Category: Super Creatives series

How did you become involved in the GCFF? What is your work background? And your current role with the festival?

I came to the GCFF in 2009 after leaving Magna Pacific as the Head of Theatrical Acquisition and Distribution. So my background is as a solicitor and then in marketing and distribution. Currently I am the Festival Director of the GCFF, so I do everything from the programming to marketing to funding etc etc.

What makes the GCFF unique?

We are a pop culture film festival and we aim to work with Supanova to extend and ameliorate fan experiences.

Has the partnership with Supanova Pop Expo proven fruitful?

Yes very. 2012 was our most successful year on record and I hope 2013 will be even bigger.

What is you long term plan for the festival?

I’d like to see us become the pre eminent pop culture film festival in Australia and have people come from interstate and from overseas to stay on the Gold Coast to attend our event and other pop culture events on around our event, such as Supanova.

How can people help spread the word and become involved?

People should like us on FaceBook and follow us on Twitter and check our website . We are always looking for volunteers close to the event. I also welcome people to send me messages through the website or facebook recommending films they have heard about or suggesting sessions or seminars that they would like to see at the film festival!


Wayne Haag graduated from Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology with distinction in 1994 with a BA in Illustrative Photography.

His RMIT portfolio led to matte painting on The Fifth Element and Red Corner whilst at Digital Domain in Los Angeles. A return to Melbourne saw work with Complete Post then another shift to Sydney for Farscape Season 1 TV series with Garner Maclennan Design. The next major film work took Wayne to New Zealand for Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy at Weta FX where he was responsible for several of the key shots of the film.

Upon his return to Sydney, Wayne then co-founded Emerald City Design in 2003 and served as its Creative Director for two years before moving back to freelance work. He was responsible for award winning TVC designs for clients such as Singapore Airlines, Sony and Telstra. A move into Production Design for the animated feature The Fourth Magi was next but the project was cancelled before going to production. Book cover artwork for major publishers, a series of large scale oil paintings for a mural project and private painting commissions round out his professional work. Wayne’s focus is now on creating epic genre Oil Paintings that are typical of the images seen in his film work.

1.       How did your background lead you to working as an artist? Were there clear early signs, or did you stumble into it?

No stumbling, I knew exactly what I wanted to do as a kid. I was always drawing, everywhere … until … one day, a kid came in from another school and just blew everyone away with his skill. I remember thinking that I couldn’t compete with that, nor with what I perceived to be his conceptual thinking. This was around my year 8 at Tech. I was coincidently getting interested in photography at the same time so I gave up on drawing and painting. It was a huge mistake now that I look back on it.

I was also a lazy student, school bored me to tears, art class was rubbish anyway and the only thing that held my attention was Media Studies. My teacher actually arranged for me to interview Anthony Daniels (C3PO) as he was out promoting Return of the Jedi at the time. It was one of the few highlights I have of school. I also experimented with video effects and stop motion photography. Obviously Star Wars was the big influence here, particularly the special effects aspects, and that funnily enough eventually led me right back to painting!

It was still quite some time before I started working as an artist however. I completed my Electronics qualification with the Dept of Defence, at an Ammunition Factory for four years and stayed on for another two and half years. I took retrenchment in 90′ and enrolled in the BA Photography course at RMIT the following year. I graduated in 94′. I didn’t start working as a professional artist until April 1996 at Digital Domain, in LA, matte painting on The Fifth Element.

2.       What is the most satisfying project you’ve worked on and why?

The Fifth Element, hands down. It was my first real film job. I achieved my dream, made it to Hollywood, it was a scifi film, one that was partly designed
by the French comic book artist Moebius, who I love. I met some truly awesome people and formed friendships that I still have today. I learnt so much, so fast and pulled off three of the biggest shots in the film. I did have help initially but I was let loose soon enough. The production ran like a Swiss watch, there was very little stress and it was always, always about the art, never about the technology that created it. We also had tons of time to work on our shots. In the world of film visual effects, this was Shangri-La!

3.       What inspires you to create science fictional landscapes?

First off, it’s that sense of wonder. It’s what we’re all looking for in any good sf, book, art or film. I want to be transplanted into a new world and feel that place, smell that world, meet those people and go with them on their journey. I want to wonder at it all and still be left to imagine more.

Prior to any film inspiration as a kid, it was SF art that adorned the covers of books that really hooked me. Artists like Jim Burns, Tim White, Chris Foss, Peter Elson, Angus McKie and John Harris, all Englishmen and John Berkey from the US. There are probably others I’ve missed here. Not that I knew their names then but the artwork floored me. There was some fantastic SF art books also floating around in the 70’s that blew me away. It’s the one thing a static painting has over cinema, you can stare at it all day and lose yourself in that world.

My predilection for abandoned spacecraft hulks stems from my love of discovering old factories that boys will ‘explore’ when un-supervised! I’m fascinated with the stories that may have happened in these old run down places. Apply that to some old derelict spacecraft half buried in a field and now you’re ringing my bell!

Beyond the original childish inspiration however, and I say that in the positive sense, the derelicts being dismantled in my paintings are reminiscent of the shipping breaking in places like India and Bangladesh. The societies that develop around such industries and ships are incredible and heart breakingly tough. Those that control those industries and those that are slave to them. I want to explore SF with the eye of a photo-journalist and start introducing people into the paintings, start depicting scenarios that viewers can wonder at and also relate to on a slightly more serious level.

My recent oil painting work also stems from the frustration of never having matte painted on glass like they did in the old days of VFX. I would have killed for that experience!

4.       What would you like to be doing professionally in ten years’ time?

At the very least, help expand the notion of what is possible narratively with the art form. I would also like to be exhibiting in mainstream galleries and demonstrate that genre art can have something to say beyond the mere packaging of a book. Book covers have been the home of SF art for years and now the e-book revolution is changing the game. Where does book cover art sit now? That tiny bit of real estate, that was already rather minuscule, is disappearing completely, both at point of sale and on the book itself. It will open up opportunities for the visual expression of SF ideas elsewhere and allow for fresh new images and avenues of exhibition.

I firmly believe that artists should just create the work they love and leave it to the industries to find them. The idea that an artist must go into computer games design, or film matte painting or book cover illustration is silly. Paint what you want and see who knocks on your door, it may be all three industries.

My paintings are also forming the basis of an illustrated story, possibly novella or novelette length, that I have been working on for a few years now. I may eventually write it or hand it off to someone else, not sure yet, it’s still very rough. The paintings will offer another point of view into the same world, not a literal visual description of a scene as written, although that may happen here and there, but I’d like for the words and images to be divergent to some degree. Kind of like binaural beats where you have two slightly different frequencies played into each ear and your brain makes up the difference as a third beat. I’d like the story and images to combine within the reader/viewer’s brain creating that third reality.

But as long as I’m painting, I’ll be happy!


Tom Taylor has written plays that have been produced across four continents, from the Sydney Opera House to the Edinburgh Festival.  He has killed characters for DC Comics and created characters for Lucasfilm. He has written comics which have been reprinted in French, German and Spanish but he can’t read any of them. He has sung for thousands in concert halls and acted to tens in the smallest of black-box theatres. He has sent Luke Skywalker on a quest and taught Darth Vader a lesson. He has directed casts of hundreds in full-stage musicals and composed songs heard across the world. He has juggled knives for billionaires and eaten fire for passers-by on the street. He has written for film screened in California and radio aired in Melbourne. He has won many awards for his writing and lost many of his indoor soccer finals. He is the father of two and the husband of one.

1.  You’ve written screenplays, award winning stage plays and comics and graphic novels. What is you favourite medium? Where does you heart lie?

Although I enjoy writing theatre, musicals and film, and I’ve been involved in theatre since I was about 12, I truly believe that comics are the single greatest storytelling medium in the world. From the intimate to the infinite, comics are capable of anything. No other writing is as freeing as comics. Unlike film, there are no budgetary restraints.  In comics, it costs the same amount to blow up a planet on a page as it does to have two people talking over coffee. Likewise, a ship the size of a city, being attacked by a sentient squid creature, itself made up of a million dead spaceships, is a hard thing to convey on a small wooden stage.

A good artist can make that comics canvas stretch forever. I also love the pace of comics. Unlike prose, there’s no need to stop and describe something or someone on the page, because the reader can see the people and places at the same time as they’re reading.  This means moments can flow without pausing for explanation. I’ve loved comics since I was a child and I always promised myself back then that I would buy comics for us (me and young me) when I was an adult.  Although I wouldn’t consider myself an adult yet, I’m still buying comics for young me.  Luckily, older me likes them too.  Plus, I’m writing them.

2.  Who do you enjoy writing more; the superhero or the antihero?

I’m not really sure. Unlike most, I’m a Superman guy, not a Batman guy. I much prefer earnest to angst. However, that said, I like writing characters who can speak plainly and cuttingly to authority. I like a smart ass. Basically, I like a jester. Creating a character who isn’t afraid to say what he thinks and putting him in the same book as Darth Vader made for a much better book in Will of Darth Vader. Similarly, my favourite moments from my recent stint on DCUO Legends, writing Green Lantern, definitely involved Guy Gardner, a notable pest in the DC universe.

3. Can you tell us about some of your upcoming projects?

Sure.  My work on the ‘The Deep’ is continuing with volume II, The Deep: The Vanishing Island, well under way and I’m absolutely loving every moment of it.  It may be because they belong to me, not George Lucas or Warner Brothers, but the Nekton family are the first characters I’ve created who I’ve truly fallen in love with.  I want to write them all the time. I want to see them interact. I want to see them triumph and explore. I’m feeling very lucky that Gestalt Publishing have shown such faith in this book, and it’s looking more and more likely that we will see the all-ages adventures of this multiethnic family of underwater explorers take off in another medium. If you’re interested in picking up The Deep: Here Be Dragons, it’s easily available right here

I have three more unannounced creator-owned books coming from Gestalt as well. Also, Believe, a one-shot adapted from my play of the same name, will be coming soon, with art by Emily Smith.

In the states, I have another little DC Comics thing on the way, I’ve written something else for another publisher, which is still a secret, and I’m in talks with yet another big publisher to do something with a good friend, which is also still a secret… even to me.

My new Star Wars project, Star Wars: Blood Ties – Boba Fett is Dead, was recently announced in New York and it should be hitting shelves around April next year. And Star Wars: Invasion is still rolling along very well. And finally, I’ve just finished writing a little something for British comics giant, 2000 AD.

Lastly, another short film of mine should be appearing soon with The Example having recently been filmed in Sydney, starring John Batchelor (Red Dog, Underbelly: Razor, Sea Patrol) and Kelly Paterniti (Griff The Invisible, Cops L.A.C.). Why have one project on the go when you can have fifteen? Who needs sleep… or time to put on pants.

4. Do you enjoy collaborating, or do you prefer to work alone?

I can’t stand collaborating at the writing stage any more. I did it for many years in theatre and comedy, and they were very good years, but I think I’m too closed off and set in my ways to do that any more. However, comics are all about collaboration. I do value the input and suggestions of my editors (so long as they don’t try to change my dialogue) and I work very closely with a lot of artists.  I also have a good friend who reads all of my work before anyone else sees it.  She’s certainly a collaborator, even if she doesn’t get enough credit (hi Kym!).

5.  What would you like Tom Taylor to be doing in ten years?

I’d like future Tom to be buying comics for present Tom and child Tom. I’d also like future Tom to be surrounded by merchandise for The Deep, having successfully headed up the animated series for a number of years. However, his own successful series won’t stop future Tom from continuing to write Star Wars on top of a fantastic run on Superman. Also, hopefully future Tom will be relaxing with his family, playing soccer on the beach with his boys, while stopping occasionally to sip at an unashamedly girly drink with a plastic monkey hanging off the straw and… no!  I can’t keep up this ruse any longer! This isn’t a guess. Future Tom buys a time machine in ten years! I know. He came back and told me.  The drink is pink and lime green and tastes like coconut and mango, he gave me a sip. He also bought me a copy of his first Superman issue… it was okay without being ground breaking.  I told him so.  He glared at me with his one cybernetic eye and told me to look out for coat hangers.



davitt-award  aurealis-award   logo-curtin-university

Peacemaker - Aurealis Award
Best Science Fiction Novel 2014

Curtin University Distinguished Alumni Award 2014

Transformation Space - Aurealis Award
 Best Science Fiction Novel 2010

Sharp Shooter - Davitt Award
Best Crime Novel 2009 (Sisters in Crime Australia) 





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