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My name is Topher and I've been asked to write a little something about who I am and why I do what I do. So here goes.
First the easy stuff: What I do.
I make documentaries! So far my subject has been water, and in particular the POLITICS of water. Sounds boring doesn't it? Well it is boring and many boring hours of reading boring reports and boring studies and boring political stuff go into each of my doco's. But the good news is that I do my best to bypass all that boring stuff and get straight to the good juicy stuff in my doco's. Ain't I nice?
And before you ask, no, I'm not affiliated with any political party or group. I dont care what 'brand' of politician is in charge, bad policy is
bad policy. It makes no difference if that bad policy is proposed by the guy I voted for or not, it's still a bad policy. And I HATE bad policy. Not only do bad policies (like the Desal plant, the North-South Pipeline and many MANY more) waste money, but they often leave the underlying problem unfixed, meaning we are ALSO wasting TIME building a BAD solution when we could be building a GOOD one.
Plus it upsets me every week when I look at my paycheck (I work in a warehouse to pay the bills) and see how much I've paid in tax, and yet I know that so much of that money is being so badly spent.
So what do I do about it? I make documentaries! And I hope that people will watch them and that if enough people start to make enough of a fuss about bad policies and wasted money then maybe our politicians will start to be more careful and start to think things through a little better before they spend our $Billions.
Or maybe I'm dreaming.
So anyway, that's what I do. Now here's a bit about how I started to do what I do:
I was born at a very early age a bunch of years ago. Stuff happened and if you fast forward a little bit you get to February 2009. It was a busy month. I contracted glandular fever, crashed my motorbike and produced my very first doco. In that order.
That doco, called 'Topher's Unpopular View - Melbournes Water Crisis', was actually made as a job application. I didn't get the job. I guess my 'unpopular view' lived up to it's name...
Except that what I DID get was about 2,500 views on YouTube. On the one hand thats not very many, but on the other hand it was far more than I ever expected. And then I got a call.
It was someone wanting to know if I would tackle the North - South Pipeline which was under construction at the time. I had two questions: "Why me?" and "What's the North South Pipeline?"
They never answered the first one, and the second one answered itself as we talked. I began my own research and soon realized that I was looking at one of the dumbest ideas in the history of politics. And that's saying something! So I started work on 'Tophers Unpopular View #2 - the North South Pipeline', to lay the pipeline plan bare in all it's stupid glory.
It was during my research for UV#2 that I began to notice that almost no-one in the mainstream media was saying what I was discovering. No-one else had picked up on the logical flaws in the plan, the internal contradictions in the reasoning to justify the pipeline or even on the blatant (and I mean blatant) half truths and outright lies that were told in support of it. The mainstream media seemed to accept and repeat whatever they were given, almost without question. Gone was journalistic skepticism or even (in many cases) basic critical thinking. It was a simple case of hear-and-repeat.
At first I wondered if maybe I was the one who had it wrong. Maybe I'm the only one thinking this stuff because I'm wrong? So I double checked my facts, went back over my logic and arrived at the same conclusions.
So I produced UV#2 and put it up on YouTube. Within a matter of a week it had over 10,000 views. Comments started pouring in supporting my reasoning and conclusions, and more than a few comments thanking me for having the agates to say what so many were thinking, but very very few in the mainstream media seemed willing to say. Then I started getting more calls.
A few emails or phonecalls came every week asking me to look at a particular issue or take up a particular cause. Sadly I had to say no because making doco's is expensive and (like everyone else) I have bills to pay. But then I got a call I couldn't say no to. It was early 2010, Melbourne was in the grip of a crippling drought and stage 4 water restrictions were in place. I got an email from an engineer who reckoned he could fix the water crisis.
The skeptic in me wanted to ignore him, but the optimist in me wanted to meet with him so he could explain his idea. Well one thing led to another and I produced 'Topher's Unpopular View #3 - The Magic Solution', which has been my most-watched doco so far, and with good reason!
'Tophers Unpopular View #4 - Liars, Dam Liars and Politicians' was motivated by my desire to see John Brumby and Tim Holding be held accountable for their words and deeds while in office. It was made in the leadup to the Victorian state election... Which John Brumby lost in an unexpected swing against his party. Now I said at the start that I am not affiliated with any political party, and that is absolutely true, but after the way Brumby and Holding treated the Victorian people I can honestly say tat I was thrilled to see them get shown the door. If you want to know why I feel that way about them, watch UV#4...
Well in mid 2010 I started studying acting at a private acting school in Melbourne. So no longer was I a broke independant film maker, I was a broke independant film maker who was also STUDYING, paying for his course and only working part time. Needless to say I didn't expect to be making an 'Unpopular View #5' anytime soon. But then I got an email. (is there a theme here?)
And well... thanks to a little financial support, Tophers Unpopular View #5 is now released! Check it out on the Home page.
Thanks for reading! And if you haven't already, check out my videos on the home page and follow me on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube!