The weekend was kicked off by the New Zealand Writers GuildSWANZ Awards. The ever effervescent Nick Ward MCed the event while I did my best Vanna White impression handing him the awards as required. It was a great turn out — my evening ensemble was admired (21st century Miami Vice, courtesy of various op shops), the food was good and plentiful, and it’s always nice to see so many writerly faces in one place.
The symposium was a more formal affair — collegial rather than fraternal — and was rampant with speakers and attendees, some of them I knew from one thing or another, and some I met for the first time.
Over the three days, I caught up with:
Alice, Mel, Alan, Allan, Kathryn and Rachel from the guild represented;
three from the class of 2016 — the unstoppable Maraea Rakuraku, the inquisitive William Duignan, and the observant Myfanwy Fanning-Randall;
former guild ED Steve Gannaway and his partner Alex Cole-Baker; One Thousand Ropes‘ Tusi Tamasese and Catherine Fitzgerald; PIFT stalwarts Aaron Taouma, Arnette Arapai and Sandra Kailahi; South Pacific Pictures’ Tim Balme and James Griffin; and Waru‘s Chelsea Cohen, Ainsley Gardiner, Paula Jones, Casey Kaa, Renae Maihi, Josephine Stewart-Te Whiu and Katie Wolfe;
Chantelle Burgoyne; South Seas’ Gerben Cath; the indefatigable Tony Forster; Paula Jones (no, the other one); Roseanne Liang; Christina Milligan; producing titan Robin Scholes; Riverside Kings‘ Sarita So; and the redoubtable Louise Tu’u.
Speaker highlights of the symposium were:
an small-group Q-and-A with David Michôd;
a refreshing and irreverent talk by Neil Cross;
filmmaker So Yong Kim‘s oeuvre is a fascinating thing I need to look into;
agent Bec Smith‘s talk was a confirmation of how talent always finds a way;
and Oz drama commissioners Kyle Du Fresne and Penny Win, was an interesting session on how things happen across the ditch.
Still Life With Chickens was going to be a co-writing venture with my Lovely Wife. She came up with the title and the concept, and I suspect she envisioned a situation where she would roam the study reeling off dialogue and scenes while I sat dutifully at the keyboard and typed everything in.
Because I love my wife dearly and I value our marriage, I worked on the play in secret for two years, and presented the script to her — crediting her appropriately, of course — as a fait accompli.
I acknowledge my fellow longlistees, in particular Maraea Rakuraku for kindly accepting this award on my behalf.
Thanks to Creative New Zealand for its support in getting the first draft to the finish line.
Thanks to Playmarket: Murray, Salesi, Kirsty, Allison — and before Allison, Stuart Hoar — for their tireless work in developing, supporting and hustling for New Zealand playwrights.
Thank you to the Adam aiga for these awards.
And thank you to my Lovely Wife who believes in me more than I do.
Late last month I attended the 2016 Big Screen Symposium in Auckland. It was the second network-y thing I’ve done this year (ah yes, I neglected to mention I attended the 2016 PANNZ Arts Market in Wellington in March).