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Feb. 16, 2022

Christiaan Van Vuuren and Two Unemployed Actors - Episode 82

Writer, Actor, & Director Christiaan Van Vuuren

Famous since ‘Bondi Hipsters’, Christiaan talks all things Acting

From creating your own opportunities to Directing and lots in between

www.twounemployedactors.com

An Add Kulcha Production


Max & Sam chat to Writer, Actor, & Director Christiaan Van Vuuren

Famous since ‘Bondi Hipsters’, Christiaan talks all things Acting

From creating your own opportunities to Directing and lots in between 

Transcript

Max Belmonte 00:11
Welcome back to Two Unemployed Actors. I'm Max.

Sam Folden 00:14
I'm Sam.

Max Belmonte 00:15
Today we have the pleasure of talking to Christiaan Van Vuuren, Actor, Writer, Director, a
multiple slashy basically, welcome to the show, Christiaan.

Christiaan Van Vuuren 00:26
Good. Hey boys. Hey.

Max Belmonte 00:30
We're surviving as up and coming actors have to. And I think for us one thing that we've been
talking about a lot is the Bondi Hipsters, we just we have to start with the Bondi Hipsters
because it's one of Australia's biggest online success stories really. And both of us being based
in Sydney, it's something we can sort of somehow relate to. What was going on in your life,
when the idea for Dom and Adrian came about?

Christiaan Van Vuuren 00:59
Well, I guess, my brother Connor, and I would just come fresh off the back of winning the 180
project, which was like an MTV kind of film contest. And we won ourselves a budget of 180
grand off the back of that to be able to make a pilot for a TV episode. And so we kind of spent
the best part of a year working really hard, putting that pilot together, shooting it, we just got
through the back end of that process. And one of the actors that we worked with, for that pilot
was a guy named Nick Bowsher, who at that stage, we knew as Trent from Punchy. And he'd
done a bunch of kind of web stuff. And we put him in the pilot, and we just had a great time
collaborating and working together. And so fresh off the back of doing that. I just wanted to
keep the ball rolling and wanted to dive into something else. And I guess Bondi Hipsters just
kind of came kind of straight off the back of that, in fact, we started shooting Bondi hipsters,
because another, like another contest came up, it was run by movie extra was called the Web
Fest, right, and you had to make a 60 second trailer for what your TV show concept would be.
Alright, so we kind of, we did a weekend of shooting, where we kind of had this scripted 60
second trailer for at that stage, we just called the show Hipsters. And, you know, it was about to
two guys from Bondi who were starting a fashion label, and, you know, trying to make the world
a better place, whilst clearly being part of the problem. That was the kind of central concept.
But in the in coming up with the kind of, with the bits for the for the trailer, we kind of we've
done a whole bunch of jamming over several weeks. And so we kind of knew the characters
relatively well by then

Max Belmonte 02:41
Right.

Christiaan Van Vuuren 02:41
And so our first weekend of shooting was actually just to shoot this trailer to enter in this
competition. But every little kind of bit that we started shooting on the interview couch, we just
started riffing on and expanding on and, you know, we had these kind of backup gags, that we
were going to have little different sections that would help push the trailer along in the
competition. And what ended up happening is in the process of cutting the trailer, we kind of
realized we had, I don't know, eight little kind of videos that were quite specifically about
different comedic bits. And so we broke those videos up into different you know, broke those
things up. So we cut the main 60 second entered that in the competition. And then across the
judging weeks of the competition, we just started putting these other videos out to try and get
people to vote for our trailer. But what ended up happening was the videos we'd put out around
it kind of just blew up. And and so we by the time that competition was coming around, we
were kind of hoping we weren't going to win it. Because what happens if you win the contest is
that that 'movie extra' own your idea in perpetuity.

Max Belmonte 03:46
Ah one of those ones, right,

Christiaan Van Vuuren 03:49
Which we just had the experience of, by this stage, we'd finished our pilot now. And that was
we were trying to actually be out there in the market and sell the pilot that we created for the
MTV contest, we were just starting to get our heads around the fact that it wasn't really
$180,000 that you won for a pilot, it was more like $180,000 loan that had to be paid back if
any network wanted to make your show. So it was more like a ball and chain and we probably
would have been better off pitching the show without a pilot because then if some network
liked it, they wouldn't have had to pay back $180,000 To Viacom.

Max Belmonte 04:27
Let's pitch and say by the way, I need 180 bucks up $100,000 up front as well. Just yeah, just

Christiaan Van Vuuren 04:34
everybody you know, and not only do we have no proper audience or anything, you know, that
much experience to bring to the table. You're gonna have to school us on the way through and
you're gonna have to pay a company 180,000

Max Belmonte 04:48
This conversation is 180k Oh my god and nothing, nothing makes us shiver more than than the
term in perpetuity ugh

Christiaan Van Vuuren 04:56
throughout the universe. I think I know some of them are now saying throughout them
multiverse one perpetuity it's like just in case there was the case

Max Belmonte 05:04
then this Zuckerberg's Metaverse takes off. Maybe, I don't know, who knows. But

Christiaan Van Vuuren 05:09
um, so basically, you know, and then, after putting those videos out with Bondo hipsters, we
kind of realized that what we'd always wanted to do was kind of tell the narrative story, those
two characters, and we just started the web thing as a way to kind of build their world. But we
started to realize that we were like, Oh, we've got a great way to just kind of like, come to know
who these characters are, and what their story could be in a really simple, cost effective
production effective way by going with that mockumentary style thing of just have them
bullshit on a couch. And that gave us an opportunity to heaps of improv heaps of heaps, gag
our way through heaps of different topics, jam out lots of script ideas, and then kind of work
out, you know, in the edit, or on the day, what we want to put in and what we didn't. And, you
know, we could shoot for one weekend and be able to create 12 weeks of content, and then
shoot for another weekend and bang out another 12 weeks of content. And we did when we
started ponder hipsters, we set the goal of doing one episode a week for a year. And we did
that we did 53 weeks in a row of one video a week.

Max Belmonte 06:10
That's amazing. Wow.

Sam Folden 06:12
And you say, besides the aspect that you just mentioned, the production aspect, dominated,
you know, obviously, like, there's a lot of aspects to them that are quite relatable for a lot of
people, especially if you live in Bondi and all that stuff. What was what was like, I guess your
that its main attraction or inspiration to actually like, make those characters up kind of thing?

Christiaan Van Vuuren 06:35
Well, I guess I'd been living, I grew up in Cronulla, but I'd been living in Bondi for a while. And I
just started finding it funny that every cafe you go to you kind of hear these guys, like, it's so
it's almost like nobody in that suburb worked. But everyone had eight side projects, but you're
just constantly here, guys, it's like just catching up for copies of mates going, like, yeah, I just
started my fashion label, and you were putting on a festival, you know, next year, and we're
gonna, I'm gonna open a yoga studio, and I'm gonna do it this and it's just like this constant
flow of people who have these kinds of entrepreneurial ideas. And I guess, I guess it's kind of
funny, because a lot of those, you know, a lot of those are people who have kind of like come to
Bondi from other places in the country, or from other places in the world. But also, a lot of them
are kind of like drifting private school boys whose like, dads give them money to just try and do
something with their lives. And so we kind of just decided, you know, Nick had spent a lot of
time in Bondi too. And, you know, he was immediately enthusiastic about kind of jamming out
these characters. And so we kind of decided through the two of them to kind of hit both of
those sides. So like, you know, Adrian is the private school boy whose dad runs Macquarie Bank
and who's basically hopeless and hopeless it at trying to get a job or have a job like he doesn't
really couldn't, couldn't run him off, doesn't have any interest in doing that wouldn't like
wouldn't fit in would find it weird. And he was kind of based a lot on, at least for me, a lot of
mates from from Scots, that I remember when I went to Scots for a few years, before moving to
a local school in the Shire. But um, a lot of those guys kind of went through to be these slightly
hopeless adults. And

Sam Folden 08:16
I went to Cranbrook just down the hill. So there you go.

Christiaan Van Vuuren 08:19
So. And for Nick, again, I think he was in the North Shore, I think he went to Barker or
something like that. So similarly, for him, you know, a few of those bikes. And Don was kind of
this dude, who we were just saying, enjoyed the struggle of trying to remain cool. And who is a
bit more, probably a bit more like from suburban Melbourne. But who met Adrian on a Contiki
tour, when they were traveling around and then they kind of just decided to move in together
in Bondi, but um, the, I guess the core comedic idea for us was like, it gave us a set of
characters through which we could kind of take the piss out of those people who are trying to
make the world a better place whilst being part of the problem. So you know, people who want
to minimize their environmental footprints, but still drive Jeep Wranglers and smoked. Exactly,
it's not rock on the weekends. And then And then also, that the irony the comedic irony, like
trying to be world famous for being underground. Yeah, yeah. Which is very much the SU D
kind of story, you know, the dudes who kind of go over there and we jumped on that soupy
thing a little bit because I just find I find that story and those guys so funny that you know that
they just rock up to fashion shows and then put that up like rats on the stage and they're just
kind of like, do crazy things like put their show leather Gucci shows a billionaire in this hall and
they just put their shows on out on the street in front of it, you know, just just the edginess
level of that organization and stories about them rockin outdoing each other.

Max Belmonte 09:54
Try not to look as though they're not trying and they're trying so hard at it.

Christiaan Van Vuuren 09:59
Yeah, you Definitely it's about people trying really hard to not try hard. Yeah,

Max Belmonte 10:04
It's crazy. It's true.

Christiaan Van Vuuren 10:06
And I guess like we we did comedy and the stuff that we loved was mostly character stuff. So
we were just super invested in, in coming up with a couple of fun characters and really leaning
in to the character side of things. And so, yeah, for all of us, too, it was kind of like, it was
career development. Because, you know, Nick and I were jamming out staff con and my brother
was coming in and writing episodes with us, Connor and I were directing the show, it was more
stuff for our directing reel. And then, you know, we were able to together off the back of the
web series, take the whole thing to the ABC and do make soulmates off the back of it.

Max Belmonte 10:48
It's great, it's like you're all primed at the same time, just right, ready to go. And all your heads
together. I mean, it's like, even when you're saying, just sit down on the couch and start
talking. And you'd realize that there's just so much substance there that you can play with. It's
fantastic. Like, in terms of inspiration, it's not like you had to storyboard 53 Huge weeks worth
of stuff. way in advance. It's like, let's just have a go with these characters play and see what
see what happens. And things

Christiaan Van Vuuren 11:20
like things would come out of improv that would then become baked into the characters, like
that thing of like, you know, I think it's at a certain point, just improvising. Nick said, like, as
Adrian, he kind of goes, yeah, don't just because your dad's got a terminal illness, or just
because your mom's got a terminal illness, and your dad's a fucking nurse. And I'm like, you
know, he's a doctor. He's a doctor, man. And, like, he's like, he's a fucking nurse. Don't just
admit that, like, that was just a piece of improv that then baked into the world that like, John's
mother has a terminal illness, and his dad is a nurse who takes care of it. And it's like these
things would, these things would kind of come up in improv that would then become, you know,
just part of the character's lives that we then just decided, alright, if it's in an edit in an
episode, one week, and that's now part of the character's life.

Sam Folden 12:08
Just build it as you go. Yeah. Yeah. So

Christiaan Van Vuuren 12:10
it kind of was held, I think, part of what was really fun about it was just helping to, don't get me
wrong. There's lots of writing we were doing, and lots of like, lots of planning for it. But part of
what was fun was just actually, when you work out what's funny, as you're building it, that your
characters are just going deeper, and they're kind of expanding with the world that you're
you're growing online. I mean, we got really lucky with timing, you know, like, this was just as
YouTube was starting to blow up. And I think the amount of hours per week that have been
uploaded, probably like multiplied 100 fold between when we started doing this and what it is
now. But um, yeah, I definitely, I definitely think we scored a lucky little window.

Max Belmonte 12:55
Yeah, because that's my next question. You know, what did you have to do a lot behind the
scenes to really build that that audience initially with with the show,

Christiaan Van Vuuren 13:03
I mean, we worked really hard. So we were like, no money, you know, we're and we were just,
we're getting people together, based on the enthusiasm of making something you know, DOP
wanted, he had kind of done ads and music videos, but he wanted some comedy, and some
scripted stuff on his reel. So that worked for him. You know, we had a, we had a sound guy,
similarly, who wanted to get some more stuff, get some more work, but also, he wants to start
doing some camera work. So we started shifting him onto the camera occasionally. And he also
wanted to kind of get some producing credits. So he started helping us produce some stuff. And
we got a trip over to to the Olympics at one point and took the characters over there. And you
know, he, we got him over there to help kind of run things over there. So then he got an extra
credit out of that. And he's now a shooted producer, as a career. So we were kind of all kind of
all using each other to some degree by a bunch of mates who kind of collectively wanted to
wanted to do different things. It's great to have the time again, the timing just kind of worked
out. But you know, we were working. We were we were cutting, like when I say it was spitting
out shooting for one weekend and spitting out 12 weeks of content, you know, that was 12
weeks of editing off the back of one week of shooting. So there was a lot of editing time and
then you know, a lot of uploading and spreading the videos. We were kind of uploading them to
Facebook to YouTube. And then kind of like doing a lot of interaction in the comment sections
in character. And a lot of what was kind of like, I think what grew the Facebook page so quickly
as the people were kind of talking to us as dominate during and we were just kind of like
commenting re commenting rica so the things stayed in the feed. I mean, that was the other
way we got a bit lucky growing Facebook pages. That was just when Facebook launched
Facebook video and so they were like just pushing any video content straight to the top of the
feed,

Max Belmonte 14:58
whereas now you got to pay a fortune. To reach anyone?

Christiaan Van Vuuren 15:01
Yeah, yeah. And and we noticed that drop, like, it was almost overnight that Facebook videos
went from getting hundreds of 1000s of views per video to just kind of, you know, upload
something and get a couple of 1000 views unless you paid a booster. Yeah. And then we're just
kind of like, why why are we? Why are we going to pay to do this thing? It's, yeah, but um, we,
you know, we were in a very fortunate time in terms of uploading content to be able to reach
nodes. I think those things shift right, like people are going through a fortunate time on Tik Tok
now, and people have had a fortunate time on Insta, you just it's different people who, who
happened to be making content, and at whatever time might get lucky in whatever platform
but I think it applies to

Sam Folden 15:46
our time. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. 100%. And so you dabbled a little bit I assume in editing then
further for the YouTube part of your career, I guess. But obviously, you're also a writer and
director and an actor and all that stuff. What do you reckon? Which one do you feel most at
home with? Or is that like asking, what's your favorite film?

Christiaan Van Vuuren 16:11
I reckon the writing like it started with kind of acting being the thing that I enjoyed most, and
it's very much become the writing and directing thing that I've enjoyed the most. I don't look, I
don't know how much of that is that I just see more longevity in it in the sense that I've had two
kids on hold on bawled, my eyes are getting more and more coveted bags and drinking more
and more coffees every day just to stay alive. I just don't want to. I don't like I've watched my
auditions, I get sad. I've watched them change from like, you know, hunky boyfriend to like, sad
down on the edge of suicide, who was going through a midlife? Which I actually did the roles I
really enjoyed. The check clears. If

Max Belmonte 16:58
the check clears to it. You know what, yeah, you're still doing?

Christiaan Van Vuuren 17:01
Yeah, but not I honestly, just, I think that I think that there's no better lifestyle for work than
you and your laptop. Like, I just think it's the it's the most, it's the most heavenly, by the work
that you can go, you can go for surf in the morning, or you can go to the beach, and you can
just come back and you take your laptop, anywhere you go sit in a cafe, you can go sit
somewhere, you can go into state, you can take it with you. I mean, even if you're getting
acting jobs, you can take your laptop with you and you can be riding on set when you're kind of
like once you know you've got your lines down, and you're all kind of good to go. You can sit in
a trailer with your laptop, it's and then direct it. I just I think it's the I just think it's the actual
storytelling part of that is really enjoy. And it's also the collaboration like I'm so lucky, I get to
work with my brother and I just love that process. And we're doing a bit of collaboration with
my wife Adele now as well. And I love that. And it's it's just, yeah, it's just something a little
more satisfying without it to me. Yeah, I don't want to I don't want to, I don't want to like see
you guys out of acting. Because

Max Belmonte 18:09
look, it's as to survive as actors anyway, we've got a we've got to be slushies, you know, and to
have you even your survival job that's still in the game is a great thing. And I do voiceovers as
well. And then I've also got, I'm writing a television series at the moment. So like, there's that
amazing to be in that that mindset change. And I think you hit the nail on the head, he talked
about more about you're in the driver's seat of the creative, you're, you're feeling a bit more in
control of it, you know, when you're writing, and you're creating at that, at that end, rather
than at the output end, when you sort of getting the script and bring it to life as an actor,

Christiaan Van Vuuren 18:49
to be able to say or feed each other so well to like, you actually learn so much as a actor by
doing writing or directing. And you learn so much as a writer by acting or you know, like, and
you learn so much as a director by acting and so much as a writer by directing, and they all
kind of like really feed each other. I'm just

Sam Folden 19:08
gonna say, I think if it yeah, if you know, if everyone knows, there's a little bit about everything
else, then you can create this awesome project because you understand each other you know
how to work with each other, you know, how to talk to each other, communicate, and then
create this awesome project, I guess.

Christiaan Van Vuuren 19:23
And you kind of just know that like when you're writing you like know how hard you work to
make characters want something like and to go after that thing a certain way. And so you start
to realize, you start to realize, like, as a writer or director, what are the things that I want out of
my actors or out of my characters in the script or in the thing? And then you start to realize if
you get an acting job you like, what is it that they want to see out of me? Like you start to
realize that okay, this character needs to quite quite desperately be going after this thing. Or I
when I first started out acting would just be like, everything's the flattest fucking thing I could
remember. Remember all the words mumble call as a good day. And then how

Max Belmonte 20:07
funny though, you talk about all feeding itself because you like, you know, the words are so
important and you realize just how important they are. But then you also realize how much can
come from turning up prepared. And and the improv part of it, what the magic that can happen
from the improv side of it, as well. So, yeah, it all feeds each other. I think you move from
online content to working with the ABC. Now, what was that directly resulted to the success
resulting to the success of hipsters, or it was a couple of times independently.

Christiaan Van Vuuren 20:42
Yeah, it was. So when we'd made sick, which was our MTV pilot, corner, my brother, who
carried a lot of the writing work on that and had studied film at UTS, he formed a relationship
with a script editor and Greg waters, who had kind of like, kind of been giving notes throughout
the process of sick and kind of helping bring the story out and not too long. And Greg ended up
getting a job at the ABC as a development guy as a development executive. And so Greg was
working at the ABC, he'd loved sick, he'd seen it, he'd watched Bondi hipsters kind of do its
thing. And so he called us up together, you know, myself, Nick and Connor to come in and, you
know, pitching the show. And so we

Max Belmonte 21:33
actually reached out to you guys. Yeah, he

Christiaan Van Vuuren 21:37
just, you know, he just kind of said, Look, you know, I love seeing you, of course, you know,
that. I love Bondi hipsters. Should we get together and chat about whether there's something
we could do? Yeah. And so we went in, and we pitched him, I think five shows. So we're in there
and we were like, Alright, so we've got the Bondi hipsters pitch. Here it is. We've got another
pitch called caveman about, you know, a couple of guys at the beginning of time trying to kind
of work their way through life's problems. Were another page called Kiwi assassins, and I
caught in the 80s. It's kind of like buddy cop thing. About to New Zealand assassins sent over
to Australia to protect the New Zealand's international interests, then we've got this other idea.
It's called travel time about time travel agency with a couple of dudes working at a time travel
agency dealing with time travel conundrums. Or then we've got this show called soulmates
which you basically put them all together. And then he was like that one. Yeah. And at the time,
we thought are sick, that's cool that like, it'd be heaps easier, just to kind of like jamming out
short versions of all those shows, but it was actually like developing five shows at once.
Because that they Yeah, they wanted all the stories to feel satisfying, like they want. So we're
having to kind of learn kind of hard, learn what it is to write and rewrite, and rewrite, and throw
it out and rewrite and throw it out. I think it was about a year and a half the first round of
development on that. Before it went from like development to commission. And then once it
was commissioned, it was another kind of, you know, year of hard writing to get it to the point
of production. So, you know, but that's what, that's what it takes you Yeah, you have to people
develop these skills of being able to write and craft something over a very long period of time.
And so, you know, I think from the start, we've always had this, for better or worse, we've
always had this kind of like ethos of every single thing you make, you're learning something
like you're just getting better, because I reckon it's like a whole heap of industry meetings that
are actually total bullshit, but they're there in your head because people say them things like
you're only as good as your last job, or things like you know, once you've once you've made a
bad show, they'll never hire you again. Or once you've those sorts of things are like they're in
your head and you feel the pressure of them on you, but they're not actually true. Because, you
know, a lot of directors who made terrible first movies go on to make amazing second films, a
lot of people who are now incredible actors, doing incredible work I've done a whole bunch of
not that incredible work before. It's not like it's a difference like acting writing and directing or
any of this stuff. It's like some mystical thing that's different to any other job. It's you put in the
hours you you know,

Max Belmonte 24:29
there's no shortcuts and sometimes it's easy for people to forget because they just all they see
when they turn the telly on or watch a streamer is the success they don't understand you know
the tip of the iceberg and understand all the stuff that's gone in below the surface to make it
happen. She was

Christiaan Van Vuuren 24:45
just saying that the card is full online Mike and I don't know when it got full. So I've been
recording.

Max Belmonte 24:52
I'm still recording your audio coming straight into the deck. So

Christiaan Van Vuuren 24:56
everything well that stuff about oh, you're professional, this is professional, you know you don't
Oh, just

Max Belmonte 25:02
perception was there anyway, you had had it for about 20 minutes. It'd be funny.

Christiaan Van Vuuren 25:10
So, everyone, so what happened before we started recording was that I was like, I've got a
little, little mic here. You want me to record? Audio of you guys? And they were like, oh, yeah,
that'd be really great. And I was like, yeah, got a couple of mics here. Yeah, done this thing
before. And so now what has happened is my mic that I was so proud of having has got a full
card. So if you're listening to this podcast, and at some point I just started then that's what

Max Belmonte 25:40
happens to the best of us. It's been a couple of moments for me forgotten to press record, but
you know, what happens to the best of us?

Sam Folden 25:48
When Max just completely forgot to press record, and we record it for like half an hour and say,
Oh, we haven't tightened to was

Max Belmonte 25:53
better, I'll take two is better. I'm just pushing for better.

Christiaan Van Vuuren 25:57
I've been on a shoot where they lost the entire data for a whole day's worth of shooting. So Oh,
no, yeah, someone, someone went to do the card, like they send the data wrangler date to the
production office, and the data wrangler kind of taped over the existing cards and deleted the
the day's worth of shooting thinking that they're gone. It was just like, it was a nightmare. I felt
so sorry for that. But like that's hundreds of 1000s of dollars worth

Max Belmonte 26:29
of the planning and logistics. Oh my god.

Sam Folden 26:33
That's one mistake. Maybe that's one mistake that won't get you hired again. Maybe that was
maybe that's one of the one

Christiaan Van Vuuren 26:39
Yeah, yeah, when we talked about industry means it could be that you probably still get
another job. At some point, you just

Max Belmonte 26:46
learn for every job, I'm sure it would never happen. Again, if anything's got like three.

Christiaan 26:58
Definitely, when you're starting out, it's you actually realize how much more there is, then you
can fit into your show and having to be really selective about the bits that do make it in and
really like having to know your show that well that you can be that confident in what it is you're
creating that you can just murder week's worth of work at any given point in time. Because it's
just better for the show

Sam Folden 27:25
got massive. It's completely like great idea, this script and I've got these five unfinished scripts
just sitting on my laptop. And I have I have all these great ideas in my head. And I've got them
and I struggled so much to just put it on paper, in a sense, like, I just ended up writing over
camera angles, and I put this stuff so don't forget, I might it starts here does all this using all
the technicalities, and then you lose the story. It's just, I have this idea. But do you have any
suggestions like at all, like how to, I guess, I guess a lot of people struggle with ideas, and then
just getting it onto onto the page.

Christiaan Van Vuuren 28:03
I reckon. Ways story starts, where your story ends, what your character wants, what your
character needs, are the like, most important things to know. And if you've started writing,
before, you know those things, you've probably starting to write too early. Like, I think I like to,
you know, originally, when we first started writing, you'd see these kinds of things like
structural beat sheets, and, you know, 3x structures, and they're sort of stuff that's very kind of
like widely used within the industry. And you just push back against it going like I don't need, I
don't want this to be like every other story. I don't want this to feel like every other thing. And I
think that the more you do it, the more you actually realize those structural things are very
helpful to actually just get you going, and then you can kind of throw them out as you're going.
But just to know that there's a reason your story starts on this day, that there's a thing that
your character wants, that there's a hole in your character's life that needs to be filled. And that
the story is going to take them on that journey. So I think like if you know what your format is,
like, if it's a film there, you know, follow those structures, because they're tried and tested. And
then just do that until you've kind of got the beats of the story down and then you can move
away from it if you want to, but at least you'll know you'll you know, the story be satisfying? Or
if it's a TV show, find something kind of like it, you know, like, if it's a who done it is that you
know, look at what they did with Mayor of East town and kind of go or When are we meeting
the kinds of suspects How is she digging the dirt on them? When are those things falling? And
you just start to get a sense of like, what great work does to you like if you kind of analyze
shows and films that you like and you kind of what what Episode Are they introducing
antagonists? What episode is the pressure really going up? Like what's you know, and then the
other thing is like you've been coming up with stuff to happen in your story like things to really
happen the characters? What are they afraid of? What are the worst things in the world for
them? And then how can you put them through that? Because that's what makes great story. A
friend of mine, Vanessa Alexander, who's she wrote on Vikings, and she wrote on the great, and
she's, you know, are incredible. Yeah, so great. I mean, sorry, I didn't mean that. But, you
know, she was kind of saying that, like, I think the Vinci said once that he's like, you know, the
sculpture is already in the marble, I've just got to find it on a thing. And that's like writing, it's
kind of like, when you have the idea that the story is there, you kind of got to find it, not force it
too much. And you'll find it by working out. Yeah, but those those challenges you can put a
character through and same story and characters are all the same thing, they all kind of end up
working together. And you'll get to a point your characters each kind of represent different
parts of that same. Sorry, I'm going on, that's plenty of food for thought. Like, I'm the worst
with that, too. I have 38 unfinished things in my laptop. But it's much more beneficial to
actually just finish the thing through to completion.

Sam Folden 31:10
And then it ends up being shipped. Just finish it, get it done. Finish and draft and draft. And
yeah, and

Christiaan Van Vuuren 31:17
if you want to actually make something, just push it to the next point, like, that's the you can
actually work on multiple things, as long as you get one to the point where you're like, Okay, I
can send that to someone now. While while I'm waiting for them to give me notes. I can work
on the next thing to this point. I can now get that thing out to producers. If I get what wait until
I get some feedback. In the meantime, jump on this thing and push that thing along. So you're
like, you're constantly pushing all these things or keeping plates spinning? And yeah, one or
two plates will fall off. But, you know, hopefully they all don't.

Max Belmonte 31:47
You made another online series called over and out with your wife and CO creator Adele
verrucae. Interestingly, or scarily, that also start your real life kids.

Christiaan Van Vuuren 32:02
Did Yeah. Well, it wasn't going to. But I'm just gonna walk downstairs and check out kids at the
moment, actually. So that's, that's what I'm doing. Perfect. Yeah, yeah. So basically, we'd
written this kind of like post apocalyptic, parenting comedy that involves zombies and gowns,
and kids. And so yeah, Mad Max zombies. But with children, when we kind of started figuring
out how we would actually shoot it, and how we would do some of these things. The people
were saying to us, there's no way in the world that any parent is going to let you have their kid,
Fido zombie, establish zombie with a knife, and then eat a human foot or, you know, laugh at
them get face splattered with blood and laugh when a zombie gets his head blown off, or
whatever. And, um, and so we started worrying that the concept was kind of going to be
unachievable. And so to make things easier, also, then the shoot shedule that week was just
quite intense. Like it was a lot of, we only had one week to shoot it. And every single day was
packed. The kids had a lot of work to do. And so we were just like, you know, what if we use our
kids, that everyone was like, Well, yeah, that'll probably be a bit what easier. And so then,
everything in the show, like none of it was traumatizing for them. Because they were like, when
they were dealing with a zombie, it was one of their uncle's, or, you know, they got to hang out
on set with us and see the person get painted a certain way. And then the kind of one of the
more crazy scenes with one of the kids is actually knife fighting a kind of a legless zombie on
the ground. That's, that's my brother, who was directing and is his uncle, and we just go, we
just go Oh, go play for Smash your uncle. So he comes out, you know, we're given this plastic
knife, and

Max Belmonte 33:53
he's just going, Yeah, stunt coordinator.

Christiaan Van Vuuren 33:56
He's really enthusiastic. Because it's just his uncle who he calls it all the time. Yeah, cool.
Basically,

Max Belmonte 34:01
what can be born out of necessity, when you've only got X amount of time? You've only got X
amount of a budget. What can we do? And yeah, your own kids standing. That's, that's
fantastic.

Christiaan Van Vuuren 34:12
Thank you just, you know, we knew we knew we had to get that thing made, because we've
worked pretty hard on it. And it just seemed to be the only way that we'd get it made.

Max Belmonte 34:21
Well done. Well leave. You've had it. You've had a huge couple of years, you directed a somber
Christmas and you wrote and starred in DOM and Adrian, are you always hustling? Like you've
mentioned before? You've got so many plates in the air? Like, do you only feel like normal when
you've got multiple projects on the go?

Christiaan Van Vuuren 34:40
Yeah, I guess I get anxious when I'm not working. I don't maybe that's the coffee as well,
maybe. But um, I just kind of, I don't know, I really I'm aware of the fact that I kind of came to
this late, you know, it was a bit of a I was 2728 when I realized that this is something I wanted
to do. And I just felt like I had some catching up to do. And I just love doing it, like, I just get a
lot out of the process of having my fingers on the keyboard, I love thinking ahead going like,
Okay, I'm gonna be unemployed in three months time, or I'm not gonna have any income
coming in, in six months time, how can I get ahead of that right now and start working on an
idea that, that at around that time should start to generate some level of development income
or something. And so I just think I'm busy by necessity, in that I just want to be busy. So I make
sure that I can be by, you know, several different people I collaborate with. So you know, I'm
able to kind of get something pushed along further with them, where we can swap the work
and I can do a bit, they can do a bit, I can do a bit, they can do a bit, you know, we can take,
you know, my brother and I in particular, we can take turns taking the lead in different things at
different times in terms of keeping them moving. And we often, you know, work something to a
point and swap sort of over our work so that the other person can pick it up from there. And
you know, we'd get more excited about certain projects than others, which kind of allows us to
swap things between us somewhat. And I guess, the more work you make, the more chance
you kind of get to meet other people. And then other opportunities come around where, you
know, people want you to work on their stuff for them.

Sam Folden 36:29
Yeah, that's, that's cool.

Christiaan Van Vuuren 36:32
I guess I just never rely on the fact that there will be work coming in, I'm always on my baseline
is, there'll be no work unless I'm

Max Belmonte 36:39
like, it's a good baseline. That's solid. I mean, it provides the urgency, you know, to put pen to
paper to attack that blank page. And you still, you know, thinking strategically you got to you
got to pay the pay the bills in six months time.

Christiaan Van Vuuren 36:55
And you know, life is expectations, like by taking the word unemployed and calling yourself
unemployed actors, I guess you're like, well, if worst comes to worst, I

Max Belmonte 37:07
think freaking packaging.

Christiaan Van Vuuren 37:10
But if your expectation is they're going to be super busy and you know, have one of those crazy
Lightning in a Bottle careers. Like I look up the people I look up to like Taika Waititi who, you
know, like, Yeah, that guy worked fucking hard for a long time making, you know, amazing
movies, a really clear voice, you know, flogged himself, creating some really hard work. And
then yeah, he got, he got to do the awesomest thing you get to do as a director, which is to,
you know, create a giant piece of work that ends up being fucking amazing.

Max Belmonte 37:44
Exactly. And is it really compromised in that journey, either on his style?

Christiaan Van Vuuren 37:48
At All right? Yeah, at all, like, and if I could have any career in the world, I want that one, you
know, because it's just such a such a solid path. But again, you know, I'm sure he would say
that, that, that, that that hadn't the stars not aligned in a certain way that might not have
happened the way that it did, you know, and it's, you can look at these other people with these
great careers, and you can't really try to copy that. Like, it's not that's not a roadmap, you
could never hope to think that Chris Hemsworth would see, you know, one of the movies you
made ago, that should be the guy that's going to do my next film, despite all that hard work.
You know, the, I just think you kind of have to just keep keep on keepin on and assume that
nothing will land in your lap. And then if it does, it's sick.

Max Belmonte 38:38
plan for the worst hope for the best. Okay, yeah. That's it. Well, Christian, thank you very much
for your time. We really appreciate it as to up and coming actors.

Christiaan Van Vuuren 38:47
Lovely to meet you guys. Lovely to meet you guys. Make sure that if I have to work on anything
where you know where you're in the right age range and all that, spin your little audition

Max Belmonte 39:00
brilliant, brilliant.

Christiaan Van Vuuren 39:02
Take the unemployed. Unemployed out I want to point out is I'm only saying that because the
name of the podcast

Max Belmonte 39:12
Wherever you're listening to your podcasts, make sure you subscribe, so don't miss more tips
and tricks for actors and some behind the scenes guys. I'm Max.

Sam Folden 39:20
I'm Sam.

Max Belmonte 39:22
And you'll hear us next week. Bye!

Christiaan Van Vuuren Profile Photo

Christiaan Van Vuuren

Actor, Writer, & Director

An Australian Actor, Writer, and Director. Co-creator of Bondi Hipsters.
Also known for A Sunburnt Christmas (2020), Dom and Adrian: 2020 (2020) and Soul Mates (2014).