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Interview with Jess Harris, Co-creator of ABC’s Twentysomething

Estelle Pigot throws the curly questions at Jess Harris, one of the creators of ABC2’s popular series twentysomething (DVDs in stores now!) which is now in its 2nd series.

Two Flat Whites also has 5 twentysomething Season 1 DVDs signed by both Jess and Josh available for our readers to win. Details are on our Facebook page.


Where did the initial idea of Twentysomething spring from?

 JH: Josh [Schmidt, co-creator] and I were in the thick of our twenties. We found constant humour in the ups and downs of the life we were living. One minute you had not a care in the world, the next you were freaking out how to pay rent, hating your job and wondering if we would ever have any sense of creative fulfillment. We felt out of control of our own future, so we decide to take matters into our own hands and create a comedy about the life we were living.


What do you think your 20’s should be all about? Do your characters Josh and Jess have the right idea?

JH: I think your 20s is a time of exploration and freedom. Jess and Josh are making the most of being young; they are enjoying an era where you can be selfish and a little reckless. But there is also the burning desire to make your mark, to find your passion and purpose.


As actors, you might know something personally about odd-jobs and casual employment….

JH: We have done every sort of casual employment you can think of, from waiting tables, ripping tickets at cinemas, retail, babysitting, cleaners you name it. Even though, at the time, they weren’t the dream job, I look back on them all with fondness.


Are relationships a struggle during this decade of life? 

JH: Finding the perfect twentysomething partner in crime is such a huge part of your twenties, but it’s also a time you crave adventure and independence. My advice would be – enjoy the single life for as long as you can, it’s such a fleeting window of youth and freedom, run wild!


Was it a dream come true when you came across from Channel 31 to ABC?

JH: Definitely. It was the ultimate. ABC2 was the prefect next progression for the show.


What is Hamish Blake like to work with? 

JH: He’s the best. We have been friends with Hamish since high-school, so we are all so comfortable with each other. He brings such a sense of lightness to the set, he makes me laugh like not many others can, he is so sharp and funny, with such a massive heart. His character Billy brings out the sweet and vulnerable side in Jess, it’s the perfect balance to the show.


We have heard you hate the question, “What are you doing with yourselves?” but what are you up to next?

JH: You are right, we get anxious when we hear that question. We would love to stay twentysomething forever and live vicariously through Jess and Josh, I think a 3rd season would be amazing, to see them turn 30 would be the ultimate ending to an amazing chapter.


Follow twentysomething on Facebook  & go onto Two Flat White’s Facebook page to win one of 5 signed DVDs!


The Art of Dollmaking: Dolls By Bourke

This interview first appeared on WATERMARX GRAPHICS‘ blog ( a blog dedicated to celebrating the craft of letterpress and paper design )dollsbybourke 

Recently we bought a beautiful, customised doll for our daughter from Dolls By Bourke. Not only is Bourke, the man behind this venture, a clever graphic designer in his own right (and one half of the dynamic duo, Kinski & Bourke who built this site) but his handcrafted creations are taking the design community by storm. It’s just another example of this renaissance of craftsmanship we are enjoying here in Australia. Just like letterpress, his work bears the mark of craft – it’s handmade not mass made – so each doll is unique and the product of time and care.

How did you begin making dolls?
I serendipitously found myself in an Eckersley’s shop one day. Being surrounded by crafty things got me in the creative spirit, and I’d wanted to cultivate an artistic hobby for some time that was not my job. So I bought some clay!

Do you model your dolls on real people or your imagination? 
Both. At first it was just my imagination, but then my nephew’s first birthday was coming up and I thought a doll fashioned in his likeness would make an excellent and special gift! Then people began asking me if they could commission me to make a doll version of their friend/baby etc. But I don’t want to limit myself to just traditional dolls. At the moment I’m working on a doll that has ‘died’ named Gina – she will be a complete skeleton and have her own casket – I am very much looking forward to experimenting with paints and textures to create the look and feel of decay. I have a lot of ideas brewing and it would be great to have an exhibition some time. I want to start sculpting birds and other animals, too.

How long does it take you to make one?
It depends. I’m a graphic designer by day, so the amount of time I can spend sculpting depends on my current workload. It takes a while for the clay to completely dry so a project can be on hold for several days or sometimes even weeks before I can do any more work on it. Once the sculpture is dry, the most arduous process of sanding begins – I like the dolls to have very smooth surfaces, so firstly I start with a course sandpaper and then move on to a fine grit sandpaper to get the smoothest result. My Dremel power tool often comes in handy for sanding and polishing. Painting doesn’t take too long. But making an outfit is pretty time consuming – lots of sewing and measuring. I had no experience with ‘couturiering’ so it’s been a learning curve. Short answer: about a month.

What is the history or tradition of doll making? 
In ancient times dolls were often used in magic rituals. Sometimes the doll would be given to children to play with afterwards, but oftentimes a doll would be considered too laden with supernatural powers to be given to a child. There have been a lot of South American child mummies unearthed, perfectly preserved, clutching their crudely made dolls – cute but also sad. Come to think of it, I’d like to make some ritualistic, tribal-type dolls. It’s this aspect of the history and traditions of doll making that interests me, rather than the idea of an old man or lady tinkering in her workshop while drinking Earl Grey.

What are some reasons to have a doll made by you?
It makes the perfect gift. My sculptures are completely handmade and one-of-a-kind, no copies and no moulds. You will have a unique treasure that nobody else owns. Use it as a paperweight or a conversation starter.

How can one order a customised doll?
Head on down to my website Dolls By Bourke and let me know what you have in mind. If your doll is going to be based on somebody living or dead, I will probably request some photos I can use as reference.


Courtesy of Watermarx Graphics

The Dandy Warhols Video Interview with Design Federation

Our wonderful, talented and irritatingly hipster friends over at Design Federation nabbed themselves an exclusive interview with The Dandy Warhols at Harvest Music & Arts Festival in Melbourne last week.

Just too cool for school. Congrats to them and yay for us!  They have let us share and share alike. Enjoy :)

Interview by Paris Thompson.


More The Merrier Share Their Hot Tips For Sydney Summer Dining

Christopher Dair and Zae Greenwood launched the very unique  More the Merrier website last year which allows users to plan an entire social event online.  Without having the hassle of juggling venues, the site gives you access to information on the best restaurants and activities which best suit groups of six or more people.

With suggestions that stretch from divorce parties to buck’s nights, dinner and ghost tours, botox brunches and beer masterclasses; More the Merrier is making expert socialites out of us all and Two Flat Whites chats to the innovators behind the site to find out what these merry events planners have in-store for a Sydney summer.

Q1:  How did you come up with the idea of MTM? 

It can be very stressful finding reliable group-friendly venues and experiences. Our aim was to create a platform that made organising great group occasions easy. With backgrounds in Events and the Entertainment industry, we were very familiar with the need to find unique group get-together options and the necessary information required when planning large get-togethers. We want MTM to be Sydney’s go to for group occasions.

Q2: What do you think about the Sydney scene for social dining compared to the rest of the world?

Sydney has plenty of wonderful social dining option. While it may not have the history or variety that some other super cities like London or New York have, Sydney has the climate and views for exceptional al fresco dining experiences.

Q3: What would be your ultimate, dream group occasion?

The most important component of any group occasion is friends, and then it’s a venue or experience that is group-friendly to create memories that last forever.

We recently talked about a ‘Hook, Line and Sinker’ experience that would have you enjoy a day out on a private fishing charter, then to finish you would pull into a harbour side restaurant where your catch of the day would be prepared by the chef for a seafood dinner like no other.

MTMs Hot Tips for Group Gatherings this Summer in Sydney

  • Shed the winter layers and get out into Sydney’s great outdoors – pop up picnic anyone?
  • Don’t let your group get stuck in the dreaded social rut of only attending parties and activities that are on your doorstep. You don’t become worldly by hanging around the same-old postcode.
  • Look for dining options that have the share factor; it’s a more social, relaxed approach to group dining
  • Get active and think of unique ways to get together with friends. It doesn’t need to be someone’s 30th to jump out of a plane or attend a dance class

Jennifer Barton from Social Change Room Interview

Jennifer Barton, Founder of the ethical lifestyle website Social Change Room is launching her very first markets on the 11th of Decemeber, and we thought what a great time to ask her a few unethical questions on the eve of this event.

Read the Complete Interview with Jennifer Barton from Social Change Room»

Joanna Savill Interview

“Festival director Joanna Savill is a journalist, presenter, linguist and world traveller, with a particular fascination for food, wherever she may find it.

This is her second year in the director’s chair, after an enormously successful inaugural festival in 2009 – during which more than 300,000 people attended a massive 438 individual events “

Read below as Two Flat Whites roving reporter Arno Billard asked Joanna Savill a few questions about the Crave Sydney International Food Festival. Read Arnos Interview with Joanna Savill»

Marcia Hines Sings Tapestry: Interview

Marcia Hines has been a music industry veteran since she first ripped onto the radar in OZ when she performed with a hippy troop of naked dancers for HAIR’s Australia tour when she was just 16. She has since charted her own path with a string of hits in those early days, appearing controversially as the first black actress to perform the role of Mary Magdalene in the Australian version of Jesus Christ Superstar.

Her image and career were completely reinvented when she became a panellist for Australian Idol and her name was once again being discussed around Australian dinner tables and water coolers with affection.  Since Idol has been put on hold, the chanteuse had enjoyed the break from filming to record a reimagination of Carole King’s hugely successful 1970 album Tapestry. Two Flat Whites caught up with Marcia while she is on-road touring with Simply Red to discuss the new creative endeavour, Marcia Sings Tapestry. Read the complete Marcia Hines Interview by Estelle Pigott»

Ozi Batla – The Wild Colonial Interview

Ozi Batla – Can you get a more Australian Moniker than that? I think not!
Two Flat Whites talks to the Batla about all things Wild Colonial, which in my opinion is “album of the year”… Read the rest of the Ozi Batla - Wild Colonial Interview»

Bridget Pross’s Diary

After just a few moments in the company of Melbourne-based singer/songwriter, Bridget Pross, it becomes clear that she is a woman who fearlessly wears her heart on her sleeve. Some pessimists warn that it’s dangerous to display emotions out in the open as it leaves you exposed and vulnerable.  Bridget reckons these people worry too much.  “If you hurt me, it just don’t even hurt me,” she proclaims in a lyric from an upcoming single.

One marvels at how an isolated teenager from the remote town of Westerway in Tasmania has arrived at the age of 25 and in the possession of such self-assured exuberance.  With one album already released and a second currently being recorded, I meet with Pross just as she is busy packing her bags for Sydney, having just won an APRA-sponsored trip to attend music discussions and workshops at Song Summit 2010.  “Everything is happening at once,” Pross grins.  “I’ve had this massive spurt of creativity and I’m waking up with songs in my head.  It’s so good, it’s just happening, my music is happening.”  For the envious among us, the truth is that Pross’s road was not always paved with yellow bricks.  It’s just that she learnt how to put on a brave face and get on with it.

From a young age Pross knew that her destiny lay beyond the restrictive confines of Tasmania.  Life at home continuously presented difficult challenges: at the age of four Pross and her two year old sister went to live with their mother’s new partner, whom had 6 children from a previous relationship.  Though the household atmosphere was always lively and high-spirited – Pross’s new dad, who loved to sing, referred to himself as American folk hero Davy Crockett – Pross struggled to find her place within the new family and never felt completely accepted. Read the rest of Bridget Pross's Diary»

Pene Patrick talks with Two Flat Whites

Writer/Director Pene Patrick feels that truth should be at the heart of good Australian cinema.  Her debut film, Playing for Charlie, delves into the life of working-class Melbourne teenager, Tony Hobbs, as he struggles to find a balance between caring for his dependent family, and pursuing a rare opportunity for personal triumph.

An important new voice has emerged in the Australian film industry – one that looks poised to tear apart the current model of chasing the next blockbuster and set about creating a culturally-enriching body of work.

Two Flat Whites chats with Pene Patrick…

TFW:  Playing for Charlie is a humble film but it’s very strong in heart.  This is your directorial debut for a feature-length film.  You also wrote the screenplay.  Have you always written from such raw emotional territory?

Pene Patrick:  Well I think I’ll always go to the heart of a character.  That’s when I most lose interest in a film, when they haven’t gone to the heart of a character, and instead they’re being used to comment on something.

TFW:  How did you develop your writing?

Well it developed through my acting training which involved a very intense and serious training period in New York.  I was taught to look for the truth of humanity and the truth of the character in a situation.

TFW:  The actor who plays Tony Hobbs, Jared Daperis, resonates on the screen.  He seems an odd choice for the part, but it really pays off.  Was this intentional?

I think I cast him because he’s not a stereotype.  I see a lot of stereotypes in Australian films.  He has an international universality about him.  The thing that really excited me is that he has a boy / man quality: a wisdom.  He was an embodiment of everything I was trying to do in the film.

TFW:  I think his performance guides the wonderful score, written by Lisa Gerrard.

Yes her score is a character in the film, that’s what I love about it.  She’s brought another level to the narrative.  She’s come in and given a lovely river for everything to flow.

TFW:  It reminded me of Jane Campion’s ‘Bright Star’ in that respect.

Oh lovely, thank you.

TFW:  Audiences for Playing for Charlie are responding positively to the optimism in the film.  I did too, although I found some elements melancholic, particularly the Thomas Gray poetry whispered at one point; “Full many a flower is born to blush unseen”.  I felt this line reflected the fate of many disadvantaged young Australians: kids who don’t have the full opportunities to explore their talents.

Yes that was the core note from which the film sprung from.  But I also want the audience to see that it’s not always the case and that it is possible to move forward.  Tony is so certain and has a solid rock faith which I attribute to his upbringing and his relationship with his father.  These are good elements in this boy from a working-class background.  It’s actually a very positive statement about working-class values, so it’s very uplifting in that way.

TFW:  Producer Jan Chapman recently encouraged Australian film-makers to be “courageous and challenging,” and to “keep an Australian national spirit whilst appealing to an international audience.”  Do you agree with her?

Yes, and I think the issues in Playing for Charlie are universal.  It transcends race, class, and spirituality.  Tony’s boy to man journey is everyone’s journey.  It’s such a crucial time, the boy to man phase.  Playing for Charlie is about the struggle to protect that which is really vulnerable in us – whether that is our sex, or our race, or our art.

TFW:  Do you think films can make a difference?

Yes they get the issues out there.  Playing for Charlie explores the difficulties relating to young carers.  Since the film opened we have had a letter from the Minister for Health’s office – two years ago they provided a lot more resources and money to aid young carers.  Radio National has done a program on young carers.  There are thousands of people in Tony Hobbs’ situation in Australia so it’s important to tell these honest stories and bring greater awareness.

Playing for Charlie is in limited theatrical release at the Cinema Nova in Carlton, Melbourne.

Interview by Ryan Nance.

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