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Sam Brumby: Photographer

ROAR: We were fortunate enough to be shown your film photography from our artist friend Lauren and after a scroll through your feed we were hooked! Where did this passion for film come from?

Sam: When I was a teenager I always wanted to shoot surfing (or have some one shoot me surfing). My family didn’t have much coin for a fancy camera but my dad had his Pentax Asahi 35mm Spotmatic with a tele lens sitting around the house so after some nagging he taught me the basics of photography. I still have that camera today and its what I shoot the majority of my photos on so there’s a certain nostalgic romance attached to it. I also used to spend a lot of time looking at my fathers photo albums that were filled to the brim with early expeditions to remote places in Indonesia (I’m talking single fins and un-ridden river mouths) and hundreds of locations around Tasmania showcasing empty, cold, remote tubes and reeling point breaks. That was my first experience with film, poring over these memories of my fathers and dropping the occasional 35mm film at the local Woolys to be sent off for processing and printing then anxiously awaiting its return. 

However, it wasn’t until I was in my early 20’s that I started shooting film regularly. It was born out of the frustration that comes with shooting digital and becoming inpatient and taking too many half-assed photos instead of actually taking your time to frame and light a photo properly. Coupled with that is my frustration with this current state of society where everyone wants everything instantly ( I constantly confuse people with my Instagram…people see me in Sydney and they’re like ‘I thought you were in Europe!?”) Film forces you to make decisions, think twice, three, four times about hitting the shutter and once that reel has been wound back you have to send if off and be patient… something a lot of people have forgotten how to do.

P.S - It also looks amazing.

ROAR: We especially love your Adventure film pics of the Australian outback. Seeing places people only dream about. Tell us about your opportunity to get to do this?

Sam: Myself and 2 friends formulated an idea at the beginning of 2014 to showcase outdoor exploration in a fun and accessible manner through webisodes and photo journals, which would be hosted via our website. We named the business Tales To Tell, for which I act as creative director and content producer. Essentially I film, produce, edit and direct everything we do. Anyhow, last year we made a pilot episode which we pitched to various connections in hope of sponsorship. One of those was Toyota who got on board with the concept of us doing 6 episodes about exploring Australia. Essentially the underlying message in our work is to encourage people to explore their own backyard. We live in an amazing country that most people haven’t seen 10% of. 

ROAR: We totally agree with exploring Australia! You also do film making, play instruments, sound & engineering plus producing. How does one get fricken good at so many things? Do tell us?

Sam: Ha, I wouldn’t say im very good at any of them! I guess it all spawned from drumming which I took up in year 4. Once I got a little older I read an article about a drummer who became a sound engineer to make a living so I figured that was a great idea and a few years later I had a diploma and a degree in Sound Engineering. I had taken up video again in that time period (I had a stint behind the lens in my high school years) purely to make live music sessions, but once I started getting better people started asking to me to make music videos. That time behind the camera led to me shooting photos again and before I knew it all my mediums had become full circle. One job with a band would spawn into another and so on and so on etc. These days I run a small recording studio, work as a video producer for RØDE Microphones, hold a regular stint at Oxford Arts Factory as a venue photographer, go on adventures with Tales To Tell, play in a handful of bands, and spend any remaining time shooting music videos and press shots. 

ROAR: Wow! You are a busy and extremely talented man! What are some of the raddest things you have been a part of in either of your multi media forms?

Sam: I think just being part of community within the inner west Sydney music scene. I’ve got friends who are super successful and play international festivals and friends who cant get 10 people to a show, but at the end of the day we’re all heading to a friends show, working on projects together or just having a beer. Its super rad how much creativity there is amongst friends. One friend writes a killer track, gets his mate to drum on it, gets his other friend to produce and record, then asks me to shoot a clip and finally grabs Joe Blow to do some photos then you’ve got this great bit of music and accompanying media all made by a group of mates. You see that community and creativity all across Sydney and it drives everyone to work harder and create more rad content. 

ROAR: Community and creativity go hand in hand and we dig the sound of your creative hub going on! What are some challenges of being a full time creative?

Sam: No money, Charging your friends your full rate, even though it's already too cheap, your friends taking forever to pay you, people always asking for favours and once again no money hah. But at the end of the day this stuff doesn’t really matter, as long as your fed and have somewhere to sleep your gonna be happy because you truly do something you love. I don’t know many people who get to do what they love.

ROAR: It seems this struggle is across all creative mediums and it's such an important part of our society and culture! What are a couple of things you are most stoked about in the near future?

Another record with Caitlin Park, our Finland/Norway/Iceland doco being finished and released and then hopefully more funding to go on a whole lot more adventures!

ROAR: Sounds so good! Well we will be sure to keep following all the creative goodness you continue to put out! Cheers for talking the time to chat with us and congrats on following your passions and sharing and inspiring all of us on the way!

All the pics shown in this feature are from a trip Sam did with Tales To Tell around Australia. He shot on 35mm and 120mm. Tales To Tell is launching in April! We can't wait to see what they have in store. Follow Tales To Tell Instagram.

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Chrystal Fitzgerald: Creative Soul

Photo by Chris Prestige

Photo by Chris Prestige

Last year we took a few weeks off to travel to one of our favourite places, Bali. While we were there we stopped in at Deus Temple of Enthusiasm, Canggu. As we were wandering around admiring all their amazing motorbikes, we found ourselves out the back where they shape surfboards. We noticed some amazing Joel Fitzgerald Surfboards and then we noticed Joel Fitzgerald. What a lucky day, to catch Joel and his beautiful wife Chrystal at work designing and shaping their boards. They were so lovely, they took time out of their day to chat with us. We talked about the process you go through, from design to finish, to shape a board. You could see they are passionate about what they do. We have kept in contact with Joel and Chrystal and the journey that they are on and are excited to share a bit of that with you. Chrystal has taken the time to chat with us about her life, passions, creativity, designs and ideas about community and collaboration. 

You can follow Chrystal on her personal blog, creative media websitefacebook, @dawnwolfdreamer for instagram and view Joel Fitzgerald surfboards on their website 


ROAR: You are a woman of many creative talents such as filmmaking, photography, design, craft, surfing and more. Were these passions instilled in you growing up? Who played a role in supporting your creativity?

Chrystal: Thank you for your kind words and proposing such thoughtful questions. It is an honour for me to respond and although I have yet to see myself in some of these ways I am living into it :) In answer to your first question; Yes art and craft were instilled in me at a very young age. My mother Julia read to my sister Leilani and I every day, and when my grandmother Heather was visiting she too would tell us stories. Storytelling and playing outdoors were our primary sources of joy and entertainment. When we weren't horse back riding, building forts or adventuring my sister Leilani and I were at the public library. I also had the rich Hawaiian culture around me from an early age. 

Making flower leis, wreaths, ti leaf skirts, singing songs, dancing and just talking story were also big parts of my childhood. These traditions continue to be a source of creative strength and inspiration for me. 

My mother played an integral role in my creative development and still does. She always supported me in all that I wanted to do and enrolled me in sewing, piano, hula and theater classes to see what I enjoyed most. She always made time for me and asked me what I wanted to do. Sports and arts were and still are far more interesting to her then my socialistic achievements. 

During my early life there were a few caring teachers that encouraged me, however the people that fostered and helped me develop my love for film and visual story telling were from the Academy for Creative Media, at the University of Hawaii. Which is where I received my Bachelors of Arts in Creative Media and how I initially came to Australia in 2006. Presently, my mother, sister, friends, and husband Joel continue to support me in all of my creative pursuits.

ROAR: Where did you grow up and how did your environment play a role in making you who you are today?

Chrystal: I was raised by my mother Julia alongside my sister Leilani in the Ka'u desert on the island of Hawai'i' for most of my youth. It was there in the Wild landscape of Pele's lava trail that I was home schooled in a community of like minded individuals. In this fringe community, down dirt roads, we lived 'off the grid', no running water, or electricity, and at times without four walls.  Less distractions made this natural lifestyle integral in the preservation and nurturing of my creativity and imagination. Hence my childhood has and continues to shape my personal development. 

ROAR: What are some creations and designs that you have been involved in recently and currently that you are excited and passionate about?

Chrystal: Recently I have been involved in the creative design of surfboards, short films and my own personal art. Of these what is bringing me much joy are my dreamcatchers, which I hand-craft from primarily recycled, repurposed, vintage and found beach treasures. I am also involved in the creative processes within my husband and business partner Joel Fitzgerald's surfboards. Vintage fabrics, color, texture, anything old that has a life and story, enchant and excite me. 

On the film side I have been inspired by the collective up rising of women, by Clarissa Pinkola Estés and the company I keep. Lauren L Hill and I worked on a short video a few months ago and that has inspired me to tell more of my own stories, something that I have known for a long time was coming. This is exciting time in my life as I am stepping out in new ways. Here is a link to the project that I am currently developing 'Vignettes of the Slide'  it is like life ever evolving :)

ROAR: We have noticed that you collaborate with and support other creative inspirational people. Tell us your thoughts on collaboration and community and give us a couple of examples where you have seen this flourish in your local community.

Chrystal: We are designed for community. The people I surround myself with are all my mentors and profound sources of inspiration. Examples of successful collaborations are prevalent in the Byron Bay community. An example close to me is the collaboration between Joel Fitzgerald Surfboards and artist/laminator Matt Yates. Some beautiful one of a kind surfboards that are truly works of art have been the result. Another example is the  Byron Bay Surf Festival, which is what I believe to be a collaborative event. There are many other local examples in the fashion, and arts community here in the shire as well. The numbers of collaborations are growing all the time as people see the mutual benefit of sharing skills, trading, being of service.

ROAR: We see you as a great role model for young women. What is some advice you would give to girls growing up trying to figure out who they are and what they what to give and achieve in life?

Chrystal: The advice I have for growing girls is to truly follow your heart, be brave with this following and always always trust your intuition. I also encourage you to remember that God lives in each of us and we all have the power to reach the dreams of purpose, which we are given. Rely on God's vision for you and ask for help when every you are faced with doubt, prayer is a powerful gift. Along with prayer and persistence make time to play daily :)

I have just started a group called the Women's Evolvement Party, my ultimate goal is to be of service to a larger community of Women for personal and global healing. At the moment we are gathering for book club and women's circles, in the future we plan to take more active roles in the community and overseas :) Click here to view the site.

ROAR: What is something you are really excited about for 2014?

Chrystal: Today! Yes each moment is a miracle. Other things I am excited about are going home to Hawai'i' Nei, day dreams, a feature film that I am working on with dear friends, traveling and collaborating with like minded people on creative projects.

Photo by Anthony Dodds

Photo by Anthony Dodds

Photo by Anthony Dodds

Photo by Anthony Dodds

Photo by Chris Prestige

Photo by Chris Prestige


Photos provided and copyrighted by Joel and Chrystal.



Billy Otto: Musician & Filmmaker


Billy Otto is a talented and creative musician and filmmaker. At such a young age he has already achieved so much through his music, as a mentor to the youth of today and inspiring numerous people to follow their passions and give something back. 

We got to spend some time chatting with Billy, where he shares his music, passions and love for life. Check out the inspiring video below. 

Thank you so much Billy for inspiring us with your talents and inviting us to always offer the best we have to the people we encounter. To follow and be a part of Billy Otto's music and filmmaking, check out and like his facebook page through the link below.

His new album 'Floating Now' will be available on itunes very soon.