Screen Queensland’s Program Lead, Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Content Joseph Meldrum caught up with Producer Richard Jameson, who is also a member of Screen Queensland’s Equity and Diversity Taskforce.
As part of the taskforce, Richard plays an active role to develop comprehensive ways to increase representation in the Queensalnd screen industry, across film, series and games.
Richard is a Wuthathi man from the East Coast of Cape York and an experienced filmmaker of 16 years. Richard was part of the 2015/16 Screen Australia Indigenous Producers Initiative, through which he travelled to the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) to pitch two feature scripts to distributors. In 2019, he opened Wirrim Studio as part of Wirrim Media Pty Ltd. The studio is a purpose-built film and photography studio in Burleigh Heads, Gold Coast. The media company and studio are proudly independent and proudly Indigenous. Most recently, Richard directed his first TV series Strait to the Plate (Season 2), credited with 4 episodes.
JOSEPH: What do you love about working in the screen industry, and what excites you?
RICHARD: Telling stories to an audience. Whether through our corporate work with companies or through Indigenous organisations, we treat each project as telling a story to an audience. Each day on set and each project is given the same dedication by crew and I get a kick from the look on clients’ faces when they see their ideas and their visions appear on screen.
JOSEPH: When did your passion for screen ignite, and how did you get your start in the industry?
RICHARD: I started in 2007 writing and learning how to use a camera. I have always had a love of storytelling and when my children were young and we were on driving holidays or long trips, I would make up stories for them as we drove. I started to write stories and it evolved into scripts and finally into films.
JOSEPH: What are you up to at Wirrim Media?
RICHARD: We are looking to move into doing more creative work through feature docs and dramas. We have a few on our development slate in the coming year. Our team set aside a month each year to do a passion project that allows us to stretch our creative legs and film projects that tests our skills in all facets of film making from writing, producing, production techniques and post production.
What do you think is the key to creating a successful production business?
RICHARD: We have built a successful company through building relationships and never compromising on our production values and qualities.
JOSEPH: What advice or encouragement do you have for any of the mob wanting to enter the industry?
RICHARD: Our industry is possibly one of the hardest industries to get into, build a place in and even harder to be successful in. But it is one of the most rewarding industries to be a part of. If you want to be a writer, write. Write stories, refine them, show people what you’ve written and seek feedback positive and negative. Learn from them and understand how others see your writing. If you want to be a videographer, pick up a camera and film everything you can, or as we always say “shoot the sh*t out of it!”. If you want to direct films, firstly learn all jobs on set and do them well it builds your confidence. If you want to be a producer, learn to get blood out of a stone!
JOSEPH: What would you say are the main skills or personal qualities you need to have a career in filmmaking?
Most of filming making is about building and maintaining relationships over long periods. We have relationships in the industry that go back 15 years and we still work on projects together. Build a good team around you and allow them to grow and shine. Build your communication skills either through training or watching others working around you. Don’t be a diva and think the world revolves around you because it certainly does not! Be a nice person, treat everyone on set equally, fairly and RESPECTFULLY.