It has been a while since I last posted an update on what I have been up to with film work and the reason is because there has been a lot!
So in my last post I was talking about how I had caught the eye of a Art Director on an Uncle Toby’s commercial and how he grabbed my number. Well no longer than a week later I got a call from him needing someone to Art Department Assist for a Lifestyle Channel commercial he was Art Directing next. So of course without hesitation I jumped straight at it. The commercial had the jokey premise of big buff models doing random around the house chores, from doing the ironing, to cleaning the pool, to raking up some leaves and all the way to putting out fires until suddenly there cloths explode off them and there ripped, oily bodies are shown.
The job was initially accepted as being a voluntary job with the potential for more work with him down the track if I pulled it off. However due to legal reasons he had to pay me at least minimum wage ($150) so I was covered by the on set insurance. The first thing that I was assigned to do was a bit of pre-production work for the scene where the model is raking up leaves. My job was to construct and moveable mound of leaves that looked like a perfectly swept pile. The process for building it was harder than you would think though. I had to get several thick sheets of styrofoam and glue them all together one on top of the other. Then once it had dried, slowly hack away at it with a saw to calve the shape of a mound which I would then sprinkle leaves on. This really took some time and as I was almost finished with it, we gave up on the idea and just used chicken wire instead with leaves on it and a witches hat in the middle to prop it up.
On the day of the shoot I was involved with everything from setting up each location around the mansion we were shooting in (which just happened to be the house of the people from Hawksbury Valley Holden “Where buying a car should be fun!”) to tugging on fishing wire to rip off the models clothing. The clothing on each model was cut away very systematically then held together lightly with tape and magnets. As action was called, my job a long with several others from art department had to tug on one of the 8 strings of fishing wire to create the effect of the cloths flying off. It may sound simple but this often took about five attempts on each model before everything exploded correctly and each reset of the cloths on the model took about 15 minuets, so if I screwed up a lot of people would get angry.
After finishing with the Lifestyle Channel shoot I then moved on a few days later to a Lighting Assistant role for a Tropfest NY short film by director Abe Forsythe called “One Night Stand”. Abe has directed the feature film Ned (2003) and the Tropfest winner in 2009 “Being Carl Williams”. Because of this I was happily offering my services voluntarily to the production.
Without giving too much away the short film consisted of clubbing, being out on Oxford st in Sydney having actors yell out “Theres so much pussy in this city!” without permits and a gay rape scene of twins. Sounds like a really fucked up film to work on but it turned out to be really interesting production.
Doing some lighting work was something I hadn’t done before, so it was really great to get some hands on experience helping the Gaffer (head of lighting) set up all the different lights with different gels and dimmer and blocking out sun light around the house to simulate night-time.
Following my gay bump rape film experience I then moved onto another art department assistant role with the same Art Director from earlier for a super annuation commercial. Once again I was doing some really weird shit! Firstly I had a day of pre where me and another assistant had to drive all around Sydney to pick up different props. The location the ad was being shot needed to be completely furnished from scratch so we were picking up things like plasma TVs, super heavy lounges and tables, extremely rare and expensive vases and decor. The funny way that the art department works is the Art Director will intentionally go way over budget with buying all these props from places like IKEA and Bunnings with the intention to return them all to fit back with in the budget. So the added pressure was making sure that nothing got damaged at all.
On the day of shoot I didn’t know what to expect, being a super annuation commercial I was expecting some really boring thing where a actor would just talk about it to the camera, however the ad’s premise was based around being disappointed with super companies not living up to expectation. So the story involved some parents desperately trying to impress their daughter by buying her a horse for her birthday. The thing was that we literally had to get a live horse into a house and actually wrap it in gift wrap to look like a birthday present. Now you would think that this might be dangerous with the horse freaking out, but surprisingly the horse was extremely calm and in fact use to it as it had apparently been wrapped in gift wrap several times before.
So following that commercial I then moved onto a camera assisting job for a music video being made to launch a rock artists new album. This gig was so much fun as I was using some really professional equipment and we were shooting on the RED Scarlet camera, which if you know much about film is one of the high-end professional digital camera’s used on a few films these days. On top of this we were shooting on dolly’s and remote-controlled cranes which I had the opportunity to learn how to build.
The shoot went for a couple of days and being 2nd AC, I was writing up the camera sheets, utilizing the clapper and loading the camera with new batteries, cards and helping with changing lens’. All in all I learnt a lot from this shoot and it just further solidified my desired career path in the camera department.
Lastly but not least, I have now moved onto a documentary shoot as a Runner for a government organization SDN Ngara Nanga Mai that deals with education of indigenous Australians that other wise may not get the same opportunities. I have never worked on a documentary before and it is so different to a normal film shoot. The crew is made up of me and another 4 people being the Director, Producer, DOP and sound guy which is great as it gives me the opportunity to network on an intimate scale.
For this shoot I am getting paid $350 a day which is more than I have ever earned on a shoot! So far I have been doing a lot of driving around picking up crew meals, gear and props and in between running jobs have filled in doing some camera assisting work where I can lend a hand.
With all this being said you can really see how things are starting to pick up for me and how frequent things are getting, it’s almost getting difficult to meet the minimum of 20 hours a week at my telemarketing job. I have been working often everyday including Sunday’s without days off, but the funny thing is I don’t feel over worked at all as when its film work its something I would prefer to do over a day off at home or a night out clubbing anytime…