MA done, now to take over the world…

Certainly didn’t intend to go blogless for the entire academic year. Here goes.

First things first – here’s a film. One Night  – which I’ve rabbited on about in a previous post – is now available publicly online, so if you haven’t seen it yet, take a look!


You can also see a behind-the-scenes film about our training course, and about what went on on-set, including an interview with me where I’ve had very little sleep.


Back to 2013. It’s hard to know where to start – it’s been a busy year. The picture at the top is from the Tongariro Northern Circuit, which I hiked at Easter with my sister and brother-in-law. Anyone who’s ever slept in a room full of snoring hikers will understand why I was up at dawn to take this photo.

Anyway. Masters was incredibly intense but I had a great time, and made some awesome new friends. Our main focus was our major project (being a feature film, television or play script) but we had many other diversions along the way.

As part of the PIPI project, we developed game concepts, following which we worked with illustration and animation students at Massey, to create pitch bibles and teaser trailers. Writing a game was a whole new mindset for me and a lot of fun.

We also had the opportunity to write a five-minute short, which we produced in collaboration with students from the Film School and Toi Whakaari. Alongside that, I had a lot of fun writing a ten-minute play, which was shown to the public at the Writers on Mondays series. As a comedy writer there’s something so immediate and rewarding about making a theatre audience laugh.

As well as these side projects, we delivered three drafts of a feature-length script. My film was called Red Zone, a dark comedy about three young women disposing of a body in post-earthquake Christchurch. This was incredibly hard work – not only learning the intricacies of the craft of screenwriting, but digging deep and baring your soul to make the work meaningful, while still keeping a playful, comic tone. A balancing act which you never feel like you quite master!

I felt blessed to be surrounded by so many talented writers to help me out along the way – my wonderful, generous classmates, as well as my lecturer, Ken Duncum, and supervisor, Brita McVeigh. I learned a lot from all of them and I’m truly grateful! Thank you all. The picture here is from one of two writers’ retreats some classmates organised at Foxton Beach.

Outside of Masters, I found plenty of other things to keep me busy. I couldn’t resist throwing myself into 48 Hours. I ended up joining team Guerilla Gorilla up in Auckland, as DOP and editor. This meant I was almost braindead by the end of the weekend, but I had an awesome kit with lovely Zeiss prime lenses to play with (swoon) and a very laid-back, fun group of people to work with. I’m helping the director, Steven, with some script editing – both for his upcoming short Zombie Apocalypse: A Love Story, and his feature-length zombie flick, Dead in the Water. Here’s Second Helpings, our 48Hours entry:

I had a few editing jobs to keep me busy as well. I cut the opening scene for the upcoming sci-fi feature This Giant Papier Mache Boulder is Actually Really Heavy, as well as some corporate video editing, and some work cutting for a new children’s television channel.

In June of this year, I worked on the set of Loner, a darkly funny short about a guy who just wants a gun licence. It was a lot of fun and I met some fantastic people. I was data wrangler, video assist and stills photographer so I was very busy. We shot on location in the Wairarapa, lending the production a school camp vibe which was pretty great.

I am in pre-production for About Troy, a dark mockumentary about a vending machine filler, and wrote a couple of other short films last year which I hope to get off the ground by the end of the year. I’m also about to dive into my second feature script – it’s in the mulling-around-in-my-head stage at the moment.

On the documentary side of things, I have two short documentaries in development, which I’m hoping to make in the South Island this year (on a shoestring). I also have a longer form documentary set in the world of car rallying, which is beginning to take shape.
IMG_7846smallJust before Christmas I wrote and directed a short called My Secret Valentine, a simple little film about love and friendship. This was a self-funded film with a small crew, and an even smaller budget. We shot in my flat in one day, and everything went more or less to plan. We were particularly chuffed with the camera-inside-the-microwave shot, which set a fun tone for the look of the film. It was so great to be in the (metaphorical) director’s chair again, and to work with such a collaborative, chilled out cast and crew. Thank you all so much for your hard work and fun energy!

You can see behind-the-scenes photos by the talented James Ogle on his website.

After two weeks of relaxing and hitting the beaches in the Coromandel, I’m back in Wellington and ready to take on 2014. The first thing I’ve started is a photo-a-day project, over on Flickr.
It’s not an original idea, but it’s a fun and challenging one. Take a look at my progress here.

I think that’s me up to date. I’ll try to blog more regularly this year!

Oh, and backtracking a little – here are the other two films from Tourist Walk Derry, which have been released since I last blogged. The boys now have another set of beautiful videos filmed on a walk in Ghent, and are in post-production for their recent Dublin walk. Keep an eye on their facebook page for news.

This is Sheepstealers, which I edited shortly before leaving Northern Ireland. We filmed at a beautiful little church overlooking the Bogside. The light was just gorgeous outside – it started snowing shortly after. Make sure you hit the little cog and crank these videos to full HD!

And this is their cover of Fleetwood Mac’s Go Your Own Way, filmed in a cosy secondhand bookshop. This was edited by our DOP, Pete Graham.