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While the dream started out showcasing his acting chops in front of the camera, Australian actor, director and producer, Rob Carlton, has found joy in working behind the scenes. He joins Peter Switzer on Sky News Business Channel’s SWITZER.

In the spotlight

Carlton believes he’s been shot, killed or maimed on almost every Australian drama made in the last 20 years – and, with a resume boasting appearances on Australian hits such as All Saints, McLeod’s Daughters, Water Rats and Blue Heelers, he certainly has enjoyed an active role in the country’s television industry.

“With a head like this, you don’t get cast in the hero roles so much,” he explains. “The writing’s been on the wall since I was a young fella. One of the first jobs I did was in A Country Practice. They removed my testicle. Now it was a medical procedure but the message was clear. Shortly after that, I got thrown out of Summer Bay by Alf (Home and Away), he called me a ‘flamin’ mongrel’.”

He also graced Underbelly III The Golden Mile.

“They offered me the role of a police officer and I thought ‘hello, I’m going to solve all these crimes’. No, crooked cop, bad cop,” he laughs.  


Carlton won Tropfest, the Australian film festival, in 2006 with short film Carmichael and Shane, a comedy depicting the philosophies of a single father to twin boys. This was a project he wrote, starred in and co-directed with Alex Weinress.

Even before the awards, Carlton had an interest in moving beyond acting.

“I’ve always had interests running alongside my acting,” he says. “I got frustrated telling the sorts of stories that were on Australian TV and the sorts of roles I was getting so it was simply born out of that. It was born out of a deep desire to tell better stories.”

And, though gifted in comedy, Carlton believes there is more to the creative arts than mere entertainment.

“I’m a passionate believer in story-telling … It’s a bit of an indulgence for a society to have all these fantastic things but it’s also something that lets people know they’re not alone; lets people know that the struggles and the hurts they have aren’t theirs to live alone. I think it connects communities so I’ve always been fascinated in that,” he says.

Exporting intellectual property

Since winning Tropfest, Carlton has moved onto starring in, directing and producing the successful TV series Chandon Pictures. The show has even attracted international interest.

“The guys over at Movie Extra placed a huge amount of faith in me to produce that TV show,” he says. “Then Lionsgate international distribution company they saw the potential for it in international markets. They bought the rights to distribute it worldwide. So we’ve sold into about 15 territories around the world.”

Now, like Ricky Gervais’ The Office before him, Carlton has been approached to use the intellectual property.

“I’ll be going over to the States in about three weeks’ time. What you’re talking about it called a format sale. We make our show over here and we cast it and we do all that but all of that sits on top of that intellectual property – the characters, the stories and all those things.”

Asked whether he considers himself a businessman, Carlton’s response is less defined.

“People often ask me what do I like more, whether it’s writing or directing or producing. I don’t conceptualise it like that at all. I see myself as a storyteller and certain stories require different skill sets from me.”

Check out Peter Switzer’s SWITZER on Sky News Business Channel, Monday to Thursday from 7pm. 

So, if you’re looking to work on your business rather than being stuck in it, book in for a complimentary business assessment today with Switzer Business Coaching

Important information: This content has been prepared without taking account of the objectives, financial situation or needs of any particular individual. It does not constitute formal advice. For this reason, any individual should, before acting, consider the appropriateness of the information, having regard to the individual’s objectives, financial situation and needs and, if necessary, seek appropriate professional advice.


Published on: Friday, September 17, 2010

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