About month ago I went to an info session about a $10,000 film grant. I’ve got to be honest, I have to force myself to apply for grants, after years of rejection. Still, us older creative types must keep pushing on. Haven’t we paid our dues? So, before I put in the application, I had a conversation with my creative-alter-ego. Something I do often.
ME: I’d rather watch telly than make the 90 second teaser (required for the application). I won’t win (negative energy from childhood resurfacing here) and I don’t have the spare cash to splash around on crew (translate – Do you know how many times I’ve done this?). No. I’m not filling out the application. I’m going to watch repeats of Love Island Australia on catch-up TV, instead!
EGO: Noel pull yourself together, you’ve got to be in it to win it. Let’s think…what about your short play, Pulling Out? You won ‘best writing’ Pink Shorts Midsumma Festival 2008, adapt that. Come on. It won’t take long (famous last words). It’s the perfect story for a Queer Film Festival grant, promise.
ME: Why perfect?
EGO: Because it’s set in a bathhouse. Bette Midler started singing in a bathhouse. Everyone loves her.
ME: But, it’s not about her. It’s about not giving up, or pulling out… It’s a metaphor.
EGO: Really? What’s bull fighting got to do with the LGBTQ community? Touche!
ME: Nothing. I said, metaphor not matador.
EGO: Oh, I get it…I think?
ME: I did win with ‘Pulling Out’ at Midsumma! Still, no one supports older talent! Oh, and I’d have to find ‘bloody actors’ who will get naked (that’s a friggin’ tough gig). I wonder if anyone on Neighbours is free?
EGO: You just need a camp (cheap-very-cheap) film teaser, that’s all. Your script is a winner.
ME: I’d need a good D.O.P and indoor locations, that’s costly. Disco music, a finished script. Jeez, all this in a month, while trying to keep a roof over my head. I mightn’t even make the final pitching comp. (thinking about doing it) God, I wish I was a 9 to 5-er with nothing to think about but when my lunch break is… Midday, great! Three prawn rice paper rolls, thanks. And, a Pepsi Max!
EGO: But, you’ve gotta be in it to win it, Noel?
So, I got to work. I decided to do everything myself, save time and money. Create a funny teaser, using my ‘fingers’ as the lead male characters (I’d cast real actors once the prize money was in the bank). Fingers as naked bodies in a gay sauna! Brilliant idea, I thought! I shot inside my flat, on my iPhone. I’d make the ‘live pitching’ part of the comp, final six filmmakers, for sure. It took me 3 days to adapt my script for the screen, 14 hours of filming and editing, 4 hours was spent on the online application. 42 hours work all together, that’s a full working week plus (for no pay). Let’s go – Personal details, synopsis, director’s notes, screenplay, support material and the film teaser, complete! I hit the enter button on my computer, sending the application on it’s way, somewhere over the rainbow. I collapsed exhausted. Let this be said, at least this old boy had a crack, I thought to myself, pun intended.
I was not selected for the pitching competition
7/03/2019 – I am sitting in bed with a bug thinking about arts funding in Australia. A friend told me there’s a knack to getting funded, ‘write down any old fucking shit, listen to me! Tell’em whatever they want to hear, not your age though, no one funds experience…and when you get the dough, shoot what you want. Even if your film is really shit, who cares, you won’t… because you got the money.’ “Only I didn’t get the frigging money!” I snapped. My friend left the room, shutting the door on the way out.
You learn a lot about yourself when we commit and go after something, even if you know in your heart you won’t get it, I thought. There is no prize, if you don’t give things a crack, my creative-alter-ego is correct about that! Perhaps the real reward when we lose, is the opportunity to review our current situation. Best I start reviewing it, then? Well, maybe not today, today I am sick in bed with flu. Tomorrow? BTW – If you’d like to see my losing 90-second teaser of PULLING OUT, click on the image below.
PS. Maybe someone else would like to produce it, if you do, I’m ready to go! Cheers Noel Anderson