Killing my fears

Killing my fears

Killing Priscilla. Have you seen it? This documentary inspired me to become a filmmaker… again. [Cue ‘memory lane’ music]. It all began…

1997. I want to be a filmmaker. My parents have reservations. ‘Don’t worry,’ I assure them. ‘It’s going to be great.’ I begin studying film.

Lizzy Gardiner won an Oscar for her costume designs on Stephan Elliot’s mega hit, The Adventures of Priscilla Queen of the Desert. Not long after my decision to study film, Gardiner directs an insightful documentary titled Killing Priscilla (2000). The film depicts the troubled production of Elliot’s fourth feature, Eye of the Beholder. After watching it I head to bed feeling depressed. Defeated. I’ve just watched a visionary director being screwed over ‘by the system’.

I wake up in the morning with a thought, ‘Filmmaking isn’t fair.’ I don’t want to be a filmmaker anymore.

A couple of years pass by. I finish studying at uni. I travel overseas. I resign myself to the idea of pursing filmmaking as a hobby, not a career.

But the bug bites again. I want to be a filmmaker. I commence a post-graduate filmmaking course. Some guest speakers arrive in Week 10. Famous, respected filmmakers. My eyes light up. They then recount depressing tales. Most of them are frustrated. I’m not inspired. I drop out of the course shortly after.

A few months later, the 2002 Inside Film awards are held. Gary Doust wins the Inside Film Independent Spirit Award for his fantastic documentary, Making Venus. Doust makes an acceptance speech that alludes to the difficulty of making his film. He jokes about the ‘hand to mouth’ lifestyle of filmmakers.

RING RING! The phone. It’s Mum. She’s just watched the same acceptance speech. ‘I’m so glad you’ve decided not to be a filmmaker,’ she sighs.

I pursue another career.

But not for long. The fire is still burning inside me. It burns brighter and brighter. I can’t ignore it. So I watch Killing Priscilla again. The first time in three years. The same film. The same filmmaking struggles. As the closing credits roll, I decide that I want to be a filmmaker… again! I don’t care how hard it’s going to be. So I return to film school. More importantly, I begin writing again.

I’ve never regretted my decision. I never ask, ‘What if?’ because I’ve tried the alternative and I don’t like it.

Whenever someone mentions that they want to be a filmmaker, I always advise them to watch Killing Priscilla. Or Hearts of Darkness. If you still want to be a filmmaker afterwards, you’re going to make it.

4 Replies to “Killing my fears”

  1. Filmmaking ain’t easy. That’s probably the biggest attraction for me as a cameraman. Sure, you have to deal with a lot of bullshit. In pre-production meetings everybody has their idea and everybody thinks their idea is the right idea. You deal with it. You deal with “the system”. You deal with the elements. Nature can shut you down quicker than the studio. Learn to respect both for what they are. Remember, “the system” green lit your film to begin with.

  2. I had a lot of zeal when I first made my decision(it kind of chose me really, I had never put more of my energy and self into anything, and without any prompting. And i have never felt a rollercoaster of emotions quite like I did when making my first film) doubts crept in after I met and read bout a lot of filmmaking turmoils, and a lot of people tried to dissuade me. I found it was philosophers, not filmmakers, who set my passion and bliss in stone. I knew that this was what i was supposed to do, this is what I am best at.
    Then a while after

    A ‘close group of friends’ ;0) helped me to stop questioning the process, the future, and just get on with making, and writing the projects.

    I’ve said it once, and i’ll say it again. It’s going to be a hard life, but i’m glad my brothers are with me.

  3. You sit upon a threshold of darkness looking out into the uknown. Your journey is unique, yet there is a twinkle of light, a north star, to give you some idea of where to tread.

    Others have traveled your road, take solace in their success, and take comfort in their advice. Look to your own experience, your own defeated foes and struggles. Look to your allies, your friends, draw from them all.

    Suddenly, the path doesn’t seem so dark, the company is true and the scotch is strong. Drink the warm liquor of quest begun!

    For your brothers are with you, and will see you home. (thought others might appreciate this, from a private email I wrote) ;0)

  4. I had a lot of zeal when I first made my decision(it kind of chose me really, I had never put more of my energy and self into anything, and without any prompting. And i have never felt a rollercoaster of emotions quite like I did when making my first film) doubts crept in after I met and read bout a lot of filmmaking turmoils, and a lot of people tried to dissuade me. I found it was philosophers, not filmmakers, who set my passion and bliss in stone. I knew that this was what i was supposed to do, this is what I am best at.
    Then a while after

    A ‘close group of friends’ ;0) helped me to stop questioning the process, the future, and just get on with making, and writing the projects.

    I’ve said it once, and i’ll say it again. It’s going to be a hard life, but i’m glad my brothers are with me.

    [WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The poster sent us ‘0 which is not a hashcash value.