's really the only Ace of Base cover of which I am aware:

 All That She Wants (Featuring Hera) by EdMuzik

Note that the little downwards arrow in the Soundcloud player is a download button. Yes, all for you.

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