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Jan 2016 0 Comment

Entry 8: Your Half Of The Fees

Ryan drove back from the Murray early so we could get together and talk about what all of this actually means for us, and our families. We met at a restaurant in the town that I live. I pulled up next to him in the carpark, got out and shook his hand, and then we both laughed and hugged. I had imagined how we might react to the news once we finally, after so many years, got a green light, and it was in no way as subdued as this. I fantasised about immediately setting my office desk on fire and dancing around the flames, or just running around like a loon and screaming my head off. Our more reserved reaction was no doubt due to the fact that it was delayed,  and that we heard the news on the same call but we were hundreds of kilometres apart. Yes, I’m sure it’s due to those things, but it’s mainly due to the fact that we are also terrified. As Ryan succinctly put it that evening: “OK, so we got picked. What the fuck do we do now?”

We ate, we revisited the highlights of the call with Andy, and we spared a thought for our fellow applicants who were still in the midst of the stress of not knowing if they will be picked. We had some sobering realisations; like how long we would need to be away from our families to make the film (as the shoot must happen in Canberra, about 1000kms from where we live), and how little time we had to prepare before the start of principle photography. Well, how little the ten weeks felt like to us. In truth, it’s ample. More than enough. But still. You know what I mean. We spoke about the triggers for resigning from our jobs (a completed MOU was the obvious answer), and how we would manage that financially. We also spared a moment to talk about what we were walking away from in our day jobs. I don’t want you to get the wrong idea, Dear Reader; there was never a question that we would resign. But we had spent our entire working lives on developing our careers, and we had done pretty well. We both had great bosses and good work environments, and we knew that it would be a massive ball breaker for them as they adjusted. But what we were really thinking of was the loss of the security blanket of a wage earning job.

This, in particular, is interesting to me as a phenomenon, but not in a way that might be obvious. As we were having dinner and talking, it occurred to me that we were finding the idea of attempting to transition from wage earning people to freelancer people daunting because… we’d never really thought about it before. I find I’m glad about this. Proud even. All the years of work we have put in, it has never been about financial gain. Let’s be honest, in Australia it never actually is, but the realisation that I had was that it was never about anything other than the joy that Ryan and I share in the process of telling stories. We had been plugging away to get to make a feature movie because that was the medium for our artistic craving that was appropriate. We were doing it because the act of doing it was enough, and the only sense of incompleteness we had was from our belief that art isn’t really art until it’s experienced by someone other than the artist, and for us that means making a feature film – which takes a bucket load of resources.

I shared this observation with Ryan, who rolled his eyes and made a masturbation gesture with his hand. “Fine,” he said. “I’ll take your half of the fees.”

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