Former Marketing Manager for Dendy/Becker Films, Deb Fryers has made the transition into film producing – and she’s taking â€˜Kenny’ with her! CLINT MORRIS talks to the co-producer of the new Australian comedy, “Charlie & Boots”.
First of all, tell us how you and Shane met – because I know you manage him now, right?
It was April 2006 when I first met Shane as “Kenny”. I was working for Madman Entertainment at the time and we saw a preview of the movie “Kenny”. Clayton Jacobson (Creator and Director of Kenny) wanted the publicists who were due to work on the movie to meet the character first then Shane. I fell in love with Kenny immediately. I felt like I was a small girl again, like I had just met Humphrey B Bear. I could not stop hugging him. Clay wanted us to meet Shane in the exact same way we would offer Shane to the world for the films promotional campaign. I went onto to tour Australia with Shane for about 6 months, then London and the UK for the roll out of Kenny and to this day I am still on tour with Shane as is Manager and Publicist. We are currently on a national tour with Paul Hogan for Charlie & Boots.
And when were you presented with the idea of â€˜’Charlie & Boots”?
I was presented the idea when at dinner over 18 months ago with my good friends Dean Murphy and his girlfriend Michelle Wilson. Dean mentioned he had an idea and did I think Shane would be interested. Did I think Shane would be interested? I barely finished dinner and I was on the phone to Shane.
You’d known Dean Murphy for quite some time?
I met Dean when I was the Marketing Manager for Dendy/Becker Films. We released Strange Bedfellows (2004) and we have remained great friends ever since.
How did you end up being co-producer on the film?
Dean expressed to me that he would like my involvement somehow on this movie as he “liked” my work on Strange Bedfellows and had hoped I could offer up some of the same passion, excitement and hard work on his next film.Â I was employed initially as the Unit Publicist for the movie but somehow the role got extended to Co-Producer.
How did you enjoy producing – what were you responsible for?
It was fantastic. My role was not “real” producing this time round. I was responsible for sponsorship, product placement, assisting the producers in all things marketing and branding.Â However to be so closely working with David, Dean and Shana from Instinct Entertainment as experienced Producers was a terrific way to get my head around what producers do…
Were you on the road with the crew the whole time?
Yes. It was fantastic. Even through I have been in the film industry for 12 years . I have only spent a little bit of time on the film set prior to Charlie & Boots but that was for a day or two. 7 weeks on the road with 75 crew was the highlights of my career. I learnt so much. Sometimes I had to pretend I knew some of the short hand language that flies around the set.. Film crew really do speak another language. Little did the crew know I was constantly going to the computer to look up filmmaking words so I could look like I knew what I was saying.
Was it always intended you would play the masseuse?
I think so. Dean thought it would be a nice surprise for me to play the masseuse as a bit of joke with Shane. “The manager massaging the client” kind of thing.
How did Shane enjoy the back-rub?
I really don’t think he could have enjoyed it. Sadly he was bleeding by the end of it. We did not use baby oil; there was no cloth between my elbows and his bare skin. I wanted to move my elbows over slightly but for continuity purposes I could not. So sorry Shane. I will never forget how I made your back bleed…
Have you got a taste for the producing game now? Keen to do another pic?
I have wanted to be a Film Producer for over 10 years. This was the main reason I began working at a cinema almost 13 years ago. My plan back then was to start in exhibition, work my way into distribution to truly understand how films and marketed then I would learn the production side and combine all those skills to produce my own work. In the past 9 years I have worked on over 150 film releases from art house – mainstream, local and national campaigns and studio and Australian Films. So I am getting closer every day. My first main production role was Production Manager/Travel Coordinator on The Jacobson Brothers TV production Kenny’s World in 2008 and now Charlie & Boots. I have 3 film projects in development that are my very own. I will continue to work for other production companies to simply continue to build up my experience.