David Black interviews one of the hardest working women in the Australian indie movie industry — Dia Taylor!
Today I’m interviewing Dia Taylor, a 20-something independent filmmaker based in Melbourne but originally from Geelong. She mainly specialises in directing, producing, writing, cinematography, and 1st AD work, but has also been known to get in front of the camera on occasion.
I first met Dia when she was helping organise the Boogie Nights film nights, which showcase short movies by local film makers. One of her films was showing that night and I just knew that I had to be in one of her productions. I’ve managed to get myself into one or two, and we co-directed “Dark Night of the Zomboogies” together, however, she is that busy on so many shoots that I haven’t been able to catch up with her to do much more.
DB — Aha! I have you trapped Dia and you are going to tell me everything about your career and all the film shoots that you are involved in. You are not getting away until we know every single thing that you are up to. The public have a right to know! So let’s go right back to when you were just 12 and working with your aunt on movies. How did it all start and what did you two work on?
DT — hahaha you’ve got me! Ah yeah, when I first started filmmaking. That was a long time ago. My aunt Silvana McCausland. She was probably the reason I got into filmmaking honestly. The first film I ever had any involvement with was her short ‘The Shed Dwellers’ which was a mockumentry on man caves. It was only a special thanks but to a kid that was major.
After that, she cast me in a small role in her next film ‘Chocolate Fetish’. I was the babysitter in a film about the murder of a chocolate lover. I was only on set for a day but the whole spectacle of a set I just loved. After that she hired me as 2nd AD on her next film ‘Rules Is Rules’ about cavemen inventing gambling. We shot at a beach in the dead of winter really early in the morning. I wish I could tell you that was the last time that happened to me ahaha.
I’ve since been pushing Sil to make another short of hers so hopefully ‘Rules is Rules’ wont be the last we work on together.
DB — I believe you’ve put in a fair bit of time to studying your craft too Dia. Going right back to your high school days, tell us everything about what you have studied. Tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth!!!
DT — The whole truth? Oh gawd! Well yeah, so after I finished working with my Aunt, I wanted to make a few films of my own. So during high school, after school some friends and I would make really small terrible films of our own.
The first film I ever directed was called ‘Beauty and The Beast’ and was shot at my old house with my old Sony handicam. It was about a man living in the guilt of killing his girlfriend. I don’t usually like to mention it ahaha, it wasn’t the best.
They didn’t really teach filmmaking at my high school so I took a small course at NIDA for a bit on filmmaking and it helped a lot. As a kid I had spent most of my time studying acting at small studios such as Polkadots and Music Box in Geelong but I knew I wanted to be behind the camera.
‘Jane’ was my first decent film. A LGBTIQ story about unrequited love. We shot that back in around 2011 or 2012 I think, since then it was shown at The queers in shorts film festival in Oxford, UK and has been viewed over 45 thousand times on YouTube.
I did a Cert 2 or 3 in Multimedia too while I was studying VCE. After high school I went on to do a bachelor degree of film production at SAE Institute.
DB — Your IMDB goes right back to 2011 Dia. You’ve worked on films as an actress, writer, producer, director, production manager…. Pretty much everything. Is there one particular thing that you wish to specialise in? Quick! Tell us now! Enquiring minds demand to know.
DT — Hahaha yes, yes of course. I’ve done pretty much every job under the sun but I like to mainly specialise in directing, and I think by working in so many areas of film it helps with the directing side of things. To be a director you sort of have to have a basic understanding of all departments so when someone comes to you with an issue, you can sit down and work it out properly. So yeah, Definitely directing.
DB — With so many films that you have been involved in, is there one in particular that stands out for you? And don’t think about it too much. We want an honest answer without evasion, equivocation or mental reservation.
DT — Hmmmmm that’s a really tough one honestly. Every film has been really different. I’ve met so many amazing people on so many different projects too.
I’d have to say that there’s a few that do really stand out.
‘The Green Woman’ was my first feature and sort of the first film to get me into the industry. It was a real eye opener and I was so lucky to meet so many great people involved. Being on set nearly every day for a month was daunting.
‘Marital Problems’ was my first directorial feature and I sort of made like a little family with a lot of the cast and crew.
I guess I’d also have to mention recently, probably Nick Koniuszuko’s ‘Incident Report’ was probably one of my favourite projects to work on to this date and probably Nathan Hill’s ‘I, Portrait’. The casts and crews just worked really well together and the vibe on set was both friendly and professional.
Story wise though, probably a film I’m currently working on called ‘Little Miseries’, I have a lot of faith in this film. It should be out next year.
DB — It’s near impossible to keep up with what you are doing Dia, because I have never seen anyone so active, on so many shoots! And the variety of things you are doing on these sets is also mind blowing!!! It has my head spinning, so I have to ask you …. Where do you see yourself in 5 years? What direction do you want to take with your career?
DT — Haha yeah I’ve been accused of doing too much ahahaha.
In 5 years huh? Ideally probably living and working in the UK in a production company, maybe with another feature done and one currently in the works. I’m still yet to win an award — I’ve come pretty close but always the bridesmaid, never the bride — so that would be nice too. Maybe working half in Melbourne too.
DB — Damn, she got away! All I can see now is an empty chair, slowly spinning around and an open door. Well, for those who want to try to keep up with Dynamic Dia Taylor, here are some links
IMDB, Starnow, YouTube, FaceBook and Website
David Black regularly writes for Oz Indie Cinema and is the lead singer/ bass player for Darkness Visible