Dean Head writes a children’s book with lessons for us all

Dean Head

When Dean Head was a small boy growing up in Perth, he waited for the roadside council workers to head home, leaving behind their machinery which he would try out. It started a lifelong love of the big movers which the celebrated filmmaker has turned into an action-packed children’s e-book.

Earth Movers Determined Kids versus Evil Aliens has already captivated children with parents and grandparents reading the e-book while doing the voices and acting out scenes. Dean recently visited Spearwood Primary School, which he attended as a child, spending two hours with his young audience talking about his career and the new e-book with plans to visit other schools.

He also plans to make a movie of the book for release in 2025 with WA settings including Kalgoorlie, Fremantle and the South West. 

“When the council workers headed home, as a boy I would jump on the bulldozers, excavators and other machines and pretend to drive them,” Dean tells Have a Go News. “As I got older, I learnt how to drive and start them and then I went into filmmaking, starting with Channel Nine in Perth, later living in Hong Kong and China for more than 30 years.

Filming UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, Jackie Chan

“I often encountered excavators blocking our shots and I climbed in them, moved them out of the way and reverse parked them. When I was commuting to Malaysia and Hong Kong, I had a relationship with a lovely Chinese woman who had a two-year-old daughter.

“I was teaching her English. Every day I would be driving her to play school and we would pass a construction site with a crane towering above and it stood out. I said: ‘babe, that’s a crane’ so every day after that, she would say: ‘Daddy crane, Daddy crane’; not the first word a two-year-old could learn but it was a start.

“All the machines and bulldozers were there and I looked at them and thought: Imagine if they all came to life and attacked us because they look quite evil. And that’s how the story came about.

“I want the book to be accessible to everyone, including kids who are not financially well off but have the chance to learn moral messages about anti-bullying, anti-racism, acceptance and respect for women.

“It promotes WA First Nations people and Chinese culture as well. The three kids Richie, Milly and Jimmy, are a First Nations girl, a Chinese-Australian boy and an Aussie boy who are all mates living near the remote Youanmi goldmine with no clue they are from disparate backgrounds.”

Dean Head has won more than 60 international awards for films. He has worked on Hollywood blockbusters including Transformers:
Age of Extinction
, Rush Hour 2, Spy Game and Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life. His career has taken him around the world.

On location filming Transformers: Age of Extinction

“Covid brought me back to Perth and I started this different project,” Dean said. “I wrote the script for the movie over eight months and then, during Covid, I converted the script to a book which took 7½ months working from 4am to 9pm every single day. Every day my brain worked overtime and three times I fell over from exhaustion and collapsed into bed.

“I don’t know where the energy came from – from the universe somewhere – and I kept going until I finished. Then I launched it and it’s selling in 66 countries and I have the merchandise going. We recently had a big social media blitz involving my cousin, an executive assistant coach who has 8000 followers around the world, and she did a big posting for me.

“My whole world is visual, I have millions of ideas streaming from the heavens into my mind every day, I can’t control it and can’t stop it, but I enjoy it. I wrote the book with the energy and pace of a Hollywood blockbuster, drawing on my 40 odd years of experience.

“From the get-go, the kids are taken on a stupendous journey and they love it. A testimonial from twin nine-year-old brothers on the website prompted me to bring remote control excavators from China which I filmed with them. This advertisement for the book was projected onto a 10-storey LED billboard in New York’s Times Square just before Christmas.”

Dean says he has designed the book so that people can also learn English. 

“There are hyperlinks that you touch and you are taken to a glossary or an online explanation so that kids can learn instantly.

“There is breast cancer awareness for kids involving the Pilbara Heavy Haulage Girls Group who painted their trucks pink and the benefits of breast-feeding mothers versus using powdered milk.”

The e-book is available on Apple Books and Amazon for $9. Follow Dean Head on Twitter and Facebook on his journey promoting the book and translating it to film.