6th May 2019
It’s 7am and a group of us arrived at our meeting point in Carlton, ready to pack the remainder of our bags and equipment into our 8-seater. This was our first struggle; trying to fit everyone’s luggage, as well as seven crewmembers into a packed vehicle. (The joys of indie filmmaking!) Fortunately, we had met up with Executive Producer, Cindy the day before and were able to offload some equipment, costume boxes and props into her car. But it was now verging on 7:30am and we had a whole journey ahead of us – 3.5 hours of driving, followed by six full days of production on a location without running water or electricity. Surely packing a car would be the least of our struggles?
But with laps full of bags and equipment stacked almost too high to see out the rear window, we finally locked ourselves in and started our incredible experience.
Producer and assistant director, Tristan was behind the wheel, with makeup artist, Tessa keeping him company. Behind them was Jesse Butler (Elijah), behind the scenes videographer, Will and Nicholson, our DOP. At the very back, cushioned by bulky hard cases, was Bas (2nd AC) and myself. Luckily for Bas, he managed to find a way to catch a few Z’s despite the array of equipment poking us, but I was too excited to even attempt to sleep! I tried to make the most of this time to continually analyse the script as much as I could. In the weeks prior, my focus was on producing and making sure that the trip and production would be as seamless as possible.
Just a week before our production assistant fell ill and was no longer able to make the trip. She was helping me with the equipment hire, catering and especially wardrobe. So in the lead up, where I wanted to focus my attention to the script and making my director’s notes, I was frantically flailing around to make sure everything was under control. (Again, the joys of indie filmmaking! However, it’s always a learning experience.) But with a wonderful team and an even greater God overlooking us, everything finally fell into place and I was able to sit and immerse myself in the script for the majority of our drive up.
We planned to meet up with our other crewmembers along the way and convoy the rest of the journey to Corowa. But for some reason, we ended up missing our exit! With flaky phone reception and only a few hundred metres before the next rest stop, we managed to call the others to meet up there instead. It was time to stretch our legs and more importantly, get the crew some well-deserved coffee.
About 10mins later, we were back on the road to Corowa!
It was just after midday as we drove down the country road that led to our home for the week. I recognised the familiar bend in the road followed by a few sparse trees, the empty dam and finally, our farmhouse was looming up ahead. We arrived safely on set, where the rest of our crewmembers, Ian and Bruce were waiting. “This is it guys! Welcome to your new home!”
Grant, the property owner came over to greet us and wish us all the best with the production. Tristan and I gave our crew the official tour of the house before we worked quickly to unpack most of our props, costumes and equipment. As we were down a wardrobe assistant, Tessa stepped up and helped me organise the outfits for the week. We hung them around the spare room and set up her make up base there.
We left the rest of the crew to set up home base in another spare room as Tristan and I dashed off to find lunch for everyone. One thing we hadn’t bargained on, was that most restaurants were closed on Mondays. After a few drive-by’s up and down the main street, we found a little Chinese restaurant that was quite affordable. As we awaited our order, we swung around to the Corowa Golf Club to check in and pick up our keys. (We knew some crewmembers really wanted to rest!)
Back on set, Tessa had finished hanging all the costumes, candles were burning, mattresses and big items had been moved out of rooms to make way for our set dec and props and fortunately our port-a-loos and generator had been delivered! We sat out the back of the house and ate lunch together. It wasn’t the best Chinese, but it was something!
After lunch we did a quick scout of the surrounding locations. Michaela was now only able to make it to set on Tuesday, so while we had Jesse with us, we wanted to film whatever we could, to make the most of the day. We found a dirt road not too far away where we got out and scene 1, take 1 finally began!
Once we got the footage that we needed there, we returned back to the house were we needed to get the next costumes and props ready to take with us to Benalla the following morning.
We packed down, took expensive equipment with us (as the house didn’t have a lock) and headed back to the hotel for the night. Tristan, Tessa and myself (the triple T’s) rationed out our food and delivered McDonalds to each room.
We had an early start to the day and it was only the start of a very long week, so we had always planned to have an early night. Energy is important on set so we wanted to make sure everyone was well rested for the remainder of the week!