Sunday, November 11, 2012

State of Play and Ongoing Misadventures

On Monday I return to the corporate world full-time. Unavoidable. Desperately needed. In the nick of time. As of yesterday* I had something like $24 credit left on my credit card and $74 in my bank account. If my life was a movie I’d be debating whether to cut the blue wire… no, the green wire… NO, the RED wire… with three seconds left before the big explosion. As long as the bomb doesn’t go off, right?

Deep breath.


Blessed calm.

Some facts: I last worked full-time in an office job back in July 1998 in Sydney. Last time I worked part-time in an office job – 27 August 2010.

808 days later I am returning to a world (telecommunications) that I am really comfortable with but thought I had put behind me. But harsh economic realities cannot be ignored and here’s another scary figure: after taking out rent and my private health insurance, Centrelink payments left me approximately $10 a fortnight to live on. Simply impossible. So the last couple of months have been pretty hard. I posted about that here which, for those of you who know me well, is totally out of character. The one big irony – I will be working out of the very same building from back in 2010!

Yesterday felt a little like “Back to School” as I took the battered remains of my credit card and bought work clothes and the like. I joked to a friend that I should laminate some old high school text books to continue the analogy. I am actually excited about this next phase of my misadventures even though I know it is a massive change to my formerly carefree writer lifestyle.

In that context, a big shout out to my writing home over many years – the Millpoint Caffe Bookshop to use its formal name or simply the bookshop café as it is known by all who know it. Adam and his staff have been very good to me as the usual level of banter can attest to. Thank you to those staff past and present who have provided the coffees, the laughs, and the level of comfort to let me do my thing. I will miss my lazy week days wandering along the foreshore and finding a spot in the courtyard.

But that isn’t to say I’ll be deserting writing, far from it.

My latest feature script, a low budget thriller formerly known as “Untitled Briefcase Thriller” and now “The Script Formerly Known As Turbulence”, did not get chosen for a couple of funding initiatives but it is a first draft and, while a good start, needs work. To that end I have had excellent notes from the ScreenWest Development Manager and my director which will allow me to focus on the rewrite, my primary writing focus moving forward. The briefcase reference comes from the setup – our guy opens a briefcase in which is a gun and a hit list with only one name not crossed out… what do you do?

There are three short films that should see the light of day shortly – “Coffee To Go” and “Darkness” with Filmbites and “For Better Or Worse” for the Central Institute of Technology. I have the usual mix of excitement and apprehension re the finished product but very much looking forward to see how they turned out.

I have recently attached directors to two other short film scripts, “Lucky Bamboo” and my out-of-character zombie effort “UZS-2017”. Waiting on notes before doing new drafts in preparation for next year’s funding rounds.

Then there are the longer shots. Two feature projects waiting on private investors. One a big conspiracy thriller called “The Pilbara Imperative”; the other an action-adventure for an international client tailor made around a specific product they want to promote. Sounds unusual but I was really pleased with how the one pager turned out and the Sydney based director and venture capitalist really like it and the client has made positive noises so far… but these things always take time.

Other than that, I discussed my slate of feature projects with ScreenWest but, as always for a writer, it will be a matter of time and prioritising what to work on. This means I’m less likely to take on even paid reading assignments or writing monologues/scenes for actors… though that can still be by negotiation once I’ve settled into my new routine.

So things are about to change dramatically. But isn’t that what we crave as screenwriters – drama? Maybe it was the green wire…

Yep, I'd call that decadent!
*Addendum: I wrote the above Friday afternoon while sitting in the café courtyard and spoiling myself with lunch, a decadent dessert and farewell banter with the staff. That evening I went to industry drinks in town which seemed fitting, surrounded by peers and agency staff. It was a room full of screenwriting and filmmaking talent. It was good to discuss projects, catch up with people, and generally schmooze. Word of my impending return to the corporate world was common knowledge (thanks to social media) so congratulations and commiserations were the order of the day. I enjoyed it a lot and served as a nice transition point from one phase to the next…

No comments:

Post a Comment