On the set of my first feature film in 2006. A quirky comedy set on Sydney’s North Shore
I was asked by my sister to blog about what my life would look like if I hadn’t gone into youth ministry. So here is: My life as a struggling/average/famous movie director.
I haven’t thought about this very often probably because youth ministry seems like such good fit for me. But I’ll cast my mind to some alternative universe where there was no call from God and I just kept heading for fame and film industry magnificence.
In 2001 I got my first (and only) job in the film industry, working as a runner on a commercial for Purina One. In case you’re wondering it’s a dog food. I think following that I would have worked to capitalise on that job. I would have resumed and interned, and tried to find a way to get someone to keep paying me to work on a film set. I was pretty useless that first job, but I would have worked on some of my areas of weakness, namely making coffee and driving around the city.
I think in 2002 I would have gotten a few more jobs on commercials. Nothing spectacular, but it would have been enough to keep me interested.
In 2003 I would have gotten a job on more commercials and a low-budget Australian movie that goes nowhere. Probably a quirky comedy set in South East Sydney. I would probably get to 2nd Assistant Director.
2004 would be a bumper year for work. I’d have been ADing all over the shop. But I’d also be deeply dissatisfied because I’d be making other people’s art. I’d be itching to make my own stuff. I would also be shooting my own short films. I’d be entering Tropfest and that one at Bondi (Flickerfest?). I’d be preparing my application for the Australian Film Television and Radio School. However, my application would have been rejected because everyone wants to be a film maker, and I’m not that great.
2005 I would be feeling a bit lost because my dream of going to AFTRS wouldn’t have worked out. I’d be putting together plans to make my own feature film. Who needs Film School? I can do it myself. I’d still be doing some AD work and working part time in a bookstore.
2006 It’s feature film year. We’d shoot on some dodgy mini-DV thing because I was too lazy to get proper funding. But I had managed to convince my parents, Grandfather and a few of my friends with jobs to invest. I’d think they were doing to get rich when the film is a big hit at Cannes. But they’d really invest because they’re my friends and family and they love me. The film would be a quirky comedy set on Sydney’s North Shore. It wouldn’t be very good. Everyone would know it’s not very good, I would too, but I wouldn’t admit it because I wouldn’t want people to know that I thought it was a mistake.
2007 I’d apply for AFTRS again, and this time they’d let me in. They loved that I’d made a feature film, even though it was a quirky comedy set on Sydney’s North Shore. I’d realise that I’m pretty useless at studying. I love film. I hate film theory. I also hate my job at the bookstore. I’d start dreaming about making a series of videos for YouTube. Me and some of my film-school buddies start making weekly videos for YouTube. We promote it like there’s no tomorrow. It starts to get some traction. We get about 5,000 views on each video. It’s not enough to get us anywhere, but it’s too much for us to give up.
2008 I’m still at film school, still at the book shop. I’m getting sick of YouTube. I’m wondering what I’m doing with my life.
2009 Second last year of AFTRS. I’ve quit YouTube, I’ve quit the bookstore. My parents are trying to figure out how to politely ask me to move out. I start dreaming about my next feature film.
2010 Last year of AFTRS. I’m excited about my final project. It’s an overly symbolic, well shot, quirky comedy shot in the western suburbs. We try and convince Nikki Webster to star in it. She says “No”. We get someone who was on Home and Away in 2007. The project gets good marks. My friends and family are polite about it.
2011 It’s time to make my feature film. I start gathering all my film school buddies. We have a producer on the team who knows how to raise serious cash. We shoot on a RED Epic. The film looks great. We try convince Kevin Costner to come out to Sydney and star in the film, we don’t succeed, but we do manage to get William Baldwin. We spend most of the time on set talking to him about what he knows about 30 Rock. He get’s frustrated that people love Alec more than him. The film is an un-quirky gross-out comedy, set in the centre of Sydney. The film get’s to go to a few film festivals. iTunes releases it for download. Our parents and friends download it. We don’t make our money back.
2012 I spend the first half of the year shooting film clips for bands because I’m sick of feature films. Next week I’m shooting a film clip for Darren Hayes. Then I’m planning to fly to LA and try and get work shooting commercials. My parents are relieved I’ll finally be out of the house. I’m not sure how I’ll make any money, but William Baldwin has told me he’ll introduce me to some people he knows. I’m hoping to meet Tina Fey. Really, he’s gonna be a letdown and he’d just introduce me to another as yet undiscovered Baldwin brother. But that’s later. Right now I’ve gotta do some more prep for this Darren Hayes shoot. Who even knew he was still making music?