Earlier this year, Year 10 student, Rebecca Matthes, left the chilly autumn of the Snowy Mountains and headed to the warmth of the central coast for an opportunity budding actors and actresses only dream of.  Rebecca was cast into the featuring role in the film Peninsular Paradise, a recreation of a 1936 documentary about the central coast.

Senior student and Arts Captain, Tolina Davis, caught up with Rebecca to learn a bit more about her experience.

Can you tell us a bit about your role in the film?

 I was cast into the featuring role of a girl who was ‘transported’ from the previous era into the current era.

 How was the overall experience?

 It was amazing; I gained so much knowledge and experience from being on set. Most of the filming was done on location, so I got to travel around the central coast and witness all of the sights whilst working, which was exciting also. I had never been there before, so I was able to tour as well as learn about the history of the area.

What do you think you gained from it?

 Being around people who direct, film, produce, etc., full time, was a great experience, as they were all so generous in the help that they gave. Being directed, then having one scene shot five times from different angles was one of the most challenging parts because of having to maintain continuity. However, it was an extremely good experience and gave me an insight into the industry. I also learnt green-screen technique and other camera techniques, as well as the camera terms used.

Would you advise students looking to do something similar to take an opportunity like this?

Definitely – any time and experience on set, no matter how large or small the role, is a great opportunity and experience for screen acting, especially as it is such a different atmosphere to stage acting.

How did you find out about the opportunity?

 A person that I met at a drama workshop advised me of the casting call.

Is there any advice you’d give upcoming drama students?

 Although there are many great opportunities in Jindabyne, living here doesn’t limit you to projects only done within the local area, so whatever type of drama you’re into, search for the opportunities and take them when they come to you. There are a lot of avenues in the cities that can be followed up during the holidays.

How do you think this helped you improve – did you feel like they focused on a particular acting technique?

Any experience on camera is valuable, and therefore improves your technique. Realism is largely a part of screen acting, so, as well as standing on marks for particular lines, and making sure that the rhythm of the dialogue remains constant throughout takes, acting naturally is extremely important, which was the main technique focused on.

Have you been presented with any more opportunities?

At this stage, the director gave me a great reference, and offered to cast me in further productions that I would be suitable for. Like anything else in life, the more people you meet, the greater your network, and therefore the greater the opportunities.

Did it give you a good insight into the industry?

Yes, it was a very good introductory insight.

Where can we watch the film?

The film premiered in October. It was shown in cinemas on the central coast for a few weeks (limited release) but is still available for purchase on DVD. To view the film’s trailer, visit:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wC4eK2m3SD8

Both Rebecca and Tolina are part of SMGS Academy of Creative and Performing Arts. The academy is part of our Academies of Excellence program which won an Innovative Schools award from The Educator Magazine.

To learn more about the Academies of Excellence, click here