The Neon Chimp story begins way back in the year 2000, although Neon Chimp itself was still a few years away, it was in 2000 that the future Neon Chimp founder, Darren Gray, would produce his first movie.
At the time, Darren was a student at Box Hill Senior Secondary College. One of the subjects he studied there was Video Production. This was a subject Darren not only enjoyed but seemed to have a bit of a flair for. It wasn't too far into the year that Darren started working on what would become his first production. The result was a 'short' film called 'Back To The Beatles'. Along with Darren, the film starred Glenn Triggs, Ryan McDermid, Aaron Freeman and (Video Production teacher and all around nice guy) Toby Pierpoint. The movies plot involved 4 teenagers from the year 2000 going back in time to get footage of The Beatles, then bring t back and sell it to make money. It was a pretty terrible film, although it is possibly the only film ever shot from one persons perspective (the whole film is viewed through the eyes of Darren's character, Mark Harrison). While the film was a bit of a disaster, Darren did get an A on it (for effort more than anything else) and this encouraged him to do more.
Darren's next production was of a Tai Chi instructional video. The idea was to make a video that was both educational and entertaining. This was Darren's first multi camera shoot and was certainly an educational experience. It was also the first time he used a Videonics vision mixer/switcher (something that has become a regular part of his set up). This was a 2 camera set up with proper lighting and even a set. Towards the end of the shoot, it was decided there wasn't enough time to shoot a lot of the entertainment sections of the video. As a result in order to keep with the original plan, Darren added random bits of comedic footage from his personal collection to break up the instructional video. While this did create something that was both entertaining and educational, the Tai Chi people decided not to release the video as they felt Darren was making fun of them (which was not his intention). Either way, he once again got an A for his efforts.
After Graduating from Box Hill Senior Secondary College, Darren struggled to find work. After being unemployed for 6 months he was put on the Work For The Dole scheme. Luckily he was able to chose where he would be working and it just so happened that there was a Television work for the dole program running. This was Southern Television, a company best known for producing Channel 31's 'Pathways' (a program about spiritual and holistic subjects). Here Darren worked as a Vision Switcher (once again using a Videonics), editor and tape operator. He did this for a year before Centrelink decided he had been on work for the dole for long enough and needed to go back to full time job seeking.
This brings us to 2004. Neon Chimp really began in 2004. Back then however, it was pretty much just a name. After being unemployed yet again, Darren applied for the Broadcast Television course at Box Hill Tafe. Darren came up with Neon Chimp as an idea for his own production company. At first, Neon Chimp only made short animated skits involving Chimpy Chimpusgus (and a few others) as part of the TAFEs TV Programs, The Lee Elliott Show and On Show. The skits were popular amoungst Darren's TV Production classmates and it was at this point the ideas for the first series started coming together. However, as much as people were willing to say they'd help out with voices, it was another to get them to actually do it as everyone seems to have something called a life which can often disturb such plans. Darren continued to work on and revize the idea and in 2006 the Ape Hotel MySpace site was set up. Also in 2006, Darren worked at the Commonwealth Games as a runner for the Squash and Table Tennis compound. It was shortly after that job came to an end that the idea for The Concert For The Apes came about.
Having been unemployed since the end of the TV course, Darren was about to be put onto work for the dole (for the second time). This time he was told he had to do something involving charity work, so he approached the GReat Ape Survival Project. As it turns out however, GrASP don't have a Melbourne office and even if they did they had nothing for him. He still wanted to do something and Ape Hotel was a long way away from being ready to release, so he came up with the idea for The Concert For The Apes. Through work for the dole he ended up working for the Dandenong Muso Network where the idea developed further, but without interest from anyone else in the Muso Network it never got off the ground.
After the work for the dole contract ended, Darren was faced with the possibility of 6 hours of job search a day at the hands of Centrelink. Deciding this wasn't for him, he frantically started looking for a job. It was then he came across Pro Championship Wrestling Entertainment (then Professional Championship Wrestling). He noticed that they produced DVDs of their shows and enquired as to whether they needed someone to help with editing or whatever. As it turned out, they were looking to get rid of their previous DVD producer so he got the job. However, it didn't go well. After producing the 1st DVD 'Rosebud Riot', PCWe gave no feedback and became harder and harder to contact. It was then that he decided to look elsewhere and came across Downunder Wrestling Xtreme. They were at that point changing from DWX to Maximum-Energy Pro Wrestling and as the previous DVD producer only ever finished 1 DVD in over 6 months, it meant there was a job for Darren. Not long after getting work with MPW, PCWe called and asked if he was able to work at their next show (which totally shocked Darren, who at that point had thought that PCWe were unhappy with the previous DVD and weren't interested in him working for them again). From then on there wasn't much trobule from PCWe and everything seemed to be going well. The 1st 2 MPW shows were on nights that PCWe didn't have shows so it worked out well. It was then that PCWe owner Ken Rock found out Darren had been working for MPW and fired him (even though he never said he'd be exclusive or anything like that, Ken claimed he felt like he'd been lied to and all that). Now with MPW as his only client, Darren Gray and Neon Chimp Productions were in a difficult place. Then along came NEIS to save the day.
NEIS is a government funded organization that helps new businesses get off the ground and it was just what Neon Chimp needed. Now with a registered business name and proper website (this one), as well as the knowledge of how to run a business (which has come in very helpful), the future looks bright for Darren Gray and Neon Chimp.
Since then, Neon Chimp has also started working for Internation Wrestling Entertainment (Extreme) and High Speed Wrestling. Things were looking good, but then on the 20th of January 2010 Darren Gray was informed that Neon Chimp's services were no longer required by MPW. On the plus side this will give Neon Chimp time to work on some of the projects that had to be put on the back burner to accomedate MPW but on the negative side this was a major blow both personally and financially.
From 2011 to 2013, Neon Chimp produced "The Gorilla Position", a weekly TV show for C31 Melbourne and Geelong about the Melbourne wrestling scene. While the show was a success in the ratings, after 4 seasons, Darren decided that it was time to move on from Pro Wrestling. Leaving the wrestling scene was a big change, but the biggest change was still to come.
In 2015, Darren Gray came out as a transgender woman and starting living as Simiana Daryn Gray. It was shortly after this that she began a YouTube series called "Simiana Swings In" which documented her transition as well as her life in general.