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Meet the Master of Short Form Content: Olivier Philippe

Olivier Philippe (left) behind the scenes of his film “Carma”

Making it in the film and television industry takes more than just skill, it takes a unique perspective and the ability to be constantly coming up with new and innovative ideas. While becoming successful is one thing, being able to continuously innovate and expand upon one’s expertise is another. 

Award-winning Director Olivier Philippe has more than just a unique eye and a taste for elegance; he has mastered a multitude of skill sets on a level that is beyond impressive. His seasoned expertise has given him the foundation and capacity to develop a creative approach to directing and producing short form content—something he has become known for around the world. Working on directing short form content for TV franchises that are household names such as “Top Chef,” “The Great British Bake Off,” as well as his work with iconic French fashion house Dior, Olivier Philippe has established his reputation for capturing high-quality content on an international scale. 

“Olivier has all the necessary qualities to know how to express and show the ‘vision’ of the project. He draws, writes dialogues, sets up a mood board, describes a set, and as a result everything is super clear. It allows him to bring everyone into his world instantly,” explains Florence Hermieu, an executive producer from Elephant at Work, who’s worked with Olivier on countless projects for luxury brands including Dior.

Olivier Philippe began honing his creative eye at a young age. Growing up in a Parisian suburb Olivier was the only child in his large family to be attracted to the artistic world. Drawing, writing, and taking pictures soon became his favored way of expressing himself. On top of going to school, he began writing stories, producing comics, and inventing television programs in his room, often “borrowing” his father’s camera to produce his first films and photo novels.

Olivier Philippe staging his first shoot for G.I. Joe

At age 10, with an abundance of imagination Olivier was presented with an exciting opportunity when Hasbro offered to donate G.I. Joe figures to his school for an exhibition devoted to World War II. His teachers had already taken note of his extraordinary skill and passion for the arts, so they requested he create a staging for the exhibition. When Hasbro discovered his work, they invited him to contribute his work to be included in the advertisement G.I. Joe in their next catalog. 

An opportunity that encouraged him to continue pursuing his love of the arts, it was only a few years later that he would go on to direct his first film, which was for La Savonnerie Des Deux Monde, a soap company near Paris. 

Among Olivier Philippe’s credits is the 2017 film “Carma,” which he wrote, directed and produced. Following the character of Carma, a special forces agent turned private enforcer, who must handle her dangerous profession and motherhood head-on, Olivier created the film as a test concept, which he plans to expand into a series. “Carma,’ which was shot in Paris and Los Angeles, earned more than 20 awards at international festivals, including the Best Crime Film Awards at the Los Angeles Film Awards and New York Film Awards, and the Best Action Short at the London Independent Film Awards. 

“What interested me was to work on the hero’s flaws, her humanity, her fragility and also something directly linked to femininity,” explains Olivier. “I like films with strong female characters and I really wanted to write and direct a story about a real ‘warrior,’ but without forgetting the femininity of this kind of character. Often it is a facet that is forgotten in movies.” 

At the end of the day the tight filming schedule and shooting location being in a real hotel presented some challenges and constraints, but Olivier Philippe is known for his ability to view challenges from a different perspective than most people.

“My greatest strength is certainly having no border. Thinking differently or thinking ‘outside the box’ are expressions that suit me well. I think my ‘Swiss Army Knife’ side was a very useful quality for this project. I am lucky to know how to do several things quite well,” admits Olivier.

Olivier’s capacity to write, create storyboards, maneuver easily as a cameraman, and design the lighting, all while directing the actors were skills that proved collectively invaluable during the making of “Carma.”

“If all of the sudden I had an idea for a shot during the shoot, which was not foreseen in the scenario, I can immediately explain it with a drawing, or even take the camera myself to shoot the plan very quickly. It was essential on this project.”

Perhaps one of the best examples of Olivier’s versatility is “Le Blog de Bob,” which proved his ability to effectively experiment with genres, and ultimately earned the Best Project Award at the TV LAB France Television Awards in 2013. The project, which Olivier wrote, hosted and directed,  follows the adventures of Bob, a memorable journalist who enjoys his status and loves meeting celebrities.

“Imagine following the private life of a TV reporter who dreams of becoming Jimmy Fallon, but who has the demeanor of House and lives more in the atmosphere of Californication,” Olivier explains. “The idea of ​​Bob’s Blog is to be inside the head of an endearing journalist, very nice, but a little borderline. He always finds himself in somewhat complicated situations with the artists whom he will interview, and whom he knows very well personally. He tells his life as he could in a diary, or on his blog in a voiceover during the show.” 

Olivier Philippe enlisted some real life stars in the show who didn’t hesitate to exaggerate on situations, which made the story line incredibly unique and also blurred the line between reality and fiction. 

He says, “We started from real information related to the news and promotion of an artist like the release of a film, a series, a record, or a show. But everything else is written and staged. In short, the events and character of this TV show are inspired by true stories. The thing is… Nobody knows where reality ends and fiction begins. This concept was unique back then and still is.”

A vastly different, but equally impressive display of his creative abilities is evident in the series “24 Hours in…”, which he created for France’s TV5 MONDE back in 1998. The network wanted a special on-air event to help separate them from others, and Olivier was just the director to come up with something fresh and unique.  

Olivier said, “Have you ever watched a show combining a 24-hour ‘telethon’ with ‘60 Minutes’ and ‘The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon’ completely live from a foreign country? Well, you’ve got an answer.” 

In charge of directing and consulting, as well as leading the editorial content, such as the reports made in each city, as well as co-hosting the project alongside Karine Lemarchand, the magnitude of this project cannot be overstated. 

Still from “24 Hours in…” the Marrakesh edition

Culminating in 24 hours of live television taking place from a different major capital in each episode, Olivier Philippe brought the extremely ambitious operation to Marrakech, the Ivory Coast, Hanoï, Montréal, Paris and other major cities around the world. With “24 Hours in…” Olivier’s unique style of bending genres combined with his creative approach to content once again led to the creation of a hit program.

“Jamy’s World” hosted by Jamy Gourmaud, one of the most famous TV personalities in France, is another series where Olivier Philippe’s unique vision came in hot demand. A two-hour program that mixes discovery, adventure and international travel with scientific information, “Jamy’s World,” which began airing in 2014 on FRANCE 3, tackles themes such as space conquest, tornado hunters, volcanoes and animals.

Joining the “Jamy’s World” team in 2015, Olivier Philippe came on board to direct challenging sequences for the show, which required adaptability on any and all terrain and climatic conditions. He was chosen to join the team for his vast skill set, including his ability to wield a variety of cameras and machinery, all while ensuring high-quality images. 

“His ability to constantly question the way to produce is a real asset. Most directors have their habits, their teams, the material with which they are comfortable. Olivier changes everything with each new shoot! Not for fun, but because Jamy’s adventures change each time. You have to be inventive! And Olivier is,” says Emmanuel Pernoud, journalist and producer of “Jamy’s World.”  

“To work with Olivier is to work with a ‘Yes Man.’ If I say, ‘Olivier, do you think you can film in the middle of a thunderstorm and capture the impact of a lightning bolt on the top of a tree? And can you make it look very aesthetically pleasing and as thrilling as a Marvel movie? He will say ‘Of course,’ and he will make it happen.” 

When Carrefour, a global leader in food retail that operates more than 12,000 stores, was looking for a new way of communicating with the public in 2018 to show how deeply they cared about the quality of products in their stores, they naturally sought out Olivier. They wanted Olivier to imagine a way to tell this kind of story alongside famous chef Jean Imbert, the winner of “Top Chef.” 

As an answer to Carrefour’s mission, Olivier Philippe directed “1,2,3 Frais Partez!” a series of videos delivering unique seasonal recipes. Olivier proposed sending the famous chef directly into the field to meet the farmers and pick out the strawberries, tomatoes and other fruits and vegetables himself. The series then cut to him outdoors on the farm, cooking one of his original recipes. It was an absolute success, with the videos being watched millions of times on the Carrefour Youtube page. 

On another occasion when Pernod-Ricard, a French brand specializing in the manufacturing and distribution of wine and spirits such as Absolut vodka, Jameson scotch and Mumm champagne, wanted a video to symbolize the spirit of brotherhood, comradeship and conviviality they turned to Olivier Philippe, who is regularly solicited by the company for their external and internal communication. 

For Pernod-Ricard, Olivier Philippe directed “Stand By Me,” a moving video featuring dozens of musicians, singers, and a rapper joining together to sing the iconic ‘Stand By Me.’ Shot in more than 30 countries in locations including distilleries, pubs, barns, out on the street, in front of monuments, in the mountains of Switzerland, on boats and on top of buildings, the video required months of preparation. 

Revealing Olivier Philippe’s skill for nailing his signature cinematic style whilst working on large scale productions under unique conditions,“Stand By Me,” which took home the Grand Prix Award for Best Film from the International Corporate Film Festival, became a cornerstone reference in the world of corporate communication.

At the end of the day, it is clear that Olivier Philippe doesn’t just direct. His ability to write, create storyboards, operate a camera, manage lighting, edit, think outside the box and work in intense and unusual circumstances is what gives him such a uniquely creative approach to short form content. From science documentaries, femme fatale films, corporate communication and hit TV series, he is constantly changing styles and experimenting with genres in a way that not only keeps his style fresh, but inspires the rest of the industry to continue innovating as well. 

Meet Clément Oberto: A Visionary Director with a metaphoric style

French Director Clément Oberto – Photography by Pierre Ae

Oberto is among the few creatives whose talent and creative sense have helped connect global brands and contemporary artists with millions around the world. His deep understanding of the luxury world and unique eye for beauty led his work to be featured in Rolling Stone, LA Times, Billboard, Forbes and TIME, as well as on CNN and ABC with “Good Morning America.” 

Known for his ability to channel the true essence of a label, he is the director behind successful campaigns for iconic fashion brands such as the Chanel Group, Chaumet, Givenchy and Lancôme, to name only a few.

Often trusted during the early stages of brand development, the award-winning director collaborated with the French label Morreale Paris in 2018 to create the commercials that would introduce their two signature fragrances to the USA. 

Known for their bespoke scents, the brand’s mesmerizing perfumes have been called “a fragrance for royals”. Founded by Jean-Pierre Morreale, a French descendant of European knights, the honored family affair required a sophisticated director with a creative eye to embody the company’s history. With this in mind, it was Oberto’s seasoned knowledge of luxury branding that helped transfer Jean-Pierre Morreale’s dream of crafting the most luxurious fragrances into a captivating reality.

Oberto conceptualized, directed and edited the campaigns, while also providing for casting – featuring award-winning actress Logan Polish and twin models Max and Connor Haddadin.

“It was quite fascinating for me to be able to use my skills in so many creative areas, and to have the trust of Jean-Pierre Morreale and his creative director Maxime Rancon to do so”, he says. “Jean-Pierre Morreale had strong values for his brand, and he was attached to seeing them represented in the films. Honor and respect with a noble sense of transmission were some of the core messages he wanted us to incorporate,” he adds. “He also had a certain taste for the past and for whimsical worlds. So these were the elements I used to create the stories behind the three films.”

Presented as the most expensive perfume ever – according to Forbes – the brand’s image rose to prominence with the help of Oberto’s commercials, which were released over the course of several years.

He adds, “It’s rare for a director to be able to collaborate with a brand during such an extensive period of time. I am honored and humbled that they trusted me to bring their dreams and desires to the screen.”

His ability to go above and beyond, whilst remaining humble has been praised by his peers and numerous industry leaders. “I was astonished by the precision of his vision and the strength of it. Clément’s treatment was a detailed patchwork of colors and materials, landscapes and characters. The stories were very beautiful, and exciting to bring to life,” says art director and stylist Nelly Zagury, who’s known for working with Grammy-nominated artists Demi Lovato and FKA Twigs. “I truly enjoyed the challenges Clément gave me. He managed to provide enough space to both follow his directions but also surprise him with my skills.”

Oberto’s artistic vision stems from a soft use of metaphors and symbolism, combined with a strong relation with sounds and voice over. In his work he has many times captured the feminine essence and the natural beauty that every woman exudes. 

In 2018 he directed the visually stunning “Entre Ciel et Mer” commercial for the French trendsetting swimwear brand ERES, which operates under the Chanel Group. Known for being simultaneously elegant and daring, the chic label has been producing gorgeous swimwear and lingerie garments for over 40 years.

Clément Oberto was approached by producer and leading global creative agent Jordane Crantelle to design a concept that would secure the funding of the commercial, and also highlight the grace and sexiness of the new exclusive collection. Embodying the brand’s identity Oberto developed the campaign’s theme around the faint parallels between a woman’s body and architectural design. The soft lighting and bright production design created the perfect environment for the commercial, which starred French actress, model and L’Oréal Professionnel ambassador Loan Chabanol. 

“I believe a lot of my style aims to be metaphorical. To me, this is the essence of poetry, and something I’m very attached to. With this video, I wanted to blur the line between anatomy and architecture,” he shares. “To never know if Loan was talking about the design of the house or the shape of her body.”

His commercial aligned perfectly with ERES’ branding, and captured the attention of many industry professionals. “He has an excellent sense of story telling and knows how to enhance the visual quality of a production. His esthetic is impeccable! And he is very easy going and sensitive to the actor. He knows what he wants and is good at communicating it,” says Loan Chabanol. “His natural sense of beauty makes him very unique and separates him from other directors.”

Among his phenomenal skills as a writer, producer and director, Oberto’s expertise of color grading, video editing and VFX gives him a wide range of actions to filter emotion into any project. In 2017 he teamed up with French DJ and record producer Gilles Bousquet aka. Mr. Flash to create the film “Cream” an audiovisual poem about loneliness, sensuality and the passage of time. 

In the film Oberto developed a unique contrast of bright reds and dark shadows to create a seductive overall tone, while Mr. Flash highlighted the depth of loneliness with a haunting soundtrack. 

Mr. Flash, who’s famous for his collaborations with Kanye West, Mos Def and Sebastian Tellier, is also one half of the band Faded Away for which Oberto created a music video back in 2018.

The visual masterpiece, which earned multiple awards, created a juxtaposition between pregnancy and a dark yet magical 80’s culture.

“Clément has a unique visual identity and brings a special artistic dimension to every project. His particular style made it clear for us that it was him we wanted to work with. Him and no one else,” says Mr. Flash. “Clément knows what he wants and pays a lot of attention to details. He works a lot in preparation to ensure the result will be close to the initial pitch. That’s a quality that I’ve very rarely witnessed when working with directors. He cares about every project and never just does something, for the sake of doing it.”

From his remarkable ability to represent million-dollar companies on a global scale, to directing edgy music videos and captivating visual stories, there’s no room to deny that Clément Oberto’s work is as beautiful as it is purposeful. His ability to direct an entire production from every angle reflects his natural skills as a leader, whose precise eye for details sets the tone for success, and we can’t wait to see what he delivers to the world next.  

Composing for Hollywood – Meet French Composer Guy-Roger Duvert whose Emotive Scores are Shaping the way Movies are Portrayed

It takes a highly driven individual with a seasoned skillset to be able to truly capture a film’s narrative with the music they create for a one or two minute trailer. Seen as the film’s first impression, movie trailers build anticipation; and when they’re brilliantly composed, they help bring viewers to the box-office. 

Master composer Guy-Roger Duvert, who hails from France, is the kind of musical genius who’s capable of summarizing the vibe of a film’s story in a matter of minutes in a way that leads the audience to develop an emotional bond long before the motion picture is released. 

French Composer Guy-Roger Duvert – Photography: Loic Nicolas

With accolades ranging from film and television to soundtracks and documentary films, his eclectic array of symphonic talents have seen him compose for countless movie trailers across Hollywood, as well as creating original zombified sounds for Europe’s most expensive reality television show, “District Z.”

For over two decades, Duvert has showcased his unique ability to infuse any piece of music with raw sensation through original compositions that have captured the hearts of millions from around the globe.

Since relocating to the states in 2012, he has established a solid foundation with Pusher Music, a bespoke composition, label and publishing service that he continues to work with today. 

He says, “The first time I came to Los Angeles in 2010 I met with Pusher Music. The contact was excellent, and they tested me on a trailer. I passed the test and started working for them.”

Duvert’s creative process differs with each project and he knows that the key to a successful composition begins with a strong framework.

“Usually, I want to have a structure pretty early on in the process– for instance with a bass, some drums or some string stacs, and after I’ll add up track by track in order to make the cue whole,” he says. 

“The challenge with trailer music is that you need to respect a very precise structure… but at the same time you need to feel original, a strong theme or original sounds will help in that matter.”

Through Pusher Music he composed the trailers for the Oscar-nominated films “Lone Survivor” starring Mark Wahlberg and Ridley Scott’s “Prometheus” starring Charlize Theron, as well as Ryan Reynolds’ 2011 superhero flick “Green Lantern,” and the box-office smash “Transformers 3” directed by Michael Bay (“Armageddon,” “Pearl Harbor”). 

The “Lone Survivor” trailer, which garnered close to 20 million views on YouTube also landed him the exclusive opportunity to reorchestrate the Peter Gabriel remake of David Bowie’s song “Heroes,” which also included Duvert’s stunning self-composed classical track “Ultima Necat” (2013).

Official movie trailer for “Lone Survivor” composed by Guy-Roger Duvert

His proven musical prowess coupled with his ability to turn a project over in a matter of days are a few of the factors that have led to his remarkable success

“I’m flexible and I’m fast, which are two important qualities for this specific business, as the deadlines are very short, usually two or three days,” he says. “It has happened in the past that I was asked to provide something in a few hours only.”

Duvert’s melodic brilliance and his ability to deliver compositions that both meet the deadline and wow the audience have led him to garner widespread praise throughout the industry. 

“I believe Guy’s experience as a filmmaker strongly informs his work and allows him to more effectively create his music in a way that enhances storytelling, which is the most important part of our work,” says Netflix Music Creative and Pusher Music co-founder Rudy Chung.

“From the biggest Hollywood blockbusters to more intimate independent fare, Guy anticipates what our clients’ needs are, oftentimes before they are able to articulate it themselves.”

Through established reputation with Pusher Music, Duvert continues to create captivating film trailers for numerous award-winning filmmakers and international production companies.

He says, “I feel very lucky by the trust that Pusher has given me. Even when I had other projects on, I always tried to stay available for them, as it has always been a pleasure working with them.

What sets Duvert apart from the myriad of composers in today’s industry, is his creative perception of how a single piece of music can hold such a euphoric impact over the listener– and his ability to utilize that in support of the film. 

Acting as the musical pillar behind the scenes, he is known as the director’s right-hand-man when it comes to orchestrating original sounds to support the vision of the film. 

“The first part is to discuss with the director, in order to understand what he wants, what he feels, what he desires,” he says. 

“In some cases they can have a very strong idea of what they want, in some others, it’s very vague. Most of them don’t know music, so I need to translate their impressions into musical ideas.”

Along with his uncanny ability to summarise an entire film into a concise and captivating clip, his original score compositions have become easily recognizable within many high-profile international television programs.

In 2020 Duvert demonstrated his unparalleled musical range as the composer for the French show “District Z,” which is known for being Europe’s most expensive and ambitious game show.

Set in a Zombie themed world, the reality show follows six celebrities who confront the living dead and overcome gruesome challenges for a chance to win gold. The incredibly successful show garnered groundbreaking ratings with more than 5 million people viewing the program in France (26% of the country’s TV viewers!).

Duvert had the enormous task of composing the score for the popular show, which required him to utilize a diverse range of original sounds.

He says, “The amount of music that I had to compose was huge, as the music editing of these kinds of shows are very different from fiction, much more ultra cut.”

Applying his vast skill set to the project, he composed over 180 differing tracks that drew upon classic Hollywood zombie themes infused with a bit of whimsy in order to harmonize the tone of the show with the mainstream audience. 

“I used strong orchestral elements packed with electronic or industrial sounds. It needed to be massive and powerful. In a way, it was sometimes close to what I’m used to doing when I work on trailer music,” says Duvert. 

“I also had to compose a pack of stressful tracks, which was fun to do. Finally, I had to compose very different music, much more lighted, as the game show is still family oriented at the end.”

Due to its overwhelming demand “District Z,” which is currently in the process of being sold internationally by SONY, has announced its second season, a move that means Duvert will return as the lead musical composer on the series, which is set for production later this year. 

“Guy-Roger is not just a music composer. The fact that he himself directed and produced films allows him to understand much more our situation and needs. We won a lot of time by working with him,” says “District Z” producer Nicolas Fuchs. 

“Also, the quality of his music is clearly superior to most of what can be heard out there, particularly when it comes to strong themes and melodies, and epic music.”

“District Z” French reality show – composed by Guy-Roger Duvert

Guy-Roger Duvert’s knack for translating an idea into an original composition, which factors in every single emotion is a profound skill that only a handful can truly master, this, among many other key attributes, has defined him as a leading composer in today’s film and television industry.


While Hannie May’s acting skills were put to the test in the film Breakdown, it’s clear that the passionate actress passed with flying colors. The recent project is but one of many hallmarks in a career that has been characterised by overcoming challenges, to eventually rise to the top. Indeed, May has cited how the industry is shaped by contradictions. On the one hand, the stereotypical casting in some instances provides challenges for actors with multi-cultural backgrounds to explore their possibilities to the fullest. On the other hand, it’s opening the world up to an onslaught of more diverse casts on high-profile projects – from Crazy Rich Asians to Marvel’s upcoming Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. It’s clear that the diversity of casting choices has stepped up to the next level, and May – as one of the industry’s breakouts – has most certainly stepped up too.

An actor with purpose: Hannie May shot at Vantablack Studio.

While much has been written however around increasing diversity of representation in film, the subject of this piece became clear when reviewing May’s work. The depth of talents rendered all socio-political commentary irrelevant, as the true significance of May as an actress comes to the forefront when watching any of her films. She simply makes it about the work, and makes it as deep and meaningful as possible.

In the case of Breakdown, it was up to May to not only lead a film, but also empathise with the character’s circumstances to the degree that any viewer would feel like the significance of mental health was given meaning and respect.

Ultimately, Breakdown is a display of a personal battle between self versus self, a real-life struggle that continues to go on today. In one particularly memorable moment, Hannie has to face a mirror and gradually let her inner self out while watching at her own reflection. The scene involves no dialogue, and is entirely fulled by the actress’ emotional expression.

Hannie May, playing the role of ‘Diana’ in the Cristal Alakoski film, Breakdown. 

The continuation of the story sees May’s character suffering from mental health issues, which triggers her to resent her own values and build up a significant fear from society. The internal crisis becomes an external one, providing a rich opportunity for May to showcase her significant emotional range as an actress. 

In the words of one industry professional, May is a tour de force in the film and a reason for why and how it resonates with any viewer.

All the more impressive is how Breakdown was created and directed by Finnish filmmaker Cristal Alakoski, herself known for a prolific career in Europe marked by memorable projects like music videos and commercials with Finnish band Aija Puurtinen & Brooklynin satu for their popular song Maantie (Highway), and another music video for John Westmoreland with his acclaimed hit, The Sparrow. 

Being the lead in a movie is one thing, but being cast as the only role of a film is an accomplishment worth celebrating. Even more impressive was the development of Breakdown and its unconventional filming process. While the role of Diana and her circumstances came with a lot of challenges, aside from being vulnerable to the audience, the project also did not have a set shooting script. 

May expected the role of ‘Diana’ to come with different challenges, but this knowledge didn’t make it any easier.

“It was one of the film projects I’ve worked on that requires the majority of acting from improvisation. So the process of filming this project with Alakoski was also a journey of experimenting with the idea of the film together,” said May. 

While the storylines Breakdown and May’s other recent project, Interrupted Girls couldn’t be more different, the emotional weight of each reflects the level of responsibility filmmakers place on May in casting her in such meaningful stories. 

Indeed Interrupted Girls, the release of which preceded Breakdown, was one such impressive project which garnered May significant attention. 

Directed by Christopher Cass, Interrupted Girls, focuses on two sisters who come from a broken home. May plays Elena, who is forced to side with her mum and go against her sister’s wishes. 

May mid-scene in Interrupted Girls, taken at a recent private exclusive screening of the film.

Award-winning director Cass is best known for his work on Trey Pops (2020), Scrubbers (2014), and The Bus Stop (2017). 

Christopher brought extensive experience from his career when directing May, and also boasted associations and screen experience with NBC. It was this epxienece that undoubtedly made May feel comfortable in front of the camera, expressing vulnerabilities about topics which – although incredibly specific, are also especially universal. 

Hannie’s exquisite performance in Interrupted Girls is best effectively distilled at the moment where her character chooses pride when it was “happiness” that she wanted. When it came to “Elena” and her self growth during the film, the remarkable emotional access of Hannie’s talents made especially clear in memorable moments where she was vulnerable and driven by her emotions in a significant way.

Divorce is a hard topic to discuss, many families everywhere have been torn because of failed marriages, and struggling relationships. 

May’s polished skills brought life to the character of Elena, further shedding light on the value of sisterhood  With a statement as powerful as the one that Cass’ shared, it required a lot of strength to push through discomfort, two things that Hannie May provided with excellence and perfection. 

In a scene where the two sisters fight, May shows the extreme of her character’s personality and emotions within the confines of no movement or dialogue. Her performance not only shows a strong internal life, but also reveals the contrast between the two sisters’ personalities and shows authentic real-life emotions which deeply connects with any viewer.

Ultimately, it’s these dual experiences on film that signify the mark May is leaving on her field as an actor, a storyteller, and more generally, a professional empathizer. 

“What’s the most interesting to me in acting is finding the complexity in every single character,” she beams with a smile.

“The story behind what’s on the page, what I enjoy digging into, is always more than what I have to show in front of the camera.”

Anna San Juan: Making Movie Music Magic

  We all know the power of one song in a movie. Whether it’s “As Time Goes By” from Casablanca, the Bee Gees “Staying Alive” from Saturday Night Fever, “Unchained Melody” in Ghost, Eminem’s “Lose Yourself”, or a host of others, one song can instantly recall the experience of seeing a certain film. Music Supervisor Anna San Juan has corralled the music for many films and far reaching advertising campaigns. Her work with Deviant Pictures on some of the company’s upcoming releases has once again required her to utilize her skill to obtain the ideal songs for moments that the filmmakers hope will similarly become synonymous with their productions. Part scientist and part chef but more rooted in filmmaking than anything, Ms. San Juan has become the magic ingredient of many a successful production. She relays her insight and expertise as it relates to these upcoming offerings from Deviant Films.

  Writer/director Michael Keating’s mind bending thriller Offseason premiers at the 2021 SXSW Film Festival this March. Starring such notable cast members as Richard Brake of Twentieth Century Fox’s Kingsman: The Secret Service and Melora Walters (of Oscar Winning Film Dead Poet’s Society, and Oscar Nominated Films Magnolia and Boogie Nights), the film is already peaking major interest prior to its premier. Little is known about the storyline except that it follows a woman whose journey to an island town is sparked by a mysteriously letter. One aspect of the film which Keating was adamant about was the musical complement to one of the film’s most poignant scenes. To obtain the specific song which would perfectly complement the scene and achieve this vision, Keating brought Anna San Juan aboard the team as the music supervisor. As previously noted, one specific song can achieve a moment that is historical and enduring for a film. While being guarded about the actual song prior to the film’s release, Anna relates, “The film had such a poignant scene for a thriller, with a song by an iconic 60’s rock group held very close to our director’s heart. It’s very central to the plot and definitely a movie moment to watch out for when it premieres. Countless calls and email negotiations took place, both within the team and with the label. Other options were considered, including replacements, but from the outset it really was priority #1 that there was no backing down in negotiations. Honestly it was touch and go towards the last moment. The song really was, musically-speaking, a breakthrough highlight for the film, set the tone, and also creatively very, very important it stays on for the final release.”

  Deviant Films was so overwhelmingly pleased with the outcome of Offseason that they immediately placed San Juan onto its upcoming feature film No Running. A Sci-Fi Thriller from Director Delmar Washington (known for his work on the Peabody Award Winning and Image Award Nominated Def Poetry as well as the Image Award Nominated BET Awards 2011), the film’s diverse and extraordinary cast includes -Stars Skylan Brooks (of Globe Winning TV series Empire ), Taryn Manning (SAG Award Winning Actress for her role on Orange is the New Black), Rutina Wesley (Image Award and SAG Award Nominated Actress), Bill Engvall  (American Comedy Award Winner and Grammy Nominee), and others. As the film is set in the future, Anna confirms that the music will be comprised of that which reigns supreme on today’s music charts.

  A recent inductee as a member of the prestigious Guild of Music Supervisors, Ms. San Juan will not only be contributing to the film industry with her work but will also be voting in this year’s annual GMS Awards. Inspired from a young age by a combined love for film, writing, and music, Anna professes, “The ability to make a moment with a song is something I always chase for in every project. Getting to see it air on TV, theaters, and now more popularly streaming services always gives me that boost to keep going and to keep being part of meaningful art.”

(Music Supervisor Anna San Juan)

Playing the Long-Game with Grant Lyndon

When we were asked to choose one of our 2020 interview guests for a ‘New Year’ check in, we didn’t hesitate in selecting Grant Lyndon. 

Catching up after the start of the new year with award-winning Australian actor, Grant Lyndon. Our readers loved our profile of Grant in last year’s edition. Photographed by Leeroy Tehira.

When the renowned New York International Film Festival announced its most recent winners in December 2020, Grant Lyndon was “humbled but proud” to be among the list and acknowledged as Best Actor for his work in the acclaimed film, Ruby. 

For anyone else in the industry however, it’s no surprise, as Lyndon has been turning in acclaimed performances for years. While under the radar for the early stages of his career, during which he appeared in ABC’s Rogue Nation alongside Gold-Logie winner John Wood, Lyndon continues to attract national and (clearly) international attention for his work and media appearances, recently generating rave reviews in Frontline Views and Entertainment LA.

The New York Film Awards were held in a COVID-safe public screening event at Producer’s Club, in the heart of Manhattan, the urban core of the New York metropolitan area. 

The award is an important moment for Lyndon, who has had an arduous career as an actor in film and television, as well as in the theater and voice-over spaces in Australia. The New York International Film Awards have also offered his colleagues a way to record his hard work in the industry, but also to thank him for his contribution as one of Australia’s most reliable talents. 

In this way, Grant himself has referred to his career as “a long haul.” 

Grant Lyndon has not only stood out as an exceptional actor in any area in which he’s worked, but has also offered expertise and encouragement to motivate emerging actors through teaching, and to build empathetic connections with his characters to convey to each audience a real and profound experience that is far from mere imitation. He understands this field well and from his self-knowledge and his professional career he knows how to distinguish clearly from a neat and well-developed job from any other. 

Hence, his extraordinary skills have been recognized in productions such as Home and Away, Old School and A Place to Call Home, where in each of them he has been able to show us completely different characters, but equally impressive.

In Home and Away, Grant played Professor Calabra. There, audiences identified him with a resistance that denotes tints and shades as intense as delicate from each other. His performance gave the audience a serious, quite formal character, something abrupt that transmitted emotions against him. Such a clean performance that could make anyone disconcerted and angry just to see how well he played a disdainful and badly humored role. Afterwards, as if nothing has happened, Lyndon changes his position and shows himself to be kind, attentive and respectful. 

Without effort or tension, Grant part of Home and Away’s huge bump in ratings, making a memorable impression through the turn in the story that his character produced, unleashing new dramas and new challenges. Ultimately, Grant allowed a depth of authority with reason to underpin the storyline involving Marie Claire covergirl, Pia Miller’s character, to work through her challenges. 

Grant Lyndon playing Professor Calabra in the much-loved and written about, ‘Home and Away.’

For juxtaposition, a viewer can find Lyndon’s portrayal in the acclaimed series ‘Old School’, which attracted some of Australia’s highest-live-to-air ratings with more than 664,000 viewers tuning in to Grant’s performance. An eight-part series screened on ABC1, created by Paul Oliver and Steve Wright, and directed by Gregor Jordan, that follows the adventures of the retired criminal Lennie Cahill and the retired cop Ted McCabe, played by legendary actors Bryan Brown and Sam Neil (Jurassic Park). 

Grant opposite screen legend Bryan Brown in ‘Old School.’

Marcel was crucial to the plot in Old  School, as he underpinned and greatly affected the dynamic of the long running lost love battle between Barb (Linda Cropper) and Lennie (Bryan Brown). He was the new love of Barb that set Lennie off into a jealousy spiral. The tone set by Grant on set was clearly irreplaceable, when watching the footage. He held the line between Barb & Lennie with good weight. This gave a great and realistic feel to the underworld aspect of the show. 

Last but not least, we should also mention his appearance in A Place to Call Home as Jay Kenneth Katzan III in the Do Not Go Gently episode. Ironically, his role seemed to be kind like no one else, arousing the anger and envy of others. There, Grant showed a side of himself in which his body expression said more than a thousand words. At first, without a script, he had the duty to make known an imposing, elegant and charismatic position of an epochal character. Only through his gestures, his movements and his smile he conquered the heart of the audience. Later, as if this had not been enough, he intervened with a dialogue as friendly as he had shown himself. 

Showcase’s ‘A Place to Call Home’ is still beloved by audiences around the world.

The abovementioned roles are a distinct distillation and manifestation of Lyndon’s wide-ranging career path. From the early days of his career, Grant has been able to recognize his strengths and to express it, whether it was with a neutral character or with another hateful one. So much so, that even without a word or a thousand of them, he always made himself stand out. 

Not surprisingly, he has more artistic facets than just his performance in front of the cameras and in theaters. Grant is known as Australia’s ‘voice over king’, and in fact, his record in this area is as competitive as his long stage career. Thus, he has developed magnificent voice works where he is able to vary between American, British and Australian accents. 

Therefore, he has his own podcasts hosted on major platforms such as Spotify and Apple: Busy Dads, described as a podcast packed full of great information, stories, and resources for dads on the go, and The Defiance Code, a health and motivation podcast exploring remarkable mature minds and how they stay fit, happy, and vital. Productions that stand out for relying on listeners and speakers as an assertive means of communication where Grant’s background as a voice artist plays a key role in delivering a powerful message to the audience. 

On the other hand, his work is perfectly complemented by the use of his voiceover for narratives such as House Rules, Aussie Lobster Men and the Australian National Museum. Grant reliably connects with the viewers and listeners of each project, respectively, generating an undeniable added value. This also led him to be part of the animations  Mia & Me and Motown Magic, animated series with a much sought-after impact on children’s content in Australia’s continually evolving film and TV industry. 

For all these reasons, it is a pleasure for the entertainment industry to have the certainty that Grant will continue to develop new roles in the future. Building on his successes,  his next step involves productions in the US. These projects, involving award-winning filmmakers from all over the world, include a hilarious role as ‘Utag the Barbarian’ in ‘The Role World’ from Dlugos ventures, and in White Pixel’s highly-anticipated feature film project, ‘The Other Mike.’

“I’m super excited because I’m in a place where I can draw on all of my experience from both my life AND my career. A great part of my inspiration also comes from my family. My four kids keep me very real & greatly inspired with a healthy curiosity for the arts. The innocense and command of “Why not?” from a child always brings me into thinking  – “Yeah, why the hell not!”.

Adding more excitement to our conversation, Grant continues. 

“My 2021 is going to be filled with breaking down even more barriers, and keeping a youthful thirst for work alive. In a lot of ways I’m at a time in my career when I feel this really is just the beginning. I’m very grateful for all the opportunities I’ve had to date, but am even more excited for what’s to come!”

Johnny Carr: An Actor’s PROFILE

While it might be expected that acclaimed and award-winning actor Johnny Carr would be used to the attention usually given to actors, his self-effacing and humble nature would suggest otherwise. Deservedly nominated for the NYC Web Fest Award as Best Actor for his performance in the series ‘The Greatest Love of All’, the Newcastle native brings a salt of the earth quality not only to his performances but also to any interaction, reminding our editorial team that Australian actors are, indeed, almost always likeable. 

Carr, as shot by the legendary photographer, Sally Flegg.
Carr in the acclaimed series, ‘The Greatest Love of All.’

Carr, who’s featured in a raft of universally loved Australian series, plays and films, was buoyed by the success of the production which was also nominated for Most Outstanding Writing for a Web Series and won Best International Web Series. The latter prize was something that to this day is attributed to the starring performance of Carr, who in large part carries the heart of the series.  

In the show, Carr effortlessly makes his own sense of comedy through sarcasm, connecting with the audience in the process in surprising ways. The value he places on the production runs through the screen, making clear that Carr is an actor who exceeds the expectations of the character he plays in unique and exceptional ways. 

Most memorably, Carr showed how he has some of the best comedic chops in Australia, during a sequence when he is drugged at a house party by his housemates as a sort of emotional kaleidoscope, but he performs it with such precision that it’s a disturbing climax that veers towards the painful (for the viewer, not just the actor). 

Title card for ‘The Greatest Love of All.’

‘The Greatest Love of All’ was also selected for the Miami Web Fest, recognized for being a new kind of film festival for a new kind of filmmaker. The critical acclaim the series attracted is not unsurprising given the success Johnny went on to find in other productions like his memorable role in Channel Ten’s ‘Five Bedrooms’ or Channel Seven’s ‘The Secret Daughter,’ but is fascinating when considering ‘The Greatest Love of All’ was not originally conceived as the high-profile series it became, but a director’s humorous attempt to share a story about the aggressive level of hospitality that is present in Australian domestic life. And how their laid-back nature can often contain macabre undertones.

Carr showed great range by jumping into Channel Seven’s popular drama, ‘The Secret Daughter,’ after his turn in ‘The Greatest Love of All.’

Even more fascinating? Carr’s versatility – later proved with award winning stage roles – that was foreshadowed in his proven capacity to adapt his emotional truth to the most dramatic or emotional scenes and situations, moving the viewer in an empathic  way despite the series being a comedy. 

As legendary theatre critic Suzy Wrong wrote in a review for theatre production The Real Thing, “In the role of Henry is the sensational Johnny Carr, bringing a startling truthfulness to dialogue that could very easily be turned, under the wrong hands, highfalutin and empty. The actor’s presence and timing have us captivated, as we find ourselves enraptured, deeply invested in the many meaningful discussions that provide the foundation for an admittedly bourgeois narrative.” 

Carr on stage during his acclaimed performance of theatre production, ‘The Real Thing.’ Photo by Lisa Tomasetti.

Other industry professionals share the same sentiment, explaining how Johnny has the power of making the viewer believe that nothing happens despite the scene clearly showing the world spilling around him, representing an incredible handling of his performance in front of a camera and his innate talents. 

Were it not enough that Johnny is being featured in our pages today, he’s already attracted the attention of other journalists for many years in Australia who have followed his tremendous work and artistic edge for over a decade. 

In an interview with ‘Arts Review Australia’ Carr was asked who inspires him and why. He responded “people who aren’t afraid to look foolish. The ice-breakers. They allow others to follow suit.” This simple but thought-provoking answer seems to echo his character choices. He appropriates it for the stories and brings it to life with ridiculous, funny, humorous and animated scenes. 

Johnny’s other work reveals the soul of an artist. One that stands out is film ‘Happy Memories’, a production directed by John Tummino.

Here a huge duality appears in contrast to the comic performance mentioned above. Carr plays one of the leading roles, Michael. Together with the actress Laura Wheelwright, who appeared in the Oscar-nominated Animal Kingdom, Carr brings deep and affecting insight to a story about grief and loss in a farming community.

Carr in the revered film project, ‘Happy Memories.’

Johnny’s performance in ‘Happy Memories’, especially in contrast to ‘The Greatest Love of All’, proves his dexterity. His mysterious choices in sequences and moments lead any viewer to wait for glimpses of insight. Carr’s brilliance lies in his capacity to conceal his emotions but not block the audience from connecting with the story – true to the notion that humans and great actors try not to feel, but the average actor is concerned with feeling and how they are doing themselves. 

Carr showed a different side and aspect of his range as an actor in ‘Happy Memories.’

It is such a demanding task to eemit far-reaching sensations and leave a memorable impression through a cryptic character, that Johnny described this challenge in the following terms. 

“[I]t was a balance to play a character whose reality is in question throughout the piece. How to rapidly create that depth of family history whilst keeping the lightness of touch required to serve his buoyant energy,” Carr explains.

Carr, who is attached to a number of exciting projects shaping up for 2021, is excited to continue in showing the world his talents – not for self-promotional reasons, but because of a genuine passion for sharing insights.

“[I’m excited about] stories that search for meaning in the most mundane, absurd circumstances. We do this day to day. Otherwise what’s the point of it all? It’s simpler to find it in places of grandiosity. But what about the minutiae? It’s just as rich if we squint and consider.”

Staying Ahead of the Curve in an Ever Changing Industry: Meet Video Artist Denis Ogorodov

Denis Ogorodov is arguably one of the most uniquely skilled video artists in the industry today. His ability to create videos that leave viewers feeling a deep connection to a brand has undoubtedly made him shine in the eyes of the advertisers who hire him, but it’s his jack-of-all-trades approach to media production that has ultimately placed him ahead of the curve and made him a creative worth looking to for inspiration. 

Last year Denis’s technical skill set and artistic prowess landed him the opportunity to design for the multi-billion dollar streaming giant Twitch from Amazon, an interactive platform where millions of users engage online to dive deeper into gaming, concerts and more. 

Video artist – Denis Ogorodov

Known for his vast skill set, Denis has proven himself as a leading editor, vfx artist, colorist and so much more, that’s one of the reasons he’s referred to as a video artist– because there’s no other title that can really do justice to all the things he handles. 

For Twitch, which is estimated to be worth an astounding $5 billion, Denis was called in specifically to work as the lead editor on their ‘Twitch January Drop’ digital campaign, which showcased the platform’s numerous features, as well as an impressive line-up of interactive events, programming and content.

The vibe of the campaign was intended to be energetic and fast-paced in order to coincide with the incredible range of things the platform offers

“We wanted this 60 second ad to feel almost overwhelming by showing just how much content there is on Twitch,” he says. “We had to find a song that was very energetic that was able to keep the momentum, but at the same time find a balance, where yes it feels almost overwhelming, but people are still registering what’s going on.”

Official “Twitch January Drop” video

“The campaign was designed to be interactive… So many of the assets had to be built in such a way that they could fit together like building blocks, sometimes changing the order, speed, branding or titles…the main video was designed to function as the kick-off for the event.”

The fact that the campaign was interactive not only made it unique, but also challenging, as it was updated live during each stream. As the lead editor, this is one area where Denis’s technical expertise proved invaluable, as his work helped ensure that the campaign’s design remained consistent across every channel and update.

Not only was Denis responsible for video editing the campaign, as well as working on some of the motion graphics and animation, but he worked with the other designers to build VFX templates that were capable of being updated on the fly. 

“He’s very proactive when it comes to finding solutions and is never one to sit around wasting time,” says his ‘Twitch January Drop’ coworker Hondo Logan, who is head of production at Color and Motion. 

“He’s also great at working with and coordinating larger teams. When the workload gets split up and everyone has their own job to do, I never have to worry about Denis’s part, I know he’ll always deliver polished work.”

While it’s no surprise that Denis was called in for the project as he is one of the best at what he does, there’s still a little something uniquely special about being tapped to work on the Twitch campaign.

He recalls, “Back in school I was always fascinated by both computers and art, I was always interested in video game development, photography and all that.”

With his long-time interest in video game development the Amazon Twitch job proved to be thoroughly exciting for Denis, but there’s no question that he put in an unfathomable amount of hours developing his craft in order to go from his humble beginnings in Italy to get to where he is in Hollywood today.  

Denis’s career really started to kick off back in 2014 when he landed a competitive internship at Reset, an acclaimed production company founded by Oscar Award nominated director David Fincher (“Se7en,” “The Social Network,” “Gone Girl”) and Dave Morrison (“Oblivion,”  “Gully”). He got his bearings in the industry at Reset where he was responsible for curating treatments to support their directors’ pitches. That early work had him utilizing a range of software such as Premier, Avid, DaVinci Resolve and Autodesk Flame in order to translate the director’s visions from the early storyboard phase right on through to the final editing stages. 

That use of software and being able to translate the director’s vision through the storyboard phase have been integral to his success today. Since his time with Reset, Denis has come to be known as something of  an industry “unicorn,” in layman’s terms– someone who’s an expert in an incredible range of areas. 

Considering that the commercial and film industries rely heavily on the ever-changing world of technology, having such a broad technical skill set like Denis’s has been an advantage that has kept him ahead of the game.

And when Covid hit he was able to adapt better than most, as his established digital career allowed him to remain on the precipice of change as the entire industry shifted towards working online. 

Denis Ogorodov applying his color grading skills behind the scenes

“With technology being the great equalizer, it is more and more possible to achieve professional industry level work from the comfort of your own home, and the current pandemic we are living through has accelerated this process,” he explains.

“Having built a brand of reliability and efficiency has allowed me to work on my own terms before the pandemic, which allowed me to transition to working remotely instead of in-house quite smoothly.”

While the pandemic has proved to be an extremely difficult time for so many, Denis brings a humble and kind-hearted approach in order to support the industry he loves, something that proves him to be the exact kind of creative talent that any media outlet wants to have driving their team. 

He says, “I’m happy to say that I’ve been able to get four of my US colleagues work recently, so it’s nice to be able to give back.”

Having collaborated with so many critically acclaimed filmmakers and global production companies, and led numerous companies to success with his work as a video artist, Denis Ogorodov has made a significant mark on an international level– and we can’t wait to see what he comes up with next.

‘The Marshes’’ and ‘Home and Away’s’ Sam Delich: An Actor’s Life During COVID

The superfluation of content and stories about adapting and pivoting to life during COVID-19 is such that any story highlighting it as a point of difference has become a cliché. 

Taking a unique spin on the story however is a profile of Australian actor Sam Delich, acclaimed star of horror hit The Marshes and Home and Away, currently filming a slew of projects in the midst of the pandemic (and associated frequency of on-set testing and masks) and about to head over to the US in the coming months for a few more. 

Suffice to say the actor’s blessed during a time when the global industry has been decimated with jobs lost and productions cut short – hence why our editors wanted to profile the actor to determine why thinks he’s been lucky enough to maintain a firm mindset and consistent opportunities when few others are. 

Sam in press-mode at the Heath Ledger awards before COVID-19 reduced the number of red-carpet events worldwide. Below, shot in Sydney.
Sam Delich shot by Sophie Jay.

“The work itself is what drives me,” Sam begins. “[A] good script, good story and a full day of shooting and I’m a happy camper. I’m easily pleased some would say. It’s been tricky with productions shutting down during covid…It’s nothing compared to what many people are dealing with on a global scale.  But I really do think in times of crisis people turn to entertainment as a means of not only escapism but a chance to hear voices of those affected by the issues we all face.”

Sam’s commitment to story is apparent when reviewing his filmography and presence on screen, since he stepped onto the stage playing the vengeful Laertes in the acclaimed final graduating WAAPA production of Hamlet, directed by the AACTA nominated John Sheedy, or on the set for magical realist drama film Back to Earth, which co-starred Spartacus’ star Tom Hobbs (also known for appearing alongside Oscar-winners Nicole Kidman and Colin Firth in The Railway Man). 

In that film, the surrealist scenario involving the resurrection of his dead brother for one more night on earth would have had any actor oscillating between tones and tropes.

Sam’s handling of the material in the character of Lou however, in moments where he effortlessly expresses unbridled sentimentalism and pure joy, all the way down to deep grief in truly affecting moments, is a clear manifestation of Delich’s ability to suspend any qualms about believability and serve story in a way that very few actors can. He, in the words of co-star Tom Hobbs is truly a “[r]are breed of talent. He’s unafraid. It’s a pleasure working with someone who constantly throws fresh ideas out during scenes. It keeps you on your toes. He’s made me a better actor that’s for sure.”

Sam’s performance clearly resonated with producers and industry decision makers, helping secure Back to Earth’s distribution with ABC iView Australia and its 3 million users. 

Sam (center) in ‘Back to Earth’, its international success on the film festival circuit a product of his empathetic performance.

Successes such as this are irrelevant to an actor of Sam’s caliber however, as not long after that production he stepped onto the set of horror film The Marshes. Reviews at the time of the film’s release frequently highlighted Sam’s gripping and truly committed performance.

When looking back at the film through the lens of what Delich is currently accomplishing in the midst of a year that many have described as real-life horror, Sam’s uniqueness as an actor is even more apparent.

In one moment Sam’s character Will has to hear the news that his friend has almost certainly been brutally slaughtered by the terrifying spectre that haunts them, all the while needing to make the rapid decision to run into the unknown marshland or stay and fight tooth and nail for survival.

“That was a bloody hard day,” Sam explains. “It’s a pivotal scene and required everything I had in the tank. Accessing emotion has never been hard for me but to perform in that environment tested all of us….After all the tears and yelling were done thankfully we were all able to shake it off and have a laugh,” Sam adds with a smile.

“I will never forget my co-star Eddie Baroo (Australia, Wolf Creek) getting stuck waist deep in the mud. He kept asking for help but nobody could stop laughing. You always remember day’s like that.”

Sam starred in the horror hit, ‘The Marshes.’

The extremities of The Marshes may have been demanding, but pushing himself to the limits of filming in the Australian outback in high-heat must’ve made subsequent appearances a breeze, as Delich’s on-screen appearances thereafter are truly easeful. In Home and Away, for instance, where Sam’s portrayal of Mark sees him pursuing the affection of acclaimed actor Sophie Dillman’s ‘Ziggy’, Sam balances charm with an underlying edge that hooked viewers at the time and is frequently cited upon as a critical moment in the self-actualisation of Dilmman’s protagonist. 

“I remember the moment where the audience was going to realise my intentions were a little more sinister. Grabbing Sophie’s arm and saying “Where do you think you’re going?” After playing a charming surfer for every other scene was fun. Sophie kept saying between takes “I wonder if girls watching will still think you’re cute.”

Sam made a memorable appearance in the award-winning drama, ‘Home and Away.’

Clearly Sam likes to keep the viewers guessing.

With all these memorable appearances considered, Sam’s success is unsurprising. Like most actors, it’s been a long-road but consistency and discipline over many years obviously has a cumulative effect which has attracted directors, casting agents and producers seeking to collaborate with Sam in a manner that, in hindsight, seems like an inevitability. 

At the end of our conversation, Sam echoed a sentiment that borrowed from Al Pacino’s character in Any Given Sunday, one that will undoubtedly resonate not just with actors reading this but anyone in need of inspiration during what has undoubtedly been a challenging year.

It’s a game of inches”: You just gotta get bit by bit over the line and eventually you have an opportunity to score. Sometimes work comes easy, sometimes you gotta hustle. The industry is always trying to blitz you. Outsmart it and find the play that is going to get you to the end.”

Home and Away’s grant Lyndon on alternating between mediums

While 2020 has been a year characterised by people being forced to pivot, Australian actor Grant Lyndon has been used to doing just that on a regular basis since the beginnings of his career in Sydney for quite some time.

As he, and any other prominent studio executive or producer would attest, actors need not just be malleable and versatile in their screen abilities, but their dexterity with life too. 

Grant Lyndon, shot by Leeroy TeHira.

The life of an actor calls for flexibility and frequent change. It’s to be expected that, in the case of an expert on the matter like Grant is, he boasts prominent experience across all different mediums and genres. 

The Shane-Abbess-directed feature The Osiris Child, where Grant is listed amongst other cast members such as The Mummy franchise star Luke Ford and Transformers actress Isabel Lucas, represented a pivot in a medium after Grant had spent years in television and voice work. 

In his role as Dr Curruthers, Lyndon stands out especially in the penultimate scene counseling Sy (played by Twilight star Kellan Lutz) through the loss of his wife in the futuristic world’s emergency room.

The gritty realism infused with a metallic energy reminiscent of the best George Lucas movies formed a fitting backdrop for the compelling energy of Grant’s time on screen in character, underscoring the notion how he is a true cinematic actor deserving of a close-up. 

Grant’s pitch-perfect embodiment of an American character was also a notable feature of the stand-out role, which is an effective juxtaposition to the father-of-four’s memorable appearance in Home and Away. 

The iconic and long-running TV series could not be more different from the futuristic world in Shane Abbess’ feature, serving as another strong example for how Grant – in his dexterity as a trained actor – effortlessly jumps from world to world. 

Grant appears on the iconic and award-winning drama ‘Home and Away’, also streaming on 7+, reinforcing the importance of his role at the network.

There was one similarity between the roles however, as Grant was asked by Home and Away producers to embody the senior academic authority of his Osiris Doctor character when playing the part of Professor Calabra. While the storyline was crucial to viewer interest, involving the development of Pia Miller’s Katarina Chapman’s career changes, the performance gives any viewer insight into the skills and talents that set Grant apart from other Australian TV actors. 

For one, echoing the words of notable producers, Lyndon’s handling of the material and dialogue encapsulates a masculine credibility as conflated with an understated sensitivity. This duality, seen throughout exchanges between Grant’s character and others as well as in private moments and close-ups, embodies a masculine credibility more reminiscent of old-style Hollywood than modern television.

If that proven versatility wasn’t enough, Grant also is well-known for his voice work. In Motown Magic, Grant voices the character of Johnny in a role well-received by viewers of the hit children’s series all over the world on none other than streaming giant, Netflix. 

In one notable moment, Grant brings the tender tones that are available in one’s voice when using a US accent, to console his daughter. Less is definitely more in this case. The subtleties that are required to really nail a convincing performance so the accent is as natural as possible & doesn’t get in the way, can only come from an artist who has carefully fine tuned his craft over years of development and work. 

The role in Motown Magic solidified a relationship Lyndon has proven with the streaming platform, as he also made a memorable appearance in the popular Netflix series Chosen, alongside Sam Hayden Smith and AACTA-nominated actor Fayssal Bazzi (who stars alongside Cate Blanchett in Stateless). 

Playing another surgeon, Grant clearly solidified his place as the ‘go-to’ doctor in the Australian film and television industry.  

When asked about the secret to carving out places in different pockets of the industry, Grant speaks from a humble place. 

“You just need to be yourself. Ultimately there  is something in the essence of each character in all of us. Locating the likeness (sometimes it may be something we don’t necessarily like about ourselves!) in your character allows you to really walk in the shoes of your character.” 

The spirit echoed in Grant’s words speak to the balance between focus and relaxation needed for people during a stressful year like 2020. 

If there was any advice to aspiring actors, Grant’s would be: Be patient, and use all of the experiences in your life, good and bad, to allow you to deepen your empathy, and ultimately give life to any character you play with authenticity and truth.”

Grant also adds something someone once told him: “the best advice I was ever given was, “Be the kind of actor that gets booked twice”, meaning be humble, generous, and a team player.”

If dominating the feature, television and animated corners of the industry wasn’t enough for the accomplished actor, however, Grant boasts a career as the undisputed ‘voice over king’ of Australia. 

Grant is not just the voice of one, not two, not three, but 6 major household name companies in Australia, ranging from Toyota, bank ING, Qantas, Channel Seven and none other than McDonalds. 

Grant Lyndon is the voice of McDonald’s prolific television and radio commercials.

“Putting in the hard work on your technique, really getting used to hearing yourself in a studio environment, and knowing your strengths are all super beneficial to becoming a working voice artist…It’s also great to be able to work remotely. It’s a saving grace in a world where human contact has been very limited. Most voice artists have a home studio set up of some description.”

Suffice to say, Grant’s capable of giving valuable advice but doesn’t stray away from continuing to evolve himself, as 2020 has shown.