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Dynamic Australian Actress Delivered ‘a significant amount of drama’ on the Venerable soap opera ‘Home and Away’

Katherine Cowgill by Teren Oddo Oct. 2015
Jessie McLachlan

Arriving as one of today’s finest actresses, Jessie McLachlan has delivered outstanding character portrayals in film and television over the last decade. The Australian native played Anna in Tom Simes’ feature drama, “Run, Broken Yet Brave” and Rachel in the FilmOut Festival Award winning feature drama, “Newcastle,” written and directed by Dan Castle.

She starred as Monica in Antonio Oreña-Barlin’s short drama, “Suburbia,” that was nominated for an Australian Film Institute Award, and has dispatched her talents to TV including in Village Roadshow’s reality series “The Shire,” 7 Network’s (Australia) 13-time award-winning comedy drama “Packed to the Rafters” and Nickelodeon’s 12-time award-winning family drama, “Dance Academy.”

Chief among McLachlan’s flourishing acting career was her 27-episode recurring performance as Samantha Braxton on 7 Network’s romantic drama, “Home and Away.” Created by Alan Bateman, the series has collected more than 40 awards and has broadcast since 1988.

“I’m really proud I got to be a part of it, in some way,” McLachlan said. “I’m proud of the Australian industry, and it is a testament that a show has been running for so long.”

“Home and Away” follows the lives, loves and heartbreaks within the fictitious coastal town of Summer Bay, in New South Wales, Australia.

The role challenged McLachlan to carry out the antagonistic, Samantha, who was a troubled member of one of Summer Bay’s surfing gangs. An aggressor, Samantha was a character best known for creating conflict, and one opposite of McLachlan’s own persona.

“It is the beauty of acting morphing into a completely different person, whom is definitely not like myself,” said McLachlan. “It is always a challenge playing a character whom is a complete opposite to you, and the way in which you conduct yourself in life. I always like to reflect on a personal experience, and encapsulate that raw emotion and feeling I had and use it in a performance to make it as authentic as I can, but with this character I was very challenged in the beginning in learning to be angry at everything and everyone.”

Starring as Samantha in the series from 2010-2011, McLachlan said of the character, “It is hard enough to be a teenager now days let alone have hardship or social issue’s amongst your family to overcome. I think at heart she is good, but when your family has a blurred line between what is right and wrong, she was easily influenced.”

Australian Actress Christina Collard (“Dracula: The Impaler,” “The Girl’s Guide to Depravity”) recognized McLachlan’s dynamic acting in “Home and Away.”

“The role required an incredibly dynamic actress, as Samantha’s presence and demeanor caused a significant amount of drama throughout Jessie’s time as a leading actress on the series,” she said. “Her presence was felt in scenes that she did not even appear in, which is a huge accomplishment that further evidences Jessie’s many talents as an actress. Her character was the talk among critics and dedicated viewers alike, and has been hailed as one of the more memorable characters in the recent history of this long running series.”

“Home and Away” currently is the second longest running dramatic series in Australian television history. Sold to more than 80 countries, it has drawn huge audiences in locations such as the United Kingdom, Ireland and New Zealand. The show is the most successful program in Logie Award history.

Of her favorite single portrayal, McLachlan says, “The first episode of a new season will always be my favorite of any show. It is when some questions that I’ve waited for a few months are finally answered, but also then all these new story lines are revealed, and the show becomes so juicy and the curiosity makes you tune in or binge watch it.”

Developing her talent early in life, McLachlan started speech and theatre lessons and became a National Irish Dancer when she was just 7 years old. “Every time I performed, from an audition or in front of my Grandma, it gave me a sense of euphoria, a high but a certainty feeling.”

Her talent and passion for performing hasn’t gone unnoticed in the industry as McLachlan went on to work for shows televised by MTV, ABC and Australia’s 9 Network. A do-it-all talent, McLachlan also was signed as a singer/songwriter to Island Def Jam.

She’s trained at the renowned Lee Strasberg and Stella Adler acting institutions in New York and Los Angeles, and studies the craft with the acclaimed acting coach Michelle Danner, who has worked with many A-list talents such as Chris Rock, Gerard Butler, Penelope Cruz, Michelle Rodriguez and more.

For more information, visit: http://jessiemclachlan.com and http://www.imdb.com/name/nm6682925/?ref_=fn_al_nm_1

 

 

 

 

 

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Australian-Based Stylist Cat Sherwin Makes-Up Contestants for ‘The Celebrity Apprentice Australia’ and ‘The Voice’

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Cat Sherwin

Australian-based makeup artist and hairstylist, Cat Sherwin, has established herself as an invaluable styling asset to several contestants of the hit television shows “The Celebrity Apprentice Australia” and “The Voice” over a course of multiple seasons.

Originally from Chesterfield, Derbyshire, England, Sherwin has been recognized as an accomplished artist in the entertainment industry for over eleven years. Her work as a makeup artist and hairstylist spans numerous platforms, encompassing everything from film and television programs to live, red carpet events. Sherwin has made-up both reoccurring and guest talent appearing on “Sunrise,” “The Morning Show” and “ABC News,” and has obtained a lengthy framework of experience with distinguished networks such as ABC, Foxtel, Channel 7, and Fox Sports.

Sherwin’s involvement with Fremantle’s “The Celebrity Apprentice Australia” began back in 2011 where she worked as a freelancer/contractor on contestants appearing on Season 1 of the series. Based on “NBC: The Apprentice,” “The Celebrity Apprentice Australia” features host and CEO Mark Bouris and a remarkable cast of celebrities, all competing for their favorite charities.

“Working on a show that is being produced for the benefit of charities is enormously fulfilling, as you really feel that everyone is ultimately working together as a team, from celebrities through to production, to produce something that has a real tangible result and that makes a difference,” Sherwin said.

In addition to Season 1, Sherwin has also been a part of Seasons 2 and 3 of “The Celebrity Apprentice Australia,” working various episodes and with a wide range of contestants as well as other stylists. Regarding all involved, Sherwin commented, “[It was] great meeting so many different people and personalities from different backgrounds. There was a great sense of team spirit when working alongside other makeup artists.”

Behind the scenes, the show was known for its spontaneity, resulting in extremely early call times and frequent, last minute scheduling changes. Call times and locations for the following day were often not released until quite late at night the evening before, however for Sherwin this regimen, “Felt exciting. [She] felt part of the celebrities’ adventure.”

Over the span of these three seasons, Sherwin styled a number of famed celebrities. Some of the participators Sherwin worked with in Season 1, consisted of Jesinta Campbell (Miss Universe Australia 2010), former competition swimmer Lisa Curry, Didier Cohen (“America’s Next Top Model”), celebrity publicist Max Markson, and Australian politician Pauline Hanson. For the duration of Season 2, Sherwin had the pleasure of styling professional boxer and water skiing champion Lauryn Eagle, Charlotte Dawson (“America’s Next Top Model”), former football player Jason Akermanis, Nathan Joliffe (“The Amazing Race Australia”), comic Vince Sorrenti, and David Hasselhoff (“Knight Rider” and “Baywatch”), to name a few. Starring on Season 3 of “The Celebrity Apprentice Australia,” Sherwin correspondingly worked with Kym Johnson (“Good Morning America,” “Dancing with the Stars” and “Entertainment Tonight”), Prue MacSween (“Weekend Sunrise” and “Australia’s Next Top Model”), competitive swimmer Stephanie Rice, Rob Mills (“Australian Idol”), and musician Brian Mannix, among others.

“The Celebrity Apprentice Australia” contains a segment of the show called ‘the boardroom,’ where meetings among candidates take place in a series of what usually consists of three stages. In the boardroom, the host and his advisors debrief the contestants, who are separated into teams, the winning team ultimately prized with a reward while the losing team endures an elimination.

When asked to detail some of her favorite memories thus far, Sherwin answered, “Getting the contestants ready for the boardroom as the show progressed. Everyone got closer as time went on, and you really felt his or her crusade and tension and wanted them all to win. You really felt like you were living and breathing the excitement and anticipation with them.”

Regarding her styling techniques in specific when it came to readying the stars for the boardroom, Sherwin explained that, “The looks were much more glamorous.” In one of the episodes, Eagle had a 1950’s-inspired waved hair look. “Ensuring the celebrity looked fabulous and felt confident was really important in helping someone get ready to state their case,” Sherwin stated.

Due to many different challenges within the competitive program that required completion, the show often moved locations, allowing Sherwin the opportunity to create distinctive styles and looks. Furthermore, on challenge days, she had to, “Consider environments, locations and weather when creating a look to ensure that said look would look real and simple and hold up during a long day, whilst not hindering the celebrity and at the same time, making them feel great,” said Sherwin.

Similar to her work with a diverse group of celebs on “Celebrity Apprentice Australia,” Sherwin has provided makeup artistry and hair styling for an innumerable amount of competitors on Shine’s award winning series “The Voice,” an Australian reality show based on the original Dutch talent singing competition. During Sherwin’s tenure, “The Voice” was hosted by Darren McMullen. The show contains a structure of three competitive phases: blind auditions, battle rounds and live performance shows, where the ultimate winner receives a recording contract with Universal Music.

“It was really exciting to be part of an artists’ journey in pursuing their dream,” Sherwin said. “As the show progressed, how we styled them according to themed weeks and alongside wardrobe directly affected the overall appearance of how the public saw the artist.”

The different rounds allowed Sherwin to really showcase her unique talents as a makeup artist and hairstylist. “It was fabulous to be able to create some really adventurous and eye catching looks. As a performer, you need to stand out on stage, so the makeup can be much bolder and braver [on “The Voice”] than say a lifestyle commercial. Often on commercials and television you have to create something within a set of quite tight parameters. “The Voice” felt much freer and unrestricted, with opportunity to be really creative and incorporate the latest fashion looks into someone’s personality and style on stage,” Sherwin noted.

With television being such the visual medium that it is, while each singer ultimate stood out based on his or her vocal talent, the intricate work of the entire creative process mattered. Observing this process, Sherwin said, “Everything from staging, lighting and costumes to hair and makeup really helps add the XXX wow factor.” While the work of a stylist can tie together a performance, effectively bringing all of the pieces of the process together is what, “Ultimately will help a new star shine,” said Sherwin.

At times, styling was a team effort. On a number of occasions, Sherwin styled “The Voice” Season 1 winner Karise Eden and Finalist Darren Percival, among others. “It was great seeing Karise’s confidence build throughout the show,” Sherwin said. “All artists started with their own look, which was often quite low key. We worked to build and evolve this into something with more mega wattage, whilst also retaining their own sense of unique style. As confidence flourished, so did the style – it was beautiful to watch.”

Much alike the boardroom of “The Celebrity Apprentice Australia,” Sherwin fondly remembered styling contestants for the final battle rounds of “The Voice.” The battle rounds are considered the second stage of the competition, where coaches instruct two of their teammates to battle one another by way of singing the same song simultaneously.

“There was so much energy and excitement around them [the battle rounds]. Nobody had anticipated quite how much the first season would take off in Australia and all the excitement around it. It was really quite electric,” Sherwin reminisced.

Moreover, Sherwin recalled witnessing moments of impromptu singing from talent. “I remember watching one of the judge’s coaching sessions with Delta Goodrem, and hearing her burst out spontaneously into song, with no background music, no aid. It was really beautiful – she has such an amazing talent, to hear her voice in the raw was breathtaking,” said Sherwin.

After her miraculous work on “The Voice,” contestants continued to book Sherwin separately for private gigs. Sherwin stated, “Contestant Emma Pask booked me privately on a number of occasions for gigs. I made her up for an outdoor Toronga Zoo Christmas concert. The setting was breathtaking with the Sydney Bridge and Opera House in the background.”

When it comes down to styling contestants for such high profile shows where the pressure always seems to be on, Sherwin insisted that, “Hard work and creativity are important, and so is pulling in the latest fashion looks into something that complements the outfit.” However, the key factor in it all, is creating a look that is, “Wearable by the artist and will make them feel confident.”

There are multiple steps involved in the complex process that Sherwin takes in order to ensure that all of the contestants she works with, “look and feel fabulous, and ready for action,” commented Sherwin.

For more information, visit: http://www.catsherwin.com

Follow Cat on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/cat_sherwin

 

From Brazil to Hollywood, Meet the Award Winning Cinematographer Andressa Cor

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Andressa Cor is a cinematographer from Brazil with over half a dozen years of experience in film and television. Her creative works have earned her the “New Filmmakers Program” grant at Panavision in 2014 and also the “Alfred P. Sloan Foundation” grant. Her AFI thesis film “Stealth” brought in awards from the 36th Student Emmy Awards, the jury prize at the Toronto International Film Festival and an honorable mention at the American Emerging Filmmakers Pavilion at Cannes.

 

On her own creativity, Cor said, “I stay curious about everything. My interest in subjects change almost every week. I obsess over a certain topic and learn as much as I can about it, til the next one comes. Because I am from Art school, more often than not I am obsessing over an artist. This happens to movies a lot as well. I take a certain filmmaker and watch a lot about him/her.”

 

Cor uses cinema as an exploration. She carries the camera with purpose. The rich colors within her frame bring out the emotion her story tells.

 

In her eyes, each film should have a style, and it’s the cinematographer’s job to translate that style into a language using the camera and lights. Ultimately, film is a collaboration, and as a result the cinematographer and director must be in communication. This is why Cor uses pre-production to “see what is the movie inside the director’s head and make sure my department is prepared to deliver that movie.”

 

Her film work has teamed her up with many great directors. She tends to seek out those who are like minded, and that she thinks she could build a friendship with. Three directors she’s had great experiences with are Bennett Lasseter, Diego Jesus and Andrew Crafa.

 

Alongside Lasseter, Cor has shot two films. One of them was the highly acclaimed, and highly awarded “Stealth.” The story follows a brave, young transgender woman guiding her way through life.

 

With Jesus, she also shot two films. “Incursion” was the first project they collaborated on. Using the camera as equals, they created a strong, unified and visually stunning film. The circumstances were rough, but things fell into place so well that they made another film entitled “Rosalia Marginal.”

 

“Some locations did not have electricity or generators and Andressa was forced to find unconventional ways to keep shooting in very difficult situations with limited resources,” said Jesus on “Incursion”. “She achieved this with ease, demonstrating an ability to improvise and problem solve as an exceptional Cinematographer under the most difficult of circumstances, while still creating beautifully impactful shots for the film that added a crisp, enlightening context that the documentary needed in order to truly impact our audience.”

 

Cor also shot two small projects with director Andrew Crafa. The first was a promotional piece for the 2015 film “Krampus” and the second was for the organization “I Have a Dream.” “Krampus” showcased Hollywood stars like Adam Scott, Toni Collette, and David Koechner. The promotional piece featured 14 of YouTube’s top stars.

 

Regardless of who Cor works with she has great admiration for her directors. “That’s why they say directing is a lonely task. There’s this village of people working for them, and they need to direct all of us to the same place. Sometimes, they have a bit of trouble with this, because we are making movies, is a lot about the visuals and the mood, it can get hard to explain. Every director has a different process of communicating, and I try to let him or her tell me the way they want to tell me. ”

 

Three of the biggest project’s Cor acted as cinematographer for are “60 Eight”, “Campground” and “No Tomorrow without Merci.”

 

“60 Eight” was shot in Burbank, California on a Red Scarlet. The film is about a child who wakes up after an accident to find himself a 60 year old man. Cor made sure her cinematography reflected “the clash of two worlds.”

 

“Campground” is about a young girl with hidden superpowers. The film was shot in two segments. The first was filmed in the LA desert, and the second was also filmed in Burbank, California.

 

On “Campground”, Cor said, “The goal was to make the audience walk in her shoes with her, and understand her world as she guided us thought it. Lighting was very natural for most of the movie except for the lighting cue we had when she finally reveals her capacities. ”

 

Her work on “No Tomorrow without Merci” helped the filmed win the Award of Merit at the  2015 Accolade Competition, and the Award of Excellence at the 2015 International Film Festival for Peace, Inspiration and Equality. It’s about a Jewish woman who decides to help an injured Nazi soldier. The goal was to shoot the film as realistically as possible using muted colors.

 

Two key influences on her work are Brazilian’s Cesar Charlone and Walter Carvalho. All the knowledge she gained from was completely unconscious. In fact, it took her years to realize her style of shooting was inherited from them.

 

“I didn’t know how much they influenced me until I recently rewatched “Central do Brasil” (Central Station) and saw that I had just shot the same set-up a week before!,” said Cor. “But instead of a little cabin, my camera was inside a car.”

Filmmaking is something that Cor has been fascinated by since she was young, but it wasn’t until she grew older that she learned about the position of cinematographer. She entered film school wanting to direct, but through her early works she started to gravitate towards the visual side of  the process. Once her desires were focused, she set off to film as much as she could while in school.

“The best cinematography work that I like happened because the DP and the director are at the exactly same page,” said Cor. “I do believe a cinematographer is as good as his or her director. And I see with renowned cinematographers that they work get better if they are working with the directors they align ideas better and collaborate together. For example, every Roger Deakins work is stellar. But his masterpieces, in my opinion, happened when he was working with the Coen Brothers. ”

Making a good film is all about trust for Cor. As long as she continues to work with people that understand that, her work will continue to grow and visually stun.

‘Can’t Sleep Love’ Video Merges Director Alon Isocianu’s Imagination with Pentatonix’s Superb Vocals

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Director Alon Isocianu

Pentatonix’s music video for “Can’t Sleep Love” is a bona fide hit with more than 13 million YouTube views to date. Directed by the great Alon Isocianu, the “Can’t Sleep Love” video is a sensory stimulating masterpiece featuring the amazing talents of the five member a capella pop group, Pentatonix (RCA Records).

The video’s stylized color palette coupled with an innovative set design entices viewers to make visit after visit. No other treatment of the two-time Grammy Award winner’s piece could have been better imagined.

And imagination is Isocianu’s forte. An already internationally established music video director, Isocianu flexes with one his best career deliveries in “Can’t Sleep Love.” Revered, celebrated, and achieved, Isocianu’s effort creates definite anticipation for what lies ahead in his illustrious career.

Familiar personal themes establish a hypnotic, but relatable atmosphere to audiences. We’ve had those feelings. We’ve been down that road. We’ve been there those restless nights that bring on an unwanted dawn. “Can’t Sleep Love” hits the target without exception.

“The overall concept loosely revolves around the idea of staying up at night, not being able to sleep because all you can think of is someone you’ve fallen in love with,” says Isocianu. A careful examination of the brilliantly written lyrics reflect that – and more.

“Primarily the different colors and pattern designs are meant to distinguish the spaces from one another,” Isocianu said. “Each band member in Pentatonix brings a unique voice to the group, so I wanted to highlight that by giving each “vocal instrument” and each band member their own space. So while the designs don’t relate to the song’s lyrics or tone in any specific way, they do relate to the vocal arrangement.”

Chemistry between song lyrics and set design firms the tone for a unique blend. From the band’s idea of sitting on a couch in a multi-patterned room came the rich vision that eventually manifests itself throughout the video.

“I then took that idea and expanded on it, by creating multiple rooms, each with their own “hidden” dancers,” Isocianu said. Different dance styles are purposed to highlight the different vocal skills of each band member of Pentatonix.

An undeniable flair is reached through the vibrant colors and repetitive patterns in an acceptably excessive, theatric splash – a vibrancy rarely seen is achieved through the skillful director.

The individual Pentatonix vocals deftly harmonize to a finale with all the group’s members in the same room. The culminating effect is an impressive display of vocal talent and extraordinary directing skills.
From his directing of videos for Kelly Clarkson, to Shawn Hook, to Finger Eleven, to Meaghan Smith, and countless others, music and film enthusiasts both see Isocianu’s prolific prominence.

And thus it is with Pentatonix, who this month captured their second Grammy Award for the song “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy.”

“Pentatonix were great to work with,” Isocianu said. “They’re very humble and fun, and very collaborative. As performers they each have their own style which is really fun to watch. They each bring a distinct sort of vibe individually, yet when they’re performing together they seem to groove in a cohesive way.”

The list of Isocianu awards and nominations is extensive. And, it will no doubt expand.

The year 2015 saw him win the East Coast Music Awards “Video Of The Year” (Meaghan Smith’s “Have a Heart”), and a Berlin Music Video nomination for “Best Visual Effect” (The Angry Kids’ “Battle”).

In 2012, Isocianu received a Much Music MMVA “Pop Video Of The Year nomination for Victoria Duffield’s “Shut Up and Dance.” In 2011, his music video for Candy Coated Killahz’ “Neon Black” was nominated for the Much Music MMVA “Post Production of the Year.”

Through it all, Isocianu is a director skilled in bringing feeling to his work through the extensive use of explosive colors, patterns and a degree of welcomed quirkiness. It’s established him and set him apart from others as a uniquely skilled craftsman in his trade.

Check out more from Alon at http://alonisocianu.com.

Watch “Can’t Sleep Love” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DFCxiKXtKTI

Watch Behind the Scenes footage from the video shoot:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/post/idsa.d884c134-58b2-11e5-8c4d-bf308b75a147

And experience the interactive “Can’t Sleep Love” video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1_Riq4wZ3aY