Milk Slams

Blank Canvas



Why’d you make this?

For the first 13 years of our lives we do what our parents tell us. Then we become teenagers, and start eating and drinking what we think is good for us. Everyone needs a healthy diet to reach their potential – especially young people who are still growing. With the right nutrition we build strength, and strength gives us the confidence to achieve anything. So when we met a poet who studied science, we thought it’d be interesting to get his perspective on milk and see where it would take us.


Who collaborated?

World Slam poetry champ Harry Baker wrote three poems about milk. Then three visual artists interpreted the words with pictures. Hip Hop dance icon Parris Goebel choreographed “Blank Canvas”, recent Graphic Design graduate Megan Au shot “Real”, and Auckland based production house Assembly animated “Inside Out”. Composer Peter Hobbs designed the sound.


What’s the connection with Harry Baker?

Harry Baker is a London-based performance poet. He’s won the World Slam Poetry Championship three times, published a book and given a Ted talk. Last summer was his first trip to New Zealand where he toured teaching creative writing in schools. Harry raps and writes about science so we wanted to know what he thought of milk. He told us in three poems.


Did Parris choreograph this?

Yes. We really wanted Parris Goebel to interpret strength in “Blank Canvas”, because her articulation of self-empowerment is bold and unique. Parris choreographed the piece and danced with Royal Family members Kaea Pearce and Kirsten Dodgen. All three held their breath while recording to get the dance in a single take.


Are those people acting?

Every reaction filmed in “Real” was genuine. Filmmaker Megan Au met and introduced herself to people around Auckland city where she could capture natural responses to questions on film. The team at Assembly helped Megan out with some gear and guidance, leaving her to create her first piece of commissioned work out of university. Megan is currently developing some personal projects, follow her on Instagram to see new work.


How’d you make the animation?

Auckland production house Assembly created the animation for Inside Out. Each visual concept was developed from scratch by their team of graphic effects specialists to create the poem’s ‘world’. Animation director Jonny Kofoed did an amazing job blending together typographic, video and CGI elements to deliver a multi-layered, highly textural and evocative piece of film. He was even a milk delivery boy back in the day.


What’s calcium banking?

Calcium banking is your body’s way of storing enough calcium for a lifetime. After years of growing your skeleton, the body switches to strengthening mode as a teenager and deposits as much calcium as it can into your bones before you turn 18. When you don’t get enough calcium from food, your bones act as a ‘bank’ and release calcium back into your bloodstream. There’s heaps written about calcium banking – you can find some of it here or here

Thanks for reading, make sure you’re getting enough calcium. Hope you like the films.