In the last week or so I have been down at the Bohemia Outdoor Film Festival watching an assortment of short films nominated for this year's WA Screen Awards as well as a local micro-budget feature.
Normally this is something I would not do but it was refreshing to see some high quality shorts and the young talent coming through. More than that though was the sense of camaraderie and good will as the film-makers invariably had family and friends in the crowd. I spoke about the importance of this here with the screening of Kanowna last year (which also had a screening at the festival being nominated for Best Director and Best Production Design).
What it makes me realise is this: I have been working almost exclusively on feature projects which invariably have a long development time and even longer period to source finance. I don't get to sit in an audience and gauge the reaction of a living, breathing organism known as a 'paying audience'. I get to sit inside my head creating characters, worlds and stories while occasionally being let out to have meetings with key collaborators. I may not get to see the results of that work, in the worst case scenario, ever and at best, months from now.
Also this, I do not have a showpiece short film from a script I have written. I almost did, having written a great short script that received funding but then went horribly wrong as recalled here.
So today I knuckled down and finished the first draft of a short screenplay that's been hanging around for some time. There was even a 4 page detailed synopsis so it was always an idea I was fond of (like many writers I know, writing a synopsis is similar to the dental procedure in The Marathon Man). I have sent it off to a local producer with an upcoming funding round in mind. Damn it, I want to sit in a deck chair on a warm summer's night and watch a short film I've written while drinking a beer!
The other thing that was encouraging to see was a structured form of networking for newcomers to the local film industry (mostly actors) on the screening nights. Sure, some were very young but it meant they were able to meet 'notables' (I'm sure I only barely qualified) in a safe and supportive environment. The thing is, their enthusiasm is a little bit infectious too. So well done to Debbie Thoy from Wizard Corporation Productions for organising that.
Tomorrow I'll be back onto my feature script with a polish due Monday, but for today I was writing to feed the creative soul that craves recognition and applause. After all, isnt that why we do this crazy thing called screenwriting?