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MYSTERYCLOCK.COM

CLOSE UP - ON THE INTERNET
Embracing the internet for the creative challenge it offers filmmakers – and some fun – Australian film director Alex Proyas (The Crow, Dark City) is launching a radical new website (November 2, 2000) with interactive elements. It’s a sign that Australian filmmakers are coming closer to seeing the potential of the internet, reports ANDREW L. URBAN.

Alex Proyas, never really one of the publicly paraded figures of Australian filmmaking, is doing what comes naturally – to him. He’s stretching his creative legs with a walk on the cyberside, launching into a website that combines elements that include very short shorts, an animated series, a dream anthology and mind games - all open to the general public in various ways of interactivity. Oh yes, and there is an interactive tag team game for screenwriters.

"what technological tools can do for creative minds"

With the effects-laden Crow and Dark City behind him, it is no surprise that Proyas is fascinated by what technological tools can do for creative minds. "It’s a creative venture to fill in time while I’m waiting for the next feature film project," says Proyas. He says no-one can tell how the internet would develop for filmmakers but quotes Bill Mechanic’s phrase as Mechanic left the top job Fox Studios (US): "The studios are broken…"

Determined to keep it cinematic, the site will not carry banner advertising. "We don’t want to turn it into a magazine." As the internet edges closer to being a viable delivery tool for the moving image, Proyas expects all sorts of new possibilities to open up.

"I like fantasy," Proyas explained during our interview on the set of Dark City. "What attracts me to it is that it allows you as an artist to delve into your own psyche and explain very personal things - but they remain disguised for the audience." The only drawback for Proyas is the attention to detail required for a website: he hates detail.

mysteryclock.com – content includes:

MULTIVERSE - a flash-based animation series; Follow the adventures of Miss Jones, Doc Kasparov and Jack 'Squeaky' Briggs, an unlikely trio whose mission is to fight the forces of evil from 'trans-dimensional limbo' - aka - Multiverse. Unlike other animated entertainment currently available on the web, Multiverse incorporates elaborate camera movement and sound to give a highly cinematic feel.

CONSEQUENCES - a tag team game for Screenwriters; Alex Proyas will write the first two pages of a new screenplay then users will be invited to submit subsequent scenes until the screenplay is complete. In the future Consequences will be produced and distributed via mysteryclock.com

MINUTE MOVIES - an ongoing series of very short shorts; not unlike commercials - but without a product. Minute Movies will revolve around a simple yet outstanding idea. Users will be invited to submit scripts and the best will see their ideas produced and posted on the site.

BOOK OF DREAMS - the ultimate dream anthology; ever had a dream that you couldn't explain? A dream that left you concerned and confused? A dream that you couldn't shake no matter what? mysteryclock.com aims to create the ultimate dream anthology, featuring

short-film dramatic re-enactments of actual lucid dreams. Users will also be invited to share their dreams, gradually building a surreal database about the subject of dreaming.

MIND GAMES - visual treats for the eyes and mind; integral to the site, and the experience of mysteryclock.com are the interactive 'toys' that have been designed to give the user elements to experiment and play with. Lacing the experience of the site with a sense of playful anarchy, the user will never quite know what to expect of the mind games on mysteryclock.com

FROM THE ARCHIVES - the story so far; also on offer will be an insight into the creative machinations of Alex Proyas and a look at some of his past work. Included will be:

- Extracts from Alex's private journals
- Quotes from Alex about his creative process and sources of inspiration;
- Previously unseen stills, storyboards and sketches from The Crow and Dark City;
- Two of Alex's early short films, Strange Residues and Spineless;
- A selection of Alex's TV commercials and music videos.

For now, mysteryclock.com is a creative and business experiment, says Proyas. It is developed jointly with Animal Logic Play, the new division of digital house, Animal Logic Film (The Matrix). Animal Logic Play is headed up by English wunderkind, Andy Polaine (founding member since 1994 of the much celebrated creative workshop, Anti Rom).

A graduate of the Australian Film Television and Radio School in the late 80s, Proyas has what may be seen as a controversial view for a young Australian filmmaker: he believes that the conscious or deliberate pushing of an Australian cultural remit is "bullshit – that will naturally come out of the film making process. Films must have broad appeal, and many Australian films don’t work very well. There can still be Australian films with a commercial overview. If The Full Monty and Trainspotting can work around the world, we can keep making films that do that – we HAVE done it."

Published: 2/11/2000

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