By Genevieve Meegan
Even as a child Max Lloyd remembers always having a camera in his hand.
“As a 12-year-old I had a darkroom in my parent’s basement and then I studied photography more formally,” he says, sitting in his sun-drenched beachfront Glenelg home.
“I remember my father asking me, ‘What are you going to do as a career?’ and I looked down at my camera and said, ‘I’m going to take pictures’, and I still do.”
Life as a successful filmmaker started when Lloyd was just 16 years old and got a part-time job as a stagehand at Channel Nine in North Adelaide, working on shows such as The Ernie Sigley Show and The Pete Smith Show.
“That was back in the day of live TV so it was incredibly exciting,” he says.
He spent 10 years at Channel Nine, working his way up the ladder to camera operator and then director and producer.
“I learnt on the job,” Lloyd says.
“Working on shows such as Here’s Humphrey, The Curiosity show, Come on Kids as well as midday talk shows and lots of sport.”
After his time at Channel Nine, he and wife Gillian Redman-Lloyd made the move to Sydney in the ‘80s with their then-young daughter Jerrie-Joy, now 33. Lloyd set up his own production company The Notion Picture Company, with good friend and former Channel Seven camera operator Gregory Swanborough.
“We ran The Notion Picture Company very successfully for 13 years,” Lloyd explains.
“We did a lot of work during the Sydney Olympics with everyone from Coke-a-Cola to Fairfax and making TV programs including a series called Conspiracy, and a series of docos for the ABC on Australia’s involvement in war – we won a lot of awards around the world with some of those films.”
But by 2002, due to the up and down nature of TV production, the friends decided to go their separate ways and Lloyd began working as a freelance executive producer both in Australia and Singapore.
Work came steadily and over the next 15 years he wrote and produce shows such as Catalyst and Creature Features on the ABC, Asia’s Next Top Model in Singapore, and back in Australia Celebrity Apprentice, MasterChef, Project Runway and My Kitchen Rules.
Today, he says he has the same passion for observing and documenting life as he did as a 12-year-old with camera in hand.
“What I make is factual entertainment and what I love is conceiving the concept of something,” he says. “I dream the end result and then I sit down and write it and then I go out and create it and I bring it to life.
“I really like making reality television because there are so many characters and it’s all about the stories and it’s the subtleties you have to pay attention to and really drive it and find the gold.”
When reflecting on the success and longevity of his career, Lloyd is philosophical and grateful.
“I believe you can have anything you want – anything is possible. All you have to do is know what you want – if you can articulate it, you can make it happen and I don’t think people understand that.”
About 12 months ago Lloyd and wife Gillian decided to relocate back to their hometown of Adelaide with their younger daughter Matilda, 28, who recently graduated from law school in Sydney. Older daughter Jerrie-Joy is based in New York and works as an international stylist.
It was the pull of family that was the main factor in the move back to Adelaide. Not long after the move, Lloyd took up a position as the supervising producer of Channel Seven’s SA Weekender.
“The brief was to find things to do and see in South Australia,” he says. “Having not lived here for so long I was rediscovering things and I fell in love with South Australia again.
“I think the opportunity here has increased hugely.
“The opportunities are here and you can make your own opportunities and a lot of that has to do with technology. We used to think a fax machine was pretty groovy but now with Internet and email you can be based anywhere.
“Friends that come through can’t believe how remarkable it is here – there is much more of a pull this way now.”
Lloyd has now left Channel Seven and he and Gillian, an events manager, have set up their own business, Beachfront Media. It has three components – film and television production, events management, and fixing (helping international television crews negotiate their way around South Australia).
“We have projects already on the go including one with Adelaide-based adventurer Tim Jarvis – a documentary series, but I can’t say too much more yet.”
“It’s time for me to be doing my own projects,” Lloyd explains. “It means Gillian and I can combine our talents finally and work together. This is a vehicle that enables almost anything to be possible, from a community level through to a global level.”
Find out more at Beachfront Media.