Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Day 96: Ship ahoy Rusty!

I, the “hungry” one, live in the 2011 postcode of Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs (very inner Sydney) known as Potts Point; I know not who the Pott was that they named this now-mini-Manhattanesque peninsular after and nor, actually, does that trouble me. My days in Australia’s most densely populated postcode may well be numbered as the owners have put my apartment up for sale and if sold, the buyers aren’t certain to want a hungry screenwriter as a sitting tenant.

As I’m not the owner of a crystal ball, deck of tarot cards nor are people queueing at my door to have their fortunes told, so I will leave the future to the future and take such challenges if and when they may or may not arise. However, my living circumstances are not what I have to impart today, just like Marc Anthony did not come to bury Caesar; it was, however, on the subject of that fickle maiden “fortune” that I have come to tell a tale.

A couple of months ago, early on a Sunday evening, I was roasting something in the oven and decided to take a promenade before dinner. From where I live, on the aforemntioned peninsular, I can easily take one of three sets of stairs down to the neighbouring inner-city village of Woolloomooloo, that abuts the harbour and is home to the Finger Wharf, where I was to take my evening perambulation.

The Finger Wharf was a long-abandoned, 1915, huge timber jetty (mainly used for the exporting of wool) that has now been reclaimed and developed into a fashionable destination comprising of chic eateries, an hotel and swish apartments, which house many of Sydney’s most celebrated sons and daughters. It is well publicised and documented that the fine actor, Russell Crowe, owns a property on the wharf, not that I’d ever seen him on one of my strolls, that is not until this evening. Now, before I go any further, I must stress that I’m not about to offer up any tawdry tittle-tattle or the like and there will, hopefully, be a point to my story.

As well as being and Oscar-daubed actor or reknown, Russell Crowe is the owner of one of Sydney’s rugby league teams - the South Sydney Rabbitohs (just run with it if you don’t know about this sport or are wondering what “rabbitohs” are) - and they had been playing at home on this Sunday, not too far a boat ride up the harbour, on the banks of Sydney’s Parramatta River, at the once-Olympic stadium. As is the way with professional football teams, of any code, these days, there is corporate entertaining to be done and there were indeed two sizeable motor launches bearing the South Sydney logo, hovering around the wharf’s western side; one motoring away and the other berthed at one of the wharf’s moorings.

Now, without my glasses on, I must confess that my eyesight is not the most reliable, but, squinting into the twilight I could see that in the open stern of the moored boat, in a small entertaining area there was a group of seven or eight merry men, with none other than Robin Hood at their centre. Whilst they were not dressed in Lincoln green, I guessed them to be Robin of Loxley’s coterie, perhaps his inner footballing sanctum.

I pressed on, the only person on the boardwalk (certainly the only screenwriter looking for a lucky break), seperated from one of the world’s biggest box office attractions by no more than fifteen metres, a small moat of water and a jumpable fence. All the time I’m thinking to myself “gee, if only I had the right screenplay, I would vault that fence, board the vessel and thrust Russell’s next potential hit movie into his hands”; the sort of opportunistic tale of daring-do that the film industry revels in. But (a) I’m English and that’s not the sort of thing “we do” (b) the best ‘fit” of a screenplay I have for him, I don’t own the rights to (c) none of my four feature scripts are really the right fit for him and (d) I had a better cunning plan in mind.

See, I do have exactly the right script for Russell Crowe. It would be his first feature film back home in Australia for a long time and it would offer him the chance of a challenging yet virtuoso role the like of which he hasn’t tackled for some time. Admittedly it would be a low’ish budget affair but Russ doesn’t strike me as the sort of man who would shy away from such an opportunity purely because of money [am I being naive?]). There’s only two small problems: (1) I haven’t written it yet and (2) it’s an adaptation and I’m yet to acquire the rights to the source material.

But fear not friends, I’ve hatched my plan with a director who is on board with me and we’re keeping our powder dry until such time as I will board Cap’n Crowe’s lusty vessel, thrust a one-paragraph, maybe one line, synopsis into his hand and say “ G'day folks. Russ, you NEED to give me fifteen minutes on Monday morning to pitch this killer story to you. Trust me Russell, I’m a writer and you’re now holding your next Academy Award in your hands.”

What d’you think, have I got a shot?

Day #96 Tip: You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression
When an opportunity arrives, make sure that you go out with your script or idea as best dressed as you can make it, whether it is, indeed, a draft of a screenplay, a synopis, a Treatment or ’25 words or less’.

All jokes aside, there’s little to be gained by me foisting some unsuitable script upon some poor unsuspecting actor, actress, director or producer if it’s a mismatch, ill-conceived or just not plain ready. Maybe others have more bravado, temerity and cheek than I do? The bottom line is this: we can only do what feels right for us (inthis business part of the business) if and when opportunity beckons, but the adage is right: we don’t get a second chance to make that first impression, so when the chance comes, make it count.

Make your one arrow fly straight and true, just like Robin's.

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