You were once a tennis professional, and now you’re making documentaries. Enlighten us – how does one make such a transition?
I’m a tennis professional by trade and an expert at avoiding real jobs. I still play tennis. I trained competed professionally in Europe, but when I came back, I felt the impending doom of a career ending. I wanted a shift and I didn’t know what it was. It had to be something that I was going to enjoy showing up to on a daily basis. So I got into entertaining and film making. A perfect industry for weirdos and creatives.
Producing films is no small task – how do you fit it all into a regular work day?
I’m much more comfortable spending 65 hours a week doing random things that somehow end up related, rather than applying myself for 40 hours a week to a single job.
You’ve just started filming Show Us Ya Cups, so what can we expect?
It’s a live experiment. We’ve asked cafe’s in Brisbane, Ipswich and the Gold Coast to offer customers a $2 coffee if they bring their own reusable cup, rather than choosing a disposable one. We’ve been trying to coach the cafes that are on board to ask their customers when they order a coffee, “Did you bring your own cup?” We’re breaking a ritual with a simple question and that’s what we want to film.
We’ve heard of a guy called Uncle Bruce, who is a big part of this latest documentary and bears a striking resemblance to yourself. Who is he?
He lives inside of me.
How did Uncle Bruce come to life?
I wanted to create a character that was relatable but also loveable, rather than just your standard loud-mouthed bogan. Someone that people would have a heavy heart for. I am really fascinated by male mental health issues so I introduced Uncle Bruce as someone who’s contribution to the community would be a big part of people’s therapy and recovery. Comedy is a really good way of getting through to people.
How does your passion for men’s mental health come into the picture?
As I started to recover from a number debilitating issues of my own, the first friends that I started to spend quality time with were single mums, because there weren’t many dudes in their 30s who wanted to get together and have a coffee and talk about how they felt. I have since found the bromance factor and we’re all getting open and honest about the issues. There was a campaign about how men can chat side by side, but not face to face, and it’s true that guys can have a yarn in the work truck – but as soon as there is eye contact, something changes.
So, paper cups and men’s mental health – what’s with the combo?
This example best describes it – there’s a young person who has a beating green heart, studies science and works within the field of conservation, but is still willing to over-buy things or make consumer purchases which can have grave harm on the environment, like coffee in paper cups. I don’t think there will be a huge impact on reducing environmental harm, unless people are feeling great about themselves. You could not try and make a positive impact on either issue without considering the other first. It took me 18 months before I was using a reusable cup all of the time. At the start I felt lazy and I couldn’t be bothered running back into the house if I forgot it. I realised that this little bit of inconsideration was causing me to make a choice that would be harmful in an environmental sense. It didn’t mean I wasn’t caring about the environment, it was my attitude that was in the way. I’ve learned more about myself by trying to challenge my everyday habits, like using a reusable coffee cup, than I ever did at school, university or in the workplace.
Finally, when can we expect a screening of Show Us Ya Cups?
At this stage, late November. I have a great friend here on the Gold Coast who would be absolutely rolling her eyes at my lack of planning. I lock something in, then I figure out how I am going to make it happen. I seem to work better with spontaneity.