These are difficult times. For the arts / entertainment industries, here is a possible antidote. Just an idea … it may just help…

I am not to proud to admit that the current “situation” has me a tad jumpy. Oh I am not concerned about actually getting the BeerVirus, I am more concerned about two other things that have arisen as a consequence of it.

The first is the way people are reacting.

This “bugger you, it’s everyone for himself” attitude of late, particularly when it comes to panic buying, is not just shocking, it is downright scary, and I thought we were better than that.

This is only a small step away from anarchy (already in the US we are getting footage of people queuing to stock up on even MORE guns and ammunition).

Most of this has been caused, I believe, by our Government’s tardy response, or failure to see, the mood of the people. Simply, the masses are scared as they simply don’t know what the Hell is going on. Thankfully, as of today, that seems to be abating somewhat, and I would suggest the fact that at last, some sort of time frame has been offered for this to be, if not all over, at least under control is the reason. And people such as Dr Norman Swan  have brought some calm and easily understanble and digestible knowledge the average person can understand and relate to.

(As an aside, THIS alone is a very good reason the ABC needs funding at decent levels).

Perhaps 6 months they are saying. Maybe even 3 if some huge stroke of luck occurs.

Which leads me to the second thing.

6 months – even 3 months – is a long time, especially if you are in the arts and entertainment business. There is the prospect of little or no money coming in, short of what the Government offers, but maybe equally as bad for fertile minds in these professions, is the prospect of boredom and stagnation.

It worried me too; major exhibitions and conferences in the world of video and filmmaking such as NAB in Las Vegas have been cancelled, Integrate here in Australia has also been knocked on the head and major film production ceased here in Australia and around the world.

This means that in what I do, there is a dearth of things to write about. No new products announced is a major thing. And for a magazine involved in all aspects of video and filmmaking, this is little death.

But this morning, I saw a Facebook post from an old, old friend of mine who now resides in the UK. In essence, it asked what will happen to children’s learning and education if they are forced to stay away from school for an extended period. Then it posed the next question; who said learning was only mathematics, and languages or science and literature?

So why not take this time (if it happens – but then, do it even if it doesn’t happen anyway!) to teach other things. Forgotten things. Things they would probably never have learned if not for this chance.

Basic things. How to cook. How to balance a bank statement. Change the oil in the car. Operate a washing machine or vacuum cleaner. Yes, even sew on a button!

And this got me thinking.

Extrapolating this out, why not use any extra time you have now to do similar things? Learn stuff in the past you “never had time for”.

In the realm of film and video making, why not download that trial version of the NLE you have promising yourself to look at for months – even years – and learn it.  Or that 3D modelling and animation application? Have a play with some new plug-ins?

Teach yourself audio engineering or the art of lighting. Even just the basics. Tackle a skill that you haven’t tried before. Expand your horizons.

Anecdotally, during the Great Plague in Europe in the Middle Ages, William Shakespeare and Sir Isaac Newton did some of their greatest works and made their greatest discoveries whilst in their equivalent of our Coronavirus pandemic.

We could do a lot worse than attempt to mimic that. Who knows what you might write, what scene you might create, what new use of a special effect you might master?

And come out the other side bigger and better than before with more skills, more ideas and even perhaps, more confidence!

And I call on vendors during this period to perhaps extend trial periods and even make special pricing available in order to encourage this idea. A sale of a copy of your latest version of software for less 75% is better than no sale at all for example.

If you have any thoughts on this, I’d love to hear them! Please contact me via the comments section below, via Twitter (@auscamonline), Instagram (AustralianVideocamera), Facebook (Australian Videocamera) or privately via

And keep safe everyone.




Hugo Weaving to star in Feature Film M4M (that’s Shakespeare folks …)

Screen Australia has today announced celebrated Australian actor Hugo Weaving will star in M4M, an ensemble romantic drama and contemporary take on Shakespeare’s play Measure for Measure, set within Melbourne’s commission flats.

Reuniting the creative team behind the critically acclaimed 2015 feature Pawno – Damian Hill and Paul Ireland – the film has secured principal production investment from Screen Australia in association with the Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF) Premiere Fund. Film Victoria provided development and production support for this feature.

M4M tells the unlikely love story of a modern Muslim woman Jaiwara and local loner musician Claudio, set amongst the tense background of Melbourne’s housing estates. Looming large is local crime figure Duke (played by Weaving) and his rival Farouk, Jaiwara’s gangster brother.

Damian Hill and Paul Ireland are producing the film and have co-written the script, Ireland will again be taking on directing duties. Ian Kirk, Bryce Menzies, Tony Nagle and Clement Dunn are acting as executive producers. Bankside Films are attached for international sales.

Director Paul Ireland said: “The script for me is always the most important part of the process, the foundation of everything. Damian and I have spent the last two years pouring a lot of love, laughter, frustration, care and emotion into the writing of M4M, resulting in what I feel is a very relevant emotive story and world that deserves to be shared and shown. A world that is often ignored as people are happy to sit in ignorance and let the sun shine or the rain fall, thinking it doesn’t affect them.

“I am at the moment working with Mcleod Casting putting together a very interesting and diverse cast to bring this story to life and am so thrilled that one of the world’s greatest actors, Hugo Weaving, has decided to play a key role.”

M4M will be Hill and Ireland’s feature follow-up to Pawno, which garnered six AACTA award nominations including Best Original Screenplay and Best Lead Actor for Hill, three Australian Film Critics Association Awards nominations, five Film Critics Circle of Australia Award nominations and the Jury Grand Prix at the Rencontres Internationales du Cinema des Antipodes in 2016.

“Damian Hill and Paul Ireland proved themselves as film makers with their low budget feature Pawno, and M4M is their chance to tell a story on a bigger budget. The script for M4M is exceptional and the result of much hard work and skill over a long period. This is a contemporary Australian reimagining of Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure that is authentic, exciting and inclusive.” said Sally Caplan, Head of Production at Screen Australia.

“To be able to attract Hugo Weaving, one of this country’s greatest actors to the film is an absolute coup and we have high hopes for what Hill and Ireland will deliver,” Caplan continued.

MIFF Premiere Fund Executive Producer, Mark Woods said: “Taking such a classic tale and transforming it into a relevant contemporary context reflecting multicultural Melbourne is a perfect fit for the MIFF Premiere Fund’s 2019 slate of stories that need telling.”

Casting for M4M is currently underway, with filming to commence in Melbourne in September.