I made a little film a few years ago that means an awful lot to me. Before it was made I had been variously involved in many screen productions for around ten years – anything from TV commercials for sex shops and kid’s sports shows to mainstream soap operas and corporate audiovisuals for vegetable processors. I had crewed and acted in other people’s short films in the then weenie Tasmanian film industry and then one day I realised I wanted to make one of my own.
I had a story, I wrote the script, I showed a few people. To my amazement, some of them wanted to be involved with producing it and another said he’d like to direct it. Then we found some more lovely people who helped us raise enough funds to pay our crew (no mean feat in the short film world – thanks mostly to friends and family God love ’em).
We made it. It wasn’t easy (they never are, films) but we did. Since then it has been screened in a few different locations, mostly in Tasmania and at one festival in the US. It hasn’t – as far as large crew shorts go – done very well on the festival circuit. But this doesn’t worry me very much. What it did do was give every one of our team some invaluable experience on a film set and some much needed employment for our wonderful filmies who mostly find it impossible to make a living in the little state of Tasmania. It has boxed up – in a modest DVD cover – the beginnings of this film making thing I love to do and can’t seem to stop doing. It set fire to a little part of me that has gone on to make two more short films since, one of them as director.
And it told a long-held story that needed ousting so I could move on. In contrast to much of my recent work which errs on the side of silly, it is a bit of a tragic love story. In hindsight I don’t think I’m very good at tragedy but it was a story I had once written as a novel way back when the Tasmanian Writer’s Centre mentored young writers with experienced ones, and later as a short story. I was younger (ok young) when I wrote it – and fretfully in love with a man who loved the sea more than me. He told me once that he would die if anyone took him away from the sea. Meantime I was seasick on boats and lovesick on land.
I recovered from the lovesickness, but have since been fascinated by the relationship between human beings and the ocean. So for my first foray into film I dusted off the novel and somehow – painfully – reduced it to 14 minutes of screen time, with much input from script advisors, director and producers.
Anyway, we did it and I’m still very very proud of it. I sort of cast myself because I couldn’t bear the thought of anyone else playing the role I’d played (to a small degree) in real life. I’ve been casting myself in stuff ever since. Mostly because I only otherwise seem to get cast as dead people and I love performing and won’t take the “actually you’re a shit actress unless you’re playing dead” hints for an answer. I probably am a bit shit but at least I’m havin’ a go and there’s nothing like learning on the job is there?
Anyway, what I really wanted to say was: if you were involved in some small or large way in getting my first film off the ground, I want you to know I think about your kindness often and I will continue to work to make the best of your gesture. Many thanks. And if you never saw the film, here it is, A Quiet Tomorrow. (Mild raunch warning).