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The Guild is a forum for screen composers and sound professionals to connect and share ideas and knowledge. It also promotes and grows the sector to build sustainable careers in music and sound in Aotearoa New Zealand and beyond.

The Guild exists to guide, protect and support our members; to represent their aims; to teach and exchange ideas and to grow recognition for the value we bring to our industry.

SMSG priorities are:

  • Financial sustainability and security
  • Creative and technical excellence
  • Representation
  • Promoting our craft
  • Building diversity
  • Health and wellbeing
  • Collegiality and community

For more details on our aims and objectives please read The Constitution here.

We invite all NZ screen composers, screen music professionals and sound professionals to be involved in the Guild for the good of our collective craft. So join our membership to be part of a dynamic group of professionals who are helping shape the future for our sectors.

Members and interested parties are welcome to sign-up to the Guild’s Facebook page and the monthly email newsletter to keep up to date with general news.

Please get in touch with any enquiries regarding membership, suggestions, requests and general help at

Committee Members

John McKay – Co-chair

SMSG founding member, John McKay has more than 40 years’ experience in the screen industry, primarily in Sound Post Production. He is the founder / CEO of POW Studios in Wellington, a soundpost company.

He is a recipient of sound editorial awards for Footrot Flats, Jubilee and A Soldier’s Tale. Also, he was a Golden Reel Award-nominee for The Lord of the Rings. Recently, he supervised sound on the animated Chinese feature film I Am What I Am, and on local acclaimed features such as Coming Home in the Dark.

“I see the formation of the Guild as a sign of the sound and music community maturing, with a focus on growing sustainable career pathways for current and new entrants to the profession,” says John.

Polly McKinnon – Co-chair

Co-chair Polly McKinnon is a founding member of SMSG and a multi-award-winning sound editor and supervisor with over two decades in the industry.

She has worked extensively in New Zealand, Australia and the United States, and has been a key team member on three Academy Award winning soundtracks.

As a working mum of two young children, she is passionate about improving conditions for parents working in film and television.

Melissa Conway screen music and sound guild

Melissa Conway – Executive Director

Melissa is a Producer with 25 years’ experience in the screen sector. She has worked in a range of roles in film and TV production, as well as organisational/infrastructure development, programming and education, large scale project management, building partnerships and multi team/crew management.  “I’m excited to be leading the expansive programme of work for SMSG and to be part of building recognition and sustainability for music and sound postproduction.”

Phil Gore – Treasurer

Phil Gore is an Associate Director with VCFO Group Ltd, an accounting practice in Auckland.

Phil has a deep understanding of the screen industry from working as a film production accountant in NZ and Australia for 10 years. Since 2008, Phil has specialised in screen industry work with the accounting firm Pieter Holl & Associates, and now with VCFO.

Phil has a close working relationship with overseas studios, producers, production accountants and legal advisors, plus the NZ Film Commission through his numerous NZ Screen Production Grant vetting and grant applications. He is also a Board member (and Treasurer) of the Directors & Editors Guild of Aotearoa New Zealand.

Screen composer

William Philipson – Secretary

William Philipson is a composer and music editor based in Wellington, New Zealand.

He is a relatively new member to the industry. He graduated with a masters degree in music in 2019, and since then he has been working in the industry in Wellington as music editor, composer, and as a composer’s assistant. He has worked under a number of established New Zealand composers, and he has written music for two feature films.

He is passionate about helping to create clear and accessible career pathways into our industry. He would like to be an advocative for the young and emerging members of the guild, with the goal to create a diverse and inclusive industry with opportunities for newcomers, as well as support for those who are struggling financially.

Marshall Smith is a composer and a member of SMSG

Marshall Smith – Committee member

Marshall Smith, is an experienced composer, producer and music artist. He is passionately engaged with trying to build a more sustainable, equitable and representative screen music industry for Aotearoa.

In 2013 Marshall co-founded the Screen Composers Guild to champion the voice of composers. And in 2020 he helped strengthen the Composers Guild with the logical inclusion of sound professionals, resulting in the formation of a new guild called the Screen Music & Sound Guild.

This industry is going through rapid and never-ending change and Marshall firmly believes that working collectively is the only way to achieve lasting change and improvement.

Graeme Revell – Committee Member

Between 1989 and 2017 Graeme Revell enjoyed a 25 year plus career as a film, television, gaming and advertising composer, predominantly in the USA but also Australia, the UK and Germany. So far, he is unique among NZ composers in the extent of this overseas experience.

He was brought up in South Auckland and took with him an unusual mix of influences: some traditional training but, more relevantly, a keen appreciation for our cultural diversity and sound design of all kinds. This afforded him a niche at the highest levels of a very competitive and crowded industry.

The variety of skills across both the sound and music fields that he developed gave him a deep insight into the connectivity of opportunities in this complex field.  He is keen to pass on that perspective in the educational field. There is a current lack of knowledge among students of the range of different job opportunities.

He has gained a profound understanding of producers’ and directors’ needs which can be imparted to them to advocate for a greater valuation of music and sound in the overall film product.

Screen composer Plan 9

Janet Roddick – Committee Member

Janet Roddick has been working as a professional musician for 35 years. She has been composing for screen, installation, and theatre and dance in partnership with David Donaldson and Steve Roche as Plan 9 since 1996.

Plan 9 have composed scores for over 30 feature films and have won numerous awards for their work.

“For most of my working life I have been the only woman on music the team and am disappointed that is still the case. Diversity and inclusion is a major issue in our part of the screen sector and I support efforts to improve representation and recognition.”

Christy Whelan

Christy Whelan – Committee Member

Christy Whelan is a creative lawyer who specialises in music and is passionate about helping Aotearoa’s creators build sustainable businesses and careers.

Over the last 10 years he has held various roles in the music and media industry in NZ, (Entertainment Lawyer, Songwriter & Artist, Head of Music Licensing & Creation at Les Mills International, Chairman of the Board of indie label association IMNZ), and in the UK where he spent five years representing rights holders and working with global brands, broadcasters, promoters, producers, platforms and talent as senior legal counsel for the BPI, BRIT Awards, Mercury Prize and The BRIT Trust.

Having recently returned from London to re-join boutique entertainment law firm Sinclair Black, which he first joined in 2011, Christy brings a fresh enthusiasm, global perspective and broad base of commercial, legal and governance experience to the Board.

Sound Designer

Kahra Scott-James – Committee Member

Kahra Scott-James is a sound designer and writer who has been involved in the media, entertainment and education industries for the past 30 years.

She has worked in film, animation, broadcasting and VR. Her interest in animation and interactive media led to a senior position at Brilliant Digital Entertainment designing and mixing interactive soundtracks for Warner Bros/DC Comics.

Kahra also has experience in screen and sound education, program and curriculum design and has lectured in NZ, Australia, Ireland and the USA. She holds an MA in Audio, an MFA in Production and a PhD centred on post-production issues. She is the author of “Sound Design for Moving Image” published by Bloomsbury, UK.

Kahra’s focus is on education, career sustainability, creative/tech, diversity and representation.

RoVE Education Advisor

Lawrence Arps – Committee Member

Lawrence Arps came out of a series of touring bands as a guitar player to move into live sound, stage management, event production and studio engineering.

In the late 1980s he realised he spent a lot of time demonstrating equipment and decided to write a training course for musicians. He delivered an “Audio Engineering For Musicians” course seven times in Hamilton before moving into education full time as an Audio Engineering Tutor for what would become the Music and Audio Institute of New Zealand (MAINZ).

By 2000 he had completed a Bachelor of Education and moved into a role as an Academic Manager, then Deputy Chief Executive of Tai Poutini Polytechnic, finishing a Masters in Education Administration in 2005.

He has subsequently worked as Deputy Chief Executive Academic for Whitireia Polytechnic and Chair of the Board of Directors for Student Software Solutions Limited. He is currently Education Services Manager for Fire and Emergency New Zealand.

He has a thorough knowledge of the New Zealand education and training environment and hopes to bring his knowledge and experience to assist the Screen Music and Sound Guild.

Production Sound Mixer

Jake Slaney – Committee Member

Jake Slaney is an early SMSG member and has been working as a Production Sound Mixer for close to 20 years. Having started in Documentary and Unscripted Television, Jake shifted his focus to Narrative/Scripted work. He has worked on a variety of projects from Superhero Blockbusters to Sundance Indy Premieres.

He relocated to Aotearoa in 2020 from Atlanta, Georgia USA, and brings with him the experience of working in a busy production hub.

Jake aims to help increase awareness and regard to the craft of sound for film in New Zealand.

Marius Hoffmann – Committee Member

Marius Hoffmann is a German Wellington-based media composer. After successfully finishing his postgraduate degree in Psychology and working on emotion focused neuroscientific research, Marius decided to follow his passion to become a composer as he arrived in New Zealand in 2016. He studied Music production at Middlesex University London and recently finished his Master of Fine Arts in Film music at Victoria University Wellington.

Marius is fascinated by the poignant power music has in cinematic storytelling. He is focused on neoclassical, hybrid, and ambient music styles. Being new to the industry, Marius is currently working on his career as a media composer.