In the Rainbow

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[00:00:00] This program is brought to you by pride nz.com. [00:00:05] So in the rainbow, it's a series, that's the seven part TV series, and it's all about LGBT youth. But I've used each color of the rainbow to tent and also tied to the emotion of the story. So for example, Episode One is red, and the emotion is passion. And then like green is envy. So it kind of it ties over with the emotion of the story as well, well, including the iconic rainbow flag. [00:00:29] So we did the series idea come from, [00:00:32] it kind of came for a very long time of a lot of people sharing their stories with me, I've always wanted to make content that very much shines a light on underrepresented topics and communities. And so it was kind of a lot of people came to me with stories and share things with me over the years, just little anecdotes and that sort of stuff. And I just thought it would be an amazing thing to take these true stories and show them to the rest of the country. [00:00:56] So why was it important to make it now? [00:00:59] I think why is it not important to make it now I think that even though it's 2019, the rainbow community is still very underrepresented, especially on screen. And I think that anytime is important to make it so Why not now? [00:01:12] How did you get into filmmaking? [00:01:13] Um, I have always been incredibly passionate for like all of the arts. And filmmaking kind of struck me when I think I was about 12. And I was on my first feature film set. And I was like, This is amazing. I want to do this forever. And so when I was 15, I started out my own film production company and started making my own short films. So yeah, [00:01:35] going from a short film to a seven part series is quite a jump. Can you tell me about that process? [00:01:40] I yes, it was quite a jump for me, I kind of to make sure I didn't just have a breakdown and freak out about it. I thought about it as I'm making seven short films. And that's how I kind of pictured it in my mind. But it was amazing. And it was very terrifying with me such a big crew because a lot of the a lot of the crew members who were kind of assistance I hadn't met like other people admit them. And so I turned out on the first day, and I was like, Oh my god, there's so many people here, I have to keep an eye on all of them. So it was a little bit terrifying, but a really good experience as well. [00:02:11] So So did the series actually start kind of development and production before you pitched it to TVNZ? Or is it kind of one of the things that happens at the same time? [00:02:18] Um, so it did, it was an idea well, before I pitched it to TVNZ it, but it was really good because in the pitching process to TV and said, I had to write a three page overview on basically why thought was important, what it was going to be like, and that sort of thing, which was actually really good for me to kind of take all these ideas that I had, and kind of fine tune into explaining it in three pages. So yeah, it was kind of a kind of run parallel, but the idea was a lot earlier. [00:02:43] So and what was the response from TVNZ? [00:02:46] Um, it was amazing. I remember I got the email from them saying that I was in the top 10 in the country, which means that I still wasn't that I hadn't been definitely funded yet. But I got that got there. And they were really, they were really amazing about it. A lot of people have asked me before, I'm only 18. And a lot of people have asked me how they responded to the fact that I was 18. And I see that it's really interesting, because it's actually people outside of the big networks that respond differently to my age, whereas TV and they were just really supportive. They were like we can kind of will provide you anything you need to kind of make this happen. So they were really cool about that. [00:03:19] And you say funding, what kind of funding we talking. [00:03:22] So they pretty much funded us to make it. So they gave us certain segments of funding to then pay out the cast and crew and everything, which was awesome for me. Because I've always worked on basically just asking people, please be in my seat. But I was like, please be in my short film, I can't pay you anything. But please do it. Because Because you love so. Um, so it was really cool to actually be able to give something to people for their time. [00:03:44] You've talked briefly about where some of the stories came from. I just wondering, can you talk about the process of actually kind of writing these seven stories? [00:03:52] Yeah, so the, it's all inspired by true stories. And a series of them came from people that I know, I actually sat down with interviewed, which was really cool. And then also a lot of people anonymously submitted stories. And so they did them over the internet and just wrote down their story. And then since then, which was a really cool way to get people who probably wouldn't want to have the name face attached to something to be able to share something so personal. And so from that I just went about basically looking at the stories that I had, and kind of working the mentor structure. And a lot of them actually almost a true adaption of the story. So they're not even inspired by it's like a second straight tower. So yeah, and then kind of putting them together and writing what we have now. [00:04:33] Because there isn't a lot of kind of LGBT content created in New Zealand in terms of like being on TV or whatever. Did you finally find any pressure that to kind of represent everybody? [00:04:45] I did. And I did have a lot of people say to me afterwards, I was like, Oh, why did you not show the story of the story. And the thing was, for me as I really wanted to add such cover the basics, like cover just the kind of the everyday stories and just kind of the main ones. And I'm like, well, and in season two, I'll go way more into depth of all the other stories. But for now, this is kind of what we have. And I did I've had amazing feedback from anyone I from everyone. I don't know if I've actually heard a piece of negative feedback yet, which is really cool. So [00:05:15] yeah. Can you talk a wee bit about the importance of local stories and local voices, because so much in the media is international? [00:05:21] Yeah, I think it's so important. And that's something big for me, as well as all the stories are from New Zealanders. And one of my cast members, he said that something he loved about it was knowing that this represented like it fully 100% represented the queer experience of growing up in New Zealand. And so I think it's really important because we do watch so much content that is from overseas, and to be able to actually see something from people who, like they're just, they're just people in New Zealand. I think that's really cool. So [00:05:50] yeah, what was the story that affected you the most? [00:05:54] Oh, I love them all. But whenever people ask me, as I always say, I always say episode three. So that's a story. So it's yellow. And it's a story about a young gay man who hasn't come out yet. And he discovers when he's going through some of this stuff, he discovers some quite interesting information about his grandfather. And the fact that actually, he was gay that from the time of the war, and again, all inspired by true stories. And that one really touched me. But that was like that one I always loved I couldn't ever read or anything without crying, but then also the second episode, which is, it's a sibling based episode and having a sibling of my own. That was like, it's a sisterhood type thing. And so that one emotionally really kind of hit me as well. Yeah. [00:06:41] Thinking about people in earlier times, have you seen a lot of early New Zealand queer film? i? Yes, [00:06:47] I have. I have seen some, again, is kind of like a lot more documentary based stuff. But it was just around. A lot of people have said to me, like, Did you take kind of something from that, but in a way, and a lot of people who writes stuff, they kind of like, you almost want to distance yourself a little bit when you're writing from the other content to make sure that you don't make it like that, if that makes sense. But yeah, yeah, there's lots of there's lots of great companies, not enough, I'm [00:07:12] just thinking about some of the those earlier pieces, those earlier films, can you compare the subject matter to your subject matter, or the way that they filmed it to the way you film it now. [00:07:23] Um, so like, I do think that it's like, there are a lot of crossovers, something that was really big for me was that a lot of a lot of queer content that I've seen has either been very big on kind of going into specific way. And this whole people have said to me, like gay, the gay stories. And so something it was really big for me was actually going into the full LGBT having all of those stories. And also, I feel like something for me was that, I felt like a lot of them. They were they were great. And they were, but they weren't very, like visually beautiful, which was why I really wanted to do the whole rainbow thing and make it something that you watch. And you're like, visually, this looks incredible. And so that was really big for me, just because I thought the end people would really enjoy watching it because people love people love watching stuff that's aesthetically pleasing. [00:08:09] Do you see yourself in any of these stories or any of these experiences? [00:08:12] I think I can relate to quite a few of them. But a lot of people have actually asked me with I put anything of my experiences in it. And and that I did. And I specifically didn't want to, because I almost wanted to have I wanted to show everyone else I didn't want to make it a platform to be like, all this is something about me. It's just like, it's it's about the rest of New Zealand. But yes, I can relate to a lot of a lot of scenarios. [00:08:38] Yeah. How easy or difficult was it to find actors for the series. [00:08:43] Um, I think that some of them were really easy to find. Some are harder, they were few bits that I was extremely specific about. So like, for example, Episode Four, has a trans girl on it. And I was like, we have to have a transfer. Like we just have to I can't I can't do it any other way. It was it wasn't the time we were casting wasn't after the hot wasn't that after the whole Scarlett Johansson thing, we down and I was like, I cannot do that. And also, I really wanted to show that these are queer stories, but they also played by queer actors. And so that was really big for me. But there were a few, a few cast members that were very hard to find. But we found them so so that's good. [00:09:18] What do you want people to take away from from the series after seeing it, [00:09:22] I think there's two really big things that I think like I really want people to take away from it. And that is for, for the queer community to watch it and really see themselves represented on screen and kind of be able to go, oh my gosh, first of all, like this happened to me, I mean, people actually connecting over it. And I saw that very early on when we were going over scripts, and people actually, they were reading something and they're like, Oh my God, this happened to me, and someone else was like, Oh, my God, this happened to me too. And so I think it's a really big connection with that. And also for people who aren't in the queer community to really watch it and get a deeper understanding into a lot of the first of all, like a lot of struggles that people go through. But the so there's a lot of relation, like a lot of people who have seen that have said to me, even though they're straight have kind of been like I can almost relate to the story. And I think that that's something really big they want people to take away from it is it's everything is just like it's just human emotion. There's nothing kind of it's just, it's just people and they're just dealing with the same problems and with with family and love and all that sort of thing. So yeah. [00:10:22] Did anything surprise you during the production of the series? [00:10:25] Um, what's what surprised me? Well, I did actually have I love I love sharing this because there was this one little surprise that I had. And, and it was with one of my camera guys, and he's a very, I love I love this camera guy. And but he's a very, like, he's a very serious person. And he was we were filming episode, orange, Episode Two, and it was like the fourth day or something. And I went over to Chico's camera, and I was like, I'll just stand here and watch it through your camera for a little bit. And, and as we were, as we were filming it, he started getting like I looked over and I was like he's getting a little bit teary. I'll say, Oh, my gosh, what's happening? Yeah, I didn't want to say anything. But then a few days later, we were viewing the footage. And the story is about a young as born a female who feels that she is a male. And, and he was looking at it. And he was like, Oh, this this story. I really loved it. Because my sister recently told us at Christmas that she actually wants to be asked it brother. And so for him hitting that like really personal note. And actually me seeing that on only the first week of filming. That was really cool event that surprised me a lot. [00:11:32] for you What has been the most kind of emotional part of this journey? Because I know that if you're looking at a story on film or writing it, you're reading it or seeing it over and over again in the editing process. What what At what point is it really emotional for you. [00:11:46] Um, it was everything is very emotional. But getting the true stories was probably one of the most emotional parts for me is actually reading these people's stories. And it really hit me like I think about one of the stories I got on mobile overseas. And I was said in all of Oxford Street in London, and I was just crying. I was like, I was just like, oh my god, this is so like, amazing. But like, every part is very emotional. For me seeing the actors bring it to life that always hits me very hard. It's kind of like seeing them relive something. And also, probably personally for me when it actually came out. And actually people seeing it and the day it came out on TV and see like my inbox started flooding up on like my social media with people being like, Oh my god, people didn't even know being like we've seen it. We love it, like that sort of thing. And that was very unreal for me. And also people who are total strangers who recognized me and set talk to me. Like literally on my flight down here to Wellington, I had to two girls were sitting next to me. And one of them like we were we were literally we just take off and one of them leaned over to me She's like, this may sound really weird, but I need that girl we met in the room. It was just like, oh my god, what is happening to me right now. And so that stuff for me is to kind of say the effects that it's having on the country is really cool. And that's very emotional. [00:13:00] Tell me more about the response, your pitch the series. [00:13:03] It's been it's been really good. Like I said, I haven't I haven't heard anything bad. But I just wonder if anything bad scene, if everyone just hides it from me. They're just like, don't look over here, look over here. And but it's been really good. I've had lots of lots of positive feedback from both cast and crew, my friends, just complete strangers. I've literally so many people who have just come up to me and being like, Oh my god, like every every night. I'm in town in Oakland. And they'll be someone who describes me. They're like, Oh, hi, Rose. And I'm like, I don't know who you are. And they just say to me, they're like, oh, I've seen your series. And it's amazing. So that's really cool. And something that's really cool for me, as well as some of the stories inspired by people that I know. And so those people their response to it was super cool. And like, for example, one of the Episode Episode sex. The two girls that's inspired by people that were very close to the family, friends of ours, and one of them came to the screening and she said to me, she was like, Oh my god, the actors even look like us. And so seeing stuff like that and hearing that sort of thing just makes me even well happy that I made up so [00:14:01] yeah, it's such a powerful thing when you actually see yourself represented on screen. When was the first time you saw yourself represented on screen? [00:14:10] Oh, I don't know if I've ever seen myself represented on screen. That's very hard. I feel like there's a lot of there's a lot of stuff out there about and that's a that's a big thing for me as well. I don't know if i think that i watch media and I'm like, Oh, I can kind of I connect to this character I can get to that character. But I don't know if I've ever seen someone exactly like me. I think I'm I think I'm a little bit too weird. I can see my sister chocolate me being like you're a little bit too weird to be on screen. Oh, okay, so apparently I'm the home alone. Um, so yeah, I think I think that there's definitely, there's definitely some movies that I watch. And the biggest thing that I relate to and media is when I see a very small, determined child, and I'm like, that's me right there. I remember we used to read the books the event, but they'd Adventures of Sophie, what was the name Sophie. And Mama was always like, this is exactly you. She's just determined and small. And I'm like, Yeah, that's true. So you [00:15:00] now holy sister, you were also part of the series. Yes. [00:15:05] Yes, I am helped out with some of the back end writing work before the scripts was submitted to TV and did. How was them? It was very interesting. I am letting my writing got into the world is always a struggle. But it was very cool to see the stories I wrote the on screen and being filmed. I went up for the filming of the last episodes that I wrote, and I cried every take, and I got made fun of endlessly for that. But [00:15:32] this was actually one of my favorite things as my sister is a bit because she can be a bit of an ice woman sometimes. And she was like, the whole day of filming. I was like it was during the day. And I was like, isn't it sweet? Isn't it sweet? And she? And she was just like, yeah, yeah, sure, sure. And then we got stuck. We were filming the last scene. And it's like, if you haven't seen it, but the end of the last episode is extremely emotional. Like, this is the pipe go watch it right now. Um, and we were filming it. And I was moving with the camera and I sit back and I turned around, and Hollywood bawling her eyes out. I was like, Yes, I've done it. I've got to the eyes gray. So that was also very good moment for me. [00:16:08] So Holly, why is it so emotional when you when you see your scripts coming to life like that? [00:16:13] I guess because it's so uncommon to find media that you relate to. And I know that I am more than rose put myself into the scripts that I write and seeing those stories and I don't know it feels like I am. I created a happy ending. And it makes me feel like I can create happy endings in the real world. Makes me happy. [00:16:36] Yeah, I mean, what was it important to have happy endings? [00:16:40] Yes, I feel like so much of the queer media that's published either get stuck in the tropes of the struggles of coming out or they end up with, with unhappy endings. I got that feedback from a friend of mine who watched it and she said that, in one of the episode, she was convinced that something was going to happen and it was going to, like fall apart was gonna be an unhappy ending. But she was really shocked when it was just wholesome and sweet at the end. I feel like I feel like there's a lot of tragedies in gay media and there needs to be more happy endings, to be honest. [00:17:11] Well, a happy ending that you kind of alluded to, at the start was series two. [00:17:18] Yes, sir. I am very keen to make a season two of this. And famous say that effect script that script those words, I'm like, I'm making a season two of it. Whether like so TV and said, yeah, that's that's the one. So yes, I want to make a season two, I've always want to make a season two, I think it's something that really kind of deserves more. Like, there's more, there's more to tell. And so I really want to I really want to do that again. Yeah. [00:17:43] Do you have any advice for up and coming LGBT or rainbow filmmakers. [00:17:49] Um, I would say just go do it. This is my this is my life advice for anyone is just get out there, make content, grab some people. For me, unlike when I made my first short film 15, which again, my sister Holly road, and for me, whenever I watch it, I cringe because I'm just like, there's so many bits that I did wrong. But I think that if you just get out there and make stuff, people will enjoy it. And they'll watch it. And that's the only way of getting better. It's just by creating content for people to watch. [00:18:16] Now we are standing at the rainbow crossing it. And I wonder, can you talk to me just on a personal note, what does visibility and being at a rainbow crossing entering a rainbow series mean to you? [00:18:28] Um, I think that, like I said, it's a very big visibility thing. I think that people in the queer community really need to see themselves represented in the media, and I think can have a big effect on a lot of people who can be struggling. And I think that seeing open queer rainbow stuff is so important. And a lot of people see that at stuff like schools where people are encouraged like teachers to put on rainbow pens, and then it makes it makes kids feel like I know this person is supportive. And so I think seeing visually, right makes the younger generation be like there's there's hope for change like it's coming. And so I think that's super important. [00:19:08] I mean, Rose pretty much summed it up. I just think that it's it's so important to be able to see yourself media is such a important part of our society today. And to be able to see yourself represented in in an authentic way on screen is incredibly important because for so long, the any portrayals of queer people in the media has been refined to the quick coating of villains or unhappy stories and it's time for a change.

This page features computer generated text of the source audio - it is not a transcript. The Artificial Intelligence Text is provided to help users when searching for keywords or phrases. The text has not been manually checked for accuracy against the original audio and will contain many errors.