Whatever your passion in the industry from acting to writing to filming to directing you must continually polish your skills. Keep learning, keep creating do not stop learning and doing!
As a part of our series called “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me When I First Became A Filmmaker”, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Chrys Phillips.
Chrys Phillips is an Australian producer, director and best-selling author of several books. Phillips has directed and written full-scale theatre productions, written screenplays, and acted in various roles over the course of her career. To add to her list of accomplishments, she is also the author of the best-selling and award-nominated book series, Magic Wars which is currently being made into a movie.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Our readers would love to get to know you a bit better. Can you tell us a bit of the ‘backstory’ of how you grew up?
I grew up living with many families as I didn’t have any consistent parents in my life and therefore I became others’ responsibility. It was not a happy or nurturing environment as it was filled with emotional and sometimes physical abuse. I never had a family home growing up I moved around and once was I older I had to work from 15 to buy essentials and plan to find my own rental.
Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?
That’s a great question, I do believe that growing up in this manner I use to watch the old Hollywood movies and dream of seeing that as it was it glamorous escape for me as was the fact I loved books. I don’t have many of my own and therefore I would re-read them and create various endings or altered the stories. I know that began my storytelling passion.
Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that occurred to you in the course of your filmmaking career?
Years ago I was such a fan of the TV Show Revenge. I thought the lead actor Nick Weschler was dreamy haha! One day I was literally walking around Marina Del Rey in Los Angeles with my daughter and there was a film crew setting up. We were thrilled to learn what was being set up and as I turned around I literally bumped in none other than Nick Weschler. I was shocked haha! Here he was standing in front of me! He was very polite and stood back asking me, how my day was, and I mumbled off some silly reply in shock haha! Then like a true LA story, I actually ended up being on set when this was being filmed several times and was asked to be an extra with my daughter in a scene with Nick and he and I became mates on set and he always came over and chatted when I was on set. Such a beautiful memory haha
Who are some of the most interesting people you have interacted with? What was that like? Do you have any stories?
The story above as Nick is a fabulous person. For any Smallville tv show fans, I had the pleasure to meet, know and chat with Michael Rosenbaum who played Lex Luthor. He's a true kind soul and consider him a dear friend. I met him and his band in Los Angeles and chatted many, many times. Mostly me giggling at his humour I don’t think he ever got to, see my humour as he always had me giggling way too much hilarious. But, we had many epic chats even about a possible tv show I wanted to, cast him in. He's a great person. I recall Paul Wesley from The Vampire Diaries as I told him about my book fans wanting him as the lead role as Tyler in Magic Wars Saga. He is a kind and cool person who told me about his love for Australia and the acting of Stefan Salvatore on CW Vampire Diaries. I’ve chatted to Fran Drescher from the Nanny she’s gorgeous and gosh many, many others.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
Years ago I was tweeting when Instagram didn’t exist. Ha! I saw these tweets of these epic events in Atlanta with high-profile performers, like Usher in a big party theme. I was like, wow I’d love to leave Australia and go to this. It seemed very glam and cool. I tweeted the company who planned these and they replied with, sure we can hook you up with tickets. I said, oh my gosh I didn’t think you’d reply I’m actually in Australia for now but would’ve loved that. From here, Marcel Middleton of TruBlud Agency saw my debut book series and we began talking about my books and screenplays. We bonded over the miles of distance and began collaborating as a team on PR for my books and the movie scripts. This individual had such faith in my talent more than I ever had in myself. I never had anyone in my life see me, see my talent from a child to an adult and Marcel saw this and he is the most unique person, with his insight of business and life in general. His someone who by having faith in my talent changed my world and I have much respect and appreciation for him for always. He knew I had the skill to not give up and do the long hours to get to where I am and he assisted me with that, and here we’ve begun films and scripts and more books with his company and his talented brother Melvin Middleton who has equally assisted and believed in what we could create. I appreciate them both for always. Meeting them changed my world and my daughters.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
I always say…. Never Allow Anyone To Define You
From first-hand experience, if I had listened as a child, to those who made my sky a ceiling, who told me that I was nothing, that I had no one taking care of me or that I didn’t come from a nice family home, that I wasn’t worthy of my dreams of a nicer life. That where I was, was only what I should aspire to. If I listened to this over many years, then I wouldn’t have worldwide fans of my book series Magic Wars nor would I have tv shows and movies produced via me and ones I’ve collaborated on.
Therefore if you believe in yourself, keep going forward step by step, even if you get knocked down as I did much, just get back up and keep going… for no one, no matter who can tell you what you should or can do ONLY you hold that power.
I am very interested in diversity in the entertainment industry. Can you share three reasons with our readers about why you think it’s important to have diversity represented in film and television? How can that potentially affect our culture?
Totally agree. Diversity is relatable, it’s the true world we live in and cultures that has such beauty to create wonderful stories and relate to. If I have a say in casting, I always cast diversity and I have also had prejudice with my ethnic background and I know somewhat how that feels. Yas! to a diversity of all, and if we can turn the tv on and see others and their stories and their love, humour, action and more, then it becomes second nature, and not an option of putting diversity in but just doing it without a thought.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
I’ve worked on some epic shows however presently it is a big movie and a TV series coming out. I cannot say the titles as it’s in preproduction but wow, I’m thrilled with these!
Which aspect of your work makes you most proud? Can you explain or give a story?
I’m proud that I’m a woman who came from nothing and created the dream career that I wanted and that my daughter has facilitated her career and path from this. As a mum I wanted her to have everything I never had in any way possible. I never stopped wanting to make this for her. I never knew if this industry was what she wanted, as she could’ve done any other career, however she has forged a path in acting and producing for herself and that makes me very, very proud!
Ok super. Here is the main question of our interview. What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
1. Hire a manager you trust. I learned the hard way of losing my books for years to a manager who had disappeared in their business, along with my web, thousands of fans from book signings mailing lists, and much more, leaving me with nothing that I had originally created on my own. Eventually, I got everything back but it was a stressful experience to, say the least.
2. Copyright everything you write. I have had script ideas and book manuscripts stolen from me. Keep everything logged and dated and if possible use a confidentiality contract prior to sharing.
3. Believe in yourself more. If you know you can direct a movie or tv show get out there and do it, even if no one is hiring you then go find the way you can do it by doing option 4 here
4. Do it yourself, if you want to direct or write films or write books get off that sofa of dreaming and go do it!!!! Create your opportunities and more come in!!!
5. Whatever your passion in the industry from acting to writing to filming to directing you must continually polish your skills. Keep learning, keep creating do not stop learning and doing!
When you create a film, which stakeholders have the greatest impact on the artistic and cinematic choices you make? Is it the viewers, the critics, the financiers, or your own personal artistic vision? Can you share a story with us or give an example about what you mean?
This is a loaded and great question and these days with many streaming options it does have a variance always on film creating as the options are vast. However, from a mainstream experience, it begins with the script. Nothing is created with a vision to film without a fully written, very clever and commercially viable script as this is the impact that brings on the financiers and how it can be created. From here everything else merges.
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)
Love this question and I appreciate this question as I’ve always wanted to start a movement called hear my voice. This is for every child up to 18/21 years depending on where they live in the world, a platform of assistance.
Too many children and youth have no voice to find safety from abuse easily or talk about sacrificing their own education to care for family full time. For youth and children no matter what their hardship that they have a foundation that listens without prejudice to create and source opportunities of safety, education, nurturing and someone to assist in changing their nightmares. I know when you have an abusive environment of any kind and or severe hardships, mostly you don’t tell anyone as you feel ashamed or stupid or that you won’t fit in. You want to be like everyone else and this leads to more drama.
A movement that leads to a foundation of Hear My Voice for them to be heard and assisted via community and even celebrities assisting, for a kinder and easier life with opportunities.
We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might see this. :-)
I met in a Los Angeles Women in Film speech event the talented Scott Stuber, Netflix Film Chief Original Films, for a few seconds never had the chance to chat properly. I would love this opportunity to chat one on one, as his mindset and foresight of what he wants to do with certain story genres and women in the helm of it, is definitely in my expertise. I would chat about what he wants for movies and the fabulous ideas and scripts I have that fit his plan, as it would be fantastic as a female to run with this top-tier opportunity.
How can our readers further follow you online?
My Instagram is
My web is
This was very meaningful, thank you so much! We wish you continued success!