The suspense thriller Patrick became my first narrative film. It was a particularly tough shoot, with only 25 days to complete. I was really lucky to cast Charles Dance from Game of Thrones and Rachel Griffiths. A hero of mine, composer Pino Donaggio, who had worked on Brian De Palma’s films, provided our soundtrack. For all the limitations of schedule, it was a wonderful experience.
The Director of the original Patrick, Richard Franklin, inspired and mentored me throughout my career. I met Richard when I was still in high school and stayed in contact with him. He went to Hollywood and made Psycho 2. I thought if someone who went to my high school could become a filmmaker and achieve what he did, perhaps I could too.
Originally I wanted to be a graphic artist. But at the Swinburne open day I sat down in the theatrette, saw the Swinburne student films, and had an epiphany that I wanted to be a filmmaker.
My three years at Swinburne were some of the greatest years of my life. Each day I was doing what I loved – learning about scriptwriting, and the history of filmmaking, making a film, and crewing on other student films.
There were a lot of times when I thought I wouldn’t get to achieve what I set out to do – direct narrative films. Ultimately with perseverance and luck it happened.
Success is also about finding the right people to work with. Nothing can compare to the loyalty of your crew and how important that is to your career. I was fortunate to meet up with a cinematographer called Garry Richards, and we’ve worked together for over 20 years – that’s been part of my success.
Being a filmmaker is all about establishing relationships and working with people who you really admire.”