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James Vegter – Actor / Writer / Director / Producer


James Vegter is an Australian actor, screenwriter, director and producer from country Victoria. He’s acted in Australian and Chinese film and television and is currently working with Indian and American film associates. James happens to be a good bloke too.

From a young age, story telling was always a passion for him and there is no doubt James has made it his journey to turn this childhood passion into his life’s work as an adult.

James has been working super hard over the years; honing his skills as an actor and appearing in numerous television and film roles, whilst also aspiring to do his own thing with his writing, directing and producing.

Like most creative people I know, James currently has at least six projects on the go. Being busy and juggling is what keeps crew like James alive. It’s inspiring to see such home grown talent working away at making their mark on the film industry abroad without much fanfare, and all in the name of just doing good work that might make a difference to someone out there who wants to be moved or to possibly have their mind stretched just a tad. This is all any creative person really wants to do at the end of the day…

Make stuff that matters… And hopefully from a commercial point of view – someone wants to pay for that “stuff” to keep their creative work viable and ongoing.

To see some of James’s work, visit the interwebs here. Or keep your ear to the ground for the name James Vegter, for in the years to come I reckon we might be be lucky by unleashing another successful Australian film maker into the world. Now wouldn’t that be cool…


Q & A:

1) Did you always want to become a film maker? Describe your passion for your work and what do you feel makes a truly great piece of film?

When I was young, I would constantly act out stunts from favorite movies, mess around with film cameras and build worlds and war games around me to pass time. I was often living in my imagination, even though my father was calling for me to work on our farm. During secondary years and University, I was heavily involved in sport and trying to work out exactly what I wanted to do. After traveling abroad for many years soul searching and luckily working on television commercials and photography shoots domestically and internationally, my passion was found again. Since then, I haven’t stopped trying to learn and tell stories through acting and filmmaking.

My passion is story telling. My thoughts on a good piece of filmmaking, is something that makes you think, question humanity and believe.

2) Did you study film/acting? Who have been some of your greatest creative influences?

I’ve done a degree in Commerce Marketing and Business Music at Vic Uni and I have studied with various acting teachers in Sydney, Melbourne, LA and New York for the last nine years developing my acting and film making skills. If I’m not working, I’m constantly studying and working at my craft. The exciting thing about acting and filmmaking is that you are constantly learning and evolving as an artist. Al Pacino always says, “I’m still learning.”

My number one creative for acting, film making and story telling is Clint Eastwood. Other influences are Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, Marlon Brando, Meryl Streep, Robert De Niro and Daniel Day Lewis. I’m also a big fan of Alfred Hitchcock, Danny Boyle and Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu as Directors. In terms of acting methods, I’m an advocate of Alexander, Strasberg and Stanislavski techniques. The list could travel further down this paragraph. It’s not just actors and filmmakers that inspire me, it’s stories of people, questions of humanity and philosophy. Everything is art to me.

3) How would you describe your particular creative style, and do you feel it has changed over the years as you’ve grown as an artist?

If I did have to describe it, it would be layers of rawness, morality, truth, street wisdom, mysticisms, philosophy plus edgy filmmaking and acting. Over the years I have found a huge shift in my acting craft. I feel this is largely due to filmmaking in writing, direction and producing. Each story has something new to learn an offer. I believe each story will have its own creative style.

4) What has been your biggest achievement to date? Where do you see yourself in 5 and 10 years time?

My biggest achievement to date is acting in the Chinese feature film ‘Lovers’. No it wasn’t porn! This film succeeded in China and at various International film festivals and I played the lead as an Australian photographer. The story had a similar feel to a 1970’s French silent movie.

In 5 to 10 years I see myself set up in LA and working through American, Australian, Indian, and Chinese markets. I’ve developed my craft and business networks to prepare myself for achieving this.

5) What do you love most about your work? / What are the biggest challenges for you as a young (Australian) film maker? / Do you have any plans to pursue your career overseas?

LOVE: I’m inspired to work with creative people that are open to collaboration and passionate. I’m obsessed to learn and be the best artist I can be. Working with other people on this same journey only lifts me to a higher level.

CHALLENGES: I’ve faced numerous challenges over the last five years developing my acting craft and making my first independent feature film. Constant knocks back would be the toughest, but passion and belief drives me.

Producing an international feature film abroad has had its challenges through barriers to entry. We had ambition to make “Atman” a feature film set in India for the last four years. This film has now been re-branded and developed into “Dead Feather”, a film set in Argentina. I spent numerous years developing networks in Indian Film to make this fly, but recently the project took a turn of wind. I’ve learnt through the process, you don’t know what to expect. That is why you just have to continue working hard until something pops. Constant re-writes can be difficult but circumstance has its own reasoning. Personal life and finance can also make it difficult when you are trying to get your own project off the ground.

Realistically you need to be over in LA to make your acting fly better. There is less opportunity in Australia. My path hasn’t taken this journey yet due to investment commitments with ‘Dead Feather.’ Everything has its own reasoning. I would like to return to LA with not just my acting credits, but also my writing, directing and producing credits. This trip will hopefully happen in 2014.

6) If you had an unlimited budget to make the film of your dreams. What would that look like? (Genre, locations, subject matter etc)

I’d probably look at a budget to make about five feature films that can have both a social and moral affect on society. I believe budgets are too high at the moment. Look at the movie ‘Australia’ for example. I often think budgets are blown out and if you look at the amount spent on that movie, the Australian Film Industry could of made around 20 feature films. I base my producing model around Clint Eastwood. Tight budget, good quality, high return!

7) What do you do when you’re not making films?

Surf, play music and cook up some hopefully good food.

8) As a creative person – who and what inspires you or are you passionate about?

Everybody inspires me. Humans. Stories. Earth. Meta physics. Philosophy.

9) What’s your all time favorite movie and why? / who would you most like to work with?

Best movie: North by Northwest. Clint Eastwood is the guy that I would most like to work with.

10) What next – any other interesting projects on the horizon/future goals you are yet to achieve?

The major project I’m involved with currently is ‘Dead Feather.’ The film is about habitus. How violence has a cause an affect on your external and internal environments. Set in Perth and Buenos Aires, the story deals with an ex-soldier dealing with PTSD, bad luck in love, war, gang violence, express kidnappings, human trafficking and mystical elements of birds and American Indian healing. I’m the actor/ writer/ producer of the film and we are looking to go into production in 2014 if everything goes according to plan.

I’m also currently making a short film around a story based from Ernst Hemingway and Vincent Van Gogh’s suicide. We are shooting that in December 2013.

I’m also working on five other feature films. One is called called ‘Tequila Diamonds’ which essentially deals with addictions, following three stories through a weather vane that changes direction. When North Wind hits the shore, the story’s meets, all breaking free.

Number two is a Bollywood feature film that I’m acting in.

Number three – This movie is based from a true story set in Thailand and Burma about three school-teachers. On a night out in Bangkok during the water festival, one teacher tragically drowns. The two guys dealing with the shock of their mate’s death find out through personal belongings that he lived a second life in Burma. The two head off to explore, little did they know they would be falsely convicted and thrown in jail.

Number four is a film from Texas. It’s a historical piece set in the 1880’s and is shooting around 40% in Australia, 20% UK and 40% in the USA. I can’t say too much about this one as I haven’t written it.

Number five is another film I’ve written called ‘Chinese Whispers.’ I can’t say too much about this one either, otherwise whispers will get around. It’s set in 2018. The treatment is currently being revised.

I’m also in the process of designing a small film studio in Melbourne.

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