Lights, camera, words

Trent Dalton can make a magazine piece in any medium.

This is a Walkley Magazine series introducing you to the many wonderful journalists coming to Storyology, the Walkley Foundation’s Aug. 24–31 festival of media and storytelling in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne.

Trent Dalton’s writing philosophy: “I’m just an ordinary person finding extraordinary things about other ordinary people.”

Dalton is an award-winning journalist with The Weekend Australian Magazine, and something of a Renaissance man, as he’s also a screenwriter and filmmaker. There’s one project in particular that made him a perfect choice for Storyology After Dark, our upcoming experiment in creating a magazine on stage this August.
 
Two years ago the Brisbane resident assembled a team of people to make Love Stories, a unique cinematic experience weaving together photography, film and live original music to tell stories of homelessness. 
 
“I immersed myself in that place, and 10 years later I’m still going back there. I wanted to tell people’s life stories through the concept of love.” He and cinematographer David Kelly approached 13 homeless people and said to them, “Tell us a love story.” They then filmed it as a documentary.
 
It arose out of Dalton’s decade-long connection with a Brisbane homeless shelter called The 139 Club. When he first wrote about it, Dalton lived on the streets for a week in order to gain some understanding of what the people were enduring. (The stories were also turned into a book called Detours: Stories from the Street, released in 2011. All the proceeds from the book went back to the club and the 20 people featured.)
 
From that “life-changing” experience, he came up with the idea to turn the stories into a multimedia experience. For this, he assembled a team including Kelly, renowned guitarist Karin Schaupp and ARIA-nominated quintet Topology, renowned for playing various styles of music from chamber music to pop, jazz, electronica, orchestral and progressive rock.

The film shows us that in the middle of the pain, isolation and desperation on the streets, there is often warmth, community and love, he said.


Hear Trent Dalton tell stories on stage at the Walkley Foundation’s Storyology After Dark on Aug. 24. Get tickets and see what else is on for Storyology in Brisbane at the Brisbane Powerhouse, or explore the full program across Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.