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Change appears to be the only constant

By September 2, 2015July 15th, 20192 Comments

As most of you prob­ably know, back in May I decided that FishHead – Wellington’s best life­style magazine – and I had gone as far togeth­er as we were prob­ably going to and I quit. There were no plans or oth­er offers on the table but I had con­fid­ence that some­how the uni­verse was going to provide. In my exper­i­ence it usu­ally does.

I was con­scious that, des­pite the many pleas­ures of work­ing on diverse stor­ies about a city that I love, every minute I spent work­ing on a fash­ion or recipe fea­ture was time I could­n’t spend talk­ing about movies and TV. I was feel­ing increas­ingly dis­con­nec­ted from the screen media and, even though Rancho Notorious was (and is) a whole bunch of fun to do, it was increas­ingly releg­ated to a spare time hobby rather than the mis­sion that I ima­gined it could be.

Reviewing for Nine to Noon every fort­night is fun – and chal­len­ging broad­cast­ing – but review­ing three films in 12 minutes can some­times feel unsat­is­fy­ing. I also really missed writ­ing. I would read some of the stuff being pro­duced by my con­tem­por­ar­ies and feel left behind. There was an itch and no time for me to scratch it.

Sure enough, the uni­verse came through.

In the same week that I announced I was leav­ing FishHead I got a call from Christian Penny, dir­ect­or of Toi Whakaari: NZ Drama School, ask­ing if I’d be keen on a short con­tract look­ing after their mar­ket­ing and com­mu­nic­a­tions. That three months has been tre­mend­ously stim­u­lat­ing and I am learn­ing heaps, so much so that when the offer came to stick around on a per­man­ent basis I jumped at the chance. At some point I will write up my thoughts about what how my Toi Whakaari exper­i­ence is grow­ing me as a pro­fes­sion­al, and as a per­son, but it deserves a post of its own and will have to wait.

At the same time as Toi came call­ing, I was approached by Radio New Zealand to dis­cuss ways we could work togeth­er to improve their online cov­er­age of film and tele­vi­sion. Those dis­cus­sions were, shall we say, pro­duct­ive and today I signed my let­ter of offer to join the staff of RNZ on 14 September as Features Producer – Audio/Visual.

A com­plic­ated, excit­ing, busy future awaits. Half my time I’ll be man­aging com­mu­nic­a­tions for Toi Whakaari. The oth­er half of my time I’ll be pro­du­cing con­tent for RNZ’s digit­al plat­form on the top­ics of film (the­at­ric­al, direct-to-video, new, old, whatever takes my fancy) and tele­vi­sion (nar­rat­ive TV rather than real­ity TV; boxed set reviews rather than media com­ment­ary). That con­tent is going to take the form of audio, video, writ­ten fea­tures and a pod­cast which I hope is as close to your heart as it is to mine.

Yes, Rancho Notorious (or some­thing very sim­il­ar) is com­ing to RNZ – the naughty stepchild of Radio New Zealand screen cov­er­age. With Kailey.

We’re not sure exactly how much of what we are going to try is actu­ally going to work. I’ve been asked to innov­ate and the only way we can really do that is by try­ing stuff and see­ing how audi­ences react.

There’s so much that I am look­ing for­ward to, not least work­ing with At the Movies’ Simon Morris to grow the reach of RNZ’s film pro­gram­ming and try things online that there’s no room for in a broad­cast schedule.

And after years of push­ing Funerals & Snakes and Rancho Notorious (almost) single­han­ded at the same time as work­ing com­pet­ing day jobs, I am really look­ing for­ward to work­ing with the RNZ digit­al and com­munity engage­ment teams to gen­er­ate some atten­tion for the mater­i­al we will be pro­du­cing. Oh, and using the power of RNZ to get some cool guests for Rancho and oth­er features.

I have always wanted to work for Radio New Zealand. The week I arrived in Wellington in 1986 I cold-called someone at Broadcasting House ask­ing about intern­ships! Arriving at the organ­isa­tion now, while there is so much change and so much poten­tial, is a massive thrill and a huge opportunity.

Now I have to earn it.