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The Dominion Post - Your Weekend (Dominion Post) - - Viewpoint - Amie Richard­son

When I was 5, I thought I’d found the se­cret pas­sage­way my dad used to get to work.

Glimpsed down the end of a long cor­ri­dor at his of­fice, I saw what looked like our back­yard through an open door and as­sumed it was his way back home for when he was late or needed to pick up some work at night.

Maybe a few months later I told my old­est brother about Dad’s pas­sage­way. I was ex­cited shar­ing the dis­cov­ered se­cret un­til my brother’s look of dis­dain shat­tered my faith.

“What are you talk­ing about? Dad drives to work. You’ve seen him. You’ve been in the car!”

Fast for­ward 35 years and my 5-year-old son, Jasper, is run­ning around the house, hop­ing that if he does it 20 times, he’ll trans­form the pud­dle on the drive­way into a time por­tal. In­side the house my 8-year-old, Oli, com­plains about the kids at school who tell him Santa doesn’t ex­ist. “Do you be­lieve in magic, Mum?” he asks. “Of course,” I an­swer. See­ing magic in the ev­ery­day helps keep me alive – and while re­al­ity can of­ten get in the way of magic, cre­ative pur­suits and learn­ing brings it all back to life. Be­ing the ex­cep­tion­ally lucky daugh­ter of a best-sell­ing au­thor and sis­ter to an award-win­ning artist, magic was in great sup­ply grow­ing up. To­day I’m knock­ing on the door of 40, hap­pily com­fort­able in a job I love do­ing and know I’m good at, and some­times it’s easy to for­get how lit­tle I re­ally know.

But magic is just around the cor­ner.

Last week­end, I got to hang out with film-mak­ers from around the coun­try at a New Zealand Film Com­mis­sion short film lab.

Be­ing in a room full of cre­ative tal­ent can be in­tim­i­dat­ing. Panic sets in as it draws closer to my turn to in­tro­duce my­self. “Who am I? What do I do? Why am I here? Sud­denly I’m an im­pos­tor. I shouldn’t be here. Surely they’ll find out soon enough. Should I go home now?” But on the sec­ond day when we get to have a cre­ative ses­sion with screen­writ­ing leg­end Kathryn Bur­nett, I start to re­alise ev­ery­one feels the same way – in­se­cu­rity in cre­ative types is as com­mon as tantrums in 2-year-olds.

While I can’t share the amaz­ing sto­ries that are yet to be told on film, I was in­spired by the peo­ple be­hind them. From first time-writer-di­rec­tor-pro­ducer teams to ex­pe­ri­enced film-mak­ers and all those in be­tween, ev­ery in­di­vid­ual brought pas­sion, com­mit­ment and in­spir­ing open­ness to their projects. Watch­ing teams col­lab­o­rate and share ideas while work­ing along­side men­tors ex­pertly se­lected by the Com­mis­sion’s Tal­ent De­vel­op­ment Team was pure magic and we all left bet­ter at what we were do­ing than when we ar­rived.

And hav­ing three days to think and learn and meet peo­ple who care about sto­ries re­minded me just how im­por­tant sto­ry­telling is. The hu­man brain is wired for sto­ries. And sto­ries are magic.

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