Vagabond to award winning scriptwriter?
It had something to do with an alien hitting Santa Claus in Stockholm.
After bumming around the world for a decade or so like a disgusting, unwashed hippy, I found myself living in a nice little apartment on the edge of a forest in Stockholm, Sweden and working a nine to five (shudder). A good mate, Hannes Hagstrand, was making a short film about the conversation between Santa Claus and an alien after a midair collision. Yours truly had the pleasure of freezing my arse off in the snow dressed as the alien. This was my first experience with the film making process and I'm here to tell you I wasn't enamoured.
It was Hannes and his mate Ola Schubert who talked me into entering a short film contest on the Internet – a relatively new animal for me at the time. The contest: a two minute film with no edits entitled My Laundry Room. I made this silly thing about Indiana Jones doing his washing in the jungle and managed to lock my camera in a washing machine. I had to run through one click of a cycle to get the bloody thing out.
Anyhow, I won the contest (and a new camera) and the next day I applied to Stockholm's Filmskola. The interview was a harrowing experience involving three instructors and three hopefuls vying for the same spot all in the same room. It might not have been so bad if they hadn't been speaking Swedish. I had to learn the lingo damn fast and made great friends along the way — many of whom I am still in contact with today. Our final project went on to win a bunch of awards at indie film festivals in Sweden.
By the time that happened I had long since returned to Australia more than a dozen years older than when I left. I was fortunate to get involved in a fun project called All Flesh Must Be Eaten - The Movie with writer/director Ben C. Lucas. Ben and I took the IF Award for Best Unproduced Screenplay for AFMBE in 2005 and we have collaborated on several projects since.
The following year my short script was selected for the SBS series Marx & Venus but it was about then that I decided to focus on features. I've been writing professionally since 2008 and in that time I've sold spec scripts, been commissioned to write two feature screenplays and worked on many other writers' projects in Australia, Europe and the United States. I've also done a considerable amount of editing and proofreading.
It's been a long journey but I believe it has brought me to where I am supposed to be, or rather, it continues to take me in that general direction and I hope it does so for many, many years to come.