Courtney has recently finished up a short documentary on the Melbourne electronic music scene, the Freeform Collective catches up with her to get an idea of what its like being in the clubs, on the door, behind the scenes & capturing it all on camera …
FF: What was the idea behind the documentary and how did it come about?
It started really as an idea for my final year uni project. I think it was week 3 and everyone was coming up with these ideas and I had absolutely nothing. I’d been out and about photographing all these events for a while but had never really thought about pairing a fun pastime with uni coursework (not possible!) – until I was reading Sanjays ‘Clubbing in Melbourne’ article on RA and suddenly the idea went ding! I wasn’t sure my uni lecturers were going to buy into the idea but I managed to convince them.
From there a lot of it was driven by the recent negative media attention Melbourne’s nightlife has received – I wanted to make something to show that these people are part of a friendly, vibrant community that will suffer greatly should all these ridiculous licensing measures continue to be pushed.
FF: You’ve interviewed some pivotal characters in the Melbourne scene, was there a particular process you went through to decide on this?
Mmm not a huge process! I knew I basically needed a cross section of the entire community – past, present, those who will be around for the future - which when you’re trying to keep it under 10 minutes is pretty hard. I was really lucky that most of the people I interviewed were known to me, which automatically erased that get-to-know-you process and made the whole thing a lot smoother.
FF: and did you feel you captured the cross section/mix you were after?
Reasonably! As I mentioned, the time constraint thing made things a bit hard. Obviously I would have liked to get a larger representation – maybe from people who weren’t my friends and represented different social groups – but I tried! I would have liked to speak to a few more of the younger kids coming through to get their take on the whole thing, but yeah, when you’re working to uni deadlines and as disorganised as I can be, you kinda run out of time.
FF: The documentary runs fairly linearly, did you learn anything from Melbournes past that surprised you?
Listening to some of the guys past experiences were quite funny – you always hear about these old raves, but to hear individual experiences was really great. My entry into things was right around the close of Honky Tonks, so learning about everything before that was pretty interesting. Everyones first experiences seemed to have happened around age 14-16 which was pretty crazy, with all the ID scanners we have now there’s no way that’ll ever happen again. Definitely made me wish I could have been there to see it all.
FF: In the doco you asked the question where is the Melbourne scene going and how will it survive, what are your thoughts on this?
I think it may get harder, there may be more rules, but this thing will continue to survive in some way because people love it. When I spoke to Andee he talked about how people need to fight for what they believe in, which I think is really true. If you love music, you love partying, FIGHT FOR IT! I think people will start to get more creative with the way they run events, but make sure people don’t take away your venues, and your right to be out there having a good time.
The community/family aspect is so important too. Everyone is in this because they all love the same thing, all dig the same music, so people should really work together to have as much fun as they can. Everyone I spoke to mentioned how important the community aspect of this scene is to its survival and I think people really need to remember that.
FF: If you had more time, or could change anything, would you do it differently?
Make it a little longer, speak to more people. I feel like I had to cut so much out, so I’d love to make it a little more comprehensive.