Job Lot.

Tanvir Naomi BushUncategorized 7 Comments

I have a free day. Nothing to do but job applications and essential gardening and house cleaning. So I pull out my rucksack and gear up for a hike along the river. Only I have to return in less then an hour because my eyes are shit. I stagger and squint and my eyes flic flic flic looking for the safe ground. Defeated and infuriated I retreat to the flat. If only there were no people around. I wouldn’t mind so much. But people drifting in and out of my peripherals with their children and their dogs and their sodding, bloody bicycles…

There is nothing for it. I look through the jobs again. Here are some I did earlier:
Africa News and Current Affairs Producer: BBC
Administrator: Cambridge (x 10)
Writer for agency in Amsterdam. (This position comes with a bicycle. I am very hopeful!)
Part time Lecturer in Creative Media: Bath University
Regional Programme Coordinator: Disabled NGO: Sri Lanka

All these jobs may seem strange to you. You know me as a writer and yet it states in my mini bio up above I am a film maker. In fact I am an Oscar nominated film maker! Oh yes indeedy. (‘Choka- Get Lost!’ 2001) Many people have asked me why I am not still grappling within the industry? Is it because I is disabled?

I was essentially a producer so, apart from the fact that the sight loss is a drain on my energy it doesn’t really affect my work at all. …and for those of you who are confused here is the old film school difference between producer and director:

Producer: This is the person who decides the time is right to embark on the bonkers lunacy of making a film; the person who options the book, sources the script, who finds the finance, who brings on the director, polices the casting and soothes the (usually weeping) screenwriter. Strangely it is often a highly creative and nurturing role. However, the buck definitely stops here. The producer hires and fires, signs off the production schedules and manages the overall budgets. And the producer finds distribution outlets, markets the film…gets it sold.

Director. This is the person, usually hired by the producer, who takes the script and visualises the entire film in their head..often ‘reworking’ it to set the screenwriter weeping again. They then find a particular cinematographer and importantly a trustworthy editor who can translate their vision onto celluloid and together they oversee the creative element of the production. The director does not usually have much to do with the finance (apart from the usual fight with the producer about the cost of a crane shot.) This is for everyone’s safety.

The thing is that the producer and the director, although they inspire and support each other, usually have very defined functions. This applies to everyone. The Coen brothers are spooky and finish each other’s sentences but they know exactly who does what on a shoot.

Defined roles are key. Shoots fall apart because creative personalities without defined boundaries crash and smash into each other like sumo wrestlers and this upsets the technicians who freak out, become more introverted and snide and then storm off to better jobs.

To tell the truth I loved film production. I loved creating and developing ideas. I loved pulling crews together and production managing. I found, interestingly, that I could be incredibly effective and efficient both in pre production and on a shoot in complete opposition to my personal life. I loved juggling a hundred things a day and expending every scrap of energy I had and I loved watching an edit coming together.…but I HATED marketing. I HATED schmoozing. This is unfortunate for a producer. With the right budget you can hire people to schmooze for you but sadly I have never worked on a shoot with the right budget.
So I rather lost confidence and then I lost interest. Artisically successful…sure…but that doesn’t buy the champagne darling.

Turns out that in truth I am a writer..with benefits sure. I can produce films. (Did I mention the Oscar nomination?) I can also programme manage for any NGO including those in Sri Lanka, administrate stuff (yawn), teach creative media (errr) and much, much more. (As long as it never involves marketing…) You just need to try me.

Here’s hoping for that writing job in Amsterdam eh! It has a canal view.

Comments 7

  1. Urrrghhh. Its the marketing that kills my ass too. Lets find ourselves a marketer. Lets get someone to do that ass-kissing for us. That’s the bit that wrinkles my socks. ( to borrow a phrase off a talented wrighter I know.) it twists my knickers too.

  2. Post

    Twists my knickers eh? I see your knickers (tee hee) and i raise you a ‘it puts hair in my icecream’. …nahh..the knickers win.
    How’s the work coming along? You OK tam?
    T xx

  3. Schmooze..WISH I could, generally I’d rather be pawed by a squat squalid uncle.

    My approach is: here’s my work- Like it, don’t like it.? If like, hire me on merit, fuck the networking chit chat. You are a walking paycheck, not my friend.

    This approach has thus far served well to keep me in penury.

  4. Schmooze is really nothing more than easy -going conversation that connects us to others. IF we think of it as the KEY to the KINGDOM then is becomes so huge and daunting.

    Yes,I am biased as I wrote What Do I Say Next? What I discovered reading research and doing surveys for the book is that it boils down to one thing: Do you like people??? If you do, then meeting them and taking an interest in them is easier. Don’t forget: 90% of us think we are shy. So just be nice to that producer, director, marketer, actor… or even a neighbor. They may be more uncomfortable than you are and shyer.

  5. Er, the book is creeping along veeerrry slow. And I’m absolutely fine, tho at night I dream of elephants. lots of em.

    There’s a lot to be said for choosing one path, finally. And I do like people. Honest. I just prefer writing about them than talking to them…

  6. Post

    Thanks for the comments. Interesting point Susan ..about shyness. Its true..although I do find that when there is power play and money to be had people can show a different side and their insecurities can emerge as bullying.
    I shall have to read your book!
    Thanks fush and tam for the mental images. Squat ucles and elephants.

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