Darryl. An Outward Bound Story
Auckland Daze’s Millen Braid brings to life TVNZ’s new web-series, Darryl. An Outward Bound Story alongside a line-up of talented kiwis.
We chatted to LA based, kiwi Millen about his inspiration behind the series, becoming emerged in acting and what he hopes viewers take away from the episodes.
Your series, Darryl. An Outward Bound Story, has just debuted on TVNZ On Demand – what can viewers expect from it?
Darryl’s a simple man on a simple mission. He just wants to win the Taranaki Mountain to Surf marathon, but he keeps collapsing mid race from dehydration. He enrols in an 8 day Adult Discovery course at Outward Bound to get the mental toughness to finish the race and silence the ‘chattering monkey’ in his head.
What was the inspiration behind the web series and how long did the writing process take?
I did an Outward Bound ‘Disco’ course in 2001. It changed my life, my way of thinking. The OB mantra “there’s more in you” just resonated with me. In 2006, I asked the then CEO Trevor Taylor if I could do another course at OB’s expense on the basis I would write and tour a one man show based on my experience. I failed to deliver, partly because I couldn’t figure out how to stage it and partly because I wanted to make a TV/web series about it. It’s a goldmine for comedy – putting people from all walks of life on an 8 day course in the middle of nowhere, with nowhere to run.
You’re now based in LA – what was it like to be back on home soil to film your own series with a bunch of fellow cool kiwis?
It’s the dream making stuff like this. I love working with like-minded people and having a good old play. We made this for peanuts, but the commitment from the cast and crew was overwhelming. Plus this project was very special, because the OB organisation is so special.
You also worked on a previous TVNZ web series, Auckland Daze – what did you take from that experience into this one?
Me, Kerry and Kiel (producer and director) have developed a certain shorthand when we create projects like this. We have the script that’s been heavily worked on (we had to turn this one around super quick though), but to give the actors more ownership of the material we let them riff off the lines (ad lib). It’s not really improvisation, it’s more ad-libbling around a tight structure. The purpose is to add to the material, make it more organic, fill small plot-holes left by me, surprise the other actors in the scene etc. I reckon the bigger production companies in NZ should experiment more with it.
What was your favourite part of shooting and the hardest part of making this?
I found this shoot super fun, but quite tough. My wife Siobhan (who plays Marnie) said I went off into what we now call ‘Darryl-land’ – a remote place in my head where ‘all the rides are free’. It wasn’t intentional, I think I was just a bit worried about where I pitched the character, but I think it worked out for the better. Fave moment was probably drinking whiskey on the pontoon with Glen Levy (Emilio) and Fasitua Amosa (Kane) when we were supposed to be doing a lines run. It was very naughty of us, but a fantastic release and pure bonding. The hardest part was managing that moustache. It started to really smell, food got lost in it, a small Picton family went searching for a lost uncle in it. It was just a nightmare to maintain.
What do you hope people take away from watching the series?
I hope they’re uplifted by Darryl and his story and find more in themselves to chase their own dreams. If anyone wants a kickstart, visit outwardbound.co.nz. It’ll change your life.
How did you become emerged in the world of acting and making series?
I used to be an accountant, but I had the lowest charge-ability in the Asia/Pacific region, so I enrolled in a drama degree course in 1997 and graduated in 1999. I didn’t secure any acting work for about two years. I was a bit lost really. Creating my own work was a necessity for longevity in the industry. It was also completely liberating. After my first OB course in 2001, I wrote and toured a one man show Wedding Speeches around NZ. It kept me financially afloat for a couple of years.
What’s your favourite piece of life advice/motto you live by?
“There is more in you.”
What’s coming up next?
I’m working on another show with Kerry and Kiel set in Taranaki. I also have a new web series called Leeway coming out that was filmed with two Panasonic handy-cams. It stars Owen Black (Aaron) and John Argall (the minotaur).
Darryl. An Outward Bound Story is available now to watch on TVNZ On Demand.