Pulling Out by Noel Anderson

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



A Bullet to the Head

Fabiana Weiner as Edie Fabiana Weiner as Edie

Extract from Andy Warhol’s Fifteen Minutes of Fame
By Noel Anderson


WOMAN 1 enters with dark glasses, smoking and drinking. A director’s chair with star written on the back is on Stage.

WOMAN 1: Hi. I’m Andy’s it-girl. Where should I sit? Andy?

No one answers. She smokes and drinks.WOMAN 1: Okay. Screen-test. Sedgwick. Nov 16th. Andy’s factory. Action


WOMAN 1: Talk. Hmmm, I’d like to discuss on camera, a bullet to the head. Now, if you took a bullet to the brain would, or would you not, be conscious of being shot? I say you would not be conscious, because the damage happens very fucking fast, too fast for your brain to realize it’s been hit. I don’t know this for a fact because it isn’t really my thing, I’m not a gun crazy kinda girl, my thing is really suicide. Accidental suicide! Of course there are many ways to die, hanging is one, the electric chair is another, and a bullet is another again. Not all deaths are accidents though! That’s why you hire a wound–ballistics-expert, that’s when you’re an expert on gunshot wounds to the body. Right! That’s right, right? Andy? Andy’s not talking anymore today. Oh, is that right? Come out from behind that camera Andy! Come out come out wherever you are!

She takes out a small bag of pills.

WOMAN 1: Left? No. I’m his voice from now on, yes. I do all the TV interviews and the talk shows…whatever… Turn to the camera, right? Red light on! So, where was I then, bullets…if you should happen to take a bullet say while shopping at Tiffany’s, then you have, and this is important, about a 50/50 chance of surviving. Not everyone dies from fucking head injuries no matter how badly shot. So, killing people, shooting them dead, may not be the answer because they might live anyway. I’d try and talk to them first. Try a little kindness. Andy agrees, don’t you? But, it also import…important to note a bullet wound will not necessarily damage consciousness. That’s the point I’m trying to make on the show tonight. Like if I was a soldier, at war, Vietnam, right? And, I was shot. Well, head wounds are not necessarily good to get, are they? I’ve studied this.. I’ve been in lots of hospitals! It’s not good to get shot because it just fucks up your day (She laughs) Okay, I nursed my brother when he died, suicide, and I did read a book on combat fatalities. I found it lying on the Factory floor. The cat had pissed on it. (She laughs) Gee, that lights getting bright? Can we turn one off? Andy? Andy? Can we turn one down? He’s not talking I forgot. Dumb me. I…it’s worth remembering…remembering that trauma…that trauma can happen to anybody. Blood loss is a key…is the key. (She laughs) Did you know…we have 6 litres of blood, the internal artery clears about a quarter of a litre per minute, and in stressful situation, like, being shot, or squeezing into a size ten dress, then that output can double. If we lose just 20% of our blood, then we lose consciousness. Amazing…but, I’ve got to stop rolling, I mean filming because I’m not feeling so well, well informed. My head is fragmented, like someone has pushed a missile through and out the other side. What’s happening? Can we dim the studio lights – please? Andy I think I need a neurosurgeon and some fucking “digital palpation” What do you mean Ms Sedgwick anything wrong?

She stands shaking.

WOMAN 1: Wrong? Jesus Christ, it’s a complicated, man. It’s a medical term for sticking your fingers in and wiggling them about. Stop the camera. Please stop the fucking camera. Where’s the audience? I’m sorry my skull just shattered. Applause!

She falls to the floor.

WOMAN 1: Golly Edie. What about a Kronlien shot to the head? I don’t know what you mean, sir. Can’t you see I’m shutting down. What do you mean it’s the shot that splits open the skull…but neatly ejects the whole brain on the ground like a neat pile of dog shit. Bright! Bright!

She takes a handful of pills and drinks.

WOMAN 1: Ciao Manhattan, I’m shutting down. I’m done. No really…I’m done. Cut. Turn off the camera. Consciousness before death… it’s simply not guaranteed.

She slumps back in the chair, and drops a bottle of pills on the floor.



‘Before The Mardi Gras Parade Passes By’ by Noel Anderson

I’m on a Jetstar plane travelling to Sydney for the 40th anniversary of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras. So, naturally I’m thinking queer history and the evolution of LGBTQ community in Australia. It has been colourful and at times a painful journey, from persecution to liberation. Recently of course, Australians turned out in their thousands and voted ‘YES’ to marriage equality, reminding the ‘NO’ voters including ex-PM Tony Abbott, leading ‘NO’ vote supporter, what a ‘fair go’ really means, and possibly also redefining exactly what it means to be a ‘dinkum Aussie’ in modern terms. It was also a joy to lean, so many heterosexual Aussies believed in the power of love.

Having grown up a Sydneysider, the history of that 78ERS is well known to me. In fact, I can’t think of the Sydney Mardi Gras without remembering the efforts of the men and women that paved the way for the liberal minded country we live in today. I believe that message of love started way back in 1978 at that very first protest march. So, I thought I’d take a moment ‘Before the parade passes by’ to reflect on that single great event in queer history, the one that started the whole damn ‘Mardi Gras Parade’ thing.

Saturday 24 June, 1978 – A buzz was in the chilly night air, as a small group of men and women gathered at Taylor Square to celebrate the anniversary of the Stonewall riots in New York. The bars on Oxford Street were bustling with late night crowds waiting to see what the night would bring. Often that meant heading to one of three key openly gay venues, in particular Cappriccio’s, which was nearby. However, this Saturday night was very different.

As 11pm approached, a throng of people – some walking, some dancing, a few even skipping – marched down towards Hyde Park. Chants of “Out of the bars and into the streets” joined the sound of gay liberation anthems ‘Glad to be Gay’ and ‘Ode to a Gym Teacher’ emanating from the small sound system on the back of a single flat-bed truck, driven by Lance Gowland.

The NSW Police, however, were not in such a joyous mood. Despite the issuing of a permit for the march, the police began to usher the revellers down the street. When the marchers reached Hyde Park, the police confiscated the truck and sound system. The crowd began to move towards Kings Cross. Once there the police swooped in, blocking the dispersing crowd and throwing people into paddy-wagons. The crowd fought back and 53 were subsequently charged at Darlinghurst police station.

Although most charges were eventually dropped, The Sydney Morning Herald published the names, occupations and addresses of those arrested in full, outing many and causing some to lose their jobs. This was the authorities’ attempt to keep the community in line, but Sydney’s gays and lesbians would not get back in line. Little did those witnessing and partaking in the march know, this was to be the start of Mardi Gras and would become a defining moment not only in Australia’s LGBTQI rights history, but a defining moment in the cultural heritage of Australia.

It’s three days now before Mardi Gras celebrates its 40th anniversary and I am at the ‘Mardi Gras’ Museum of Love and Protest’ revisiting not only Mardi Gras’ history but also it’s colourful costumes.

Wandering through the miles of fabric and dresses, outfits, hats and sequins, I am reminded of the hours of love and creativity it takes to be part of the parade. And, I’m also reminded of the many friends lost to HIV back in the 1980’s and 90’s.

For me, Mardi Gras is part of my DNA, I own it. Like my birth place, Sydney, it will always be in my soul. Wherever I roam, I will draw strength from the 78ERS, the men and women who fought the good fight, so generations of LGBTQ Australians could live and prosper in a better world.

Happy 40th Mardi Gras Anniversary From Noel

The ‘YES’ vote for equality I don’t believe would have been achievable without the 78ERS or Mardi Gras. Sydney would not be Sydney without the LGBTQ community. They go together like meat pie and tomato sauce, and Australians everywhere are all the better off for it.

Happy 40th Mardi Gras love always Noel xx

Noel Anderson’s Website

Note: ‘Mardi Gras’ Museum of Love and Protest’ part of Mardi Gras 2018. Thanks to the National Art School for all the memories.

CONFIDE IN ME – A Pop Podcast


‘Six years ago, I put earbuds in and turned iTunes up full blast. I hit repeat. Then, I did it again. It had been a week since my breakup, the pain cut deep. A 10 year relationship over. I had a lot to empty, a lot to get out of my head. I wrote overnight, stopping for Promite on toast then back to work. I was on autopilot. Just who is flying this ship? Stay in the moment, with the melody inside you. Out of heartache grew a rose with thorns. Beautifully sharp, about love and music, what else? Not tied up with a pretty pink bow, but bloody. Keep hold, keep on writing, I remember thinking. It hurt like friggin’ hell. I called this hell, ‘Confide in Me’ and now I want to share it with you as a podcast’ – Noel Anderson  3/03/2018

‘Music is the great healer of broken hearts. I know, cause I’ve been there, I’ve been broken’

Warning: Adult Themes


Confide in Me’ had its world premiere on 14th September 2017 as part of ‘Love Kills 2017’ at Caz Reitop’s Dirty Secrets in Collingwood, Melbourne Fringe 2017. ‘Love Kills 2017’ was produced and directed by Noel Anderson

‘Confide in Me – A Podcast’ is directed, written and performed by Noel Anderson.

Lunch by Noel Anderson

Have you heard much about AIDS lately? It‘s a month before Christmas late 1980’s,  I’m waiting in the cafe at the Australian Film, Television and Radio School in North Sydney for my friend to arrive. He is already late. We hadn’t seen each other for sometime, catching up more often than not over the phone, long distance, his calls going on for hours, sometimes two or three.  We covered a lot of ground over the line, politics and theatre his favourite subjects.  Think Chekhov, Moliere and Bob Hawke…Australia’s Prime Minister at the time. My friend  was a set designer, a very good one… and I the struggling director/artist or so I thought.  We spoke a lot on the phone. He encouraged me to expand my skills, maybe writing would be good, he’d often suggest.  I guess he felt I had a lot lot to say, maybe that’s why he suggested writing I remembered thinking.  It was a strange friendship thinking back, very much student/teacher with me being the student, as he would never see himself as anything else but the experienced professional.  He was bold, melodramatic with a larger than life personality, crooked teeth, yet still possessed the simple values of a country boy who’d come to the big smoke.  It’s been so long ago that I can’t even remember where we met but the one one thing I’ve never forgotten was our last lunch together.  You see what my friend neglected to tell me in all our long conversations on the phone was that he had HIV/AIDS, and was now in the final stage of the disease.

The noise of a bloke shouting interrupted my thoughts.  The cafe was full of students, arty types. Who was that making all that racket I thought, then my friend turned the corner yelling at people – Move Out Of My Bloody Way.  He held a wooden cane. He was frail, he was very angry, he was scared…and he was sick.

“Noel…luv…it’s me, over here!” he bellowed across the crowed cafe like some aunt you’d almost forgotten. “Get a table will’ya, over there.” 

I was glad he told me it was him, as I wouldn’t have recognised the dying old man in front of me as my 34 year old friend.  He was lifeless, hollowed faced, hopelessly thin.  I stumble with shock at the sight of him, hitting my head, almost knocking myself out.  The cafe staff put some blocks of ice in a tea towel which I put to my head and sat us both down at our table for lunch, away from the onlookers. I was always on a diet  back then so I ordered chicken salad off the menu while my friend ordered a cheeseburger and beer battered chips.  He toyed with his fork and then said…

“Well, you made an entrance hitting your head like that!” 

“So did you,” I said, “Shouting like that! Anyway it was cinematic, my entrance. Charlie Chaplin.” 

“But, I recognised you,  you didn’t recognise me. I could tell by the look on your face. You looked shocked. Do I look that bad old son?”  

I said nothing, head down, just picked at my food.  He took a chip from his plate and with a glint in his eyes said…

“I have AIDS you know. Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome.  Do you know what that is?  Well I have it…Say something.” 

“I don’t know what to say. Yes I know what it is! I guessed it was AIDS too when I saw you. How are you doing?”

“How does it look like I’m doing? Christ I’m not havin’ fun I can tell you that. It’s been fucking tough” he snapped at me, straight away offering me a chip off his plate. He was testing me I remember thinking. Teasing me, checking to see what I knew about AIDS, checking to see how frightened I was of catching HIV by offering me food. Food he may have contaminated, just by his touch.

“Yes. It’s must be tough I imagine” I answered sheepishly, not wanting another outburst.

“No you can’t my friend, no you can’t imagine…Death should always be pain free don’t you think?  And you can’t catch it from sharing food…so have a chip.” He pushed his plate across the table and for a brief moment he started to cry, stopping when he caught my gaze.

“I know that” I said  and ate a chip, sliding back the plate.  He raised his eye brows.

“Good to see you. You look well. Very handsome” he smiled, grabbing my hand as if he never wanted to let go.

We spent a good hour or so talking politics and Australian theatre that day. He was helping out on a student film at AFTRS, enjoying working on it. He was so sick I wondered what, if anything, he could be doing on the set. Could he be the set designer? I never asked him. We joked about people we had known, some we’d lost too.  He talked at great length about his overseas trip months earlier, how much he loved European  art and culture. He gave advice on my career, reminding me that film is where the money is at, he warned not to stay working in theatre. When I hugged him goodbye I could almost feel his frail body crack under the strain of my affection.  I never saw him again.

He died several weeks after our lunch date.  After his funeral I discovered that once he found out he had  HIV he successfully secured a lot credit with various banks, not telling any of them he was HIV positive of course.  It was on a line of credit that he had travelled to Europe. He never intended to pay the money back to the banks, and of course he didn’t. Why should he?

Some years later the Australian AIDS Quilt was touring the country. The quilt is made up of the names of everyone who lost the fight against AIDS in those dark years, name after name sewn into fabric by friends, lovers and family members… stitches of love and sorry. I clearly remember standing by the quilt looking at hundreds of names, people  of all races, young and old, that had passed away in the epidemic.  AIDS does not discriminate, it doesn’t care if you’re gay or straight either, married  or  de facto.  Thinking back going to a funeral a week was a common occurrence in the late 80’s, you were friends with someone, then you were at their funeral.  For a while world didn’t care, it was a gay disease, why rush to find a cure.  Rock Hudson, a high profile celebrity, dying of AIDS changed that. Eventually I found my friend’s name sewn in the quilt. I never forgot our lunch or his anger. How could I? Only people who lived through the AIDS epidemic will know exactly what I’m talking about when I say – We Are The Lucky Ones.  Over time, I wrote a play based on my friend’s luminous personality, about friendship, about AIDS, about letting go. It’s called Dark Victory.  So, let this then my friend, let this be our victory  against the dark. Hugs  xxx

The Australian AIDS Memorial Quilt Project – began in 1988 and provided a focus for the expression of community grief as the AIDS epidemic grew and was part of a worldwide movement to promote compassion, education and understanding about AIDS and its human toll. The Powerhouse Museum in Sydney received the quilt in 2007.

Dark Victory by Noel Anderson is a finalist in the Playtime Writing Competition and part of the Midsumma Festival 2016. An extract of the script will be performed on 21st January at Gasworks Theatre and Arts Park along with several other new works. Tickets only  $10 – Starting time 7pm. Note: Midsumma Launch Party before hand from 5.30pm (sausage sizzle & Drinks)




Andy Warhol In The Raw: The Complete Picture

In January 2013 Noel Anderson’s provocative play Andy Warhol’s Fifteen Minutes of Fame sold out at La Mama Courthouse, Melbourne. Fast forward to 2015, Andy’s back, this time he is taking over Saturday Nights at the Jewish Museum of Australia.
Admission includes: The Raw Reading & performance plus viewing of the Warhol Exhibition, Geniuses. Warhol’s life and art under one roof with an especially reworked script by Noel Anderson for the occasion. This is the complete picture of Andy Warhol, the man and his art.
Anderson’s obsession with Warhol began when he was completing a writing course at NIDA.
“I wanted to write about fame and success and as I started to research Andy Warhol I realised he had a lot of things I really admired,” he says. “The more I wrote the more interested I got and it became almost like an obsession.”
In the era of Facebook, YouTube and short-lived overnight sensations, everyone is clamouring for their 15 minutes of notoriety more today, than when Andy ruled the world back in the 60’s and 70’s. Andy Warhol’s Fifteen Minutes of Fame charts the artist’s struggle for success and descent into madness by his hand-picked superstar, Valerie Solanas.
Andy Warhol’s Fifteen Minutes of Fame – In The Raw
Written and Directed by Noel Anderson

Where: The Jewish Museum of Australia, Melbourne
When: Sat Nights in May – 2nd, 9th and 16th
Admission includes: Raw Performance and the Warhol Exhibition, Geniuses.
Plus, Q & A with director/writer and cast.
Price: Adult $30 Concession $25
Bookings : http://www.trybooking.com/129490
Script Online: http://australianplays.org/script/ASC-1542

Albert Einstein in a box?

Albert Einstein in a box?

Superstars Wanted for Raw Performance?

Have you got what it takes to be part of Andy Warhol’s Fifteen Minutes of Fame on a Saturday night in May? If you’re a Superstar performer/actor then writer & director Noel Anderson wants to hear from you!
After a sellout season at La Mama Courthouse in 2013 Andy Warhol’s Fifteen Minutes of Fame is back in Melbourne. Andy is taking over the Jewish Museum of Australia for a special event….and bringing his famous art work too.
The evening consists of an audience viewing of the Warhol Exhibition Geniuses and then the Raw Reading & peformance of the play Andy Warhol’s Fifteen Minutes of Fame in the Warhol Now Gallery. Art & Performance on Warhol together. The script has been especially reworked for the Raw performance at the Jewish Museum with surprise moments directed by Noel Anderson.
The evening concludes with a Q & A with writer & director Noel Anderson, Josh Futcher as Andy Warhol and the cast.
If you think you have what it takes to be a Warhol Superstar for one night then forward your CV, photo and contact details to: audreypopmusical@yahoo.com.au
In the email tell us why you have what it takes to be a Warhol Superstar!
Note: All actors must be 26 years old and upwards. All ages over 26 years considered.
Applicants if successful will be contacted in mid April!
A Fee is paid on the night to the chosen performer.
For Script extract click Australian Plays org link.
Remember to LIKE Andy Warhol’s Fifteen Minutes of Fame: In the Raw on Facebook.
BOOKINGS: http://www.trybooking.com/129490