All posts by AlanFletcher

2016 – Oh what a lovely (busy) year!

2016 has been an amazingly eventful and exciting year for me.

In conjunction with Red Touch Media I succeeded in getting  Travel/Photography show called Photo Number 6 into production for 8 episodes in 2017, co-produced a short film called Dying for a Laugh, recorded another monologue for the Second season of web series Shakespeare Republic and, of course, had another wonderful year working the best job imaginable….Neighbours. 

All the news below and don’t forget to download free Christmas music at this link!

FREE CHRISTMAS MUSIC DOWNLOADS HERE

Neighbours


Another fun filled year of mayhem on the Neighbours’ set with new cast joining, sadly some departures and some brilliant storylines. The year finished cloaked in the mystery of Dee Bliss returning promising to make the start to 2017 explosive. As we closed the year I witnessed some of the finest performances the show has ever seen being recorded. I guarantee they will reduce you to tears next year.

Of course Neighbours has a summer hiatus in Australia and the UK. To keep the interest going we created a series of short episodes called “Summer Stories”. Written by Ben Nicholas (Stingray Timmins) and shot by our brilliant digital team, the episodes can be viewed on TenPlay in Australia at this link TENPLAY SUMMER STORIES

UK and other International viewers can see the episodes on the Neighbour’s facebook page. NEIGHBOURS OFFICIAL FACEBOOK

Dying for a Laugh

 

I co-produced my first short film with close friends Stig Wemyss and Abbe Holmes of Mezzanine Productions. Starring legendary Australian comic actors Marty Fields and Darren Gilshenan the film will be around 13 minutes long and hit the festival circuit next year.

You can keep track of the film’s progress at the Dying for a Laugh Facebook Page. Please visit and LIKE us.
Dying for a Laugh FACEBOOK

Photo Number 6

 

p6-fletchI started the year creating a pilot for a new Travel/Photography show called Photo Number 6 with Red Touch Media. In each episode of the programme I seek out and photograph 5 distinct experiences throughout the world and select one photo to sum up each of those experiences. THEN, I must select just one photo to sum up the whole trip – Photo Number 6.

The brilliant news is that we go into production of 8 one hour episodes in April 2017. I am beyond excited about this opportunity to combine two of my passions – travel and photography. I will be making regular updates on filming progress and hope you will get involved through social media and alanfletcher.net

Shakespeare Republic

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Some of you may know I was one of six performers who contributed a Shakespeare monologue to the first season of a web series produced by Shakespeare Republic. The reaction to this series internationally was phenomenal. We were accepted into 22 film festivals winning 8 awards.

Season 2 of Shakespeare Republic has just been launched with the first video (Stephen Costan as Queen Margaret) live right now. My monologue (Jaques from As You Like It) will appear next year. Please keep an eye on the website http://shakespearerepublic.com

and you won’t miss any of the news if you like our Facebook page

SHAKESPEARE REPUBLIC FACEBOOK

So that’s that for 2016. I hope you have all had a brilliant year and, if not , 2017 brings joy, good health and happiness.

FLETCH

P.S Don’t forget to download free Christmas music at this link!

FREE CHRISTMAS MUSIC DOWNLOADS HERE

P.P.S.  I am always asked what is my favourite episode of Neighbours. In past years I have struggled to choose but not anymore! Episode 7000 from 2014 takes the cake! Winning and losing money, collecting lemons for lemon curd and getting nude over at Toadies made for an hysterical romp! If you have never seen this episode or would like to re-visit it you can watch the official video here: YouTube Preview Image

Music Blog – Ryland Rose

Ryland Rose

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In 2015 I was approached by a young Melbourne Hip Hop artist, Ryland Rose,  inviting me  to appear in a music video highlighting the latest release from his debut EP, Ivory Coast – ‘Gimme That’ . Now I am not known to be a huge fan of Hip Hop or Rap but there was something about this song and the infectious energy of it’s creator that had me hooked. Turned out my instincts were right because the song reached #4 on the Australian iTunes Hip Hop/Rap charts. In 2015 he was triple j’s unearthed Artist of the Week and featured on iTunes New Artist Spotlight .

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Here is the video of ‘Gimme That’ and you can download the song below.

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To download the song simply click on the Download link. (In some browsers a new window will open. Simply right click on the track in this window to download. )

The Ryland Rose story keeps building. He recently released his new single “Almost Famous & Broke” that climbed to #4 on the US Billboard charts.

The clip for the single is one of the first of it’s kind. Filmed entirely on Snapchat it is one of the low budget but extremely clever video. Ryland states it “might be the most valuable in terms of idea, substance, and message”.

Through the use of playful Snapchat filters, celebrity face swaps and motion track emoji’s, the clip touches on celebrity culture, pursuing fame, whilst trying to maintain a relationship.

Check out the video:

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Ryland is a hip hop star in the making. Here’s some links to keep you across his journey.

Official Site: http://rylandrose.com

Faceboook: http://facebook.com/iamRylandRose

Twitter: @iamRylandRose

Instagram: @iamRylandRose

Snapchat: RyanRaps

Aimee Francis

Aimee Francis

I first came upon Aimee Francis when I first started blogging on music. I saw her at a gig supporting one of my favourite power rock bands Dallas Frasca. I was immediately struck by Aimee’s brutally honest lyrics and ‘take no prisoners’ soul filled voice.

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I interviewed her at the time but didn’t complete a blog on her then. AND I am so glad I didn’t because I can now bring you Aimee’s music right on the threshold of a UK tour and the release of her latest single BONNIE and CLYDE that has me in raptures. Have a listen to this wonderful song.

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FREE DOWNLOAD

If you love the clip download the song here:

(In some browsers, when you click on the download button you will be taken to a new window. Just right click on the track in this window to download.)

Aimee’s has a reputation for strong rock with honest emotive lyrics. She has also gifted my subscribers a song called ‘Can’t You See’  that perfectly illustrates her style and passion.

There is so much to admire about her spirit and her work. She was playing guitar at 10, drums at 12 and gigging at 15. After a stint at music college she spent time in the United States, the UK and then back in Sydney. Her unshakeable drive and great talent has got her to a point where her music displays a maturity and self-awareness that promises so much. Interestingly she has always played alone, everything you get is pure Aimee!

UK and Irish subscribers can see Aimee live at these gigs.

July 12 – Troubadour, London
July 13 – The Vault, Putney
July 14 – The Roadhouse, Birmingham
July 15-17 – L Fest, Staffordshire
July 18 – The Cavern Club, Liverpool
July 22 –  The Venue, Lymm
July 23 – The Lounge – Northenden, Manchester
August 8 – Whelans, Dublin
August 27 – The Zanzibar Club, Liverpool
August 28 – Verve Bar, Leeds

Please try and catch her gigs in the UK and follow the links below to explore her music.

http://www.aimeefrancis.com

https://www.facebook.com/aimeefrancismusic

https://twitter.com/aimee_francis

http://aimeefrancis.bandcamp.com

Biggest Neighbours week EVER!

Two Deaths. Two Shock Returns.

From Monday April 4 Neighbours is promising viewers one of the biggest weeks in the show’s history. For many months the entire production team has worked overtime to craft and shoot a series of episodes that will shake Erinsborough to the core.

Who will die as disaster strikes? Why has Sarah Beaumont, Erinsborough’s notorious home wrecker, returned? Georgia Brooks is back, what does that mean for Kyle? Who are the two mysterious strangers who arrive in this dramatic week?

Special one hour episodes have been created to fully explore these momentous stories. In the UK Channel FIVE will screen a special one hour episode at 10pm on Monday 4th April. In Australia Channel ELEVEN will have a special one hour episode for fans screening from 6:30 to 7:30pm on April 5.

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Why are these episodes so special?

To quote the show’s executive producer Jason Herbison:

“Every episode next week sees brand new stories unfold, including returning characters, mysterious strangers and jeopardy for all our beloved favourites. The fallout will be felt for months to come.”

Here is a sneak peak of what’s in store. Please don’t miss these episodes if you love Neighbours. When the cast and crew viewed them several weeks ago there was not a dry eye in the house!

(YouTube clip may not play outside Australia. UK viewers can read all about Hotel Death Trap at this link:)

Hotel Death Trap Week

 

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Jennifer Hansen is Making Headlines

Jennifer Hansen

Jennifer Hansen

My wonderful wife, Jennifer Hansen, has been displaying her skills as a talented journalist and newsreader for more than 30 years on Australian television, radio, in print media and as a blogger.

Now she’s adding one more string to her bow – AUTHOR!

MAKING HEADLINES is a cracking and sometimes raunchy tale that centres on Rachael Bentley, journalist and aspiring newsreader. Is this an autobiography I hear you ask? No, it isn’t.  However, Jen has drawn upon all of her experiences in news to flesh out a tale of full of explosive scenarios.

After eight years of toil Harper Collins Australia has published Jennifer Hansen’s first novel – MAKING HEADLINES.

Check out the Book trailer to get a feel for the story:

 

Making Headlines

Making Headlines

Rachael Bentley’s journey sees her pitched against egos in the newsroom, office politics, rampant sexism and a mystery stalker. Juggling a messy personal life doesn’t help either, nor does the emotional impact of reporting on life’s tragedies. When it all takes a toll and Rachel starts partying too hard, she finds herself making the headlines instead of reading them.

Will she survive a world where dreams are shattered daily and will she find the man who can help her keep her soul?

Making Headlines was officially launched on February 4, at the Brighton Hotel in Melbourne and, as you can see below, many of Jen’s famous friends and supporters were on hand to celebrate her achievement.

Harper Collins Australia has published the novel as an eBook available for download right now through HarperImpulse.

At only $2.99 you can’t go wrong with this entertaining and spicy novel!  BUY HERE.

Novel contains coarse language and some sex scenes.

 

Neighbours Stars shine in Frankie and Johnny

Last night I had the pleasure of seeing two of my Neighbour’s work mates create moving and powerful performances on stage in Melbourne. They appear in the title roles of the play “Frankie and Johnny in the clair de lune” written by Terrence McNally.

Kate Kendall (Frankie) and Damien Richardson (Johnny) are actors loved by viewers of Neighbours, she for her depiction of Lauren Turner , he as Gary Canning.

However, both of these talented performers also have television, film and theatre credits that establish them as amongst the most versatile and accomplished performers in our industry.

Fankie and Johnnie-42 copy copyThe play is brilliantly directed by another much loved member of the Neighbour’s cast Colette Mann (Sheila Canning).

The script  deals with love and the search for intimacy and connection between two people. From an evening of casual sex Johnny is convinced he has discovered his soul mate whilst Frankie is unconvinced and troubled by his intensity. Their passionate, fiery and intense journey to an understanding about each other and themselves is simply riveting.

I write to encourage everyone to see this play before it closes on November 29 because it presents a rare opportunity to see excellent work directed and performed at the highest level.

Bookings and more information available here: Frankie and Johnny – 45 Downstairs

Please note this performance contains full frontal nudity, coarse language and strong sex scenes.

Here is a review from the Herald Sun in Melbourne: REVIEW

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I Almost Died Today

(I almost died today. Well actually that was the other day and its another story- start again.)

Today I almost had my head caved in.

I love playing golf but it is not without risks. An errant golf ball can come from nowhere and inflict painful and even life threatening injuries. So it was that I was enjoying a twilight round at my local golf course the other day when a golf ball bounced on the path in front of me and sailed past my face. It was so sudden I didn’t even have time to be shocked.

When I saw the owner of the missile that almost terminated me I, politely, told him how close the ball had come to me and suggested that he might have invoked the golfing etiquette of warning me his errant tee shot was sailing in my direction. He asked, “Did the ball hit you?”. “No”, I replied. “Then I guess it’s your F*#@%ing lucky day then”, he barked back before marching on.

Losing your cool

It was impossible to not feel outrage at his behaviour. In the golfing world we apologise when our poor stroke play endangers others. Its called etiquette and it makes for safer play.

We have all been in this situation. A driver cuts in on us, almost causing an accident,  and our warning blast of the horn is met with ‘the bird’. We all have the associate at work who screws up and places the blame on others. And bureaucracy! Don’t get me started!

I was recently at a party where I was discussing politics with a fellow guest when a drunken eavesdropper on our conversation took umbrage at what I was saying and started abusing me. The torrent of abuse could not be subdued by polite requests so I left.

Today I was reflecting on how hard it is to let go of the sense of injustice that these incidents evoke. When we are confronted by  boorish, rude, aggressive behaviour  we want to have the power to force the offender to see the error of their ways. In OUR perfect world they will apologise and rejoin the ranks of civilised society.

That led me to consider how that might happen. How could we regain the power over these troglodites? Wouldn’t it be great to be able to confront them, make them see the error of their ways and rejoice in their inevitable apology? Then the warning bell sounds. They might not see the wisdom of my, albeit calm, admonishment of their behaviour. They might get violent! So I, sensibly,  withdraw.

But, are you like me? Do you every now and again fall into the fantasy where, in best Dirty Harry style, you can reduce the villain to a snivelling mess  because you have  a .44 Magnum to intimidate him into submission?

If only I had a gun! No one cuts in on me in on the motorway or drops a golf ball on my head without apologising goddammit!!!!!

Angry Golf 1This is, of course, just a function of the natural desire to regain power and right perceived wrongs.  But it is a wholly unhealthy attitude that fuels so much violence and gun crime around the world, particularly in countries with poor controls on deadly weapons.

The examples I have cited in terms of bad golf or driving behaviour are incredibly trivial. The depth and breadth of injustice in this world is so immense that my minor social altercations are meaningless.

And yet, I can seemingly allow my frustration and anger about these minor matters to be felt more deeply than my outrage at tyrants who inflict terror upon tens of thousands of innocent people every day?

That is the nature of the human condition. We feel most powerfully about things that affect us directly. I’ve read ‘Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff’ and I know it is all small stuff so why do I hang onto trivial angst?

So it occurred to me that maybe I get angry and resentful about trivial incidents because it is easier doing that than confront what really makes me angry and disappointed. Refugee children losing their sanity and childhood while languishing in immigration detention for years on end. Discrimination, exploitation, poverty, wars fought for economic gain under the guise of social reform. There is so much WRONG in the world it is overwhelming. So I retreat into the ‘safe’ world of bemoaning the behaviour of A-holes on the golf course or highways.

The Anglo-Irish philosopher and politician Edmund Burke famously said, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

What he, perhaps less famously, also said was “Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do only a little.”

What I learnt today is, I can deal with my outrage about injustices inflicted on me by being MORE outraged about the injustices that AREN’T inflicted on me. My challenge is to focus my outrage on the stuff that really matters in whatever ‘little’ way I can and let the A-holes disappear up the own proverbials.

Thanks for absorbing my rant. Your comments on the above are welcomed.

P.S Golf is a serious game but fun should still be had – there’s a bit of Happy Gilmour in all of us!

 

Singing is so Good for You.

Singing – How it Changes the Brain

Most of us enjoy singing whether it be in the shower, the car, on match day in the stands or maybe a touch of Karaoke after a few pints. Singing makes us feel good and there are tangible medical reasons why this occurs.

Medical research* has discovered that singing can produce a number of positive effects in the brain. Singing creates new neural pathways activating the right temporal lobe in the brain, releasing endorphins that create a sense of happiness and stimulate creativity. Singing is also been shown to produce a significant increase in oxytocin, another drug that produces a sense of happiness in the brain.

And it appears the benefits of singing are amplified when we do it together, in groups large or small. A recent Swinburne study measured the benefits choristers’ report from singing.

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A study conducted at the University of Gottenburg in Sweden discovered that singing together syncronises heartbeats creating a calming effect as beneficial to the heart as yoga. Singing helps us breathe better providing tangible health benefits, particularly for people suffering from impaired lung function.(1)

Singing has been shown to produce beneficial results in the treatment of stroke and depression.

Australian soprano Tania de Jong AM describes singing as a “super-dooper drug” In her TEDx talk in Melbourne in 2013, Tania revealed how her discovery of the spectacular benefits singing has for our well being stimulated her to set up Creativity Australia and the associated With One Voice program.

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This program is designed to build choirs of singers from a wide range of cultural, socio-economic and health circumstances. With One Voice builds massed choirs where a CEO of a major corporation might sing alongside a refugee seeking a job and a new life. Massed choirs where the golden rule is inclusion and respect for diversity.

The results have been spectacular. Not only has the opportunity to sing together built choristers’ self esteem, boosted their happiness and given them a sense of belonging, it has also developed friendships and business connections that have improved peoples lives immeasurably.

In 2014 my great pals The Pacific Belles and I became ambassadors for the With One Voice program – Sing for Good. We joined with a team of ukulele players called the U.F.O. to produce our fundraising community singing video of the marvelous standard “Ac-cent-uate the Positive”. This year we have added the Melbourne Ukulele Kollective (MUK) to the mix to produce our community rendition of “Dream a Little Dream of Me’

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You can watch both videos below as well as Tania de Jong’s inspiring Tedx Melbourne talk on singing and creativity.

The money we raise from these videos will go toward establishing new choirs around Australia, spreading the community and health benefits that group singing can produce as widely as possible.

We welcome your support.

Our fundraising page is at this link: Dream a Little Dream of Me Fundraising Page

Preview our contribution to 2015 Sing for Good.

And here is our contribution to 2014 Sing for Good.

You can read about what Sing for Good achieves at this link: Why We Sing

Tania de Jong – How singing changes your brain.

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*TIME article on how singing changes the Brain

*Benefits of singing UK heart research

  1. University of Gothenburg study