MA scriptwriting profiles 2010

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.

Charlie August Blake

I am thirty-something. A mulatto of sorts: half Italian, quarter Sicilian, and a quarter Cherokee Indian and Irish.Grew up introverted and catholic in an overwhelmingly extroverted and protestant America. Made me into a bit of a Tartuffe: one who wears masks, sees double, and has much brewing under the surface. In other words, it made me into a writer. I married a Chinese Kiwi, and have been living in Auckland for the last four years, and Wellington for the last three months. I write short stories and plays, and have an affinity with writers like Yasmina Reza, David Mamet, and Tennessee Williams.

Sam Burt

I'm 26 years old and grew up on the Kapiti Coast. I have studied English, politics, and urban studies, amongst other things. After spending the last two and a half years in Germany, I decided it was time to come home and try my hand at something more meaningful than teaching English to Hausfrauen. While I have written stray bits and bobs before, including a short film and parts of a radio play, I had always treated writing as a hobby, and this course will be my first foray into scriptwriting proper. I'm particularly interested in television, but my project for the year will be a film script.

Nathan Crocker

I come from a background of ultra low-budget film making. This has led me towards the horror genre and may be the reason most of my body of work takes place after the zombie apocalypse. I studied classical studies and English literature. My Honours research essay was about the use of prophecy to provide forward momentum in Sophocles' 'Oedipus the King', and I am very interested in the form and drive of movies. I wonder what Aristotle would have made of 'Pulp Fiction'. Being a student of the Classics, I'm quite excited about new things being done with old ideas: old genres or themes with a new twist.

Maya Hammarsal

Hi, I'm Maya. I moved to Wellington from Jersey, Channel Islands in November. I don't have much of a background in writing – it hasn’t been my career to date. As a prelude to applying for this course, I completed a correspondence diploma in Creative Writing with the Open University. In an effort to understand more about writing for screen, I decided to make an historical documentary about a (nineteenth century stain glass artist.) This was completed in October and had two sell out screenings. However making a film is not the same as scripting one and the time and effort required left me little space for writing, so now the move is over, I'm really looking forward to getting back into writing again and working with everyone.

Eli Kent

I've been sifting around Wellington for the past four years or so, writing and acting in plays for a production company called The Playground Collective that my friends Robin Kerr, Eleanor Bishop and I started up. I'd like to have a wider musical pallete than I do. My favorite new playwright/screenwriter is Martin McDonagh and I just read a book of short stories by Dave Eggers that wasted me. If you google me the first thing you'll find is a golf society in Britain with my name, run almost entirely it would seem by people called Patel.

Cruzanne Macalister

Hello! I'm Cruzanne, I was born in Hong-Kong, a fact I'm very proud of and will explain my Queen's English accent although my father is from Dunedin and my mother from Gibraltar. I've lived in NZ now for about five years. I have a host of eclectic pastimes, I do life-modelling for art-classes, stand-up comedy and in my spare time I research 1930s circuses and French Guinea. I have a part-time job I adore, working as a Lifestyle facilitator for six individuals with profound disabilities and enjoy the activism that arises from work in the disability sector. I've been overseas in New York for the last six months travelling and flexing my creativity at the State University of New York in New Paltz and now am back, living in Newtown drinking quality coffee. I am really excited about being in a workshop environment again, I find it inspiring and motivating and can't wait to get my teeth sunk into a long-term project. Can't wait to meet you all.

Hinekaa Mako

Taranaki, Whanganui

As a kid I remember watching heaps of really cool Maori films, like 'Came a Hot Friday' which I vividly recall staring Billy T James " Buenos dias e hoa!" I still laugh at that line, it may well be the reason I'm often tempted to throw into conversations the few words or phrases I know in non-English languages, especially when they may not exactly fit. I'm not really a huge fan of grammar, but this does rub up against a touch of perfectionism, so I try not to talk too much.

I Love film.

April Phillips

When I was at primary school in Coventry , UK , my teacher Mrs Jones told me she thought I was going to be a writer one day because of my colourful imagination. As a six year old, that sounded dull and unexciting and I was determined instead to be either an actress, a singer like my beloved aunty, or an archaeologist. I never made it to Egypt to dig up mummies, but looking back I realise that I’ve been telling stories in one form or another my whole life – as a professional actress, a singer/songwriter, a producer of theatre shows and as a writer of plays. With the support of my husband Murray, I'm looking forward to immersing myself in story-telling this year with a view to finally describing myself as 'a writer'. Full marks for insight, Mrs Jones!

I'm originally from Christchurch, but I spent time in London, Nelson, Auckland, and Dunedin before moving to Wellington at the beginning of 2010. I’ve been involved with the Otago University Capping Show since 2005, written half-hour play, 'Applaudience', for Allen Hall Lunchtime theatre, and won zero awards for my various student films. I’ve been doing stand-up since 2003 when I did the Class Comedians programme, but I took a few years off in the middle to get my dentistry degree. I’m looking to expand my writing into longer formats – mainly TV comedy, but I love a bit of everything.

Sonya Stewart

I have a BA in Theatre Studies and love books, films and theatre. I enjoy escaping into another world and all that it can make me think about. I have written two plays previously, both of which were performed at BATS Theatre as part of the Fringe Festival ('Wheel', 2006, 'Buddha Boy', 2009). I hope that the interaction with my fellow classmates and the course itself will a) help me become a more disciplined writer and b) challenge me to explore different ways of telling a story. Oh, and 90% of my personality is caffeine.