To give it some context: the clip, featuring actor Nick Boshier aka Adrian from the Bondi Hipsters/ABC‘s Soul Mates, is an exclusive clip from new Australian indie film Ad Nauseam (available now on iTunes); the brainchild of Sydney creative Nikos Andronicos.
While the Boshier clip might make you think that Nikos has just unveiled Australia’s answer to Trainspotting (with a dash of Taxi Driver), it turns out the film actually takes on the world of viral videos and branded content – something which, under Andronicos’ lens, becomes equally as terrifying while also being altogether refreshing, witty and surprising from a completely self-funded debut film.
Ad Nauseam is a film close to our heart at PEDESTRIAN.TV. The feature stars our old offices, which we called home for thoroughly loose 7 years and Nikos has coincidentally worked with us on a number of ‘viral videos and advertiser funded content.’ To celebrate the film’s launch we asked Nikos to tell us about how he turned his dream of writing and directing an Aussie feature film into a reality:
Back in late 2012, I saw comedian Sam Simmons at the Town Hall in Newtown and told him that I was going to make a feature film. His reply was as follows: “Oh yeah? As in, you’re going to sit in a cafe and talk about how you’re going to make a feature film? Sounds great. Let me know when you don’t make it, Latte Boy.”
Sam’s not exactly Anthony Robbins, but this was the best motivational coaching I’d ever had. Until that moment, I’d been meandering through rewrite after rewrite of my 90-minute black comedy Ad Nauseam (originally entitled Sellout C–ts, but later renamed by the marketing department, aka Mum).
The story was about two friends who worked in viral advertising and had lost their grip on morality, dignity and their own sexual health as they plumbed the depths of the branded content industry. Yes, it was semi-autobiographical, apart from the poor sexual health bit (I’m straightedge). I’d spent a full year tweaking the dialogue, rearranging the scenes with the seriousness of Ed Harris in Apollo 13, and ruminating over whether the finished film ought to premiere at Cannes or Venice. I could well have continued to do that forever.
But then Simmons opened his mouth.
To be lampooned by a guy who once hollowed out some loaves of bread and put them on his feet while singing “I’ve got my bread shoes on” was the bucket of cold water over the head that I needed. It led to an ecstatic realisation that I had to make the film. I had to make it, or forever be Latte Boy, who sat on a milkcrate and never actually did what he said he would do, and be teased by comedians.
I was already a member of an electro band. I already worked in advertising. And I already lived on Bourke Street. But to add “filmmaker who hasn’t made a film” to my resume was a hipster proposition my stomach couldn’t handle. I wanted to play my movie for my grandchildren and tell them “Grandad wrote, directed and exported that using Compressor, and no one can ever take that away from him”. In other words: fear was the decisive factor. 100% undiluted, no pulp terror about an unfulfilled life. I’m not saying that I wasn’t excited, passionate and joyous about the film. I was! But it’s easy to be those things without doing anything. Whereas fear – well, fear is primal. It makes you RUN.
When I contacted Pedestrian to see if they might be interested in a piece about Ad Nauseam to coincide with its local release, they told me that the most engaging angle was not the film itself but that I’d managed to make it at all. “Write about that,” they said and, I have to admit. I’ve found it quite difficult to do that without sounding like a complete tosser.
So, all I can say is this – I was just a guy, standing in front of a script, asking it to strike terror into him. And it worked.
Making a film, or doing anything really, is a massive logistical challenge. It takes your dedication, an enormous group of enthusiastic collaborators and the willingness to spend all your money. Literally, all of it. But none of that is really that hard. I’m not trying to be facetious or sound like Robert Rodriguez. It is fucking hard. But not that hard. What is hard is make a good film. Or a good anything, in fact. But you can’t make an omelette without making a bunch of shitty omelettes first.
I have no idea what kind of omelette Ad Nauseam is but I’m sure Dan Hong would chuck some sriracha and coriander on it and charge $35 dollars for it. So, the fact that it’ll be on iTunes for $7 is a flippin’ bargain.
Turns out he not only made the film but got Simmons to star in it, sans bread shoes.
So, if you’ve got a dream, I encourage you to get really scared of what a husk of a human being you’ll be if you don’t do it. In my experience, if you do this every day, you’ll either be eventually committed to an asylum or you’ll go through with it. Either way, you’ll be in a happier place. And even if the reality is a disappointment, you’ve have lived your life with the energy it deserves and you’ll have met hundreds of great people who want to work with you to make silly stuff happen.
Ad Nauaseam will be available on iTunes locally on November 21st and is currently enjoying a limited theatrical/cable release in North America. Everything you need to know is at www.adnauseamthefilm.com
Peep the old Pedestrian offices featuring comedian and YouTube sensation Jaydos Henry Stone.
Words by Nikos Andronicos.