Welcome to J.C’s Australian Daydream. I’m J.C, or more commonly known in the real world as James Cole. This web site is all about my adventures while traveling around and photographing this wonderful country I live in, Australia.
So I guess a little back story is in order about what inspired this web site and the travel bug I have caught;
Well originally I moved to Australia from England with my parents when I was thirteen (I’m reluctantly in my thirties now). I finished high school off here and then took on a number of much hated jobs before deciding to give everything I had into making it in the film industry. So that’s what I did for the next thirteen years (as I write this I’m wondering if my life is going to go in batch cycles of thirteen years... I digress).
I worked my behind off, not literally unfortunately, and became a well respected editor and visual effects artist. All was going well until one day I got a job on a big Hollywood feature film that was being shot locally. It was just a temporary gig to put a bit of extra cash in my pocket. I was helping out with the video playback on set, basically a glorified cable runner.
Normally I wouldn’t have done such a job as career-wise it was a big step backwards. however it was working on a huge scale production the likes of which I’d always dreamed of. And better yet, this position would get me right next to the director so if I paid attention, I would get an invaluable education.
So that’s what I did for the following three weeks. I laid out cables and then wound them back up again, all the time studying what was going on with the top brass. I certainly got an education that couldn’t be paid for. I was right there when the actors (who were being paid a fortune) threw their tantrums and refused to do shots, I was right there when the producer told the director that he couldn’t have his end scene cause the budget had been cut (less than a week before end of production), I was right there with all the ups and downs. And I gotta tell ya, there weren’t a whole lotta ups.
Worst of all though, was how I saw that at this level and with this scale of production, there was no room for creativity. Every aspect of the film was planned down to the last degree. The most spontaneous moments were waiting for the Sun to come from behind clouds, but that too was allowed for in the schedule. I’m sure at the beginning of the project there were moments of creativity but not from the day production began. My Hollywood dreams had been crushed. I had seen the REAL Hollywood and I didn’t like it.
A Lifetime Dream Crushed
So I continued on with producing commercials and directing the odd music video clip, but my heart wasn’t in it. That is, until a new project came along “The Gates of Hell”. I was approached to edit and produce the visual effects for this Australian made genre movie. How could I say no? I couldn’t.
I got to work cutting it and creating all manner of disgusting and amazing visual effects. It was an incredibly challenging project with a lot of stuff that went wrong along the way. But somehow we made it through and at the end was a film that I was and still am, proud of. Nevertheless, once again I was about to be confronted with the real Hollywood.
Through the project I had become close friends with the director and so got to hear all the stories of what was happening with the distribution efforts. Once again I was seeing how Hollywood was trying to screw the creative people at every turn. Rather than being ripped off, the producers decided to self distribute in a hope to pay back the investors. I’m sure I’ll let you know how it goes when it’s released later this year.
The Final Straw
So this brings me to the last job I did in film world. A series of commercials for a project that I was morally against. I took the job cause I needed the money but in the process it maimed, killed and totally vaporised any last passion I had for filmmaking. I didn’t know what to do or where to go next. For the first time in my life I had no direction.
A Spark of Inspiration
Then one night I relaxed in front of the TV and watched a documentary “Mountains with Griff Rhys Jones”. I was hooked. If you haven’t seen it, the series follows Griff as he explores the mountains of England. As I watched I was amazed at the beautiful scenery and landscapes of my old home country. I wondered why I’d never seen it before. While living there, the extent of my travel was my home town of Olney in Buckinghamshire to Great Yarmouth in Norfolk for holidays. We had been on holiday to the United States when I was six and had two trips to Australia before moving here. I had literally seen more of the rest of the world than I had my own country.
I made a decision that I wasn’t going to let the same thing happen here. I pulled out the maps and began exploring Australia. Even though I’d lived here for more than twenty years, I discovered it really was a place I knew very little about. I wanted to see it and explore. So that’s what I did.
The Return of Passion
Over the next few months, while finishing up with the commercials, I went about planning and purchasing all the things I’d need to make a solo trip around Oz. I hadn’t felt this inspired or passionate about anything since I made my first movie, which turned out to be a really bad science fiction film called “Lost:Black Earth” (who knows, maybe one day I’ll release it for a laugh at my own expense).
Over the years another one of my passions had slowly been growing in strength and that was photography. In particular, landscape and wildlife photography. I guess it began out of my Visual Effects work by taking photos of reference material or certain elements that needed to be composited into shots. Over time I developed a true love for the art form itself, as well as using photos as a base for creating artwork through digital manipulation.
I thought this trip would be the perfect time to really hone my skills and go nuts with the camera (after all it is digital). Of course that thought led to the idea of creating a web site to showcase all of my shots as well as write about my adventures. And here you are, reading about it now...
Well almost... You see I had the trip and made the web site as I travelled, but not this one here. I had used Apple’s iWeb to create the site while on the road, as it was incredibly quick and easy to use. However since returning from the trip, I’ve put a lot of study into web sites, design and technology and found that, although easy, iWeb is not that web friendly and just has no capabilities for some of the features I wanted. For instance, the ability to sell prints of my photographs. (you can read more about it in my post Let the adventure begin… Again? )
One Year On
So almost a year later I have relaunched this site with a new look and new technology to bring my photos and stories to the greater world. Of course the trip I took was only the first and once it is all up to date here I plan on taking many more. Who knows, once I’ve explored all of Australia, the rest of the world is there for the taking.
I hope you enjoy your visit here and the stories and photographs inspire you to create your own adventure. I had a lot of fun and learned a lot about traveling and about this great country, about life in general and about myself.
Feel free to roam around and take it all in. If you happen to see a photo you think would be perfect hanging on your wall, almost all of them are for sale in the Gallery. If I haven’t gotten around to putting the one that you like in there yet, get in touch and I’ll do it right away.
I leave you with but one warning, this travel bug is highly contagious and could infect you even through the long reaching wires of the internet...