Rites of passage

POSTED IN News November 14, 2011

Hello and welcome to the site. It’s been a long and arduous journey making this film – maybe even paralleling Nick’s own voyage, but naturally less life threatening…Although, perhaps we shouldn’t rule out how life threatening this has been just yet!

There is a growing base of people very keen to see the film, and I thank you all for your enthusiasm. At this stage, I can only say the delay in the film’s release is frustrating to say the least, however I can wholeheartedly add that it’s worth the wait!

Why so long? Making a film is difficult at the best of times, and those who’ve been there know this. Factors and unforeseen circumstances constantly come at you, perhaps similar to sailing. And with this film, ‘Between Home: Odyssey of an unusual sea bandit’ – this was certainly the case from the get-go. It resides in the ‘difficult production realm’, because it’s a truly independent, self-financed, unscripted documentary (filming what happened as it happened). I cannot deny it was edited, and we’ve made a complex sound design, (that’s whole other discussion!) but when Nick sat down, nervous about seeing himself, he commented that it really didn’t embellish anything: There was no need because the material was strong in it’s authenticity!

I actually have no issues when the lines between fact and fiction blur – I enjoy it, but it requires sophistication. In the present broadcasting climate it’s often requested that documentaries be instigated and choreographed. Maybe that works for certain programs (reality soaps), but in Nick’s case? Hindering him from reaching his goal with staged hoops and trapdoors, and then cue the reality ‘challenge’ music! Or even worse, ‘No that’s not in the script…’ Even if it were possible, and people were willing to fund that type of film, it was never an option… Nick’s spirit lay in freedom, a quest with no assurances or guarantees.

And this made it difficult for me to find money. Also in the eyes of television executives and producers, Nick was an unknown. Not an Olympian or champion record breaker, instead some guy with little experience and an old little boat. The production was deemed ‘too risky’ – I can remember one potential producer asking me, ‘But how do you know he won’t sink or not make it?’ I replied, ‘I don’t – but that’s the point right?’ But I was not focusing on that aspect of the story, no denying it carries soe suspense however. Nick even mentioned in our first interview that he was not stupid – and knew people died doing these things all the time, but it was still not enough to prevent him from trying. I suppose I’d ordered an entrée of optimism from the menu, and decided to pass on the sensational ‘death defying’ main-course.

He was attempting something extraordinary from my view point, and that was the heart of the tale and my primary focus. Mari, who gave Nick a helping hand on his way, summed it up well – ‘It’s like every kid I know is out trying to blast through the next level of some stupid video game or trying to acquire the next largest car and I just thought it was kind of cool that somebody was actually trying to do something with a little bit more substance.’

It was Nick’s learning curve, his will and determination that was enthralling, and an open ocean that the journeyman could dictate on his terms. Adventure. I ask myself now still if I was drawn to the subject as an escape. Nick was some form of ‘channel’ through which I could see the world, and I thought audiences, like those readers on his blog also wanted an element of that – when I told my peers what Nick was doing, there was often a brief reflective pause, some would admit they’d question their life, how ordered, bound by routine it was.

This was inspiring and I burrowed money, like Nick did, and took that risk thinking that this film would bring a return when it was finished. I bought gear, and in that independent Coppola spirit, I just began shooting. And I continued to do so – investing all I had and all I earn (note: present tense). At times I was editing television, which sometimes felt like the anti-christ to the heavenly film (self perceived) I was making. I’d put my fiction projects on the side (they take forever anyway), as this type of documentary – observational and spontaneous, brings instant gratification. On fiction, for me, it’s a distilled creativity, that can require injections of spontaneity – on ‘Between Home’, it was like sculpting in time and place – chasing the moment. I’d become as obsessed, driven by this subject as the subject matter, with the exception that Nick had to live it, and was struggling doing so, whereas I would simply return to my warm and dry comfort zone.

The shooting period was drawn out – Nick’s project took longer than he’d originally expected, but he eventually made it to Australia, and I met him there. It was a strange encounter to say the least, but certainly in keeping with the unpredictable essence and nature of all that had already occurred. You’ll have to watch the film or read Nick’s blogs to understand how much energy, hardship and help, went into realising his dream, and what ‘finishing’ actually means.

Maybe I can go into the edit and sound post-production another time if people want to know more, but just briefly – an amazing team of highly talented and dedicated people worked very hard to get this far, and it’s a unique film. One that chronicle’s not just the panache of Nick’s odyssey, but also depicts a young person’s rites of passage, from novice to expert in three years of life aged in salt and sun.

Now where to from here? At present the film is 90% finished but requires money to see it over the line into the mastering stage. We’re thinking about planning campaigns to raise funds… Television and film festivals maybe – if there are slots for this kind of film. Certainly it will be released on DVD, Blue-ray and VOD downloadable on the net. We have interest from a distributor with whom we’re in discussions. They love the film which is great but signing away ‘rights’ has complex ramifications and it’s a difficult decision after being independent for so long.

Ultimately, and most importantly is that we get the film out so that you can experience it! We’d be mighty thankful if you can just bare with us just a little longer.  Stay tuned for updates,


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