Beaches, Brown Snakes and the Australian Bush

I have spent this week on a film set working on a survival thriller in the Australian bush. My official title is Production Runner however I am more the Bitza my self appointed title as I do a bit of everything for various departments. A bit of set up with the art department or unit with a bit of bumping out with the gaffers, hauling camera gear or anything else that needs to be done on set on top of all the production work I am actually engaged to do.

While the film industry sounds glamorous, it is a lot of standing around waiting and I hate that so I keep myself busy by moving tripods or camera gear from one location to the other. Or standing with an umbrella over the actors having a good laugh about life.

I am not currently at crossfit so the weightlifting and taking things up and down the stairs to the beach is a great workout. Not to mention carrying heavy things across the beach.

Bootcamp film style.

It is a great crew and while I have very little experience (have only worked on short films before) I have been known to get shit done. In an email the Production Designer copied me in on the other day she seems to think I have “magic powers” (her words not mine) in sourcing items for the shoot.

On set

On set

The days roll into each other and you really don’t care or know what time it is just work around the shooting schedule. You arrive at Crew Call and eat breakfast (regardless of the time of day) before we start shooting. We have worked late into the night and will do some overnight shoots in the next couple of weeks.

It is a little creepy around there at night and while there are twenty or thirty of us kicking around on set I would not like our security detail of sitting in the bush on your own at night watching all our gear. No thanks that is not for me.

Once wrapped for the night, on Tuesday I helped carry bits and pieces for a couple of departments helping them all bump out as quickly as possible, Wednesday I just helped lug all the gaffer gear up the stairs leaving it so they could put everything away. Thursday and the gaffer, Vili, asks me at midday if I could help them bump out that night and Ralf (best boy) then directs me to which truck everything is to go to. Friday rolls around and after breakfast Vili asks me to spend some time with Ralf so he can show me where all their gear lives so I can put everything away properly. I decided that Ralf is happy to have a Best Boy’s Bitch (my words not his) and after demanding a tshirt that says Best Boy’s Bitch, laughed saying next week he will be sitting with his feet up while I do everything.

Location scouting for the film

Location scouting for the film

That said I have no idea how to set any of the lighting and electrical gear up but I am all over the bump out. Maybe next week if I have time I can learn about the set up too. In reality I don’t think I would have time as I have so much else to do. Oh well I am learning a lot regardless.

I did check with Joe (the Producer) if it was ok that I am getting a bit of a lesson from the gaffer regarding his gear as it is not what I am on set for and I do have a lot of other things I am to do. I told her they are happy to have someone doing all their manual labour but she advised that it is a compliment as usually they don’t let anyone touch their gear so it seems I have earned their trust during the course of the week and Vili sought me out yesterday afternoon, shook my hand and thanked me for all the work for the week. I have the added bonus of working my muscles and getting a weight lifting session in too.

While the hours are long, I am loving the collaboration with the crew and everyone working together in a coordinated dance to get the film shot.

While boring at times it is fun and this will not be the only film I work on.

Unless of course the marshmallow incident goes against me.

A bag of prop marshmallows had gone astray and we needed it for the shot so while the crew sat with tools down I did a mercy dash to the nearest store sprinting like a madwoman, darting back to the car (Joe was my getaway driver), got back to set and Scotty (2nd AD) tells me to “run girl run” down to the beach and run I did. I sprinted down the road, took the stairs two at a time, ran across the sand, dumped the bags of marshmallows at the fire, turned heel and ran away, up the stairs and on to my car. As I ran past Scotty he informed me I had just run into shot. Oops. I jumped in the car and dashed to the production office to pick up the call sheets for the next day and called Scott from the car apologizing for running into shot. He admitted it was his fault as he told me to run and his battery on his radio had decided at that time to die so he didn’t hear them say they were filming.

It may have only been a few seconds but I felt bad – just poor form really but apparently my face looks pretty funny and there is some footage for the blooper reel.

I must say when I returned to set on a very hot day after a run yesterday I was horrified to hear that a Brown snake had slithered it’s way across unit (so many of us are through there why is it not far far away???). I hate snakes – three run ins with snakes as a child – and started stomping everywhere I went. A leaf falls from a tree and I am adamant I am being chased by a snake. A stick on the path and it is a snake I am seeing.

Oh and did I mention the ticks. I had what I thought was a tick down my shirt the other day, flicked it out and decided that it was in fact a beetle (thought tick decided beetle) until I was told Boris (Unit Manager) removed a tick from his person yesterday. I’m not sure what I would prefer. I think perhaps it would be ticks over snakes but ideally I will have no meetings with either.

That said I had a tick down my shirt already if a snake goes down my shirt I am in big trouble. I am freaking myself out just thinking about it.

I have caught up with some of my closest friends and am actually meant to be at their place now doing a concrete pour (I will go and help them soon) and watched the NRL grand final – which was the best grand final I have seen ever! Go cowboys.

The boys, Macca, Zac and Jake getting their Cowboy on for the grand final

The boys, Macca, Zac and Jake getting their Cowboy on for the grand final

I acquired Jake's hat while I was paving

I acquired Jake’s hat while I was paving

Levelling out the new dog house

Levelling out the new dog house

Carla overseeing and planning the herringbone paving pattern for the dog enclosure - fancy.

Carla overseeing and planning the herringbone paving pattern for the dog enclosure – fancy.

Working with my favourite godson

Working with my favourite godson

I spent the day at Carla and Zac’s new house (they are not quite in yet) paving an area for their dogs. It is going to be very fancy with a nice paving design as per Carla’s instructions.

My nephew, Rhys turned eighteen so we had a lunch at a the Burrawang Hotel in the Southern Highlands.

Burrawang Hotel

Burrawang Hotel

The view from the hotel

The view from the hotel

The birthday boy

The birthday boy

Nice spot for Sunday lunch

Nice spot for Sunday lunch

Always good catching up with family and my favourite thing is breaking bread and eating a meal with great people. Preferably great food but the food at the pub wasn’t great. My salad was certainly edible but not great.

With my sister Shannon

With my sister Shannon

with nieces, Mac Mac and Khiarna

with nieces, Mac Mac and Khiarna

with my inherited nephews John and Cheese

with my inherited nephews John and Cheese

with my newest nephew TC

with my newest nephew TC

Lamb and vegetable filo pie

Lamb and vegetable filo pie

Lentil sweet potato burger

Lentil sweet potato burger

Beef brisket filo pie

Beef brisket filo pie

Looks nicer than it was - feta cheese was bland and tasteless

Looks nicer than it was – feta cheese was bland and tasteless

I have only played golf once since returning to Australia and I feel a little lost not having my clubs on me at all times. I am playing tomorrow and have some other golf action going on.

I am consulting to some top courses in Australia and am also planning a tournament like the Presidents Cup to be played in PEI next year. I already have about a dozen players and have people also wanting to officiate.

My golf life keeps evolving and besides the consultation work I am doing, I also have eleven courses lined up to play in Australia before I head off to Abu Dhabi and Barcelona in January. I have people asking to play a round with me as I visit their area golfing.

What is not to love?

A life of golf with a little work thrown in.

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