Magazine article Metro Magazine

From Bollywood to Cannes

Magazine article Metro Magazine

From Bollywood to Cannes

Article excerpt

When I was a kid I only ever got out of bed during the school holidays for the Midday Movie. At high school, if I had a school assignment I'd spend the first weekend researching it and writing it up. I was called a 'greaser' because we had the whole month to complete the assignment. But I was just so hooked up in the research. Who wouldn't want to know the story of Eureka, or how the eye worked? Who wouldn't want to figure out what happened to Anastasia? I was so chuffed when the history student teacher complimented me on a piece of information about Anastasia I had unearthed that even he had not found. I also had an insatiable curiosity about life and how it worked. Research, and watching movies, gave me insights into worlds I wanted to know more about. I guess I'm saying all this to point out that I love information, I love tracking it down and I love putting it all together.

As an adult I lost my way in life and became seduced by computers and manipulating information in an entirely different way. I also became interested in disseminating information so decided to become a teacher. I later left teaching to go into the IT industry, then fell into marketing and communication. All information centred, all teaching me a lot about research.

Now I do a variety of media work. This year I've been a child tutor for the Cox-Knight production Worst Best Friends, researched a couple of documentaries, and am still continuing research for an upcoming TV drama. As for unpaid work, I write film reviews for scopofile, an eight page grassroots B&W magazine covering film in Melbourne. I usually try to review a film from a social perspective as well as comment on how it was made. I'm also involved with Dharma TV, a new buddhist programme on Channel 31, where I've done everything from research, interviewing, producing, to being a floor manager.

Sometimes I wonder why I do all this unpaid volunteer stuff. There are usually three reasons why people fall into unpaid volunteer work, the first usually being to get industry experience, or because they owe favours, or because they believe in the project. I happen to believe in scopofile and Channel 31. I think that scopofile is a great alternative to mainstream coverage of films and film events in Melbourne. And Channel 31 is important because it is community TV, giving voice to different sections that normally wouldn't be aired on mainstream TV. I'm a buddhist, and Dharma TV's aim is to provide a voice for the buddhist community, either screening buddhist teachings or exploring buddhist issues. I also volunteered (producing, interviewing and researching for programmes on film and current affairs) for a few years at community radio 3CR for the same reasons; I was proud to work for a station that gives voice to so many diverse groups that usually never get air time, not to mention that 3CR provides a much needed, non-mainstream analysis of our world.

But I do get paid for some things. Researching issues for TV documentaries and drama is an absolute gem of a job. I love tracking down complex information and issues on the Internet, and I love talking to people. Mostly I work from home, so I can roll out of bed in the morning and check my email in my jammies, or surf the net and write my findings at 2am if I want to. 'Need to' is actually closer to the truth when a deadline is looming. But the point is I can organize my time to fit my life.

For me the research process begins when I get 'the phone call' from a producer and we have a chat about the project and timelines. I begin thinking about the contacts I have in that field and what issues need to be looked at. The producer will know the broader issues involved in the documentary or drama, and I'll be asked to flesh them out. One of my current projects involves an upcoming TV drama, where I research the issues for a particular episode and then the writer and producer get together and work out which paths they want me to explore further. …

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