How clumsy Hollywood broke the hearts of two Australian schoolgirls

HOLLYWOOD is now actively crushing our children’s hopes and dreams.

Too dramatic? Let me explain…

A pair of 7 year old Melbourne schoolgirls recently hand wrote a letter to the US producers of their favourite movie.

“We really like Rio 2,” they declared, cutely. “We have an idea for Rio 3.”

The proposed plot would take place in Egypt, they wrote.

Kids letter“Nigel could get a new girlfriend and escape the Frog (both pictured above). Blue and Jewel and all the other characters follow him to find out where he is going.”

The girls kindly offered to send the studio more detailed plot notes, concluding with maximum adorableness: “One day we would like to be movie writers”.


But the grey-suit-wearers at 20th Century Fox were unmoved. 

Fox“We cannot accept your submission … and are returning it unread,” they thundered in a cheerless, typed response.

The studio said it would only consider the SEVEN YEAR OLD GIRLS’ MOVIE PITCH if it was “submitted through an authorized literary agent who is a signatory with the Writers Guild of America, and who is known to us”.

One of the girls’ mums was flabbergasted.

“When I arrived home after work yesterday and saw the letter from 20th Century Fox I was quite excited, as was [my daughter],” she told me via email.

“I was expecting the usual ‘thank you for your interest, we encourage you to pursue your dreams, of course we don’t accept pitch ideas but it’s cute coming from two 7 year old girls halfway across the world, we are glad you are such fans of the movie’, or something to that effect,’ she said.

“You can imagine our surprise when we read the letter.”

“I understand their policy, but this is seriously over the top.”


How can film producers that frequently tells stories of plucky young kids pursuing their dreams and overcoming adversity be so… so… soulless? And without any sense of irony.

But the girls — like heroines in their own heartwarming animated film — are pushing on, trying to get the Hollywood heavyweights to reconsider their (dare I say, excellent) Rio 3 proposal.

If you’d like to help encourage 20th Century Fox and their subsidiary Blue Sky Studios to respond to the girls’ movie pitch please tweet them using the #reconsiderrio3 hashtag.



Nigel and Frog (© 2014 Fox).


Australian politics on Facebook (Ep.1)


Welcome to an alternate universe where doorstops keep doors from slamming, nothing more. Our elected representatives and those in their orbit have taken to Facebook to exchange ideas, debate policy and lob grenades.

This — the first post in a new series — covers the period of May 6th – 12th, 2014:


Folks, would you like more of this kind of thing between now and September 14th?

Please let me know in the comments below…


Do me a favour? Ignore Alan Jones.

DO me a favour? Ignore Alan Jones.

The radio veteran’s most recent comments suggesting Julia Gillard’s father died of “shame” because of her daughter’s “lies” are foul and reprehensible.

The condemnation has been swift and comprehensive, although some are still waiting for Tony Abbott to also voice his personal disgust.

Alan Jones will in time apologise, if only because of pressure from his sponsors and his employer. But it won’t be real contrition.

And then what?

Chances are he will go back to his radio show. Just like just after he called for Ms Gillard to be downed in a chaff bag.

The well-regarded conservative campaign strategist Mark Textor took to Twitter last night to dispel some myths about Alan Jones:

“Jones’ trick has been in part to convince many of the elite that his voter influence was significant when mostly it has been marginal.”

He went on to point out that Jones has a “relatively demographically limited, mainly Sydney based audience”.

The suggestion is that Jones’ “influence” is a cultivated myth, fueled by the propensity of other members of the media hanging off every word he mutters.

So why don’t we treat Alan Jones like the troll he is?

While Media Watch and the Daily Telegraph haggle over the fine print, the general consensus is that ‘feeding the trolls’ – ie, responding to them, giving them the attention they crave – is misguided:

“Excited and dramatic reactions encourage them to continue or escalate their bad behavior, to see just how upset you will get.”

We – journalists and politicians – need to ignore them.

We need to ignore him.

It seems Alan Jones’ “power” comes from his perceived influence.

After all, that’s what his employer and his sponsors are buying.

If Jones is deprived of this clout he will enter into the realm of irrelevancy where he belongs.

But that is a matter for us.


  • (Post script: And yes, I realise the irony of writing a blog post about Alan Jones while urging you all to ignore Alan Jones.)

No journalist should have to report on their friend’s murder.

JILL Meagher’s death is an unfathomable tragedy. Her family remains in a state of shock and despair. My heart goes out to them.

But I want to pay tribute to Jill’s ABC colleagues. My former colleagues.

This has undoubtedly been one of the toughest weeks of their lives – both personally and professionally.

Journalists deal with tragedy on a regular basis. Road deaths, street crimes and a seemingly endless supply of harrowing stories retold in the

But rarely are they so close to the victims of these traumas.

“It’s hard to walk both sides of the street on this one,” 774 mornings host Jon Faine told listeners today.

As perhaps ABC Victoria’s most well known personality, Faine’s reactions and remarks have been instructive. He has given a voice to the whole ABC Radio team.

Days after Jill vanished police made repeated visits to the home she shared with her husband, Tom. They took away bags and cases filled with undisclosed belongings.

Unfounded mutterings began to surface on social media suggesting Tom was perhaps involved in some kind of foul play. Why else would they search the home.

Faine took to the airwaves to defend Tom. In doing so, the radio veteran acknowledged he was probably overstepping a line.

Perhaps he did go too far, perhaps not. But all the ‘lines’ which define acceptable behaviour have been blurred this week

The MEAA journalists Code of Ethics compel reporters to “respect private grief and personal privacy”.

Which is all very well – except when the grief is the reporter’s own.

The Code also says journalists should “not allow personal interest … to undermine [their] accuracy, fairness or independence”.

Which is fine, except when your “personal interest” is only in your mate’s safety, against all the odds.

774 Radio manager Cath Hurley paid tribute to her staff this morning, saying they have covered the issue “straight up and down” and she was “proud” of them.

She is right. They have been stoic. They have been brave. They have been exactly what they needed to be.

It’s all too easy for reporters to become desensitized to trauma and loss. To the trauma and loss of others. It’s natural, and often necessary.

This week’s events will have shattered any emotional barriers that ABC reporters may have built up over the years.

And the next time a woman is abducted, raped or murdered on the streets of Melbourne – and sadly, there will be a next time – the events of the past week will come flooding back.

There is a lot of grieving to be done, a lot of questing why and a lot of healing.

My thoughts are with everybody in the ABC family.