It’s exciting to think that Kiwi creativity is shaping media the world-round. I’ve had the pleasure of being in class with Adelaide McDougall for 4 years of high school. Despite her hitting the genetic jackpot with her Gossip girl looks, in my experience remained completely level-headed with a goofy sense of humour to boot. Fittingly she has taken her movie-star qualities to the Big Apple. From Auckland city Ade has taken her love of media to Transistor Studios in New York and living my Carrie Bradshaw fantasy.
Hey Ade! How is New York treating you?
Hey Kethaki! I always find it hard to describe New York to anyone. It is so many different things. It’s like a best friend who you sort of hate sometimes (in a loving way). Above all, it’s the craziest, most exhilarating place I’ve ever been. It really is a hub of creativity. One of my favourite things to do is just walk down the street, because you can guarantee there will be someone doing something interesting and/or completely whacky.
If I had to pick a favourite aspect of New York I would say the people. I have never been so actively creative in my life, and I have all the people I have met to thank for that. Everything and everyone around me is so artistic and innovative that my mind is constantly whizzing with ideas, which is so exciting to me.
Tell us a little bit about Transistor studios, what is your role?
Transistor Studios is a post-production film company based in Brooklyn. We get involved in a lot of new age projects with lots of animation, 3D and general visual effects. Some of the well-known projects include Lupe Fiasco’s music video – “Old School Love”, and we have also done commercials for Ray Ban and IMAX.
My role is Studio Manager, which basically requires me to be a jack-of-all-trades. One of my main responsibilities is booking talent to come in and work on jobs with us. Other than that I coordinate shoots, do all the admin work and run the internship program. It’s an amazing company and I am so lucky to be working here. There is a lot of opportunity for growth, and I am learning A LOT about the film industry.
What is it about film that drew you to it?
The film industry in New York is so interesting to me because it is so different to the film industry in LA, where all the major studios are. New York is home to multiple smaller studios, which are involved in equally creative work, but the environment is a lot more intimate, which is where I believe the greatest ideas are born. Being in NY allowed me to start at the bottom, and learn all the basics at the same time as getting the opportunity to be involved in some of the creative work. There are also so many people to meet here, and as the saying goes – it’s all about who you know!
I know you’ve had experience with modelling, have you explored this further?
I thought about it when I first arrived in New York, and I had a few opportunities to get involved in some shoots. But I decided that I wanted to be behind the camera, and that I wanted to put all my focus in film and my creativity, which hasn’t left much time for anything else!
Living away from home comes with its perks and flaws – how are you finding your independence in a new country?!
At heart I am really a homebody and a Mummy’s girl (haha), so at first I found moving away from home really difficult. I always have days where I miss the comforts of home and my Brady bunch family, but I wouldn’t change a thing. I am amazed every day when I look at how far I have come from the girl I was last year! I have realised how huge the world is beyond our little old NZ. Every time I come across a bump in the road I just think of it as character building and an experience that I can learn from.
Your life is the envy of many but I’m sure its come with its fair share of hard work and speed bumps. Can you share a speed bump with us and how you overcame/are overcoming it?
This is a tough question for me as I have had SO many speed bumps. One major slip up happened when I first arrived in New York. I had saved for months to be able to afford the lifestyle here. Being the naïve girl I was, I was emailing a man on Craigslist (equivalent to TradeMe) about an apartment that I was going to move into. We went through a lengthy process of swapping passport information and all the nitty gritty stuff. Then it came to down payment time. I dispensed over half of my savings to this man via the Internet, only to never hear from him again. That was a big blow, and my welcome to New York! I can laugh about it now, as every person in NY has a horror story like this. But it has definitely taught me to be cautious. There are as many crazy people here as there are amazing people!
You’ve overcome your speedbumps amazingly and with style no less. We wish only the best for you in your exciting new endeavours! You show those New Yorkers how it’s done.
Follow Adelaide’s adventure: Instagram – @adelaidehelena