Yum Creative

Yum Wrap – Irregular musings on film, art and media

Blood on Ballarat

by | Jul 6, 2014 | Creative Media, Erin M McCuskey


Creative media is never more creative than when linked with a cultural event. In this case the Death in July Festival posed such a fabulous challenge: women, crime, writing, serials, reading, talks, presentations, and the fabulous serialised crime story ‘Blood on Ballarat’.

Local author & publisher Jill Blee set out to curate a story in time for the festival. In criminal partnership with Sisters in Crime, and Ballarat Writers, the idea was to have a serialised crime thriller written by local women. Chapter authors were given only two conditions: their chapter had to include a Ballarat locale, and needed to be completed within 200-400 words.

At Yum Studio we proposed to embellish the concept by recording the authors narrating their chapter, and setting it to music and visuals. We also planned for staggered screenings throughout the idea to enagage the audience, get them back from breaks on time (for the next exciting chapter), give them a break from proceedings, and to draw a theme of film noir through the festival.

The language of crime has a very strong viausl language so we enegaged the audience in various levels. Locals got a chance to see their town and streetscapes from a different angle, while visistors got to see it in a creative non-touristy way. The audience along with the fabulous authours showcased at the festival are all creative so give the folks what they want!

Top it all off with a bit of fun, and the results were fabulous. Ten women took the challenge, not all writers, but certainly all challenge worthy.

Leigh Redhead crime wrtier, kicked off the first chapter, introducing Marnie Willis, a zombie jogger looking for love, or was she looking for something else? Here is the chapter we created, a teaser of the full story.


Blood on Ballarat – Chapter One from Erin M McCuskey on Vimeo.

From there the story grew and was handed around to:

And so to share the learnings about stroytelling from this project… and the rest of the chapters of course.


Yum Studio presentsRed‘.

A salon of moving image, spoken word, projection and recording about storytelling & creative media. Hosted by Madame Yum & Mickey Gee, it features the authors and raconteurs of ‘Blood on Ballarat’, the serialised crime thriller put to screen for the Death in July Festival.

In the best tradition of film, talk, laughs with drinks, we look forward to peering at you in the sometimes dark!

Please join us Thursday August 7th at The Main Bar, 28 Main Road, Ballarat at 6pm for 6.15pm screening. Interval at 7pm to order sustenance. Wrap around 8pm. Sign up here using your email address for your free invitation.

Love Madame Yum & Mickey Gee.


A huge thank you to the people who leapt on board this crazy self funded project, Mick Gwyther, Fagyn Gwyther-McCuskey, Tim Block and Laura Jarmain. Your skills are matched only by your ability to do the stupid things I make you do! Thank you!

If you missed out on the Death in July Festival, then you completely missed out! Such a fabulous evening and following day. Standouts were the Dicks v Dames debate where some fabulous authors give their all to effect answer to who writes better crime. Total crime if you didnt see it. Another total highlight author Judith Rodriguez reading from her crime novel in verse The Hanging of Minnie Thwaites, such a heart breaking piece of fabulousness.

There were of course some of Australians best and favourite crime authors Angela Savage a witty, intelligent and engaging speaker, Vikki Petraitis whose sarcasm far outwieghs mine (saying something), totally hilarious, and of course Leigh Redhead the firey raven haired wonder with fab performanace skills. They really tore up the stage at MADE. You won’t need a crime scene if you miss the next one, you may well have done yourself in!


love Madame Yum

Post Script: {seems too important to just say PS} A death occurred during the filming, one so close to me I thought I might die as well. Farewell dearest laptop, we were the best of friends, we were the worst of friends… now adrift on the techno sea!


  1. Michael

    This was a lot of fun and a very creative venture as initiated by Jill Blee and topped up by Yum. Stories have a life of their own in print but to contextualise them to time, space and atmosphere gave them an added dimension.Suffice to say, you obviously weren’t “killing time” with this collaborative project! 🙂

  2. Colleen Filippa

    The scene has been set … looking forward to Chapter Two Sharon Knight!!

  3. Erin

    haha no time killed, just my more little ol laptop I was editing on!! Thanks for all your help Mickey Gee!

  4. Erin

    The set indeed had been set and will be resolved at ‘Red’, all details above, sign up at http://www.yumstudio.com.au/blog if you have already then your invite is being prepared!

  5. Aldona Kmiec

    Have I subscribed? I think I have !! Let me in:-)

  6. Erin

    Fabulous Miss Kmiec, yes you are, yes you will be let in, yes you will be expected to perform!! Love Madame Yum


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