Producer and director Colin McRae has a television career spanning 40 years. In that time he has worked in news and current affairs for both TVNZ and TV3, and was the private channel’s Head of Sport to boot. His ground-breaking historical series The New Zealand Wars won Best Documentary Series at the 2006 Qantas Media Awards. In recent years, McRae has produced Native Affairs and Anzac Day coverage for Māori Television.
In this ScreenTalk, McRae talks about:
- The challenges of producing regional news show Top Half
- Trying to get legendary music reporter Dylan Taite to focus on Hamilton stories for the show
- How field directing on magazine show That’s Fairly Interesting was a breath of fresh air
- Producing Sunday night current affairs show Frontline
- Feeling sadness when researching a documentary on Cave Creek
- The long and complex process of making acclaimed historical series The New Zealand Wars
- Bringing pathos and drama to documentary series Legends of the All Blacks
- Feeding his documentary experience into Māori Television’s Anzac Day coverage
- How his career has evolved over the years
This video was first uploaded on 18 May 2015 and is available on YouTube to embed and distribute via this Creative Commons licence.
Des Monaghan has made an enormous contribution to the television industry as a TV producer and network executive in both New Zealand and Australia. Starting as a trainee producer with the NZBC, Monaghan produced a range of pioneering current affairs shows such as Town and Around, Gallery and Compass. In more recent years, Monaghan set up Australasian production company Screentime, whose slate includes popular shows Popstars, Underbelly, Police Ten 7 and Beyond the Darklands.
In this ScreenTalk interview, Monaghan talks about:
- Working with a blind cameraman and deaf sound recordist in his early TV days
- Having almost no content to broadcast when he began producing Town and Around
- Playing an awful lot of pool with Brian Edwards, while producing Compass
- Failing to realise the power he had on current affairs show Gallery
- How the show famously helped to settle the Post Office strike
- The laziness of the print media in New Zealand in the 1970s
- Being kept waiting by David Frost while making Frost Over New Zealand
- How legendary fighter pilot Sir Keith Park created a poignant moment on the show
- Raising the ire of rugby league fans after taking over sports coverage on TV
- New Zealand needing true public service television
- Being grateful for the varied opportunities his career has offered
This video was first uploaded on the 4th of May 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.
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.
Emmy award-winning producer/director Denis Harvey cut his teeth on TVNZ information shows Dig This, Kaleidoscope, and Science Express. Later he moved into sports. Harvey has gone on to make a significant contribution to television sports coverage both nationally and internationally, particularly in America’s Cup coverage and Olympic yachting. In recent times, he has also produced Asian and Israeli versions of The Amazing Race.
In this ScreenTalk, Harvey talks about:
- Being a trainee director on classic garden show Dig This
- Creating the garden for the show at the Avalon TV studios
- Remembering the great people and locations on Country Calendar
- His regret that long-running arts show Kaleidoscope disappeared from TV
- Showcasing scientific innovations in Science Express
- Taking Sir Edmund Hillary back to Everest in Hillary: A View from the Top
- The challenges of creating live TV coverage for the America’s Cup
- Making sure coverage of the event is as bipartisan as possible
- Dealing with Team New Zealand’s loss while still on air
- How cutting edge 3D graphics transformed coverage of sailing
- Showing the heroic efforts of the crew in two Team New Zealand documentaries
- Taking up the challenge to cover Olympic yachting
- Winning a Sports Emmy award
- Why working on The Amazing Race was so challenging
This video was first uploaded on 29 September 2014 and is available on YouTube to embed and distribute via a Creative Commons licence.
Robert Boyd-Bell has made a huge contribution to the development of TV news reporting in New Zealand. He began his career as a reporter with the fledgling NZBC News service in the mid 1960s, and later headed the northern newsroom of TV One in the 1970s. Boyd-Bell has also worked as a documentary producer, and was instrumental in setting up educational television services eTV and The Knowledge Breakfast. He is a keen advocate for public service broadcasting.
In this ScreenTalk, Boyd-Bell talks about:
- Why the NZBC had to set up its own news service
- The slow journey international news took to get on air, in the days before a national network
- Bringing changes to the newsroom
- The infamous Tonight interview with Sir Robert Muldoon
- Establishing educational television service eTV
- How The Knowledge Breakfast became the first online TV show in New Zealand
- How family dynamics proved a challenge making Billy T: Te Movie
- How his fascination with Kiri Te Kanawa led to the doco My Breathing is Singing
- Why New Zealand needs a non-commercial TV service
This video was first uploaded on July 28 2014 and is available on YouTube to embed and distribute via a Creative Commons licence.
Veteran producer John Keir has had a long career producing both documentaries and films. He has collaborated on several film projects with director Grant Lahood, including Lemming Aid and Chicken. Keir has also produced large live TV events such as the Sir Edmund Hillary special On Top of the World and Anzac Day coverage for Maori Television.
In this ScreenTalk, Keir talks about:
- Telling the quirky story of temperance in the documentary Fight the Good Fight
- Battling lawyers in order to film in court for Flight 901: The Erebus Disaster
- How live coverage of the Sir Edmund Hillary special On Top of the World nearly came a cropper
- Why the weather created havoc during the filming of Grant Lahood short Lemming Aid
- Disappointment over poor box office for the feature film Chicken
- Being fascinated by the idea behind Treaty of Waitangi series Lost in Translation
- Finding Mani’s Story the most incredible documentary he’s worked on
- Making actor Mark Mitchinson shave his eyebrows for the tele-feature Bloodlines
This video was first uploaded on 7 April 2014 and is available on YouTube to embed and distribute via a Creative Commons licence.
Producer/director Michael Firth first made his mark directing the documentary feature Off the Edge. The ski movie was a key early film in the NZ 'new wave' (with contemporary Sleeping Dogs and later Goodbye Pork Pie) and earned an Academy Award nomination in 1977. Since then Firth has produced and directed the dramatic feature films Sylvia, Heart of the Stag and Vulcan Lane. But it is sport and the outdoors he loves best: he went off the edge again in 1987 with the zany adventure sport movie The Leading Edge, and Firth is the key creative behind the internationally successful TV series Adrenalize and fishing show Take the Bait.
In this ScreenTalk, Firth talks about:
- How a love of snow skiing led to his first feature Off the Edge
- How perfect timing enabled the filming of an avalanche
- Delving into a dark part of Kiwi life in Heart of the Stag
- Facing financing issues while making Sylvia
- Facing continuity issues recreating that film’s era
- Creating the ‘crazy docudrama’ that was The Leading Edge
- How the 1987 share market crash affected the box office
- Being confronted by Billy T James and a machine gun
- Selling sports show Adrenalize to 50 countries
- Almost causing a diplomatic incident with a topless woman
- How fishing TV show Take the Bait has just grown and grown
This video was first uploaded on 24 March 2014 and is available on YouTube to embed and distribute via a Creative Commons licence.
Producer Rhonda Kite, who runs Kiwa Media Group, has worked on television, film, and interactive book projects. Her first production was award-winning 1998 documentary Otara: Defying the Odds. She also produced the controversial Chinks, Coconuts and Curry Munchers and, on the big screen, Squeegee Bandit. Kite produced anthology series Mataku and long-running arts show Kete Aronui. Kiwa Media Group has also pioneered a process of dubbing films into other languages.
In this ScreenTalk, Kite talks about:
- Learning how to produce on her first documentary Otara: Defying the Odds
- Wanting to tell her own 'truth' in the documentary
- The trials and triumphs of a Māori woman in business in Hell for Leather
- Pushing the boundaries in Chinks, Coconuts and Curry-Munchers
- Telling real yet spooky stories in series Mataku
- Discovering the power of drama from other cultures
- The absolute joy of making arts series Kete Aronui
- Being inspired and saddened by the story behind Squeegee Bandit
- An emotional moment for Sandor Lau, the director of the documentary
This video is available on YouTube to embed and distribute via a Creative Commons licence.
Prolific producer Trevor Haysom has collaborated with some notable emerging filmmakers including Gregor Nicholas and the late Brad McGann. His feature film credits include In My Father’s Den, After the Waterfall, Tracker, and User Friendly. Haysom has also produced several documentaries for television, including Pacific 3 2 1 Zero, and Peter Peryer: Portrait of a Photographer.
In this ScreenTalk, Haysom talks about:
- Dealing with his first feature User Friendly not being a great success
- Not needing to change much of the script for Brad McGann’s short film Possum
- Why the film received a mixed response in Germany
- How a dream influenced In My Father’s Den
- The sadness of dealing with McGann’s illness and death after the film was a success
- Difficulties bringing the script for After the Waterfall together
- Getting international co-production Tracker to the big screen
- The challenges of being a filmmaker in the digital era
This video is available on YouTube to embed and distribute via a Creative Commons licence.