Sunday, May 15, 2011


Government Budget announcement time just finished in Australia.

The time of year when everyone has their hand out has come and passed. Wayne Swan broke a glass, Tony Abbott delivered another incomprehensible tirade about nothing in particular, and Julia Gillard delivered a speech in her most stirring rendition of Kath (from the "Kath and Kim Show") yet. The world moved on.

An interesting update came into my inbox, however:

It explains in great detail, the lowering of the qualifying level for the Producer Offset; the new direct cash incentive for low-budget documentaries and the expansion of items which account as qualifying expenditure (the wonderfully titled 'QUAPE'); among other things.

What does this have to do with you?

The answer (even if you are a filmmaker) is: very little.

And that is exactly the point. Something has disappeared in our society. Everything has become so granular.

Nobody talks about vision, direction or future anymore. They talk about micro-level tax incentives.

The only people who talk about the future are the ones trying to sell you something. The only ones who have a vision are the people developing new consumer technologies or thinking about how many shekels you will have when you retire.

The already established players care about this announcement. Hell, their powerful lobbying made it happen. But we don't get to play in their sandbox. The rest of us are left begging for change from the people we used to call "leaders".

I'm not saying that these tax incentives don't help people get their film projects off the ground, but if your entire business model is based on handouts from the government, you are in the welfare business, not the film business.

Nobody talks about constructively about the future anymore, least of all the ones who shape it: the storytellers.

Except you. Right?