Master of Arts scriptwriting students 2008

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

Linda Burgess

When I was last at university there was a panel each year who read the capping magazine (do they still exist?) to see if it passed muster. It was always made up of a man of the church, a lawyer and a grandmother/housewife. Now I'm back at university and I could go on such a panel as the third of those.

For the last 15 years I've been a writer a novelist, short story writer, a travel writer, a writer of a couple of episodes of Duggan for the Gibson Group, and most recently the author of a book on historic houses. I also write a TV column for the Dom Post. I'm planning to spend this year working away on a TV series, for grownups, perhaps animated, perhaps not, linked to the sort of adventure stories I read as a child. By necessity it will be set in 'storyland', which, when I was growing up, was always in England. Alas, no chance of funding from NZ on Air. I look forward to seeing whether what I write this year makes any sense whatsoever to those of you who were born after the Springbok Tour.

You will be the best possible critics!

Miria George

Miria George (Te Arawa, Ngati Awa; Rarotonga, Atiu, Cook Islands) was born in Rotorua, and was schooled in Aotearoa, Rarotonga and Costa Rica, before settling in sunny Wellington. A writer of poetry, theatre and radio, Miria also works with Tawata Productions and Tawata Press.

Tom Goulter

After a primary school career marked with narrative excursions I choose not to see as auspicious, my enthusiasm for story evolved into a love for filmic narrative. I studied drama at Hagley Theatre Co., then cinema at the Film School here in Wellington. Along the way: popcult infatuations; retail drudgery; funpartystory nervous breakdowns the standard midseason shakeups. I've worked on a few art projects and many nice dry scientific/educational pieces as a freelance video editor. I also review movies for a site whose editor assures me is well-viewed, probably so he can sleep at night after paying me to see Alvin and the Chipmunks.

When not paying the bills I've been reinvigorating my photography hobby, which is cheaper than a drug habit, I guess.

Simon Hall

Hmm let’s see. I grew up in Dunedin, attending high school and University there. Several years of travelling through Europe and Asia have made me windswept and interesting. Landed back in Wellington and fell into the film industry by chance. Like most of Wellington, I worked on Lord of the Rings, and have done several films since then. Then I discovered through a few smaller projects that I actually like making films myself rather than be told to hold that sword for that actor for 16 hours a day. After realizing that I am not a naturally gifted genius, I have been trying to learn how to write. Also, by the time class starts my partner and I should have JUST had a baby. Look for the one who looks like a stunned mullet. Be gentle.

Martha HardyWard

I have recently completed a BA in Film at Victoria. I grew up in Wellington, spent the first two years of my degree in Dunedin, realised I actually like Wellington (Dunedin¹s abundance of chanting and vomiting was not my scene) and came back home again. Since then I have been flatting in a pretty house in Newtown with many varieties of tea and some amiable flatmates with complicated eating requirements. Before Christmas I was an intern at the New Zealand Film Commission for two months. I am very interested in people and how they interact and I want to write about it.

Sam Kelly

Sam Kelly is a closet writer coming out. Most of the time he's a director of short films, corporate videos, commercials and the like, but when noones looking, in the dead of night, he can be heard tapping clumsily at a keyboard and wondering why it isn't any easier. Sam is currently developing a web series called 'The Adventures of Mutilated Steve' for a Los Angeles company that will be as ridiculous as it sounds.

He's also developing a feature film based on a successful 48HOURS blaxploitation film called Maori Detective & the Boogie Fever. It will be the beginning of the long awaited Maorisploitation genre in New Zealand and probably the highest grossing Maori detective film in the world. Sam always speaks in the third person.

Hannah McKie

Scene Three.

The same later that evening. Hannah, twenty-something, sits alone on the chaise longue, eyes closed, her feet tucked under her, a spoon in her lap. In front of the chaise sits a pile of faded baseball videos with books stacked on top including several Diana Gabaldon’s, Harlan Coben’s, Agatha Christie’s, The Complete History of World War II, A History of New Zealand Cricket, Rembrandt van Rijn, The Tudors, Hollywood in the 1950s, Sunset Boulevard, The Crucible, One Size Fits All and Other Fables and The Complete Works of Shakespeare. On top of the books are five DVDs: Black Books Complete Box Set, Disney’s The Lion King, Gladiator, the extended editions of Lord of the Rings and BBC Classics Pride & Prejudice.

John Parker

John Parker is a writer for film, lighting and sound designer for theatre, producer for opera, and marketing executive for the purpose of paying the bills. He has worked backstage / offcamera in production roles in everything from 'Young & Hungry' plays to game shows, and has written freelance articles for magazines (NZ Listener and Metro Australia) about his experience as a grip/lighting intern on a doomed feature film in New York. Heart of Steel, a featurelength documentary he edited in 2002/03, was selected for the Tribeca Film Festival in 2006.

Sophie Prebble

I have recently finished a BA in Theatre and English at Vic. I have been growing more interested in script writing and in doing this course over the last few years. I became more convinced that this was what I wanted to do when I took a semester long scriptwriting course while on exchange at Berkeley. I am interested in writing for film, television and the stage, although I have had more experience with theatre my major project will be a screenplay.

Leilani Unasa

Leilani comes from Auckland. Her parents came from the villages of Matafa'a, Samoa (dad) and West Coast, South Island (mum). Leilani's first, first play, Tautala appeared in the 2003 Wellington Fringe Festival based on a first draft of 20 pages. Leilani upskilled and attended Whitireia Community Polytech's writing course in 2004. Since then, Leilani has had some nice writing opportunities come her way including an Adams Playreading in 2006 and her first 'proper' play, His Mother's Son produced professionally in2007 in Wellington and Auckland. As an aside to writing life, Leilani has three children and is a usually a public servant.