It turns out that when you launch a single, no-one wants to hear it unless you have a visual to go with the audio.
'You gotta have a clip.' said my publicist, firmly.
So I looked at the bank account, shuddered, then called my clever, resourceful producer Simon Moro.
'Favour number 257- Do you know anyone?' I asked, already resigning myself to the idea of shooting the whole thing on my ipad in a cupboard studio. It turned out that he did.
Rich Wynn of North South Pictures met up with me at my new favourite place in Fizroy, El Chino, and said
'Right. I've got no ideas. What about you?' I sat there for a moment and sifted through the debris of my imagination. Nothing. So Rich assailed me with questions, wanting to know what the song was about (the greatest love story of our time), what films I liked watching (The Blues Brothers) , any existing music vids that I could be inspired by (Rich Bitch?) and what kind of budget we were dealing with (very small). He also asked if there were any ideas left over from my time at film school (I should have done medicine).
And suddenly, it came to me. The idea that I'd been pushing on every band since I began making videos and continued to push after I finished making videos. Romance Novels. Of course.
I became fascinated by them when a tiny old fibro fishing shack in my home town had mysteriously burned to the ground. The attached garage was solid brick and everything stored inside it survived. The day after the fire, my aunt was driving past and saw the contents of the garage being thrown into a skip. She intervened and rescued a number of artefacts including close to 40 retro frocks, boxes filled with vintage sewing patterns and about 50 years worth of Mills and Boon and Harlequin Romance novels.
They were so bizarre- the helplessness of the women and the strong yet flawed men whom they fought,unsuccessfully, against desiring. I couldn't believe how a single formula could be continually applied against different backdrops, with some name and occupational changes, and still suck you in every time.
Ok, so you had to allow yourself to be swept up in the ludicrous fantasy- sometimes, like in The Dutch Uncle (ew.), it just wasn't tenable but the covers were their own kind of art- and that was what I wanted to capture.
So Rich called his mate Mim, pattern making and costume designing extraordinaire, who, it turns out 'Fookin Loovs Mills and Boon'. Then he called Matt Mirams who just generally loves being a brilliant director .
I posted on my personal FB to see who else could help- my former colleague, Anna Langley was secretly a brilliant make-up artist (not so secret anymore!) and I begged the dear, passionate Real Hot Bitches to make an appearance.
Then I called the excellent Lulu McClatchy, A.K.A Supergirly and cajoled her into playing the 'other woman' (we had no script but there obviously had to be a nemesis).
I found a studio that wasn't too far away and planned how I would feed everyone on the day. It all seemed perfectly on track... and then Rich called and said
'What about Fabio?'... silence...
'Bollocks.' I said. HOW HAD I FORGOTTEN ABOUT FABIO?!?!!?!
Rich got out his little black book. I got back on the social media soapbox.
'Who is/knows a Fabio-esque Melbourne based actor who might want to star in a brilliant Mills and Boon themed video? #gettingdesperate'
Astonishingly, I had a huge response. You wouldn't believe how eager people are to put others forward for roles that require a degree of flesh baring. It got to the point that I had to make the following statement:
'Mothers and Aunts- Please stop suggesting my cousins. I'm supposed to be the heroine. This is Melbourne, not the Appalachians.'
Then an old school friend came to the rescue. She had once worked with a guy at Nova cinemas back in the day and his nickname was, in fact, Fabio. Miraculously, he was in the country!
So I contacted Ash Williams and he was mustard.
This is getting too long, so I'll be brief. On the day of the shoot, I just got to sit back and be pampered while everyone else worked hard. There was a massive green screen, Matt developed a vision, we improvved, we sighed, we clutched one another, we flew by the seats of our pants (or kilt). To this day, Ash thinks I have long red hair.
I sang along to a recording of my song so many times that everyone started to go a bit batty and forgot all other words. It was like that scene in 'Being John Malkovich' when JM looks inside his own head-world. We just communicated in 'Kanyes'.
And then, it was done.
Well. There was a lot of editing to do, but I'm not going into that now.
Here's what we made: