What filming in outback Queensland taught me.

I’ve worked on a lot of film and commercial sets over the past 20 years. By this stage of my career, it would be reasonable to assume that on-set weariness may have set in. Nothing could be further from the truth because every now and then you work on something worthwhile, something that changes you for the better.

Last year, Rowland was lucky enough to work on a branding project for Central West Hospital and Health Service (CWHHS). As part of the broader project, our production studio was commissioned to shoot a series of video stories and establish the health service’s image library. Easy, right?

As we started preproduction, it became apparent, very quickly, that the task at hand was mammoth. Not realising it at the time, I was on the trajectory of a learning curve that would teach me more about myself than it did about my job. This is what I learned:

  1. Outback Queensland is vast – this first stage of our project only covered Longreach, Winton, Windorah and Barcaldine. We didn’t even get to the western corridor! Birdsville, Boulia and Bedourie … standby, we are chomping at the bit for a visit.
  2. With a service area spanning a vast 396,650 km2 (that’s a whopping 23 per cent of Queensland) CWHHS’s task is an epic undertaking, to say the least.
  3. Do not, and I mean do not, refer to the services CWHHS provides as ‘remote’. They prefer to see it as far-reaching healthcare. Distance, to them, is no obstacle.
  4. There’s an openness and intense honesty that is unique to the people who live and work in outback Queensland. Lilies are not gilded out there. A spade is a spade is a spade, so to speak, and it’s completely refreshing.
  5. The region’s people have been through more hardship than most of us, but you’d never know it. They are uncomplaining and barely mention the drought — they realise their time is better spent helping each other out.
  6. The outback has fly plagues. We’re talking swarms so thick that the hottest item in town was a fly veil. I’ll admit to swallowing more than my fair share over the week that we were there.
  7. Outback Queensland is beautiful, and the long drives give you time to think, listen to podcasts and sing with the windows down. Apologies to Karen, our escort from CWHHS, we understand it was a very long week for you!

Flies and the endless driving aside, I can’t wait to get back out there. It was a privilege to meet and work with everyone, and that is a city girl calling a spade a spade … I’ll be honest, I have no idea what makes them different from a shovel.