If ever you needed proof that I’m insane this is it.
I’m standing in an exposed phone box near a windswept beach at eight in the morning. This is the third day in a row I’ve done this. I am tired, I am cold and I very much want to give up. I’m here because I’m trying to get a doctor’s appointment. I’m going on the Young Endeavour next month and need to do a medical to prove I’m fit to sail. Only thing is that my medical is on Friday and I want to be in Sydney on Friday. There’s a script workshop for a new drama series and I very much want to go. I can only go, however, if it is possible to reschedule my medical. Grafton seems to be suffering some kind of flu epidemic and so I’m desperately trying to get one of the emergency appointments, only available if you call incessantly at exactly 8AM.
By Thursday morning I’m pretty well ready to give up. I’m really not sure this is all worth the effort. And of course, because I’ve given up and decided I don’t want to go, I get an appointment.
Four hours later I’m sitting in front of my computer uttering a quiet strangled scream. The train has been booked, I’m almost packed, I’ve organised a place to stay…and the workshop has been postponed. Probably until August. I bang my head against the desk.
I should explain a few things. Firstly I wasn’t just going down to Sydney for this, I was already going to Dubbo and have to go via Sydney. I was however stopping overnight in Sydney specifically for this reason. So when the script producer asked me a couple of days before if I was going to be in Sydney anyway I’d said yes. That was kind of a lie. I’m not sure why I feel the need to pretend that it’s no trouble at all when, in reality, its actually a very long train trip and a significant amount of effort. I’ve done it before and I will do it again.
There is a school of thought which says I should be very angry about being stuffed around. I’m not. This is TV-Land. The drama is potentially more complex than your average teen soap. It might even be awesome. That is yet to be seen. TV-Land operates on a different time scale to the rest of the world, and more importantly it follows completely different rules.
I once had a conversation with Amanda Keller in the kitchen at the ABC. She’d just signed a three year deal with a radio station. She said it was very weird knowing what she’d be doing in three years. She found it disconcerting, even frightening. Now for most people not knowing would make you hyperventilate into a paper bag. In TV no one knows from one year to the next, and often one day to the next, whether their show will be on air.
A couple of years ago I did two weeks work with GNW. The budget had been drastically cut. The first thing to go, surprise surprise, was the writing money. So overnight a handful of writers found themselves unemployed and the script found itself drastically understaffed. I worked for nothing (because it honestly doesn’t bother me). But it drove home the world I was entering. An uncertain place where next year doesn’t exist.
This is the world I want to live in. If ever you needed proof that I’m insane this is it.