Tuesday, September 01, 2009

A Day.

You may have noticed (or not) that my production company website www.palestoneproductions.com, is gone. That is because Pale Stone Productions is no more (as a Limited company at least.) Due to the current financial climate I have been forced to close the company I have been trying to build up over the last 4 years.

Thomas and I set up Pale Stone Productions in 2005 to house our own films. It was a name to work under as a creative team. But I always wanted more. I wanted to work with other people, to produce works by other writers (as I had tried to do with Caroline Farrell and her script Adam earlier this year.) It could have happened, should have, but what has been the best year of my life creatively has also turned out to be my worst year financially. If I had been in this position 3 or 4 years ago, Pale Stone Productions could have benefited hugely and grown a great deal.

It wont effect my creative endeavors, I will write the same scripts I had planned, I will promote Slán agus Beannacht as planned, I will edit and promote 140 as planned, but it will just be as myself, by myself and not under any other name or company.

The situation is increasingly frustrating when unable to acquire paying gigs, unable to find funding from the likes of the Irish Film Board or the local enterprise board, unable to even find a regular part-time job to support myself, and with a wife and baby on the way and bills falling into arrears needing to be paid, I find myself in a loathsome position - I am left with no other option but to sign-on and claim social benefit.

It is made even more frustrating by the fact that I have a company that I work at for 60 hours plus a week. I develop scripts, edit films, promote them, push them, the company and myself out into the world to gain some form of notoriety so I can build something worthwhile, something I can make a living from to support my family with.

But as I have found, there is no support or encouragement for that. The only support available to get out of the hole I am in is to sign-on, and to do that I must first give up everything I have worked for, and prove to them that I have nothing before they will help me.

So I have to strike-off the company. To do that I have to get a letter of no objection from the Revenue, then I have to advertise in a national newspaper that I am closing, cut out the ad and send that with the letter to the Companies Register Office to request that they strike me off. Here's the thing, to place this classified ad in the paper costs between €250 and €360! Which I don't have... so I have to spend money I don't have, making sure I have absolutely nothing, before I can apply to officially have absolutely nothing, before I can ask for help to get something! - Am I missing something here, or is that just Fucked?!

Can't I keep my company and continue to work at it, try to build it up and find an income with what I do best, what I'm trained to do? Can't they help me to do that? - NO. I have to give it up and seek work doing whatever else there is, sales person in a mobile phone store, a supermarket packer, a building site laborer, it doesn't matter what, so long as I find work. Which is fine and understandable, but in my opinion - a waste. I have skills as a filmmaker and as a writer. I have an award-winning company that just needs some more time, that could earn revenue if only I was allowed to keep it.

With the film industry in the country in crisis shouldn't everything be done to help me keep my company? Rather then forcing my to close it so I can claim a miniscule amount from social welfare to look for any old job. I don't want social welfare. I want to work, I want to keep working at what I do best and continue making films and continue working on creating new cinema in this country.

But I can't. There is no work out there. No one is willing to pay for it or to invest in it. So I must go back to where I was 5 years ago, back to square one to continue the struggle because of the choice I made to be a filmmaker. Although, with 14% of the country in the same boat I'm not sure it's just because I'm a filmmaker. This recession has hit Ireland hard and there doesn't seem to be any kind of up turn.

Be assured, regardless of what I have to do to stay afloat financial in this testing times I wont abandon my projects, especially not 140. It's going ahead as planned and I'll be putting the same amount of effort into finishing it as I did into starting it. So I will continue to update this blog as if nothing has changed, and if somehow you have this post erased from your memory then it will be like nothing has changed. I wont let the bastard get me down. I have to much to do.


I must admit I hit a low point today. I was feeling somewhat despondent. So I ventured out, away from the job searches and pile of bills on my desk. First to pick up my photos from Boyne Books (my exhibition ended yesterday) but the owner Mark said I could keep them hanging there for another week and that he would drop them up to my house - great!

Then I walked over town. Feeling somewhat parched I thought I would drop into one of my fav coffee shops when I suddenly remembered I had no money, so I changed direction - and walked straight in a Coke promotion where I was hand a free can - nice!

Then I walked through a mall, where I saw a tiny Nike shoe, and ahead of that, a tiny shoeless person, being pushed in a stroller by an oblivious parent. So I picked it up a ran, eventually catching up to a very thankful parent - good deed for the day!

Then I checked my bank and as it happened I had money in there for once, hurray! So I decided I would go for lunch. On the way back trough the mall, drinking my free coke, another happy free-coke-drinker smiled at me and raised his can, I raised mine back - that made my laugh inside!

On I went for lunch to my regular spot, but for some reason my card would not work - don't know why. So I went to an ATM, but I couldn't take money out!?! Slightly embarrassing. I went back to the cafe, they were already toasting my sandwich, to apologise, but they said it was fine and credited me because I'm a regular! Thanks guys.

I think the universe was on my side today!


Graham McBride said...

don't let it get to you! some how, some where! it always works out Frank. With your craft; your gift things will change, it just might take longer than expected so hold on to them rail & ride this storm out...

John Morton said...

That's one of the most inspiring blogs I have read in a long time. As someone who's also trying to get a production company up off the ground whilst dodging the red tape of Social Welfare and the general landscape, it puts considerable light into my heart. I was told that I have to be completely unemployed for 4 years before they'll assist me in setting up the company I've already had for 2 years. It's an absolute joke. Initiative is not something rewarded in this country of ours. No doubt you'll fare out well Frank, you've got the right attitude.

Frank Kelly said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Frank Kelly said...

Thanks guys for the words of encouragement! That actually happened me John, I was on the Dole for 4 years after college and went on a Back to Work and Start You Own Business programme for 4 years, which I'm now at the end of - all the good it did! So now I have to go back on the dole!

There's something wrong with the system somewhere - although I don't think that's any secret!