Mumbrella, June 2011

Brain drain: The point of no return

Brain Drain - MumbrellaExtract:

Another Aussie living in LA is television/TVC director Ian Stevenson. He received the US green card in 2006 and, looking for new opportunities, he moved there with his wife, actress Katherine Hynes, and their children.

The first two years were “very good” for them, but after the GFC hit, things got difficult in 2008 and 2009.

“It’s had its ups and downs. It’s very competitive here, especially if you’re going for a director job, or any of the top roles,” said Stevenson.

He has directed shows such as RuPaul’s Drag Race (VH1), Battle of the Bands (Fuse) and, for Discovery, Battleground Earth and Bone Detectives. This last project took him to 10 countries, filming in remote locations that are usually off limits.

“I would’ve never had the chance to direct a show like that in Sydney,” said Stevenson. “I just shot a show for Ashton Kutcher’s company and one for an American Idol producer, so in that sense, it has exceeded my expectations.”
Ian Stevenson agrees that a good showreel will get you noticed: “It helped me get an agent, which is crucial. It’s an industry that thrives on trying to find the next hot thing. There are so many people knocking on doors and saying ‘Here I am’, but if you’ve got something good tho show, you can certainly be hot property”.

However, he also admits that while work done in Australia is a good calling card, helpful to get the conversations going, “in the end people just want to see American credits”.


Stevenson’s recommendation is quite practical: have deep pockets, because it might take a while to get a job.

“You must have some capital, or be prepared to do some other job. You’d be lucky if you came here and got a job straight away,” he said. “For some it might happen overnight, but you must give yourself time. Even after five years I feel like I’m starting to break through only now. Some say you have to be here 10 years before you’re fully accepted.”

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Creative Planet, March 2008

Director Ian Stevenson Shoots With Armed Guards In Ancient Sacrifice Caves For Discovery Bone Detectives

Ian Stevenson shooting 'Bone Detectives', England

Ian Stevenson shooting ‘Bone Detectives’, England


Los Angeles, CA — After nearly 20 years in the Television and Film business, Australian born, Los Angeles-based director Ian Stevenson says it’s been the ‘shoot of a lifetime’, despite the armed guards escorting the crew. Stevenson recently completed Bone Detectives for Discovery Channel. He and the 10-person crew traveled to eight overseas, remote and dangerous locations.

Bone Detectives is the ultimate cold case. In the riveting program, bodies buried thousands of years ago are dug-up and investigated as to how they died and who they might be.

During the seven-month shoot Stevenson filmed in the worst sandstorm Cairo has seen in 30 years. “It’s dangerous out there in the Saqqara desert when it hits,” he explains. “It’s apocalyptic as the storm approaches almost turning day to night and reducing visibility to just a few feet. The sand is like a knife cutting against your skin and it’s so hard on the cameras it wrecks them within minutes, but the most amazing part of the sand-storm is that it uncovered, before our eyes, parts of mummies buried thousands of years ago, arms and skulls just started to appear from the sand. It was eerie, like something out of a horror film.”

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