Irene Wood has played Katherine Mansfield, a nymphomaniac pensioner, and a gin-toting grandma to a Go Girl. Her screen career first got busy in the early days of NZ TV, as an actor, TV presenter, and musical performer. Years later she would snare what is probably her best-known role: as a hard-drinking grandma over five seasons of hit show Go Girls. Wood has also appeared on Shortland Street and in movies Rest for the Wicked and The Shirt.
In this ScreenTalk interview, Wood talks about:
- Her no-nonsense attitude to acting — and the only two rules that matter in the game
- Prancing around the stage” and singing-off key, in her first performing role
- Busy days of television in the 60s
- The advantages of being forced to perform live
- Wearing Elizabeth McRae’s clothes on Shortland Street
- Playing mother to a “hopeless drug addict son” in dark-edged movie The Shirt
- Her role as Nan McMann, one of a quartet of solo mothers on Go Girls
- Revelling in the chance to make a fool of herself on the show
- Playing a sex-obsessed pensioner alongside Ilona Rodgers, in film Rest for the Wicked
- Why there are less roles in NZ for actors of a certain vintage
- Her thoughts on portrayals of elderly characters on screen
This video was first uploaded on the 20th of April 2015 and is available on YouTube to embed and distribute via a Creative Commons licence.
John Milligan is an award-winning producer, director and writer who has worked on a wide range of shows for television. His many series credits include Maggie’s Garden Show, Epitaph, Shipwreck and Mucking In. Milligan was also producer and director of the documentaries Trio at the Top, New Zild and Von Tempsky’s Ghost.
In this ScreenTalk, Milligan talks about:
- Working on live, non-commercial morning show Weekend
- Commanding 14 cameras on his first documentary Monza Monaco Macau Wellington
- Not knowing anything about plants when he began on Maggie’s Garden Show
- Being surprised at how long it took to make Kiwi bach documentary A Summer Place
- Digging into history for his motor racing documentary Trio at the Top
- The challenge of creating battle scenes in the rain for Von Tempsky’s Ghost
- Convincing people Kiwis have an accent when making New Zild
- Thinking there’s too much TV nowadays
This video was first uploaded on the 13th of April 2015 and is available on YouTube to embed and distribute via a Creative Commons licence.
Chas Toogood is an award-winning documentary producer and director whose work has showcased the strength and determination of the human spirit. He began his career as a news journalist and then moved on to a series of high profile documentaries including the Legends of the All Blacks series, Mark Inglis documentary No Mean Feat, and Sir Peter Blake – The Boy From Bayswater. Toogood has gone on to direct episodes of Wild Coasts with Craig Potton and Coast New Zealand.
In this ScreenTalk, Toogood talks about:
This video was first uploaded on the 7th of April 2015 and is available on YouTube to embed and distribute via a Creative Commons licence.
Tom Hern is a film producer who began his screen career as a junior reporter on children’s television show What Now?. He went on to star in The Tribe, where he met his future business partner James Napier Robertson. Hern acted in a number of other TV shows such as Shortland Street and Power Rangers, before producing his first feature film I’m Not Harry Jenson. Since then Hern has produced features Everyting We Loved and The Dark Horse.
In this ScreenTalk, Hern talks about:
- How confidence as an 11-year-old got him a job on What Now?
- Meeting his hero Ben Harper on the show
- Failing his first audition to play the villain in kidult hit The Tribe
- How the show led to meeting his long term business partner
- Playing his first adult role on Shortland Street
- The changing nature of his character on the soap
- Being in the ‘deep end’ producing I’m Not Harry Jenson
- Using acting relationships to help cast the film
- How Everything We Loved was the smoothest film he’s worked on
- Working with director Max Currie to set the tone of the film
- The long hard road making feature film The Dark Horse
- Being blessed by a dream cast, from Cliff Curtis to newbie Wayne Hapi
- Feeling privileged to do the work he does
This video was first uploaded on the 31st of March 2015 and is available on YouTube to embed and distribute via a Creative Commons licence.
Don Reynolds is a sound operator turned film producer who has had a big impact on the New Zealand film industry. He was a sound recorder/mixer on many of our classic films of the 1980s and went on to produce movies such as The Quiet Earth, Sylvia, Mr Wrong, and River Queen. Reynolds was also one of the main forces behind the setting up of long-running TV soap Shortland Street.
In this ScreenTalk, Reynolds talks about:
- Working with overseas actors for the first time on the film Beyond Reasonable Doubt
- investing in hit movie Goodbye Pork Pie
- Having to drive hundreds of miles a day to make the film
- Being proud of his gunshot-filled sound work on the classic Utu
- Being treated as a second-class citizen on Savage Islands
- The pressure of facing a funding deadline on The Quiet Earth
- Delaying the shoot of Illustrious Energy by a year
- Facing huge problems in making the film River Queen
- Being instrumental in getting Shortland Street on air
- How lunch breaks were his biggest contribution to the industry.
This video was first uploaded on the 23rd of March 2015 and is available on YouTube to embed and distribute via a Creative Commons licence.
Mark Everton started his broadcasting career in radio, before joining the TVNZ newsroom in 1985. After jumping ship to help run Nightline for TV3, he set himself up as an independent producer and director. Everton has been involved with a number of award-winning documentaries including Back from the Dead and Lawson Quins doco The Five of Us. His credits also include the series Epitaph, Captain’s Log, MasterChef New Zealand and Making New Zealand.
In this ScreenTalk, Everton talks about:
- Learning "so much" while working with the late Angela D’Audney and others on Eyewitness News
- Moving to TV3 for the "rock'n'roll" days of late night news programme Nightline
- How the network’s receivership led to better stories
- How a chance conversation about graveyards lead to hit show Epitaph
- Successfully convincing the Lawson Quins to tell their story in The Five of Us
- Finding out too late there were a lot of family home movies
- Working with Johnny Givins and Gresham Bradley on Captain’s Log
- Getting memorable advice about seasickness on one of the journeys
- Obtaining rare footage of a real murder investigation for Operation Bouma
- Asking the tough questions of contestants on MasterChef New Zealand
- How Making New Zealand was much more than just an archive series
This video was first uploaded on the 16th of March 2015 and is available on YouTube to embed and distribute via a Creative Commons licence.
Jane Wrightson is the Chief Executive of NZ On Air — the agency tasked with funding local television, digital media, music and radio. She began her career working for TVNZ, before becoming New Zealand's first woman Chief Film Censor. Wrightson started working at NZ On Air as the Television Manager before leaving for a stint as head of the Broadcasting Standards Authority. She returned to NZ On Air in 2007 as CEO.
In this ScreenTalk, Wrightson talks about:
- Early jobs for state broadcaster TVNZ
- Being paid to watch movies in her role as Chief Film Censor
- The three-legged stool: how NZ On Air's unique funding model works
- Why local programming is at the heart of the agency’s philosophy
- The strengths and weaknesses of the NZ On Air model
- The things NZ On Air has done that she is most proud of
- The success of Shortland Street and Outrageous Fortune
- How changes in the TV landscape - including the internet - have affected NZ On Air
- How international co-productions could be working better
- Feeling she has "the best job in the country"
This video was first uploaded on the 4th of March 2015 and is available on YouTube to embed and distribute via a Creative Commons licence.
Stephen J Campbell is a long-time television writer, director and producer who began in TV aimed at younger viewers, including classic series 3:45 LIVE!, and Ice TV. Campbell has also worked on comedy shows including That Comedy Show and Funny Business. In more recent times, he has specialised in creating kidult shows with a sci-fi/fantasy bent, including hits Secret Agent Men and The Amazing Extraordinary Friends. Campbell also worked on Nigel Latta’s Politically Incorrect Guide to Teenagers and The Politically Incorrect Guide to Grown Ups.
In this ScreenTalk, Campbell talks about:
- Feeling confused but awed on his first day as a TVNZ production trainee
- Crashing the Auckland telephone exchange on live kids show 3:45 LIVE!
- Innovative production techniques used on Ice TV
- How comedy shows taught him the craft of television
- Family being at the heart of the kidult show Secret Agent Men
- The long road to making The Amazing Extraordinary Friends
- How star David McPhail insisted on doing his own stunts
- Changing the format of The Politically Incorrect shows
- Working with the show’s host Nigel Latta
- Producing upcoming kidult sci-fi drama Cul De Sac
This video was first uploaded on the 23rd of February 2015 and is available on YouTube to embed and distribute via a Creative Commons licence.
Kate McDermott is a scriptwriter whose words have been heard in a long list of popular TV comedies and dramas. She began as a writer on Shortland Street, and later became a story-liner for the soap. McDermott then moved on to writing for series like Being Eve, Mercy Peak, Go Girls and Outrageous Fortune. In 2014, McDermott’s own creation Step Dave became a popular series for TVNZ. Series two is now in production.
In this ScreenTalk, McDermott talks about:
- Making a mess of her first Shortland Street script
- Eventually becoming a story-liner on the show
- Bringing a little Shakespeare to hit kids show Being Eve
- Binge-watching episodes of Mercy Peak in order to write for the show
- Loving the freedom to write swear words in Outrageous Fortune scripts
- Becoming a showrunner for Go Girls
- Enjoying working on the comedy drama Nothing Trivial
- Initially declining a job writing for drama The Blue Rose
- Having to work at a fast pace creating season one of Step Dave
This video was first uploaded on the 16th of February 2015 and is available on YouTube to embed and distribute via a Creative Commons licence.
Actor Mia Blake made her screen debut in ensemble comedy film Hopeless, which then became the TV series Lovebites. In 2006 Blake won an NZ Screen Award for her role in Toa Fraser film No. 2 then starred in horror movie The Tattooist. Blake was noiminated again received again after playing a woman giving birth in short film This is Her. Blake has gone on to act in The Millen Baird Show, Auckland Daze and Golden.
In this ScreenTalk, Blake talks about:
- Being terrified as a newbie on the set of Hopeless
- Learning the craft of acting on TV series Lovebites
- Loving the rehearsal process for the film No. 2
- How director Toa Fraser listened to her input on set
- Working with American actor Jason Behr on horror film The Tattooist
- Her emotional reaction to giving birth in This is Her
- Dealing with being pregnant while acting in short film Isoceles
- Having a huge amount of fun on The Millen Baird Show
- Being proud of appearing in the TV drama Harry
- Why she was thrilled at having a ‘tiny part’ on Auckland Daze
- Feeling her career is a combination of all the things she loves
This video was first uploaded on the 2nd of February 2015 and is available on YouTube to embed and distribute via a Creative Commons licence.