James Griffin is the brains behind many successful Kiwi TV dramas and comedies (he co-created Outrageous Fortune and The Almighty Johnsons). He talks in this Funny As interview about failing, succeeding and more, including: Putting together a TV pilot for comedy group Funny Business, while working at TVNZ's drama department Writing comedy scripts for "old school gentleman" Billy T James How he became script editor for 1980s melodrama Gloss in his mid-20s, and drank lots of champagne Being asked to work on a film Pacific Islanders would like, which ultimately became hit movie Sione's Wedding Learning a lot from failing (City Life, Diplomatic Immunity) as "it can teach you a few things if you're smart enough to learn" How infusing comedy into his dramas (Outrageous Fortune, The Almighty Johnsons) "normalised" Kiwis to seeing New Zealand humour on screen
Writer, producer and actor Millen Baird made a splash with his award-winning comedy show The Millen Baird Show, before going on to make the popular web turned TV series Auckland Daze. Baird has also appeared in TV dramas Being Eve and The Almighty Johnsons, and took his top off for Step Dave.
Actor Greg Johnson began his career as a stand-up comedian. His first acting role was in the film The End of the Golden Weather. Since then, he has appeared in a wide range of TV shows, films and commercials, and is perhaps best known for roles in Shortland Street, Outrageous Fortune and Go Girls. He has won two acting awards, for performances in TV series City Life, and 2010 movie The Insatiable Moon.
Music is Peter Blake's passion. Blake's career has encompassed jazz, Hendrix covers, keyboards for Hello Sailor – and quite a lot of television. After time at radio station 2ZA he began working on TV music show Grunt Machine, then got the job of musical director, and later producer of the high-rating, hit-making Ready to Roll. Soon he was commanding a stable of music shows that included RTR, Radio with Pictures, Heartbeat City, and stereo simulcasts of rock concerts.
Actor, writer, and director Madeleine Sami has been honing her skills in theatre, television and film since she was a teen. She talks in this Funny As interview about Kiwi humour, performing, and other subjects, including: Coming from a large, close extended family, where "everyone's got a good singing voice and everyone's a comedian" Travelling around the world to perform in Toa Fraser plays Bare and No. 2, soon after leaving high school Learning to write on drama/comedy TV series Super City, and playing all five lead characters in the first season Worries over whether Americans would get the humour in her and Jackie van Beek's film The Breaker Upperers Feeling excited that New Zealand comedy is respected overseas — "It feels really nice, it feels like we can be ourselves and laugh at ourselves and the rest of the world get it" Wanting to try stand-up comedy next
Internationally successful Kiwi film producer Finola Dwyer began her career as an editor at the National Film Unit and then moved on to editing and producing at TVNZ. Dwyer migrated over to the film industry and worked as an editor and producer. Some of the memorable New Zealand films she worked on include Came a Hot Friday, Starlight Hotel, and The Quiet Earth. In the 90s, Dwyer moved to the UK where she has made a name for herself producing films such as Backbeat, An Education and Dean Spanley.
Actor Jim Moriarty cut his teeth on the early dramas Pukemanu and Close to Home, then went on to appear in a number of other TV projects such as Inside Straight and City Life. He has starred in films The Strength of Water, No Petrol No Diesel, and played Jesus in Saving Grace. As well as acting, Moriarty has directed in television and theatre, and works with at risk Māori youth.
Veteran drama and documentary producer/director Wayne Tourell's career has taken him from Shakespeare to Shortland Street. Tourell's credits include major television series such as Landmarks, Hanlon and Gloss, as well as numerous live TV events including Telethon 1988. More recently he has worked at Natural History New Zealand, and been a regular director on our nightly soap Shortland Street.
Producer Larry Parr has had a hand in producing a number of classic New Zealand films, including Sleeping Dogs, Came a Hot Friday and Smash Palace. He has also made forays into directing with Fracture and A Soldier's Tale. After three years as Head of Programming at Māori Television, Parr became Television Manager at Te Māngai Pāho, which funds Māori radio and TV programmes.
Tony Holden has produced and directed hundreds of hours of NZ television from A Week Of It, Radio with Pictures and Gliding On to Shortland Street, City Life and Dancing with the Stars. Holden’s roles over his 40 year screen career include Head of Production at South Pacific Pictures, General Manager of Commissioning and Production at TVNZ, and CEO of Comedia Pictures.