What's your dream?

No, really, Fraser Grut wants to know.

Chances are you haven't seen the young Aucklander around the place, camera in hand and grin on face.

But don't be surprised if you do. He is only just over 3.5 per cent, or 357 dreams, through a project to document the dreams of 10,000 people then post them on Instagram - one dream, one day at a time.


The mathematical realities? Grut has about 26 years to go on his project.

At 23, he has youth on his side. But still, is he mad?

Only if madness is measured by relentless positivity and a desire to leave the planet a different place than he found it.

"My dream is to change the world through film," he tells the Herald on Sunday, before we ask.

"I want to change the world and I think film is so powerful; I want to tell stories that inspire people."

Grut's dream starts with the on button on his Canon C300, is carried by a whole lot of chutzpah and is nurtured by the knowledge he's living the change he wants to champion.

He has canvassed restaurant-goers, spoken to homeless people and walked into churches - including an unsuccessful visit to the Church of Scientology - since he picked up his camera 10 months ago and started asking people their dreams.

High-profile Kiwis, including former All Black coach Sir Graham Henry, rapper Kings, political reporter Patrick Gower, former Air New Zealand boss Rob Fyfe and Bachelor NZ lovebirds Art Green and Matilda Rice, are also among those to land in Grut's viewfinder.


In news sure to please those at the top of the political food chain, Gower's dream is to write a book - not about politics - and Fyfe and Green want to help others live their best lives.

Sir Graham is among the fortunate few to be already living their dreams, he tells Grut.

"The dreams have come true. I'm very fortunate that I've got all this life to live ... talking to people, loving the grandkids, catching fish and touring the world.

"Life's a ball."

Everyone should reach the place Sir Graham has, Grut says.

"I just want everyone to be able to have the opportunity to chase their dreams ... it's amazing how many people just don't know their dreams. It wakes you up a bit.


"But then when we ask them it challenges them to think and then when we post it keeps people accountable, which is kinda cool.

"Because once your friends and family see what your dream is, it's like, 'Uh oh, I should probably start acting on it'."

Grut knows how tough it can be to hang on to a dream.

His passion for film goes back to childhood. He started his film company, Frog Productions, aged 7 - specialising in action man and teddy bear movies before his horror short film 23 House debuted on TV2 when he was 12.

But two years ago his dreams came crashing down when his first feature-length film, Syrenia, debuted.

Nothing happened, and it was devastating.


"It came out at cinemas but no massive opportunities opened up afterwards. I thought I'd be like a film protege ... I thought Hollywood would call and they didn't call. So that really just knocked me back, and then I owed a lot from making the film. There was a lot of debt.

"There was just a year of, 'Oh my gosh, I don't know what to do'."

He gave up film for six months before realising, with the support of mentor Richard Nauck and family, he had to pick himself up and get on with it.

Titirangi film maker Fraser Grut has set out to film 10,000 people's dreams. Photo / Nick Reed
Titirangi film maker Fraser Grut has set out to film 10,000 people's dreams. Photo / Nick Reed

"I've got to make it happen myself. I can't just expect others to give me all these opportunities."

Filming free commercials opened financial doors and gave him his confidence back.

Working with his brother, Tom, and contractors, Grut has done more than 100 commercials since.


He also married, wedding Belinda in February - just two months after starting 10,000 Dreams.

Life's sweet, and there's plenty more good stuff to come.

He hopes asking people their dream, showing that someone is interested and cares, will make a difference.

But if more help is need, his next big goal is to form a trust to help people make their dreams reality, Grut says.

"It's basically Make-a-Wish, but for everyone in the world. Where once we ask you what your dream is we'll put a plan in place to help you get there and we'll supply you with funding and contacts and opportunities."

Meanwhile, Grut's wife accepts 10,000 Dreams is going to be part of the couple's life - probably forever.


When Grut started the project he initially planned only to do 365 Dreams - and she cautioned him then to be sure it was what he wanted. But after feeling unchallenged, Grut pushed the target even higher to 10,000 Dreams.

There was no battle at home over the move.

"Now she's kind of like, 'Yep, you're doing it. Just, whatever.' It's a lifestyle now."

Just as well, because Grut doesn't really think he'll reach his own goal.

He reckons he'll exceed it.

"To be honest, once I get to 10,000 I'll probably just keep going because it'll become a lifestyle at that point, like brushing your teeth. I may as well do it till I die."



THE POLITICIANS (Dreams 212, 258, 264, 283)

National Party leader Bill English. Screengrab / Fraser Grut
National Party leader Bill English. Screengrab / Fraser Grut

He has asked voters to elect him Prime Minister twice - but Bill English's dream is to go into business with his kids and grandkids.

The father-of-six joined political rivals from the Labour, Green and Maori parties in sharing his dream, earnestly telling Grut he wanted to go into business, in New Zealand, with his children and future grandchildren.

"When I posted that heaps of people ripped into him and it kind of went a little viral, but [when] I asked [Labour leader] Jacinda [Ardern] and [Greens leader] James Shaw what their personal dreams were, they came up with their kind of slogan," Grut says.

"So to me his was quite cool, in that his was just on the spot and natural."

Ardern's representatives initially turned down Grut's request to quiz the leader, he says.

"They were like, 'We don't think you get enough hits to kind of do this' and I said, 'Oh, but we just filmed Bill English and his got 5000 views in one day.' They said, 'We can do better'."


They did - by a margin of 1000.

THE MUM AND DAUGHTER (Dreams 224 and 228)

Sydnee Clifford loves her dreams. Screengrab / Fraser Grut
Sydnee Clifford loves her dreams. Screengrab / Fraser Grut

Clad in her dress-ups and with a golden crown over her headscarf, little Sydnee Clifford makes for a very cute dreamer.

"I'm dreaming about all special stuff, I'm dreaming about princesses, I'm dreaming about mermaids, I'm dreaming about animals, I'm dreaming about bed, I'm dreaming about so much stuff I like", she tells Grut.

Sydnee, who Grut met through his work with the Make-a-Wish Foundation, "just loves" her dreams, she says.

"I wish I could do whatever I want, and that is what my dream is."

Sydnee Clifford and her mum, Amanda Clifford, both shared their dreams for the 10,000 Dreams project. Screengrab / Fraser Grut
Sydnee Clifford and her mum, Amanda Clifford, both shared their dreams for the 10,000 Dreams project. Screengrab / Fraser Grut

Mum Amanda Clifford also shared her dream - for her daughter's health.


"My wish is for you to get better so we can have really cool family time together."


Tennis champ Michael Venus dreamed about winning a Grand Slam, and then did it. Screengrab / Fraser Grut
Tennis champ Michael Venus dreamed about winning a Grand Slam, and then did it. Screengrab / Fraser Grut

Michael Venus might just be 10,000 Dreams' first success story.

In January, the Aucklander told Grut his dream was to win a grand slam.

Less than six months later, he and American doubles partner Ryan Harrison won the French Open.

Grut likes to think taking part in 10,000 Dreams played a part in the 29-year-old's triumph.

"You never know - maybe it reminded him of what his dream was? I don't know.


"Obviously, I don't want to claim that but it's pretty awesome. I'm pretty proud of that."