Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Bang Bang

The dual project weekend has come and gone, like an absolute cyclone, and while I can't talk much about the Redeemed stuff (until the trailer is launched) the final scene for my short film went off! Like a blank in a gun! Wait...that was lame. But the guns were cool, see!

Satoru and Quentin were fantastic in their portrayal of brothers and the emotions running wild during a massive firefight! Robin, Dean and James were brilliant as viscious professional thugs protecting their boss. Of the 8 thugs that said they would turn up on the day, these 5 did and put their heart into it, which is what I was after! Thanks guys!

In the lead up to the shoot, I had been desperately seeking a major prop piece for one scene of the Redeemed day. A bath. A free standing, portable bath to make it more difficult. So I put out a call on Twitter, and got one response back by @kyza who pointed me to Josh Levi galleries. I emailed him about it. To cut a long story short, he pointed me to the guy who had one, who let me borrow it for a case of german beer. Beer economy still works for film makers! Problem was, now that I found it, how was I going to get it to the studio, since I don't have a ute.

A callout on facebook resulted in the cousin of one of my best mates offering to pick it up and drop it off. Score! Done and delivered to the studio location of Sunday, while I was filming a gun battle and getting badly sunburnt!

Sunday went brilliantly, Jeff flew up from Sydney, a genuine professional that brought his own edge to the character, and went the distance with the scene requirements, putting his own physical comfort on the line for the shot!

The girls went into hair and make up, and the costumes looked amazing on them, the 6 weeks of making them paid off with the incredible look that my costume designer @V_CreatiV made! I can't wait to show everyone! But you'll all have to wait till the trailer launch and then I'll do a big post on costume design with all the photos I've taken documenting the mammoth task. But Sunday Dec 19 was worth it!

We got what we needed, the Monastery Nightclub were amazing in looking after us as a location, and it really added to the atmosphere and dark theme of the gangster, so big thanks to them!

I can't thank the girls, Imogen, Andre'a, Veronica and Skylar enough for being a part of this, consumate professionals! The amazing special effects and stylised make up of Charmaine Orchard of Shoot the Town Red, with her offsider and hair stylist extraordinaire Renee Steele were an essential part of making my ideas a reality, thank you so much!

Thank you to Dr Mark Ryan for your timely input and efforts, thanks to my offsider Keith Camilleri and thanks to my darling wife for all her support through all of this madness! Thanks to my mum for helping everyone, running actors around and picking up after us as we dashed about madly!

Normally I would save the thanks for crew till the end of the polished product, but a lot of people busted their ass to get this phase of the concept to happen and I am very grateful for all these people believing in me!

I can't wait for phase two! But for now, I'm taking a break from the projects in the lead up to christmas, and I'll switch back on afterwards. I'll report more then! The short film is in the can, and the Redeemed concept trailer has advanced...two projects one weekend, mission accomplished!

Monday, December 6, 2010


That most insipid of emotions, coiling deep within, affecting our thoughts, actions, choices, writing and speech. I have one scene left to film of my short film. 9 thugs with pistols, blasting away at nothing, considering the lead actor is now in America, and I only have one chance of getting this in the least for this year. And the rains are here...and exterior shoot, with real weapons and guys in suits who won't want to get them muddy (because I can't pay for dry cleaning)

The funds are perilously low, Christmas coming and all, so the weekend of the 18/19 must work. I've taken a risk by combining two project shoots into one weekend, both must work to make the equipment hire and props worth the hire.

Dec 19th's Redeemed phase two hangs by a thread, literally. The costumes which I have designed have been cut, sewn and constructed. Nearly 3 weeks of work has gone into the girls costumes, because of what is required. Once the trailer launches I can detail how we made them, but, so as not to reduce the impact of the trailer, all I can tell you is that my costume designer is ready to kill me. In fact, the costumes are something she has never attempted before, and others who are very experienced have said they would never have tried due to the complexity!

Will it work? Will they be ready in time? Will a major prop set piece be found in time? Will rain destroy my chances of getting these short film resources lined up again? 2 projects, one weekend.

Fear. It coils and tightens. The effort and time and my own money going into the Redeemed project, and combined resources of my cowriter Chris Allen and myself for our short film, so many things riding on it. And then there's the thought...the Redeemed script, is it good enough? All this effort and is the very idea good enough, is it worth it? I'm trying to show it is. But can I create this SAS story? The men themselves are larger than life, a special breed, can I even attempt to convey a fictional story about one of their own? It is a movie but it has to be grounded in reality, and the reality is, SAS troopers are some of the best and toughest in the world...can my character even compete? Can the script? (There's a doco on SBS tonight about the SAS selection will be a good gauge)

I guess I will have to tamp down on the fear and try anyway...Ex Pertinacia Victoria

Monday, November 22, 2010

Two projects - one weekend

December 18 is the day to finish my short film action sequence, I have Astrid Vallatti of AV Ballistics as my armourer and we will be equipping my actors with a variety of pistols. It should be a great shoot, with lots of 'bad guys' going down in a blaze of glory.

December 19 is the shoot at an iconic Brisbane nightclub with my gangster and his molls! I'm deep in costume construction with my wife, who is trying to bring my concept to reality with her skills, and I'm running around organising props for the shooting that Sunday.

It will be a crazy weekend, but well worth it, pushing my projects ahead in leaps and bounds. I've been busy creating the opening sequence of my concept trailer in After Effects, cutting the vision and compositing it to Eskimo Joe's amazing track 'Foreign Land' in preparation of adding the new footage and scenes to it to create the Redeemed Concept Trailer.
It's slowly building momentum...Ex Pertinacia Victoria

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Villainous Gangster Revealed

I would like to introduce my actor who is playing the Villain of the Concept Trailer, Jeff Gannon.

I first met Jeff on the set of "Mindfire" a feature I crewed on, in fact, Jeff took the shirt right off my back, literally. Turns out Wardrobe liked my pastel blue shirt, and thought it would suit him for the scene, so BAM! My shirt is famous, and I'm a struggling director ha!

But thanks to the shirt incident, he remembered who I was when I contacted him after the shoot wrapped. Though the shirt has gone missing, I was supposed to get it back from wardrobe and that never happened...

Jeff is a very talented American actor adding an international flavour to my project, it's great to have him on board! Check out his site here

He's been in quite a few national ad campaigns and films!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Introducing Imogen and Veronica

After a long audition process my casting team and I finally agree on the last two female roles and I'd like to introduce them.

First up is Imogen who is playing the leading lady, the hero's ex fiance, and had to have a mixture of soft femininity and steel, someone who has seen the horrors of the criminal underworld.

And then there is Veronica, who is Gangsters Moll2 the Ice Queen of the group, a stunning model with a powerful attitude in her performance and gaze.

I look forward to working with them all in creating the concept trailer to showcase the world and idea I have created.
Moving forward inch by inch! Up next...the Gangster himself!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

2 roles cast: Introducing Andre'a and Skylar

I'd like to introduce Andre'a Thomas, playing Gangster's Moll 3, her audition showed us her talent, she was cool calm and confident in the audition and we're very happy to have her on board!

and I'd also like to introduce Skylar, who is playing our Gangster's Moll 4, she was fantastic in the audition, followed the brief perfectly in her outfit and attitude, and my casting team and I all agreed we had to have her involved in the project.

At the moment, we are waiting on a few more of the audition videos for Gangster's Moll 1 and 2 to come in, we have the ones that auditioned on Saturday shortlisted, and once the final videos come in we'll be able to set up a screen test with our hero actor and see if any of them gel.

Moving the string forward, inch by inch...

Thursday, October 21, 2010

John Fox - Armourer of Killer Elite

The other day I spoke to John Fox, a very experienced armourer of over 250 films and TV, including The Pacific and The Killer Elite, the SAS film with Jason Statham and Robert De Niro that was partly filmed here in OZ.

Considering I'm building my own SAS project, it was fantastic to talk to him, but the funny thing was, it wasn't in regards to Redeemed, it was about my short film 'For Amy' the one that is still currently waiting to be cut and film one last scene.

It was this scene that I wanted John's expert advice. He looked over the footage of the A side of the fire fight with his critical eye, and it is here that I am perfectly honest -

He said it wasn't the greatest.

In fact, he suggested it wouldn't be in my best interests as a burgeoning film maker to put my name to it. Now that's the kind of honesty I want from the industry, no vague niceties, his appraisal has given me a lot to think about.

Whereas my professional credits are in documentary, news and TVC's, this film would be my attempt to show my film making skills.

John raised a good point, even though this film was made for next to nothing, with a handful of crew, people don't care about that, they care about whether it's a good film or not. Now in this particular case, these videos, the sneak peaks at 'No love for Harry' were made for Frankie's other project, a project which eventually was shot by someone else.

The action sequences here were shot by me, and are not the greatest and I'm the first to admit that, it was the best we could do with what we had.

However, the film we have created around this one scene, I think, is a testament to the possibility, with a fresh edit, After Effects Compositing, plus vibrant B sides to the fire fight yet to be shot, something can be made from it. It is what it is.

What I should be absolutely clear about is, John hasn't seen anything else of 'For Amy' just the 'NLFH' clip above, from which we will be generating our own action sequence from, so his comments are based on that footage alone, and I agree with him. I really appreciate the time he gave me to discuss action sequences and his honest appraisal of that clip.

However, lot of people have invested their time and money into this project and the other scenes and I will do my best to make it into something worthwhile. It's part of the learning curve, and it is with great honesty that I say, I'll finish this film, I will release it, and I will show what it is that I can do, and if it is not up to scratch, then that means I have more to learn, and any person who says there is nothing left to learn is an idiot. It will be my line in the sand, a milestone to gauge my efforts.

Ex Pertinacia Victoria - From Determination, Victory.

I'm determined to make this film work. Obtuse, tunnel vision? Perhaps, but if I don't try to complete this film, then I'll never know if it worked. Once it's cut, composited, graded and soundscaped, then I will be able to see if it is worth putting my name to. All film makers have to start somewhere...

I'd be keen to hear what you all thought of the clip. email

Monday, October 18, 2010

6 hours of Auditions

So Saturday 16th October rocks around and I get in the car to make the hour long drive to the audition space I've hired. I punch in the address to my GPS iphone app and off we go. 45 minutes later I realise the GPS is taking me the wrong way and I do an about face, re-enter the details and high tail it to the auditions.

I get there with 10 min to spare thanks to traffic and set up the area and camera with my Associate Producer Dr. Mark D. Ryan. And so it begins.

The auditioners turn up and we put them through their paces, and then there's gaping holes of silence when some fail to turn up. Now in normal circumstances in the big film world, it's the actors loss that they didn't turn up to audition.

In the indie world, that's one possible perfect asset that didn't get screened. I prefer to leave no stone unturned and no option unexplored. So I check my emails on my iphone and discover a couple of apologetic emails sent late the night before or that very morning. Viable reasons for failing to show up, paid work, films, stage plays, day job shift changes etc etc other jobs basically. I can understand that.

Several slots were allocated to actors who expressed interest and then didn't respond to recieving the audition materials, and didn't answer their phones. Wishful thinking to believe they'd show up or just accepting people are busy and giving them the benefit of the doubt.

Of those that said they'd be there and then didn't show, I called to see if they were ok. One of them had actually been in hospital in the lead up and had just gotten home when I called. Either that or they were spinning me a line, if so it was a shame they didn't attend because it was a believable performance, so I left it at that.

Out of the 27 people originally set to audition, 17 showed up for the four roles, and I filmed all of them. There are some truly stunning women in Brisbane, and it will come down to their performance ability to progress to the next stage.

On thursday I'm sitting down with my casting couch, watching all of the applications, and selecting 5 for a screen test with our hero actor.
Even if they are fantastic actors, if acting with our hero isn't credible or no onscreen chemistry there's no point continuing and it will look amatuer.

So Casting Couch here we come! One step closer!

As for my short film and soldier shots for this trailer, we're still waiting on the schedules of the professional armourer and military advisor to finish up with a feature and Spielberg's TV show Terra Nova...I've got some big competition for resources as discussed previously! Looking like December at this rate

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Auditions Tomorrow.

So in the last 24 hours I've had five actresses drop out due to work/filming commitments which is a shame as you can't tell what they may have brought to the film, and now we'll never know. Scheduling conflicts are part and parcel of the film making game, now it's time to concentrate on those actors that can attend and see if we can find the perfect person for the role.

Starting from 11.30 am and finishing at 5.30pm I'll be putting 22 women on the spot, to see what they can convey to me. I'm looking for that emotional punch that will carry in the concept trailer, for the trailer is a short piece, it has to be powerful in look and attitude, and so must the characters.

Looking for gold, and hopefully soon I'll be able to report what we found!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Film Making: Serious stuff...but not always

I can get pretty engrossed in getting my projects together, trying to make all the elements to work, and pull together all the threads that I sometimes forget that film making doesn't have to be serious stuff all the time.

Redeemed is a pretty serious concept, you can't make light of the SAS, but I'd love to make a project like this just for fun oneday. Freddie W and his crew are pretty amazing with what they do, and as a Time Crisis fan, this made me laugh.

It stars Andy Whitfield, who most know from Spartacus, however, he's actually an Aussie actor that was the lead in Gabriel, an indie feature film by Shane Abbess filmed in Australia on a shoestring, picked up by Sony entertainment and released worldwide. Shane is now in L.A. and Andy is doing well after his fight with cancer, he's doing a second season in Spartacus!

This other one they've made is just plain fun, plus the first person shooter game reference was a crackup.

They're actually going on a roadtrip, so if there are any American readers out there, check this vid of theirs. Help 'em out if you can.

These kind of films are hard to make in OZ, where the airsoft BB guns they use are actually illegal in this country. If you do use replicas, you still need a licensed armourer. So if I do make a fun little clip, it will be without the guns!
Currently I'm digitising my defence footage and I'll be After Effects compositing tonight. Busy busy busy, while I wait for Specialists! Fun will have to wait.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Competing with Hollywood - Literally

Obviously in this industry there is a pool of talented, qualified professionals, who are known for their expertise and skill. They are in high demand. Their skills are rare and cannot be done by anyone off the street. They are specialists.

Specialists I need to complete my projects. Specialists who are being employed by Hollywood to work on feature films, and being paid well for their time.

I cannot compete with that, and I am not so naieve think that I ever could, unless I was helming my own $75M project or somesuch.

So I am waiting for these specialists schedules to free up, and I have to be patient if I want their amazing abilities, and bide my time. Frustrating yes, but that's the way it goes.

So rather than do nothing while I wait, I've designed the costumes for my four female characters in Redeemed, and my wife and I are putting the patterns together in calico to see if it works.

I'm also building the After Effects project that the trailer vision will go into. Creating a visualling engaging base, background, colour pallette and titles, that all my vision can slot into. Step by step I will build this thing, in the hope that "build it and they will come" still has some magic left in it.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Casting and Posting Comments

Well I've narrowed down the 60 applications to 27 for auditions, which are taking place on October 16 in Brisbane. For six hours straight I will be auditioning these beautiful women in the hopes of finding the four characters.

I've also got the support of a iconic nightclub in Brisbane for my location!

It's an exciting time, getting closer to filming the next step in the concept trailer. My other short film is on hold while we await the schedule of a licensed armourer who is currently on a feature film set for a Hollywood project. Once he's free, it's game on and I can finish 'For Amy' (working title)

The concept trailer is in full swing to be made and we're progressing, step by step as funds become available. (ie, I earn it and then spend it on this project)

It seems a lot of people want to be commenting on my blog, but for some reason, only some get through, so if you want to leave a comment, email and I'll post it on your behalf. Don't know why it works for some people and not others. Thank goodness it worked for Catherine Haridy when she said to contact her about Eskimo Joe!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Casting applications explode


I have posted the casting call on every professional casting site that would have me, and these are the best of them.

I wasn't expecting the flood of response, and suddenly I have had nearly 60 actresses apply! I had honestly only expected half that number for a concept idea, so I am very pleased.

At the moment I'm sifting through the applications to narrow it down to a group of people to interview face to face. I've even had applications from Melbourne, Sydney and Perth, all willing to pay to fly themselves to the shoot if they are successful in their application! So skype will come in handy too.

It is important to have an interview or audition to get a read on a person, as the headshots can only convey how they look, and not how they act. I'm currently organising a performance space to conduct this critical part of the process. I need to know if I can work with these actors, and if they can convey the emotions I'm looking for...I'll soon find out.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

CASTING CALL: For Redeemed Concept Trailer

I am looking for 4 female models/actors in South East Queensland/Gold Coast to film for a concept trailer of a feature film idea. It is high/alternative fashion, with stylised make up. Looking for two blondes and two brunettes aged between 25 - 35. Specifically looking for one Asian brunette.
Only one speaking role for a blonde character. More shoots for this character may be scheduled at a later date.
Please supply head shots and CV, please supply a showreel via online link or DVD.
The single scene shoot will take place on one Sunday during the day, on a date to be advised in a Brisbane location TBA.
The budget is limited, but I am allowing for $100 per actor in total. They will have to arrange their own transport to and from the location. The High Definition footage of the models can be given to the models as part of their own self promotional purposes/showreel for a reduced rate.

The concept trailer has a license to use Eskimo Joe's song 'Foreign Land' as a backing track, and will make the release high profile. I have been a professional camera operator and editor in the TV industry for over eight years.
Send expressions of interest, CV's and headshots to

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Time passes slowly somedays

It may be an overwhelming need to constantly be doing something that makes the time pass slowly for me. I want to be at step 1000, and I'm still taking the opening strides of proving myself. Perhaps, when I'm at the 1000th step of my journey I can look back and say, "What a ride" but knowing me, I'll be saying "Why can't I be at the 2000th step". Very Luke Skywalker of me I know, and not even knowing Yoda's words (All his life has he looked away... to the future, to the horizon. Never his mind on where he was. Hmm? What he was doing.) or even a multitude of proverbs and sayings like 'rome wasn't built in a day' etc etc can give comfort to those looking to the horizon.

An impatience to get on with it, to make a splash, create magic, get out there and make stuff. But making stuff is not easy, there are so many things in the way, namely mundane life. There are times I walk up the hallway at work and I can feel myself pushing against the miasma of time trickling by, a tangible effort to place one foot in front of the other knowing that the day is passing. It's heightened by the fact of not seeing sunlight when on an edit shift.

I would happily give up the sun and sit in an edit cave, carving and cutting a block of vision into an experience...if it were my own. But the needs of the majority of creatives, working to stay alive, pay bills etc, can pull at the creative fabric of your life, and so I forego the sun for someone elses concept.

A head full of dreams, a fight to see them realised. Just.Keep.Going. Got to remember that.

Friday, August 27, 2010