For ten years, project producer Alan Rogers has been doing a first impression breakdown of each film prior to release. This ‘first watch’ commentary provides me with ‘fresh eyes’ and invaluable feedback on continuity and messaging that helps me finesse my message for each film. What you are reading are his thoughts, and his stream of consciousness, on each film as he watches it. My thanks always to Alan for helping me a better, more precise writer.
Her Majesty has hobbled onto the balcony, waved, then shuffled back to her sofa and a nice cup of tea.
London is full again. Chock-a-Block with Royalists. I hold nothing against the cartel that adorns our bank notes. I see them as a kind of heritage furniture. A living piece of world memorabilia. A tradition that is no longer relevant but nice to occasionally visit; like a castle or a stately home.
Anyway the awful term ‘Platty Joobs’ can now be thankfully forgotten and we can stow our plastic jacks for the next opportunity to wave them manically.
I need to watch your film now to gain some sanity. I bet you never thought you would read that sentence.
THIS IS A FILM ABOUT PERVERSION OF SELF. SO BITE ME. AT YOUR LEISURE. VIEWER SELF-AWARENESS IS ADVISED.
Perversion of self. I like that.
“Only foolish men suppose taking off a women’s clothes is the best way to get her completely naked.” – John Mark Green
THE TRUE LIFE JOURNEY INTO THE MIND OF A FEMALE SEXUAL OPPORTUNIST
A subtle change here from ‘deviant’. Is this a new Missy emerging from her cocoon?
EVERY ORIGIN STORY HAS TO START SOMEWHERE
THIS IS WHERE MINE STARTED
In a car. I like the shades.
ACT 1: HYPOXIC DYSTOPIA
1991-1995 MULLUMBIMBY NSW AUSTRALIA
9 to 13 yo Missy.
I WAS TACITURN IN SCHOOL, ALONE
I SET MYSELF APART WHEN OTHERS TRIED TO ENGAGE
I TENDED TO LOOK INWARDS RATHER THAN OUTWARDS
I can relate. When you feel like your own company is the only company worth keeping.
I FELT THE PANGS OF LONELINESS
BUT THEY WERE JUST NOTES TO LEAN INTO LATER
WRITING WAS THE ONLY THING THAT GAVE ME JOY
The words. It is clear they called to you from a young age as you have tamed and honed your skills to a high degree. You wordsmith.
IN ‘ON WRITING’ STEPHEN KING ADVISES YOUNG WRITERS
WRITE ABOUT WHAT YOU KNOW
BUT I ONLY KNEW ABOUT BEING AN ANGRY WEIRDO
I suspect Stephen King was an ‘angry weirdo’ at school.
IN 1995, I WROTE MY FIRST SHORT STORY
ACT 2: PEARLS
Is that the name of the short story?
IT WAS A DARK LITTLE TALE ABOUT A YOUNG GIRL WHO FOUND A MAGIC CUP
SHE LEARNED THAT IF SHE WEPT INTO THE CUP HER TEARS TURNED INTO PEARLS
EVEN THOUGH SHE HAD ALWAYS BEEN SAD
SHE WAS HAPPY NOW, BECAUSE THE PEARLS MADE HER RICH
BUT THEN, SHE WOULD RARELY SHED A TEAR
AND SHE BECAME POOR
HER GREED MADE HER FIND WAYS TO MAKE HERSELF SAD
SO THAT HER TEARS COULD MAKE HER RICH AGAIN
AS THE PEARLS PILED UP, SO DID HER GREED GROW
IT WAS ALL SHE THOUGHT ABOUT EVERY DAY
THE STORY ENDED WITH ATHE GIRL SITTING ON A MOUNTAIN OF PEARLS WHILE WEEPING HYSTERICALLY INTO THE CUP
IT WAS ALL SHE THOUGHT ABOUT EVERY DAY
SHE WAS ALONE WITH A KNIFE IN HER HAND
Very creative for such a young girl. Echo’s of the Andersons cautionary tale of ‘The Red Shoes’, translated by Michael Powell in the 1948 film of the same name.
The moral of the story is that a girl cannot have everything she wishes for.
Perhaps a sad and unjust placeholder within societal norms.
I THOUGHT I WAS WRITING FICTION
That stare though….
BUT I WAS WRITING NON-FICTION THAT HAD NOT YET HAPPENED
19 YEARS LATER, IMAGINATION BECAME REALITY
The silence. Correct audio for a shocking confession.
You tried to take your own life in your early 30s. That is sad beyond words. I cannot even try to imagine what you have been through.
I always seem to dig a hole for myself with these texts.
I glibly and lightly brush the keys of optimism and then find myself agog, staring blankly at the screen, when you discuss something tragic.
Of course the correct thing to do would be to go back and edit my preceding words. But where’s the honesty in that? I fell face first into this horrible hole. This idiot should know better.
This sudden left turn reminds me of the following words I recently added to my notebook (not sure where they came from);
“I am homesick for a place I am not sure even exists. One where my heart is full. My body loved. And my soul understood” – unknown
I have had to stop the film here, and my synopsis, and go for a walk to try and process your words.
Back again. A lunch break with no appetite. All I could come up with was the fact that in your 30s the project was already underway. So the suicide attempt was at a point I was sending you my thoughts. Perhaps shortly after. I might be sick.
My shaky finger hovers over the play button.
ACT 3: SUN TZU AND THE ART OF 50 KALIBER
I HAD A TROUBLED CHILDHOOD
BUT THERE WAS ONE THING I ALWAYS KNEW
My issue now is how to respond without feeling like a knob. How do I examine your text and try and give my first impressions when I know that all talk of your childhood leads to scars on your wrists as an adult?
I WANTED TO WRITE AND MAKE FILMS
SO I RESEARCHED THE BEST FILM COMPANY IN AUSTRALIA
AND I PLUCKED UP ALL THE COURAGE I COULD
TO MAKE AN APPOINTMENT TO SEE IF THEY WOULD GIVE ME A JOB
Seems like a very sound and rational decision. I get the bit about courage. People are always full of advice about ‘following your dreams’ but normally pretty negative when it comes down to applying that philosophy.
BEHIND THIS DOOR WERE TWO MEN THAT WOULD CHANGE MY LIFE
BUT IN ENTIRELY DIFFERENT WAYS
50 KALIBER FILMS MADE COMMERCIALS & TELEVISION SHOWS
THEY WORKED WITH SOME OF THE BIGGEST BRANDS IN AUSTRALIA
DESPITE BEING 24 YEARS OLD AND UNEMPLOYED
WITH NO EXPERIENCE IN FILM OR TELEVISION
THEY OFFERED ME A JOB AS A PRODUCTION ASSISTANT
They must have seen your enthusiasm and ability. It is not always about skills. They can be learnt. It is always more important to have the right attitude.
50 KALIBER WAS RUN BY TWO MEN OF EXTRA-ORDINARY TALENT
ONE WAS DIETER KAHSNITZ. HE WAS THE FACE OF THE COMPANY
THE OTHER MAN CREATED EVERYTHING THAT 50 KALIBER PRODUCED
HIS NAME WAS MAX JUBILEE
I had a feeling it was him.
Now I know how Max changed your life. Question remains though, how did Dieter change your life?
THEY ALSO PRODUCED THEIR OWN TOP RATING COMEDY TV SHOW
WITHIN 3 MONTHS, I HAD TALKED MYSELF INTO A SPOT ON THE SHOW
THAT SHOW WAS CALLED ‘THE C WORD’
THIS BECAME MY FIRST EVER APPEARANCE IN TV OR FILM
ACT 4; ALL THAT SHINES ISN’T GARY GLITTER
Ah. That’s you as a newsreader. My word. I never knew. You nailed it. To be honest you were a better actor than the rest of the crew.
You do know that Gary Glitter is cockney rhyming slang for anus? As in ‘taken up the Gary Glitter’? Still all is fair in love and war.
ACT 5: THE NIGHT OF 21.05.2006
This is a hard watch. I am scared to press play. You were 24. Possibly.
JUST 3 MONTHS AFTER FILMING THIS EPISODE, AFTER A NIGHT OUT I WOULD TURN UP, NAKED AND UNINVITED WITH 3 GRAMS OF COCAINE ON MAX’S DOORSTEP
There is a true story of Peter Sellers turning up naked at Spike Milligans door in London. When Milligan opened the door, Sellers asked him if he knew of a good Tailor? I suspect drugs were consumed then too.
I KNEW MAX’S WIFE WAS AWAY ON BUSINESS AND I KNEW WHAT HE COULD DO FOR MY CAREER
Ah. Now. He was married to someone else? There was a previous Ms Jubilee? Oh dear.
MANY YEARS LATER, I WOULD REALISE THAT THIS NIGHT WAS THE NIGHT I DIED INSIDE
You had developed a drug habit before this date though? Was it the drugs that affected your judgement, or your judgement that chose the drugs? Either way you chose Max. And Max had a decision to make.
ACT 6: A DRUG HABIT WILL MAKE YOU CRY
9:13PM: 21ST MAY 2006
You turn up on a doorstep naked with drugs? What is Max going to do?
IF THE DEVIL ASSUMED A HUMAN FORM WHAT WOULD IT BE LIKE TO HAVE SEX WITH THAT ENTITY?
Well everyone assumes the Devil is male. I personally would not want to find out, but each to their own.
WOULD YOU CRY?
I WAS NAKED THIS NIGHT
BUT I WAS COMPLETELY CLOTHED
BY A BLUE SPOTLIGHT OF HOPE
PARADOXICALLY, IT BOTH REVEALED & DIMINISHED MY IDENTITY
I think I understand this. The thought of furthering your status was comforting to you. You sought relevance. You sought acceptance and acknowledgement in the eyes of someone you believed could help you.
There is a newspaper clipping somewhere online (I sadly can’t remember where it is, else I would link you to it ) which contains an advertisement by a farm boy in early settlement America for a wife. It lists his belongings and achievements like a CV. I wonder how many women would have been tempted to make a go of it with him? It seems bizarre but in this gender biased world women tend to lean towards stability and betterment as an insurance for themselves. It is a problem for society to solve, but I do not see a solution coming any time soon. I am at risk of going into a feminist diatribe here so lets continue with your naked seduction.
MAX AND I CAME. IN OUR OWN WAY. IN OUR OWN NEED.
LISTENING, WANTING, SEEKING
AS THOUGH WE CAME UPON EACH OTHER FROM THE SIDE
THE DRUGS INDUCED SEX AND THE WANT TO CREATE
I SAID. YOU SHOULD MAKE A FILM OF ME
HE DID. THIS IS IT. IT IS A FILM CALLED ‘CRY’
I have the James Blunt ‘Back to Bedlam’ album. Hardly ever listen to it these days. This was not a stand-out track to me.
IT WAS TO BE THE PROTOTYPE FOR THIS 250 FILM PROJECT
Stills of a naked high Missy filtered into blue grainy black and white over James Blunt soundtrack. Yep, I can see how that would work.
ON THAT NIGHT, I BROKE BAD
I DIDN’T FEEL ANY GUILT ABOUT WHAT HAD HAPPENED
Nor should you. Not that you were blameless. But… well drugs…and other people had to be complicit in the act.
BUT MAX WAS AS MORALLY RUFFLED AS A SKINNED TREE
I SAID. LET’S WORK TOGETHER. LET’S MAKE FILMS. IS IT A DEAL?
HE SAID. NO. THERE’S NO DEAL
ME. BUT BONNIE & CLYDE WORKED TOGETHER. THEY WERE THE BEST
MAX. I WORK ALONE. I THINK THAT YOU SHOULD MOVE ON
ME. I DON’T WANT TO MOVE ON. I WANT YOU
MAX. I’VE MADE A TERRIBLE MISTAKE. I’VE BETRAYED MYSELF
HE WAS NEVER INDECENT. JUST VULNERABLE
Let’s discuss vulnerability here. Let’s consider a girl who is in desperate need of validation and a man who is clearly easily tempted to stray (albeit regretful initially of that instinctive choice). There could be thousands of reasons for one or the other, but one thing is clear. You were both vulnerable.
I SAW THAT AND I CAPITALISED ON IT
IT WOULD TAKE ME FOUR YEARS TO CHANGE HIS MIND
I CORRUPTED HIM
Or enlightened him? Opened him up to experiences he would never have had with anyone else? I don’t know. I am guessing. But I suspect that despite the negative connotations here, there were some amazing high’s.
WITH A CONSTANT SUPPLY OF DRUGS AND FREE SEX
IN 2009, HE WOULD LEAVE HIS WIFE OF TEN YEARS FOR ME
This is sad. Everyone has a story, but we only normally hear one side of the tale. I am not judging you, or Max, or his ex-wife. I would expect that there was more to his decision for leaving her than just Sex and Drugs. I suspect he felt a greater connection artistically to you by that time.
The current arrangement of monogamy through marriage seems old fashioned and outdated these days but it is there to ensure stability both financial and emotionally for a family to thrive. If we could ensure that women are financially supported into old age despite having to give up the best part of their lives to raising children/inept men, then perhaps we could stop this monogamous marriage idea and replace it with a more open relationship model. Until then, you are judging yourself against that concept.
ANY INNOCENCE THAT I HARBOURED WOULD DIE THAT NIGHT
I ATE MY BELIEF UP
I CHEWED ON SOMETHING DARK AND TOUGH
IT WAS SO ABUSIVE TO MY TASTE THAT IT REPELLED ME
UNTIL I REALISED THAT I WAS CHEWING ON MY OWN MORAL CORPSE
I see you moving to bring poetry to your depth of emotion here.
ACT 7; THE DIVISION OF JOY
A PIECE OF ART
HERE I AM
HERE IS EVERYTHING
I DON’T KNOW HOW
TO HIDE FROM YOU
THAT I HIDE
I AM UNABLE
A SOCIALLY ENGINEERED MASTERPIECE
IF I COULD
UNDER AN UMBRELLA
IS IN WHAT SOME
I DO KNOW ONE THING
I DON’T WANT
YOU TO FEEL
THE PROJECTION OF MY
THAT IS ALSO
WHAT I WANT
I left this poem intact without interruption, because as I was typing it out, I opened and closed my mouth a few times but nothing came out.
This seems to be an internal dialogue. One which only you know the answer to.
WILL YOU LOVE ME IF I MAKE YOU MY BITCH
IN BREAKING BAD, WALTER WHITE SAID
I AM THE ONE WHO KNOCKS
BUT I KNOCKED WITH 3 GRAMS OF COCAINE
And nothing on under your coat.
SO MAKE ME YOUR BITCH
IT’S ONLY FAIR. ALL THINGS CONSIDERED
This mix is amazing. It could have been a film all by itself. But then again…..words is all.
Another roller coaster of a film. Another ride in the washing machine of visuals/text/philosophy/
I feel numb. I can’t cast you as the ‘other woman’ in my screenplay. That is not how this works. I also am struggling with the upsetting image of a cut an bloody arm.
There is more to this story, and you have to stop portraying yourself negatively. There are many people in the world doing horrible things to many people. There are lawmakers perusing laws based on beliefs that were formed by ignorant storytellers thousands of years ago, that oppress and shame. The guilt felt by millions in this world is avoidable.
My words are not meant as a cool flannel for your hot brow. They are an honest view of an ordinary bloke who wrote a fan letter to his hero, and his hero replied to start a 10 year conversation that the bloke still can’t quite believe means anything to his hero. That’s all.
I have always said that if you were to write to me one day asking me to politely stop sending emails, I would. You would never hear from me again. Until that day, expect more responses to your films, and occasional nods of encouragement for your continuing emotional video journal.
Until next time my hero.
19°C Mostly Cloudy
London, England, United Kingdom