Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Definitely not cool enough for school

I like this photo - it's a swimming pool in Cairns with a waterfall in it. I love the shapes of the round drops caught mid-air.

I saw a photo in a newspaper last week - it could have been the Courier Mail, or the Australian, or the SMH; I'm being a newspaper dilettante at the moment while I figure out which one I'm going to read while I live in Brisbane. The photo showed an 84-year-old man, one or two teeth lone sentinels in his mouth, crumpled into a tiny desk in an elementary class surrounded by a crowd of eager five and six year olds. They all (elderly man included) had their hands up, urgently attempting to answer a question that had obviously just been posed. I can't remember what country they were in - Somalia? Sudan? Schools have recently been re-opened after years of strife and he had always wanted to read and write, so he went along. He's intending to go all the way to university. If I could find it I would stick it on the front of my INKNSAS1 - Film Industry Knowledge folder, creating my own version of the decoupaged folders of my classmates, plastered as they are with rock bands and star stickers and elephants and teen actors.


This week I managed to make it to Film School. Walking in, I was tempted to walk straight back out again. You know when you walk into a room and it just screams at you, "You don't belong here!"? Of course, missing last week's orientation night, I hadn't met anyone before, didn't know what room we were in or even how to find the entrance (go through the underground car park and up the back stairs, obviously). At first glance, I am older than my classmates by at least fifteen years, and probably twenty. The majority are straight out of high school, and doing all four first year units, so had already spent two classes together that week (and, of course, orientation last week). I was acutely self-conscious, not to mention already preoccupied with beating down the mental tape recording that tells me, more and more shrilly, that this is a completely ridiculous endeavour to be wasting my time, money and hopes on.

The class is painfully juvenile - the lecturer, before commencing, gave the spiel - 'If you want to goof off with your friends, that's fine, just go now - I'm not interested in talking to people who aren't here to learn. Anyone want to go? No? Great, let's get started.' Yawn. Textbooks were being handed out by admin until 5.45 - I got there at 5.50 and of course wasn't allowed to pick it up, so I have to go in specially one day next week, sigh (this was related to me in a most snooty tone). I think that's to teach us responsibility and the importance of deadlines. Once the lecturer got started, he was actually great, with lots of immensely practical tips. So I just need to focus on my goal and see my advanced years as an advantage - with all my accumulated wisdom, and maturity, life experience, and contacts, I will sprint through the hierarchy...Certainly some of them seem not too bright, as happens with full fee courses, and I imagine they'll drop by the wayside as we progress, or find their place as lighting technicians, or something. (Me trying to reassure myself that I'm not too old to be doing something as foolish as going to Film School, instead of a PhD in something to do with mental illness or an MBA or something. Whatthehell, when I'm sitting in the nursing home in fifty years will I want to talk about my life as an executive, an academic or as a filmmaker?)

The boys are all dreadlocked and floppy, with red underpants peeking out from low slung jeans, and the girls, like all Brisbanites, are trim young blondes with highlights in tight singlets and jeans. Where do all these blondes come from? There really does seem to be a much higher concentration of them in Brisbane than anywhere else I've lived. About halfway through the lecture I realised the woman in front of me, whose slightly unruly blonde (must be a local) curls had been obscuring my field of vision, could possibly be my age. I'll try and wangle a seat next to her next time. There's also a woman who could possibly be a lesbian (she had on a loose t-shirt not a tight pastel singlet top) and could possibly be the ripe old age of twenty-five.

The most important thing, the lecturer kept emphasising, is to get some work experience. Now. I'm telling you this to hold myself accountable to this task.

2 comments:

Katya said...

That picture that you love was in 'Good Weekend' a week or 2 ago - perhaps the issue with the spider on the cover.

Mikhela said...

Behold the magic of the internet!
And I might even still have that edition, tucked in the bottom of the magazine rack.