Briony Kidd

As a teenager I decided “to be a film director like Jane Campion,” so I went to study film at VCA. Truthfully, I had an inkling, even at that age, it wasn’t going to be a straightforward career path, but does anyone truly understand what they’re getting into when they sign up for a creative pursuit? So here I am, years later. I’m a screenwriter and a film director, but I’m also a script editor and screenwriting teacher, playwright, social media consultant, festival programmer/director of Stranger with My Face International Festival and a freelance arts writer currently based in Hobart. I have a personal interest in genre and the stories I want to bring to the screen tend towards horror, thriller and black comedy. But I spend as much time writing about or supporting other people’s artistic endeavours as I do developing my own and maybe that’s a good thing. For the moment. I’m still nothing at all like Jane Campion, but then that would probably be embarrassing for both of us.

Exposé

I’ve dabbled in various forms of arts writing over the years, but I’ve spent the most time cranking out film and theatre reviews. This has sometimes been awkward. One example: a six-month stint as the film reviewer for The Jakarta Post. It was fine actually; I mean, the newspaper is written in English and all and they let me write what I wanted. But it occurred to me after a while that I was giving almost everything two stars. I realised, in other words, that most big budget, wide release films were crap. Which is fair enough, but a film review column should be entertaining, not depressing. The solution? Well, in that case I moved on and left it for the next person to figure out (which was just as well, because I was on the verge of adding an extra star to everything just to make myself seem like less of a bitch).

Another example: for a few years I was reviewing just about everything happening in Hobart theatre, amateur and professional alike. Non-professional theatre is probably as deserving of being written about as anything else, but there’s a slightly different way you’ve got to approach it. In short, I had to work out my own ‘rules’ as a reviewer, and I’m not going to tell you what they are (to be honest, I didn’t always stick to them either). My point is, that’s the part of critical writing that doesn’t get talked about much. There’s “Yes, I liked that” or “No, I didn’t like it,” but there are a million other thoughts whirling around your head, and it’s learning which ones are important that’s really the trick. I tell you what, it’s a lot easier when you have an editor (thanks, RealTime). Many quite reputable outfits these days don’t bother with such luxuries, and we’re all intellectually poorer (and more confused) for it.

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