Saturday, January 9, 2010

The Vault - "The Funding Application"

Noodling around my various folders looking for late night inspiration I discovered this sketch I wrote back in 2005 for a proposed Channel 31 comedy show called "Piss Take". I'm still in therapy over that little saga but here is "The Funding Application" with a pinch of sarcasm, dollop of scepticism and a healthy dash of Python:

A desk is located in the middle of a suburban oval. An officious looking BUREAUCRAT (B) makes sure everything is perfectly aligned. A FILM-MAKER (F) with folder walks towards the desk.

B: Yes, may I help you?
F: Is this the local film funding office?
B: It certainly is!
F: Great, I have an idea for a film!
B: Oh, you want the carpark down the road then.
F: Excuse me?
B: If you turn left at the roundabout then take the second right, drive a mile or so, take another right, it’s the little layoff at the end of the cul-de-sac past the gravel road near the largest pothole.
F: Aren’t you the local funding body?
B: Yes, how may I help you?
F: I have a film proposal!
B: Sorry, we don’t fund proposals.

The film-maker opens his folder.

F: I have a script!
B: No, don’t fund them either.
F: Treatments, storyboards, three page synopsis …
B: Sorry?
F: It’s a gripping story about the human spirit triumphing against all odds in a world full of greed and self-interest. A sweeping science fiction romance set in the near future that has pulsating action and intense drama with a powerful statement about the human condition.
B: Perhaps I didn’t make myself clear but we only fund films here.
F: If you’d just read the script.
B: Why on earth would I want to do that?
F: What?
B: Look, I’m sure it’s very good, just not for us I’m afraid.
F: You haven’t even looked at it yet?
B: Oh, you have here with you? Excellent!

The bureaucrat pulls a projector out from under the desk, starts to set it up.

F: What are you doing?
B: Still waiting for the DVD player I’m afraid. I’m told next financial year, fingers crossed.
F: I haven’t made it yet.
B: Sorry, can’t help you then.
F: But that’s the whole point!
B: I don’t follow.
F: You give me money to make my film.
B: Don’t be absurd. That’s positively the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard.
F: It’s all right here, on paper.
B: We don’t fund words … we fund films, moving pictures, the cinema, celluloid, the occasional digital image … if times are tough. This is merely … literature.
F: I want to talk to your supervisor.
B: Very well then.

The bureaucrat puts on a pair of horn-rimmed glasses.

B: Yes Sir, how can I be of assistance?
F: Yes, I’d like to … hang on a minute, what are you doing? Oh, this is stupid!
B: If you can’t be civil, I shall have to ask you to leave.
F: This is absurd, I have this perfectly decent idea for a film and all I want is to submit a funding application.
B: As my subordinate no doubt told you Sir, we are not in the business of funding words.
F: Ah, you’re not fooling me - you are one and the same, identical, indeed the very selfsame person.
B: Some people have commented on a certain resemblance, that’s true.
F: Resemblance – all you did was put on a pair of glasses and a posh voice.
B: There’s no need to criticise how some people talk Sir.
F: I don’t want to make any trouble, just read the bloody script, okay?
B: I can’t.
F: What do you mean you can’t?
B: It’s against the rules.
F: What rules?
B: Oh, alright, I can’t read. Are you happy now?
F: You’re in charge of funding and you can’t read?
B: Never seemed necessary really. I’ve got a damn good eye though – do you have any sweeping vistas, any glowing outback scenery? Every Australian movie needs a good outback sunset or two … maybe over a sheep station?
F: I don’t believe this. Is there a manager I can talk to?
B: One moment please.

The film-maker turns his back in disgust, scans the oval. The bureaucrat puts on a hat and a fake moustache.

B: Is this the trouble maker Thompson?
F: (turning around) Yes, look, there’s been some sort of misunderstanding …
B: I’ll say. I’ve reviewed your material and you’ve completely misread the guidelines. There’s not a single outback sunset, no gratuitous shots of the Sydney Opera House or any other famous landmarks for that matter … and worst of all there’s this nonsense about exploring the human condition and hints of what might actually be a storyline. We do not fund this sort of shoddy work.
F: But surely it deserves a chance.
B: Have you seen any Australian movies recently?
F: (chastened) Can you give me any tips to improve it?
B: Set it on a sheep station, make all the main characters gay or retarded and have them sit around all day moaning about relationship issues in thick ocker slang – throw in a bit of stereotypical Aussie humour and I guarantee you’ll get a two, maybe three day run at the local RSL hall.
F: Oh, that’s wonderful, more than I could have dreamed of.
B: Here’s a Visa application form – max out all your credit cards to make it and you’ll be on your way to an AFI Award in no time.
F: Oh thank you Sir, thank you so much!

The film-maker shakes the bureaucrat’s hand enthusiastically before trekking across the oval to his car.

Of course, I wouldn't dream of writing a sketch like that NOW, would I? *wink*

No comments:

Post a Comment