MA scriptwriting students

These are brief paragraphs about themselves written by each member of this year's class and emailed to the IIML at the start of the year. The intention is that they can read about each other before they meet face to face. We also hope these informal snapshots will make interesting reading in future years.

Brad Aldridge

I was raised in a postcard-pretty little town and came to Wellington to escape from it. I've just finished a degree in film and english lit, and while directing a couple short films for class I figured out I wanted to be way further behind the camera. I think about writing far more than I write, so I'm hoping to balance that out this year. I'm interested in experimenting with absurdism and want to write something about slow violence. Looking forward to working with you all!

Thom Benny

My name is Thom Benny. I was born in 1987 in Wellington. I grew up (did I?) in Dunedin. I studied English and music at Otago. I've been a journalist, television and music reviewer, and news editor for print media. I've been a copywriter for financial and digital marketing businesses. I've written to criticise, inform, entertain and persuade. I've legally resided in three countries and spent time in about 20 others. I've never lived in the city of my birth by choice, nor written for the screen, so I'm really looking forward to working with this group at Vic this year.

Greta Casey-Solly

'Tell me a bit about yourself...'

I can tell you who she is on paper. She's a dairy farmer's daughter, homegrown in a small town who found her escape in the arts. She took a trip across the Tasman to pursue Musical Theatre only to return to Aotearoa to finish her BPA at NASDA. She has worked as an actor and she has travelled. This young woman learnt another language, tested her boundaries, lost and gained her even share and slowly began to understand herself. What she discovered in her newly found peace is that she loved to write and create, she loved history and telling stories.

'Who are you?'

Where do you begin when you don’t quite know who you are?

When for the first time, at 25, you decide to choose you.

'Tell me a bit about yourself...'

Hi, I'm Greta.

Peter Croft

I'm an award-winning playwright that dabbles in the dark art of musical comedy. Born in Nelson, educated in Dunedin, OE'd in Spain where I learned all the words to Despacito despite my best efforts. I draw endless inspiration from watching trash on Netflix and thinking 'I could do better than that'. Sometimes I do; sometimes I write garbage. I'm sure with your input I will spend 2020 writing not-garbage, or at the very least, something recyclable. I believe beyond a shadow of a doubt that Shrek 2 is the superior Shrek film and that it deserves equal representation in memes and pop culture.

Matthew Darragh

I've recently returned to NZ after 20 years away. I've lived in Brazil, Japan, Ireland, Spain and Greece. I've worked mostly in animation, making short films and TV shows. I love the medium, how magical it can be. My films have mostly been about giving life to inanimate things, like a fridge running across a desert, or a shipwrecked man falling in love with a stick.

I'm interested in faith, belief, language and culture, and genuinely curious about why we do what we do.

I'm excited about a year of writing, especially with a group. I'd like to try and tell stories that are about real people and not fridges.

Mark Joyce

This is an unexpected return to VUW following my graduation in 2015. My schizophrenic plate-spinning of media studies (with an emphasis on television) and philosophy (with an emphasis on nothing) led surreally to postgraduate study of the latter in Europe. This year of reflection helped me realise what I'd rather be doing.

My industry experience to date is modest but diverse, having dabbled in sitcoms for student and local radio, workshopped short films at Script to Screen events, and penned video games and interactive children's books for indie developers. This coming year marks me 'taking the plunge,' complete with job resignation and white lies. It's terrifying, but for all the right reasons.

Katie Kabala

Hi everyone! My parents and I were political refugees from Poland to Melbourne, Australia when I was five years old. Our family has since moved around and we all live in separate countries now. In recent years I worked as a post production supervisor in film and TV in Sydney and Melbourne. Now I'm a refugee of a different kind, a so-called love refugee, choosing Wellington as home a year ago. I hope the next step in my career will be writer/producing. I'm so thrilled to embark with you on what I understand will be an awesome journey.

Jessica Keane

Originally from Hamilton, I graduated with a BMA in filmmaking then moved to Welly in 2016. I've been working for the past three and a bit years as a filmmaker for a charity organisation.

On the side, I've continued working on a variety of short films and web series in just about every role possible, from coffee maker to DOP.

Writing and directing is what I want to do. As so, I’m looking forward to taking the time this year to focus on developing the stories I really want to tell. Stories exploring the balance between serious human themes and comedy.

I'm looking forward to meeting you all.

Ben Powdrell

Ngā mihi nui ki a koutou. I have been enjoying my 20 years working in TV, film, web and occasionally theatre, and have so far operated on the somewhat naive idea that I would learn all I needed about storytelling intuitively in the telling of the stories. While this has served me in the edit suite 'discovering' stories, this approach has only allowed me to develop so far as a writer and it's humbling and inspiring to see how much I have to learn.

Reinhard Schwanecke

Hey guys, just finishing my BSC in Biological Sciences at the University of Auckland and very excited to be a part of 2020's team. My main interest in writing is exploring humankind's relationship with the rest of the natural world, which has mostly translated into hard sci-fi concepts so far but I'm hoping to try new styles and genres. I'm also a keen painter and a big fan of the great outdoors. Looking forward to meeting you all and becoming a more skilful entertainer.