Monday, June 24, 2013
Members of the Screen Australia Board
Level 4, 150 William St
24th June 2013
Dear Board Members
A month ago I made a development application to SA for a low budget feature of mine entitled SHIPS IN THE NIGHT. I did so in the hope that my application might be accepted – given that Screen Australia clearly cannot, a year on, justify my being banned for the reasons given. I hoped in vain. I received no acknowledgement that my SHIPS application had been received. Nor were my application materials returned to me. What happened to them? Tossed into the recycle bin at Screen Australia? To become persona non grata with Screen Australia on the basis of phony charges that even the Screen Australia Board believes should be kept secret is an extraordinary state of affairs!
I’ll try again. And keep on trying – in the hope that it will eventually be explained to me just how the reading of a screenplay of mine in development places a Screen Australia reader at risk! My latest project, a work in progress, is a broad comedy that tilts often into pure farce; a screenplay for which I have not received one cent in development money.
Farce is a genre I love, if done well. I pretend to no expertize (or even experience) in the execution of this genre. If BILL CLINTON’S LOVE CHILD has legs I need to work with (a) a scriptwriter with a predilection for (and competence in writing) broad comedy and/or (b) a good script editor who does not look down his/her nose at broad comedy intended for a wide Australian and international audience. Hence this application.
It would seem to me that a film funding body such as Screen Australia should be able to put a producer/writer/director such as myself in touch with screenwriters who may have the requisite skills and be interested in collaborating with me on a project such as this. Alas, Screen Australia considers it to be a higher priority to thwart the development of a film project (regardless of its merit) because the filmmaker (myself) poses a risk to any Screen Australia project manager, reader or bureaucrat who might have to actually read what I have written. The poor dears!
The Screen Australia Board can either pretend that this application has not been made (directly to yourselves since Screen Australia development staff refuse to even acknowledge my existence) or acknowledge receipt of it and explain just why it is that my application cannot be accepted and assessed on its own merits. This would, of course, necessitate providing me with evidence that I have, in fact, intimidated and placed at risk members of Screen Australia’s staff with my correspondence. This you cannot do since no such correspondence exists – leaving you with only one option: to ignore my BILL CLINTON’S LOVE CHILD application, just as you ignore my repeated requests that you make public evidence of my having intimidated and placed at risk members of Screen Australia’s staff with my correspondence.
Whilst farce is a genre I love (we all need a good laugh) the fantasy world of film it is not quite as much fun to be a protagonist in a farce taking place in the real world.
"Hopefully Ruth Harley will be replaced with a Chief Executive who does not play fast and loose with the truth, who is not given to spiteful acts of revenge and who is committed to transparency and accountability in his or her dealings with the industry."
to Caroline Fulton, Director, Screen Industry Section, Creative Sector Development Branch, Office for the Arts
In my last email to you I asked you the following question:
If, as Director of the Screen Industry Section, you become aware that the Chief Executive of Screen Australia has lied in falsely accusing a filmmaker of intimidation etc., do you have any power at all to rebuke the Chief Executive or is s/he free to lie with impunity and so defame a filmmaker and cause enormous damage to his or her career?
You did not answer it, of course. You do not answer any questions at all. Your idea of transparency and accountability is to ‘note the contents’ of correspondence. This is bureaucratic short-hand for “The questions you have asked will be ignored but I will, on record, create the illusion that I have dealt with them appropriately.”
The next stage in this particular bureaucratic sleight of hand is for another bureaucrat to write to the persistent asker of questions, “It is my understanding that Caroline Fulton has addressed the concerns outlined in your correspondence and this department does not believe that there is any value to be gained from any further canvassing of these issues.” And so it goes.
Perform this three cup trick often enough and most askers of questions will give up on their quest – realizing not only that they will never receive answers but will, in all likelihood, be punished for asking them. And those questioners who keep on asking the questions month after month and insisting on answers (you are, after all, a public servant and it is your job to be accountable and transparent!) can then be characterized by these same bureaucrats as having harassed and intimidated those to whom the questions have been addressed. Indeed, in order to make the questioner seem a terrifying and perhaps unhinged individual, (and easier to marginalize) the accusation of ‘placing members of staff at risk’ can be added to the charge sheet. How one places a member of staff at Screen Australia at risk with their correspondence need not be explained and remains a mystery to me. The only way that the ‘placing at risk’ accusation could make any sense at all is if the correspondent made a threat of some kind – albeit as subtle as “I know where you live,” or “You will regret this” or a statement of this kind. Have I ever, in any of my correspondence made such a statement? Have I ever used a swear word? Or has my correspondence been almost entirely made up of my asking of questions – the truthful answers to which would prove embarrassing to senior management at Screen Australia, the Screen Australia board and yourself?
You cannot and will not answer any questions from me relating to the existence of my alleged correspondence (any more than the Screen Australia Board will) because neither of the two possible answers will suffice. A ‘yes’ answer to the question of its existence would oblige you to present evidence that I have intimidated etc staff. A ‘no’ answer would result in your having egg on your face as you would be publicly admitting that I should never have been banned in the first place on the basis of baseless charges.
Given that neither of these is a particularly palatable path to follow, the best and most obvious solution for a bureaucrat such as yourself is to ‘note’ my questions but refuse to answer them. Hopefully, when Minister for the Arts, Senator Brandis will have higher expectations of those answerable to him!
That all this is happening to me is, needless to say, very annoying and interferes with my capacity to work as an independent filmmaker, However, my travails in this respect are not that important. What is important here is the lack of transparency and accountability that lies at the heart of Screen Australia as run by Ruth Harley. Will the new Chief Executive operate in accordance with the modus operandi practiced by Ruth Harley or will s/he engage in meaningful dialogue with the industry, take on board all legitimate criticism, respond to questions relating to the way the organization is run, deal appropriately with complaints on the basis of facts, evidence, (as opposed to spin) and be committed generally to the precepts of transparency and accountability?
I trust that whoever is tasked with making this decision is not going to saddle Australian film with another Ruth Harley for the next five years. As I wrote in my last email to you:
“Hopefully Ruth Harley will be replaced with a Chief Executive who does not play fast and loose with the truth, who is not given to spiteful acts of revenge and who is committed to transparency and accountability in his or her dealings with the industry as a whole and with individual filmmakers. Nonetheless, if s/he is not, to whom will s/her be accountable within the Ministry for the Arts?”
My latest blog entry speaks for itself:
Sunday, June 23, 2013
Members of the Screen Australia Board
Level 4, 150 William St
Woolloomooloo 2011 21st. June 2013
Dear Board Members
Ruth Harley will soon leave the Screen Australia stage – having never been asked or obliged by the Board to provide evidence that I have, in my correspondence, intimidated or placed at risk members of Screen Australia’s staff. One of the new Chief Executive’s early tasks may well be to make a decision as to whether or not s/he believes I am entitled to be provided with evidence of the crimes for which I have been tried, found guilty and led to my being banned. Will s/he demonstrate a commitment to the precepts of transparency and accountability by recommending to the Board that I be provided with such evidence? Or will s/he, like Ruth, simply ignore my request that the evidence of my alleged offenses, in the interests of transparency and accountability, be made public?
Is it appropriate that a new Chief Executive be saddled with such a decision? Would it not be more appropriate, before s/he takes over, that the Board make the evidence public and reveal either myself or Ruth to be playing fast and loose with the truth? Or, if there is no evidence (which is my contention) that the Board recommend to Ruth before she leaves that the ban on me be lifted or simply overrule Ruth?
The question of the existence or non existence of intimidating correspondence from myself cannot be considered in isolation from Chief Operating Officer Fiona Cameron’s letter to me dated 10th Nov 2010 - a letter in which the existence of phantom correspondence is first raised. Fiona writes, in relation to my meeting with Ross Mathews and Julia Overton in August of that year:
“Unfortunately it appears from your correspondence that you came away from that meeting with an understanding that you application for further development for further development funding for Chanti’s World had been effectively green lit. This is jot the case, nor could it be….It is certainly regrettable that you came away from the meeting with a misunderstanding of its intent, or of remarks made by Mr Mathews.”
For two years I asked Fiona to provide me with copies of the correspondence in which I suggested or even intimated that I had come away from the August 2010 meeting with the belief that Chanti’s World had been green lit. When, after two FOI applications, many letters and blog entries, Fiona eventually identified the correspondence in which I had, supposedly, revealed my belief that Chanti’s World had been green lit, it did not contain any such suggestion from me. The Board has been aware of this fact for the past year at least.
Fiona’s allegation that I had written correspondence that I had not written is one of the main triggers of the long running and, in so many ways, farcical dispute that led to my being banned. And, because Fiona was never obliged to provide evidence that I had written in my correspondence what she claimed I had written, the stage was set for Ruth Harley to do the same – as she did in her letter to me of 10th May 2010. Ruth knew full well, when she justified her ban on me on the grounds that I had intimidated and placed at risk members of Screen Australia’s staff in my correspondence, that she would never be asked by the Screen Australia Board to provide evidence that I had done so. She could make whatever allegations she chose knowing that they would go unchallenged.
A precedent has been set in place with my banning such that Screen Australia’s Chief Executive and Chief Operating Officer (and anyone else in senior management) can justify the banning, defamation or marginalizing of any filmmaker by making reference to non-existent correspondence secure in the knowledge that the Screen Australia Board will not ask to see the correspondence; secure in the knowledge that they will not be held in any way publicly accountable for decisions made on the basis of this non-existent correspondence.
If Fiona Cameron has made it onto a short list to replace Ruth Harley as Chief Executive I trust that the relevant decision-makers will ask her to provide evidence, from my own correspondence, of her assertion that I came away from my meeting believing that Chant’s World had been green lit. Do we want a new Chief Executive who plays as fast and loose with the truth as did Ruth?
If the Board find this last statement offensive, please provide me with just one example from my correspondence (or more if the Board so chooses) in which I have intimidated or placed at risk members of Screen Australia’s staff; one sentence or even one phrase from my correspondence that suggests I believed Chanti’s World had been green lit. And make these examples public – the very essence of the kind of transparency and accountability the Board should be committed to.
If the Screen Australia Board feels ill equipped to decide whether or not the offending correspondence exists or whether or not I (and the industry) should have access to it, perhaps the suggestions I made in May 2012 could, even at this ate date, be entertained.
On 17th May 2012 I suggested a ‘Simple Solution’ – namely that:
“A Conciliator is called in who has no connection with Screen Australia or myself and no vested interest in the outcome – a cross between Judge Judy and a marriage guidance counselor. S/he would be interested in verifiable facts only…I would suggest that such a conciliation meeting occur as soon as possible and that all present agree with whatever findings the Conciliator arrives at and that the matter be put to rest once and for all.”
A week later, in 23rd May 2012 ‘Conciliation…Mediation’, I wrote:
“Please Ruth, Fiona, agree to take part in a conciliation/mediation process overseen by someone who has no vested interest in the outcome but who is interested in the facts only.”
A great deal of time, energy and angst could have been prevented if the Conciliation/Mediation process I recommended over a year ago had taken place. It should take place now
Saturday, June 22, 2013
…following on from BILL CLINTON’S LOVE CHILD # 3
73 EXT. DESERT PALMS MOTEL. NIGHT
VENUS, her bags and satellite dish in hand, creeps from her yellow car to a green sedan, breaks into it, tries to hotwire start it. A loud whirring sound. No luck!
A light comes on in the Reception doorway. Two figures appear: REG (dressed in a towel only) and MADGE (in a short bathrobe).
As they run towards the green sedan. REG'S towel falls off.
VENUS gets the car started as REG (naked) and MADGE throw themselves onto the bonnet.
Get off you stupid old farts!
REG and MADGE crawl up to the windscreen as VENUS drives off.
Not on your nelly!
VENUS sees the motel swimming pool ahead and drives towards it, increasing speed. REG and MADGE'S hang on for dear life, their bodies pressed up against the windscreen.
I warned you!
Close to the low fence around the swimming pool VENUS hits the brakes. The car skids to a halt. REG and MADGE become airborne and land in the pool with a big splash.
74 EXT. NOTCH'S HOUSE. PRE-DAWN
JOSIE wakes a little before dawn to find that she is snuggled close to NOTCH; one arm draped over his chest. She looks at him affectionately for a long moment before sliding quietly out of his swag.
75 INT. ‘FERAL TOURS’ VEHICLE/NOTCH’S HOUSE. SUNRISE
JOSIE sits in the front seat of Notch’s Army Troop Carrier - her travel journal resting on her lap and a hot cup of tea on the dash board. Pen in hand she ponders what to add to what she has already written:
Every week I went to Amaroo’s boutique and every week...
76 AMAROO’S BOUTIQUE. DAY
JOSIE, in yet another of her eccentrically beautiful outfits, stands at the RECEPTIONIST’S desk. She shakes her head.
- JOSIE sits at her sewing machine creating yet another outlandish colourful outfit.
- JOSIE in her new outfit in Amaroo’s boutique. The RECEPTIONIST shakes her head.
- JOSIE sits at her sewing machine working on a new design.
- The RECEPTIONIST shakes her head etc.
If you leave your phone number I’ll make sure to let you know the minute Amaroo is back in the country.
JOSIE takes out a pen and begins to write down her phone number.
77 INT/EXT. BRANDON’S HOUSE. DAY
BRANDON is polishing his motor bike on the patio of his house as JOSIE, just inside the French doors, finishes sewing yet another wildly colourful and outrageously designed outfit.
A LITTLE LATER
JOSIE, dressed in her new outfit, looks at herself in a full length mirror - very happy with her work. She traipses out onto the patio and presents herself to
BRANDON turns to her with a smile but seems not to notice her new outfit. His attention on the true love of his life - his spotlessly clean, gleaming shiny Harley Davison.
Is that a thing of beauty or what?
More beautiful than me?
BRANDON notices JOSIE’S outfit.
Hey. (A BEAT) Cool.
Babe, I love your beautiful clothes, I really do. But you know what?
He takes her head in his hands, kisses her on the lips.
I love you even more without them.
JOSIE laughs, shakes her head. BRANDON grins, starts to undress her. JOSIE stops him, breaks away.
As JOSIE rushes from the room the phone rings. BRANDON answers it.
Sorry, she’s tied up at the moment, can I take a message?
BRANDON writes on a piece of paper alongside the phone. JOSIE reappears wearing a brown suede cowboy jacket (with tassles) and bearing the logo: THE COWBOYS. Underneath the logo is written Brandon.
BRANDON bursts out laughing.
78 INT. PUB. NIGHT
BRANDON and the other members of THE COWBOYS play rock and roll - all wearing tassled suede Josie-designed cowboy jackets with their names underneath the COWBOYS logo.
JOSIE loves the music, dancing up a storm with the rest of the crowd. She is the most colourful and outrageously dressed woman on the dance floor. There is a good deal of eye-contact and smiling between JOSIE and BRANDON.
JOSIE signals to BRANDON onstage that she is leaving. He nods, beams a white smile, blows her a kiss. JOSIE blows a kiss back.
79 EXT. BRANDON'S HOUSE. NIGHT
JOSIE, wearing a light Indian silk sarong only this hot summer’s night, works at her sewing machine on the porch. She yawns, looks at her watch. It is 3 am. She decides to call it a night, gets up and walks through the French doors into:
80 INT. LIVING ROOM. BRANDON’S HOUSE. NIGHT
JOSIE walks up to a futon, lies down, loosens her sarong, closes her eyes.
BRANDON, wearing his cowboy outfit and carrying a bottle of Maple Syrup, tip toes through the doors towards the bed, on which JOSIE lies - her naked body covered by her sarong.
BRANDON puts down the bottle of Maple Syrup, takes his shirt off to reveal a trim tanned muscular back. He unbuckles his belt and begins to take off his faded denim jeans.
JOSIE turns her head to look up at BRANDON, whose naked body can be seen from behind. JOSIE, smiling up at BRANDON, slips out from beneath her sarong, turns onto her back. (Fear not, dear Reader, nothing x-rated here!)
BRANDON picks up the bottle of Maple Syrup; unscrews the cap. JOSIE smiles, reaches behind her, finds what she is looking for and lifts into frame a yellow disposable cardboard camera.
As BRANDON begins to pour drips of syrup onto her breasts, JOSIE lifts the camera to take a photo of BRANDON hovering above her, bottle in hand. FREEZE FRAME.
Through the lens of her camera we see JOSIE tilt from Brandon' head and shoulders to shoulders and chest (click!), to chest and stomach (click), then stomach and…
CLOSE ON JOSIE, smiling as she takes another photo (click!) - closely followed by a loud scream.
JOSIE'S scream has been elicited by the appearance, on the porch, of a MAN IN BLUE OVERALLS - seen earlier at Phyllis house.
A LITTLE LATER
JOSIE struggles into a tattered pale blue t-shirt with PARTY ANIMAL written on the front as BRANDON pulls his jeans on. In the background MEN IN BLUE OVERALLS can be seen wheeling Brandon’s motor bike towards the DEBT CONSOLIDATION van parked in the street.
I guess I must have forgotten a few payments…
You've got a memory like a sieve, Brandon Tilbury!
A though has just occurred to BRANDON that fills him with panic. He looks at the clock on the wall. It reads 8.45.
Babe, I did tell you that Amarroo's secretary called about your appointment this morning…didn't I???
81 EXT. BRANDON'S HOUSE. DAY
JOSIE, carrying her red suitcase, runs out the door past BRANDON - almost in tears as the MEN IN BLUE OVERALLS secure his gleaming Harley in the DEBT CONSOLIDATION van.
You're not going like that!?
He is referring to JOSIE'S pale blue t-shirt, sticking to her wet sticky breasts like a second skin. JOSIE walks fast towards a waiting taxi.
I'll change in the taxi.
82 INT. TAXI. DARWIN STREET. DAY
JOSIE, in the passenger seat of a taxi, tries to open the clasp on her suitcase. It is jammed. She takes off one of her shoes and hits the lock of her suitcase: hard. It won't open.
She looks at her t-shirt. The wet sticky patches over her breasts have gone dark blue. JOSIE hits the lock of her suitcase with her shoe again. It still wont open. She looks at her watch.
83 EXT/INT. TAXI/ OUTSIDE ARCADE. DAY.
JOSIE, emerges from the taxi outside the arcade in which Amaroo has his boutique. As the taxi pulls out she realizes she is wearing only one shoe.
JOSIE watches the taxi drive off - her shoe on the dash board.
84 INT. ARCADE. DAY
JOSIE rushes through the arcade, through some doors, into:
85 INT. LARGE ROOM. DAY
A large room in which half a dozen young men and women - all immaculately dressed and coifed - stand by racks of their fashionable clothes waiting their turn to present their designs to AMAROO - sitting with his ASSISTANT at the other end of the room.
AMAROO looks over the top of his glasses at pink-haired JOSIE - bedraggled, out-of-breath, in grubby cut off jeans, wearing a sticky wet t-shirt with PARTY ANIMAL written on it and only one shoe.
And you'd be?
I'm sorry I'm…late…I…
AMAROO holds up his hand to stop her.
Lateness is the least of your problems, sweetheart. Next. Nerida Walsh.
AMAROO’S ASSISTANT signals to NERIDA.
Close to tears, JOSIE walks towards the doors. An immaculately attired NERIDA pushes a rack of clothes before her as she strides confidently towards AMAROO. Her rack clips the edge of Josie's suitcase. It bursts open, scattering Josie's designs on the floor - shirts, skirts, bustiers, multi-coloured jackets embedded with tiny mirrors, coins and crystals.
JOSIE kneels to retrieve them; sniffling, miserable. As she repacks her wildly colorful clothes, two legs appear in frame and then a slender dark manicured hand. As he picks up the bustier embedded with tiny mirrors, coins and crystals AMAROO'S changed tone of voice reveals his professional respect for what he is looking at.
Did you create these?
86 INT. ARCADE. DAY
JOSIE, a spring in her step and a huge smile on her face, speaks excitedly into her blue mobile phone.
Amaroo said ‘yes’, Brandon. He wants me. He loves my work. I can’t believe it. I...oh, shit...This is the happiest day of my life.
87 EXT. FRONT YARD. BRANDON'S HOUSE. DAY.
JOSIE gets out of a taxi, surprised to see Brandon’s motor bike parked in the yard. BRANDON, looking very sheepish, appears on the porch.
I borrowed some of your travelers cheques.
88 INT. BRANDON'S HOUSE. DAY
JOSIE looks at Travellers cheques - only the stubs of which remain. She is in shock.
And you're going to get it all back, babe. Promise. As soon as the advance for our album comes through. Two weeks, max!
But I need that money to renew my visa. (A BEAT) In the next week! You've stolen ALL my money.
Borrowed, babe, borrowed!
JOSIE glares at him, mouth open; in shock. There is a knock at the front door. BRANDON opens it to a YOUNG WOMAN - suitcase in one hand, a bottle of maple syrup in the other - smiling broadly.
89 EXT. OUTBACK AUSTRALIA. LATE AFTERNOON
JOSIE, still in her PARTY ANIMAL t-shirt, carrying her red suitcase and with her black carry bag hanging around her neck, sits on the back of Brandon's motor-bike.
She's my ex…I promise…Babe?
JOSIE feels too miserable to respond as the motor bike speeds through a dry desert landscape.
A yellow sedan pull alongside as it prepares to overtake Brandon's motor bike.
The driver, VENUS, wearing her Sydney Harbour Bridge shaped sunglasses, holds her slim pink mobile phone to her ear.
90 EXT/INT. VENUS' CAR. LATE AFTERNOON
As BRANDON and JOSIE disappear from view, VENUS talks on her mobile. The news, on her car radio is turned down low.
Terence. It's Venus…you’re good for the five grand, right? I can be in Sydney in...
Didn’t catch that, Venus! Hello…
The line is breaking up.
Hello, hello…Terence? Shit!
VENUS puts the phone in the black shoulder bag on the seat beside her; unscrews the cap of a bottle of pills; tips it upside down. It is empty.
VENUS turns up the radio volume.
Pentagon officials would neither confirm nor deny reports that a computer hacker from Australia had accessed top secret files…
91 EXT. ROADHOUSE. LATE AFTERNOON
A Roadhouse at a desert crossroads. VENUS pulls up in the yellow sedan at the gas pump as passengers file onto a passenger bus.
She clamps her small fold-up satellite receiver to the roof rack, connects it to her laptop computer, sits in the passenger seat - her laptop computer resting on her lap, boots up her computer. Various icons appear - one of them the Home Page for THE PENTAGON.
As the bus begins to pull out onto the highway and as BRANDON and JOSIE approach on the motor-bike, VENUS, deep in thought, flips the lid of her computer shut.
From the back of Brandon's motor bike, as it pulls up close to the Roadhouse, JOSIE watches forlornly as the bus drives past them.
92 INT. ROADHOUSE. LATE AFTERNOON
VENUS takes a credit card back from the PROPRIETOR, returns it to the business-card folder full of credit cards and places it in her black shoulder bag.
93 EXT. ROADHOUSE. LATE AFTERNOON
VENUS walks to the yellow sedan parked alongside BRANDON - siting astride his motor-bike. JOSIE, carrying her red suitcase, black carry bag around her neck, stands close-by.
You knew how important being mentored by Amaroo is to me!?
And you know how important my Harley is to me…I mean…
JOSIE puts on her sunglasses, starts walking towards the road.
Babe! I didn't mean that…I'm sorry!
JOSIE sticks her thumb out; hitching.
Who's going to pick you up out here?
94 INT. VENUS' CAR. OUTBACK ROAD. LATE AFTERNOON
VENUS, in her Sydney Harbour Bridge sunglasses, drives. She looks at JOSIE, also in sunglasses, in the passenger seat; fastening her seat-belt.
As JOSIE looks to VENUS with a thank-you smile she is shocked at how similar they are in looks. So is VENUS.
Take them off.
JOSIE takes her sunglasses off.
Jesus H Christ!
VENUS removes her own sunglasses. JOSIE exclaims:
Holy frigging Moley!
There is no doubt about it, VENUS and JOSIE could be twins and they both recognize this in an instant.
JOSIE is gobsmacked; VENUS, not so much - preoccupied as she is with pill withdrawal symptoms.
Have you got any pills?
Don't you think…I mean…we could be sisters.
What's that smell?
VENUS looks at the two sticky dark patches around JOSIE'S breasts.
How the fuck didja get maple syrup all over ya boobs?
Well, you see…um…My boyfriend… Brandon…poured it on me and…
No, he was going to lick it off…
Lick it off!
VENUS looks incredulously over the top of her Sydney Harbour Bridge sunglasses.
Haven't you ever had a man…you know, use his tongue to…you know…?
Yech, no way! Any guy that tried to pull a stunt like that on me would be in deep shit!
I don't have a very high opinion of men. Assholes the lot of them!
Oh! I love men, but…!
Oh, I don't know…(sighs) You know that feeling when you meet a guy and he's charming and everything and has a lovely smile but you have no intention of, you know, sleeping with him or anything…and then he looks into your eyes and kisses you beautifully and before you know it…
You're in love… He's getting his rocks off…
I'd rather kiss a snake.
Oh! I cant think of anything worse than kissing a snake! I've got a phobia about snakes.
VENUS nods, looks at her shaking hands.
You sure you don't have any pills?
VENUS, face set hard, tries to control her shaking hands; feels her tight neck and shoulder muscles with one hand.
Would you like me to give you a massage?
VENUS turns to JOSIE, smiles, nods.
A LITTLE LATER
The car is parked at the side of the road. VENUS has turned sideways and sits cross-legged on the drivers seat. JOSIE kneels behind her, massaging her neck and shoulders.
Mmmm that feels good.
What do you think it means? Us looking like sisters…maybe twins even?
Why does it have to mean anything?
Everything means something.
No, nothing means anything.
Oh. You don't believe in Fate? Destiny?
95 INT. OLIVER'S CAR. OUTBACK ROAD. LATE AFTERNOON
OLIVER is parked in the shade of a tree in an otherwise vast treeless landscape. From the recording device on the seat beside him he hears muffled voices:
VENUS (VOICE OFF)
No. I don't believe in anything.
JOSIE (VOICE OFF)
96 INT VENUS' CAR.LATE AFTERNOON
JOSIE continues with her massage of VENUS.
…that God put us on this wonderful planet for a purpose!?
I don't believe in anything and especially not God.
Oh! But if there is no God…
Law of the jungle, sweetheart, that's all there is. Survival of the fittest. You want something, you go after it. You don't let anything or anyone stand in your way. Mmmm, where did you learn to massage like that?
My mother's a stress ball.
Meet the stress queen!
JOSIE’S mobile phone rings. She takes it out of her black carry bag, looks at the LCD screen:
Speak of the devil.
JOSEPHINE SENIOR (TELEPHONE)
Daaaarling, I had a call this morning from the Royal Shakespeare. They want you. Badly...
JOSIE holds the phone away from her; grimaces.
JOSEPHINE SENIOR (TELEPHONE)
...To play Ophelia! Ophelia, darling. This is the opportunity of a lifetime...
VENUS can’t help but smile.
JOSEPHINE SENIOR (TELEPHONE)
...To appear onstage with the luminaries of the Royal Shakespeare…
VENUS grabs the phone from JOSIE, speaks in a plummy English accent.
Line’s breaking up, mum. Sorry.
VENUS hangs up, grins at JOSIE. JOSIE laughs.
97 INT. VENUS' CAR. OUTBACK ROAD. LATE AFTERNOON
VENUS, in better spirits now, drives fast through the desert.
If ya hate acting that much, why are ya want to go back and be in that Royal Shakespeare thingo?
My tourist visa expires at the end of the week and...well, it's very difficult to say 'no' to my mother.
Tell me about it.
They drive on in silence for a moment. The sound of a mobile phone ringing. JOSIE extracts her blue mobile from her black carry bag, looks at the LCD screen, sighs.
JOSIE is in two minds about talking to her mother. VENUS grabs the blue mobile from her, speaks in an English accent.
Mum, has it ever occurred to you that I might not want to be an actress?
OSIE grimaces. Josephine Senior laughs incredulously.
JOSEPHINE SENIOR (TELEPHONE)
Not want! Not want! What on earth...!?
That I might have dreams of my own?
JOSIE grabs the phone from VENUS.
Mum...sorry...I didn’t mean that. You’re right...It’s a wonderful opportunity. I’ll be back in London next week. Love you. Bye.
JOSIE hangs up. VENUS shakes her head in disgust. JOSIE opens her mouth to speak. VENUS holds her hand up to stop her, turns the radio up, switches stations a couple of times before stopping on a news report.
BILL CLINTON’S VOICE
I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky.
All men are liars.
98 INT. NOTCH’S TROOP CARRIER. DAY
JOSIE’S hand hovers above the last words she has written in her journal:
“All men are liars,” said Venus with that characteristic scowl of hers.
NOTCH appears at the window with a tray on which there is a plate piled high with pancakes. JOSIE is touched.
Oh! You are so sweet!
NOTCH produces a bottle of maple syrup.
Try not to spill it all over your...you know...
JOSIE turns bright red.
…to be continued…