Words, Words, Words: The World Of Blurbs

September 22, 2008

It’s festival time in Melbourne. Actually, it’s always festival time in Melbourne. Arts, Film, Comedy, Fashion, Writers, Design, Stencil, Cycling, Jazz, Brass, Animation, Fringe, Moomba, Tap, Travel Writing, Italian, Scarf, Funk… and that’s just the first five pages of Google results. Melbourne has a festival for everything. But how do you decide which film to see? Which comedy show? Which travel writer? Which scarf?

In most cases your guide will be the festival program, and the description of each event. 150 words need to convince you to commit your time and money, to get off the couch and turn off those old tapes of Chances – “The best kabuki puppet western you’ll see all year!” “I laughed so hard I mislaid my socks!” “Gong Li is the most beautiful woman on Earth!”

Anne-Marie Peard wrote about the launch of the Melbourne Fringe Festival program a couple of weeks ago, and we talked about blurbs during the Melbourne International Film Festival. But what makes a good blurb? What needs to be in that magic paragraph to pull in the punters and let the sun shine in?

The Outland Institute assembled a panel of experts to address this deeply important issue…

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The Victorian Transport Minister and the Goblet Of Fire

August 5, 2008

It was just another day.

The neighbourhood had gathered to burn an effigy of Lynne Kosky, the transport minister. There’s nothing like Lynne to bring out an angry mob round our way. We find our seething hatred of her incompetence has somehow brought us closer together.

It had been a very successful burning, one of our most popular yet. It was almost as packed as an 86 tram! we joked amongst ourselves (although obviously it wasn’t as uncomfortable as that). As the smaller children ran giggling from the embers, Edith brought out a flask and some paper cups. We sipped our tea, feeling the heat warm our bones, while Abdikaram flipped through the program for the Melbourne International Arts Festival.

“Strike me pink”, he said. “Did you know that Lynne Kosky is also the Victorian Arts Minister?”

Well, it was news to us. Could this perhaps explain everything? Was her lacklustre performance as Transport Minister caused by the distraction of her other portfolio – after all, it would be hard to get any work done with Phillip Glass and Patti Smith banging on about Ginsberg all day long.

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