MA scriptwriting profiles 2012

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.

Vinay Choudary

I began writing screenplays for television series in India in 1999. I wrote for a few months & then took a four year break to find my writing 'voice'. It wasn't a very successful stint. In 2004 economics forced me back into commissioned writing for television. I wrote several hundreds of banal episodes for daytime dramas. I even contributed to the occasional feature film script. However the yearning to find my 'voice' remained. 11 years after I began writing I feel ready to let go of the familiar & safe, confront my inner demons & make the journey towards my final destination i.e. the elusive 'voice'.

Uther Dean

Hi. I have a BA (Hons) in theatre. I co-edited Salient last year and we won best publication at the student press association awards. I write about theatre for FishHead magazine. I make theatre with my friends Hannah and Paul as the theatre company called my accomplice. I won the Chapman Kip award for best entrance last year, which is probably the high point of my professional life. I have written a couple of plays, most of them, in one way or another, ended up being about people being kept hostage. Which is something I aim to avoid this time.

Francesca Emms

I was raised in the Wairarapa and moved to Wellington a few years ago to do a BA in English and Theatre at Victoria University of Wellington. After I finished that I got really involved in theatre, mainly in Wellington but also around NZ and in Australia.

I have written a few small stage shows that were performed as part of the Wellington Fringe Festivals. I also produce, perform in and direct theatre shows and short films. My favourite was a little musical we did in 2009 with The Gusty Group.

I’m looking forward to a year of writing, reading, films and shows.

Kirsty Hamilton

Ironically I hate to write these things; tall poppy disease and a contradictory desire to be the best screen writer I can possibly be. I plan to take in everything Ken and my fellow writers have to offer and fly without burning wings. I've spent much of the last ten years whilst sometimes acting but mostly working nine to five jobs, avoiding a quiet, certain desire to live 'twenty four seven' inside the world of film. I graduated as an actor from Toi Whakaari in 1992 and have, after many years in the UK and NZ procrastinating, finally decided to follow in the footsteps of all the people who I admire and do my best to evolve from actor and acting teacher to writer/director. My close circle of contemporaries will most likely breathe a sigh of relief; no more email attachments of scripts that need another twenty drafts before having any kind of life beyond the page, (I expect eight months of writing to minimise the number of emails that have to be sent in the future).

I'll still and always be passionate about Shakespeare, Pinter, Chekhov etc and getting to act the greats but I'm more than ready to learn everything I can to be able to write as powerful a film, (or eight), as I can. This biography is overly long. At my interview Ken asked me what I thought my weaknesses were, I answered, 'I need to learn to be more concise'.

Leon Harrison

On my third (or was it fourth?) attempt at tertiary study, after a major accident, I was shocked to discover I was actually passing. Before I knew it, Honours was open to me, and now, after completing a military science fiction novel and several scripts, I am here to step up to the next level.

My Honours research essay is entitled A Mirror without Glass: Terrorism and Science Fiction in the Post 9/11 World. I have also delved extensively into the military industrial complex and militainment. So, despite intending to do a dark comedy on students doing a bank job to pay back their student loan, it looks like the military theme will dictate my main project. along with some Maori lore, and a touch of politics for more than just flavour.

Philip K. Dick, William Gibson, J.R.R. Tolkien and George McIver are amongst my favourite authors.
When you wake up and realise you've tried to give up writing and failed, it is no longer a hobby, and you are, indeed, a writer.

Really looking forward to the challenge and collaborative effort that will be Masters in Scriptwriting 2012.

Andy James

This is me: born 1983, Andrew Sutherland James (Andy). I’ve lived in Wellington, Napier, New Plymouth and Lower Hutt. I’ve travelled to Australia, Britain, Europe, America, was once stranded in Hong Kong and lived in York. I love reading, comic-books, writing, doodling, films, TV shows, science-fiction, Mexican food, making movies, epic crime stories and once wrote a daily haiku.

My friends and I (an Indian, a Chinaman and a White Guy) have been making short films since high school. We enter the 48Hours Filmmaking completion every year. I write a bunch of film related guff on my blog (shameless plug) rockets and robots are GO!

I’m a geek, a writer, a blogger and a (very) amateur photographer. Shazam.

Maaike Olsthoorn

I'm nineteen and born here despite what my accent may imply, sarcastic a lot, bad at getting up early in the morning, and know very little that's useful. Writing is my third-choice career after mecha pilot and dragon hunter respectively, and this year I want to write a third-person-shooter videogame that is about one or both of those careers, and possibly also about pirates. Living proof videogames don't screw you up too badly.

Joanna Pascoe

I enjoy watching a good TV series. Currently, I am enamoured of ‘The Killing’. ‘Twin Peaks’ is a favourite. I like it how the dwarf popped up later in ‘Carnivale’. Acting and theatre have been a theme thoughout my life. Recently I played Sybil in ‘Fawlty Towers’, with the Manama Theatre Club in Bahrain. Movies are fabulous. Writing takes me to unexpected places. When the Arab Spring threw me into a time of self-reflection I decided to further what I love doing. I am thrilled to be joining you for the course and am looking forward to 2012 back in New Zealand. Maybe we can mix-up the media and shake-up the story.

Like all of you, I'm passionate about writing and love anything to do with film. Seeing a truly great movie is really inspiring, but at the same time daunting as hell, as I think 'How am I ever going to write something like that?' Well, I guess that's why I'm here, and I've still got lots to learn. I'm 21, fresh off the boat, just finishing up my BA in Film and Media Studies. I'm originally from England, moving to Auckland when I was nine years old. I've spent the last three years in Wellington, and really looking forward to spending another one doing what I love.

Jonathan Thompson

My name's Jonny. I'm happiest about being married, living by the sea and having the opportunity this year to write a feature-length script. I have worked for several years in the local video and film industries. I'd describe myself as an 'outdoorsy geek'. I love a good walk, a relaxing swim and unique geography; and I dig monsters, science-fiction, psychological 'what-ifs' and all well-told genre films. I look forward to sharing the year with you all!

James Wypych

My journey here started at Film School last year. Having always loved film, my fascination with them was through the writing of the film, and I always wondered how some could do it so well. I enjoy watching all types of movies, no matter how good or bad they are, as I think that they all have something to offer aspiring film makers. My favourite directors would be Tarantino, Scorsese, Coen Brothers, Danny Boyle. I look forward to the year, and I hope to learn from everyone in the class about the art of script writing, and go on to write and direct my own projects.