INTERVIEW :: LAURA FITZPATRICK FROM THE MAMAS AND PAPAS STORY

[FIRST PUBLISHED ON THE MODERN WOMANS SURVIVAL GUIDE]

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Lauren Burgueno from MWSG Magazine speaks with Laura Fitzpatrick who plays Mama Michelle in the musical, ‘Flowerchildren: The Mamas and the Papas Story’.
 

:: Before being cast in the musical, were you a fan of The Mamas and The Papas?

I have to be honest and say no, but not because I didn’t like them, just because I didn’t really know their music. I think most people of my age and generation, if you say The Mamas and The Papas they know California Dreaming and Monday, Monday and go oh yeah they are cool, but I don’t think there are any die hard fans under a certain age.

:: What has it been like playing your character Mama Michelle?

Awesome! I love Michelle, she’s such an interesting woman. I think throughout the show many of the characters, and the audience as well, are wondering what is going on inside her head, as she behaves in some very strange ways. But I think of all of them she was really a kid when she was doing this stuff.

She was so young and trying to pretend to be grown up, but throughout the show you actually do watch her grow up. So you see her go from being silly and flighty and not really thinking through the consequences of anything, to becoming quite a grown up, thoughtful woman at the end. It’s good to play that journey.

You do get quite an insight into the different sides of Mama Michelle, because the way the show is set up each of the four mamas and papas gets a chance to tell some of the story from their perspective. So you get to see Michelle when she is being stupid and 21 years old, and just having fun and not really thinking about anything. But then you also get to see her in the present as a 68 year old reminiscing about that time many, many decades ago. So it’s a big shift and it’s really cool to play that.

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:: Has it been interesting telling the somewhat untold, ‘behind the music’ story of the band?

Again, people who were around in that era might have an idea of some of the things that went on, because there’s quite a famous love triangle within the group. It’s a pretty full on story. And John, who wrote all the music, was basically writing about exactly what was happening between the members of the group. So all of the songs that the mamas and papas are famous for are actually kind of autobiographical.

A lot of musicals which have become really popular now use existing music and put it into a storyline or narrative. Sometimes they struggle a little  bit because they are trying to kind of fit the songs in and build the story around them. But the way that this is done, the songs themselves tell the story.

:: How has it been working with the rest of the cast?

It’s pretty intense. There are definitely some very dramatic scenes, which can be hard to do, but I’ve known both Dan who plays Denny and Matt who plays John for many years and I’ve worked with them a lot, so I really feel very comfortable with them and I totally trust them.

The four mamas and papas, we all did the show a couple of years ago – a smaller version of it. And a lot of the production team, including the director and the musical director worked on that version as well, as well as a number of the members of the band.  So that’s really cool. And we’ve got some new people in the show as well, who have just totally slotted into the family. They’re really great to work with, it’s a good bunch.

:: You have been in  many shows including FAME- the musical , My Fair Lady and The Full Monty. Have your experiences in this musical been different?

In some ways it’s definitely been a little bit different. For a start it’s a group of people I’ve worked with before which is amazing because I know them all and like them all, and some of them are really good friends of mine so it’s pretty exciting that we are all getting to do this together. Plus I think the show is one of the best shows I’ve done, so in that way it’s different as well as being good quality. It’s a really good script, so that’s just an exciting thing to be able to tackle. The focus is always on the music but in this one the focus is on the music and the story behind it, which is awesome.

The Nature of a City- A Korsakow Film

 

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CLICK HERE TO WATCH MY K-FILM!

The process of creating my own interactive Korsakow film, which I have entitled “The Nature of a City”, made up of the small scale ‘sketches’ I’ve been completing throughout the semester has proved to be a great learning experience. Reading David Shields’ “Reality Hunger: a Manifesto” I became aware of the similarities between collage and interactive media. Shields’ idea that “the very nature of collage demands fragmented materials, or at least materials yanked out of context” (Shields 2011); became the foundation for what I wished to produce. My goal was to allow each video stand individually whilst still contributing to a linked collage of videos.

 

Looking at my seemingly random, fragmented sketch tasks I noticed two key reoccurring elements throughout my videos. One being the beauty and the naturalistic quality of nature and the other being urbanized life and man-made items. I decided rather than having a narrative based story which would be hard to control with the inability to govern viewers’ decisions, I would aim to create a cycle indicative of the progression of nature in all its beauty to its gradual destruction as man and city-life move in and take over.

 

To emphasize my thread of the deterioration of nature to the hands of man, I have utilized text. The text I have chosen to use, a poem by Edgar Allen Poe entitled “Forest Reverie”.  The poem in its lyrical rhapsodic nature, fit perfectly to my theme, discussing how the beauty of the natural world has been tamed and subdued by men, but truly encapsulating the splendor of nature at the same time. The other thing I loved about this text was how its construction too was collage-like, which meant I could deconstruct it placing single lines on each of the videos. Not only did this enable my videos to have a link and solidify the thread, but also each line was able to be associated directly with the video it was showing in its own context.

 

To achieve the cycle of progression so central to my theme the construction of my k-film was extremely crucial. I decided I would have four separate interfaces for four separate stages of the decline of the natural world into the urbanized world. I created four distinct backgrounds using Photoshop and two creative commons images, which all related to each other and had an essence of continuity. The first interface is representative of nature in its prime a bright green forest. The second interface, which shows the metaphorical dying of the natural world, uses the same forest image with a brown gradient subduing half of the image. The third interface would then show the same ‘dying’ forest but this time city buildings will have taken up half the frame, indicative of the city beginning to take over. The final interface is the same image of the city, but now it takes over the whole screen displaying the dominance of the city and city life over nature. Seeing as these backgrounds were so detailed, I decided to keep everything else within the frame very minimal and simple so to not distract from the videos themselves and overwhelm the screen. I used a very simple large legible font; bolded so it stood out and I also ensured my previews always remained the same size in the same place.

 

The four interfaces then became the four in and out keywords for my snu’s to make the cycle flow. The keywords linking either one step forward in the cycle or one step backward in the cycle, so eventually the viewer will arrive back at the beginning. I decided to begin with a video I entitled ‘lone flower’ in the nature interface; this video displaying the beauty of nature yet having a sad essence at the same time as it is the sole flower amongst a bush, almost foreboding the rest of the cycle. This video would then link to videos in the category “nature dying”, progressing to the next stage. I decided to make each SNU looped having infinite lives, to ensure the cycle itself was continuous and never-ending and add to the random collage-esque quality of the piece. Thus in giving each video infinite lives, I had to be careful with my out keywords to ensure that every video would eventually show up and also so that the cycle would get back to the start, back to nature and not remain in the city. This was a bit of an issue seeing as I had many more “City” videos than “Nature” ones, however, this almost played to my advantage indicative of the rarity of nature in an urban world.

 

Overall I believe that I have created a rather successful piece, which truly encapsulates my theme of the move from the natural to the urbanized world. I am really happy with the use of different interfaces to emphasize what section of the cycle each video belongs too, and the simplicity of the composition of my interfaces. Although I would have loved to have a slightly more structured and controlled piece, I think the random quality and the free flowing cycle effect is quite effective. It is an endless loop, just the same as the cycle of nature; despite being constantly tamed and destroyed at the hands of men to make way for cities and material possessions, nature continues to grow and bloom and provide beauty to our world.

 

I have learnt a lot from the completion of the task, which will not only be useful in other aspects of my life. Although learning to use Korsakow was an interesting and new experience; noticing the little things in my world and learning to find threads between random objects and scenarios, were the most important things I feel learnt from the task. The piecing together and threading of elements a key process of editing, which, will continue to help me within the media industry. It has truly challenged me to think more creatively and in a non-linear fashion.

 

References:

Shields, David. “L: Collage”. Reality Hunger: A Manifesto. Vintage, 2011. ebook.

Moving Away From Ikea

Moving Away From Ikea from Lauren Burgueno on Vimeo.

In the creation of this video I wanted to play around with movement away from an unmoving subject. I also wanted to experiment with colour keying editing tools.. and yeh!

Taken on Sanyo Xacti VPC-CA9 Camcorder

Edited with Adobe Premier Pro

Music: Shopping by Puny Earthling

The Cemetery

The Cemetery from Lauren Burgueno on Vimeo.

Of course after being overcast all day, the sun decides to come out right as I arrive at the cemetery to film…

In the creation of this video, I wanted to utilise the sun which was ruining the atmosphere I wanted to my advantage. By breaking the traditional rules of filming and shooting directly into the sun, I wanted to play around with flares and experiment with obscure camera angles.

Prompt: Place

Taken on Sanyo Xacti VPC-CA9 Camcorder

Edited with Adobe Premier Pro

Music: Eerie Airy by Alex Debris

The Red Shoes

The Red Shoes from Lauren Burgueno on Vimeo.

I like red shoes, well shoes in general, but particularly red shoes!

In the creation of this video I really wanted to experiment with using still frames to create a short stop motion.

Taken on Sanyo Xacti VPC-CA9 Camcorder
Edited with Adobe Premier Pro
Music: Mezzanine- Rataxes

Flower Power

Flower Power from Lauren Burgueno on Vimeo.

I like yellow flowers, they’re all bright and pretty and stuff….

In this video I really just wanted to experiment with the zoom function, zooming to the point of blurry distortion.

Taken on Sanyo Xacti VPC-CA9 Camcorder

Edited with Adobe Premier Pro

Music: “EHMA – Pizzicato”

FIlm and Television Week 1: IDEAS COME AT ME (please?)

So this week, was the first week of uni, and consequently the first week of Film and TV 1. Not gonna lie, kind of excited about this one, as I generally am with anything that promises to delve into the more practical rather than  being purely theoretical!

I really enjoyed this weeks lecture and how delved straight into the subject, no time for introductions! It got me even more excited about this semester, and I really learnt that I need to start thinking outside the box and looking at characters and story lines far away from me and my life. After all,  REAL LIFE IS BORING!!!

The lecture also outlined how we would truly be getting straight into things, and would have to come up with an idea for a 5 minute short film by the following week!! What?

I mean, in the history of my life so far, any time I have needed to begin the creative process, I had at least a few weeks to procrastinate and second guess every idea that could possibly have entered my mind before deciding on an ‘idea’. And this time finding out there was a little bit under a week to have an idea for a 5 minute short film about anything you could possibly imagine (providing it had one setting and no more than two characters) submitted, did freak me out!

This left so much less time for my usual idea developing process, and I don’t know what it is about the words “it can be about whatever you want” that seems to hinder my brain from working!! The possibilities just seem oh so endless, ANYTHING; and I never want to look back and think you could have come up with anything in the whole world, anything at all, and that is what you came up with? And the idea process just seems oh so crucial, it is the beginning of it all, you don’t want to start out completely off…

Anyway, enough rambling (for now anyway).

In this weeks tutorial we did look at different ways we each come up with ideas and even looked at how an idea can even start with one particularly interesting character and spring from there. We were asked to come up with a character, any character we liked, no constraints; and then once we were done we had to pair off with someone within the class and find a way to link our two characters together in the context of a short film. It was incredible and so interesting to see what people came up with and how they pieced characters together to create what would actually make some quite brilliant short films. This was definitely a great way to begin the idea developing process.

The readings this week in particular the one by Robin Plunkett offered some more insight into the ‘getting an idea’ process. It truly encapsulated how ideas can start from anywhere, whether it be a still photograph, a newspaper article, a location, a dream, a piece of music; the list is endless!

I bet after reading ALL that, I bet you are just absolutely dying to know what ideas I came up with after this whole new and enlightening insights into the idea development process, so here you go:

1- Amateur assassins, roommates and partners in crime: Blaze and Rob, come across a briefcase filled with one million dollars. Each wants the money all to themselves, and they begin attempts to action schemes to lead to other’s demise!

Can’t go wrong with assassins, right??

The second Idea I came up with was the following:

2- Samantha and Blake awaken in a strange, dark, unfamiliar house with no recollection of how they got there. A pool of blood, not yet fully dried stains the floor. What happened the night before? And why are the two locked in, unable to leave?

And that was the first week of Film and Tv 1! Should be a fun and certainly interesting semester that is for sure!!