For most of us, our teenage years are full of both fond and embarrassing memories.
For some, it’s a time they regret but for one 22-year-old from Newcastle they’ve served as inspiration for his debut movie.
“Ever since I was about 10 years old I’ve always wanted to make films and videos, any sort of media to do with the moving image,” Cameron Utiger said.
“I made a ton of little youtube videos and things for myself but when I was about 20 I thought you’ve talked a big game but you’ve never actually done anything.
“So, I sat myself down and just wrote and then this script came about.
“The film follows a group of best mates, they’ve just finished their final HSC exam and there is a big 18th birthday party to commemorate finishing school.
“They realise it’s the last big night they’ll share before they separate into their more adult roles.
“Some are going to university in a different city; others are taking on full-time trades and others don’t even know what they want to do.
“So, it is kind of taking the opportunity of the 18th to have one last big blowout and then obviously being teenagers not everything goes to plan and their friendship is tested.
“The whole film is set in Newcastle and is based on real events.
“Since I was young I’ve been writing down all the funny stories and experiences myself and my best friends have gone through growing up in Newcastle, so the film is kind of a culmination of what it is like to be an adolescent growing up in this city.”
Called Cooked, Cameron wrote, directed, produced and is currently editing the movie.
His goal is to have it released in cinemas throughout the country.
“In the immediate future I’ll be submitting it to a bunch of film festivals in Australia and around the world and then we’ll just try to find producers or distributors to pick up the film,” he said.
Entirely self-funded, Cameron saved the first half of the budget and ran a successful kickstarter campaign to crowdfund the rest.
Unlike most of the entertainment industry, the small cast and crew believes the coronavirus pandemic worked mostly in their favour.
“The pandemic, weirdly enough, almost helped, it kind of forced me to be inside and do nothing and focus 100% of my mind on the film,” he said.
“There were a couple of times we were worried because a lot of the actors come from around Australia, so we were worried about border closures, but somehow, someway it all worked out and COVID wasn’t too much of a hassle.”
“The more people we have get around social media means it’ll be a lot easier to sell because you can see that there are a certain number of people who are excited and looking forward to seeing the film,” he said.