Danielle Dajani

SVP, Physical Production, Warner Bros


I started a Bachelor of Communication degree at The Queensland University of Technology (QUT), but it was a Bachelor of Business by the time I finished as I worked through most of it and studied part-time. I ended up gravitating towards film and TV.

Before I finished the degree I got a position at Village Roadshow at the Warner Roadshow Studios [now Village Roadshow Studios], supported by the Pacific Film & Television Commission (PFTC) [now Screen Queensland]. We had our own productions, but also provided production services for offshore film and television companies. It was a fantastic training ground as I got to work on a variety of projects from big budget studio pictures to indie movies, TV series and movies of the week.

I was there for 10 years, eventually as general manager of the production management company. I have spent the past 12 years moving between Los Angeles and London and alternating between feature film and television productions. I have spent a significant amount of time working internationally, including on productions in Russia, India, the Middle East and China. Prior to Warner Bros. I was head of production for Carnival Films in London and fortunate enough to work on a number of UK series, including the last season of Downton Abbey.

At Village I ended up working closely with Warner Bros. as we partnered on many, many projects together. It is wonderful to come back to Queensland with a Warner Bros. film and to once again work with such talented crew at a worldclass facility.

Setting up productions in countries I have never worked in before, especially when I’ve had to go in without a team, is always interesting, often challenging and definitely rewarding. The travel can be taxing but I love getting to work with crews in new countries and eating great street food!

Aquaman is the first production since I left Australia that I have been able to be a part of bringing back home. Queensland was an obvious choice for us as a location, but we needed to make the financials work: it required the support of both the federal and state governments. We were grateful to receive it. To date, the experience has been fantastic.

Tracey and I have crossed paths many times over the years between our jobs in Australia and LA. When I knew Aquaman would be a fit for Queensland, it was great to know I would be working with Tracey. She had a solid understanding of exactly what we needed to make the final decision on a location. We have a shorthand and a relationship built on trust so we could cut to the chase and get the deal done.

There is a great network of female executives in LA and we all reach out to each other for advice. Of the five physical production executives in LA between Warner Bros. Pictures and New Line Cinema, three are women. However in the freelance world, we need more female directors, writers, line producers, production managers and heads of department.

To those working their way through the film industry, I’d say never be afraid to be thrown in the deep end. And never stop asking questions.

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Tracey Vieira

CEO, Screen Queensland