A little over a year ago, I went to the Vision Splendid Outback Film Festival held in Winton. All the films were genuinely solid, but one really stood out – PAUSE. Written and directed by Jacquelyn Auger, the short film was incredible. It felt so real and authentic I almost forgot I was watching an indie film. Ever since then, I knew I wanted to do an interview with Jacquie and after finally calling her on zoom, I am glad I did. I learnt so much more about the challenges of women in the industry, what Jacquie has faced and a new perception on commercial success. Read on for more.
EXT. BRISBANE – ZOOM – Day
FRAZIER: So can you just kind of introduce yourself and your role in film?
JACQUIE: My name is JACQUELYNN AUGER. I am 22. I finished my degree in 2020. Since then, I have gone on to write and direct. I am now working as a video editor. But writing and directing is my passion.
FRAZIER: Now just moving into PAUSE. Just a rough log line for what it is and what’s it about?
JACQUIE: Rosie comes home from leaving a small town – Winton. She returns for her grandma’s funeral after being away for three years and ghosting her past lover – Jamie. It’s just a love story, plain and simple.
FRAZIER: So how long has this idea been bouncing around in your head for?
JACQUIE: The previous year I went out to Winton as part of the Alumni trip to Winton before the students went out. It started off as a comedy about Romeo and Juliet in the Outback with two opposing pubs. It just wasn’t going anywhere, no one was taking reigns on writing it. I just stemmed it off that because the comedy wasn’t really working.
JACQUIE: I just had a lot of inspiration from past relationships. My community, being a queer person, especially a female/female presenting peoples, we don’t really see ourselves represented properly. Our love stories are usually very sexualised for the male gaze or straight gaze.
FRAZIER: So when did pre-production actually start?
JACQUIE: We went out (to Winton) in September 2020 and we filmed two things, came back started writing it and then went back in June in 2021. So it was like 6 months of pre-production. It was meant to be that everyone who was on the previous film was meant to go onto the next thing, but no one really stuck around. I then brought Kate Boylan-Ascione on board who is an amazing producer. And then she believed in the idea and Ash Burgess also believed in it and it kind of kicked off.
FRAZIER: So how long did it take you to write from beginning to end?
JACQUIE: It took a lot of rewrites… Just because I wanted to make it as authentic as I could. There was a lot of stress about not letting it be a film that doesn’t represent my community properly. I just wanted young queer people to look at this film and think “this is what it is actually like.” A lot of it came from talking with my actresses. I wanted to cast queer actresses.
JACQUIE: When we finished wrapping PAUSE, I didn’t care about the product anymore. What it did for other people and the crew was incredible. I made it so that every person could say a suggestion, I just wanted everyone to walk away being like “there’s a piece of me in it.”
FRAZIER: So your goal was bigger than film festivals? More about the emotion behind the shooting and story?
JACQUIE: Yeah I just wanted to make my community proud and speak to people who haven’t been represented properly.
FRAZIER: When you are writing – cause some people find it challenging and some find it really easy – do you find yourself getting distracted or are you locked in from the beginning?
JACQUIE: When I have an idea, I can sit there for hours and flesh it out. Through Uni and High School, I have found writing scripts quite easy.
FRAZIER: So when you were making it, what was the most challenging part of making an indie short? Whether that be financing, organising, writing, etc.
JACQUIE: I think the hardest part was believing in myself. My last production before that was the Chocolate Bar. It didn’t exceed my expectation of myself. I went into a pretty shit self-loathing hole from that. I didn’t think I was cut out for writing it. Also, my goal of representing my community was a big “holy fuck.”
JACQUIE: I think the best part of the whole thing was choosing my crew. For the subject off what we were doing, I wanted to provide female identifying people to do it. Majority of our crew were female which is awesome. It’s just hard being a woman in film…
FRAZEIR: Do you want to go into that a bit more or just leave it?
JACQUIE: Me working in the industry, I just felt uncomfortable. There’s a lot of older crews that work on film sets. You kind of get caught between “should I say something to stand up for myself or am I going to ruin my chances of making it.” I feel like we are constantly in that battle being women on set. Surely, it’s getting better, but that’s why I have been discouraged to go down the industry path because I didn’t really have the best experience the first time around.
FRAZIER: Do you have any plans to go back to the industry later?
JACQUIE: If it leads me there then definitely. Since I have this job, it is nice having an income especially coming out of an arts degree. At Film school, they never really talk about commercial work as a success. When I was at film school – it could’ve changed – it just felt like there was only one way to get to success. I just don’t think it’s selling our or giving up doing this kind of work.
FRAZIER: That is so true looking back on it. I only did a year… but it was never about commercial work.
FRAZIER: I always ask this question, so it must be done. Who is your favourite director and what is your favourite show and movie?
JACQUIE: I don’t have a favourite director… My favourite sitcom is How I Met your mother and New Girl. My favourite movie is Rocky Horror Picture Show. Honourable mentions are Normal People…
FRAZIER: Yeah, I love normal people, just rewatched it again.
JACQUIE: Oh and Fleabag.
FRAZIER: Of course, of course.
FRAZIER: This one is hard, and I always give people a while to think about it, but where do you want to see the Brisbane film scene move in the next five years.
FRAZIER: Yep ahaha
JACQUIE: In Brisbane and Australia, I want to see more high production Australian stories to be told. I feel like there is a lot of overseas productions coming over and using our beautiful landscapes. We just need more Australian stories.
FRAZIER: Another hard one, but what is next for you?
JACQUIE: I got this editing job at the moment. I remember talking to Ash about how really good writers and directors are also really good editors. I definitely want to get back to writing and directing again. I want to create content. Maybe a music video.
FRAZIER: Just my last question, if someone came to you and they were like you can make your dream project to make or person to work with, what or who would it be?
JACQUIE: Oh my good… I think it would be the next sitcom. I would love love love to write the next big comedy sitcom.
FRAZIER: So like the next Australian sitcom?
JACQUIE: Yeah like Please Like Me. That’s one of my favourite TV shows.