"I haven't seen the original Star Wars since I was a kid... I've never even seen that Special Edition. Though I have to admit I've learnt a lot of the subtelties and nuances of the plot in the last year!", laughs Warwick Holt, speaking to himself like some bizarro schizophrenic. "Pink Floyd, stamp collecting, Dean Jones' batting average, Molly Thacket in Year 9; therapy has revealed those as unhealthy obsessions supressed by years of emotional infancy. But Star Wars? I would never have guessed it would be Star Wars that would find me speaking to myself like some bizarro schizophrenic. Let alone referring to myself in the third person."
I know what he means.
There's a school of thought that purports that, Star Wars obsession or not, Warwick's just a geek. riding to success on the back of Craig E. Tonkin's exceptional talent. (Of course, the principal, teacher, and sole student of that school is Craig 'Distinguishing myself from all the other Craig Tonkins by the use of a middle initial' Tonkin.)
But the geek thing is fairly accurate I guess. As well as being unable to successfully bury a past which includes a Masters degree in Maths, Warwick's spent the last four and a half years overworking as the I.T. Manager at Shock Records, Australia's leading independent record label and distributor. Last year he received a gold record for his work on Frenzal Rhomb's A Man's Not A Camel CD-Rhomb, which included his acclaimed game Stage Invaders. Oh, and he made this site too.
Warwick's other specialist contribution to The PhanDom Menace has been on the audio side. Seven years of public radio (on Melbourne's renowned stations RRR and PBS) has cultivated a probing interviewer and inspired improviser, whose conversational style elicited the disarming honesty which lies at the heart of the film. And even though his knowledge of Star Wars was barely at Padawan level, he is a natural born nerd, and completely sympathetic to the joys and perils of collectormania (a massive CD collection is his pride and joy) and geeky fan clubs (once in his dim dark past he was president of the Friends of Unnatural Llamas, a Monty Python/comedy fan club who were at the time over 500 members strong). His deep understanding of what makes fans tick helps lend The PhanDom Menace it's under the skin feel.
Music plays a key part in the impact of The PhanDom Menace. The tunes have been assembled by Warwick from a small community of underground Melbourne musicians. Several, including himself, are refugees from a spacerock combo of some little fame (or even more accurately, no fame), Plastic Spacemen. Phonophobic, his collaboration with Martin Evans, former drummer with the Spacemen, has provided about half the music on offer, and their style sets the tone for the soundtrack. Warwick's also written the theme for the doco, Lost in the Stars (under the pseudoalias e-Wok).
But Warwick's contribution to The PhanDom Menace isn't restricted to the sound. He's also done the hard yards in the edit suite, swearing, making cups of tea, and generally pretending his opinion counts for something. He's had a considerable background in TV, starting with performing Duelling Toothbrushes on Red Faces when he was 18, and perhaps peaking with his anarchic "boy with the Bart Simpson boxer shorts" stunt on The Late Show in 1993.
But there's also been stints behind cameras and in the wankers' chairs. In 1993 he was co-writer, performer and producer of Laugh You Bastards, a six part sketch comedy show on Melbourne's Channel 31 which had the critics reaching for their remotes.
His association with that public TV station continued, sadly unabated, until he created a documentary on his trip to the Montreal Comedy Festival. He enlisted the help of childhood bully Craig Q. Tonkin to help him rescue his footage from the toilet and compile Just For Laughs?, a satire on the comedy festival, Montreal, and himself.
It was while assembling that doco that Craig X. Tonkin, sad comic book nerd that he is, excitedly approached Warwick with a copy of Vanity Fair, featuring the first photos from the set of Episode 1. Slowly it dawned on Warwick that not only was that a great idea for a movie, but an undeniably easy way to keep scumbagging free cameras and studio time out of Craig's work.
He was right. What you hold now in your browser window is the result.
Warwick hopes you enjoy it.
And so do I.
All content (P) & (C) Primordial
Productions / Clint
All web pages (P) & (C) Warwick Holt 2000