Michael Luke Domeyko Rowland
My Family Film Industry Lineage
My Grandfather - Vivian Rowland Falloon
My Grandfather worked on multiple successful movies in the 1950's and 60's as a financial controller, below are a few posters of some of the best ones he contributed to.
My Father - Michael Domeyko Rowland
My Experiences with film, television, theatre and writing
Story Writing Cranbrook
When I arrived in Cranbrook School in Sydney for year 3 (2008 and 8 years old), I had very little, if any knowledge of how to read or write. This was due to the fact I had come from a Steiner school that did not teach these skills as a priority. I was two years behind and the teacher held very little hope for me with writing.
But with hard work and tutoring over a period of a year, I managed to write a story that was deemed so good, it was published in the school annual magazine. It was very rare for an eight-year-old to have something in the magazine.
It was read by hundreds of students. Some were even so impressed that they congratulated me on my work. The English teacher was actually stunned and told me I had a natural gift for telling stories. It was a very proud week for me. (The Story itself is below).
The PIP (Personal Interest Project) - 2012
At the end of year 7, my class got an assignment that would last a year called a P.I.P. So I decided to do a weight loss program for both the benefit of a high mark and personal gain. Childhood obesity was regularly in the news.
Throughout the year I filmed various cooking, exercise and diet videos and edited them myself.
This was the time that really awakened an interest for me in film and documenting progress in my life.
At the end of year, in the P.I.P. presentation assembly of all the teachers, students, and their families and friends, it came my time to show my work. I had edited together a presentation with a comedy style video to show the humorous side of losing weight.
I received an unexpected result. I was rewarded with the second highest mark in the year.The audience all roared with laughter at the video and I realised that making people laugh was one of my unexpected specialities.
Worth School - Sussex, England - 2015
Shortly after the presentation of my P.I.P., my family decided to move to England to enrol me into my father's old school 'Worth Abbey', one of the best private schools in England.
It was an unusual experience to be the only Australian student in a sea of English and International people. But immediately, I started to soak up the culture, accent and intelligence of the people around me.
After a year of doing multiple subjects, I found that all the ones that peaked my interest heavily relied on computers, editing and filming. I seemed to thrive in the areas of I.T. So in year ten, I chose particular subjects, one of them being photography, simply because I was able to learn how to work with Photoshop and use complex cameras. I learned so much and was passionate about making my work great.
After six months I went to the top of the photography class and remained there till I left the school. At the end I had two books full of content (see below), and I loved every second of it.
'One Man Two Guvnors' - A Theatrical Farce
While I was at Worth, there were yearly plays presented, performed by students. I applied to the professional drama teacher to work on the next play entitled 'One Man Two Guvnors'.
This was a slapstick comedy, my favourite genre. I had no experience of acting so I asked if I could help with setting up the play. She agreed to let me have a back stage role, helping getting the sets prepared and moved, and assisting with the lights, cameras, props and backdrops.
I arrived early and left late, helping to prepare and clean up often, and the director noticed my passion for paying attention to everything that was going on.
A month into working, she came up to me and told me how impressed she was with me, and promoted me to Stage manager.
I was thrilled as this was my first experience in theatre, and it encouraged me work harder and be more attentive. It took nine months of rehearsals, three times a week. I loved every moment of being there, and it was an absolute joy to have my name on the back of the program when the big night came!
My responsibilities were large as there was a very big cast with lots of comedic set and prop changes that had to be co-ordinated. I was responsible for everything organisational from the opening, through each scene and right up until the stage lights went off.
The play ran for three nights, and it was perfect from beginning to end. My only regret was not being in the audience for one of the nights!
(I am in the middle of the back row behind the guy in blue)
'Mansion of Doom'
One more experience that further extended my creative inspiration, was another assignment in year 9. I was placed in one of the highest English classes based on a test taken earlier in the year.
The only problem was, I was probably not meant to be there as it was an advanced class and I had not developed a wide knowledge of English Literature.
The first assignment was a creative writing test, preparing a 'mini' book. Each student had to work on roughly five to seven pages for each chapter, and when I heard this I became quite excited.
I called it the "Mansion of Doom" and put my heart into it. On each Friday after class, where the chapter had to be handed in, I stayed behind to get feedback and advice on how to improve my story. We just happened to have the harshest English teacher in the school, an Oxford graduate by the name of Mr. Brown. Impatient. Strict. Relentless. After a few months of being unimpressed by my essays, he finally brightened up when he saw my potential and reached out to help me. We sometimes spent up to thirty minutes discussing how I could make my story better using a wider vocabulary and plot twists.
All the boys finished our stories in three weeks. On the fourth we received our results. I was so nervous sitting there wondering if I could possibly get three stars out of five, because that would have been incredible. The other students sitting next to me were both brilliant writers and overall English students, and I thought for sure they would get four or five stars. They got theirs first. One got Two stars, and the other got three. I was stunned and sat there thinking I would get less than I anticipated.
Mr. Brown kept handing out papers. Groans, grunts and loud sighs could be heard as some got theirs back. I was a nervous wreck. What I didn't know was that Mr. Brown purposely saved mine until last, and I quote what he said: "Only one of you got Five stars on this assignment, and for that I commend them with 'a positive' (A small award that is collected within the school system) and a congratulations...Michael". At that point my heart practically exploded. Eyes across the room were now staring at me, and I turned bright red, both with anxiety and excitement. The paper was placed in front of me, with all five stars stamped in gold on the front, with the words "excellent" written on the front. I look up to see Mr. Brown smiling for the first time since I had seen him, and the class clapped. I was the only student to get five stars for my writing. Yet another day where I was commended for my writing skills, further boosting my confidence and intriguing me to see how far I could go.
Xavier College Ballina - 2017
My family found England a bit too cold and small compared to where we had been living previously (Byron Bay), so we moved back to Australia in 2017.
I attended Xavier College to finish year 11 and 12. As I arrived I got introduced to the Australian culture I grew up in, and yet I was the only British student in the school. I chose subjects that I regret choosing to this day, as only one of them had much focus on what I was passionate for, film and Cinematography. And that was English. So the two subjects that I had thrived on within the UK were now mashed into one subject.
A few months went by and I decided to only focus on parts of subjects that really interested me. I also taught myself more editing on my computer and started making videos for my Father's company during school.
I managed to make quite a few short, simple videos. a sample of which are shown below, as well as put some interest into a YouTube channel.
I continued editing but school was a challenge during year twelve. I primarily focused on my ability to write essays and tell stories in practice for the upcoming major exam for English.
For two years straight I stayed at the top of my creative-writing class. I also worked my way up to number 16 out of the 150+ students in my whole year!
My other subjects, although of not much interest to me, had to be worked on as well. The ones that I received top marks for involved some sort of video that I edited myself. So by the end of school I could tell where my skills were. In story writing, video and I.T.
End of School - 2018
When I finished school, I decided to take a gap year to decide what I was going to do with myself. During that time I spent many hours looking at tutorials and learning how to build websites to help my Dad promote his business.
After a while I began to build him a store page in which he could have all his products in one place. I created the main page, then made a link to another page that explained what the product was about with an image and a block of writing. If the person reading was interested in buying, I created 'Buy Now' links to PayPal. Doing this for every page was well worth the time and effort.
As well as building web pages, I also was the production manager for weekend retreats that my Father hosted where 75+ people would come to listen to him speak.
At these events I would organise and make sure everything was in place in order for everyone listening to have the best experience. I would also package, duplicate and help create physical products with my Father's educational products on them for people to buy if they were interested.
I continued working for my fathers company for a while and kept experimenting with new video creations and exploring with tools in Sony Vegas and Photoshop.
During the time I was in England, I also travelled often to many different places like Belgium, where I studied the history of WW2, France, India and Barcelona. I have also travelled to New Zealand and obviously, England and Australia and have had a good taste of various different cultures.
Experiencing these different countries greatly expanded my knowledge and understanding of art, film and history.