You’re an actor, poet, a writer and a filmmaker – do you identify as one of these first and foremost? Or are the boundaries not so defined?
I started acting first in stage plays and musicals, which I absolutely LOVED, so I continued doing it. But now it is so difficult for me to identify as one more than the others, because I love being all of these things so much. I think I appreciate each because it allows me to be a storyteller through a different medium, and that is overall a huge passion of mine; to tell stories. That is why I started acting, and then writing films, and then producing and directing them, and even the reason that I started to write and share my poetry. After graduating from Macquarie University in 2012, I started my own film production company, Do It Now Productions for this exact reason, because I want to tell my stories and tell stories about all sorts of people in all sorts of situations and worlds. I want to create magic and essentially become magic through my art.
You’ve had some impressive experiences already; directing a documentary which has been aired at international film festivals, been the assistant director for the stage show Penelope, and were chosen as one of 10 winners creating a short film under the mentoring of Baz Luhrmann for The Shoot project. What have been the biggest moments for you, and how have they inspired you?
I’ve been lucky enough to direct a few of my own films, as well as a stage play, which I’ve been so grateful for, but for me, the biggest moment thus far would definitely have to be meeting and working with Baz Luhrmann, and having our film, The Pilgrim Report, premiered at the Sydney Opera House. That was one of the proudest moments of my life to date and one that I will not easily forget. It was the turning point for me, one where I realized that my dreams to be an actor, writer, director, and a capable filmmaker were tangible. He is a true visionary and has taught me that if you work hard and really love what you do, and understand why you do it, that through your art you can create an immaculate reality, and for that inspiration I am very thankful.
You’re currently working on a series you wrote, directed and star in called Plans – can you tell us a bit about the project?
I’ve been working on Plans for just under 4 years now! My amazing friend, collaborator and fellow filmmaker, Peter-William Jamieson and I started writing Plans 3 years ago, and here we are now, finally creating it with a brilliant and talented cast, crew, and a bunch of artists who have also jumped on board. After 8 incredible, stressful and triumphant months of filming we have finally wrapped up filming and are now in postproduction! The series is a comedy/drama, looking at Seven People, Seven Stories, Seven Days… One House, and I’m excited to announce that the show will be ready for viewing in December this year.
You also co-run a spoken poetry night called Outspoken, how did this come about?
OutSpoken was originally started and run by Raymond Nedziak, a very close friend of mine, and the person who introduced me to spoken word poetry. Before I met Ray I would write poetry, but I never knew that there was a space where I could openly share it with others. So, I started performing at OutSpoken at first, and then helping out for a few years, and then when Ray moved to Melbourne he passed OutSpoken on to me, which I am so proud and happy about. For people who don’t know about OutSpoken, it an event dedicated to bringing together and showcasing some of Australia’s finest poets and spoken-word lyricists. The emphasis is on curating an organic space where writer-performers and performer-writers can express themselves and engage with the audience, exploring issues that range from the personal to the political through various forms of poetics in a live context.
How important is collaboration within your work?
Collaboration is everything! Collaboration and COMMUNITY! So very important! Through the various stages and processes that I’ve had to go through, creating Plans for instance, I’ve been able to positively learn about how important and vital collaboration is. You have to be willing as an artist to take on the ideas of those who you are working with, and listen to their concerns and advice. Pride and ego can often get in the way, but you must not let them if you want to create art that is immaculate and worthy of your creative abilities. Do not compromise your vision, but if need be, be willing to collaborate and find other means in order to bring it to life. The way you imagined doing it, isn’t the only way! Collaborate, create, and do not stop until you have produced something that you are PROUD to present to your community!
Being involved in so many creative projects, how do you find the right balance to ensure you’re able to commit to each project?
AHHH COMMITMENT ISSUES HAHA! I just make sure that I choose projects that I am passionate about, ones that mirror my own worldview, and social and political ideas and stances. I think that it is vitally important to be creatively busy, but not so much that you are unable to give 110%. I find that these days I make sure that I only take on projects that I love and adore and am genuinely excited about! I always make time for these projects, because I can’t imagine not doing them. If you love the project(s) that you’re working on, the universe will undoubtedly reward that love and enthusiasm by granting you the time to do them, and allowing you to be a storyteller. (In between projects I also like to sleep, because between creating films, running a poetry event and working at GoodGod I don’t get to sleep that often! Sleep is also key if you can get it!).
What do you do when you need to be inspired?
I’m constantly inspired by the people around me and the wonderful arts community that I’m apart of in Sydney. I find inspiration all around me, from the music I hear and the acts I get to see working at GoodGod Small Club to reading an amazing book, to going and dancing or performing at Art Party to the latest amazing episode of Game of Thrones, to even taking a drive up to the Blue Mountains and going for a bush walk. But most of all I get inspired by collaborating with fellow artists and my community!
What is next for you?
RELEASING MY 7 EPISODE SERIES, PLANS AND SHARING IT WITH ALL OF YOU!!.. And hopefully a holiday! I’d love to go back to Berlin sometime soon and work on a new film that I’ve been writing!