Thursday, August 11, 2011

No Hyphens Here

"I'm just a writer."

I normally tell people off for saying that, especially myself - there's no "just" about it. However, we're seemingly a rare breed in Australia. The norm appears to be to collect as many hyphens as possible - writer/director being the most notable. Of course, the collective noun for a swag of hyphens is "auteur" but that's a discussion for another time.

The reality - sheeted home again today - of being "just a writer" is that you can't get a film made by yourself, not even a short film. I never went to film school, have "directed" a sum total of two scenes for a workshop 6 years ago, don't even own a video camera. So I need a director... otherwise it's "just" words on a page.

Unfortunately I've had two short film projects on the precipice this year only to be scuppered when key creative collaborators withdrew. So there's a really nice short script that missed FTI's last funding round sitting in a drawer until next year; and another script that now has to find a new home before it can get made. Why the withdrawals? Personal reasons, scheduling conflicts; issues outside my control.

The disappointment is magnified when I see colleagues being congratulated for successfully navigating the highly competitive funding rounds or having their shorts selected in festivals. You have to "be in it to win it" as I always say but I can't even make it to the starting line lately!

My main focus is feature scripts but I'd like to think anything I devote time to writing has some chance of being seen by an audience otherwise what's the point?

I don't have time to dwell on it as the ticking clock of a deadline grows louder by the day. It's a reality of being a screenwriter... still doesn't mean you don't feel gutted when you have to open that metaphorical bottom drawer and banish another of your creations...

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