The Interview Series // 15 (Part Two)

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Yesterday we posted Part One of our drinking escapades with Glendyn (http://glendynivin NULL.com). If you haven’t read it yet, do so here (http://lifeatthebottom NULL.com/2009/07/08/the-interview-series-15-part-one/). Umm, so, yeah… You wanna know something funny? You do? Cool. Cause we’ve already written an intro to the first part and now we’ve said all we can say. We sat down with Glendyn for two hours, gathered one hour and forty five minutes worth of audio, and had it transcribed into a 10,000 word interview nightmare! How do you edit something like that? Crazy, huh? One day we’ll show you all the other bits we didn’t add in. Things like when the waiter brought our beers over or Ed had to go to the toilet. That’s where the magic is. In the meantime, read the interview then go see Glendyn’s new movie. It’s called Last Ride (http://lastridemovie NULL.com) if you didn’t know already. Read on!

Junior: Winning at Cannes and at the AFI’s for Crackerbag must have been a turning point for you, a bit of recognition?

Glendyn: I never made Crackerbag to go, “I’ll make this film, send it to a festival, win an award, and then go on to make a feature”. I just wanted to make a short film. When I made it I thought if I can make this and show my Mum and my friends at Christmas that would be really cool. I just really wanted to make a film; even if it was shit I was still going to be happy with it. Everything else that happened when we finished the film was a huge bonus.

Jr: Is there any trick to entering something like Cannes?

G: I downloaded the entry form from the internet, filled it out, put it in a Post-Pack, kissed the package, gave it good energy and sent it off. The next thing we knew there was a phone call from a French guy saying we were in the competition. I had no idea what that really meant. I was so naive about the whole thing; I just kind of went along for the ride. Things happen for a reason.

Jr: Why did it win? Do you know why?

G: I think Crackerbag had a universal story. Working with anything to do with childhood – I didn’t know this beforehand, but I’ve travelled around the world with the film since and shown it in different countries with different audiences – and someone always comes up and says “that film is about me when I was a kid”. The first time someone said that to me I was in Russia, at the Vladivostok Film Festival. This little pepper pot Russian, hard-faced woman with a floral headscarf came up and said through a translator ‘that film is about me’. And I remember thinking ‘it’s not about you, it’s about me’. To the most ridiculous amount of detail, that film is about me. I thought only my Mum and my brother would get that. It’s the same car, the same posters in the room. I guess I realised that if you are a child, no matter who you are, where you are, where you grow up, you experience moments in your life where you see that things aren’t what you thought they were or that your world is a little bit bigger. That was it; it was a really good story about being a child.

Jr: It seems that creating a masterpiece takes so long. You’re creating something about you and it’s all about your creativity and not about clients – going on a journey like that, it becomes not about anybody else but about you. Did you find making ‘Last Ride’ to be a big personal journey?

G:
Definitely. It is hard sustaining energy over five years. Particularly when you have got your own personal life, moneymaking work, and all that sort of stuff. We went on this road trip, six weeks travelling five or six thousand kilometres through the desert. I think the idea of removing yourself totally from your comfort zone is a really great thing. I’ve always seen making films of any kind as being like an explorer, like being out in outerspace. I like to always force myself into places where I don’t belong with open eyes and an open heart, and take in and translate what you are experiencing.

Jr: Were there any moments when you were filming ‘Last Ride’ where you thought, ‘I don’t love this anymore’?

G: No. It was more like, ‘How can I love it even more?’ To be in the middle of directing a feature film is one of the most overwhelmingly stressful situations you can put yourself in. If you find yourself doing it with something that you aren’t in love with or aren’t 150% committed to, it would turn that stressful situation into absolute terror. There’s so many times when I was making the film that I thought to myself that I wished I packed supermarket shelves because it would be a really easy job; I’d earn money, I could go home and relax, watch TV and all that sort of stuff.

Jr: Yes!

G: But it’s always the story and the characters and the need to tell that story or at least to try to, is the thing that drives you to keep doing it. Every single shot and everything that you do on a feature film is a battle. You look at every shot as sacred. Every moment is trying to create something. To me if you’re doing it and not believing in it that would be terrifying. I’m sure that there are people that can do it, but in that situation I would rather be packing a supermarket shelf.

Jr: Now you’ve had that taste of doing a feature, do you think you will get to a stage where that is all you want to do? Leave TV commercials behind?

G: If I could do features and nothing else now I would do it. For me it would be the most privileged existence. But I don’t think that’s going to happen for a while. Not that I can see at the moment. But you never know. Right now I’m quite happy at the to divide my time between commercials, developing features and other creative projects.

Jr: OK, so we’ve got some questions for the budding filmmakers out there. First up, how do you go about getting funding for your films? Is it public, is it private, and does that make a difference with the creative direction of the film?

G: ‘Last Ride’ was pretty much funded traditionally. Money from Screen Australia, Film Victoria, South Australian Film Board, The Adelaide Film Festival, Madman, and right at the last minute I got some private money. That’s kind of the way most feature films are made here. We didn’t have a big budget, it was $3.5 million. People aren’t putting a lot of private money into films, particularly not that much money. I don’t think we had to jump through any hoops, it was always “this is the film we are making”. No one stepped in at anytime and told me or anyone to do anything different, to edit it a certain way, etc. Having done Crackerbag definitely helped and opened a lot of doors.

Jr: Did having Hugo Weaving help?

G: Definitely. It’s a pretty full on script, and people relax when you have a darker script with a name attached to it. Everyone is looking at how you can market the film and if you have Hugo in the role, Hugo can help sell the film.

Jr: At what stage did he come on board?

G: About two years ago. Once we were happy with the script. Then it was still probably another year before we got final go ahead. Everything takes so long; it is a very slow train to jump aboard. Which is why finding something that you are really in love with is important because there is a lot of times when it won’t be giving you any love back, but you have to keep loving it.

Jr: So how do you go about pitching to get funding?

G: I think I’m really bad at pitching, but I’ve had to do a lot of it, so hopefully I’m getting better. Some people are great at it. When it comes down to it though you can pitch the film in a really great way to someone but is that the person you want to make the film with? It’s about relationships, always about relationships. If someone says ‘No’ to you, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it. You just have to find another way, or a cheaper way, or half a way, or another person to work with. You want to fund a film with people who want to make the film WITH YOU and vice versa. When we were really in the thick of raising money for Last Ride, we took a meeting with this creepy American guy, he was saying all the right things, and sounded impressive. But I had this really strong feeling. I thought, even if he takes out his cheque book and gives us the full amount right now, I won’t be able to accept it because I really don’t want to make the film with this guy; we wouldn’t be making the same film. And that would be a huge mistake.

Jr: Finally, have you any tips for the young filmmakers out there, no matter if they’re in high school, uni, or post-uni?

G: Get a camera, shoot stuff and cut it. There is no better experience than the experience itself. I kind of see filmmaking as a process of making millions of mistakes, so you have to get out there and start learning from the mistakes. I’m still making mistakes and learning from them and I think I will be forever.

I found music clips a really good way to learn. I always wanted to do film clips, but I had no idea how to get into it. The whole thing was demystified for me when I realised that even the people that are really good at film clips only do them for a certain amount of time, especially in Australia because the budgets are so small. Even if you are really good you can only pull so many favours for so long. So feel free to go into a record company with a basic show reel and say ‘I really want to make a film clip’ and in a few weeks you might get a small budget and a song to make a film clip for. Film clips are better in some ways if you are trying to learn about ‘craft’ (than say commercials), because most times you have more creative control, they’re longer so you have to shoot more and cut more, and they’ll always get shown on Rage. Whereas your first ads, you kind of don’t have a lot of control so you don’t really have a chance to show what you can do.

For me also it was about finding heroes. People who when you read their books or watch their films that you see that they weren’t ever being locked down to a style or a time or a place, but that they just did what they wanted to do. And that’s how they’ve gotten through their life and built an amazing career and body of work, by doing their own thing. There’s no right or wrong way. There’s a great book, Herzog on Herzog (http://www NULL.amazon NULL.com/Herzog-Paul-Cronin/dp/0571207081), it’s sort of my bible. He said “Even if you have to steal a camera, do it.” Just get out there and make something. It sort of rings in my ears sometimes. If it’s a feature film, a short, a music video or a commercial, they kind of sit in the same place for me, it’s all about setting up a camera, shooting something, cutting it, going through the process, it’s just fun. There’s no better job.

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‘Last Ride’ is currently screening across Australia.

Written by Junior
Originally posted on: 09/07/2009