My-real-bioWho am I? Care to take a guess? I’m an Aries. Born year of the dragon. And yes, I love that. In numerology I’m a 7. Deep. Intuitive. Needs lots of solitude. I care about everything. I can’t help it. Not in a bad way. In a way that keeps me connected to life. Curious. Absorbing. Learning. Growing all the time.

I lived in Canada for 7 years. There’s that 7 again. A cycle. 7 days in the week. 7 colours of the rainbow. 7 deadly sins. I’m sure I’ve had a crack at all of them. I’m not religious though, so it’s a grey area.

I love clothes. Always have. My whole family has worked in fashion at one time or another. I respect garments. I’d say my style is classic with cool socks. I love sneakers. Desert boots. Blues. Greens. Greys. There’s that grey again.

Canada was grey at times. And so so beautiful. It also sparkled. A lot. I lived in Vancouver. Montreal. Banff. The mountains. THE MOUNTAINS!!! Amazing. All of it.

I returned to Sydney 7 years later with an idea to work in advertising. My Dad asked me what marketing was. I didn’t know. But I’m a 7. Intuitive. Quick learner. I made a ‘Wanted’ ad and sent it to 10 ad agencies. 9 said no. 1 said maybe. Clemenger.

I met the office manager. I met the general manager. I was nervous. I use big words when I’m nervous. Makes me seem smarter. I remember the word I used with Don, the Don, the general manager. Multifarious. What?! It was in context and spot on, but what?!

I got the job. Despatch Manager. AKA mail boy.

I loved it! I had a domain. A purpose. Not the mail. I got good at that stuff. I’m quick on my feet and am spatially intelligent. I’m also a quick read of people. Because I love them. We are all such a fascinating bunch. Agreed?

I knew within two weeks of working there what I wanted to do. Brand strategy (Planning). All I had to do was ask… then work my way up.

Fast forward two years and I met Penny Burke, the new head of Planning. Wow. Born present. Lightning quick. Not intimidated by anyone. The perfect mentor.

I am so so grateful for my time with her. I learned things I’m still unpacking 14 years later. Thank you Penny from the bottom of a bottomless heart. Sigh.

Then I caught the acting bug. I did some in high school and loved it, but never took it further. I had a number of friends who did. One in particular is now a successful actor. Tygh Runyan. Look him up. I’m so so happy for him. He’s one of the most intelligent, sentient, magnificent people I know. His nickname is Typhoon. How effing cool.

I started some part-time acting classes in Sydney. Loved it. Loved. it. Decided to audition for NIDA and VCA. NIDA was my first proper audition. Ever.

Epic fail. I was on high-speed fast forward. In. Out.

But I learned a thing or two. Breathe. Take your time. This is your 3 minutes. Use it.

And I did.

I got in to VCA in Melbourne. Very exciting! The funny thing is that I’d had an intuition to move to Melbourne two years before. I thought I’d still be in advertising. Transfer to the Melbourne office, slick lifestyle, big bucks, cha ching.

Nope. I left my awesome planning job for something quite profound.

Drama school.

Holy shit. Welcome to bootcamp… of the soul. Not kidding. They took us deep. It was remarkable. Sometimes absolutely terrifying. I remember one day in particular when I’d been meditating before class. (I do that). Then we had a Feldenkrais session.

Something happened.

I felt all my barriers come down and I was completely open. Like, OPEN.

I’d never experienced that before and it took me by surprise. I didn’t know what to do with it, so I left. That was at 10am. A full day of classes ahead of me. I couldn’t do it. No armour. Vulnerable.

Ask yourself honestly how many times in your life you’ve truly let your guard down. Especially as an adult. I’m sure it’s not many.

It was overwhelming. Revealing. And I’m so grateful for that experience.

I left VCA after two and a half years. I was asked to repeat after 2nd year. It was a dent in my pride. I was always someone who got through things. Usually pretty quickly and at or close to the top. But this time I was asked to loop back and learn what I thought I already had.

It was confronting. I said yes on the spot. I knew I had to do it. I understood the lesson.

Not quite though. After 6 months I was sad. I stopped enjoying it. I tried to snap a guys arms off. Truth. I was ready to go. So I did. I finished up Julius Caesar and exited stage right.

It was the best decision. I bloomed. I had my freedom back. I’m a dragon. I need to fly.

And fly I did. Into a call centre. Whoops! That was just a disguise though.

It was a playground. I was only on the phones for 3 months. They realised I sucked at inbound sales, but had other talents. So I went and worked in the training department. Admin. I was OK at it. I like systems, but I yearned to be a trainer. Had a few small goes at it, but the timing was off.

Then they asked me to MC their yearly maniacal games. Imagine employees of different call centres. Jetstar. Medibank. Telstra. Then imagine turning them into a costume sporting, war paint wearing, roaring mass of adrenaline. Time off the phones. Time to kill!!! Machete!

It was fun. And I was the ring master. It got me noticed. And into the job I was meant for at that time.

Team Development. AKA HR. The funnest, most creative, quirky group of HR people I’ve ever met. (Discounting my sister in law, who is a force unto herself. She’s French. Super smart. Free spirit. I love you Cecile.)

I thrived in that environment. I worked in recruitment, cultural development, mediation, change management, OHS (boo!), and fun (yay!). So. Much. Fun. It’s a great company and I’m so thankful for my time there.

But about then, something else was going on in another pocket of my life.

I was in a comedy trio. The Squirth. Don’t ask. Don’t know. Myself, Craig Annis and Stefan Taylor. Such fine men. Great actors.

Boy could we produce content. When the threee of us (yes, threee) were together, we created material like mofos. It was awesome. Craig was the idea powerhouse. I was the structure guy. Stefan was the joke slinger. It worked.

We created two stage shows for Melbourne Fringe, a radio series on Kiss FM, and a 7 part comedy series on C31 (R.I.P.). All in 4 years. We were powering.

It got me thinking. Why don’t we start a production company? We’ll make corporate videos and use some of the money to pursue our creative ventures.

The boys liked it at first. But they were craving other ambitions. It wasn’t to be.

Or was it?

I was convinced it was a good idea. So I did it.

I started a company…

Storylab

It was the 12th of September 2008. I became known to ASIC. Registered the business name. Purchased a domain or two. Bought second-hand gear from some lovely people: an experienced producer and director. They had kind eyes. We connected. I was inspired.

So I stepped out. Started learning. Followed my instincts. Used the fire in me to blaze a trail.

I’m still blazing six years later. And will continue to do so. It’s my job. I’m a dragon after all.

(I also snuck in 5 years part-time at RMIT to learn screenwriting. Time well spent.)

Storytelling is a gift and I deeply respect it. I’m at a stage in my life where I appreciate my dark and light. My fears. My spirit. It brings so much to my work.

I love it all.