From the Presidents Desk…

How exciting to be all back together, here in Eora country/Sydney, after 3 years! We know this gathering is one of the most important annual events for our members: the chance to all be together, to see old friends and make new ones, is something to be celebrated in itself.

But the real celebration today is your achievements in sound. Many judges have commented on the high quality of submitted work for these awards, noting that the standards continue to be raised, year after year. Even before any awards are handed out, that is a great recognition of your work.

Of course, these awards are not all that we do. Although it is not always apparent, behind the scenes there is constant and important work going on. Much of that is in conjunction with other guild and screen industry bodies, all aimed at achieving the best outcomes for our members and our industry. Our awards are an indirect result of this effort – our members are able to do their best work when the industry is thriving and producing great screen stories.

But it is fair to say these awards have consumed most of the time and energy of the committee this year. A new venue, improved judging processes, and the return to a live event have all made for extra work. In order to do this, we have had to make the difficult choice to do less in other areas. We found (as did many other organisations), that what worked in the past is not the best option for today. Attendance at in-person events has been poor, and many have found online events to be fatiguing. As a result, we have cut back on some of these kinds of activities because the investment of time, energy and money was showing very poor returns.

We have no shortage of ideas of what to do for members. But ideas are easy, and what we currently lack is the ability to act on these. Each year we call for members to become involved, but the numbers of people willing to help out has decreased. Again, I would ask that people consider what they can do for the guild, because our future may not be so strong if the current trend continues.

And while I recognise the great privilege of being the guild’s president, that does not mean there is nobody out there who would be better for the role. As in usual, a few weeks after these awards we will hold our AGM, where the committee and office-bearers are elected. Please do not take for granted that all roles are spoken for. Most importantly, for the guild to continue to grow and to do more for what members want, we need to stay fresh. If you want to know what is involved in being on the committee or holding office, please take a moment today to speak to a current committee member.

The other way you can help is within your own state: organising local events, staying in touch with members, and addressing the individual needs of each region. While we do have some state representatives, in Victoria and NSW we are short of people who can do this important work. Again, please speak to somebody from the committee if you are interested.

In the meantime, here we are celebrating the best work of our members. To get here has taken an enormous effort by many people. Our Awards Sub-Committee has worked for many months to reboot a live event. Our judges have volunteered many hours of their time to do a job they take very seriously – select nominees and winners from among many high quality entrants. And our sponsors, as ever, have supported us through the year. So I hope you can take some time today to tell them how much you appreciate their efforts.

Most importantly, enjoy the day. I think all of us know very well how much of a privilege it is to be able to re-connect with our peers. Some of those here have been longtime members of the guild, some are new members. Some are the winners of our Lifetime Achievement Award, some are just beginning their careers. But for all of us, the chance to talk, listen and connect, as well as to celebrate, is why days like today should not be taken for granted.

Steve Murphy
ASSG President