A quick Q&A with Creative Director, Richard Fabb


Photo of Richard Fabb and Hugo Weaving

Richard Fabb with Hugo Weaving

LiveLab, Creative Director, Richard Fabb discusses his career, winning a BAFTA and working with talented YouTubers.

1. What did you want to be when you were growing up?
The first thing I ever wanted to be was an actor. I did lots of school plays and amateur dramatics (front-end of a pantomime horse). When I was ten, my mum took me to see Bugsy Malone which I thought looked like the most fun you could ever have.

2. Tell us about a previous job (work experience/volunteer work) that you’ve had.
In London, I was a volunteer for Samaritans, a charity offering emotional support to people in distress or at risk of suicide. Despite the sometimes harrowing calls, it’s the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done.

3. Which 3 apps do you use the most on your mobile device?
Facebook, The Guardian, and Apple Music. Facebook is something I only joined after I moved to Australia, as a way to keep in touch with friends and family overseas. But I also use it now for industry connections and as admin on LiveLab’s page. I spent ten years in broadcast news (Channel 4 News in the UK). I remain a bit of a news junkie and always want to know what’s happening. The Guardian remains my paper of choice – and love that it now has an Australian edition. I’ve only recently moved over to Apple Music – and a part of me mourns the end of my vinyl and CD buying days.

4. Which 5 celebrities would you invite to your ultimate dinner party?
This is hard! Joni Mitchell (who I worship), the American writer Paul Auster, broadcaster Jeremy Isaacs (first Chief Exec of Channel 4), Bjorn Borg and Lord (Neil) Kinnock. I have no idea how they’d get along but they’ve all been big influences and I admire each one of them.

5. Tell us about your favourite fictional character.
I could easily say Jed Bartlet from The West Wing, or Ralph from Lord of the Flies. But I have to go for Florentino Ariza and Fermina Daza from Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. I know they are a couple but the story tells how their love survives a lifetime unrequited, so I couldn’t bear to separate them here.

6. What’s the best thing about your current role?
It’s unique. Griffith is the only film school with a permanent, full-time production studio. The heart of what I do is to get students working on external projects. I spend most of my time overseeing productions. I’m a big believer that student filmmakers can create outstanding work, such as the short film we produced with Hugo Weaving, called Ky’s Story – Living With Autism.

7. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Hopefully still at LiveLab! We’ve done a lot in two years but there is plenty still to do. Griffith Film School is the largest film school in Australia; I’d like to think LiveLab can play a part in making it not just the biggest but the best.

8. What’s been the highlight of your career so far?
Winning a BAFTA was certainly a night to remember, but After Dark remains special. It was a live, late-night discussion show, originally on Channel 4, described by The Guardian as ‘one of the most inspired and effective uses of airtime yet devised’. It had no fixed end time and the conversation ran its natural course (usually between 2 – 3 hours long) into the small hours.

9. What wise advice do you have for new lecturers?

  • Pace yourself
  • Learn to love the portal (all of human existence is in it)
  • Tap into the knowledge and support of your colleagues (who at GFS have been a tower of strength)
  • Realise how young some of the students are and how fragile they can be, but also remember they have huge potential and talent.

10. Tell us about the YouTube project.
I’m part of the team running Create Queensland. It’s a collaboration between YouTube, Queensland Government, Screen Queensland, QUT and Griffith Film School (through LiveLab). It is the first YouTube project of its kind in the world. The focus is on nurturing the online and YouTube creative community – something that’s increasingly relevant to our students. There’s $900,000 over three years, helping to fund new content, pairing YouTube Creators with university students, facilities and expertise.

We’re also hosting three workshop/symposium events a year, called Queensland Creator Days. We’ll host one at GFS in late November looking at animation on YouTube.

11. How has LiveLab supported the winners of the Creator Originals prizes?
We’ve been working with two Youtube Creators: Elly Awesome, and Stephanie Hames who runs SasEffects (special effects makeup tutorials). We’ve produced a new interview series with Elly where she chats and has a meal with some of the top YouTube stars. And for Stephanie, we’re making five short horror films to profile the characters she creates in her tutorials.

12. Do any of your students have a YouTube channel that you’d like to plug?
I’m a fan of Crackermilk; a comedy channel run by some graduating 3rd years. Comedy is very hard to get right but they show real promise (strong language, adult themes, as the classifiers say).



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