Bit on the Side: finding direction
By Millicent Malcolm
When you pursue a new career as an adult, you can’t just stop adult-ing.
You still have to pay bills and go to the dentist and get your rego renewed and visit your family and have savings and generally present yourself as a non-drongo.
You’re supposed to have your shit together.
You look around and all your mates have their shit together.
Meanwhile you’re out here trying to make it as a director.
Currently a copywriter at BMF, I just finished studying at The Australian Film Radio Television School and I’m back there this year directing a Masters short film around my job. On top of this I’m making music videos and short films. Which is fucking great of course. But honestly sometimes I want to go back to the career I know, where everything is safe and warm and there are boozy lunches and people telling me I’m special and award shows and weekends and the ability to claim Ubers.
Starting from the bottom again is terrifying. Knowing you’re not very good yet is terrifying. Feeling like you’re the oldest person in the room is terrifying.
Having no money and spending the money you have on making films is terrifying.
Here’s an example of one of these terrifying moments.
Last year I was in film school and my partner was in film school and we wanted to make a music video so we put down a $3000 deposit for the camera and gear. The shoot went pretty bloody well (considering our rig was Liam sitting in the back of our car with the boot up and holding a Steadicam as I drove) and as we went to buy a celebratory dinner we realized the deposit we thought we’d get back straight away would actually take a week. We had $12 in our joint accounts. No shit. So, I had to bust open some sticky tape in a supermarket aisle to tape up a torn-in-half $50 note I found in an old backpack so we could buy dinner.
When you’re 20, that shit’s hilarious. When you’re almost 30, not so much.
Then you realize: that’s the reality of what you’ve signed up for.
That’s what the future is gonna be like.
You’ll probably have to pay to keep making things until something isn’t completely shit, then maybe the next thing you make also isn’t completely shit and gets into a festival somewhere and then maybe you can get onto a production company roster and maybe make an ad that’s not completely shit either.
So, you find yourself asking if it’s worth it.
Right now, I can wholeheartedly answer: Absolutely.
You can’t get caught up in the end goal of what you’re trying to achieve, you just know that you love being on a set.
You love finishing something you’ve had complete control over.
You love everything from script analysis to crafting performances to editing.
You love the whole fucking thing.
And that’s enough.