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David Harry Baldock: PMs, Russian subs, and psychics…

Posted on 7 July 2014

David Harry Baldock’s long TV career includes submarines, sea rescues, ailing prime ministers and psychics. The onetime editor began making his mark as a director and producer on current affairs and a run of documentaries. In 1988 he left state television to launch production company Ninox, whose prolific output would grow to include Sensing Murder, Mitre 10 Dream Home, award-winner Pacific Rescue and ambitious documentary series Our People Our Century. During a return visit from his current base in Shanghai, Baldock talked to ScreenTalk about: 

  • A car accident while at high school that helped shape his attitude to life
  • How after moving from hometown Dunedin to Wellington he was given three months to sink or swim, directing current affairs
  • His Anglican-inflected take on the feisty Tonight interview where Simon Walker dared to challenge PM Robert Muldoon about Russian subs
  • August '74 - The Death of a Prime Minister, his documentary on PM Norman Kirk’s final week - and how it confirmed his sense of how to get great interviews
  • Deciding to take the bull by the horns and leave his TVNZ job, before learning if he was going to be made redundant
  • Setting up production company Ninox in 1988
  • Managing to win major sponsorship to complete award-winning series At the Risk of Our Lives, only to have the offer turned down
  • How hit show Mitre 10 Dream Home proved a win win, and a life-changer
  • His fear of making the history series Our People Our Century, and how the programme almost brought Ninox to its knees
  • The “fantastic brain” of producer Ray Waru
  • Sensing Murder: a passionate defence of the show’s integrity, and insights into the stresses of making it

This video was first uploaded on July 7 2014 and is available on YouTube to embed and distribute via a Creative Commons licence. 

 
 

  Tags

david harry baldock, ninox, directing, sponsorship, live television, current affairs, product placement, bnz, home improvement, research and development, sensing murder, at risk of our lives, our people our century, august, august 74, death of a prime minister, mitre 10 dream home, robert muldoon, norman kirk, brian lennane, philip temple, ray waru, des monaghan, simon walker, bronwen stewart, geoff steven, colenso

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Mike Smith: On directing drama and passing on Russell Crowe...

Posted on 28 April 2014

Versatile director Mike Smith has made an enormous amount of New Zealand drama. Highlights of his lengthy television CV include Radio WavesDugganSerial KillersThe Almighty JohnsonsNothing Trivial, tele-movie Siege and upcoming docudrama Nancy Wake: The White Mouse. Smith also had a big hand in creating Heroes (80s pop band on-the-make show), yokels comedy Willy Nilly, children’s drama The Lost Children and 2013 comedy Sunny Skies. He was also one of the key players in the launch of Outrageous Fortune.

In this ScreenTalk interview, Smith talks about:

  • The unforgettable personnel officer when he interviewed to join state television
  • Vital lessons learned from drama head John McRae, while directing 70s soap Radio Waves
  • Producing and directing Heroes, the drama series about a pop band
  • Failing to cast a young unknown called Russell Crowe
  • Differences between Australia and NZ, after eight years largely working across the Tasman
  • Returning home for drama series Cover Story
  • Creating shows after setting up a production company with editor John Gilbert
  • Making successful short Willy Nilly, about two “rural idiots,” and learning about the complexities of comedy on the hit TV series which followed
  • Casting secrets from his days as producer of Outrageous Fortune: including a lack of network enthusiasm for star Robyn Malcolm, and Munter originally being a Pākehā
  • Working with “fantastic” producer/director Mark Beesley on The Almighty Johnsons
  • How in a sense directing is a little bit like sex
  • Taking different approaches to turning true life stories into drama with Siege and Underbelly: Land of the Long Green Cloud
  • Lessons learned as a director

This video was first uploaded on 28 April 2014 and is available on YouTube to embed and distribute via a Creative Commons licence. 

 
 

  Tags

directing, producing, acting, comedy, farce, russell crowe, michael hurst, john gilbert, mark beesley, robyn malcolm, antony starr, antonia prebble, tammy davis, outrageous fortune, john mcrae, russell crowe, michael hurst, john gilbert, mark beesley, robyn malcolm, antony starr, antonia prebble, tammy davis, jan molenaar, outrageous fortune, radio waves, heroes, cover story, the almighty johnsons, siege, nancy wake: the white mouse, underbelly nz - land of the long green cloud, willy nilly

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John Laing: Beyond Reasonable Doubt to Outrageous Fortune...

Posted on 3 March 2014

Veteran producer/director John Laing has worked in film and television in New Zealand, Canada and the UK. His feature films include the Arthur Allan Thomas-inspired Beyond Reasonable Doubt, cross-cultural romance Other Halves and thriller Dangerous Orphans. Laing has also directed a long list of popular drama series for TV, including Go Girls, Nothing Trivial, Street Legal, Inside Straight and Marlin Bay; plus tele-feature Safe House.

In this ScreenTalk, Laing talks about:

  • Upsetting the National Film Unit with his unconventional film Kariotahi Beach
  • Learning how to direct a feature film on the set of Beyond Reasonable Doubt
  • Taking on too many roles on offbeat thriller The Lost Tribe
  • Getting back to basic story-telling on Inside Straight
  • Being unhappy with the end result on feature film Other Halves
  • Relishing the prospect of creating film noir feature Dangerous Orphans
  • The challenge of juggling different directors on Outrageous Fortune
  • Creating an 'intense' set for tele-feature Safe House

This video is available on YouTube to embed and distribute via a Creative Commons licence.

 
 

  Tags

john laing, beyond reasonable doubt, other halves, dangerous orphans, go girls, nothing trivial, kariotahi beach, the lost tribe, inside straight, outrageous fortune, safe house, directing, producing, national film unit, nfu, arthur allan thomas

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Grant Lahood: Snails, Lemmings and a Kombi van…

Posted on 10 February 2014

Director Grant Lahood is master of the quirky comedic short film - the creative force behind internationally-successful shorts Snail's Pace, The Singing Trophy, and Lemming Aid. Lahood has also directed the feature films Kombi Nation and Chicken, and a number of documentaries including Arc, Anzac Songs, and Intersexion

In this ScreenTalk, Lahood talks about:

  • Being frustrated by the slimy cast of Snail's Pace
  • How The Singing Trophy became a worldwide hit
  • The 'stupid' premise behind Lemming Aid
  • Coping with hurricane force winds on the shoot
  • Not being happy with his first feature film Chicken
  • Why Kombi Nation made him the most popular director in New Zealand
  • Telling powerful human stories in documentary Intersexion

This video is available on YouTube to embed and distribute via a Creative Commons licence.

 
 

  Tags

grant lahood, the singing trophy, lemming aid, snails pace, kombi nation, chicken, snails, hurricanes, directing, intersexion, animal, animals

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Rob Sarkies: Three movies and two little boys

Posted on 18 September 2012

Rob Sarkies' first three movies have all begun in southern climes, then headed in unexpected directions. Scarfies celebrates Dunedin student life, before morphing into a twisted examination of morality under fire. Out of the Blue celebrates community and the ordinary person, while recreating the 1990 killings at Aramoana. New feature Two Little Boys is a black comedy featuring Flight of the Conchords star Bret McKenzie and Australian comedian Hamish Blake. In this ScreenTalk interview, Sarkies talks about:

  • How he enjoys making films which mix different flavours, genres and ideas
  • How Two Little Boys mixes elements of comedy, relationship drama and shock horror
  • How the film's lovable but heinous characters offer a chance to explore relationships - especially relationships in decay
  • Signing up Flight of the Conchords star Bret McKenzie
  • Writing scripts with his multi-talented brother Duncan Sarkies
  • Being aware of the stakes when he made his first feature Scarfies
  • Using marketing to overcome the Kiwi cultural cringe
  • Creating a perception that Out of the Blue was made with heart and artistry, so people could feel comfortable about being involved

This video is available on YouTube to embed and distribute via a Creative Commons licence.

 
 

  Tags

interview, directors, marketing, directing, out of the blue, robert sarkies, bret mckenzie, duncan sarkies, two little boys, scarfies, aramoana, cultural cringe, friendship, interviews

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Jason Stutter - the Comedy of Murder

Posted on 7 September 2010

Jason Stutter - director of Ronald Hugh Morrieson adaptation Predicament - has a talent for going for the jugular, yet doing it in style. In Stutter’s movies, the camera plunges headfirst into haunted hospitals, dodgy smalltown dealings, and fight scenes with Pacific Island Ninjas whose parents were unexpectedly half-gobbled by fish. In this ScreenTalk interview, Stutter talks about

  • why he makes films
  • his many projects featuring Flight of the Conchords’ Jemaine Clement
  • falling in love with the dialogue in Ronald Hugh Morrieson’s novel Predicament
  • the lessons that can be learnt from Morrieson’s career
  • the bravery of comedians, and why he loves giving them acting roles in his movies
  • the genesis of Tongan Ninja, Stutter’s no-budget, three years in the making feature debut
  • the unusual way haunted hospital tale Diagnosis:Death was funded
  • the importance of staying loyal to the original text

This video is available on YouTube to embed and distribute via a Creative Commons licence.

 
 

  Tags

comedy, funding, directors, directing, comedians, business, raybon kan, ronald hugh morrieson, heath franklin, interviews

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