On being everything in my own kingdom

Can one really be a writer, director and producer all at the same time? This could be nuts. I’m working on a documentary about the making of the Kate Kelly Song Cycle in Forbes, written by Merrill Findlay, composed by Ross Carey. And sung by Sian Prior. It’s a beautiful project that covers 90 per cent of bases that I find interesting,  including this eternal obsession about whether you really can engage in the cultural life of the nation if you don’t live within a fifteen kilometre radius from the centre of Sydney or Melbourne. In other words, the red dust thing. I mean the red dust of Carnarvon that clings to me and gives me at once a soulful feeling as well as a feeling that it’s impossible to join in because the show is run by a clique of people in a room somewhere within that golden radius. So I may as well not bother. I may as well sit here, resentfully, in my margin.

And then I get disgusted with myself and try to turn my nose around, pointing out to the margins and beyond – off the very page – where things have always been interesting. Not sure if you’re following me here. What I mean is: there’s more than enough for a lifetime of creative work decorating the margins. Just look at what those monks did. They illuminated their margins. The Illuminated Margin. I like that. Might use it.

Anyway, back to the problem at hand, which is: how to finish this documentary. I have a great pile of undigitised, unlogged, untranscribed observational footage. This includes five cameras on the final one-hour performance.

I have a one-line synopsis, a one-paragraph synopsis and a rough treatment (thanks to the support of my wonderful mentor in the Mentoring for Regional Screen Practitioners program). I have artist friend Adrian Symes coming out to Forbes with me on Monday. He’s going to paint scenes from the life of Kate Kelly as if on the Bayeux Tapestry. That’s very exciting. The camera will move from scene to scene. Gorgeous. And I have a couple of young film makers specialising in beautiful cinematography lined up to create sumptuous “suggestive enactments” of scenes from the Song Cycle. It’s all there. It just needs to be marshalled.

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