Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Hope and Wire

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  • Rob Stowell, in reply to andrew gunn,

    there is enough drama to be found simply in these events.

    A fair bit of the set-up felt contrived. If the stories play out predictably, it'll be a shame. I'm hoping there'll be some twisting of stereotypes. (FWIW I've met mean-spirited, misanthropic socialists - and generous, philanthropic lawyers :))

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 2108 posts Report Reply

  • Marian Hobbs,

    This is a strange post from me...but as well as thanking Russell for the original post, I want to thank all who have contributed, especially those from Christchurch.

    I was in England for both of the major earthquakes ( and as I say that, I now have a little more understanding of the continual quaking...because it is more than the word 'aftershocks' conveys). And although I have a sister and many former teaching colleagues in Christchurch, I have not been able to understand the effect.

    So I looked forward to watching this last night, especially since I have some respect for Gaylene Preston's previous work.

    I read the initial reaction on social media and was puzzled, but the exchange on here has really helped me get much closer to the issues.

    So thank you all...you have added much to my knowledge and hopefully, to my insight.

    Dunedin, New zealand • Since Jan 2009 • 4 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca, in reply to Nic Farra,

    I did half a day as an unpaid extra, and as an experienced actor with thirty years in the biz, I knew how to work the unit, so I at least got fed and watered for my time.

    That is what's stink about the industry here. A lot of people getted used. Sadly many work unacceptable hours for free or little, trying to break into the industry. That puts those experienced aside because the budget is always never enough.
    I'm saddened to hear that you had no chance at auditions. It would have been absolutely fruitful to allow Cantabrians first chance to audition and crew if nothing other than to have a first hand knowledge of how it should be portrayed. How stupid?

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Marian Hobbs,

    So I looked forward to watching this last night, especially since I have some respect for Gaylene Preston’s previous work.

    I have enormous respect for Gaylene's work and for her as a person. She's a good woman. So I wanted to be careful offering criticism, especially when that criticism flowed from my initial impression that these characters seemed a bit helicoptered in.

    I read the initial reaction on social media and was puzzled, but the exchange on here has really helped me get much closer to the issues.

    So thank you all…you have added much to my knowledge and hopefully, to my insight.

    One of the things I'm most proud of about Public Address is the fact that we've been a place to talk about Christchurch since the quakes happened. Indeed, it was in pursuit of that that some of our most valued and engaged commenters came here in the first place.

    PS: Don't be a stranger! We'd love to have you engaged here.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22825 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Rob Stowell,

    (FWIW I’ve met mean-spirited, misanthropic socialists – and generous, philanthropic lawyers :))

    I'd actually have been much more interested in, say, a community lawyer making sacrifices to help people post-earthquakes (and maybe even finding a love interest, whatever). Stephen Lovatt's character and his predicament mean nothing to me at all. And that's pretty weird, because the last time I saw Stephen Lovatt at work (as Roy Cohn in Angels in America) he actually scared me.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22825 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Lealand, in reply to Russell Brown,

    He has a good role in Fantail

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2557 posts Report Reply

  • Josie McNaught, in reply to Emma Hart,

    I got to 46 minutes. Couldn't agree more.
    I'd be interested to know how they handle the CTV building collapse… if at all. After all the evidence that came out of the Royal Commission, will we have a scene looking back to 1986 when the council signed off the permit for the building, knowing (as we all do now) that the design had serious defects? Who will play Alan Reay and David Harding? Or building manager John Drew? How about a scene where council officers inspect the building after the September quake, but don't bring an engineer with them, and still give it the ok? If you want to get a feel for how this tragedy has been for real people rather than the cardboard cutouts delivering their cliches through broken glass and dust on TV3, just read Rebecca Macfie's Listener article (22 Feb 2014) and these bios of the 117 innocent people who died when that building came down.

    http://canterbury.royalcommission.govt.nz/vwluResources/Final-Report-Vol-6-Pt-1/$file/Vol%206_Sections%201_2-Page1-118.pdf

    if the link doesn't work it's Volume 6 page 1- 118 of the Royal Commission report available on their website. Volume 9 makes for a good read too.

    (p.s. We don't have TV anymore so don't know how the ads were handled on the night, but viewing it online the breaks are dominated by this bad taste scratchies ad that asks people if they've had some 'luck' lately…. yuk)

    Auckland • Since Oct 2012 • 25 posts Report Reply

  • B Jones, in reply to Russell Brown,

    a community lawyer making sacrifices to help people post-earthquakes

    Like the character Toni Bernette in Treme? She seems to be there to drive the plot with connections to various scandals, but her relationships with her husband (played by John Goodman) and later the detective Terry Colson are something special to watch.

    I'll be watching Hope and Wire as a Treme fan - will be interesting to see how it measures up.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 976 posts Report Reply

  • Euan Mason,

    Watched it to the end, and thought, “It’s a brief taste, not quite the right flavour, though, and doesn’t really portray what we lived through”. My mother would go white every time she heard about an earthquake; she was 9 years old in Napier in 1931. Now I understand why she went white, but Hope and Wire doesn’t explain it.

    Canterbury • Since Jul 2008 • 259 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell, in reply to B Jones,

    I’ll be watching Hope and Wire as a Treme fan

    It ain’t Treme. Worth knowing that from the start :)
    One disappointment is no character who’s a musician/a band and so far nothing much relating to that scene. Maybe that’ll happen if/when we get to Lyttelton.

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 2108 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell, in reply to Creon Upton,

    I haven’t seen it, and I won’t, so I’m arguably not entitled to judge, but I will.
    I’m unsurprised by the tenor of the comments appearing above. It sounds positively dreadful, and in a dreadfully predictable way.

    Hiya Creon. Seems a shame you'll never know how right- or wrong- you are :)

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 2108 posts Report Reply

  • Ken Sparks, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    Perhaps a little more trust in the emotional and artistic intelligence of that "mainstream audience" would be a good thing?

    Unfortunately it would seem that 'intelligence' and 'mainstream audience' don't belong in the same sentence as far as TV3 and TVNZ commissioners are concerned.

    Cox’s Creek • Since Apr 2011 • 60 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Lealand, in reply to Ken Sparks,

    Yeh, but I have more faith in Gaylene than you seem to have.

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2557 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Rob Stowell,

    One disappointment is no character who’s a musician/a band and so far nothing much relating to that scene.

    It's named after a song by The Eastern, and the band appear from what I've read.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19706 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell, in reply to Sacha,

    One disappointment is no character who’s a musician/a band and so far nothing much relating to that scene.

    It’s named after a song by The Eastern, and the band appear from what I’ve read.

    There’s a moment of them playing at Pomeroys. And the song over the end credits was great.
    Just #notenuff :)

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 2108 posts Report Reply

  • Ken Sparks, in reply to Geoff Lealand,

    I have more faith in Gaylene than you seem to have.

    My comment wasn't intended as any kind of slur against Gaylene - I respect her as a film maker and she's made some good stuff. It was about the frustration of dealing with TV commissioners and their obsession with ratings. They tend to want their programme suppliers to reduce things to a very simplistic level - nothing too complex that might challenge viewers and have them switching channels. I don't know what kind of influence was exerted in this case and knowing Gaylene, she wouldn't put up with too much interference but if this had being made for cinema I suspect the characters would have been a bit less stereotyped and one dimensional.

    Cox’s Creek • Since Apr 2011 • 60 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Sacha,

    It’s named after a song by The Eastern, and the band appear from what I’ve read.

    They appear very early on. But, I suspect, will remain minstrels, not active characters.

    So I agree with Rob to an extent. Kids in a band would have made more interesting characters than a crooked lawyer.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22825 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Rob Stowell,

    #notenuff

    noted :)

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19706 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    artistic differences...
    As pointed out, every individual in Chchch was the author of their own Earthquake Story/Experience.

    I think that to many Hope and Wire will be like seeing their brilliant 'novel' badly filmed by a committee bent on the 'product placement' of earthquake memes, most clunkily inserted.
    At times it felt like a collection of several years worth of Shortland Street season finales...

    To my tastes had they left the 'doco' aspects to just the 'sit-down-talk-to-camera' spots, that might have worked better, but the sudden breaking of the 'fourth wall' with asides to audience were just plain weird, and disassociative - it felt like singing and dancing might follow ... or an ad ... and Shakespeare aside, most use of this trope in the modern era is for comedic value, wrong message!

    I found the continuity was hard to keep up with, months would have elapsed between cuts it seemed to me, then cutting back to raw moments soon after an event - a problem of following one story, then another - or perhaps this is to keep a frisson of unsettling tension and uncertainty grinding along...

    The first knowledge of the February earthquake, is an 'after-the-fact' radio broadcast to the woman driving out of town - which she 'should have felt'... she can't have been that far away from Chchch by then - it was felt widely by drivers in the middle south island...
    and then it cuts back to 'the event' but it is robbed of the shock and awe - and that what was the most adrenalised heightened moment of that quake (as I recall it) that first massive shunt, the briefest of frozen moments and then a building, rolling-shake-shudder-lurch-jerk that you knew wasn't about to stop any time soon, or ever if it wanted, and it was dialling it up even more...
    I've never felt so mortal, insignificant, vulnerable or powerless, did I mention frightened...
    ... everything else was swept away - get outside - and 'where is the cat?' (filing cabinet fell over the office door)
    - outside, eventually,
    'where's Sally?'
    - Wham! Again!
    Road erupts and falls in on itself, street floods,
    glimpses of running dogs, piggy-backed pensioners...
    Much shuddering, silence, punctuated by alarms...
    and the hollow realisation that 'things were going to be very different now...' stow that thought, get through the day, and the next, and the...

    Found cats, found Sally,
    - and that was the whole world!

    ----

    I also don't think Russell is being fair to Vicki Anderson, she raised many valid points echoed by many comments here, her digs at NZ on Air and APRA were not exceptionally excessive, and I thought warranted in context.
    Nor was it any more rambling than she telegraphed it would be.

    Her review today: is pretty spot on too.

    Later I showed the first episode of Hope and Wire to a colleague for his reaction.
    "It's like they are raping the city," he said. "And what shocking acting. I'm off home now, I'll wade through old-school stereotypes and several skirmishes with skinheads to get there."
    It also needs more cones. Its people to traffic cones ratio was totally off.

    Personally it still rankles having a conveyor belt of folk from out of town quantifying our experiences, telling us what happened, what to do, what we can do, what we should be feeling, and when...
    Actually there's a lot of that no-one's telling us in any useful measure as well...

    But Hope and Wire does get the idea across that 'shit happens!'

    </one opinion>

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7943 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    the shock and awe - and that what was the most adrenalised heightened moment of that quake (as I recall it) that first massive shunt, the briefest of frozen moments and then a building, rolling-shake-shudder-lurch-jerk that you knew wasn't about to stop any time soon, or ever if it wanted, and it was dialling it up even more...
    I've never felt so mortal, insignificant, vulnerable or powerless, did I mention frightened...
    ... everything else was swept away - get outside - and 'where is the cat?' (filing cabinet fell over the office door)
    - outside, eventually,
    'where's Sally?'
    - Wham! Again!
    Road erupts and falls in on itself, street floods,
    glimpses of running dogs, piggy-backed pensioners...
    Much shuddering, silence, punctuated by alarms...
    and the hollow realisation that 'things were going to be very different now...' stow that thought, get through the day, and the next, and the...

    Found cats, found Sally,
    - and that was the whole world!

    Thank you.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19706 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    As pointed out, every individual in Chchch was the author of their own Earthquake Story/Experience.

    I think that to many Hope and Wire will be like seeing their brilliant ‘novel’ badly filmed by a committee

    That's such a good observation, Ian.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22825 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    I also don’t think Russell is being fair to Vicki Anderson, she raised many valid points echoed by many comments here, her digs at NZ on Air and APRA were not exceptionally excessive, and I thought warranted in context.
    Nor was it any more rambling than she telegraphed it would be.

    Fair enough. And I definitely acknowledge her post-earthquake writing. But she does have an NZ On Air hangup.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22825 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    the sudden breaking of the 'fourth wall' with asides to audience were just plain weird, and disassociative

    I've seen that technique work really well in the BBC 'Seven Wonders of the Industrial World' series. Didn't find it jarring (if you'll excuse the word) in Hope and Wire.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19706 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Just to note -- and I have thus amended and annotated the original post -- I'm satisfied that if anyone used the word "crazy" it was not Gerard Smyth.

    He clearly has criticisms of the project, but I don't think he said that.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22825 posts Report Reply

  • Bruce Ellis,

    I think it is wonderful that we are having this discussion. We are avid Campbell Live watchers and being in Taranaki feel that this has been our main direct connection with the issues that our fellow citizens in Christchurch are continuing to go through. If Hope and Wire adds to the knowledge of non-Cantabrians of the effects and follow on issues of the earthquakes, then that, to me, is a good thing

    Taranaki • Since Oct 2012 • 2 posts Report Reply

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