When I started out as a PM, I never really thought too much about the kind of jobs I wanted to work on. Gaining experience and paying the bills were the order of the day.
The production company I worked for initially was owned by a major company and so a lot of our work was theirs. Powered and paid for by big business. There was always a lot of branding in everything we did, so even if it was a documentary or a grassroots community program, it was still undeniably powered by big money and big business.
Then a few years ago I was offered the opportunity to production manage Mardi Gras as part of the Golden Duck team, on behalf of SBS. As a passionate LGBTQI ally, and with two of my most favourite people in the world identifying as gay, I wanted to be a part of this wonderful celebration of diversity. And I was. For two years. Nothing gave me more of a sense of pride than to be there on the parade route, knowing that the following night millions of people would watch the parade and hear the amazing stories from the community that we’d produced over a 6 month period.
Then last year, amidst the chaos and division of the plebiscite, I saw a post in one of my industry Facebook groups about a company looking for someone to cast a commercial for marriage equality. I’d already volunteered my services once for the cause with no response (don’t judge, it was a hectic time). This seemed like an opportunity to try again. To be paid (important) and to give something back.
So I threw my hat in the ring. And the next day I started the project.
Essentially, I had 6 days to cast real people. No actors, just passionate advocates for the YES vote.
And I gave it everything I had – phone calls, emails, casting notices.
In those 6 days I spoke to so many organisations and individuals, all of whom had incredible stories (some amazing and some so heart wrenching) and were willing to throw themselves at such a wonderful cause.
It was tough but in that week we managed to pull a cast of about 30 people together.
The air on set was electric. Everyone knew that what we were doing mattered. It was important. No, it was vital.
The ad came out and my proudest moment was having my little sister call me from France to say thank you. For being her advocate, for furthering her cause.
Because I did it for her. So she could marry the woman she loves. Without hesitation and without judgement.
Fast forward to this day last year, and I took the day off from work (at SBS) so I could be at Prince Alfred Park for the announcement of the vote. Had our ad made a difference? Had it changed anyone’s mind?
The air was electric. I had so many friends there. It was a sea of diversity and I was part of it….in my “Say I Do down under” marriage equality T-shirt. And with a baby in my belly.
When they read the count out, it took a moment for the victory to be registered. But a wave of excitement rushed through that park and I cried. For my sister, for my friends and for my Aunt who passed away before she got to marry the love of her life. I cried for everyone who now would have the opportunity to marry the one they love.
It was my proudest moment. To be part of that.
And I can’t wait to one day tell my daughter that she was there for that momentous occasion. And that apart from her, probably the best thing I’ve ever done is work as a part of that campaign.