The journey of a career in film can take various turns, and 28 yr old Belinda McCulloch has certainly seen a few opportunities come and go. Her story is an inspiring one, hard work sometimes doesn't lead where you think it will, and luck can be part of the grander journey.
Graduating with a Masters of Screen Production in 2012, she spent time in Brisbane making short films and music film clips, before taking the plunge and venturing over to Singapore. Like a blessing from the heavenlies, she landed a production role at Hurrah Productions, after her first job interview in a new land. And so far it has taken her all over Asia working on anything from denture advertising to haunted houses. Here's a bit about her journey.
What do you do?
Right now I produce and direct commercials full time, and make short films and indie music videos whenever I can.
Are you doing what you love?
Pretty darn close! I’d like to make my own feature films eventually. I think. It’s such an expensive and disaster-prone industry, but there’s a huge payoff if you get it right.
How did you know that this is what you wanted to do?
I think for a lot of creatively-inclined people, there is never just one thing that you want to do. I am grateful that I’m getting paid to do one of the many things I’m interested in. Working in film has been a good solution as it brings together a whole range of disciplines, and keeps me me engaged on different levels.
What has helped you pursue this project/venture/career?
Mainly hunger, because I did an arts degree and then I had to find a job so I could eat. And then metaphorical hunger too, because I am most inspired when I’m learning or trying something new. I make things in order to understand them.
What is the biggest risk you’ve taken?
My grandma always told me that “the arts” were a risky industry. I don’t think that’s necessarily true anymore, but you do have to be flexible and adventurous and persistent. Moving to Singapore a year ago was a pretty big risk, in terms of leaping into a completely unfamiliar culture and market, with barely a dollar to my name. But at the same time, if something isn’t working for you it’s a much bigger risk to stay where you are and change nothing! (Note: I happened to get a great job after only one interview, within a week of my arrival. So it worked out surprisingly well.)
What practical and/or inspirational advice would you give people who are too scared to chase what they love?
There’s an Anais Nin quote that helped me – “And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” I think it comes down to that in the end. You can only stay dissatisfied for so long. Eventually the frustration will get to you, if nothing else. Frustration can be great – it helps to point you in a better direction.
Paint a picture of ultimate success in what you’re doing.
I hope to increasingly do work that satisfies me, that I’m proud of, with people who are clever and kind.
Who is inspiring you?
I just saw Whiplash, which was written and directed by Damien Chazelle. He is just a young guy (only a year older than me!) and it’s a very simple film, but he crafted it with such elegance and precision.
What’s life all about for you?
Becoming more wise, more loving and more brave
What 3 things are always in your fridge?
Portobello mushrooms, coffee beans, vintage cheddar
Where do you buy gifts for people?
I try to make gifts or do something helpful or fun. Most people have enough stuff.