ScreenTalk: Philip Smith

Producer Philip Smith.
Producer Philip Smith comes from a family of entrepreneurs, so it’s always been in his nature to


Producer Philip Smith comes from a family of entrepreneurs, so it’s always been in his nature to pursue opportunities. Currently working as head of the production company he created, Great Southern Television, Smith also had an eventful career in journalism before moving into producing.

He was once expelled out of Tanzania while working as a print journalist, and sold his first production company for several million dollars while still in his early 30s.

Great Southern has produced Lion Man, Eating Media Lunch, The Unauthorised History of NZ and The Cult.

Smith lives in both Auckland and Queenstown, where he does a lot of brainstorming out in his woolshed.

In this Screentalk interview, Smith talks about:

• Working as a print journalist, police reporter for the NZ Herald under Susan Wood

• Being expelled as a journalist from Tanzania

• Working to deadline each night as a Line Producer on Holmes

• Not realising that the guys in the boardroom he was meeting actually just wanted to buy his production company

• How his young son helped come up with the idea for Lion Man

• How reading a Ben Elton book led to Eating Media Lunch

• Developing The Unauthorised History of NZ

• Getting Jeremy Wells into primetime television with Birdland

• Finding unexpected inspiration for The Cult, from his crazy neighbours

This video is available on YouTube to embed and distribute via a Creative Commons licence

NZ On Screen: Interview, Camera & Editing – Clarke Gayford

Written by

NZ On Screen

27 Oct 2010


Cushla Dillon
Story / Screen & Sound
Cushla Dillon: Accidental acting and award-winning editing…
Robyn Scott-Vincent
Story / Screen & Sound
Robyn Scott-Vincent: On her award-winning work with the Attitude series...
Michele Fantl
Story / Screen & Sound
Michele Fantl: On bringing her directors' visions to life...
John Terris
Story / Screen & Sound
John Terris on the early days of New Zealand television...