Grok sits down with Will Lawler, a third-year Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Commerce student majoring in Marketing and Screen Arts. We learn more about his passion in film and involvement with Curtin Film Production Society.
Will’s interest in film production started when he was in high school. Upon thriving in his media classes, he later decided to pursue Screen Arts at Curtin University.
“Obviously, it’s a bit of a dream to get into the film industry, as it’s quite competitive and challenging,” Will says.
“That’s why I’m doing a double degree by majoring in Marketing, which could either allow me to have the upper-hand in the industry [in terms of knowing how to network, advertise and promote film] or even serve as a back-up plan.”
Knowing how grueling the film industry can be, Will mentions how he was met with hesitance after telling others that he wanted to pursue film.
“Although there is a potential film studio being built here in Perth, most people don’t really see it [film production] as a proper or realistic job,” he notes.
“But there are different areas of film where you can study or work in, so I feel there’s somewhere I can fit in.”
At the moment, Will looks up to directors such as Taika Waititi, Jordan Peele, Edgar Wright, Greta Gerwig and Christopher Nolan.
“For the record, I found “Barbie” (Gerwig, 2023) a lot more enjoyable than “Oppenheimer” (Nolan, 2023),” Will chuckles.
As the current President of Curtin Film Production Society, we ask Will how his experience as a committee member has benefitted him and his videography skills.
“I find that the people in CFPS are quite fun to work with. It’s a really good experience in terms of mentoring, networking and organising workshops that focus on directing, producing or writing to improve one’s skill-set,” he says.
Regarding his presidential responsibilities, Will is responsible for chairing meetings, attending events, as well as promoting and making executive decisions for the club alongside the CFPS committee.
Through CFPS, Will also had the opportunity to contribute to their 2021 Summer Project “Stained” (Hoare, 2021), where he worked as a prop master.
“I made bird poop, and I threw it on the wall. That was my main job,” he laughs. “It almost didn’t make it into the film though.”
With the Writers Guild of America (WGA) strikes currently underway, Will acknowledges the risks of sacrificing one’s financial stability and emotional well-being in exchange for working in the film industry.
“People don’t get paid properly, and the higher-ups in large corporations are the ones who keep the money. […] a lot of people say ‘don’t make your passion your life’s work’, but in the film industry, your whole life becomes your work,” he says.
“I think it’s kind of scary — I don’t want to lose my life to my job. […] but every job has its downsides, so I suppose it depends on how persistent you are with pursuing your career.”
At the moment, Will works for Teach Learn Grow (TLG) as a marketing officer, where he’s responsible for managing their social media platforms.
After he finishes his course, Will hopes to continue gaining marketing experience through these organisations, and eventually branch out into the film industry.
For Curtin University students who are thinking about studying film or joining CFPS, Will says that ‘all it takes is the first leap’.
“No one is going to hold your hand or encourage you in the film industry — you have to make these decisions by yourself. […] you’re the only one driving your own dreams,” he affirms.
“Since art is so subjective too, it’s important not to pour your whole heart out into one project or try to compete with others. […] make sure to write every [story/film] idea down, and don’t discredit them. All ideas can be pursued, it’s just a matter of how much you change it or expand on it.”
CFPS intends to hold a variety of events this semester, including their upcoming Movie Night in Week 4, Screenwriting Workshops in Week 8 (Tuesday, 12 September) and Week 10 (Tuesday, 26 September), and a Pitch Night (Week 11) in preparation for their Summer Projects, which are scheduled to start production from November until January.
In addition, CFPS plans to host their annual Cygnet Student Film Festival in February 2024, where audiences will hopefully get a sneak preview of their productions filmed over the summer.