Name: Paul Spurrier
Born: Lowestoft, England
Nickname: The only nicknames I have are used by my wife when she’s angry, and those can’t be repeated here.
Where do you live? Above the Friese-Greene Club, Sukhumvit Soi 22
How long in Thailand? First came in 1999. Moved here permanently around 2004.
What brought you here? I split up with a girlfriend in 1999, and found myself with no plans for the Millennium New Year. So when a friend at the BBC offered me a job on a documentary about elephants in Thailand, it seemed like a great idea. I had never been to Thailand, and had only ever had Thai food once in my life. It was a massive eye-opener, and I determined right then and there that I would return to make films.
Your profession? Film-maker
Company: Commercial Films Siam
What does it do? Most westerners involved with production in Thailand find work from the international productions that come to shoot here. Last year, 80 films and many more commercials and TV series used Thailand for part of their shooting. Obviously, there’s more money to be made from international productions. Anybody who refuses this work, and all the money that goes with it, and the more sociable hours and the proper contracts and credits must be a stupid buffalo. So my wife tells me. But I enjoy working in the local industry. My first film in Thailand – ‘P’ - was shot entirely in Thai language, and my second film ‘The Forest’ was shot mostly in Isaan dialect.The only problem nowadays is that the Thai film industry is having a hard time.Of the top ten box office films last year in Thailand, not a single one was Thai. The Thai film share of the local box office has gone down from 30% to under 10% in the last five years. So our latest project ‘Eullenia’ is still shot in the same way, with Thai crews, Thai cast, but we brought in one English actor, and shot partially in English language. Nowadays, Thai productions are having to consider the international market.
What made you go into filmmaking? I was a child actor. There are only ever three stories ever written about ex-child actors. Either they are now drug addicts or alcoholics. Or they blame their entire life problems on their parents forcing them to go on the stage. Or they fall into the category of ‘Where are they now?’ I suppose that since I still get along with my parents, and am far too scared of Thai prisons to take drugs, making obscure local language films in Thailand probably puts me squarely in the third category.While acting, I always loved watching how the film was actually put together, so when I became a teenager, got spots, and didn’t look quite so angelic any more, it was an obvious choice to learn more about how films get made.