IT’S a long way from Goulburn to Hollywood but it’s a journey that former Goulburn man Matthew Beecher has spent the past decade taking.
It’s already seen him work alongside cinematic legends.
Mr Beecher has recently returned to the Gold Coast to work on the Dora The Explorer feature film, the latest stop in a career that has included work on commercials, in television and on blockbuster films such as Mad Max: Fury Road, Jason Bourne, and the Steven Spielberg-directed Ready Player One.
Since graduating from the Gold Coast’s Bond University with a Bachelor of Film and Television Production in 2007, Beecher has specialised mainly in the fields of media and data management, and visual effects co-ordination.
His work has taken him around the world – in the past five years alone, Beecher has worked in London, Namibia, South Africa, Sydney, Montreal, and China, and he’s just returned from Hawaii.
A sudden rush of film productions in Sydney around 2000 - including the second two Star Wars prequels, the Matrix series and Moulin Rouge – led him to consider a career in the industry
“Suddenly there was a feature film presence in Australia that I wasn’t really aware of,” he said.
“I have a background in photography and there’s a massive correlation between that and cinematography. I figured if I learn enough about the industry, I’ll find something I can do.”
Starting out in commercials and television, Beecher’s big break came with a role as digital media assets manager on 2015’s Mad Max: Fury Road.
Partly shot in the Namibian desert, the action-adventure epic proved to be the perfect introduction to the film industry.
“It was amazing, (but) it damn near ruined me, it was a very, very hard shoot,” Beecher says.
“It’s a movie that even now, four or five years later, people still talk about.
It’s not something that’s going to be easily forgotten, and for that to be the first movie I worked on start to finish, you couldn’t ask for anything better.”
After being employed as an assistant visual effects co-ordinator on action blockbuster Jason Bourne, Beecher immediately moved on to work on Ready Player One, alongside Hollywood royalty – director Steven Spielberg.
Beecher describes working with the iconic director as a career highlight.
“It’s just amazing to watch him work. He is so performance-driven,” he said.
“It was absolutely incredible. Then you sit back and look at him, he’s in his 70’s now, and he just doesn’t stop. The younger guys, 30 years his junior, have trouble keeping up, it’s a remarkable thing.
Beecher said the Australian film industry is well-placed for a strong future and he’d love to be able to help contribute to that.
“The kid in me would always like to work on Spiderman, or a Star Wars film.
“if I had my dream, I’d just love to work on an Aussie film that’s full of character, something endearing.
“I find a lot of the Australian films that come out to be quite bleak. They’re all artistically well-created, but that’s not the Australia I know, which is vibrant, light, and full of variety; we’ve got a lot more character than often hits the screen.”
Beecher is hoping to continue to work in the animation and visual effects area, with the goal of moving to a supervisory role.
Looking back on his career so far, he describes it as hard work, but an experience he wouldn’t have changed for anything.
“I’ve worked on some clunkers and I’ve worked on some great movies, but I’ve never had a bad time on any of them,” he said.