Thursday, December 13, 2012

from the Screen Australia foyer

It is most strange to be sitting here again in the foyer at Screen Australia as people come and go pretending that I am not here, pretending that I donut exist. Judging  by the sounds of clinking glasses upstairs I guess that there is a Christmas party being prepared for the end of the day.

I wonder if anyone from the Board will deign to come downstairs talk with me? I wonder if, yet again, Ruth Harley and the Board will deem calling the police to be the most appropriate course of action to follow.

A few minutes later.

As I sit here I think of the various ways in which Screen Australia could be improved. I have mentioned already my belief that there should be a much more rapid turnover of staff – to provide a constant infusion of new blood, fresh ideas and to minimize the stagnation that can occur when the same people do the same job year in, year out.

Also on my wish list is that Screen Australia would, at least twice a year, engage in a real way with the industry in events that would provide all involved in real dialogue; in which ideas could be tossed around by both filmmakers and Screen Australia personnel. Ideas are the lifeblood of what we do, of the joint venture that filmmakers and Screen Australia are (or should be) engaged in. None of us has a monopoly on good ideas and the best ideas often come out of collaboration between people who have quite different ideas and must find a way of accommodating each other.

A few more minutes later

Trying to resist the urge to laugh as I sit here being roundly ignored. My guess is that Ruth and the Board has decided that calling the police again is a bad move from a PR point of view. Why not go one step further and actually talk to me! I won’t bite! This strikes me as a classic example of how NOT to resolve a dispute and I can’t help thinking that maybe this is the way wars (some wars, anyway) begin – over some trivial matter that is blown out of all proportion by the inability on the part of one or both parties to sit down and talk about whatever the dispute entails.

A few minutes later

No sign of the police so I guess that is a step in the right direction! The question is: Will anyone talk to me? Will Ruth Harley and/or members of the Board provide me with just a paragraph, sentence or a phrase from any of my correspondence that a reasonable person could read and arrive at the conclusion that I had in fact intimidated and placed at risk members of the Screen Australia staff! I think not. The tactic seems to be to ignore me entirely. Perhaps I should gate crash the Christmas party that is being prepared? Mmmm…

The one woman who is taking care of Reception does not seem to be at all worried about being in such close proximity to someone who places staff at risk!

A few more minutes later.

My recent experience in publishing SHIPS IN THE NIGHT online and taking note of how many read it has also made me wonder if there are ways that Screen Australia might be ale to set up a website for this purpose. So, a screenwriter publishes his or her screenplay on the website in a number of 'chunks'. Six, perhaps. This can only be read by fellow filmmakers who have registered. If very few readers read segment #2, having read #1 the screenwriter can presume that it has not grabbed their attention. If, however, readers have read all 6 segments it may well be that the screenplay has grabbed their attention. And if a lot of people read it it may well be that this is because a lot of people enjoyed it - always a good sign. And if those who have read it have critical feedback to make - all to the good. There is no such thing as too much feedback - bearing in mind that the screenwriter can use his or her judgment to take note of some of it and not of other parts of it.

Producers who might be looking for projects could also look at this site, read the first few pages of a variety of screenplays and only keep reading those that grab their attention. Chances are that they will firs read those that have had lots of page hits - the ones that others seem to like most. The same goes for Distributors also, and for any others who might have an interest in being involved in some way with a film project - as cast, crew or investor.

A little later again

So, if no-one is going to talk with me, if Ruth and the Board are not going to provide me with any evidence of my crimes and if a decision has been made not to call the police, what do I do? Stay here and embarrass them all by going to the party? No, this would be unpleasant for everyone concerned. Go home? Have dinner with friends? Come back another day? Or wait until after my court case next Friday and plan my next move then?

Yet later again!

No police, no evidence, no desire to communicate. The Screen Australia Board is, it seems, going to stick to its guns. The ban remains in place but I am not entitled to be provided with evidence of the crimes that have led to the ban being placed on me in the first place. An extraordinary state of affairs. As I have said many times (too many!) my own travails are of little consequence to anyone but myself. it is the dynamic in place here that should be of concern to my fellow filmmakers - a CEO who does not need to justify her actions and a Board that is quite happy for this state of affairs to prevail.

Yet again, if there is evidence that I have intimidated and placed at risk members of Screen Australia staff, why don't Ruth Harley and the Board make it public and prove me to be a liar?

People come and go and I remain invisible. Kafkaesque indeed!

1 comment:

  1. Reluctantly AnonymousDecember 13, 2012 at 8:49 PM

    These words from Geoffrey Watson at the ICAC hearing may be relevant here:

    “There is another motive apart from money – power. Politics is about power. Many want it; few have it. Circles of influence develop. A favour is done; it requires reciprocation. Patronage is conferred; a dependency develops. All of this is normal and only takes on a malign character if bad people hold the power and use it for bad purposes. That happens here. A relationship of patronage had grown between Mr Obeid and Mr Macdonald. When Mr Macdonald was vulnerable, Mr Obeid exercised his considerable power to aid Mr Macdonald. As I said, a favour is done; it requires reciprocation."