Devious Theatre & Dario Fo

FROM LAST September to March gone, I spent seven months producing (and acting in) two major productions with The Devious Theatre Company. We embarked on the mission of a Dario Fo season. Not content with doing just one show, we sprang for two and almost went for a third two months ago. Of all of our productions to date, Accidental Death of an Anarchist and Can’t Pay? Won’t Pay! will stand out for a long time to come.

Whereby with previous shows we’ve released clips of various scenes, the Mycrofilms crew have put together a mashup of both productions in around six minutes or so to give you a flavour of what took place in the Set Theatre in Kilkenny in December 2009 and March 2010.

The good news for theatre folk is that we may be back sooner than you thought. After all, it wouldn’t be a summer in Kilkenny without some kind of Devious activity…

The Blog Awards, The Video, The Aftermath

SATURDAY took myself and a few hundred bloggers on a journey across the country to Galway or the fifth annual Irish Blog Awards. We had the motorway up, the scenic route home and in between had a fantastic evening / night / morning in the Radisson Blu in the centre of Galway, the shindig organised by some mighty fine people, assisted by other allstars, and attended by bloggers from all walks of life (more on that below).

I’ve made it to the awards the last four years, enjoyed two great years of it in Dublin, last year in Cork and this year in Galway. Shows like this take a hell of a lot of ingredients, time, money, the patience of saints, sponsors, promotors, advertisers, volunteers and more. Behind the scenes there’s an army of people making contributions from writing up the awards, judging, submitting videos, laying out chairs, providing props, music, food, goodie bags – the whole nine yards – but it has to be said, when it comes to showtime, everything is so smooth, so energy filled and runs so well that by the time you hit the bed after the awards you’ll be planning and booking for next year.

Or at least that’s my take on it anyway and nominated or not, I’m already looking forward to 2011.

Each year brings new faces, new conversations and given the majority of bloggers (I would hazard a guess) are Twitter users in some capacity, the ability to recognise people across the room has gotten a lot easier too. I could namecheck people for the night given how you couldn’t move 20 feet at times without running into someone for a chat but needless to say, it was a great night out in Galway and one that anyone with a remote interest in blogging would really benefit from attending.

The video above is one myself and Ross put together as one of the category introductions for the night. Sneaking in the door at 8pm I gave up my (what I would deem) traditional front-row-ish seats for one right at the back of the room, making it quite easy to duck out the door if the video went horribly wrong. Alas, the laughs were there, the comments and feedback for the 60-second piece were great and I didn’t have to prop up the bar as much as I had anticipated. If there’s an opening for more videos next year you can chalk us down in advance.

In the aftermath of everything, there were agreements to meet up for pints, talk of organising trips up to Belfast or getting people to Kilkenny for a session. Some of those on my “pint list” I didn’t get to link up with but we’ll do something soon.

I found, as I’ve done the past three years, that a trip to the Blog Awards is a great motivator for your own work. Come January of this year I started making more time for the blogs I’ve authored over the past few years. This one alone has seen more posts in the first three months of the year than the last six of 2009, DeviousTheatre.com is going strong and expanding its arts coverage, KilkennyMusic.com has had a recent facelift and online strategy put in place and it’s all coming up blogging here in Kilkenny. With the Irish Web Awards just over six months away we should get a nice, timely kick in the arse to look after our bigger sites as well.

In summary, my thanks to the Blog Awards Army. That includes Damien, Rick, Darragh, Steph, Anto, Brian Greene (whose 90s set could be heard no problem on the garden rooftop after midnight), all those who put together videos, all those who accepted awards, all those who attended, all those I got to chat to, the Radisson Blu hotel (who do an absolutely fantastic breakfast, welcome you off the elevator AND put a Sunday paper in your hand), the new faces and usernames I picked up, the old faces who continue to be great people, Edwina for this most excellent photo and all those who continue to read, write, comment and rate Irish blogs. Yes. All of you, and that lot, are in that army.

Now, it’s back to work.

Eyes On Hollywood, Secret Of Kells

Watch live streaming video from theoscars at livestream.com

THEATRE WORK is holding me up all weekend but if I can squeeze it in, I’ll be keeping an eye on Livestream.com’s coverage of the 82nd annual Academy Awards, with locally-produced movie The Secret Of Kells in the running for Best Animated Feature.

In the above clip, Tomm Moore (director) gives a few thoughts on the movie ahead of tonight’s event. Best of luck to all the Cartoon Saloon crew and here’s hoping that whatever happens tonight brings more fortune (and financing) to the company in the future.

Watch The Oscars on Livestream.com.

IFTA nod for The Secret Of Kells

THE SECRET of Kells has been included in the shortlist for Best Film at the 7th Annual Irish Film & Television Awards. The product of years of hard work by local studio (Kilkenny) Cartoon Saloon, the animated feature has been going great guns on the international film circuit over the past year so it’s no surprise to see it included in the running for the IFTAs.

This vibrant animation is a spirited retelling of the provenance of Ireland’s mosted cherished artefact, the Book of Kells. With the Viking hordes approaching, the monks of Kells are forced to turn their attention from transcripbing manuscripts to building barricades. The future of the precious book is in jeopardy and it falls to Brendan, young nephew of the abbot Cellach, to save the day.
The Secret of Kells is Cartoon Saloon’s first feature film and was directed by Tomm Moore with Nora Twomey as his co-Director.

Congratulations to Tomm, Paul Young (producer, who is also working with us at The Devious Theatre Company in the upcoming Can’t Pay? Won’t Pay) and all involved both in Ireland and overseas on the continued success of the movie.

If you’re interested in hearing from the director himself, I produced a series of podcasts for the Kilkenny Arts Festival last year, one of them being a post-screening Q&A session with director Tomm Moore. Grab it here via iTunes.

Caffeine: 24-Hour International Film Festival

MY OLD haunting ground of Young Irish Film Makers recently announced details of their second 24-hour film festival dubbed Caffeine and it’s taking place this coming Friday January 15th.

The goal is simple. You have 24 hours in which to script, shoot, edit and upload a short film to YouTube, with your entry to be no longer than five minutes.

The competition got a good reception locally when it ran last year (YIFM being based here in Kilkenny) but as it’s an online competition, the doors are open to everyone. But, of course, you can’t just go shooting a film about anything. The organisers of the competition will email all teams prior to kick-off on Friday evening with a small list of objects that must be included in your short and must be relevant to the overall plot.

The Important Details

  • The Competition runs from 6pm Friday 15th of January 2010 to 6pm Saturday 16th of January 2010.
  • Max members per team is six, minimum age of youngest member on team is 12.
  • Films can be shot on any medium and can be of any genre – so long as (point above) objects named in your challenge are included and are relevant to your plotline.
  • If you are interested in taking part, you must be registered on or before Wednesday January 14th 2010.

Signup & Details

For more details on Caffeine 2010, read this article. To register yourself, or a team, for this year’s festival please click here.

The video above is the winning short from 2009, Sclever, produced by Slackless Productions. The winning team included Stephen Colfer, Sarah Walsh, Conor Barry, Richie Cody and John Doran.

Note: Young Irish Film Makers is an innovative Irish film training and production studio where young people aged 10-18 have the opportunity to create and communicate their ideas and stories by making feature films for international television and the internet. I sit on the board of directors for Young Irish Film Makers.

Live Streaming on iPhone 3G with Qik

THE N95 just “ain’t what it used to be” to me any more. When I picked up the handset close on two years ago it was a revolution for me. High quality digital camera (5MP), wifi, and easy use of Twitter and Qik through the S60 apps.

When I picked up the iPhone 3G last May, not long before the release of the 3GS in June, my N95 usage in departments camera, browser and video started to dip noticeably. This largely due to my O2 mobile broadband sim virtually living inside my iPhone instead of the USB modem for the past seven months or so.

And while I’m happy out twittering away from the iPhone or going about my daily online business, the one thing that I was hoping would come about was the facility to stream video, using Qik, without having to either a) jailbreak the iPhone or b) upgrade to the 3GS.

Qik on iPhone

A quick dip into the app store last night, spurred on by this blog post, which I had missed over the festive period, and we’re back in business.

There are two versions of the Qik app available – one for iPhone 3G and one for iPhone 3GS. I’m running the latest firmware available on the iPhone 3G and the video above went off this morning without a hitch.

I’ve also shied away from Qik after my O2 billing fiasco in the summer, a 3 minute Qik clip in Connolly Station at the start of the Kilkenny Arts Festival wound up costing me a few hundred euro – lesson well learned in bringing the wrong sim card with me that day. I’m hoping, given the success of the first video this morning that I might be a bit more fortunate on the live video front this year.

The app itself works a charm, the interface very straight forward, one-button record and you’re set. As per your profile on Qik.com you can tie in your Twitter, Facebook, YouTube or other social accounts, broadcast live or record offline to store videos on the iPhone and distribute later, use the GPS to share your location with the video (by city, street or precisely), and like the S60 version you can make use of the chat.

I wouldn’t install it unless I knew I had the use of it and with Devious Theatre about to kick into action tomorrow for another two straight months, the return of the One Take Sessions (music series I run in Kilkenny), the multitude of festivals happening locally during the year, I’ll be looking forward to capturing – and making use of – video moments throughout 2010.

Try it for yourself, it’s available in the App store since December 24th and it’s going for the grand ole price of free.

All that remains for me to do is upgrade the N95… keeping the eyes peeled for a nice android handset.

Collusion & The Great Hunt

I’ve mentioned at some venture before that (or at least I’m pretty sure I have) that I’m delighted to be surrounded by and work with a bunch of very creative individuals in Kilkenny. Two of those individuals and some more friends got together recently under the banner of Thankless Films to great the two shorts below.

Both were filmed and directed by Dave Minogue with whom I’ve shared the stage with once or twice over the last ten years and both were also scored by Alan Dawson who I’ve been working with through Kilkenny Music over the last four years and have collaborated with on many a musical project. If you’re interested in having your film work scored, I’m sure he’ll only be too happy to speak to you. The results, are below.

Disclaimer: Be advised, some content in the videos may offend. Questions and comments to Thankless Films on YouTube.

Collusion

La Grande Chasse De L’aÌ‚ne Amende

The Day I Scored For Ireland

I haven’t enjoyed a Fifa game in a while, that is until Fifa 10 came along. It rekindled my interest in the game, rekindled my interest in Xbox Live, and furthermore introduced me to the social side of the game with the ability to upload videos and screenshots to the EA Sports World site.

Following last night’s defeat against France in Paris, I continued my Be A Pro first season, earning a callup to the Ireland reserve squad. Taking to the pitch away against Slovenia, it’s nice to bang in a goal on your international debut. Particularly one that hasn’t been taken from inside the box. Long distance goals just seem to be a rarity.

It is a pity though that the sharing side of the game is only available to Xbox Gold members but it’s not bad encouragement to work on your skills and then show them off online. By the way, I’m @mcguireken on Xbox Live.

The Long Goodbye To Vultures

Here’s the final installment of the current Vultures series, The Long Goodbye. Whether or not it’s the last we’ll ever see of the Vultures gang remains to be seen but needless to say, it’s been an entertaining two years to get the show to its current stage.

The trailer can be seen here or immerse yourself for 40 minutes or so and enjoy episode 7.

For more on Vultures, and all previous episodes, trailers and character information, check VulturesPI.com.

That’s A Wrap On Vultures

On Saturday night I went along to The Left Bank in Kilkenny for the private cast and crew screening of Vultures episodes six and seven, Attack Of The Pinkertons and The Long Goodbye.

After two years of work, it’s great to see the series come to its conclusion. I could be slightly biased in that I’ve been involved in some of the episodes either on-screen or providing locations for shooting but behind the scenes when you look at the mammoth amount of work that was done, the minimal budget that was used to produce the entire series and the talents of those involved, you can’t help but be in awe. Vultures is produced here in Kilkenny by Mycrofilms.

Above is episode six, Attack Of The Pinkertons, featuring a cameo from myself (“Got any change?”), with episode seven set to hit the web early next month.

For this and all previous episodes along with trailers, character development notes and more, check out VulturesPI.com.