Monday 16 May 2022

Misadventures in the Screen Trade by Alison Ripley Cubitt BLOG TOUR #MisadventuresintheScreenTrade @lambertnagle @RandomTTours #careermemoir #BookExtract


A young woman in a man's world takes on the media industry. Can she hit the heights of her dreams, or will she fall flat on her face?

Sydney 1981 Alison Ripley Cubitt couldn't wait to make her mark. Having escaped her fractured New Zealand family only to end up dying of boredom behind a Mad-Men-era reception desk, she was determined to shatter the media's glass ceiling. Thrilled to score an unpaid television internship in London, she still needed to survive alone...

Climbing her way up the career ladder, only to fall down again, Alison's life-changing moment finally arrived when she landed her dream job at Disney. But after a documentary presentation to the masters of animation ended in disaster, the driven young woman refused to let her march to the top miss out on a spectacular finale.

In this entertaining true tale of the reality of working in the cutthroat world of show business, Alison shares the highs-and-lows of chasing bold goals. Navigating a patriarchial industry with wit and determination, her straight-to-the-point style will have you laughing out loud, and in awe of her courage.

Misadventures in the Screen Trade is a dazzling peek into one woman's climb from rural New Zealand to Tinseltown. If you like fiery heroines, self-deprecating humour, and insightful tales from backstage, then you'll love this spirited memoir.

Misadventures in the Screen Trade by Alison Ripley Cubitt was published in February 2022. As part of this #RandomThingsTours blog tour, I am delighted to share an extract from the book with you today. 

Extract from Misadventures in the Screen Trade by Alison Ripley Cubitt

Malaysia, 1960s

My Brilliant Career
 I’m five years old and at the cinema in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia with Dad while Mum’s in hospital having her appendix out. He’s taken me to see Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, but I don’t understand a word the wicked Queen is saying. There’s been a mix-up, Dad explains. The cinema has received the German version of the film instead of the English one.
I don’t care. As the Queen talks into the mirror, ‘Spieglein, spieglein an der Wand,’ I can tell by her low, menacing tone that it had better tell her what she wants to hear.
Or else.
That voice gives me nightmares, yet I’m wide awake.
And now I’m going to work for the folks who dreamt up my scariest childhood movie experience. I hope it’s not an omen.

London, 1996
I work in a swanky office in West Kensington with a fancy job title: Producer, Television Specials at Buena Vista Productions, in the TV division of Walt Disney. It’s a staff job, with a pension plan, paid holidays and plenty of travel, plus I am invited to film previews and West End shows. For the office Christmas party, Disney books out Madame Tussaud’s for the night. I earn more than I ever thought was possible, doing what I love.
‘I’ll lead on the Cirque du Monde project. How about you take The Making of the Hunchback of Notre Dame?’ my boss Ros says. Ros is a warm-hearted, gregarious sort with Northern roots, maybe ten to fifteen years my senior. She’s one of a select few women in senior roles here in London.

Every Disney feature film release in the UK is accompanied by documentary footage as part of the marketing campaign. The USA studios record a version of bland and generic EPK (Electronic Press Kits) stitched together. In Europe, we produce a broadcast-quality 52-minute documentary, in this case commissioned by the BBC and due to be screened on BBC1 on a prime-time early weekend evening slot.
‘I’d love to. I’d better read the book,’ I say.
‘Get the kids’ version. I bet that’s what Feature Animation read,’ Ros says, laughing. I laugh too. ‘They’re ruffling a few feathers in France.’

I bet they are. The Hunchback of Notre Dame is a classic of French literature given the Disney treatment and turned into an animated movie for children.
‘I have a director in mind. I’ve known him for a while, I think you’ll get on.’ She gives me his card, which I glance at briefly. I’ve never heard of him. ‘He’s not done television, but here’s his showreel,’ Ros says, passing it over. ‘He’s coming in for a meeting. He’ll be here in an hour.’

I return to my desk and watch a couple of the short films. They’re beautifully shot and edited, but there’s nothing on the showreel that indicates this Director—let’s call him Stephen—has worked on any commissions. I fast forward, hoping to find a commercial or a pop video so that I can talk to someone he has worked for and get a second opinion. I’m looking for evidence he can work under pressure. And I don’t find it.

How is someone new to TV expected to make the leap from a short film to a commissioned documentary? I don’t have the answer to that. But I realise I’m the one who has to make this happen.

Alison Ripley Cubitt left New Zealand with an arts degree and the ability to make a white sauce without a recipe, carry three plates at once and ride a horse (though not at the same time). Before she started writing memoir, non-fiction and screenplays, she received an MA in Scriptwriting from the Northern Film School at Leeds Beckett University.

She lives in a world of her own with her trophy husband. On occasion they co-write thrillers, writing as Lambert Nagle.

For the past two years, she has divided her time between home and the shops—all within the permitted five-kilometre radius. But in 2022, she hopes to travel further afield and finally get to use at least one of her three passports.

In her downtime, Alison volunteers with St Kilda Doggy Daycare and is a fully paid-up member of the Organisation for Australasian Insomniacs.

Keep in touch with Alison 

No comments:

Post a Comment