Saturday, March 13, 2010


There is definitely a different vibe in the air at the moment. No, not because this is the driest start to a year since records began in 1876 for my hometown of Perth. Something far more subtle on the film industry front.

Genre film-making doesn't appear to be such a dirty concept anymore with Screen Australia backing 5 projects in their Springboard initiative that were either science fiction or thrillers. Personnel changes at the local funding body mean I no longer feel like an outsider. Various seminars and talks reinforce I'm on the right track with my writing and I've emerged from my Goldmanesque pit to launch a script into the world. Currently looking at novels to option for film adaptations and even being pitched film ideas from unexpected sources.

Perception, however, is a funny thing. On two separate occasions this week - one from an English perspective, the other an American view - it was mentioned that Australian film-makers are perhaps the best supported in the world in terms of access to funding. Yet, if you asked Australian film-makers I'm sure they'd tell you the opposite ... or lament the 'inequities' of the system.

There also seemed to be a lot of hand-wringing over the local film awards held last weekend. Not to mention general grief over the state of the industry in the classic Australian past-time of arguing business versus art. I'd add that there appears to be a strain of professional versus amateur in that debate with many ill conceived projects being rushed into production with no identified audience and insufficient care over script. It's also interesting to see who participates in workshops and attends seminars and who doesn't.

The development workshop offered another interesting observation in how to see the film world. If the triangle of film-making is Characters, Audience & the Film-maker then the English and Australian instinct (as demonstrated beautifully by our answers) is to focus on character nearly at the expense of audience with a self-deprecating nod to the role of the film-maker. The American paradigm is to head straight for audience, trumpet the film-maker with character seemingly an afterthought. Possibly harsh but no doubt with grains of truth.

So there's currently a flurry of activity - I will rewrite the opening of my script based on the principles discussed at the workshop. I'm also doing a course with Paul Chitlik starting in April that will prove invaluable in getting to the next draft.

My director, recently returned from LA, is lamenting the difference in professionalism (here) and both my producers rolled up their sleeves and participated in writing exercises with Simon and Jonathon (Jocelyn's thoughts here). The next step is to match all the activity on the script with movement on the financing front. And for my thoughts to wander to what my next project will be ...

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