Skip to main content Skip to main navigation
Skip to access and inclusion page Skip to search input

Mob Pod: Malinda Rutter - Blackfisch

Malinda Rutter is a proud Bundjalung, Gidhabal and Glibal woman. She is the Creative Director and Co-Founder of Blackfisch Films, a majority Indigenous-led and operated creative agency based in Sydney. With a background in journalism, Malinda is an international award-winning writer, director, producer and published author. Malinda talks candidly with Lisa Gissing from Westpac. A collaboration with NSW Indigenous Chamber of Commerce.


LG: Hello, everyone, I'm Lisa Gissing from Westpac, and today we're speaking with Malinda Rutter, founder, writer, director of Blackfisch, a majority owned Indigenous company supporting cultural awareness and social equity through the power of story. Welcome, Malinda. 


MR: Hi, how are you?

LG: Very good, thank you. Now, before we begin, I would like to acknowledge the traditional owners of the various lands in which we all meet and pay my respects to elders both past and present. I also acknowledge and pay respects to those here today who identify as being Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and recognise the diversity of Indigenous peoples, countries and culture in Australia.


LG: As Australia's first bank, we acknowledge our role in supporting an inclusive and diverse nation where all of our cultural backgrounds are recognised and respected. Let's start today with your story,

MR: Blackfish. Well, it used to be called Wyhldfisch and we changed it to Blackfish about, I don't know, five years ago. We were traditionally a film production company. From there we started doing animation and now we do full creative services because we realised that we had a lot of skills that we weren't using and that served us very well.


LG: So why did you start the business?

MR: It's always nice when you're in charge of your own destiny. And being a filmmaker, most of my life I have freelance, so I just decided I wanted a company. I wanted to be able to do what I wanted to do, I guess. And also part of independent filmmaking was something I really wanted to do as well.


LG: What surprised you most in opening a business?

MR: I think it's the amount of work you actually have to do when you have your own business or your own company. I think people don't realise how hard it is and how many skills you do have to have to be successful.

LG: Is there anything that you would do differently?


MR: I would probably become more financially aware rather than just relying on accountants or relying on bookkeepers or something like that. I think that you have to know what every role is in your business and how to manage a cashflow and how to do a cash flow. Because unless you know all of that, you can get into trouble.


MR: So that's something I would have done many many years ago to make sure that I planned for the bad times. Do you know what I mean? I'm very good at planning now because you know there are times in every business where it's quiet and you need the cash flow and the money to keep going, if you know what I'm saying. Yeah.


LG: And is your business, as you say, a seasonal business? 

MR: In fact, it actually is. We're very very quiet from Christmas to February.

LG: How do you manage that cash flow?

MR: I am all over it. I have a spreadsheet where I account for absolutely every single cent every month and I change that on a weekly basis in case some job has been held up. And it's not being paid for whatever.


MR: And I also put lies in my cash flow, so I make sure that my expenses are greater than I think that it's going to be.

LG: Yeah, wonderful. And some really good hints and tips there. What do you love most about being a business owner?

MR: Because I'm a creative. I think it's being in charge of the creative that goes out the door. That's what I love about it.


MR: And I have a definite way I like things done. I'm very fussy. I probably drive people mental. I'm a bit of a perfectionist and I quite like to be that way because people like clients really love what we do because we also try and give them more for their money, if you know what I mean.


MR: Because we've got a lot of very senior people at Blackfisch that are very very experienced, and we can solve a problem on a dime or on location, and you know their budgets tend to go a lot further. So that's what I love about our business, is that what we can deliver for the cost.

LG: Yeah, wonderful.

MR: I love that. Yeah


LG: What would be your advice to other community members out there, perhaps looking to start their own business?

MR: I think it's get mentored. You know I mean even I still get mentored now by people you know that are far more experienced than I think I am you know.

And I always ask the questions and seek advice and be really honest about that and be honest about what advice you're seeking, because there's so many people that can help you.


LG: Now, most importantly, how do people get in touch with Blackfisch if they want to know more about it, what you do, or want to do business with you?

MR: Oh, that'd be lovely. If you look at our website, it's and there's, or look us up and give us a call. No problem.

LG: Today we've been speaking with Malinda Rutter, founder, writer, director of Blackfisch. Thank you, Malinda, for your time today.

MR: Oh, thank you so much. It was a pleasure.


The information contained in this presentation is general in nature and has been prepared without taking your objectives, needs and overall financial situation into account. For this reason, you should consider the appropriateness of the information to your own circumstances and, if necessary, seek appropriate professional advice.


Acknowledgement to Country

Westpac acknowledges the First Peoples of Australia and recognises their ongoing role as Traditional Owners of the land and waters of this country. We acknowledge Westpac’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees, partners, and stakeholders, and pay our respects to their Elders, both past and present. 

Things you should know

The choices and decisions made by Malinda Rutter are her own and this podcast is about her journey and not intended to be advice. This information is general in nature and has been prepared without taking your objectives, needs and overall financial situation into account. For this reason, you should consider the appropriateness for the information to your own circumstances and, if necessary, seek appropriate professional advice. 

© Westpac Banking Corporation ABN 33 007 457 141 AFSL and Australian Credit Licence 233714.