Mr Parker

Dean Parker. (Photo: David White.

I’ve come some way since my unforgivable near total ignorance of Dean Parker’s oeuvre. I’ve tried to make up for it ever since. (And just as well as I’ve had the pleasure and honour of meeting him on occasion.) I’m not afraid to say it: I’m a fan.

I found this excellent quote at The Listener:

What advice might you give aspiring playwrights and screenwriters?

One day you’ll declare that there must be no changes to your script, and then the producer will take you out to lunch. Midway through the lunch he’ll say, “I’ve brought you here to show you something”, and reach under the table. He’ll then hold up a phantom monster. “Can you see the monster?” he’ll ask. Wanting to humour him, you’ll say, “Ummm … yes.” He’ll say, “Do you know the name of the monster?” Defeated, you’ll bleat, “Ummm … no”, and he’ll say, “The name of the monster is – IT’S OUR MONEY.” Be prepared for this.

Ah yes: commerce versus art.

Once upon a time, my response would’ve been that that it’s still your story. Until they pay you out and replace you, you’re still the goddamned writer. And if you’d learned anything at all from my adventures, you’ll already have representation — the guild, an agent or a manager — who’re only a speed dial away.

Nowadays it can be… complicated. But not insurmountable. And you’re never alone.



Last weekend, I nipped down to my oul’ hometoon and ran into this:


Cuba Street closed to traffic, its footpaths and road filthy with pedestrians, all of it sprinkled with light rain showers and a very family-friendly vibe: a street festival called Cuba Dupa. Nice. I walked past the crowded foodstalls with their mouthwatering aromas and found sanctuary in the cool and quiet Clark’s Cafe (where they still have cheesecake cup cakes, very nice indeedy).

Once fed, watered and rested,  I hop-skip-and-jumped over the unimaginatively named City to Sea Bridge to Circa Theatre where Kingswood won the 2015 Adam Award for Best Play by a Pasifika Playwright. I guess I’ll be revisiting that script sooner than planned.

While at the Adam Awards, I rubbed shoulders with:

  • Hone Kouka, co-winner of the 2015 Adam Award for Best New Zealand Play for Bless the Child, as well as winner of Best Play by a Maori Playwright;
  • runner-up Dean Parker with Polo (though I do prefer his initial title, Fear and Misery in the Third Term);
  • Michelanne Forster, winner of Best Play by a Woman Playwright for The Gift of Tongues;
  • author of the highly commended, SignificanceTom McCrory;
  • the always luminous Miria George;
  • the boundlessly talented Moana Ete;
  • Wellington man-about-town Jonathon Hendry;
  • the irrepressible KC Kelly;
  • David O’Donnell, fresh from directing Victor Rodger’s incendiary My Name is Gary Cooper in Hawaii;
  • and the Playmarket gang of Murray LynchStuart HoarSalesi Leota, and Claire O’Loughlin.

That’s me: an utterly shameless name-dropper.


2013 in Print

A terrible year for the reading diary: a meagre 72 titles passed through my grubby fingers.

Still — stand–outs were:


iZombie Volume 1: Dead to the World by Chris Roberson and Michael Allred
Beast by Marian Churchland
The Hive by Charles Burns


World War Z by Max Brooks
The Good War by Studs Terkel
Glitz by Elmore Leonard

Tyrant by Gideon Roff
Modern Family — S01E07 by Danny Zuker
Law & Order — S08E09 — Burned by Siobhan Byrne
Baghdad Baby! by Dean Parker
Midnight in Moscow by Dean Parker

Usually, whatever gets listed in these end–of–year posts is culled from a larger short–list of what made an impact. Not so 2013.

Late new year resolution: Read more.


Meet and Greet

The past few days’ burning question has been: Would I still write this post if I hadn’t been an award recipient?  Close behind it has been this Schrodinger follow-up: Would I still be an award recipient if I hadn’t decided the day before to attend the event?  (Employees and families of employees of the organisers are not allowed to answer the second question.)

So, yeah, wow. Last Thursday I went along to the SWANZ awards, cheering for the competition because that was the only way I could deal with the pressure… and Goodbye My Feleni won.  And the night itself, viewed in the preceding fortnight with dread and anxiety, turned out to be a very pleasant evening indeed.

I got to meet and talk with:

Ahh, networking. Not always as painful and dreadful as I imagine.

* I know they’re more than playwrights.


Dean Parker

Longtime Kiwi scribe Dean Parker (Came a Hot Friday and Greenstone) has an entertaining and pragmatic look at writing for a living in New Zealand.

Can’t say I’ve seen any of his plays – but I certainly grok the road he’s travelled.