Sunday, April 27, 2014

Maria Tran's CV/ Resumes for 2014

Here's an update to what this multi-tasking freakoid of a being has been up to these days. My CVs are usually just a summary only, enquire within and you'll find a lot of other things going on. :).

I'm always on the look out for any innovative and creative projects with collaborate or be a part of as artistic, creative director or facilitator.

Acting CV/ Resume
Workshop Facilitor/ Creative Projects Resume

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

2014: Kick start with ABC's Maximum Choppage

Post teaching at AFTRS, I nose dived straight into working on Kung fu series in the making Maximum Choppage. The concept spawned out of the original indie feature film that was made 5 years ago in 2008 in Cabramatta with fellow indie filmmaker; Timothy Ly. I was part of this collective and we called ourselves "Rumble Pictures". Since then, one of Australia's leading film production mob; Matchbox Pictures have optioned and developed it into a 6 part series scheduled to air at the end of 2014 on ABC2 starring Lawrence Leung. 

So what am I doing on it? I'm working as an associate producer/ extras casting coordinator as well as a screen fighting double. Thrice of a role but definitely a great variation for me to be on my toes.

It's been 3-4 weeks in this role and my 8am-6pm involves working with the other show producers (Julie Eckersley, Linda Miscko & Sophie Miller) and mediating between all the different departments from Art, locations, fights etc... just to make sure every effort ensures the best possible outcome for the production of the show. In between that, I have to fit in the cardio and martial arts training required for my role as a double. The other biggest chuck is the extras casting and getting it across the Asian community that this is worthwhile and a rarity. How often do you watch shows that you see Asian faces everywhere on Australian TV? Perhaps we are creating history? 

Only 3 days left till we start shoot so I'm definitely excited and nervous at the same time. Once the production train starts, it will be rolling all the way till the end. 
Yeah that me! Fly kickin' and all...

Monday, January 27, 2014

NEW SKILLS: Dong Tam Lion Dancing Team

Yup, more epic adventures with my acting buddy Joe Le. This time we have teamed up to become lion dancing partner for the 2014 season of lion dancing performances in and out of NSW and Sydney. This year we have over 40 performances scheduled in and this Chinese/ Vietnamese new year is looking choc-a-block with performances around the clock. We did our first class last Sunday and truly had to quickly fast track ourselves with all the moves from one leg, two legs, and even on shoulders! Epic achievement on both our parts and I'm definitely welcoming the new year with all things physical!
Looks like I'm driving a car
First time on shoulders!
Practicing to the drum beat

Wiggle, wiggle, shakey shake. 

RECIPE: Creamy Cashew Kale & Chickpeas

For all youse non-vegans, this is a vegan recipe to go "wow!" for. I've always had the impression that a vegan diet is just a piece of lettuce but this creamy cashew kale and chickpeas is a sure winner. It's my first time also trying out kale, which tastes like a cross between cabbage in a lettuce outfit. Definitely hearty indeed and the cashew sauce is the stuff that makes you full.

Here's the recipe!



Creamy Cashew Kale & Chickpeas

Ingredients
½ cup raw cashews, soaked in warm water for at least 20 minutes
½ cup hot water
1 cup reduced sodium vegetable broth
1 clove garlic
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1-2 carrots, julienned (or medium bell pepper, diced)
1½ cups cooked chickpeas (or one 15-ounce can, rinsed and drained)
1 bunch kale, central stems removed and leaves thinly sliced, or a 10oz package of chopped kale or other hardy greens
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
½ teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 to 4 tablespoons fresh basil or cilantro, minced (optional)
 
 
Instructions
Drain the cashews and place in high speed blender or food processor with the broth and garlic. Blend until completely smooth, and set aside.


Heat a large nonstick skillet or dutch oven over medium-low heat and cook the onion and carrots (or pepper) for 5-7 minutes, until softened. Stir in the chickpeas. Increase heat to high, and add the greens and 2-3 tablespoons of water, stirring to combine everything. If using kale for the greens, cover and cook for 5 minutes, or until it’s tender.


Stir in the cashew sauce, crushed red pepper, salt and pepper. Cook, uncovered, for 2-3 minutes, until sauce thickens. If using, garnish with basil/cilantro before serving.

Credited: http://vegangela.com/2011/10/10/kale-chickpeas-with-creamy-cashew-sauce/

TEACHING: AFTRS in Muswellbrook & Mudgee

This has got to be one of the highlights for January 2014! I've been a tutor for AFTRS (Australian Film Television Radio School) before for workshops in MacArthur &; Hornsby but this is the first time I get to venture out rural NSW on the good word of teaching the fundamentals of filmmaking amongst the local youngies.
On Market St, Mudgee
One of the workshop participants
I love adventure and I've never been to these two places so I was set up for the road trip with budding filmmaker Brendan Toole.
My road trip journey began on a Sunday morning (12th Jan), filled up petrol at Cessnock and checked into the Red Cedar Motel

Red Cedar Motel
Muswellbrook is a suburb located in the upper part of the Hunter Region with a population of approx. 11,000. It is a place known for coal mining and horse breeding as well as gourmet food and wine production.

Driving the AFTRS van
Loads of fun!
The following day we had out one off workshop at the Muswellbrook Library and has a total number of 14 kids to workshop facilitate. The outcome was great! We has kids making really quirky comedy short films. 
Post workshop I had to log myself into Anything Fitness and go for my daily 5km run just to unwind and de-stress. The heat was blazing and there's not much going in this little town but I'm glad there's a reliable gym and pool facilities for big smoke folk like myself. 
We checked out at 10am the following day, dropped past the local tourist hub - Hunter Belle Cheese Factory and the Vietnam War Memorial. It was then a scenic 2 hour drive to Mudgee.

Hunter Belle Cheese Factory
Cheese making
I have to say, Mudgee is an amazing place! It felt like someone sliced off a piece of Newtown and plonked it outback. Mudgee has a smaller population of about 9,000 but there's a lot happening at this place.

Streets of Mudgee
I stayed at the Wanderlight Best Western Inn and was within distance of everything; shops, fancy restaurants, gyms, pools, RSLs, library etc... The buildings have a funky new vibe too it and people were in and out of places. 
Some recommend places to eat include:
The caf├ęs are hip and trendy. The most recommended is The Quick Brown Fox Cafe (opposite to the theatre space that I was facilitating). I have now adopted the soy milk cappuccino into my daily staple diet now because of this place. 

Mudgee Library & Cinema
Back to the workshops, Mudgee provided us with a relatively older bunch of kids who were creative, self motivated and produced 4 amazing shorts, paired with behind-the-scenes documentaries. These kids were working around the clock to make their final films as best as it could have been. Mind you, their projects were shot on an iPad with no external sound and they managed to produce something compelling and cinema screening worthy. 

Action underway
Some things that I couldn't get about Mudgee is this store selling these dolls. It was literally a full store of them and they seem to be wearing outfits that I've seen in the movie "The Colour Purple". I don't want to say it, but are they slave/ servant outfits on "blackfaced" dolls? Who would buy this stuff? Why a store that specialises in this? Is there a "demand" for it? Makes you wonder doesn't it?
Dolls anyone?
Back to the final day of the workshop; it was a crazy mad dash 3 hours of final video exports, documentary making and the coordination of a public screening of the films. Then a "go-go-gadget-go" last few moments of farewells and a non stop drive back to Fairfield. 
Overall, I has a great time, flexing my teaching as well as filmmaking muscles. Super thanks to AFTRS (Coordinators Lynette & Abigail) for taking me out for this project!

Out in the hot glaring heat!
Trippy moon!
AFTRS happy van
Me at the clocktower



MAX CHOPPAGE: More Previs Funtime!

This full day session would have to be the last of the major previses for Maximum Choppage ABC TV series. Trung Ly and the Dong Tam Martial Arts mob have been elected to fulfil the fight choreography aspect of the series. This has got to be a step up and on home ground post Roger Corman's B grade fight movie in China but with all it's creative complications still intact.

I'm sharing some love with some pics.
Joe Le borrowing someone else's legs
 
Posers


Ass takedown!



Jimmy James Pham, Joshue Tieu just chillin' around

It's how my face fall...bitches!



FILM SHOOT: Hidden Peaks continues...

It's still happening and such an adventure with this shoot as the team ventured into the Summer Hills mill. When I say into it, I mean inside it and then the epic trek up the steep pigeon crap stairwells to the top.

I made me cameo debut as a reaper's hand, little did I know I had to hang dangerously off the outside stairwells of the mill and grab fellow actor Jack Ngu as he tries to escape. Good times! 

Here some more selfies.... Because it's fun.
Maria & Joe's filmic adventures on "Hidden Peaks"
Director Adrian Castro sports the RED
Say what? Jack and I had to hang dangerously off this

Jack Ngu aims at his target
Random
Slightly fearing the heights
Hand reaper doubling today

Random #2




Thursday, January 9, 2014

ON THE DOWN LOW: Downloading the Life Clock App

I know. It's errie. Downloading the app that puts a countdown on the day you "Supposedly" die. 

If I avoid any possibility of going earlier, mine's  is scheduled in the year 2065; that's if we are talking about living on average to 75 years of age. 

But in discussion of life expectancy rates, it differs from country to country. Australia (81ish) rates higher than US (79 years of age) and if you live in Angola you are expected to average around 44 years. 

The map below indicates where the longer life expectancy rates lie: 

In addition, different eras have different rates. If I was living on the Neolithic era (10,200 BC) I would have been dead by 20. 

All in all, I'm not sure what the Life Clock does for me, it's a free app and as a cool little feature to add all the things you want to do on the bucket list. That way you can savour every moment of your life in doing the things you want to do. 

Life is precious; don't waste it!

NEW INITIATIVE: Fight Club @ Dong Tam Martial Arts Centre

It is happening and I'm super buzzed up about Thien Nguyen's (former World Martial Arts Champion turned personal trainer and occasional actor) initiative - Fight Club.

Early 2013 to mid August saw me a marshmallow blob of 60kgs and after some work with Thien I've dropped to a happy 53kgs and feeling great, healthy and wanting to do more in life.

Fight Club is definitely recommended for beginners to the advanced. It's not a fad and it's here to stay in Western Sydney and for our more-so scrawny or flabby contenders who want a life change with a new vessel to sport.  There's no excuses for not achieving your goals. 

The good thing about Fight Club is that that it's a collaborative team to ensure that the attendees get the right mental support in parallel with the physicality of the initiative. 

Our first session was a full house! We had over 20 enrolees who were all keen to break sweat over target nuts and undergoing cardio drills.







The  second session's details are below: 
Date: Tuesday, 21st January
Time: 7.45pm (please arrive at least 15mins earlier to sign in/register)
Location: 187 The Horsley Drive, Fairfield. (next to a green petrol station).
Cost: $15 for 1.5hr for session
Note: Parking is located near 103 Campbell St, Fairfield if the 187 location is full. 

Please wear comfortable gym/ sports wear, bring a bottle of water and a towel. 

For those newcomers, please contact Thien Nguyen on 0413 620 461