“So what do you want to be when you grow up?” That oft repeated phrase that can make you cringe, panic or boast your little butt off.

me-littleWhen I was 10, I wanted to be a poet. By 12, it was an actor. Then reality smacked in at 13 (the fact that I can’t act) and I jumped ship to law. Of course that didn’t last long before I finally realised my calling at 14. And the calling, neigh shouting, came from Ben Hur (1959, dir. William Wyler).

It was while watching the chariot race scene and watching those horses and whips move at the unnatural pace of fast-forward. It was the first time I pulled a scene apart and analysed a film. I discovered that I really enjoyed it, and being good at it just added fuel to the fire.

So I found my passion. Film. Television too. During my high school years there was no great outlet. I watched a lot of movies and studied drama, but once you’ve already come to the conclusion that you suck at acting, acting just to be around the behind-the-scenes stuff is not that much fun.

allenglandFinally, at university I had an outlet. I had the chance to express myself through film. While everyone’s first foray into film is often sad and embarrassing, it is also how you find your passion and true desire to be a filmmaker. And it is how I found editing. It was an awesome feeling having the power to give life to images and create stories. But the downside of editing was often missing out on influencing the images you edit.

I decided to travel to the other side of the world to discover a new, British perspective on film and television. I learned about British culture and history, and how it influenced the types of productions developed. Seeing how others think differently, write differently, and create differently meant I could see my own filmmaking differently.

me-grad

When I headed back to Australia I was ready to graduate, and that generally coincides with taking that scary first step into the real world. Some of my fellow students were full of self-confidence and believed that they were ready to conquer the Australian film industry. I, on the other hand, wanted to learn more, wanted to do more. I wanted a stronger foundation for my career, before entering the dog-eat-dog world of freelancing.

Bring on my Masters, where I believed I was going to learn the ins and outs of directing. Then came the slap in the face that is producing. Impossible to ignore. I fell in love with the process of filmmaking, of watching a film evolve from an idea into a final product. I am not someone who is there to just find the money to finance a production. I like to be creative, and I like to be involved.

me-dungogI’m lucky because it’s a role that few filmmakers choose for their careers. But it doesn’t make the path into the industry any easier. In fact, I would even argue that it’s more difficult.

Unfortunately I found my passion in an industry with unstable pay. Every freelancer will have had one or more relative tell them that they should get a real job. I could easily get a job that pays well and often, but boredom would soon follow. Whatever I do, I’d rather be happy.

And I am happiest when I am creating imaginary worlds that absorb the audiences, play with their emotions, and test their preconceived ideas of the world. I am happiest as a Creative Film Producer.

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Q: What do you want to be when you grow up? Where did you find your passion?