Case Study – Home Brew
In 2016 I moved back to Australia after spending 10 years working in Singapore. After spending so long abroad I was undeniably home sick and keen to soak up everything I’d missed. So this is like my love letter to Australia and contains a lot of the things I love about it: mateship, mullets and beer! This is a film about Baz, a quirky inventor who invents a beer that makes one smarter, better looking and gives you incredible hand eye coordination, finally!
We managed to find 2 awesome actors, Byron Brochman and Rowan Howard. Byron is a 6’6ft handsome giant who we’d worked previously on a Tourism Commercial for Gangwon Do Tourism in Korea.
Rowan I came across on a really great website for actors called Starnow. We put an audition script on their and out of everyone we got he was leaps and bounds ahead of anyone else. He really is a great actor. He’d just moved back from Melbourne where he was working on TV shows, so we were really lucky to get him.
A week before the shoot we had a script, crew, actors, but we didn’t have a location. We spent weeks looking at dozens of really cool locations on AirBnB but none of them were really what we were after. And a great location is one of the most crucial elements of any narrative story.
When you do a corporate video or event you kind of do the best with what you have but when it comes to narrative the location is crucial. We’ll spend weeks (or if time permits months) scouting for the right location and I think sometimes, location scouting is a really important time in the process because quite often you are still discovering the character and the story. You’re deciding where your character lives or spends most of their time so it’s a really important element to get right.
Also if you’re on a tight budget then shooting your entire film at one location is a great way to cut down on costs. Time is money and you don’t want to be travelling and setting up at different locations. However if you are going to shoot in just one location, you need to make sure it can give you lots of different areas to shoot in, this will help provide variety to the overall aesthetic of your film.
We finally found a location in the back of Logan, my mate’s mum and dad’s place. It had everything we were looking for, it was a large property with lots of different areas to shoot in that were all quite visually different. But what really sold us was the owner Joe would distil his own alcohol in the shed. He had a whole treasure trove of jars, tubes, measuring containers and bottles, it was perfect!
Wardrobe & Makeup
“Give a man a mask and he’ll tell you the truth.” Oscar Wilde
These 2 underappreciated elements are hugely important in your character development. They really can say so much about who a person is or where they are in their life. For starters the biggest feature for our characters are their mullets. They’re not real! They were supplied by our amazing makeup artist Vicky Sands.
In addition, it really helped our actors get into the role. As soon as we put the mullets on they’re whole demeanor changed along with their language and speaking patterns. Add to that their singlets, thongs and other bits and bobs they really ‘became’ the characters.
(Spoiler Alert) Wardrobe and Hair and Makeup were also vitally important in our characters transformation from stupid to smart. From scruffy hair and shabby clothes to groomed hair and slick threads. They were crucial in giving the viewers a visual cue of the change that had happened.
We shot over 2 sweltering hot days just before Christmas. Although the heat was uncomfortable and caused our camera to overheat at times, it actually added to the look of the film. The sweat on the skin and the humidity in the air gave another element to the visual aesthetic, helping to immerse the viewer in the experience.
We shot on our amazing DP (Director of Photography) David Rusanow’s, Red Weapon with cine lenses. The Red is one of the standard cameras used on high end productions around the world including many Hollywood films. Essentially the reason it’s so good is the dynamic range, colour rendition and overall image quality. I won’t go into detail but essentially it has wonderful rich colours, accurate skin tones and can record a large amount of detail from the darkest part of the image to the brightest.
We incorporated a variety of low-fi special effects and some relatively simple CG or Computer Graphics throughout the film to enhance some of the scenes. Using dry ice in the (tea infused) beer gave it an undeniably science experiment look. My aim was also to lift it visually so it looked almost other-worldly.
We also used computer graphics during the table tennis, juggling and darts scenes to help make their abilities appear super-human. It’s not that complicated really, we simply got our actors to mimick playing an extremely fast game of table tennis and juggling then added in the balls later in post production. Elements such as this along with the music and sound effects helped in making it resemble a fairy tale, a bogan fairy tale.
The response to the film has been amazing, we were shortlisted at the world’s biggest short film competition Tropfest and were selected by the Gold Coast Film Festival to screen at the Burleigh Brewing Cinema Night showcase.