Episode Three!

...In which Jörg must come to terms with the damp, the draughts and the rationed oil heaters of a kiwi flat and Duncan discovers a fundamental German social leveller: the “Hausschuh” (kind of like slippers in the English speaking world, but somehow more ergonomic). Enjoy the next domestic adventure of our two heroes on cultural exchange and, if it makes you smile, send it to a friend! Every time a new person sees Lifeswap, joy warms our insides like a wall-mounted, adjustable German central heating unit.

The Winter Deniers from Steffen Kreft on Vimeo.

MFAT New Zealand and the Goethe-Institut: our patrons.

Genesis - A Creation Story 

In the beginning was Goethe.

And then Goethe said to William and Steffen "Let there be Life(swap)" and there was Life(swap).

And on the second episode, MFAT said "Let us divide the funding" and it was so.

And then for the third, fourth and fifth episodes, Goethe and MFAT said "Let us offer joint funding for future episodes, so that this may be hereafter called a "series". And there were some costs yet to be covered and MFAT said "Let us cover those extra costs." And it came to be.

And so Steffen, who had created Joerg and Duncan and Ange and Hannes continued to bring forth Life(swap) abundantly.

And, despite predictable glitches with the Apple at the centre of this creation, we are SO GRATEFUL to our generous patrons and have designed a special coat of arms in their joint honour.

Lifeswap gets high tech….Meet Wacom

This impressive piece of equipment is called a wacom tablet. It is Steffen's new baby. (Actually, it belongs to a good friend of his who has had a real baby, so it's kind of a temporary foster dad situation.)

Anyway, it allows him to draw directly onto the screen with a special pen (that's not a biro) to create more nuanced images.

Steffen and Wacom have a close bond. Steffen says using the tablet feels just like drawing on paper, and I have noticed that the characters who have emerged since he's been using it, like Hannes' Hausschuh wearing punk brother (pictured) have a special presence and sense of personality. Episode three will be quite something, I think...

A Kiwi basks in centrally heated Berlin

Here it is. The secret at the centre
of German civilization (at least from November till April)...

The double window and the permanently-on-radiator.

And in the room behind the camera, Steffen and I are sitting in T-shirts (not out of antipodean bravado, but because it is actually warm) working on episode three in which……

Joerg must wear all of his insulated, wind-resistant extreme outdoor clothing in his bedroom because he has learnt that the New Zealand answer to draughty, uninsulated houses is "Then put on another jersey!" And Duncan is on the verge of a German rite of passage: he is about to buy his first pair of "Hausschuhe"; so much more than a pair of slippers, this felt-based footwear, along with double-glazing and central heating, completes a kind of holy trinity accepted by all Germans. Hausschuhe protect against the myriad of mysterious illnesses that Germans seem to believe are lurking at floor-level, waiting to assail bare or merely socked feet. More updates soon….

Episode Two!!!

Why is it that in New Zealand, a land with a proud tradition of agriculture and DIY, you can't always just call a spade a spade? Poor Jörg doesn't know what's hit him when Duncan explains five rules of survival - not how to survive in the bush, but how to beat around it. Click on the link below and enjoy...

Lifeswap Episode 2 – The Tea Towel Stinks from Steffen Kreft on Vimeo.

Final, tiny, vital things

So, days away from releasing episode two (early next week - watch this space), the lovely ladies at the Goethe-Institut, while carrying out a routine check on our work, picked up on a detail that only experts with an eye for cultural nuances would be capable of...

Steffen had almost outed Duncan as the animated product of German hands by drawing him indicating the number three by holding up a thumb and two fingers. New Zealanders, for reasons too bizarre to be able to trace, would never do this, instead opting for the more contortionist middle three finger method. Anyone who has watched Inglorious Bastards would know that such seemingly insignificant details are capable of bringing whole spy networks crashing to the ground...

Meet Ange.

This is Ange. On the screen. The other one is Steffen.

Ange is the newest character of Lifeswap, Duncan's flatmate and a top Sheila. She is a composite creature, made up of the voice of one of our friends, the mouth and eyes of another, and the personality of a kind of quintessential, good natured, Kiwi twenty-something girl we have all known.

As she receives eyes that blink and a mouth capable of grimacing at awkward domestic encounters with her new German flatmate, something of the mad glint of Doctor Frankenstein enters the eyes of her creator...