For many people the month of May is the begining of the depressive downfall into Winter (if your in the southern hemisphere), but for me things have been ramping up more then ever.
First up I worked on a short three minuet skit entitled Pumped for Jungle Boys TV, which is kind of like a higher budget version of College Humour. The short was a spoof take on the famous When Harry Met Sally scene, where Sally shows her counterpart that women can fake orgasms, and does so in front of a whole restraunt. Well in this version the roles are flipped and an actor playing Harry does the same with a climatic ending where he “pump’s” her face with banana thick shake utilizing a bike pump.
The job was relatively slow for me as I was just a production assistant on it. My role mainly consisted of making sure no one got booked by continuously moving peoples cars into different parking zones and rubbing off chalk from tires. However it was a ball to watch as the background people around the actors at the cafe had no idea what was going on and the look on there faces was priceless.
Next up I worked on a Lacoste commercial doing some camera assisting, as the crewed followed around and filmed the Lacoste sponsored athletes training in there natural environment. Firstly we were in some big open drains in Alexandria as we shot a famous boxer running through Rocky style.
Following this we shot Nutri-Grains Iron Women as she did some swimming and boarding through the waves of Bondi in terrible weather. This was great fun as we all had to actually get in the water to shoot it and at several points the DoP almost got sent a drift as he could only swim with one arm, having the camera in the other. The day resulted in some life gaurds coming to help us out.
After this I went on to work as a Production Assistant on a Bosnian feature film called The Bridge on the River Drina. The drama was based on actual events, where a Australian tourist traveled to a hotel in Bosnia which was highly recommended by her tour book, only to discover that within the past century, over 200 women had been raped and murdered in the beds she slept in.
The film was an interesting one to work on as half the crew was Bosnian (Director, DoP, 2nd AC and Producers) the other Australian which led to some work flow contradictions. The film was extremely low budget which resulted some of the work being carried out in DIY sort of style. For example one of the shots was following the main character as she drove in her car over the Harbour Bridge. Now usually a special car would be used to fit a camera onto and usually there would be a Precision Driver used to drive the characters car that looked similar. However due to budget restrictions, the camera was literally harnessed on to the top of a jeep and the main actress had to drive the hero car herself, and the problem there was that she had never driven a manual and of course the car was not auto (for budgeting reasons).
In the end nothing went drastically wrong with the shoot, but they had a heck of a lot of luck on there side given the amount of variables the could have easily bombed everything.
After this I did a brief Production Assistant job on a Cannon commercial to play before the new Ice Age film in cinema’s. The ad was shot against a green screen and basically has Sid and other Ice Age character interacting with the actress in the background.The shoot like any commercial shoot had the client (Cannon) there the whole time watching our every move, which is what always sets commercials so aside from shooting Drama.
Moving on, following this I got a call out of the blue from the production office for the new Wolverine film. Basically a while back I had sent in my CV to try and get a role as a Production Assistant with no success, but what had happend was the current PA had slipped a disk in his back and they needed a temporary fill in. Luckily a week or so before I had noticed that the accountant on the film was one I had worked with before so through a combination of the accountants good word and a past production manager I had worked with I got invited on board as a temporary replacement. Initially I should have only been on for four days, but as time progressed so did the PA’s injury’s. He ended up breaking his toe as well meaning he couldnt drive and also meaning I had to continue filling in, which ended up being for a whole two weeks.
The work that I was doing was simple runner based work such as collecting lunch’s and coffees and driving people around. The idea was that depending on how well I did there was a chance for me to get full time work on the shoot once they move out of pre-production as a runner or something. However the place where I really got pinned was with my license, they were under the impression that I had my full license, and I was given a really awsome production car to drive around in (as I would be driving rich and famous producers around). The thing was though, as I am only on my Provisional license (P2) I couldnt be insured for the vehical. Shit kind of hit that fan when this became apparent, as big production companies like Fox are never going to take a risk, no matter how small.
The first conclusion jumped to was I just use my own car and then insurance wouldnt be an issue. However even something like that Fox wont take a risk on, they demand that if a PA’s own car is used that I be fully insured for it. Luckily though I had just renewed my regestration with the NRMA and they offered me a free 21 day trial of full insurance cover not two days before hand (meaning I would be covered for the extent of my job on Wolverine). With this finally being okay with the Production Coordinator, the next step was to take a look at my car to see what sort of ride I would be driving around the executives of Fox in, and to no suprise my Nissan Pulsar 1991 shit box didn’t quiet make the cake.
As the Production Coordinater and accountant started talking about getting another replacement PA, I quickly butted in t0 try and retain the experience and offered to use my parents car that I (thought I) was fully insured for. This car being a more modern Toyota Prado from 2004. So this was actually okay, however on my end it required me to drive all the way up to my parents over 2 hrs away, swap my car for theres, but to only find out that my Dad had just renewed his registration on the car to, and hadnt actually put my name on the insurance, thus meaning I wouldnt be covered. So I had to go on to pay an extra $500 to get covered for the extent of time I was working for that car. I guess I just saw it as an investment, which it definitely was.
So after all this, although having my parents car saficed for the two weeks I filled in as PA, not having my full license and not being able to be insured basically meant that there was no way I could get a full time job on it later down the track. Purely because it means I couldn’t at any stage jump into any production car and drive it without risk. I dont get my full license until May next year so this was a real burner for me. It just made me especially regret not getting my full license in a matter of weeks when I lived in England as non of this would have been a issue in that case. Sometimes I feel like I should just go on holiday there again just to get my full license.
In the end they didnt want to lose me from Wolverine all together so offered me a role as an accounting office jr, sealing envelopes and posting letters around the production office which I was still well up for given I would have been able to stick around all the important people still.
However just before I thought it was the best lead I had, I got an email from the recruitment manager at Animal Logicand I am now starting work there on a contract for several months full time as a Visual Effects Artist doing Rotoscoping on the Great Gatsby. Cant wait for this to begin, it is such a big break in my life and cant wait to see where it leads.