I spent most of last week in Auckland, meeting a lot of people in the NZ film community.  It’s a very small industry here, largely funded by the government (for which funds I’m ineligible to apply), so I’m picking up small gigs here and there to help keep food on my family.

I’ve been asked to give seminars at a few Auckland film schools, and I’ll be doing a presentation at Armageddon Expo, which is the Comic-Con of New Zealand. I have a few other possible gigs, but I don’t want to talk about them and jinx them.

One of the benefits of such a small filmmaking community is that there is almost no middle management.  You don’t have to go through fifteen levels of gatekeepers before you meet someone who can actually make a decision.  However, when I think selfishly, that’s also a problem because I’ve been making my living in Hollywood as various kinds of middle management. I’m gonna have to either step up and become a real player or find something else to do with my time.

I’ve done a couple of script consultations for Kiwi writers, and they seemed very happy with my work so hopefully word will get around. Also, I’m joining the NZ Writers Guild, which will keep me in touch with the scribes on this fair isle, and I can help them develop their skills for a larger market.

I’m heading back down to Wellington next week for a networking event and a couple of meetings. At this rate, I’ll meet everyone who is anyone in the NZ film community within a couple of months.

Another interesting thing about such a tight-knit community is how everyone knows what everyone else is doing.  As I got to know more people, the same few names would keep coming up as people to meet or people to avoid. In any other industry this might be seen simply as gossip, but in an industry as chaotic and personality-driven as filmmaking, this is vital information to know.  When you’re on a set trying to solve an intractible problem, you need people on your team who are the real deal, not those who are good at self-promotion but not so great at getting stuff done. Luckily, here it’s pretty easy to tell who is whom.

In the meantime, I’m keeping up with my L.A. projects. I’ll hopefully start the next draft of the mummy movie after a notes call with the producers this week, and I have a comic strip from one of my other screenplays going into a magazine. I’ll let you know more when it solidifies.

Now I have to pull up PowerPoint and see if I remember how to imbed movie clips for my upcoming 4-hour seminars…