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'television' Posts

James Griffin gets serious about Kiwi comedy

Posted on 13 January 2014

Scriptwriter, playwright and columnist James Griffin has been writing for most of his life. Since becoming a scriptwriter in the 1980s Griffin has written many of New Zealand’s most well known and best loved TV shows (including co-creating Outrageous Fortune) as well as the feature film Sione's Wedding. In this interview (originally published 8 July 2009), he discusses

  • His love of writing from an early age but his desire to be a TV director
  • Getting “side-tracked” into script editing and learning the mechanics of how a script works
  • The popularity of Gloss and blending comedy and drama
  • His surprise that the TV drama City Life flopped
  • The rollercoaster ride that is Outrageous Fortune and when its run should end
  • Criticism of NZ comedy
  • What it takes to make a “hit” TV show

This video is also available on YouTube to embed and distribute via a Creative Commons licence. Credits:  Interview, Camera & Editing – Andrew Whiteside

 
 

  Tags

writer, outrageous fortune, james griffin, city life, television, nzonscreen, south pacific pictures

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Shortland Street: Happy 21st Birthday..…

Posted on 6 January 2014

This ScreenTalk marks the 21st birthday of Shortland St on May 25. Produced by South Pacific Pictures for TVNZ, the serial drama has screened five nights a week on TV2 since its inception. It has won awards, sold internationally and become a part of our national landscape and pop culture. A who's who of New Zealand acting talent, writers, directors and producers have worked on the soap.

In this special edition of ScreenTalk (published on 27 May 2013), some of the show's stalwarts reflect on their Shortland St days, and on the programme's importance to NZ and our screen industry. 

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

 
 

  Tags

tv, drama, television, shortland street, shortland st, birthday, 21st, soap opera

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Close to Home: New Zealand’s first TV soap opera…

Posted on 2 December 2013

Close to Home first screened on TV One in May 1975 and ran for eight years. The popular and ground-breaking series was New Zealand television's first soap opera. It was based in Wellington and centred around the trials and tribulations of the Hearte family. At its peak in 1977, Close to Home attracted a twice weekly audience of one million viewers.

In this special edition of ScreenTalk, writers and cast members reminisce about their time with Close to Home.

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

 
 

  Tags

close to home, tv, television, soap opera, soap, hearte family

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Steven O'Meagher: The 20 year Dream that is Harry…

Posted on 10 June 2013

As the founder of production company Desert Road, Steven O'Meagher has produced a long list of documentaries, films and television shows. His documentaries include The Understudy, Million Dollar Tumour, and Reluctant Hero. O'Meagher executive produced TV drama This is Not My Life; his latest dramatic project is Harry, featuring Oscar Kightley in the lead role.

In this ScreenTalk, O'Meagher talks about:

  • Throwing away the scripts while working with Paul Holmes on The Way We Were
  • Bringing an opera singer's "fantastic ego and sense of theatre" to documentary The Understudy
  • How feature film Out of the Blue challenged the people of Aramoana
  • Showing a personal journey towards death in award-winning documentary Million Dollar Tumour
  • How a phone call led to the documentary Reluctant Hero about Willie Apiata
  • Selling This is Not My Life to an American production company
  • Being disappointed with how the show rated in New Zealand
  • How producing Harry has been a 20 year dream

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

 
 

  Tags

production, producer, the understudy, million dollar tumour, out of the blue, film, tv, television, documentary, reluctant hero, this is not my life, harry, steven omeagher

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Suzanne Paul: Dancing Queen

Posted on 13 May 2013

Suzanne Paul made a splash on our TV screens as the Queen of Infomercials in the 1980s. She soon had her own TV show called Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?, followed by a range of other popular primetime programmes. Despite breaking a rib in the final episode, Paul won the third season of Dancing with the Stars.

In this ScreenTalk, Paul talks about: 

  • Transferring her selling skills from malls to infomercials
  • Learning to accept having the mickey taken out of her
  • Creating the concept for Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?
  • Running out of celebrities for the show
  • Finding out the title of Garage Sale was not literal
  • Getting a role on How’s Life? despite being flippant
  • How her episode of Intrepid Journeys changed her life
  • Believing she was the comic relief on Dancing with the Stars
  • Breaking a rib on live television but carrying on with the show
  • How a bottle of port lead to the creation of the novelty song and music video The Blue Monkey

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

 
 

  Tags

informercials, the blue monkey, television, suzanne paul, novelty, hows life, intrepid journeys, dancing with the stars, garage sale, guess whos coming to dinner, celebrity, tv

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Ngila Dickson: A Designing Woman

Posted on 6 May 2013

Ngila Dickson is an Academy Award-winning costume designer who has been involved in some of our biggest film and TV projects. Her first film experience was on User Friendly and since then she has designed for Jack Be Nimble, Heavenly Creatures, Crush and The Lord of the Rings trilogy. In television, she made a name for herself designing costumes for Xena: Warrior Princess and Hercules: The Legendary Journeys. Dickson has also worked on a range of international movies.

In this ScreenTalk, Dickson talks about: 

  • Creating costumes for acclaimed period piece Heavenly Creatures
  • Learning a life lesson from Peter Jackson on the film
  • How Xena: Warrior Princess provided her greatest learning curve ever
  • Avoiding an obsession with Tolkien on the Lord of the Rings trilogy
  • Creating specific design features for each of the story elements
  • How winning an Oscar for Lord of the Rings has given her traction in the American film industry
  • Trying to achieve perfection on the set of The Last Samurai
  • Learning the limits of CGI technology on movie Green Lantern
  • The frustration of working on a lot of films that never get made

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

 
 

  Tags

xena, the lord of the rings, film, ngila dickson, costume design, tv, designer, crush, hercules, jack be nimble, user friendly, television, design, movies, costume, heavenly creatures

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Simon Bennett: On producing and directing the big TV dramas…

Posted on 15 April 2013

Simon Bennett's extensive CV includes producing and directing episodes of long-running successes Shortland Street and Outrageous Fortune. He has also spent time in executive roles at South Pacific Pictures, the production house behind these shows, and directed SPP feature film Sione's 2: Unfinished Business.

In this ScreenTalk, Bennett talks about:

  • Having to clean up horse manure for his first TV directing job on Riding High
  • Learning to direct fast-turnaround TV drama on Shortland Street
  • Being told off by the actors when directing Mercy Peak
  • Taking up the reigns as Head of Drama at South Pacific Pictures
  • How fantastic writing and acting made Outrageous Fortune a hit
  • The unlikely premise of The Almighty Johnsons
  • The challenges of making a sequel to a successful film, with Sione's 2: Unfinished Business
  • Being intrigued by the scripts of The Blue Rose
  • Enjoying the fast-paced nature of the show

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

 
 

  Tags

outrageous fortune, tv, director, producer, television, shortland street, simon bennett, south pacific pictures

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Jennifer Ludlam: Acting without makeup or shoes…

Posted on 11 March 2013

Award-winning actor Jennifer Ludlam has played a range of strong female characters in TV shows such as Cover Story, Gloss, and Undercover. She spent time in Australia appearing in a number of dramas including Prisoner and Sons and Daughters. Returning to New Zealand, Ludlam starred in Sima Urale’s feature film Apron Strings. She is currently appearing in TV thriller The Blue Rose.

In this ScreenTalk, Ludlam talks about:

  • Playing a country girl in a city pub in A Going Concern
  • Lying about her horse riding ability for a role in Radio Waves
  • Having trouble singing and dancing in Gather Your Dreams
  • Forgetting all about one of her roles in Shark in the Park
  • Loving the camaraderie on the set of Prisoner
  • Playing a 'toughie' on Sons and Daughters
  • Being an embarrassment to Ilona Rodgers in Gloss
  • Being cast as a strong and forthright woman in Cover Story
  • Enjoying playing a homophobic mother in Shortland Street
  • Feeling nervous in her first scene in Apron Strings
  • Giving up a theatre tour for a role in The Blue Rose
  • Her one last ambition in TV

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

 
 

  Tags

the blue rose, cover story, gloss, interview, actor, television, sons and daughters, apron strings, undercover, prisoner

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Stu Dennison: Giving the thumbs up to kids TV…

Posted on 27 November 2012

Stu Dennison was a much-loved TV presenter in the 1970s who introduced the ‘naughty schoolboy’ and thumbs up to a generation of Kiwi kids on the show Nice One Stu. He went on to host a range of TV shows, often as sidekick to popular TV host Roger Gascoigne. After Dennison ended his on-air career, he re-invented himself as a sports producer at TVNZ. In this ScreenTalk, Dennison talks about:

  • Being the ‘everyman’ on Ready to Roll
  • Creating the outrageous persona on Nice One Stu
  • Becoming famous by being controversial
  • How a spontaneous ‘thumbs up’ became his signature gesture
  • Winding up the prim and proper Roger Gascoigne on Top Town
  • Getting a pie in the face on Telethon
  • Enjoying the mix of live entertainment and skits on How’s That
  • Moving from presenting to editing and producing sports
  • Carrying the torch at the Beijing Olympics
This video is available on YouTube to embed and distribute via a Creative Commons licence.

 
 

  Tags

stu dennison, nice one stu, telethon, Screentalk, tv, presenter, Ready to Roll, top town, interview, television

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Roger Gascoigne: The man with the golden smile (and that wink)

Posted on 19 November 2012

Roger Gascoigne was at one stage the most famous man on New Zealand television. He began his TV career as a continuity announcer and introduced his infamous wink to the nation. He went on to present a huge range of TV shows in the 70s and 80s including Ready to Roll, Top Town and several Telethons. During the 80s he made the transition to news presenting on regional show Today Tonight. In this ScreenTalk, Gascoigne talks about:

  • Becoming the face of television
  • How ‘the wink’ became an institution
  • Getting excited about music videos in the early days of Ready to Roll
  • Revamping the midnight to dawn slot on Telethon
  • Ruining a valuable piece of equipment on Top Town
  • Fearing for his life while being mobbed on the show
  • Changing the focus of his career by hosting Today Tonight
  • Acting a role similar to his real persona in Peppermint Twist
  • How the arrival of Holmes led to him leaving television
This video is available on YouTube to embed and distribute via a Creative Commons licence.

 
 

  Tags

Screentalk, tv, today tonight, peppermint twist, Ready to Roll, top town, interview, television, holmes, Roger Gascoigne, telethons

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