VIDEO: A collaboration between Swinburne Univeristy students Cameron Rooney and Theo Argyrakakis
All throughout my journalism degree I was given advice on ‘things to do’ and ‘things not to do’. One of the ‘things not to do’ was use clichés commonly used in writing. When I was asked to write a blog post revealing the journey Cam and I experienced in making a PAXAus promotion trailer, I found myself at the starting line struggling to articulate the roller coaster ride that this project entailed.
To overcome such a struggle I decided the perfect way to begin this post was with the line ‘It all started when…’ because, at the end of the day, avoiding the use of clichés like the plague is sometimes just no fun (and this was definitely a fun intro to write).
It all started when I met Cam to discuss some ideas for a video that would promote the inaugural PAX in the southern hemisphere, in Melbourne. A videogame expo we both always expected to stay out-of-reach (as two students couldn’t possibly travel to North America during the semester) was right in our backyard.
Cam and I have come from the same university (Swinburne University of Technology) but had never met before, coming from two rather distinct academic disciplines. So, our first hurdle was to try to like each other, and then decide how an artist and a journalist could ever create a worthy PAX trailer.
After bonding over some good coffee, an equally enthusiastic love for videogames, and our woeful attempts to create a humorous video idea, we decided to obliterate our dream careers of stand-up comedy and asked ourselves “what is it that makes Melbourne a special place for videogames?”
That is when we realised that we were not nearly important enough to have our answer matter in any substantial way. However the plethora of ‘somebodies’ who were likely to be attaining their itineraries to Melbourne to showcase at PAXAus probably had something special to say.
Using our access to university equipment, Video Creation 101 skills (speaking for myself: Cam is actually quite the video editor) and eccentric personalities, we set out to record this video of game for the world to see. The events that followed were nothing we ever planned for – and that is not just because we, for lack of a better term, sucked at planning.
With almost no advanced video-capturing knowledge, we spoke with Gus Sorola, Burnie Burns and Jack Pattillo from Rooster Teeth Productions at their penthouse Crown Towers suite. We joined them as as VIP guests at their Rooster Teeth party later that night. We conversed with a Damien Hess (MC Frontalot) over breakfast on the balcony of Hess’ fan’s apartment, featuring an amazing view of the Docklands. We had a 5-hour ‘interview’ with Chris Mylrea (CTrix) talking subcultures and danced with Ben Britten from Tin Man Games (whilst capturing some comments from him).
Not only did we get a chance to speak with some of the heavyweights of PAXAus 2013, but we also got a chance to immerse ourselves in the cultural atmosphere the international, Australian and, more specifically, Melbournian videogame industry resonates around such important spectacles.
Over a year has passed since then and I definitely have more than the overwhelming sense of nostalgia to remember it by. Sure, the sensation of stepping into an empire animated by your greatest interests and experiencing my childhood hero, Gus Sorola, recognise me on the street is something that could not be expressed with words. Yet the new friends I have made along the way, especially my goofy partner Cam, has been the most important factor for me.
The last scene of our PAXAus project video is of Ben Britten expressing all the things he likes about Melbourne. “Ultimately what it boils down to for me”, he says, “is the people”. As appealing as it is to me personally, this is not an attempt to be more like Ben nor an expression of my laziness. I believe that that last scene resonates the crux of my experience working on this project and sums up this blog post perfectly.