Tuesday, June 26, 2012


I am writing this through the remnants of jet lag, so please bear with me. I just got back into Sydney from Thailand and The Shanghai International Film Festival, hence the late arrival of this instalment.

It's funny how life makes a simple thing, like sending a newsletter, more complex. 

To someone outside of the world or the environment you are in, it may seem that the complexity is unnecessary.

Before I left for Shanghai, I was asked an interesting question at the premiere of a feature film ('Careless Love') that I worked on. We were drinking in the bar upstairs after the film screened and a friend of a colleague asked me about casting extras for a film.  

'Surely it can't be that complicated?', she asked. 'For instance, in the university scene, you simply show up at the uni and just ask students and they become your extras?'

I thought about that for a minute. There is comfort in that sort of simplicity. 

But I knew the answer. 

Cost. Doing things out of desperation, at the last minute, inevitably costs you more than if you plan them well in advance. 

Insurance. If someone gets injured on your set, you are legally liable. 

Reliability. You need to be sure they will be there on the day. Missing extras equals lost shots, equals problems. 

Permission. Filming somebody actually legally requires their permission. Otherwise they can bury your film or worse, hold it to ransom. 

Choice. Organise extras and you get what you want. Improvise the extras casting and you take what you get. 

Such a simple thing, with a seemingly simple answer, has so many layers. 

The truth is, most tasks are like that. 

The trick for you is to make these tasks, with their subtle layers of complexity, seem simple. 

That's the kind of person filmmakers want to work with. 

Do that, and you will have a long career. 

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