I recently shared some thoughts on Stage 32, an online global networking and education platform for creative folk.
The defamation cases involving Australian actors prompted me to share a memory from the 90s about a likeable head honcho of Channel 9 in Sydney who instructed me to include a specific boob shot in a movie promo. (Lest we forget that sex sells.) He even wrote down the exact timecode in-point to make sure I chose the right boobs.
In this #MeToo age, an incident like that would probably spark outrage. Legal threats. Back in the day, I just laughed it off and interpreted the boob incident as a clear sign that the time was nigh to find a meaningful job. My tolerance for relentless idiot box workloads had also worn dangerously thin.
You Just Never Know Who You’re Gonna Meet
My comments led to a compelling response from American film director David Trotti and a refreshingly frank discussion about the bright and not-so-bright sides of Hollywood. I asked him for permission to share his recollections about the razzle-dazzle trade and he kindly agreed. Bearing in mind that the following stories hail largely from the ’90s, echoes clearly still remain.
“Yeah. It’s always been a rough trade. I’ve heard stories of aspiring actresses in the early days performing favours for studio guards just to get on the lot to have a chance to get hired as an extra for a day. Casting offices would stop putting out mint-candy in bowls because the starving actors would clean them out.
It was bad enough that the wives of the studio executives raised money to build low-to-no-rent all-female apartment buildings to keep young women who’d flocked to Hollywood from sleeping in library basements.
In that sort of desperate power imbalance, a lot of people got taken advantage of.
I have been on shows where a producer cast an actress just to have a shot at her. I have been at a party where I had to keep my director from successfully seducing a prop girl who was too drunk to even say yes or no. Which should be an automatic no.
On the other side, I have witnessed actresses stalking directors, producers and actors with the intent of seducing them for jobs, love, hero-worship or just another notch.”
Stars In Their Eyes, Dreams In Their Hearts
“One of my darkest days in the business was when a buddy of mine was hired to direct a Roger Corman film called “Furious Angel IV” and he asked me to sit in on the casting. I don’t know if that was the final title. It has Catya Sassoon in it. It was a nude kickboxing movie they were going to shoot in the Philippines. Needless to say, there wasn’t a lot of ambiguity about what was required to be in it. 1) Nudity. 2) Kickboxing. I will also say my buddy was a stand-up guy, the casting director was a pro and I was a guest in the room. So the casting session starts and I have to say that of the fifty so women who came and went that day, all of them could be broken down into three categories.
These girls were fresh off the bus from Iowa, Calgary, small-town beauty queens and high school musical Dorothys. They had no idea what they’d gotten themselves into, but they had stars in their eyes and dreams in their hearts. This was a job! In Hollywood! A SAG job that meant a Union Contract. Okay, maybe it might require some nudity, but it was going to lead to bigger and better things.
Unfortunately, most of these girls had been met at the bus stop by unscrupulous “agent” assholes who were really just camouflaged pimps.
They’d drag these girls around to all sorts of cattle calls before us as well as stops at Playboy, Penthouse and Hustler.
One poor girl – and I’ll always remember this – when the casting director asked for her “headshot” turned bright red and then reached into her backpack and produced a Polaroid beaver shot that she’d had taken at her first stop of the day. We quickly gave it back to her and said that’s not what we meant.
These were girls you just wanted to hand bus money to and say “Go home. Save yourself. Please.”
These were the gals who had been in town for a while and knew the score. But this was the job that was going to get them the next one that was going to get them a TV guest slot, that was going to turn recurring and pay the rent. They were jaded versions of the Category One girls, but they still had hope and dreams. And they weren’t going to go back to East Texas until they could show up, head held high and say they’d made it.
Then there was Category Three. And the decline from level two to three was so sharp and severe it was striking. These girls had been in town too long and they would do anything, and I mean anything, for enough scratch to score their drug of choice just to get them by.
You could see that these were Category one girls who’d had the dreams burned out of them by one of those asshole pimps who put cigarettes out on their skin nightly. They would walk in the door and flash breasts or drop dresses with the singular goal of selling the merchandise. They had no room for morals. I don’t even know if they considered themselves human beings anymore or if they, like their asshole pimps, found their only value as commodities of flesh and lip gloss.
Just Another Hollywood Story
“I think the Director and I were shell shocked by the end. The Casting Director was a good guy, but I think working at Corman’s he’d seen it so often he was numb to it. None of us did anything unprofessional, we certainly didn’t take advantage of the situation. But also, we didn’t hand out bus money. Heartless? Maybe, but we knew none of them would use the cash for bus fare. They’d use it to get by one more day in Hollywood. Because tomorrow, it was going to happen. Fame, Fortune and Stardom. Because no one believes they’ll hit Category Three. Till they do.
Anyway, that’s just another Hollywood story. Now go make magic!”
Pimps, Hitmen & Heroin
After reading that, I felt far from magical. If anything, I worried about our Australian starlets and studlets with ‘stars in their eyes and dreams in their hearts.’ And old memories resurfaced about losing my childhood best friend to pimps, hitmen and heroin in the 1980s. She could have been a Vogue magazine cover girl but her pimp boyfriend brutally killed that possibility. Instead, she swiftly spiralled to Category 3. Then Category 4 – drug mule.
She eventually ‘confessed’ to her secret life of drugs, prostitution and mafia bosses in the mid-80s after stupidly thinking I would believe her innocent ‘I’ve just had a 5-star holiday in Bangkok’ story. When I jokingly suggested she hire a hitman to get rid of him, she said: “I can’t do that. They’re all his friends.”
I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. From memory, we laughed.
“He hates your guts, Linda. He’s scared you’ll go to the cops.”
I assured her I would never do that because I knew that crooked cops peddled heroin on the streets of Adelaide and threatened her with gaol if she refused to buy it from them. Even during her desperate attempts to kick the insidious habit.
And I will always remember her telling me this:
“I ended up being taken to heaps of Sydney’s exclusive A-lister parties. You’d be really shocked at how many celebrities and even sports stars are recreational heroin users. Trouble is, heroin is a disease. The first high is so mind-blowing that you keep going back for more. But you never get to that place again. You just fuck yourself up.”
Turns out Australia and Hollywood ain’t so different after all. Her sordid story would probably make an eye-opening Australian gangster movie one day.
My conversation with David then moved on to the brighter side of Hollywood where he provided further insights and useful tips for aspiring stars.
One In A Hundred Thousand Shot
“I would never wholly dissuade someone who has the means and desire from making the pilgrimage and trying to make a go of it if that is their life’s dream. I also have examples of people who did make it and did not go down that dark path.
I’ve worked with Yvonne Strahovski on Chuck and Katherine Langford on 13 Reasons Why. They both took the chance and came from Australia and are doing very well. But they are both talented actresses with families who love, support and encourage them. They also were fortunate enough to fall on the legitimate side of the business with professionals who do take their responsibilities as agents, producers and executives seriously.
The real problem lies in that shaky ground in between the extremes not just where physical and emotional exploitation can take place but also where lives and potential are wasted pursuing what is statistically a one-in-a-hundred thousand shot.
Even making it in Hollywood does not mean an actor can count on a sustainable career or a comfortable retirement.
And talent does mean a great deal. The problem is it gets lost in the sheer numbers. There are so many actors and actresses and so few paying gigs. And sometimes you can be the best performer but just not have the right look that the director had in mind. It can all seem very random and heartless and cruel. But it can also be a hell of a fun ride.”
Sage Advice For Fledgling Dream Weavers
“If someone is young and attractive (male or female) with enough money to live for six months and wants to party in LA while making a go at acting, God bless them. Use a condom, don’t do anything that requires needles, travel with a posse you trust not to leave you behind in a gutter, don’t drink anything you didn’t see poured out of a sealed bottle, have enough money saved for airfare home and if you’re an actor, for God’s sake don’t get a tattoo.
The rest you’ll figure out.”
Linda Summer, Scribe @ Lost For Words
Old memories keep bugging me to say something. So here goes.
In (dim) light of George Pell’s conviction and Channel 7’s recent national report about Adelaide’s renegade pedophile hunter, I feel compelled to share some disturbing information that’s been following me around since the early 2000s.
My intention is not to speak ill of the dead. My intention is to speak on behalf of South Australia’s dead, and living dead, child sex abuse victims who were sworn to a tortured life of secrecy. While certain names have been ‘bleeped,’ everybody else I have referred to in this blog is on public record.
Rumours of Corruption and Personal Impropriety
If you haven’t heard of (bleep!), he was the South Australian Premier in the 1970s, championed by many as a colourful, bold reformist who brought many progressive and exciting changes to staid, stuffy, South Australia (much like it is today). He died an equally glorified death in 1999.
Here’s a Wikipedia snapshot of the closing days of the (bleep!) government:
“After four consecutive election wins, (bleep!) administration began to falter in 1978 following his dismissal of Police Commissioner Harold Salisbury, as controversy broke out over whether he had improperly interfered with a judicial investigation. In addition, policy problems and unemployment began to mount, as well as unsubstantiated rumours of corruption and personal impropriety. (bleep!) became increasingly short-tempered, and the strain was increased by the death of his second wife. His resignation from the premiership and politics in 1979 was abrupt after collapsing due to ill health, but he would live for another 20 years…”
As I stumbled through life in search of answers to crimes committed against me by an insidious band of powerful Adelaide men in the late 1980s, my frail quest for justice led me to child abuse activist Ki Meekins, a former state ward and ‘takeaway child’ victim of multiple perpetrators including TV host Ric Marshall. Ki fought long and hard to bring him to justice and eventually won. Conveniently, Marshall was sentenced to home detention instead of a gaol cell due to ill health.
I showed Ki a document that named the perpetrators in my wretched story and he immediately recognised the name of a media owner. Said he was a long-time associate of Ric Marshall and highly likely to be part of his depraved pedophile world. Then he proceeded to tell me about the victims of the (bleep!) pedophile ring and how ‘takeaway boys’ were rounded up and paraded at secret late-night gatherings at Centennial Hall, Wayville Showgrounds. The boys were hand-picked according to personal, lurid preferences, whisked away to luxury homes, plied with alcohol, drugs, dollars and other temptations in exchange for sex and a vow of life-threatening silence. It not only shocked me to learn that these elite men led twisted, secret lives, it infuriated me.
I wanted to help the victims tell their stories but Ki said they still lived in fear of being killed if they went public. My heart went out to these suffering men and those who tragically saw death as an easier way out of a life lived in tortured silence.
I never saw Ki again but never forgot that meeting. Or the silenced victims.
When I returned home that afternoon, it was a rude welcoming. The house had been broken into. A highly professional job, might I add. Gone was my laptop, photography equipment and silver jewellery.
Joining Forces with Child Abuse Activists
After meeting Ki, it would have been wiser to tend to my own festering wounds, but I was so fired up that I joined forces with three South Australian child abuse activists – Peter Lewis MP (now deceased), Wendy Utting and Barry Standfield.
During a meeting at Parliament House, we vowed to knock South Australia’s pedophile plague on its head.
I listened in silent awe as Wendy recounted late-night knocks at her door and fighting off ‘henchmen in suits’ who attempted to forcibly enter her home. From memory, this was quite possibly the straw that broke my fragile mind. Long story short, I ungraciously bailed out of this most worthy cause at the eleventh hour because I simply didn’t have the capacity for any more stress or horror. How much post-traumatic stress can a human realistically endure?
Utting, Standfield and several informants soldiered on and caused a mighty stir with allegations of sex offences against underage boys by two politicians and senior police. The outraged establishment predictably joined forces to shut them down and a dirty, legal assassination ensued.
I observed the unfolding drama from a distance, relieved that I jumped ship when I did. Utting and Standfield were dragged through court but thankfully, both were acquitted of criminal defamation charges and made it out alive. Two of their reliable informants weren’t as lucky. Robert Woodland was found bashed to death on 8 December 2004 in the South Parklands. Shaine Moore died under suspicious circumstances in February 2005.
Ki eventually wrote a book called Red Tape Rape, the harrowing true story of his life as a sexually abused state ward and beyond, of South Australia’s ‘takeaway children’ who were picked up from government institutions by known pedophiles for ‘weekend outings’. Kids repeatedly drugged and raped. All under the blind watch of depraved South Australian governments devoid of child protection policies.
Ki’s turbocharged pen would also force the hand of the Rann Government to reluctantly call the South Australian Children in State Care Commission of Inquiry. Commencing in November 2004, the $13.5 million inquiry led by Ted Mullighan QC encompassed 1592 allegations of sexual abuse dating from the 1930s against 1733 perpetrators.
The 600-page report was tabled in Parliament on 1 April 2008 and the government also extended a public apology to the victims.
However, an 80-year suppression order was put in place by the then Attorney General Michael Atkinson with then Premier Mike Rann. This essentially means that the 1733 identified evilite pedophiles will never go to court, or be charged.
How Do Evilites Sleep At Night?
Calls to remove the suppression order have naturally fallen on deaf ears. The same deaf ears that forced Henry Keogh to suffer in prison for 20 years. The usual story in South Australia. One wonders how pedophile protectors and evilites can sleep at night.
Sadly, the sordid, secret legacy of the (bleep!) government lives on. And the present-day establishment is hellbent as ever on keeping South Australia’s rotten carpet from exploding with scandalous historical truths for all the world to see.
A screenwriter couldn’t make this up.
Funny I should mention that. I am also on the lookout for a silenced screenwriter who penned a knockout screenplay about South Australia’s controversial (bleep!) Government era. The mystery writer was brought to my attention in 2014 by an old school filmmaker at a networking do in Adelaide, although his name was never mentioned.
The screenplay allegedly rocked the establishment to the core, resulting in the writer being threatened with serious legal action (and probably gaol time) if the proposed film was ever produced. Given that Adelaide has a penchant for gaoling innocent local folk, it’s fortunate that the writer not only bypassed the slammer but got out of the scandal alive. Phew! They sure don’t like true stories being told in that there great southern land.
I suggested that we track down the writer and urge him to resurrect his screenplay. To my surprise, I was met with an indignant response from the filmmaker that went something like this:
‘Oh no. South Australians aren’t interested in historical truth. It wouldn’t do them any good to see a film about the (bleep!) era. They would rather mind their own business and pretend it didn’t happen.’
And that was the end of that conversation.
This Makes ‘Don’s Party’ Look Like A Tea Party
In closing, now that increasing numbers of child abuse victims are emerging from the shadows to share their harrowing stories in the public domain, I hope the mystery South Australian screenwriter comes out of his hidey-hole if he is still on this earth. And if the establishment has another hissy fit, let them. Every writer has the right to write the truth. Lest we forget.
Otherwise, perhaps an accomplished screenwriter can be funded to take on this intriguing project. Funded? In Australia? Yes. It’s been way too long between factual Australian political films and this will make ‘Don’s Party’ look like a mundane, 70’s sex and power romp.
I envisage that rather than focusing on the lewd sex crimes committed against children by South Australia’s secret pedophile rings, the film would primarily explore the exciting reforms, arts revolution, scandals and boisterous rumour mills of the day. It would also shine a subtle spotlight on how and why certain power-drunk, elite individuals the world over have a tendency to succumb to the disturbing mental illness known as pedophilia – and failure to see anything wrong with having sex with children.
It is a heinous crime to have sex with children.
Here we are in 2019. Pedophile victims of elite South Australian evilites still live in fear of being killed if their stories are told. A concrete 80-year suppression order protects hundreds of pedophiles named in the Mullighan Inquiry and the police department still refuses media interviews about the existing pedophile scourge.
Worse still, South Australian politicians still avoid the truth like the plague and go about their business as if none of it ever happened. Reminiscent of avoiding the truth about the shameful, wrongful imprisonment of Henry Keogh.
Time for the ‘political class’ to stand up for the protection of children and justice instead of pedophiles and judicial systems bought by powerful monied men and women.
It’s time, South Australia. The truth heals.
In closing, if you happen to cross paths with the mystery screenwriter in question or an accomplished screenwriter looking for a gobsmacker of a true story to write, please let them know that they can safely direct their pitch to Netflix, Amazon or Apple. It has been reported that these companies are champing at the bit for compelling political true stories.
Linda Summer, Scribe at Lost For Words
It’s been a while since I’ve bantered about spooky stuff with an attuned, authentic medium. A recent discussion led to the contentious topic of convicted Australian Catholic priest George Pell. And the alarming number of emerging stories about high-level pedophilia within religious, political, judicial and celebrity realms.
Doesn’t get much darker than that. Power not only has the potential to corrupt. It disturbs. Deeply.
“What’s the point of priests and nuns being forced to abstain from sex?” I ask. The medium eloquently explains that some religions teach that celibacy ultimately leads to a state of divine enlightenment (or words to that effect).
Are the Wheels Falling Off the Catholic Empire?
The medium also suggests that the wheels are falling off the Catholic religion because of its failure to embody vital, age-old spiritual practices that enable celibate, mortal humans to energetically quell their natural primal urges.
Instead, priests and nuns are forced to repress sexual urges. This invariably cultivates a highly frustrated inner world that increases the risk of manifesting uncontrollable impulses and sadistic behaviours. Depending on the individual, of course. Some people happily live without sex and intimacy.
All the more reason to keep celibate religious folk well away from children, or at least supervised by a parent or guardian.
“So the Catholic religion isn’t spiritual,” I ponder, out loud. “If anything, the Vatican hierarchy reeks of negligence.”
The medium responds with a wry smile. Then he shares a personal experience of achieving an ‘energetic’ orgasm all by himself during a forty day ‘fast’ which encompassed powerful yogic and tantric traditions. While it takes time, patience and stringent self-care to achieve such heightened states of transcendental, ‘blissful’ existence, he described it as the most amazing sex he’d ever had.
Holy Rule Books
We agree that religions are man-made institutions built upon their respective ‘holy rule books,’ many of which cultivate a culture of fear, dependency and historical misinformation. Nothing divine or spiritual about that.
Just as well people are waking up. Turning away from rigid, manufactured religions. Turning inward to where all our answers lie. Reclaiming their inner world and holistic pathways to self-empowerment, self-healing, balance and harmony on all levels-spiritual, physical, mental and emotional.
Old School Negligence On a New Richter Scale
Of equal concern are institutionalised lawyers like Robert Richter who referred to Pell’s crime as ‘no more than a plain vanilla sexual penetration case.’ Even though he swiftly ate his words and apologised, the damage to children and child abuse victims was done.
It has been widely reported that Richter’s comment to the judge was merely ‘criminal justice system speak.’
Sadly, Richter speaks for a decrepit, out of touch system. And every disturbed pedophile that lurks amongst the majority of decent professional men and women in society’s lofty echelons. Our children deserve way more respect and protection.
One can only hope that the Pope and his sanctimonious right-hand rulers will seek urgent counselling about the irreparable damage done to children by god’s ‘executive’ servants and have an honest look at what needs to change in their godfearing, rigid world of ‘clergyism.’
Don’t Mention the Words Medium or Shaman
In closing, please don’t mention the word Medium or Shaman to Catholic religious leaders – and probably most Christian leaders. Or the book about Mary Magdalene that was conveniently removed (and disposed of) from the original bible manuscript by the rulers of the day.
But that’s another story.
What the Hell Does Spiritual Mean Anymore?
To be honest, I have recently begun to question whether I am spiritual anymore. The media labels terrorist and cult leaders as ‘spiritual’ when they should be referred to as religious. There is nothing spiritual about killing people, abusing children, preying upon lost souls and brainwashing them, etc.
Mind you, there is nothing religious about such heinous crimes against humanity – but then, religious history is full of bloody battles, cruelty, fear, control freaks, and out of touch hierarchical institutions driven by fear, misinformation and disturbed behaviours concerning our precious children.
The More I Learn About Religion, The Less I Want To Learn
A recent ABC-TV Q&A discussion about the conviction of George Pell and the deeply disillusioned Catholic community left me cold. The more I learn about religion, the less I want to know.
I refer to disturbing stories like the Catholic parents who chose not to report the sexual abuse inflicted upon their young children by clergymen because they feared never seeing them again when they died.
This couldn’t be further from the truth. The Pope, his right-hand men have much to answer for.
With compliments, Linda Summer, Storyteller