I live in Sydney, Australia, where I’m an actor, writer and content marketer. I have a BA from Macquarie Uni in Writing and Creative Arts, a Diploma in Editing, Proofreading and Publishing, Certificate in Content Marketing and completed the Actors Studio at NIDA.
What does this look like in everyday life? I’d like to show you some projects, give you an idea of what I do.
Rebecca Day and I wrote, produced and performed a brand new theatre play, called #ArtistLife, for the Sydney Fringe Festival. Two millennials, Zara and Annie, want to be artists, but have different ideas about what this means. Zara is keen for the fame, Annie subscribes to the ‘genius’ model. Frida Kahlo mentors and menaces them both. This fresh and funny two-hander debuted at the Erskineville Town Hall with lighting by Liam O’Keefe from Square Spot Design and support from Cecelia Strachan.
The writing process ran from February to August, with about three comprehensive rewrites along the way. Early planning saw the wall plastered in post-it notes and plenty of research into Kahlo and Instagram culture. A group reading with some generous colleagues gave valuable insights, and a directing workshop provided the final push towards opening night.
This three minute short film, The Architect, was created for the Anthroposcene Film Festival as part of the 2016 International Festival of Landscape Architecture. That may seem obscure. The project was graced by luck from the start.
I work part time in content marketing with Street Furniture Australia, we have a blog and newsletter called StreetChat about cities and the public realm. We’ve published on ibises, millennial pink, made a cool documentary about activating public space with CCTV camera footage called #BackyardExperiment, and now and then we’ll give away a Papillionaire Bicycle or Eames House Bird.
We’re big on landscape architects who are part of that mix of making public space feel welcoming, safe, clean – hence our involvement in their festival. I was poking around their website, which is part of my job, when I saw a tab about the upcoming film festival. I’d wanted to make a short anyway, but this came with a deadline and generous prize money incentive. It was one of those moments where your heart pounds and your fear tells you, this could be important and you’d better do it.
We shot a few days before my partner, Chris Butel, flew to Europe for a massive solo bicycle trip, ratcheting up the pressure. Lucky he’s a filmmaker used to working quickly (with a filmmaking podcast and YouTube channel, if you’re into that it’s here). My co-star is Christopher Lane Hess, and Harley Rossetto helped us out.
We were nominated by the judges for the shortlist, with the finals to be decided by public vote. This meant who could shout the loudest at the outdoor screening, held in the depths of Canberran winter at the Garden of Australian Dreams, National Museum of Australia. We shivered in our frosty deckchairs. Lucky it was also a festival party night with an open bar, so plenty of people were still around to watch (and shout/vote).
From eight finalists, it came down to our The Architect and Sic Erat Scriptum, by some US filmmakers who flew down for the festival and were not going to be shy about scream-voting. Neither of us were Canberra locals with packs of friends for the home advantage, though my team at the Street Furniture Australia Cider Fountain pitched in.
Full disclosure, I’d shouted so much when it was our turn I had no idea who was louder, till they called The Architect.
My observation, now, is that our short film was the only finalist to interpret the Anthropocene theme with human characters, who have needs and objectives. People connect most to a human story.
Sixty Years of Walkers Beach
I’m a big fan of the radio show This American Life. I wrote this book for the Walkers Beach Ski Club years before discovering the podcast, but I look back on it now as akin to a three-part special on this lively community who spent their holidays and weekends adventuring on the Hawkesbury River at Wiseman’s Ferry. Their stories tell us so much about this part of the world in every changing decade.
From the Walker family who farmed the land as early as the 1920s, ‘Gelignite Jack’ helping to set up the waterskiing club on the property, the mischief of the sixties, dramas and solemn times, wild parties with Johnny O’Keefe, floods, endless changes of cabins, shootings, bikies and police, Gerry Harvey arriving in a helicopter, all the way up to the present: Walkers Beach is a microcosm of activity. The book involved many hours of interviews, restoring historic photographs and digging through documents and meeting minutes.
Ed Kreamer, secretary of the club, commissioned the work and guided the research and interviews. I wrote and designed the book, shaping each chapter, filling it with as many stories and images as we could find. The club members were thrilled, as the work exceeded their expectations. Often businesses and organisations will say, “wouldn’t it be great to have our history written down, we’ve got so many great stories,” but it’s rare for such a big project to come to fruition, as it requires steady vision, not too many cooks, publishing budget and hours and hours of work.
We self published and held a launch party in the clubhouse.