The Hero’s Journey of Matthew Kalil

What is the best thing that I love about my work?

I am happiest when I work with others creative projects. This can be directing actors, work-shopping scripts or helping people find the stories they really want to tell. Ideally all of the above happen without staring at a laptop. Being physical, walking, talking, reading out lines from a script. I love solving the puzzle that is story telling.

What is my idea of perfect happiness?

I’ve learnt there is no such thing. But the closest for me is when I am in the flow. Following my passion and things are just in synch. That feeling, which is often linked to unbridled creatively, when the road rises up to meet you…that feels close to perfect happiness.

What is my greatest fear?

That I give up on following that road mentioned above.

What is the trait that I most deplore in myself?

Deploring traits in myself is not useful. It doesn’t get rid of them. If anything, it makes them stronger.

Which living persons in my profession do I most admire?

David Simon when he was writing the TV series, The Wire. David Lynch for his uncompromising vision. I feel like I need to find another David to make it three Davids. So…David Hasselhof?

What is my greatest extravagance?

Lying in bed during the day. It’s possibly also a trait I deplore in myself.

On what occasion would I lie?

I’m a people pleaser. So I often tell little lies. I’m trying to work on that.

What is the thing that I dislike the most in my work?

Staring at a laptop. Evaluating scripts and creative work for marks. Having to get down on my knees to ask for funding for projects.

When and where was I the happiest, in my work?

Whenever I direct actors I am happy. It does depend on the actor...

If I could, what would I change about myself?

I would let myself feel my feelings, identify them and express my needs to others. This is a life-long learning for me.

What is my greatest achievement in work?

So far, my book, The Three Wells of Screenwriting as an assimilation of a lot of the work I have been doing into one book.

Where would I most like to live?

I live in Cape Town, South Africa, which is one of the most beautiful places on Earth. But, in terms of my work, Los Angeles is calling. Living off the grid and in tune with nature is also calling.

What is my most treasured possession?

I don’t give weight to possessions but my wedding ring is symbolically important to me. (And I have already lost the first one…)

What is my most marked characteristic?

Enthusiasm and positivity marked with a cynical melancholy and dark humor. In short, I suppose, being very comfortable in a non-binary understanding of the world.

What is my most inspirational location, in my city?

The location changes constantly. It’s the pocket of an unbroken wave, and me riding it on a surfboard.

What is my favourite place to eat and drink, in my city?

To eat: Fresh home-made pasta or home-made Lebanese food at my dining room table. To drink: Sundowners on a beach.

What books influenced my life and how?

There are countless books that have influenced all aspects of my life. I don’t understand people who don’t read. I don’t understand how they can know how to live. Perhaps they just simply live. But for me, I am always reading and always being influenced by what I read everyday.


Who are my favorite writers?

J.M.Coetzee. Ian McEwan. Franz Kafka. George Orwell. You know, all those comedy writers.

You Only Die Once. What music would I listen on my last day?

I’m tempted to say Mozart’s Requiem but it would freak me out. So it will have to be a carefully curated assembly of classical works. J.S.Bach: The Cello Suits, The Violin Partitas and Sonatas, The Concerto For Two Violins and some solo harpsichord works. Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto #2. Brahms Violin Concerto in D major. And would have to be certain recordings by musicians that I am used to or it would drive me to an early grave.

Who is my hero or heroine in fiction?

I was surprised how difficult this question was. All the stories I like have lead characters who are not traditional heroes: Marlow in Heart Of Darkness, Michael Corleone in The Godfather, Joseph K in The Trial, Michael K in Like and Times of Michael K and Wilson in 1984. I guess this means that I am suspicious of heroes…

Who are my heroes and heroines in real life?

Single parents everywhere. And people who are breaking the cycle of abuse and addiction by being in some form of recovery.

Which movie would i recommend to see once in a lifetime?

This is proving impossible to answer. Which I guess shows how seriously I take this art form…

What role plays art in my life and work?

It should play more of a role I feel. It is my inspiration.

Who is my greatest fan, sponsor, partner in crime?

My wife, Clea Mallinson.

Whom would I like to work with in 2019/2020?

Christopher Vogler.

Which people in my profession would i love to meet in 2019/2020?

David Lynch.

What project, in 2019/2020, am I looking forward to work on?

An edit of a second part of a documentary I made some time ago. Perhaps a second version of my book, this time entitled The Three Wells of Creativity. Or maybe The Three Wells of Financial Success would make me rich…

Where can you see me or my work in 2019/2020?

I am set to be working at the David Lynch MFA in Screenwriting. So that is where I will be focusing a lot of my attention on meditating and creating. However, will also be doing some workshops in LA and other parts of the USA.

What do the words “Passion Never Retires” mean to me?

True passion for me, never dies, even if I ignore it. Or if I try and kill it (like try not to direct, write or make another movie), it still comes back, like a smoldering fire.

Which creative heroes should Peter invite to tell their story?

Christopher Vogler.

How can you contact me?

Find my website:

Follow in Instagram: @the_three_wells

Or Facebook: The 3 Wells.

You can find a copy of the book at:

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