That year that was: 2013

What a bloody year! So many advancements and works have occurred this year that we don’t know where to begin! Well actually we (Michael and Mark) do know where to begin, and that is with a huge thank you to every viewer, reader, and contributor to all we have collaborated on this year. We both know that there have been stages of absence, and not as many updates as we would have liked but here is what’s been going on!

Starting the year off saw Mark continue his work with Channel 31 working on the television programme, Move It or Lose It, as an editor, logo designer, and lead animator. On top of those positions he also continued working in their ingest, and regular filler programme editing positions. Meanwhile Michael had headed home to spend the summer break with his family after a long and hard year of study.

Come around February Michael returned to Melbourne to begin his honours study at LaTrobe University and finish his final year of study. The focus of his thesis was, The Immersive Capabilities of Cinematically Inspired Video Games, an in-depth understanding and dissection of whether video games are comparative to films with audience engagement or if there is a new area which the medium lies. As any person knows theses contain a dedication with many months of reading, arguments, research, and theorising. You can only imagine where Michael was for the next nine months. Yes, while we were all dwelling over the viral Dumb Ways to Die, Michael was slaving over textbooks and video games to contribute to his thesis.

As Michael began a journey, Mark ended his with the completion and initial airing of Move It or Lose It. Over four months of filming, editing, mastering concluded with 60 episodes, over 1800 minutes of final footage (the amount unable to be included would have blown that number well out). With this conclusion, Mark began freelance work filming odd jobs while taking up full time employment to get that moolah still rolling in! Additionally, to his work Mark began expanding into web design and graphics as apart of his freelance work. By this stage in the year, Mark Battistella Films had gone through two new face lifts to version 4 (codename: Beatrix), and version 5 (codename: Phoenix). With the new look, and contribution into the web world, too came the new look logo (which is still the same but better!)

After a couple months of continuing their respective works Michael and Mark met for a very special occasion – their graduation. The piece of paper that certifies their words of filmmaking, media, communications, and cinema are backed with official prestige. It was a great day for the two to relax and reminisce on the months that had passed.

But as soon as the reunion commenced, so did the next major project. Dear Milly a short film by Doreen Nguyen began its preproduction stages. Joining Mark and Doreen was HieuChau, resident reviewer, contributor, and person Mark has many Twitter conversations with about film, videos, and creativity. It was the first time in a long time that the two had been employed to work on a film that was neither of theirs – a position that was not director or scriptwriter. I wish we could embed secret Facebook groups, private messages, and every other conversation that took place to get the film into a perfect stage for production. However, I can embed the images of the script (and the preproduction script) that made the film that more enjoyable to work on!

Excerpts of the revision script for Dear Milly

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As these meeting were beginning to round up, Mark finished up his full time employment, and took up work as a full time editor. This position was on top of continual freelance work, and his previous employment on odd occasions. Somewhere in that concoction of work, Mark filmed Dear Milly, while Michael wrapped up the first half of his thesis studies.

After the two day shoot of Dear Milly concluded, Mark began the editing process of the film while foregoing a new project for filmmaker Alex Singh. His short film, Maa: The Mother, was about to get a public screening in Melbourne and it needed a new trailer (which you can watch here). The short film editing saw Mark work with new musicians called Citronella Candles who consists of Holly and Genevieve. This collaboration with Citronella Candles is where Mark and Holly teamed up to create a promotional video for Melbourne Water, with the aid of Hannah Buttrose.

Nearing the last quarter of the year, Michael and Mark both aided another filmmaker’s documentary, Alternative to What directed by Rebecca Schultz. It was a documentary revolving around the idea of community television and its prospects in the future as life draws more technological advancements with more options to access content.

From that reunion, the three (Rebecca, Michael, and Mark) went to work on a promotional video for a new gaming bar called, Beta Bar (a secret project that we hope to share more with you in the future). As soon as the video was turned around (another glorious 36 hour Michael and Mark turnaround), Mark teamed up with HieuChau again, and another filmmaker, Felicia Jong, to enter the 48 Hour Film Project (soon to be released publicly). It was exhilarating for all three, and a great experience. It was also the first film that Mark filmed that wasn’t a happy ending, which if you follow his tweets you know is his new favourite angle!

Winding down to the end of the year saw one great thing – Michael completing his thesis! What a work of art the document it (no bias, just pure eye opening discussion on video games and immersion). Here are some excerpts from the document that may make you want to read it:

And at last, we meet at the end of the year. The final day of 2013, and the two creators for MBFilms sit relaxing with their families, enjoying the year that was, and for the new exciting projects that are ahead.