This is my story, my journey in film-making.
I am a trained and practicing Veterinary Surgeon who was born with a passion for telling stories. I have loved stories and films for as long as I can remember. In the process of attempting to tell these stories I have become a story myself.
Most people can relate to my story and that is why I keep on telling it. It’s a wildly crazy story, full of faith and hope, doubt and disappointments. I have spent my life sacrificing many things in this passion for story. It has kept me financially poor but I have learnt an incredible amount. The following is a brief account of my journey so far…
1993: I finish High School in Auckland, New Zealand. I don’t really know what I want to do with my life so I follow my parent’s advice and I get a degree that has solid employment possibilities. I become a Veterinary Surgeon.
1999: I graduate and begin working as an Animal Doctor with dogs, cats, birds, pigs, sheep and servicing a lot of cows in a gang town on New Zealand’s East Coast.
1999: Six months into the job I know with certainty that this isn’t it; that there is something else in this life for me to do. I take a drama paper at University. Surprisingly I am very good at it. Everybody there says you must do more of this.
2000 – 2001: I move from the country to the city and I struggle with the concept of letting go of the safety of a good career and following my creative instincts.
2002: I quit working full time as a Vet and I study full time for a year at Auckland South Seas Film and Television School. They are long full days. I do emergency vet work at nights and in weekends to pay the bills.
2002: My first film “Night Calls”screens at the River City Film Festival in New Zealand.
2003: My second film, a film school project “Death to the Premonition” screens at the Fringe Film Festival. Watch it below, it’s at low res and grainy, definitely a film school project but enjoy…
2004: Tired of waiting for a grant I sell everything I own. I borrow money from both my brother and foolishly my credit card and I write direct and produce a film on 16mm. I learn an incredible amount.
2005: The film “The Devil you Meet” does very well and screens at International Festivals all around the world. It plays in New York, India, Manchester, Bethel and Long Island. Watch the trailer below…
2004-2005: I live in temporary accommodation with friends and as the custodian of an inner city building while I struggle to pay off my film. I work part time as a Vet and continue to write and develop projects.
2006: I write, direct, act in and produce “Make Evelyn Smile;” A black and white period comedy that wins the Audience Choice award in the Moonlight Shorts Festival. We shot it all in one day, it was the first time I acted on screen so be kind…
2005-2007: To improve my skills as a writer and director I study the Meisner acting technique part time for three years with leading New Zealand Meisner teacher Mike Saccente. The three years of acting and watching people act are invaluable. I learn so much. I fall further in love with acting, the imagination and storytelling. Heres is a monologue I wrote and performed during this time.
2005-2007: I film and act in various unsuccessful TV pilots, promo’s etc.
2007: Again I sell everything I own and pack my bags and move to the UK to further develop my film career. I leave behind a much loved dog. Talk about sacrifices for your art.
2007: Within three months of arriving in the UK I secure the lead role in six independent films.
2007: At the end of 2007 I stop acting and begin writing “The Emancipation of Putz”
2008: I pitch the first draft of The Emancipation of Putz at the Cannes film festival. The concept gets a lot of attention from leading industry players. I scurry back to London to write the second draft.
2008: The second draft of Putz is completed in August and is sent out to several major industry players. Feedback is very positive.
2008: In August I fly to LA and complete an intensive workshop with Acting and Directing guru Judith Weston. I love every moment of it and learn so much.
2008: October. I go back to LA after winning selection on an acting program that takes “British” actors to Hollywood. I audition a piece from “In the Name of my Father” and secure an agent.
2008: November: On the trip to LA I met Lucie Vondrackova, an actress and leading pop-star in the Czech Republic. Within a month of the trip I write Lucky and Rich, a two handed feature for Lucie and I to act in.
2008: My trips to LA have seriously affected my cash flow and on a locum Vet job in the South Coast of England I temporarily run out of money and I can’t afford a taxi. Consequently I have to walk to work, a cool 45 minutes each way with my suitcase. I am happy because I realize I will do anything to follow the dreams that are in my heart.
January 2009: I lock myself away on New Years Eve and ask myself some hard questions. Questions like: When are you going to stop being afraid and really make an effort to get your work seen? When are you going to stop sending emails and start visiting real people and making phone calls? When are you going to really believe in the gifts God has given you? The answer to all these questions was… NOW.
March 2009: A UK film finance company agrees to fund two of my feature films, Lucky & Rich and The Emancipation of Putz. I travel to America to meet with US based Producer Bonnie Bruckheimer. Bonnie loves the scripts and it is apparently all go.
April 2009: The Film Finance company are making lots of promises but are not delivering on anything tangible. We discover that what they are doing is deceitful. So Bonnie and I pull the plug on the Financial Deal and I am back to square one.
May 2009: I post a message on Twitter, searching the world for a 3-legged Dog to make into a movie star. We get a massive response articles on NBC’s Website, USA today etc. As a result I begin to develop an innovative story telling strategy for Lucky & Rich.
May 2009: I head back to the Cannes Film Festival, looking specifically for a video platform innovator to build an online platform. I meet en2go inc who have an incredible product and understand exactly what I am trying to do. They invite me back to Los Angeles where we plan to use Lucky & Rich as a prototype for their product.
June – August 2009: I spend 3 months in Los Angeles as I attempt to work with en2go to build my film model. Even though they have such luminaries as Steve Wozniak on their board, they are in a financial crisis, and I watch in wonderment as their company falls apart at the seams. Never have I learnt so much in my entire life, what an experience.
June – August 2009: I continue to search for the 3-legged dog over the social networks and the competition really takes hold. One hundred and eleven tripods from all around the world apply. Twenty one thousand people vote for their favorite dog. We gain a lot of press right around the world with articles on Channel seven in Australia and KXAN in Texas. The top twelve dogs are shortlisted and put on hold for the role.
September – November 2009: My visa runs out and I return to New Zealand for a well needed rest. While back in New Zealand I am commissioned by a New Zealand businessman to write a screenplay for a rugby comedy set in the Pacific Islands. I write an outline for the story which he loves and then travel back in LA.
November – December 2009: Back in Los Angeles, a city which I know and love very much now, I write the first draft of the rugby comedy. The Producer and the Businessman who commissioned the work love the draft. But the project falls into a contractual tangle for reasons that I will not discuss here.
December 2009: Took a trip down into the LA subway to shoot some character shots for Lucky & Rich with LA photographer James Reece. Check out the Slideshow below and view some of the stills. Yes the beard is 100% real.
January 2010 – April 2010: I continue to work and develop the Lucky & Rich Storytelling complex in LA, it becomes legitimately transmedia, crossing genre’s and mediums, using the internet to build and engage an audience. It’s slow hard work, in front of a computer screen. Through a series of miraculous events, I fly across to Prague to film, a large amount of promotional material for Lucky & Rich.
May 2010: On a flight from London to Prague I meet Hana Babakova on the plane, a Czech actress model who seems to a perfect fit for the role of Lucky. Hana reads for the role and I really like what I see. Here are some photos of Hana below.
June 2010: Back in Los Angeles and sitting in a little cafe in Beverly Hills I meet a woman who would change my life. She was smart, pretty, tough and wildly successful in business. She took one look at our business plan and said… “I think you’ve really got something here.” Her name was Sepi Day and she had grown start up companies to over $600 million dollars in annual revenues. Sepi heard my story and she believed.
July – August 2010: Under Sepi’s instructions we began to really work on the financial aspects of the Business Model. To find investors, we needed a more concrete budget, we partnered with Viktor Schwarz of Cineart TV in Prague who put together an extensive Line Production Budget. We researched similar films and came up with an investment strategy that could reliable predict a return on investment for Investors.
September – October 2010: Finally our Investment Prospectus was complete and we have begun sending it out to Investors…
Now: Now is a time of walking forward as we wait, putting one step in front of the other, continuing to believe in the power of the story… the one we are trying to tell and our own. Please join us and help in which ever way you can. If you want to see the prospectus then email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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