Floris Van Gaalen

Film Director

Key Info

  • Bachelor of Media and Creative Technologies with First Class Honours
  • Screen and Media Studies

Why did you choose to study at the University of Waikato?

I wanted to place myself in a learning environment where creativity was encouraged. I was thankful to discover that my professors sought out critical and unique thinking which meant I was able to learn to challenge myself.

What was your favourite subject and why?

The Video Production papers were always the highlight of my week because they had the exact parameters to complement my filmmaking endeavours.

What does a typical day look like for you?

Independent filmmaking means a lot of organising and passing along a lot of emails. In truth, that means that most days aren’t spent creating much content. However it’s my belief that when something is properly planned, the days that are spent actually creating content are far more productive.

What do you love about your career?

When you put pen to paper and then manage to get together a collection of people to realise a vision, it’s very rewarding to see something come to life that you can call yours. Of course it’s a collaborative effort to make a film but if you’re an aspiring writer/director, the film starts and ends with you and that can be something to be proud of.

What do you find rewarding about your job?

Funnily enough, completing the last shot of a film elicits the greatest joy because it means the mission has been accomplished. There’s still the forthcoming post-production process to look forward to but in my opinion that stage is a lot less taxing and demanding. Knowing you’ve survived the film shoot itself is one of the more fulfilling feelings.

How do you think you can make a difference through your work?

When it comes solely to filmmaking and entertainment, I think one can make a difference by making the films they would want to see. In other words, if the material that is being produced and broadcast isn’t up to your standards or doesn’t match your taste, you can create your own work that challenges the conventions of the current media landscape. Innovation is needed now more than ever.

Any advice for getting into your sector?

I would say if you want to make films, then grab a camera and a couple of friends and do good work. Unless you’re a prodigy, when you’re just starting out the work won’t be good but that’s alright. If you can acknowledge what went wrong and improve on it, you’ll already be way ahead of the curve.

How did your years at Waikato make a difference to you?

Believe it or not, studying at Waikato University taught me to broaden my perception of the world. That is to say that the scope of my understanding of my chosen profession was hugely developed and I was able to begin to appreciate that learning is a lifelong process.

What do you wish you’d done differently?

If I could go back, perhaps I would try to seize more opportunities that were presented to me. Sometimes it can be tempting to do everything your own way, which I still firmly think you should do, but also try to make room for additional things that could help your development in the long run.

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