Michelle always wanted to perform, and as a kid was heavily involved in drama, school plays, musicals, choir and eisteddfods. Obsessed with Theatre, Film & TV and actresses like Meryl Streep, Judy Davis and Molly from A Country Practice, she wanted to be just like them! However, fresh from graduating with a Bachelor of Performing Arts,from University of Western Sydney, NSW, the reality of poorly paid co-op theatre, and endless unsuccessful TVC castings was utterly depressing. It wasn’t until she volunteered at AFTRS, assisting the students undertaking the Producers course with their short films, that she took a side step from her long-held passion of performing and discovered the thrill of being on-set and amongst the nuts and bolts of film making.
Jenni Tosi and Alan Hardy gave Michelle her very first paid job as a runner on the children’s TV series Fergus McPhail. It was a chance she seized, and has been working ever since, being put to task in Production, Art Department and currently Locations, where she is enjoying the highly creative and collaborative process of Location Scouting
It was a thrill and challenge for Michelle to work on the feature film Where The Wild Things Are, shot in Melbourne, purely for the sheer scale of the project and her childhood nostalgia. (as well as dancing with Spike Jonze at the wrap party!) Seeing the film on the big screen filled her with pride. Another highlight was working in the locations department for the Foxtel Series The Kettering Incident, shot entirely in Tasmania. Stunning locations, great producers, awesome crew and the feeling they were making something very special for Tassie made going to work everyday an absolute joy.
Working on The Doctor Blake Mysteries was a great pleasure and one which truly flexed her location scouting muscles - trying to find Ballarat circa 1960 within modern Melbourne was quite the history lesson! The production team were an inspiration to Michelle, who calls them “true-believers of the art of film making and story telling”.
Michelle also found it challenging and highly rewarding to work within the Locations department of several seasons of Offspring, where maintaining a good relationship with the Fitzroy community was paramount, and where the producers and creatives were wonderfully collaborative and inspiring.
Her advice to women seeking a career in the industry would be: roll up your sleeves, get amongst it, muck in, try lots of different departments, listen and ask questions, have fun, absorb as much as you can from the producers and creatives, be prepared to take risks, work hard and task master but learn to switch off too, and finally, look after your film family and they will look after you.