“Don’t compare your journey to others – really consider what you want to do and put the steps in place to achieve it. You will look back and your journey will be nothing like you thought and most probably will be far better.”
How would you describe what you do?
I am a story producer/ editor. When I start on a new series, I often have all the footage given to me for the stories in an episode. There will be director’s notes attached so I know how many cameras there were and what they filmed. I view all the footage, find the story and the drama and I will start cutting. I also write basic narration and craft the whole show together with music right through to Picture Lock which is where the vision and sound are locked in, graphics have been approved and the Network is happy with the cut. It will then get mastered in an online suite. I often work alone but have the Producer to collaborate with to get their input and perspective on my cut. I can work remotely as I have an Avid Media Composer Edit Suite or I can travel to the company that has contracted me.
What was your most recent project?
I have just finished a new premier series, 10 episodes for Discovery and the international Market called ‘Sydney Harbour Force’. It was featuring all the agencies that work to keep Sydney Harbour running, Water Police, The Royal Australian Navy, Maritime, Marine Rescue etc. It was challenging to do, as it was often an emergency situation, so you are filming on the fly. I
really enjoyed editing the show and putting together the stories.
What project have you worked on that you’re the most proud of?
In 2015 I got to work on a feature length documentary about the poaching that goes on with rhinos and elephants. WildAid partnered with Yao Ming, a Chinese Basketballer who played in the US, to have him travel to Africa, to see first hand the effects of poaching and to take the message back to the Chinese people, as they considered it a status symbol to have ivory in their home. Animal Planet also wanted a one hour documentary about Yao Ming’s journey, which I produced and edited. It was called Saving Africa’s Giants and Edward Norton narrated it. It was nominated for an Emmy.
What is essential for creatives to have in their life?
I think every creative is different. For me to be creative, I need order in my life, in my physical environment as it frees up my mind to be creative. I also watch a lot of series, movies and listen to composers music etc to inspire me and get in the
zone creatively. I also keep my eye on specific peoples journeys that inspire me and motivate me to do the thing that I love.
What inspires you about Ōtautahi?
It inspires me because it is my homeland. I was born here so I feel very connected to the land. I absolutely love Banks Peninsula. I often drive over to Little River and Akaroa listening to meditation and just taking in the wide open spaces. I love the wonder of the scenery. As I have got older I really value slowing down and valuing my time. I am really mindful of what I say yes too when it comes to projects.
What piece of advice about your creative work has served you well?
Start. If something really burns in you that you want to do, then start. And if you don’t know something learn – it is ok to suck at something until you don’t. I follow a 35 year old woman on Instagram and she shot her first feature a year ago – directed and shot then edited – so many told her she couldn’t do it but she did. Don’t compare your journey to others – really consider what you want to do and put the steps in place to achieve it. You will look back and your journey will be nothing like you thought and most probably will be far better.
What’s the biggest misconception about your creative work?
That it is easy. I have seen many people in the industry assume it is easy to put together a show from 40 plus hours of footage. It isn’t and 15 years ago, what I do now would have stressed me out. I appreciate the experience I can bring to a series. That I can view footage and my mind starts ticking over the story and the beats necessarily. Often a story will play out in 4 or 5 chapters within a show and so you need to think about the start and finish of that. You need to keep the viewer entertained and wanting to keep watching.
What Christchurch artists do you most admire?
I admire music artists like BEXY – I can’t think offhand who I admire most as I like a lot.
What artwork/piece of music/performance has taken your breath away?
I love music so much. Lately I have been listening to composers that have done movies. Thomas Newman would be one of my favourites right now. I have playlists of composers from different movies that I love, and I listen to them as I walk, inspiring myself with some documentaries I am planning to produce in the next two years. A piece of music that takes my breath away would be ‘Hands are cold’ From Pride and Prejudice by Jean-Yves Thibaudet.
I also love going to live music gigs in Christchurch, supporting local music artists like BEXY and The Butlers. I enjoy seeing performers like Ali Harper and Tom Rainey. We are spoilt for choice. BEXY’s music definitely takes my breath away. Her music gets on the inside of your heart and uncovers the whispers I think for so many.
Another thing I really love is going to the theatre. I have seen so many great productions at the Court Theatre over the years since I was at high school. It is a regular outing for the family and one we enjoy.
What do you wish you’d have known about creative work when you were younger?
Nothing, really! I fell into Television. My Mum and Nana thought it would be a good career choice. I never considered myself. I applied back in the days of no broadcasting school and I got offered an internship with TVNZ. That was over 35 years ago and I have had a successful rewarding career, one that I am very grateful for.
What’s your favourite hidden secret in Ōtautahi?
Banks Peninsula, especially Corsair Bay. Walking around there in the morning with my golden retriever Samson is just beautiful.