Monday, 26 May 2008


"Time is a funny thing. Time is a very peculiar item. You see when you're young, you're a kid, you got time, you got nothing but time. Throw away a couple of years, a couple of years there... it doesn't matter. You know. The older you get you say, "Jesus, how much I got? I got thirty-five summers left." Think about it. Thirty-five summers."

Tom Waits as Benny in Coppola's Rumble Fish

This post is not about Rumble Fish, although I'd like to write a review on it as it is one of my all-time favourite films. No this post is actually about time. Time to write, time to create, time to make films. Some directors have been known to make several films a year, and some make one film every ten years. Terrence Malick for instance since 1969 has directed 9 films, so roughly four films every ten years. Robert Altman however had directed 43 films since 1956 making him put out a movie once a year almost. Obviously these directors work in comparatively different ways, Altman more Dogma and Terrence more Poetic, but I'm looking at this in relation to one's life and what one wants to achieve from it.

How many ideas have you got piling up in the draws? How many sketchy narratives snaking through your mind? How much on paper, in print, saved in countless folders on hard-drives, just laying in wait for the moment it can all come together?

Time is on my mind at the moment. I went out once with Gary Patterson's daughter, he made a film in 1975 called "How Willingly You Sing" - I've seen it, and I've also seen his other shorter works.

Gary worked in 16mm and 8mm, his next project was a bio on Reg Robinson called "Here’s To You Mr. Robinson". Unfortunately the next project after the bio that Gary wanted to work on was essentially ignored by Australian film funding bodies indeed it was harshly criticised - Gary relied on the then Experimental Film Fund for money which ended its program in 1975 therefore becoming the ex-experimental film fund - and so he stopped making films, sadly, because not only was he a talented filmmaker but he was also making films in an era where if encouraged would have seen him able to be quite prolific.

So I feel time encroaching and it is hard for us with jobs and families that tend to fill up the week from wake to sleep to find a good few months in which to nut out a creative project. Especially those of us who unluckily don't have wealthy connections or family with cash to burn on their children's creative whims. Yes, we are folk who are constantly warding off time, and yet it still stalks us.

How long should it take me to complete a script? A year? I don't like hastily battering stuff out, my mind doesn't work like that. I'm not like Henry Miller with his maps and diagrams, his inventories of ideas and narrative labyrinths plastered to his walls and scribbled on every surface. Maybe I should get into that habit.

I work mostly in my head, and kind of crease out ideas until I am satisfied with them. Yet time, will always make me wonder if I shouldn't deposit some of my ideas in a vault with my life insurance and prohibit anyone from using it unless to bring them to fruition.

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