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July 24, 2017

Eddie White’s career path

Adelaide's Eddie White has moved from a focus on acting, to animation, to being shortlisted for an Oscar, to embracing live action films and illustration - and now, he stands on the precipice of making his feature-length debut.

  • Words: Farrin Foster
  • Picture: Elysha Glaser

“I feel like my whole life has just been pre-production for something,” says Adelaide film-maker and artist Eddie White.

Eddie is not yet clear on what the “something” will be, but the pre-production has been undeniably thorough.


Visit Eddie’s website to see more of his work.

Punk Kid – an exhibition of his illustrations – will take place at The Mill this Friday, July 28.

From studying acting at university, Eddie has propelled himself along a multifarious career path that has incorporated everything from animation to making music videos for songs that haven’t been written yet.

Now working in live action film, directing on commercial jobs, continuing to dabble in animation, and operating as an illustrator and artist, Eddie is preparing to embark on his first feature film project.

“I’ve written the outline and I’m about to start writing the script – so I want to make that in the next year or so,” he says.

“It’s about a woman who undergoes a full head to body transplant. So it’s about the human body and it’s about what makes us us… if you take on someone else’s body are you still yourself? Do we have a soul? If we have a soul, where is the soul?”

The borderline surreal themes of the film run through much of Eddie’s work – one of the only threads that ties together his diverse output.

“Subconscious things really interest me – so not over-analysing things when they come up, just presenting them,” says Eddie.

“I’m always sort of curious about humans and why they do what they do and I like exploring that through a different way than psychology… I think I explore that through drawings and through films. I think I do that rather than, ‘I’m going to tell a story and I hope people like the story’, it’s not always like that.”

Eddie found early success exploring these ideas in animation – something he initially worked on around his high school studies and acting degree, but which became his main focus when the company he founded with friends started gaining significant traction.

While working in that business, Eddie and Ari Gibson co-directed The Cat Piano – an animated short narrated by Nick Cave (Editor’s note – !!) that was short-listed for an Oscar in 2009.

While Eddie’s lifelong love for drawing and illustration fuelled his initial interest in animation, a combination of practicality and his knowledge of and interest in acting soon pushed him to also begin exploring live action.

“The thing about the live action stuff is it feels like I can get in there, you can see something straight away, there’s something very beautiful about that,” he says.

“It’s really amazing for a director to learn acting too – it’s perfect because you know what the actors are going through and there’s some technical things like the way you learn lines that you can use in your direction.”

While his feature film is still in the early stages of development, Eddie is sticking around in his home town of Adelaide – making a living from commercial work, like a recent series of ads he made for Zafarelli pasta with agency Black Sheep Advertising and producer Nicola Tate.

He’s also finding an increasing demand for his illustrative work, something he puts down to a global embrace of whimsy.

“The good thing about illustration is there’s more demand for illustration than there ever has been,” says Eddie. “People got sick of just digitally-enhanced photographs.

“I think it’s a backlash to technology because there’s nothing whimsical about technology. Illustration was really big in the ’60s and ’70s for that same reason.”

But while Eddie is happy working from Adelaide for now, he’s aware that might not be what his future holds.

“Adelaide has been good to me – it does have a low cost of living – you can live here, you can create, you can just sort of focus on what you need to do,” he says.

“I think I do want to move from here eventually… just for visual inspiration. You get inspired by the people around you, the culture and everything. So in the next couple of years I do want to live somewhere else, I’m not sure where that would be yet.”

Adelaide might lose Eddie for a long time or a short time, but his is the kind of career of which this city can be pleased just to be a part.


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