Lachlan Payne only graduated from high school here on the Coffs Coast last year, but he already has a successful photography and videography business, and his HSC major work for drama, a short film titled “Every Wednesday”, not only received full marks but was also selected to be shown in a prestigious exhibition called “Writers OnStage OnScreen” in Sydney. Lachlan is off to film school this year, and the future is looking bright!
Hey Lachlan; what’s your relationship to the Coffs Coast?
Well … To begin with, I was born and raised in Coffs Harbour. Since the age of 10, I have constantly been involved in creative and performing arts within the Coffs Coast community. I have attended the local “Young Actors Studio” and many other creative workshops throughout my teenage years. Coffs Harbour is a home to me, filled with a great community.
You picked up a camera at a fairly young age. Where did the creative journey begin?
At the age of 12, I grew an interest in photography and filmmaking, which was influenced by my father. During my childhood, you would often find me creating these homemade videos with my friends and family, that we found hilarious. This slowly developed into an ongoing passion, and soon after, a professional career.
In 2016, I saved up my pocket money to purchase the newest drone. Although I was only young, I was one of the few photographers in Coffs Harbour to own a drone at the time, which led to me creating my own film/ photography business at the age of 16, with the name “Coffs Coast Aerial Photography”.
After a year, I decided to expand my horizons, as I was often referred to as “The drone boy” by my fellow peers. I now simply trade under “Lachlan Payne”. Creative, right?
What was your interest in cameras, and specifically film?
When I first picked up a camera, I was instantly intrigued by the different ways it could capture images. I began to experiment with different camera angles, lighting techniques and special effects. Soon after, I became fond of filming and video editing.
During middle school I spent most of my nights constantly watching tutorials about cinematography and how to use different video editing programs such as Adobe Premier Pro and After Effects. I was very interested in creating special effects at first, but soon after I became more and more interested with the overall composition of an image, and more specifically the colour. I LOVE working with good colour.
Being a filmmaker has so many rewarding aspects, but also some hard learning curves. What have been some challenging points in the process?
I constantly want to grow my skills as a filmmaker, which means with every film I make I have to try harder than before. No matter what film it is, I try to make it better than the last. I don’t know where this came from, but this has always been the mentality that I’ve had.
This obviously can get very challenging, as I tend to set high expectations for myself. But on a more practical note, one of the biggest things that I’ve learnt is to always backup your footage and project files. As we all know … Computers, hard drives and technology in general isn’t always reliable. I’ve learnt this the hard way, and let me tell you, it is not fun coming to the end of a project and then having to start again due to technical issues.
You recently created quite a brilliant short film here on the Coffs Coast with a factual and interesting backstory. Could you tell our readers how this film came about?
When I entered into my HSC year in 2018, I selected film for my major project in drama and spent the year working on that. I have always had a passion for filmmaking and photography, so when it was time to choose my major project, it was obvious that I would pick film.
During the early stage of brainstorming for plot ideas, a family friend had told me a story about his father, who was in a local retirement village in Sawtell (Marian Grove Retirement village). He told me that every Wednesday morning, 100 copies of the local newspaper would be delivered to the retirement village. With over 200 accommodated residents, this means that only half of them receive a copy of the paper. Why is this such a big problem, you ask? Well, I’ll answer that for you. This is a problem, because they are all after the weekly TV guide!
My good friend then continued to tell me that because of this, a few residents began to get up early in the morning, hours before sunrise, in order to retrieve their fair share of the paper. I found this situation quite amusing and thought with a little bit of comedy and a spice of melodrama, this could be a brilliant story for a short film! So from these true events, I went on to create a short film titled Every Wednesday.
This film has been selected for the prestigious exhibition at Writers OnSTAGE OnSCREEN in Sydney at the Seymour Centre. How did this come about?
Every year the Board of Studies selects the highest performing projects created by Year 12 students in NSW and holds it for exhibition the following year. With a growing interest and need for filmmaking in today’s society, my drama teacher (Belinda Lemair) was informed that 2018 had the largest amount of entries for film ever, with over 1,000 entries across the state.
After recently completing Year 12 at Coffs Harbour Christian Community School, I was honoured to receive an email from the NSW Education Standards Authority, (NESA), that my Short film (Every Wednesday), not only received full marks, but had also been selected along with two others for the prestigious exhibition at Writers OnSTAGE OnSCREEN in Sydney at the Seymour Centre.
This event showcases the top drama projects in the state. This is the first time a Coffs Harbour drama student has been selected for Writers OnSTAGE OnSCREEN for film. I was blown away that my film, based on a true story, set in a local retirement village had hit the big smoke.
What other type of filming do you do?
Great question! I currently run my own business, where I offer a range of video services, including wedding films, commercials, educational web series, drone work and other corporate videos.
What advice would you give other young filmmakers heading forward with their art?
As a Coffs Coast local, I want to be able to encourage future students and parents that anything is possible if you put your mind to it, and that the creative industry is not only just for fun, but it can actually become a career and have a major impact on our world.
What would you say the future holds for yourself as a filmmaker?
Over the next two years, I’ll be furthering my skills and knowledge as a filmmaker by attending film school, to obtain my Bachelor of Film Production. During that time I will continue to freelance as a commercial and wedding videographer. Once I complete my studies, my goal is to work for major production companies that create feature films/TV shows and high end commercials. At this stage, my ideal position would either be a cinematographer, director or editor. I guess you could say it’s a long stretch, but I believe that dreaming big is the first step to success.
Where can we see more of your work?
You can check out some of my work, including my short film Every Wednesday, by visiting my website at www.lachlanpayne.com.au
Additionally, you can follow me on Instagram @lachie_payne or check out my Facebook page @lachlanpaynefilms.