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B. J. McBride

answers the Usual Questions

Photograph, Brad

Australian filmmaker B. J. McBride

Has your interaction with fans, for example, at conventions, affected your work?

This is an interesting question and to be honest, one I really don't believe is best for my situation as I do not interact with fans as such. I stay on my own and work on my projects and then the publicity machine takes care of the profiling of the film release etc. I have gained some attention from industry people and a small group of supporters who relay information and interests to me through various channels yet mostly they understand that I am about the films, not the image I have to have as anyone special.

I do what people wish to do because I choose to...people admire this I guess? When I started, I recall the early stages of gathering my research to be a filmmaker and make an impact different from everyone else...I was told by several that my Clint Eastwood maverick style wouldn't last or achieve a great deal in the film industry today...not like it did 30 years ago...

I use Clint Eastwood as the model of my approach and have set up my own production company and my own distribution company, FilmFunding Australia, for the sole purpose of being able to produce, write, direct and star in my own films without anyone else's bull sh*t.

I also designed my production house and distribution house to be the direct opposite of the failing government system, so many other filmmakers can actually have a fair chance of making low budget Indie films...right now I see many filmmakers bashing their heads against walls and wasting time, or just talking all the time and not doing...Students come out of film schools broke and disillusioned and for a short time optimistic (thinking) the industry exists for their benefit...wrong...I want filmmakers and film students to have a real starting point and use their potential.

Mostly I want Australian talent to stay in Australia as much as possible because we have the greatest of everything in the world...only some don't see it until they leave...! I guess one thing that affects my work is that it has to serve everyone involved, not just me...

Is there any particular incident (a letter, a meeting, a comment that stands out?

Yes, there is, my first film, My Mate Mick went through 5 months of development and pre-production almost two weeks out of shooting and the backers pulled the funding. I couldn't get government funding at the time because they had started changing the whole system to benefit themselves - again - and I lost that production at the time.

I was very disappointed yet more so for disappointing everyone who had worked so hard and believed in the project...that really sucks! The backer explained that I had to have a named actor for the cast to be marketable or an award winning crew, which mind you they were not willing to put anymore money into our low budget $300,000AUS film for me to afford any extra cast and crew...they said they felt it would come out as a hackers film, a home movie and be a waste of money.

I was also a first time director and they were not confident I knew what I was doing yet I had hired an exceptional DOP, Rodney Bolton, who I trusted to guide me through the technical I am mostly an actor's director -- not a techie! This conversation about NOT being able to help new actor's gain their own names, or the fact my film would be a hack filmmakers production motivated me so much, I went out and within a year made two more feature films without their help and a short film with now four productions in line for development...I guess if you want me to do something: tell me I can't do it!

Do you have a favourite author or book (or writer or film or series) that has influenced you or that you return to?

The only book that I read and read and read is Napoleon Hill - Think And Grow Rich and not for any money idea but the richness of my faith and spirit to be strong and focused, and be able to face challenges and expectations without overwhelm or fear.

It is a great book. I read all the time and I love good thrillers, dramas, and biographies on people who have achieved after many failings. I think that is the best key to success -- be prepared to fail, and measure your milestones as learning points, not glorified moments.

We have a lot lessons in life to learn and everyone of them can be successful if we are learning from the first...Clint Eastwood as a filmmaker has influenced me greatly, not for his acting, more his production smarts and ability to know his story and believe.

Who is the person you would most like to be trapped in a lift with? or a spaceship?

Clint Eastwood...yet he would probably want me there the least because I would annoy him no end...but then again, I often imagined what I would do if I met him...possibly be awe struck I would be mute and pee my pants..!! It is silly how people who are no different to us really are portrayed by us in such a manner...I guess that's why Jesus is so popular.

Who is the person you would most DISlike to be trapped in a lift with? Or a spaceship?


I am an arrogant and obtuse person who can be very moody and annoying...especially if I am on a project of passion. I would drive myself nuts!! Not sure why my partner, Helen, stays around as I have driven her to the edge a few times! The cast and crew are lucky; they see me as this dynamic filmmaker...underneath is a very selfish and centred and mostly uncompromising man of great creativity and passion. It's interesting that often the things people have loved about me at the start of knowing me, have become the things they have hated at the end of knowing me?! Either that or this guy I met once on a train -- man, I almost leapt off the thing to get away from him!!

What would you pack for space? (Is there a food, beverage, book, teddy bear, etc that you couldn't do without?)

Depends how long I was going, so quantity would vary but I know the items would consist of - Coke (the Drink), smokes, coffee, laptop with long life battery or extension cord. That would be all I would ever need to be happy. We are just waiting to die anyway, I figure live it the way you want; why fear the inevitable facts. It's the uncertainties that will scare the sh*t out of you!

What is the most important thing you would like to get/achieve from your work?

That people like my stories and my cast/crew gain more experience and opportunity for their work. That's all. Money comes and goes and you only need enough to feed and provide a home for your family. The rest is just for showing off. A rich spirit will aid you more in life than the wallet you can never fill...

What is the special satisfaction of your work?

Its mine.
I thought of it alone in a dark room writing for days and weeks, I presented it to the people I trusted who also liked it and then we made it come to life together in a film that many more will see...I designed it, outlined it and drafted its purpose and then everyone else, including the cast and crew and the audience, gave it a life of its own.

My job is done once it is in the world. It's the audiences film then. Filmmakers need to remember who they make films for...I also love that I have future projects in the wings - A Father's Choice, Men From Boys, The Birth of Anna -- this makes me feel very confident of longevity and prosperity for my efforts.

I know this can be a fickle industry and I see so many people focused on themselves and projects, it makes me sad to see limited visions; yet I am very satisfied I will be able to tell stories for a long time. I am young and ambitious...why wouldn't I?

submitted by B. J. McBride

February, 2010

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Just the facts:
Resides: Melbourne, Australia
Tongues Writer/Director Amigo Films Productions
Men From Boys Writer Director Amigo Films Productions
A Reason To Die Writer/Director Amigo Films Production
Almanac Writer/Director Amigo Films Production
A Wonderful mess Writer/Director Amigo Films Production
A Father's Choice (In Development) Director/Writer Amigo Films Productions
The Birth Of Anna Armstrong (In Development)

Independent Spirit Award, 2009, Nominated for achievement in independent production criteria and value of marketing low budget films

Web site:
IMDB entry


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