In 2008 Tom Meadmore, sometime Neighbours actor and aspirant film director, embarked upon a project to follow the musical careers of two equally aspirant performers. It was his attempt to make a documentary about the artistic imperative – what it takes to make it in this business we call show. He felt he had something in common with his subjects, he wanted to be an important filmmaker and so wanted to make a truthful piece. A candid, important work.
Did he succeed? Well, you can take the title How to Lose Jobs & Alienate Girlfriends as a pointer here. It’s like watching someone attempting to stop a car-crash with a banana.
How to Lose Jobs & Alienate Girlfriends is likeable enough, but more often than not comes across as Tom Meadmore’s simple attempt to torpedo his career as a documentary filmmaker in as many ways as possible.
Firstly he chooses a subject that will be difficult to be impartial with – namely the music careers of his boss and his girlfriend. These are people who he works and lives with, so when not on camera, he’s still in the room – and very often he is just being annoying and pointing the camera at them at inopportune moments. Secondly, because of his relationship with the subjects of the film he’s perfectly happy filming himself interacting with them. Where a skilled single camera documentary maker would be invisible Meadmore’s ego seems so rampant that he wants to be the subject of the documentary too. He constantly films himself, apparently seeing himself as a Nick Broomfield or Louis Theroux figure but one with neither the skill to remain impartial or even the larger film crew actually holding the camera. Thirdly, and many years later, he finally produces a documentary which goes to extraordinary lengths to show he had no idea what he was doing.
Essentially he’s made a feature length item for his CV explaining he started making a documentary without knowing how to make a documentary.
As the title suggests he pissed off his old friend, mentor and boss Tony Jackson. But the spanner put in the works of his his relationship with his girlfriend is enormous. The resulting film plays as an apology to his (now ex-) girlfriend Amanda Medica. It’s the warts and all presentation of a contrite man, apologising for behaving like a dick.
By using this as the core of the film Meadmore finally has the narrative structure he’d been searching for all the time he was annoying people. He can hang the edited highlights of his five years of footage around his sudden understanding of his earlier arrogance. He is saying sorry.
As a piece of karma that’s quite nice, and the film consequently comes across as quite affecting and sweet – what the numerous missteps he makes on the journey will do for his professional career though is anyone’s guess.
How to Lose Jobs & Alienate Girlfriends is available now on iTunes. It’s an interesting watch.