A YOUNG Kilmore man is using his filmmaking skills to encourage men experiencing mental illnesses to speak up and seek help.
David Avery, 23, took an interest in filmmaking at high school; originally with the goal of creating comedic films and scripts, however after growing up as a victim of bullying and then losing his grandmother, Mr Avery could tell his own mental health was struggling.
Mr Avery began writing the script for the film Why Me?, which was not only a coping mechanism for himself, but a production he hoped would promote the need for people to talk about their mental health, particularly men.
“Writing Why Me? definitely was a coping mechanism, it did help. People write when we’re angry and we write when we’re sad, it gets the emotions out, so in that way, it did help me,” he said.
“Why Me? is about a young bloke, and I wrote it from personal experience because I know what it’s like, but I tried to push to remove that stigma of men still needing to toughen up, man up.
“I know it’s being talked about a lot more now but there’s still the stigma looming that men are weak if they speak, they have to be the dominant ones.”
Working alongside Mr Avery is a dedicated team of cast and crew, which he made sure all knew the importance of the messages portrayed in the film. He said having members of his team who have also experienced their own battles with mental health at times would make the production of the film more authentic and real.
“I have worked with most my crew previously on another film of mine The Hitchhiker and also university projects, so they already knew of the story for Why Me? as I told them verbally, they knew my story and a lot of them have gone through their own battles,” he said.
“I asked them are they in, and they said straight away yes, so I just said to them, ‘this is one film that we can’t stuff up. We have to get this one right.”
Mr Avery said hopes his movie would inspire men to speak up and educate others about how their actions affected others.
He said if he could make someone aware of their action, then the film had done its job.
“No matter who you are, if you’re going through something, you’re betting off talking about it and you’re not weak for doing so,” he said.
Mr Avery is looking for extras to be a part of filming, with locations across Kilmore and Melbourne. He invites teenagers who may be interested particularly for school scene shoots to reach out.
People who would like to follow the production of Why Me? or contact Mr Avery to offer assistance in production, can visit the short film’s Facebook page, www.facebook.com/whymeshort or Instagram page, @whymeshortfilm.