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Podcast – Producer Bruna Papandrea: taking books to screen

Producer Bruna Papandrea from Made Up Stories on why there’s nowhere better than Australia to make film and television.

Splice of Naomi Watts in Penguin Bloom, Bruna Papandrea at The Dry premiere and Eric Bana in The Dry

Penguin Bloom, Bruna Papandrea, The Dry

Find this episode of the Screen Australia Podcast on iTunes, SpotifyStitcher or Pocket Casts

From Gone Girl to Big Little Lies and more recently, The Dry, Penguin Bloom and Nine Perfect Strangers, Australian producer Bruna Papandrea has long had an affinity with shepherding books to screen.

“I’ve always worked with books since my first job with Anthony Minghella and Sydney Pollack, who adapted a lot of IP. That’s kind of where I learned my love for it and where I got access to a lot of unpublished manuscripts. So that’s where it started,” Papandrea says on the latest episode of the Screen Australia podcast.

She talks about how they decide whether or not a story will be best suited for television or film. With zombie romcom Warm Bodies, Papandrea remembers reading the unpublished manuscript and instinctively knowing it was a film. With Big Little Lies, she says both she and Nicole Kidman (who starred and executive produced through her production company Blossom Films) both felt only television would do the story justice. But other times it’s not so clear.

“Sometimes we’ll actually give it to a screenwriter and say, ‘what do you think?’” she says.

Throughout the podcast, Papandrea speaks to adaptations, to her producing partnership with Reese Witherspoon through the company Pacific Standard, and then becoming the co-founder and CEO of Made Up Stories (read more about Made Up Stories in this Q&A with Papandrea’s producing partners Steve Hutensky and Jodi Matterson here).

She also explains how they decide which streamer or network to pitch television ideas to, and the challenges of the past year, including: relocating the shoot for two series (Hulu’s Nine Perfect Strangers and Netflix’s Pieces of Her) to Australia because of COVID-19; the release of HBO series The Undoing on Foxtel; and the release of two major Australian films through Roadshow Films, with The Dry out now and Penguin Bloom releasing 21 January.

“Steve and I were both here the entire making of Penguin Bloom,” Papandrea says of her and producing partner and husband Steve Hutensky, who usually work from the Made Up Stories office in the US.

“And it was a reminder to me… I just honestly don’t think there’s anywhere better in the world to make movies and TV shows.”

Papandrea also talks to the future. When people ask her what she wants to do next, she says: “I’d like to make Wonder Woman. I think that would be really fun [to] make a big, big movie. I want to be able to make The Nightingale and I also want to be able to make Wonder Woman. I don’t want to put any limitations on what we do.”

The Dry is in Australian cinemas now

Penguin Bloom releases 21 January through Roadshow Films

The Undoing is available of Foxtel and streaming service Binge now

For feedback about this episode, please email Podcast.

Subscribe to Screen Australia Podcast on iTunes, SpotifyStitcher or Pocket Casts

Audio Transcript

[00:00:03] Caris Bizzaca  Welcome to the Screen Australia podcast. I'm Caris Bizzaca, a journalist with Screen Australia's online publication Screen News. For this episode, our first of the year, we're joined by producer Bruna Papandrea from the production company Made Up Stories who, despite it being January, have had a very busy 2021 so far. Bruna and fellow Made Up Stories producers Steve Hutensky and Jodi Matterson are behind the new feature film, The Dry, which released on the 1st of January and in two weeks, has pulled in $6.8 million at the local box office. They also produced the feature Penguin Bloom, which stars Naomi Watts and releases on the 21st of January, with both films distributed through Roadshow Pictures. On top of that, though, they just wrapped filming on the Hulu series Nine Perfect Strangers in New South Wales, which stars the likes of Melissa McCarthy and Nicole Kidman, who also executive produced through her production company Blossom Films. The series, which shifted from an international shoot to Australia due to COVID-19, is based on the novel by Liane Moriarty and is not the only adaptation from Made Up Stories in the works. There's a Netflix series, Pieces of Her, starring Toni Collette, which is set to shoot in Australia, as well as Anatomy of a Scandal, which is in production in London. And they both come off the back of the release of another adaptation, the HBO series The Undoing, with Nicole Kidman again starring an executive producing and which you can check out on Foxtel now. This love of books and adaptations is one of a number of things Bruna speaks to in the podcast, as well as how they decide if a story suits the television or film format, pitching to different television streamers, and her advice to producers. Also, as a bit of background, many would be familiar with Bruna's work, not just through the Made Up Stories titles, but before then. Bruna was a producer on a variety of films from Australian feature Better Than Sex to zombie romcom Warm Bodies, and also had a successful production company with Reese Witherspoon called Pacific Standard, where they produced films like Gone Girl and Wild and Emmy Award-winning HBO series Big Little Lies. Since Made Up Stories formed in 2017, Bruna and producing partners Jodi Matterson and Steve Hutensky, who is also Bruna's husband, have also made titles including The Nightingale and Little Monsters. Now, before we get to the chat, remember you can subscribe to the Screen Australia podcast through places like Spotify and iTunes, where you can leave a rating and review. We also have the fortnightly Screen Australia eNews to subscribe to, which will ensure you up to date with all the latest local opportunities, funding announcements, videos, articles and more. But now here's producer Bruna Papandrea from Made Up Stories.

[00:02:57] Caris Bizzaca Welcome to the Screen Australia podcast.

[00:02:59] Bruna Papandrea Thank you. It's great to be here.

[00:03:01] Caris Bizzaca First of all, could you tell me a bit about your background in the industry and your role at Made Up Stories.

[00:03:09] Bruna Papandrea Yes. So my name's Bruna Papandrea and I'm the CEO and founder of Made Up Stories. I'm Australian. I've lived out of Australia since 2000, since I made my first movie Better Than Sex in 2000 and hard to believe, but 20 years later, here I am, back. Still making things in Australia.

[00:03:29] Caris Bizzaca So Made Up Stories, obviously, your production company - can you tell me about what instigated starting that, you know you were working in the US at the time - what kind of started it?

[00:03:41] Bruna Papandrea Yeah, I was working in the US at the time and I had a company for a few years with Reese Witherspoon called Pacific Standard, where our mandate was really to put women in front of the camera. And then when I wanted to start my own company, I wanted to continue with that mandate, but also really with a focus on putting more women behind the camera, including optioning female novels - female-generated novels. And so that's kind of in the mandate to put as many women behind and in front of the camera. So it's not always directors, sometimes it is like Jane Harper, a debut female novelist, and then finding newer female production designers like Ruby Mathers, and kind of bringing people back to Australia like Genevieve O'Reilly in front of the camera. So yeah, it really, every project is different, but we're always looking at how many females are on the camera team. You know, on a movie I did in the States, there was a female transportation captain - just trying to also make sure that we're creating those opportunities for women as well.

[00:04:48] Caris Bizzaca Yeah, OK. And so can you tell me a little bit then about Made Up Stories itself? You know, from what I understand you have an office in the US as well as Australia - can you talk a bit about that?

[00:04:59] Bruna Papandrea Yeah, I mean, we've had an office in the US for a long time. And then Australia actually happened quite soon after that, because we've always - my husband's American, but we've always wanted to have excuses to kind of keep making things here and are very attracted to stories that are generated from here. But we do have a pretty big office in the US. I think we employ, I want to say, eight people now in the US ranging from producing partners to executives. We have a woman who works with us in marketing and for the most part, with the exception of my husband, we really try and hire women that we can help grow within the industry.

[00:05:43] Caris Bizzaca And last year, perhaps driven by 2020 and COVID and everything, you have brought some projects to Australia, Nine Perfect Strangers and Pieces of Her, both television series. Was that always the intention with those stories, or was it because of 2020 and everything that it's broad?

[00:06:06] Bruna Papandrea Yeah, yeah. No, it was not the intention. We had three shows shut down,  when COVID hit. Nine Perfect Strangers was about to be filmed in California, pieces of her in Canada and another one that is actually also filming in London right now, Anatomy of the Scandal. So we were kind of right in the midst of it. Nine Perfect Strangers felt like a more obvious one to try and move. One, because when Liane originally wrote the novel, it was set in an Australian health retreat, right. So, you know, in a way, these places exist, like it's mostly set in one or two places. So that felt like a kind of obvious move just because Nicole [Kidman] and I are both so passionate about doing business in Australia and obviously we both worked here so much. So that one became more obvious and strangely with Pieces of Her just because Toni [Collette]'s at the centre of it and I was already here, it also felt like a great opportunity, given that we had already cast multiple Australians in this show to make the show. And also we're very weather dependent on some of these things. So we saw a window of opportunity to come and kind of keep these shows going here, whereas I think they would have been so delayed in other parts of the world.

[00:07:26] Caris Bizzaca And are there things that you feel like from your time working in the US, maybe whether it was like ways of working on ideas that you learned in the US, that you have brought back to Australia?

[00:07:39] Bruna Papandrea Yeah, look, I think you learn something with everything you do, whether it's here or there, or England or in Canada, I've shot all over the place now. I think what's been great for us as an Australian company, you know we joined forces with Jodi [Matterson], who I'd collaborated with as an executive producer years ago. I think it's been wonderful - we've obviously made a lot of Australian stuff with Jodi, but it's actually been wonderful with Nine Perfect Strangers, to have her take on a producorial role with such a big international production, because she's brilliant, but also for her to have access to making a limited eight part long-form storytelling series, which she had not done in that context of a big international show. And so that's been great for us, because I think often we're so busy in Australia and we're so busy internationally that, you know I'll often say to Steve, 'God, I wish Jodi could come to the US and do this'. But, we're generally quite busy. We have been since we started making The Dry and Penguin Bloom and The Nightingale and Little Monsters. And so, you know, it did offer us a wonderful opportunity to kind of in some way blend the businesses and just be here for a longer period of time. It's obviously wonderful for me, because Steve were both here the entire making of Penguin Bloom. It lined up with our schedules and with our children's summer last year so we were able to be here for that. And it was a reminder to me, I have to say, just we were here for such a long time, of how immersive and great that Australian experience is for me, because it's my home. And I honestly just don't think there's anywhere better in the world to make movies and TV shows. So it's been obviously a challenging year, but it's been great to be able to kind of be working and very grateful to be working, while also just putting our heads down and getting it done. It's obviously a strange time, you don't have to tell anyone that everyone has experienced so much loss. Our family had a great personal loss this year as well. And even when you're working, you just want to do it with your head down. I'm very careful about - I think a lot of us, we're careful about what we post on Instagram. When Melbourne's in lockdown and you're in Sydney and you're able to move around, you don't want to be posting pictures of yourself on the beach. I think it's a really interesting time where you just kind of, we still stay pretty close, just local to our family and work. You know, there's no visitors on set. A lot's changed in terms of the way we make things. But it's become quite normalised quite quickly, which has been great.

[00:10:23] Caris Bizzaca And then how has it been with 2020, not just going into production for these television series and having to kind of pivot them to a different country, but also having two features prepping for release?

[00:10:39] Bruna Papandrea Well two features and a TV show. We have TV shows, by the way, releasing that we'd already made.

[00:10:45] Caris Bizzaca Of course, The Undoing.

[00:10:45] Bruna Papandrea The Undoing, very exciting. It's actually kind of... it was a blessing to have made some things, you know, what a blessing with The Undoing for instance, to have made something in New York. And New York was so hard hit so early on in COVID, to have made this incredibly New York specific show and to have just wrapped, you know. And we got delayed in post, but we were able to finish the show. For Penguin Bloom and The Dry, the same. The Dry shot exactly when The Undoing shot and Penguin Bloom just after. So in a way, because everything's been so delayed, it's just wonderful to be able to bring something out to the screens now and more importantly, to be able to bring it to cinema screens. Like I went to, something I wouldn't normally do because I'm often not here - Roadshow kindly invited me to screen the movies for the exhibitors the other day in the theatre. And I was shocked by how moved I was by standing in the cinema and showing this movie on this massive screen with incredible sound to exhibitors. And it was such a great reminder to me of, I really believe people are going to go back to the cinemas. And I think that in some ways COVID's been this reminder of wanting to have that communal experience and not just watch things in our living rooms if we don't have to. And so I couldn't be more excited personally to go back into the cinema. And I believe America will follow that path. I really hope that people will... that cinema won't die, you know, particularly with the advent of streaming, but that actually it will be a reminder and hopefully when it's safe to do so, people will go back to the cinema. Yeah. So it's really exciting to be releasing these movies. I've also never released two movies back-to-back (laughs).

[00:12:45] Caris Bizzaca It's within the month.

[00:12:46] Bruna Papandrea It's within the month and two very different movies. Two movies I'm so proud of, but they couldn't be more different. And so that's really exciting for us. Particularly kicking off with The Dry, which kind of goes back to my roots in Australia. Robert Connolly gave me my first break when he told someone to let me produce Better Than Sex after he got offered it. And so to come full circle 20 years later, just on a personal note for me, is kind of incredible, to see him kind of direct this movie. It's a very challenging big-scope movie.

[00:13:19] Caris Bizzaca And, you know, speaking of features, as you said you started out in features and for the first part of your career, it seemed that you were definitely in the world of features until Big Little Lies. And now it seems like you've got both going concurrently at the same time with Made Up Stories. Is that a conscious choice to, you know, remain in both worlds?

[00:13:47] Bruna Papandrea Oh, yeah. Yeah. I mean, Big Little Lies was actually my first TV show, and obviously it was a good one to start with because people embraced it in such a big way. But even that, even the way we make television tends to be more like we make films.

[00:14:04] Caris Bizzaca Cinematic.

[00:14:06] Bruna Papandrea Well, it's with one filmmaker across multiple hours. But we tend to make them, we tend to crossboard them, we tend to make them with one filmmaker. You know, we're making a show in London right now SJ Clarkson's directing every episode. It's just like one big movie. It just takes longer. So I don't tend to think of it that differently. I have made shows with multiple directors, that's also really fun and different. But yes, I love films. I will never stop making films as long as they keep making them. In fact, it's probably my first love because, it's just it's a whole different experience. And it's also very different telling two hours of story rather than six to 10 hours of story, there are different challenges involved in those things. And I would say making the films here, particularly Penguin Bloom, because we became quite close to the Bloom family because that story resonated with me so much personally, I would say that was one of the great personal experiences of my life, not just professional. So I think that as long as people keep letting me, I'm going to keep making films. I'd like to make some big, big films, though. You know, it's hard. These independent films are so hard to get made and and often we're reinvesting our fees. It's just so hard to get them across the line. Like I'd like to make Wonder Woman. I think that would be really fun. When people say what do you still want to do, I'm like I want to make Wonder Woman. I want to make a Marvel movie. I do. I want to make a big, big movie because, you know, it's just fun. You always want to keep doing different things, right. I want to be able to make The Nightingale and I also want to be able make Wonder Woman. I don't want to put limitations on anything that we do.

[00:15:40] Caris Bizzaca Mmm. And bring it to Australia to be made as well.

[00:15:41] Bruna Papandrea Exactly! Exactly. Yeah.

[00:15:45] Caris Bizzaca And so the projects that you've been mentioning so far, well, a number of them are obviously based on existing IP with books, so Big Little Lies, Nine Perfect Strangers, The Dry, Penguin Bloom, Anatomy of a Scandal. You know, what are some of the benefits from a producing point of view - what are some of the benefits to that? And how do you decide then which is going to be better suited to a TV series or a feature?

[00:16:12] Bruna Papandrea Well you don't always know. That's the truth. Sometimes you know. I've always obviously worked with books since I worked my first job with Anthony Minghella and Sydney Pollack, who adapted a lot of IP. That's kind of where I learned my love for it and where I got access to a lot of unpublished manuscripts. So that's kind of where it started for me. But I think sometimes you know, like Warm Bodies for instance, when I first read it as an unpublished manuscript, I knew it was a movie. It was a very clear, concise point of view. The story had a very clear beginning, middle and end. And you're also mostly in the perspective of one character. With Big Little Lies, I think Nicole [Kidman] and I both knew very quickly that it should be a TV series because you could not do those characters justice without exploring them in a more nuanced way over time and exploring those relationships, good and bad, and really understanding the complexity of it. So that was more obvious. I think sometimes it's not as obvious. You know, we often we'll option a book and it's not quite as clear. And sometimes what we'll do is we'll actually give it to a screenwriter and we'll say, 'what do you think?' And they'll kind of tell you to some extent. We optioned this wonderful book, called All These Beautiful Strangers that was this fantastic kind of teen thriller. And we gave it to a screenwriter friend of ours. And she's actually a very successful TV writer and she said, 'I think it's a movie' because of the way that you wanted to sustain the kind of adrenaline and pace of it, and she was right. It does really work. You know, it's still in development, but it works much better as a movie. So I think every single case is different. What we do know is that whereas maybe less than 10% of the book business used to be for TV, now 95% of it is for TV, so there's been a massive shift in, one, the voracious appetite for IP, but also it's mostly switched to TV now. I went after a book actually last year and I offered it for a film with a big studio and they sold it for TV instead, which was interesting just in terms of the way the market has changed.

[00:18:24] Caris Bizzaca Yeah. And does it, because you're constantly reading, I imagine, or getting things sent to you and stuff like that. Does that kind of take the fun out of reading a little bit when you've got your business hat on?

[00:18:35] Bruna Papandrea (Laughs) Well, you know what it doesn't take the fun out of it. What it does do is, it just gives you less time. And so I'm about to probably have my first vacation in a year. And I always have a book that I want to read for fun. And often the rights have been optioned, so I can not think about it from that point of view. It doesn't take the fun out of it, not when you know. We haven't announced it, but there's a book that we're about to announce that I read, written by poet essentially [and] it was one of the most sublime experiences in my life, reading it. Like it was just a joy and so literary. This woman is just incredible. So unlike anything we've done before. And I just remember like devouring it and thinking, 'oh my God'. I could not put it down. And so I very much still have those experiences. We have an Australian book that I had the same experience reading, The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart, that Sarah Lambert is adapting. And I just reread that because I just... it's extraordinary. It's an extraordinary piece of literature. And I actually sometimes what I'll do now is I'll listen to it for the second time on tape, just to to kind of do it in another way, whether it's in my car. I would ever do that the first time. That's not how will I ever read a book the first time. But I'm really kind of into books on tape right now. I'm listening to a couple of things as I try and stay slightly fit and exercise, I've found it's a great way for me to kind of revisit something. It's always a joy. Never feels like a chore. People always say, 'oh god, you must have to read a lot and watch a lot'. And I go, yeah, but it's not exactly a chore to, you know, if your job is reading beautiful books and watching great drama on TV, or watching a movie, it's not exactly a chore.

[00:20:24] Caris Bizzaca You can't complain.

[00:20:24] Bruna Papandrea We do a lot of it. I watch a tonne of TV. My husband thinks I use it as an excuse, but I say it's my job to kind of see what people are doing. And I have a pretty broad palette, particularly in terms of drama. So I watch a lot. I watch a lot of international shows. Yeah. And I watch a lot of movies.

[00:20:44] Caris Bizzaca And I did want to ask about collaboration. So you've worked with Nicole Kidman a number of times now. And just to talk a bit about, you know, some of the collaborations that you've had within the industry and returning to work with people kind of multiple times.

[00:20:59] Bruna Papandrea Oh, yeah, it's great, right? I like to think that, like, we collect our great collaborators. So in a way, it doesn't even have to be a David Kelly or a Nicole. Yves Belanger who shot Wild and Big Little Lies with me, I introduced him to Jonathan Levine and he shot Jonathan's movie. They did that without me, but then now we've all come back together for Nine Perfect Strangers. So that for me is a great collaboration. Those continued collaborations. Same with costume designers like as like Alix Friedberg, who did Big Little Lies and has now come back to do Nine Perfect Strangers with Nicole and I. Robert Connolly gave me my first break with Better Than Sex, and now I was able to collaborate with him with him so-writing and directing The Dry. So I love... I just think you're not doing... If people don't want to keep doing business with you after you've had one collaboration, then you've done something wrong, in my opinion. You know, if the collaboration is strong and you've had a good experience, then hopefully, a novelist will give you the next book or a director will want to come back and make something else with you. And when that collaboration is good, it's great. Like I'm dying to work with Susanne Bier again who directed The Undoing, because it was just, she's just a tremendous woman. She's a tremendous human being. And I just love, I was quite invigorated by the experience of making that show with her. So, yes, we're always looking to revisit people. We have often writers, we do a lot of repeat business with and often it's not, you know, sometimes we'll take a TV writer who's worked with us in TV and they'll write a movie for us and they have never written a movie. So we like to kind of cross pollinate like that. And I'm always discovering, like Sarah Lambert I knew twenty years ago. We were friendly, [but] I'd never work with her. I had seen Lambs of God. I had seen her other show, I cannot remember the name of it, the brilliant one on Ten, I think, with Jonathan LaPaglia (Love Child) and I remember thinking, 'oh, my God, wow, Sarah's doing all this amazing work'. And honestly, she's an extraordinary writer, extraordinary talent, extraordinary show runner. That's been a joy. It's also been a joy [with] Sam Strauss, who we brought on to be one of the writers of Nine Perfect Strangers, is writing another Liane Moriarty book for us and Blossom [Pictures] called The Last Anniversary, which is one that we're actually going to make in Australia. So, again, there's a lot of crossover.

[00:23:26] Caris Bizzaca Yeah, definitely. And the other thing with Made Up Stories that I was noticing with television is that you work with a variety of outlets, you know, Hulu, Netflix, HBO. How do you kind of go about deciding who to pitch to [and] where something might best fit?

[00:23:43] Bruna Papandrea Well, we tend to pitch to everyone and then the market often tells you who gravitates to what. And we like to have that latitude because we have a pretty broad palette of stuff and we don't ever want to be just wedded necessarily to one place because there's so many wonderful places to work. And so often, yes, multiple people may want to make something. And then it becomes about OK who's the most passionate, you know, who's in line with us creatively? And then sometimes there's just one person who wants to make something. Every single case is different. And by the way, I can never really pick what's going to happen. Sometimes we'll take a piece of material out and I'll think we're going to have so many bidders and there's one. There's generally always one, thankfully. You only need on.

[00:24:34] Caris Bizzaca It's nice if you have two.

[00:24:35] Bruna Papandrea Oh it's very nice to have two or three. But what's wonderful is, you know, I I've obviously had my first few experiences, TV experiences with HBO. And that's a high bloody bar to set right there because they're magnificent in every way, every single part of that company. But then, I'm making two shows with Netflix - also been tremendous, tremendous creative experiences. I just sold a show to Amazon that I'd made actually with another network and Amazon bought it for Australia and the US. And they've just been terrific too, just going through this marketing process with them and really having someone who's so kind of simpatico and understands the show. We are a bit, we're a bit spoilt on the Australian films because we've made two movies now in a row with Roadshow, and I'm not sure I want to work with anyone else. (laughs) I just love them. I love Joel's passion. I love the whole team. It's really tough because they really embed themselves unlike anyone I've seen, very early into the process with you. And they are your partners from very early on and they'll do anything to help get the movies made with us. So, you know, there are those partnerships that become very special to us where you're trying to find things to do together, not just waiting for the opportunity, but like actively looking for the opportunity. So I find it so fun to work with different people I have to say, you know, just working with Hulu for the first time and seeing how that works. And they all work differently. But it's kind of invigorating. By the way, and I'm not, I'd make a show - my friend Karey Burke now is the head of ABC (US). I'd go make a broadcast show if the right thing came along, if it was with someone like Karey. So for me, it's kind of fun. I want to do more locally. I'd like to work with Stan, I'd like to work with Foxtel. I'd like to do some original stuff from Australia, because I think it's really important also to just, you know, the domestic industry is doing great and I think a lot of those companies are really expanding their reach. And so we'd like to generate more stuff, domestically as well.

[00:26:40] Caris Bizzaca And so just lastly, in terms of advice, do you have any advice for Australian producers out there who might be listening?

[00:26:50] Bruna Papandrea I mean, I think Australian producers are so brilliant because, you know, the great thing about Australia and it's an opportunity. I think my advice is like look at the opportunity. Unlike America, where there were various tracks, you kind of have to be on a development track or an executive track or a physical production track. In Australia, in some ways there's one track, right, which is to do it all. It's to identify material. It's to find a way to get it made. It's to identify filmmakers and collaborators. It's to understand how to market it, who to sell to - all those things. You have to do it all, right. And we do have a system that kind of supports that. You know, that system supported that with me when I made my first movie Better Than Sex. And it was because, in fact, Screen Australia gave me a grant to go to Toronto that I met Anthony Minghella. Right. I know that sounds like, it's such a weird segueway, but the truth is, without that grant, I would not have been able to attend the Toronto Film Festival. And without attending that festival, I wouldn't have met the man that essentially changed my career trajectory. You know, that gave me an international opportunity that I wouldn't have had. So those things all matter, and my advice is with the advent of things like John Polson who started Tropfest - I had a movie in the first Tropfest. I co-directed a movie in the first Tropfest. Just you can get out there and do it. You can make a movie on your phone. You can collaborate with a filmmaker. It doesn't cost you anything to do. You can just find those creative opportunities. And my advice is always just like give yourself as much access to those opportunities. You know, be proactive. I financed my first short film with Brendan Young that I made (Three Chords and a Wardrobe) and that taught me a lot and gave me access to other opportunities. And I didn't do it because I had money in the bank. I did it by working my arse off with two jobs and saving up so that I could do that. So my advice always is just expose yourself to as much and never let money be your prime motivator to make a creative decision. I have not let it be mine. I always let the creative... that love of what I respond to drive everything. Because the rest does ultimately come, if you just really listen to your own instincts. And that's my other advice I give to people - not just Australians but - be vocal in your opinion, because people, they don't want you to just agree with them or agree with someone else. You have to be passionate about what your thoughts are and what your ideas are. And so I hope we always encourage that. And we don't always agree with the people that work within our own company. Sometimes we'll have completely different reactions to of material within our own company. But we'll kind of duke it out (laughs). And it's kind of great. It's kind of great, you know, because the conversation is part of what makes you realise whether you should be pursuing something or not, sometimes. Sometimes your own passion or lack of it will inform whether you should be pursuing something and its commitment to attach to something, so you want to be sure.

[00:29:54] Caris Bizzaca Great. Well, that's all we have time for. But thank you so much for joining the podcast today. Really appreciate it.

[00:30:01] Bruna Papandrea Thanks, Caris. Great chatting.

[00:30:05] Caris Bizzaca That was Bruna Papandrea from Made Up Stories and a reminder that the dry is in Australian cinemas now while Penguin Bloom is out on the 21st of January and The Undoing is available now on Foxtel and their streaming service Binge. If you enjoyed this episode, please leave us a rating and review or email [email protected] with any feedback. Thanks for listening.