Martha Goddard will be directing and co-writing All Our Eggs. Her path into writing and directing began with Queensland’s College of Art (Griffith University), where she won a scholarship to the United States to spend her final year in Los Angeles. To date Martha has directed commercials, documentaries and 6 short films, screening at over thirty film festivals, including Sydney Film Festival’s Dendy Awards in 2012. Most recently Martha assisted her directing mentor, Jocelyn Moorhouse, throughout production on The Dressmaker (2015). Check out Martha’s vimeo channel, here.
So..what brought you into directing?
My grandma was a fortune-teller, (aka a story-improvisation specialist), so I think a passion for storytelling was already in the blood, as they say. My path into filmmaking started with a love of photography where I discovered a new love of working with actors and developing story ideas so directing became the perfect fusion of all three.
Why did the story interest you?
All Our Eggs is about a couple in their 30s trying for a baby (Find out more, here). I’m what you might call a bit of a late bloomer. I’m in my early 30’s, I don’t own much, I’m not married and my biological clock has been curiously silent, (I’m pretty sure she thinks we’re still in our 20’s). So when (producer) Dan first handed me the book, Legs up and Laughing, I was unprepared for the home truths about fertility. There’s a markedly steep decline in one’s 30’s, with teenage years being ‘biologically ideal’ but honestly! Society and biology are grossly out of sync in my world so, Vanessa’s story in Legs could very well become my own story. Doing a bit of research I discovered it’s a common story. That’s why I want to do this project – it’s important to me, my friends and a whole lot of women over 30, their partners, family and friends, too.
What did you think of the book?
In an effort to get pregnant, (writer) Vanessa does it all – Chinese herbs, yoga postures, acupuncture, a whole lot of sex-on-schedule and the big, scary IVF thing. What I love about this story it is that she tells it like it is – ALL the details you might be too embarrassed to ask but really want to know. It’s an honest, first-hand account of her journey and. although it’s pretty harrowing on times, it’s hilarious. I want to capture that voice in our series with candid, intimate insight, warmth and humour.
What are you looking forward to doing with the series as a director?
A major incentive for me as a director is doing justice to the tonal shifts between drama and comedy. We’re tackling THE big questions around ‘private’ issues and it’s through our leading lady, Charlie, that we’ll be able to see the funny side to (almost) every situation. She’s passionate, articulate and courageous, but, in the same breath, she’s desperately afraid of needles and has a low-to-nil pain threshold. She’s a living, breathing paradox and there’s a whole lot of both Vanessa and I in Charlie.
Another exciting thing for me as a director is to be creating independent ‘long form’ and yes, I absolutely consider our short web episodes as a long form series. The potential scope of Charlie’s journey is formidable. Delivering content online gives us a direct connection with our audience, there’s no middle-man and that’s exciting. We can take risks and know pretty quickly if they land. The emphasis in this series is on educating through entertainment and falling in love with Charlie and her plight for a baby. I hope her story inspires us all to think about our own, and help people to find the answers to some pretty key questions: Do I really want kids? What is that need in this well-populated world? What’s the cut-off point to try? What else is out there? What’s the impact of all this baby-focus on a relationship?
All Our Eggs is being developed with the help of the Gender Matters initiative from Screen Australia. What are your thoughts on the program, and how does it feel to be part of it?
As visual storytellers we interpret life as we see it – we augment, exaggerate or imbue that vision with personal perspective. So it’s important there’s a diversity of voices telling these stories, permeating our culture, creating new connections. Statistics for film tell us our stories are male-dominated so I’m thrilled, as both a filmmaker and an audience member that Screen Australia are initiating change. I suspect the impact will ricochet within our culture, well beyond these projects.
And when does the serious work on All Our Eggs start?
Dan, Vanessa and I have been talking about Eggs for almost a year, and batting ideas back and fore. I’m currently up in Brisbane, writing a feature script, but we are aiming to get together at the end of August to begin the writing of the series, and looking towards a shoot at the beginning of 2017. The support from Screen Australia is a huge boost to us, allowing us to really dedicate the time to the project that it deserves. I can’t wait to get cracking! (The first of many egg jokes, no doubt – Ed.)
Final question: how do you like your eggs?
Scrambled, definitely, as messy as they come!