I remember the first time I picked up a camera like it was yesterday! I was aged 9 and my step dad had purchased a Sony camcorder for my mum as she wanted to film myself and my brothers growing up! However I managed to get my hands on it before my mum had had a chance to pick it up and I started filming my friends, family, pets – anything that I found interesting or exciting! I don’t think my mum ever had the chance to use the camera as I’d either be filming with it or the battery would be charging. Sorry mum!
Inspired by James Bond, Austin Powers and the Alex Rider books I started recreating my favourite moments from these stories in the back yard with friends! I then started writing scripts for these crazy Spy films and began entering my films into competitions. I won my first award when I was 14, for a film called Losing Sam – it wasn’t very good but maybe the judges thought it had potential. It was so exciting to see the film on the big screen at the festival and have my work seen by an audience who wasn’t just my family or friends. It was the first time I felt like filmmaking was something I could really get good at and maybe even pursue as a career!
Over the next five years I continued to make around 3 or 4 short films a year. During my lunch break, after school and maybe occasionally (quite often) during class I’d be developing ideas and preparing for my next shoot! These ideas became more and more ambitious and ludicrous; it often involved convincing my friends to do crazy things like filming in the freezing cold sea at night in the dead of winter, spending a night in a goat shed amongst bugs and poo, dressing up in all sorts of weird and wonderful costumes, jumping out of trees and the list goes on! I honestly don’t know why they put up with me but for whatever reason I’m so grateful that they did! And we did have a lot of fun despite all the blood, sweat and tears!
One of my short films that I’m most proud is a film called The Steadfast Tin Soldier that I made when I was 17. It’s based on the short story by Hans Christian Anderson about a one legged soldier who falls in love with a ballerina. It was the first time I’d used lighting, sound effects and a period costume and set to tell a story. It was so exciting to put the film together and it was a huge team effort to make it happen! The film went on to win multiple awards including Best Film, Best Director, Best Cinematography and Best Editing! With the prize money and my savings I managed to purchase an apple computer which allowed me to edit on Final Cut – I couldn’t wait to get started on the next project!
A year after making The Steadfast Tin Soldier I had the opportunity to travel with my best friend and her mum to Nepal to go on an adventure of a lifetime. I was 18 and about to start my last year at school. During this amazing trip I captured the people we met along the way and the daily hardships and triumphs that they were going through. It was the first time I’d been immersed in a completely different culture and it gave me a strong desire to want to explore and learn more about the world and all the interesting, inspiring and passionate people living in it!
After finishing school I had the privilege of working with an awesome company called NZ Greenroom Productions. We’d spend our days filming some of the best red bull athletes from around the world jumping out of helicopters, kayaking down white water rapids and back flipping motorbikes! It was a non-stop thrill ride and I loved it! I also spent some time filming surfing, snowboarding and other fun outdoor sports!
However my passion has always been storytelling and I had the opportunity through a family member to travel to England to work on a feature film over there! This is what I’d been dreaming about for a long time so I flew myself over to England and slept in the attic of the movie set and shot the behind the scenes for the film! I got to spend time talking to the director, cinematographer, producers, actors and all the amazing people who were working on the movie. For me it was a film school and a really exciting opportunity to see how a movie was made from start to finish!
I continued working on lots of different feature films making the behind the scenes videos. I’d then ask the people I met from these films if they’d like to work on my short films and amazingly they all said yes unless they were busy or working on another movie!
I then made a number of short films while here in England, most recently a short film called Modern Man which has now been shown in over 100 cities around the world and has won a number of awards including ‘Best Comedy Short’ at the Isle of Man Film Festival! Here’s a bit more info about the film and how we made it: Modern Man
I’ve now been in England for nearly five years, five years in October and I’m directing commercials and developing a number of really exciting projects! I’ve also just come back from Mongolia, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan where I had the most incredible time shooting part of a feature documentary that will be out next year! Here’s a bit more info about the project: Central Asia
I live for creativity and adventure! I’m so grateful that I have the opportunity to explore this incredible planet and make films about the amazing, people, animals and places in it and share these stories with the world!
I hope you enjoyed learning a bit about how I got into filmmaking and my goals for the future. I’d love to hear more about your passions, how you got into it and what you hope to achieve over the next few years!
Thanks for reading and speak soon! x