MA scriptwriting profiles 2013

These are brief paragraphs about themselves written by each member of the current 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.

Jacob Beullens

I'm 21. I've spent the last few years in and out of acting, directing, studying and writing before finally deciding to focus (for now) on writing! I was in London on an acting scholarship, which was cool but I quickly realized I'd rather do the yelling than be yelled at. In turn, I spent the last year at the New Zealand Film School which really molded my desire to write/direct. I'm an obsessive Arsenal fan and a keen tennis player. I look forward to meeting everyone and getting a few pages written!

Christine Cessford

When I go to the theatre I want to see a play that deepens my understanding of how people tick and how the world works, and this year I want to write a play that does both. I've been writing for a few years and for a while tried to give it up, but I have an inner demon that urges me on. Last year I began working on a drama series on the IML TV scriptwriting course. I also teamed up with a friend who's a comedian to write an animation series. My radio play, Harden Up Miss Havisham, was one of six winners in the Radio NZ New Shorts competition in 2011. I'm a journalist in my day job and I tell other people's stories, but I prefer to write scripts and make up my own. I'm from the South Island but I live in Wellington now with my partner and our young daughter.

Lisa Cherrington

I come from a great tribe called Ngapuhi in the winterless north. My father describes us as 'fruit salads' as we also have Niuean, Samoan, Irish and French ancestry. I come from a family of actors and being creative in whatever form is in our blood. I have expressed my creativity primarily through writing short stories and novels. I am a FOB when it comes to scriptwriting, but it's exciting to be new to something. I reside in the mighty Palmerston North, so will be travelling down each week for classes. I have two beautiful boys aged eight and five who keep me real. Nga mihi.

Jane Fletcher

Born and raised in Christchurch, I studied Law and Classics at Canterbury before realising I was destined for a much more sensible career in film. I worked in law and civil service for a few years, taking media studies papers through Massey and working for free on shorts in my spare time. I left New Zealand in March 2008, spending time travelling in the States and Europe before working as an au pair in Spain for the summer of 2008. Subsequently I moved to London and worked in financial services for three years.

Finally, after writing and directing a short, and working on a friend's horror feature, I decided to switch to a full-time media career in 2011.

Much to my surprise, I ended up moving to Belfast to take up a traineeship with the BBC and Northern Ireland Screen. Most of my placements have focussed on post-production but I've also done some research/development work, and worked in the camera department of HBO's Game of Thrones. I'm currently offline editor at 360 Production in Derry/Londonderry for HeadSqueeze, a new science and technology YouTube channel featuring James May.

In my spare time while in Belfast, I made ten mini-documentaries for the Northern Ireland Tourist Board, did a few music videos, wrote a short film which was funded by Northern Ireland Screen, did some gig photography, and made another short film. You can find me here for videos and over-long blog entries.

I'm looking forward to an intense year of writing, especially the chance to finally get a feature film script finished!

Louise Harness

I have always had one dreaming eye on the IIML. Meanwhile, I was sucked into the vortex of the film industry; a vibrant world with story at its heart. A collective creativity of production armies, designers and artisans. So, by choice and by circumstance, my own stories lay quiet, unexplored.

Then motherhood drew me back to the ground. I delighted in returning to the private sphere where time is measured in sleeps, snacks and snails.

Recently, I have grabbed the opportunity to do IIML courses in Children's Writing and TV Scriptwriting. And now Masters! What a privilege. I look forward to learning new skills, the camaraderie of other writers and being forced to deal with my chronic avoidance.

Emma Kinane

Born in the UK, teenaged in Tauranga, graduated from Toi Whakaari (so long ago it was called NZ Drama School), I've worked as an actress for 20 years while raising two children, and managed to stay married to a lovely man despite raising two children.

I wrote a novel when I was 13. I promise I won't show it to any of you.

Most of the writing I've done since then has been intermittent and project-based, and crammed in between other commitments. Writing has been like a creepy stalker persistently tapping me on the shoulder. I feel like I've finally turned around and shouted, 'WHAT?' in its face.

Alison McLachlan

I grew up in Hawkes Bay and in 2008 moved to Auckland to complete my BA in english and film. I then lived in Dunedin for a year, after which I moved to Wellington to do my honours. Having enjoyed the couple of script writing papers I took in undergrad, I decided to apply for this course as a change from writing essays.

Hamish Parkinson

I've been writing scripts since my time at high school where I made films with my friends and created short play scripts that I have thankfully lost. I continued to make films and theatre during my time at the Ilam Fine Arts School. During this period I devised shows with the Court Jesters along with other companies.

Recently I've taken a script I co-wrote with Eli Matthewson to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival after it won Best Production in Comedy at the Auckland Fringe Festival and shortlisted for Playmarket's B425 award. We will be performing our next script 'Velcro City' at the Auckland Fringe Festival just before I start this masters program.

Maryse (Beanie) Ridler

I am Maryse, more often known as Beanie thanks to my parents deciding I had a bean-shaped head when I was born. I sometimes feel like I am going to explode with my want to be creative. This year I hope to learn more about how to successfully, and safely, channel that feeling out onto the page.

My favourite things are reading and food. My Dad tells me that food itself cannot be a hobby but I eat to differ, food is ultimate.

When I read a novel, script, or watch a film I am often astounded by the ideas and stories people have come up with and the different ways in which they have expressed them. I want to one day, hopefully, astound people with my ideas and stories.

After a few misguided years at Otago, some time off and one great year at Vic, I feel I have finally found my way in studying and learning. I am excited and ready to learn as much as I can from Ken and fellow writers.

Colin Rowsell

I'm younger than Star Wars but older than the Gremlins. I've been paid to write things since Spider-Man (though I did not, in fact, write Spider-Man). This has included work in TV, tech journalism, speechwriting, and videogames. I love positive, high-energy rooms and whiteboards. 2013 for me is all about fresh steps on a long journey: I look forward to meeting everyone and being part of a great year.