Byron Bay success stories

Byron Bay

22 May 2019

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Byron Bay success stories

22 May 2019

SAE students attain high achievements in all areas of creative industry. The benefits resonate with each student in different ways but there is no denying to growth that is made both personally and professionally. We chat with students from SAE Byron Bay to discuss what they have been up to and highlight amazing projects.


Since graduation Kyle Healy has been specialising in animation working with big name clients such as Splendour in the Grass through his animation studio Husky Films, based out of British Columbia, Canada. Kyle’s latest film, a stop motion short titled Kevin has just won Best in Show at Canada’s 72 Hour Filmmaker Showdown.

1. Could you please tell us the process of making your stop-motion film Kevin?

Practice. Practice. Practice. My process relies heavily upon learning as much as possible from my peers and mentors by attempting to recreate what inspires me. As stop motion is a discipline that has few teachers, the process of making Kevin was trial and error and ultilising transferable skills learnt through my education and working in the industry. 

2.  What does it mean to you to be awarded best in show at 72hr Filmmaker Showdown?

Seven thousand big ones and feelings of accomplishment.

3. You studied film but are primarily an animator, how do these 2 disciplines work in tandem with each other?

Stop motion is the perfect cross over between film and animation. It combines the foundations of each medium and creates a new. It gives you the freedom to tell stories that can only be done in animation, with the skillset / medium of film.

4. What projects are next for you in the pipeline?

I’ve just completed a digital compositing contract for (Titmouse) an animation studio in Vancouver, working on an animated series on Netflix. I just begun a new job working with an advertising agency (Origin), as a film editor creating commercial content for ski resorts and other outdoor brands across North America. In my spare time I’m screen writing my next stop motion short.

5. What is the most valuable thing you learnt studying film at SAE that you have taken with you?

Networking. This industry is all about who you know. I got my first job out of university based on a tip from a valued former professor of mine. Although that first job resulted in no money, the people I met landed me a full time job in a VFX studio (Cumulus VFX) in Byron Bay. Studying at SAE helped me gain valuable peers in which I continue to work with today.


SAE student Elly Waite has already achieved great things and she hasn’t even graduated yet! Elly is currently selling a book she has designed, worked with Bluesfest and various other local industry partners.

1. You have almost finished your Bachelor of Design but you are already freelancing in the industry, could you please tell us about some of the projects you have been working on?

At the moment a lot of my freelance work has come from friends which has been great. Some of my recent projects have been a 200m banner signage for a property development site, logos for small businesses, business cards, film posters and even a commissioned artwork.

2. You have also commercialised a project that you have created in class, how did you make this happen and why did you decide to sell your work in this way?

I created my children’s book Byron the Dolphin using the names from the local area. The books moral of the story is how it is ok to do things on your own, rhymes and features sea creatures. As I was doing my research, I found that no one had used local names for a children’s book. As Byron Bay is an internationally well known destination, I thought this would be the perfect souvenir for families to take home and remember their holiday to Byron Bay. I went to the printer and got 50 books printed to sell on Etsy. I now have 13 books remaining and had my first international order to America last month which was really exciting! I am now working on creating Byron the Dolphin into an animation for my major project, so it will be exciting to see the book come to life. I have started marketing to the local area with my book being read in one of the local kindergartens. I am looking forward to seeing where this project takes me!


Elly with her self-published book Byron the Dolphin

3. You have also had an opportunity for work placement at Bluesfest, what was that experience like?

I had never done any experience in social media for a festival before. It was an amazing experience being given the opportunity while studying. Not only for social media but to see what it was like working in/ being surrounded by the music industry. I took photos of people enjoying the festival, helped with the social media platforms and helped create filters. I don’t think I would have been given the opportunity to work for Bluesfest if it wasn’t for SAE. I made a really good impression on the Bluesfest team and I was asked specifically to work for them again this year but was unable to. I would definitely do the experience again.

4. What drew you to study and work in the design field?

I had done some design subjects in high school but hadn’t really thought about it much again until I returned home from a 4 year Canadian working holiday. After years in hospitality, retail and tourism I decided that they weren’t careers I was passionate about. I had always loved being creative, so I decided I would apply to study and felt like design would be something I would love doing every day.

5. What do you think is the biggest take away from your studies so far that you will carry with you as you progress in your career?

Having the experience to work on briefs in a studio environment. It really gives you a feel for what it is like in the real world with clients and deadlines. I feel that having this experience has made me more confident in my work and myself as a designer as I start my own journey into the industry.  


Jayden is a film graduate with a passion for the horror genre, his first short film Trespassers is currently doing the rounds on the festival circuit. Jayden has also created his own company Duckpond Productions creating short films, web series and music videos.

1. Could you please tell us a bit about your inspiration behind Trespassers? 

When I started this project, I was seeking to create a film that I would want to watch myself. I grew up on horror, and have always been intrigued by the staples of the genre. Naturally, it would be where I would begin my early attempts at film making. 

By now the slasher and exploitation sub genres have faded into obscurity, giving way to a wave of new supernatural horror films. Although I get a kick out of them too, I do miss the former. I don’t believe in ghosts or malevolent creatures, so they don’t frighten me like the very real evil that happens in everyday life; home invasions, murder, sexual assault etc. 

So after working my way through film school, producing a myriad of mediocre short films, it was time to revisit the “so terrifying, it could be true” films, and pay homage to the one that started it all for me - The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. 

I’m not talking about the original though. Although it too has a special place in my heart, it just wasn’t my generation’s fright flick. I’m talking about the dark, stylish 2003 edition, directed by Marcus Nispel. It’s the film that began my love affair with mystery, terror, shock, gore, etc. And it’s the film that ‘Trespassers’ takes it’s visual cues from. 

This project was very exciting to work on, because not only does it pay homage to films that I love, it does so by exploring a real, terrifying issue in modern society; an issue which lends itself to the genre well. 

2. What appeals to you about the horror genre? 

The horror genre allows us to live out the thrill that comes with being frightened, but from the safety and comfort of our armchairs. But for me, there’s definitely a sense of nostalgia attached to it. As a kid, my friends and I would stay up late, eat trashy food, watch horror flicks, and try to scare each other afterwards with stupid stories. Maybe I never grew up. Maybe I never want to. But from a filmmaking point of view, horror is also a great way to experiment, and allows me to make social commentaries on how I see the world. 

3. Could you please give us an overview of your career journey so far? 

During my studies at the SAE Institute, I honed my lifelong passion for film production, taking that first step towards my dream. With a keen interest in writing, directing, and editing, I produced a number of mediocre student films, using each experience as a learning curve. 

After graduating, I purchased a Blackmagic Cinema Camera, and continued producing micro budget short films, including the crime films ‘The Pups From The Dogs,’ and ‘The Hand That Feeds You.’ During this time, I also did a little freelance videography work, but not enough to sustain me financially, or creatively. 

During a two year stint in Brisbane, I pushed myself to my absolute limits by producing, writing, directing and editing a ten part vigilante web drama called ‘Riot Girl.’ While it was my best work to date at the time, I still felt that there was plenty of room for improvement. I decided that for my next endeavor I would focus more on the cinematography aspect, and I began to assemble a crew that could help me realise my vision. 

After a short hiatus, the idea for ‘Trespassers’ was conceived. Once again, I produced, wrote, directed and edited the production, but this time with a larger scope in mind. It will serve as a concept film, and pending it’s reception, will be developed into my first feature film. 

4. What has been the reception and feedback to Trespassers from Audiences? 

While it hasn’t had a wide release yet, I have sent the film to a number of critics, and it has tested positive so far. Below are some of the comments I’ve received. 

“That was one of the sharpest scripts I’ve seen in a long time... and believe me, I’ve seen and read a lot of indie scripts.” 

- Peter Koevari, AFIN International Film Festival Director 

“Produced, written, directed and edited by Creighton as proof of concept for a feature, Trespassers works as a standalone short, but also introduces us to a whole new world of off-road exploitation horror just waiting to be explored further. Simple yet harrowing, it sketches the siblings with great economy, before placing them in a situation that is the very stuff of genre, yet at the same time ripped straight from the headlines.” 

- Anton Bitel, Projected Figures

Full Review: HERE

“Well shot and tense, Trespassers would make an excellent start to a feature, either as a pre-title prologue or the kickoff of the main plot. Sparnon gives of a Mick Taylor vibe as the villain. And while it doesn’t have the gore of his kills, there is a scene with a shovel that is very effective.” 

- Jim Morazzini, Voices From The Balcony 

Full Review: HERE

“The direction is simple but effective, and you can see that Creighton knows the genre. There’s some elements not only of Texas Chainsaw, with a nice low angle as they approach the house reminiscent of the walk from the swing to the Sawyer house in Hooper’s classic, but also some moments of Kubrick, Raimi, and perhaps even a bit of Jordan Peele’s Get Out, but I may be stretching it there. 

The independent feel really works wonders here, and the use of long, static shots is very reminiscent of some J-horror moments in films such as Ju-on: The Grudge, where the camera just holds on a wide for ages without moving. It’s so unnatural for the blockbuster era, or even the human eye, to be in one place for so long, that it instinctively raises the hackles. He knows when to move, and when to hold back.” 

- Keiran Judge, Horror Reviews by the Collective 

Full Review: HERE

“The first thing you’re going to notice, is that, well, yes, this is Australian horror, but it’s also a very plausible scenario, which makes it much, much more terrifying. As the siblings are put into this high stakes situation, it makes you root for them. 

I usually try to avoid commenting on the cinematography for short films, but Trespassers actually got it right in quite an excellent way. Lots of beautiful scenery shots and even some creepy tense ones done well with some perfectly positioned shots.” 

- Joseph, Horror Reviews by the Collective 

Full Review: HERE 

5. What is the most valuable thing you learnt studying film at the SAE that you have taken with you? 

The most valuable thing the SAE gave me was a way to structure my learning. There’s a wealth of knowledge to be gained from online tutorials; however because there’s so much information, it becomes difficult to sift through if you don’t have the foundations to begin with. The SAE gave me my foundations. 

I truly believe that filmmaking is a lifelong apprenticeship. I don’t think I’ll ever really master it because I learn something new every time I walk on set. But having the coursework laid out the way that it is makes everything a little less daunting. It’s a hard enough journey to begin with, so there’s no reason to make it any harder on yourself. 


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