A former actor or crew member is likely to credit Neighbours as their training ground if you bring it up to them. For the past 37 years, the renowned Australian serial has opened doors for new prospects by providing actors and other creatives with their first significant break in the business.
Taylor Glockner, a former cast member, opened up about his experience on the show and following career highlights in a brand-new exclusive interview with Digital Spy.
The good news for Neighbours fans is that we might see some other recognisable people from Ramsay Street in his next projects. The actor, who portrayed bad boy Mason Turner in 2013 and 2014, has already established his own production company.
How did it make you feel to learn that Neighbours was coming to an end?
“At the time the news broke, I was observing a football game. I had been joyful because my team was succeeding! When Neighbours was purportedly ending, I read about it in the news. I questioned whether it was just rumour or whether they were mistaken, but the more I looked into it, the more real it seemed.
“Overall, I was terribly upset but also incredibly proud of everyone who contributed to the play. How many other television programmes last 37 years? That is a remarkable accomplishment.
“I predict that soon we’ll learn that a another network, streamer, or studio has acquired the rights and will carry on with the show. I wouldn’t be shocked in the slightest if someone created a sequel or spin-off.”
Many people attribute their training to Neighbours. Do you share my sentiments?
“I have no doubts. I joined Neighbours when I was around 21 or 22. I had the great fortune to land the lead role in one of Australia’s most popular shows.
“I was working so hard on Neighbours at the time that it was a little bit of a whirlwind for me. The days were 15, 16, and occasionally five or six hours long.
“However, I truly enjoyed myself and learnt a tonne, which I’m now putting to everything else I do. Because of my work on Neighbours, I firmly believe that I am a more creative.”
How have you been since you left?
“What a ride it’s been! It’s been really enjoyable. I worked on the enormous studio production Mako Mermaids after leaving Neighbours. In the Gold Coast Studios, we also filmed Pirates of the Caribbean next to it. It was a huge experience all around.
“Then, both in Australia and the US, I worked on some smaller independent projects. Now, my creative partners and I have established our own production company, called Calligram Pictures. Coming soon is a feature film we wrote and directed called Bloom.”
Was starting your own production firm always the plan?
“People who have interacted with me, even since I was a young boy, probably know that I have always desired and dreamed of being able to accomplish it. When I was in Los Angeles and going to auditions for series after Mako Mermaids and Neighbours, I was still considering the day I’d have the chance to start my own independent production company.
“I wanted to collaborate with the best people, those I could trust. That really came together around 2020 when I returned to Brisbane, where I was born and raised, due to COVID. We founded Calligram Pictures together when I met Noah Gerometta, Izac Brodrick, Jackson Kanaris, and Jack Murphy.”
How does running a production differ from doing performing jobs every day?
“When you’re an actor working on a huge project, your sole responsibility is to perfect your part. You want to know how to make this as intriguing and believable as you can. However, you don’t really notice the producer rushing around in the background, setting up a shooting permit or preparing the schedule.
“When making your own projects, those are the kinds of things you need to consider. I now have a greater respect for the producers who must manage things in the background so that the creatives may focus on what needs to be done.”
What have been the biggest obstacles?
“It takes a lot of effort. People will put in a lot of effort that may go unnoticed by an outsider, just like in any organisation or corporation. We established Calligram Pictures and transferred all of our content there, which required negotiating contracts.
“Due to the fact that we need to look at a barn for a short film we’re filming in November, we were just talking about a potential location scout today.
“Additionally, we must cast our projects. If I’m not the ideal fit for a particular role, I might bring in one of my Neighbours buddies, which I definitely plan to do. It requires working on a number of diverse departments, and I feel like my understanding of filmmaking is expanding as a result.”
What have you been working on lately?
“We have the short film Flesh and Ivory, which was made by Calligram partner Izak Brodrick. Additionally, another partner Jackson Kanaris produced it. We introduced that movie—which was their production—to the business.
“The positive response it has received on a global scale is truly fortunate for us. At the 4th Dimension Independent Film Festival, it recently took home the Best Short Film award. At the Swedish International Film Festival, it has also been nominated for Best International Short Film, Best Director, Best Cinematographer, and Best Actor.
“I also appear in Bloom, a full-length movie that was directed by Noah Gerometta and is one of the five. The target release date is later this year or in 2023.”
Do you still enjoy playing other parts, or are you putting more emphasis on your own work at the moment?
“I’m willing to perform both. I’m still going to a lot of extremely important auditions and getting close. I wouldn’t mind working on a large or even a little project for someone else. I’m also quite thrilled that Calligram will allow us to create our own content.
“Joel Edgerton is one of my favourite actors and someone I genuinely like. I greatly respect Joel’s ability to act in other people’s productions while also working as a producer, writer, and director. I’m pretty excited about the direction I think I’m headed in there.”
Do you have your eye on somebody from Neighbours to be cast in a project?
“Definitely! Harley Bonner, who played Josh Willis, and I are still friends, so whether I want to or not, he will eventually appear in one of our projects. (Laughs) In the media, Harley and I frequently make fun of one another, but it’s all in good fun. We are so close that we resemble brothers.
“Along with Josef Brown, who played Matt Turner, and Teressa Liane, who played Rhiannon Bates, I’ve also spoken with Kaiya Jones, who played Sophie Ramsay, about the possibility of involving her in one of our projects. Teressa and I are close friends, and she is succeeding so well that I believe she will have a successful career. I was also communicating with Finn Woodlock, who portrayed Jackson, Rhiannon’s son.
“I still keep in touch with a tonne of pals from the show or acquaintances I made because of it. I’m constantly considering how to include one of them in one of our projects. I’m constantly searching for possibilities, but it needs to make sense and be the proper fit.”
Are there any other people with whom you remain in contact?
“On a novel I optioned with some production partners, Daniel Collins and Jill Isaacs, I’m also a producing partner with Alan Fletcher [who portrayed Karl Kennedy]. We plan to create a limited series for a streaming service.
“We are working with Alan, who is an absolute gentleman. When I was on Neighbours, Alan and I appeared in several sequences together. After I left, I kept in touch with him via email because I had it.
“Alan joined the team as a producing partner when the appropriate project presented itself. We’re very enthusiastic about this project called The Queenslander, and I believe I may be able to sign on and have a part in it as well.”
Would you have been eager to return for the Neighbours’ conclusion?
“I’m quite proud of my on-screen character evolution. Mason entered the scene as a bad kid who annoyed many people, including viewers! Because he was giving the series regulars so many problems at first, they didn’t particularly like him.
“As time went on, Mason included comedic aspects and became much more relaxed. I believe that Mason was much better welcomed by audiences once he had completed that character arc.
“I doubt many people from my generation attended the grand finale since they preferred the performers from the class of 1985, including Kylie Minogue, Jason Donovan, and Guy Pearce.
If they had chosen other artists from my time period, I would have been willing to return, but they chose the characters from the 1980s, and I believe it was the appropriate decision.
Would you consider reprising a long-running role, perhaps in Home and Away?
“Definitely. I’d be up for doing that in a heartbeat. In my professional life, I’ve had a lot of Home and Away auditions. Just a few days before I accepted my Neighbours contract, I was also presented with an offer from Home and Away. I had already declared that I would be appearing on Neighbours.
“I’ve always believed and planned that I’ll someday be able to accomplish both. Being able to say that you performed in both shows would be incredibly fantastic.
“We’ll see what happens. I believe Home and Away is aware of me because I’ve tried out for them in the past. Even if I play a part much later in my life, I might be portraying a father. I believe it would be wonderful to visit on Home and Away.”
You were pretty open about the overwhelming workload and some of the antagonistic fan reactions to Mason after you left. What do you think about that now?
“I feel like I handled the majority of it well when I was 21 or 22. Although the burden was tremendous, I am quite appreciative that I had the chance.
“There may have been a few things I could have done differently here and there, but everyone is an expert in hindsight when looking back. I’m quite proud of both my work on Neighbours and the entire programme.
“For instance, Neighbours has given me the chance to further the separate projects I’m currently working on. Even though I didn’t work with them on Neighbours, I’ve gotten to know others who are associated with the programme.
“Because Stefan Dennis is a common friend of ours, Guy Pearce and I met there. I had a lot of scenes with Stefan on Neighbours, and I would frequently ask him to kindly introduce me to Guy. I absolutely appreciate his work, so’
“When we were getting ready for a take, Stefan would usually make fun of how he had been hanging out with Guy the night before.
“Guy was a real gentleman when I first met him. In Los Angeles, he spoke with me for around 30 minutes. He was advising me on being a young actor and responding to queries I had for him regarding the roles he had played. If it weren’t for Neighbours, I wouldn’t have got the chance.”