Dennis developed his love for theatre while earning his BA in English Literature at Tufts University in Boston, Massachusetts. During his four years of study he performed in more than 30 stage plays and then spent a year in New York acting and writing plays.
After moving to Los Angeles, California Dennis attended UCLA’s School of Theater, Film and TV, where he graduated with an MFA in Playwriting.
At UCLA he played one of the lead roles in director Luis Meza’s feature film, "Staccato Purr…"
In 2004 Dennis made his play "Goodnight Joseph Parker" into a feature film, starring Paul Sorvino, Debi Mazar and Steven Tyler of Aerosmith. Dennis has also been a freelance screenwriting instructor, a film competition judge and has been a panellist at the Global Entertainment and Media Summit. In addition to "Goodnight Joseph Parker", Dennis has also written screenplays for "The Organ Donor", "The Sissy Show" (television pilot) and "House of Buggin" (comedy/variety show).
After graduating from South Seas in 1997, Jon ‘s first job in the industry was as a staff editor at Prime TV when it was launched in NZ. "This proved to be a challenge as they were literally building the facility around us as we cut the sports show".
From there, he has enjoyed a successful freelance career in NZ and the UK, working on a variety of forms of television including a travel documentary presented by Jackie Chan, a golf series with Tim Brooke-Taylor to observational documentaries with the NZ police to name a few. He has worked with various productions companies including Greenstone Pictures , Cream TV and Endemol UK.
Jon, a trained teacher, joins South Seas in 2011 bringing with him a wealth of industry experience, technical knowledge combining with his teaching experience to ensure this year’s graduates enter the work force fully prepared.
Allie Simpson - Art Department Tutor
Allie is a qualified Adult Tutor and Assessor with a certificate in Commercial Art. She began her career in 1995 working in the art department on quick turn around television productions and commercials. She also worked on such productions as Shortland Street and Sale of the Century, comedy productions and mainstream commercials.
Allie runs her own design business and has designed product launches, national campaigns and live shows for corporate clients including New Zealand Lotteries Commission and L’Oreal New Zealand.
In conjunction with her television career she has taught to diploma level in subjects including design for special effects and conceptual design, holding the position of Head of Department for Special Effects Make Up and Production Make Up.
Allie joined SouthSeas in 2003 to establish and run the Art Department.
Haare Williams - Mahi a Rongo Leader
Coming out of teaching and into the radio broadcasting, television news and current affairs arena, Haare Williams pioneered Maori Radio as the General Manager of Aotearoa Radio.
He has worked closely with iwi claimant communities collecting and preparing oral testimonies for presentation before the Waitangi Tribunal and this in turn led to his work as a facilitator in oral histories working with iwi groups and for NZ Libraries.
Haare has published his poetry, was a judge for the Watties Book Awards, and has held five solo art exhibitions. He has worked with the former Race Relations Office to deal with issues of cultural sensitivity, was a two-term city councillor in Papakura and a member of the Board of Governors for Queen Victoria School.
He was an Executive Director of the New Zealand 1990 Commission especially responsible for waka construction and assembly at Waitangi in 1990, and is currently the Chairperson of ProMa, the Maori advisory committee to ProCare.
For five years, Haare held the position of Pae Arahi, "The first in the country," as he put it, at Auckland’s UNITEC. Now an independent consultant in Maori aspects of education, health, business, art and the media, he is the Course Leader of South Seas' Mahi a Rongo – Maori Film & Television Broadcasting course and South Seas Kaumatua.
Mike Westgate - Industry Workshop Tutor
Mike is one of New Zealand’s most experienced sound recordists and has worked on a multitude of Kiwi feature films, television documentaries, dramas and commercials.
His credits include Smash Palace, Angel Mine, Starlight Hotel, Soldier’s Tale, Quiet Earth plus more than 60 documentary credits for major TV networks including CBS, NBC, PBS, and the BBC.
He has worked on eight expeditions for The Cousteau Society filmed in New Guinea, Indonesia, Australia, Thailand, Laos, Burma and Cambodia. In recent years, Mike has serviced a large volume of episodic drama shot in New Zealand for North American productions totalling 193 episodes which include 80 episodes of Hercules - The Legendary Journeys.
Mike has been at the forefront of developing the New Zealand use of the latest overseas advances in audio recording technology especially in the field of digital recording techniques, and is the Technical Manager of Sound Techniques; New Zealand’s only dedicated supplier of equipment for the film and television industry.
He has taught both the theoretical and practical aspects of audio recording techniques for numerous courses including Unitec, The ITVA and The Moving Image Centre. Armed with videos of productions that he has serviced, plus an array of sound equipment, he has lectured at South Seas since 1995.
Andrew Denton - Camera, Lighting & Audio Assist
Andrew Denton has been working in the industry for several years as an all-rounder from camera work, to being a great asset in the art department. He's been with South Seas in several projects and now has joined us full time. Helping out with the South Seas new building Units and keeping the infrastructures up and running.
Andrew also works in the Camera, Lighting & Audio department in the Film & Television course, assisting the CLA Tutor and the students with the equipment.