Kenny Waterson is a Sunshine Coast based filmmaker and stand-up comedian. Recently, his film Unsung Heroes was selected into the Sunshine Coast Film Festival. The documentary follows three volunteers at a community football club in regional Queensland. The short explores themes of purpose and passion as it makes the audience question why we do what love. It deeply affected me as I looked at the people in my own life and questioned why they devote so much time to things I once considered “pointless.” Read on for my conversation with Kenny.
Talking Unsung Heroes
What grabbed you about this story?
“I was initially intrigued by Rick Bastian (Kenny’s coach). He is this eccentric Dutch guy that takes social football seriously. I had watched the All or Nothing documentaries and Ted Lasso and I thought it could be funny to follow the reserves of a local football club. When I got into it, I realised it was a shallow story but overtime I started focusing on this question about why these volunteers give their time for a club.”
How long it took to shoot this documentary?
“I started filming in March of 2022 with Rick. I stopped filming at the end of the season in October.”
What each day of shooting looked like?
“I work full time so I knew playing at the club that I would be their two nights a week. It fit in around then. I would finish work on Friday afternoon and do an interview with the talent in the evening. Then the following day I would be shooting the football games with another camera operator.”
How do you keep focused on the documentary when you don’t know where the story will end up?
“I focus on documenting what I am interested in. I have played football all my life and it’s been a big part of my family life.”
How do you balance full time work with making a documentary and doing standup?
“I work as a full-time editor for a production company 5 minutes from home. Having a job that’s in the industry has taken a massive weight off my shoulders and helped blossom my creativity. It takes the financial pressure off everything so I can focus on the creative side.”
Your process writing jokes for stand-up?
“I try to be aware of my surroundings and my life. Things will come to me and there will be a specific feeling and I write it down in my notes. I set aside about half an hour to an hour to write. Most of these ideas are trash but it just revolves around cycling through them all constantly.”
Where do you want to move for stand-up comedy?
“A lot of my favourite shows are mockumentaries like the Office and Chris Lilley shows. I would love to get to a point where I can produce, write or perform in or for a show like that.”
Favourite documentaries that inspired you?
“A film I love is called Grizzly Man by Werner Herzog. It inspired me to seek out characters like that because they are out there, you have to just be open to being interested in others.”
Four of your favourite films?
“Grizzly Man. I loved animation growing up so Toy Story was my favourite childhood film. Comedy wise definitely Superbad. My favourite drama film is Slumdog Millionaire.”
What is next for you / what are you working on?
“My immediate future is trying to get as many people watching Unsung Heroes. I am also moving overseas to London. That is kind of in pursuit of other projects. I really just want to build upon what I learnt from this project.”