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Australian Archives - The X Gene

Fanny Bullock Workman with her explorer gear, ropes, and face that means business

Go Out Of Your Way

By | Producing, Purpose | No Comments

Our producer Simon J Green talks about going out of your way to find more women.

If you’re a man, you’ve got some options. The history of cultures and societies, spanning centuries, has put men on top. We ruled over vast monuments in ancient Egypt, we covered the earth in global war, and we went to the moon and stars. That whole time, we were absolute pricks to women, keeping them down with every dirty trick we could invent. Now, finally, in the least 50 years, we’ve been trying to see humanity as a whole, not as two sexes.

With all these impressive feats of humanity, you’d think going out of our way to bring about equality would be easy. Certainly down at the pathetic level of being an artist or screen practitioner in Australia, the stakes are so low, the rewards so paltry, the barrier to equality should be thinner than a male artist’s skin.

When you’re a producer or director, you have a contact list with names you regularly draw on to help you create. Favourites and preferences. I have such a list, organised into at least 5 of each category of skill I need. My 5 editors, graphic designers,  web developers, directors, motion graphics artists, soundies, camera operators. Each of them has been tested on a job first, proved to be reliable, professional and talented before being added to my list.

When a job comes up and I need to send a quote or ask a question, I consult my lists. Each person has strengths and styles that exclude them from some jobs or make them prime candidates for others.

I started these lists years ago, and one day when I looked at them, I realised they were mostly men. About 90% of the names were dudes. I’ve written before about my failure to include women on the front page of my company website. In this list was the proof men were being chosen over women, because women weren’t even in my default consideration. I sucked.

So, I went out of my way to change it. I sought out women who were talented, reliable and professional in each of the categories. The men weren’t removed—the only time anyone is removed from my lists is if they’ve changed careers or states—but instead, my lists swelled to much more useful and flexible sizes.

Doing this gave me better access to more talent, better suited teams for individual jobs, and led to some of the best freelancer relationships I’ve ever had. I’ve also gotten jobs because of my diverse crew. All because I went a tiny little bit out of my way to equalise my lists. The culmination of that effort came in the stellar reviews we got for Night Terrors, a production that had ten women and two men. 83% women.

It also helped me see which parts of the screen and design industries are garbage at bringing up women. I’m still short on ladies who love:

  • Motion graphics
  • Camera operating
  • Directing
  • Editing
  • Gaffing
  • Sound

Feel free to reach out if you are someone who does these things. I don’t do as much video work any more, but I recommend my list to other producers and directors a bunch.

Thing is, men, go out of your way. A tiny little bit. Look at your list, your group, the people you draw on the most. Do they all have penises? Then go out of your way to find women with the same set of skills and traits. They OF COURSE are out there, you just haven’t bothered to look. And if you say you have but couldn’t find any, then you didn’t look hard enough and gave up too quickly. In fact, I have a bunch for you right now.

We ruled over the pyramids, started world wars and walked on the moon. By comparison, equality in Australian arts should be easy. One thing men can do is go out of their way.

Electric eye looking to the future

Statement of Intent 2018+

By | Strategy, Theatre | No Comments
Simon J Green’s
Statement of Intent For
The X Gene Pty Ltd

I WANT:

I want to write original plays, and produce fun theatre for my company, The X Gene.

I want to make The X Gene a theatre company that can tell my stories, and that economically and creatively supports a group of makers I respect and trust.

I want the stories we tell to be fun and fantastic, using genre (sci-fi, horror, fantasy, adventure, etc) to explore and blow up our social fears.

I want structural narrative to dominate the development process, so that all of our choices come back to the story and its why/purpose. I think Aaron Sorkin, Ann Patchett and David Mamet do this well.

I want the company and the productions to develop us as professionals, while also providing a platform for bringing up underrepresented groups in theatre (women, people with disability, people of colour).

I want the audience to enjoy the escapism, the colour, the sounds and sights, while still appreciating the underlying social messages. I think Pixar, Tina Fey, Mike Schur and the Shaun of the Dead team are role models for this style of storytelling.

I NEED:

I need to find the right distribution pathway and income streams that can be repeated year on year, to allow stability, forward planning and growth for the theatre business.

I need my team of makers to join me in a contract capacity, so we can come together on productions and develop then execute them in a way that makes a stable profit and also gives all of us the creative satisfaction and fun we crave.

I think I need a partner or close collaborator who can autonomously and proactively generate income or opportunities for the company. Someone who understands and wants to grow the business of theatre with me.

I need to confirm that Night Terrors and regional Victoria can provide the distribution pathway and income stream I’m seeking, as a foundation for the business and all future productions and plans.

I THINK:

I think that we should develop some sort of social program to attach to our productions, because they broaden the appeal of the show as a package, widen income opportunities and the cultural relevance of our work. They also help us pursue our individual social consciences, and the social mission of the business: to represent the underrepresented.

I think that Night Terrors can be a regular yearly production that pairs a director and a performer, and draws from the established library of out of copyright horror stories we’ve adapted for stage. I think it can be cheap, easy to tour, and can run for approximately two years before the incarnation runs out of steam.

I think that Night Terrors can be a training ground for new talent, that can be inducted into our approach to teamwork and production, hardened on the road, and then elevated into the original productions we develop.

I think something like a repertory model could work for us. Night Terrors and even BULLET can be toured around, and new work, first the stories I want to tell, but eventually other written pieces by our team, can be developed, premiered at Melbourne Fringe, and then added to our repertoire and sold to our distro pathway.

I think Australian Fringe Festivals and regional/rural Victoria are the best places to start in developing the relationships we need for our distribution pathway and income streams.

I think that until we can prove otherwise, I and the team will need to maintain part-time or casual jobs elsewhere, to allow us the money and stability to engage in The X Gene productions on a project by project basis.

Use video for magazines

Got A Brand, Magazine or Website? Produce TV!

By | Video | No Comments

After finishing up on 4WD Touring Australia, a 13-part half hour series airing on Aurora, Foxtel’s open channel, we want to make use of our fabulous production team to develop more series with you.

In particular, we’re after brand funded content. This can be media that has an existing advertiser base (magazines, websites, eBooks) or a product that ties in with something that people enjoy as part of their lifestyle.

For example, 4WD Touring Australia was first a magazine, but the owners turned it into a TV series that their existing advertisers took part in funding. The idea is to create a program people enjoy, while also giving them access to the elements of that lifestyle they’d be keen to buy or make use of anyway.

Our skill is in working with you to create a concept that incorporates your brand personality, and then planning, shooting, editing and generally executing the show. Aurora is the channel that airs the content around the nation, and they loved our work last time, keen to work with us again.

That’s as simple as we can put it, really! Please get in contact with us if you think you have an idea.

 

While we’re at it, here’s a great article about brand funded content from Mumbrella.