Final week of Pre-Production !!!

Holy Crap!!!!!!!!

"Have you taken care of this?" "Is this the absolute and final, final revision we’re making?" "Have they signed the contract yet?" "Is there a runner free?" "We can fix it in post." "This needs to be picked up today!!" "I look like an Oompa Loompa!!??"

Just a few of the things heard around the office this week as we finalised call sheets, ran through rehearsals, had costume fittings and makeup tests, realised we’d forgotten a few things and generally waited until the final hour to cast one of our key parts and a few of our supporting roles in the film. Action stations were brimming and everyone was running around like headless chooks though slightly calmer as we locked in logistical elements and added extra crew and basically got s**t done!

Having moved from our tiny 10m2 office in St Kilda where we were overrun by props, costumes and people being so close to one another that we’re all a little more familiar than we probably should be with each other, to our amazing and spacious offices in Docklands where you have enough room to stretch out, sleep and drive your car right into the studio space, you can imagine, we are all just a little bit happier.

Waiting for us in the kitchen, a wonderful welcome basket from Rosie and the team at Docklands. They have been amazing so far and we can not thank them enough for their tremendous support. After consuming the goodies rather quickly, we went about setting up our main production office, and without doubt, one of the star attractions of being at Docklands is having the wall space to set up what Daniela calls the “Massive thing on the wall” or what most folks in the industry know as the Production Schedule Board… lol we love Daniela!!

Production Schedule Board - Photo Credit: Lucinda Bruce 

Production Schedule Board - Photo Credit: Lucinda Bruce 

It took 3 days to set it up just to have it pulled back down next week when we shoot some office scenes in this room but we don’t care as we’ll just put it straight back up again once we’ve finished filming. We love it and it helps tremendously in any production to have a visual reference of the schedule for all departments to see.
With offices being taken up for Costume and Art Department, another room for rehearsals and a beautiful MU and Hair room, it suffices to say that everyone was feeling pretty comfortable in the spaces provided to us. I don’t think any of us are going to want to leave.

Roar Digital - Photo Credits Lucinda Bruce

Roar Digital - Photo Credits Lucinda Bruce

One of the biggest challenges on this film is the fact that we are shooting it in Black and White - we ran camera tests in and out of the studio and at our Post Production House, Roar Digital, to ensure makeup and wardrobe would appear correctly on screen and this is by no means an easy task.

 

 

Studio 4 - Photo Credits Lucinda Bruce

Studio 4 - Photo Credits Lucinda Bruce

Our MUA Mirjana and Costumes Dept, Sarah Jayne, worked very hard to get the required look and after several meetings and long discussions in regards to this matter, we have settled on the look and know that the end result will hopefully blow you away!

Builders, Art Department, CoProducer  conversing over the set build. Photo Credit: Daniela Ercoli 

Builders, Art Department, CoProducer  conversing over the set build. Photo Credit: Daniela Ercoli 

The studio space is slowly being overtaken by the set as our building team made up of Liam, Jimmy and Carlos and led by Production Designer, Fiona, make up for lost time by having to work twice as hard to get the set construction finished so that the actual set building and dressing can commence. Keeping an eye on them to make sure they get it all done properly, on time and in budget is Liam’s trusty companion and our loving set dog, Tsu!

Tsu, Dog Carpenter - Photo Credit: Lucinda Bruce 

Tsu, Dog Carpenter - Photo Credit: Lucinda Bruce 

Building enough flats to ensure we have what we need is one thing, but our set design is a complex one and our builders have come in at the last minute and are making miracles happen for us by handcrafting the vision our Director has for this film and we truly appreciate all their efforts.

We’ve had a lot of the actors coming into the office this week so it’s a good thing we like them so damn much! Lucky for us they are some of the most professional and easy going people we’ve had the pleasure of working with…. so far lol They have spent some crazy, intense hours working closely with the Director every day this week and we can see the actors loving every minute of it and really sinking their teeth into the roles. We can’t wait to see them bring these characters to black and white life on film.
All in all, a productive, hectic, crazy awesome week had by all and we finished it all up with one last production meeting and by hitting another milestone by reaching 3,333 likes on our Facebook page, which you should go like too if you haven’t already…. please.

 

3,333 Likes on Choir Girl FB Page - Photo Credit: Lucinda Bruce 

3,333 Likes on Choir Girl FB Page - Photo Credit: Lucinda Bruce 

From all of us here at Choir Girl, thanks for coming along on this crazy ride, as of next week, we’re all going to be out on location, the blog might be a little late as it has been over these last couple of weeks as Daniela and I have work to do apparently but we’re looking forward to letting you know how the first week of shooting went!

If “film is a battleground” then bring on the war I say and let’s make a movie!!!

6th Week of PrePro

This is technically the last week of our pre-production before moving into Docklands and it has been as crazy as ever! One of the major challenges that has come out of it is our set bulid, with just two weeks to go before our set needs to be complete and ready to shoot in, we have lost our set builder! This is something that inevitably happens in film from time to time, and there’s not much a production team can do about it except to find a replacement and fast - no weekend off for the Producers unfortunately as they’ll be working on that particular task!

While Melbourne revs up for the Formula 1 Grand Prix, we’re revving up for relocating into our new office space at Docklands and the final Location Recces (Tech Scouts). Our first pit stop this week was the 1st of seven rehearsal days! Our Director extremely happy with the result “the rehearsals went extremely well and it was great to have some of the actors together in the one space”. Tuesday provided some much needed office time before Wednesday saw some of our production team doing a final location scout out in Newport at the Australian Railway Museum and Historical Society which offered up some amazing vistas of old trains and massive locomotives but our main focus was a 1970’s Hitachi Carriage.

1970's Hitachi Carriage. Photo credit Lucinda Bruce

1970's Hitachi Carriage. Photo credit Lucinda Bruce

Recce at Medical Clinic . Photo credit Daniela Ercoli 

Recce at Medical Clinic . Photo credit Daniela Ercoli 

Thursday and Friday followed, naturally, and it was two full days with our key department heads exploring our various locations, both interior and exterior, figuring out where we would setup up MU, Wardrobe, Gear Drop, Holding etc.

So many things to think about when looking at a location and though not all of our locations are ideal for such things, we’re pretty confident we can make it work for us on the day.

Flemington Letter Drop. Photo credit Daniela Ercoli

Flemington Letter Drop. Photo credit Daniela Ercoli

Also taken care of on these location scouts is the much needed letter drop, as task take on by our Associate Producer, Daniela Ercoli, who made sure that no letterbox in the area remained untouched as she informed and enlightened those living around the area that we would be shooting a film there on certain dates. A seemingly small but vastly overlooked courtesy which can save time, money and interruptions on the day from the police and council. Some of these areas are not entirely safe so we made sure Daniela made it back to us in one piece before heading home for the weekend! We’re excited about shooting in a little over a week, and though we’re still scrambling to get props, imagery and other bits and pieces required for the film in place, we’re loving every minute of this challenging production!!

5th week of PrePro

The Choir Girl Production Team are Into the 5th week of Pre-Production and the pace is picking up tremendously, the pressure of knowing we go to camera in a little over two weeks is building and we are scrambling to make sure we’re on top of everything. Inevitably, things will be missed but we know this small team of ours is pretty amazing and will be able to deal with whatever problems arise during the shoot.

Our week started on a high with two more of our main cast members confirmed and we are so amazed to see the collection of talented actors we have brought together on this project. Our main cast now comprises of Peter Flaherty as Eugene, Krista Vendy as Polly, Kym Valentine as Caroline, Sarah Timm as Josephine, Andy McPhee as Mick, Roger Ward as Eugene’s Father William and Lee Mason as Julius. We are in the process of finalising our last cast member who plays the antagonist in the film but we’re super excited to hopefully be announcing that next week! A stellar cast to say the least and we all feel pretty luck to have them involved in our little Indie production and we can’t wait to see them become the characters and bring this film to life.

Choir Girl Cast

Choir Girl Cast


The more challenging side this week was with our shooting schedule, which is riddled with public holidays and a few other obstacles such as location availability, character changes throughout the story and an intricate timeline to deal with, which makes putting together our schedule quite a difficult task, a challenge taken on by our 1st AD (Assistant Director), Serena Hunt, who flew down from Sydney this week for one of our first heads of department meetings. It was a great chance for most of the crew to meet each other and see who they will be working with over the 5 week period we’ll be shooting. Production meetings are great and a much needed part of any production, they give the production team the chance to draw on the experience of all department heads and collaborate to ensure that all aspects of the production are covered as much as possible and to ensure that everyone is on the same page.

Crew meeting @Acopa - Photo Credit Sarah Jayne

Crew meeting @Acopa - Photo Credit Sarah Jayne


Next week kicks off our first round of rehearsals with some of our cast, ensuring all the paperwork needed on set is done, doing letter drops into the neighbourhoods where we will be shooting our exteriors and on location scenes and spending our last week in the office in St Kilda before moving into Docklands! We're all getting pretty excited!

Stay tuned!!"

3rd week of PrePro

Week 3 With week 3 done and dusted, we got to see a few different faces of Melbourne yet again as we explored more locations for our film.

Gatwick Hotel 

Gatwick Hotel 

The Gatwick Hotel is an iconic part of St Kilda and infamous for its run down, forgotten look and its seedy inhabitants, but getting to see the inside of those walls and the characters that are portrayed so negatively was an eye opening experience for not only myself but I think the whole team. We were introduced to a world that few get to see, by a women who has owned the place with her twin sister for longer than any of our crew have been alive. Her mother owned the hotel before that and her grandmother before that - the history of the Gatwick alone is an amazing story but unfortunately the negativity surrounding this location doesn’t really pay homage to what those sisters are trying to do for the weak, the weary, addicted and down trodden in this world. As the crew huddled in alarm at the behaviour of the inhabitants, the owner embraced it with care and acceptance and stern guidance. In the end, we realised the location would not be ideal for our purposes and gladly left that world behind exchanging one claustrophobic environment for another…

Pentridge Prison 

Pentridge Prison 

...Pentridge Prison has been around since the 1800’s, another iconic and infamous spot in Melbourne’s history, what little remains of the prison, remains intact and unchanged from the days when prisoners walked down it’s long sections and huddled in its wet cells. This was the go to prison when it was operational, there was even a women’s and children’s division back in the day. Aside from some cute little feral kittens wandering about the premises, the place is a haunting reminder of an old system that took in everyone from petty thieves to the worst criminals Australia has ever seen, arguably the most infamous of which, Ned Kelly, still calls it home, albeit, six feet under. We tried a few cells on for size but the creepiness took over and we hightailed it out of there.

Oslo Hotel  Photo Credit Mark Kenfield

Oslo Hotel 

Photo Credit Mark Kenfield

Returning to more familiar territory, we found ourselves back in St Kilda and checking out two more locations, the Oslo Hotel and Day of the Dead bar. The Oslo was very popular back in the 90s but has since become a little worse for wear and now spends its days as a retreat for backpackers from all over the world. With its narrow corridors, wobbly stairs and a nice view of St Kilda, it certainly has a lot of character!

Day Of The Dead  Photo Credit Mark Kenfield 

Day Of The Dead 

Photo Credit Mark Kenfield 

The Day of the Dead Bar gives you a true Mexican vibe as you walk into it and we soon agreed that we wanted to use this location for one of our scenes, tempted to stay and order a few rounds of tequilas for the crew, we thought better of it and settled on staring out the massive front window that looks out onto Fitzroy Street and across to one of the two apartments we checked our for another scene in our film.

Just a few blocks away was our next location, STK Apartments - sitting high in the sky with an amazing view, our potential apartment location took our breath away and though it requires a lot of work by our Art Department, it was too good a location to pass up.

STK Apartments - St Kilda Photo Credit Mark Kenfield

STK Apartments - St Kilda

Photo Credit Mark Kenfield

One of our last scouts for the week was back at the Docklands Studios - Rosie and Rod made us feel very welcome and their support of Indie film is second to none. We are very fortunate to be able to call Docklands home for a month during our shoot and the various locations it provides will be a tremendous help in getting our film made. The Studios are beautiful, well equipped, spacious with offices, makeup rooms, green rooms and everything you could ever need on a film set, we're very excited to be filming there!

Studio 4 - Docklands Studios  Photo Credit Mark Kenfield 

Studio 4 - Docklands Studios 

Photo Credit Mark Kenfield 

2nd week of Pre-Pro

As we head into our second week of Pre-Production, we've spent most of the week scouring the streets, alleyways, train stations and old hidden buildings of Melbourne to find the perfect locations for our film.  With our key production team composing of our Director, DOP, Production Designer, 3 Producers and several cameras tagging along, our first stop was an old section of a hospital that forms part of the Royal Melbourne Hospital, it has been used for some notable Films and TV series such as Alien, Dr. Blake Mysteries and several more. The remnants of a bygone era remain throughout the hallways and rooms of this beautiful building and we're excited to be filming at this particular location.

Corridor at Royal Melbourne Hospital, Parkville  Photo Credit Lucinda Bruce

Corridor at Royal Melbourne Hospital, Parkville 

Photo Credit Lucinda Bruce

With the Director and DOP brimming with excitement from this first scout, we moved on through the traffic-jammed streets of Melbourne to the eclectic mixture of old vs new that makes up Kensington and Flemington. Checking out the commission flats that sit next to the heritage houses whose value sits in the millions, we were sure our lead Character, Eugene, would find his home here among the clash and ruin of poor vs rich. Where one street over means the difference between clean streets or syringes in the gutter. Reality slapped us in the face as we entered some of the areas where the poorest people live. Rubbish lined the streets, broken windows lined the buildings, cats howling for food and dirty piles of junk left for someone else to clean up. The location is perfect for what we need but it certainly brings the mood down a little so we headed off to our next location - Racecourse Train Station in Flemington, if ever there is a contrast of poor to rich, this is it. Flemington Racecourse is known around the world for hosting the Melbourne Cup, Australia's most famous horse race. The Train station itself is only open on race days which makes it an easy location for us to control during filming and sometimes this is what a location decision can come down to. As we heard the rumbling of trains, we realised it was actually the rumbling of our stomachs and we decided to pop into the Racecourse Tavern for lunch.

Commission Flats in Kensington  Photo Credit Lucinda Bruce 

Commission Flats in Kensington 

Photo Credit Lucinda Bruce 

With our bellies full and our mood lifted we head back across the city in our convoy of three snappy and overheating cars towards Collingwood to explore another lot of Housing Commissions.Collingwood is known for its eclectic mix of fancy bars and hipster markets but it also has a hidden and tough reality, like most of Melbourne's inner suburbs, we captured its battle between beautiful elegant old heritage houses and brown brick factories covered with colourful and amazing graffiti. Running out of time though, we quickly move on to North Melbourne and ACOPA (Australian Centre Of Performance Arts) who have been super supportive of our film. Every time you go there it's like coming home, you feel the art and creativity flow through the beautiful exposed brick walls. The centre is run by a lovely couple who are always happy to help the arts in any way they can.

Our full day of location scouting ended in Northcote with an older house and another alleyway - so many locations to choose from and so many more to see, including the historic Pentridge Prison and some amazing luxurious apartments but we'll fill you in on that next time, until next week, that's a wrap!

Collingwood Station Photo Credit Lucinda Bruce 

Collingwood Station

Photo Credit Lucinda Bruce 

Alleyway in Northcote  Photo Credit Lucinda Bruce 

Alleyway in Northcote 

Photo Credit Lucinda Bruce 

1st week of PrePro

What an awesome first week of Pre-Production on Choir Girl so far!! 

We started our week with an amazing day of auditions with ACOPA Studio providing the space and our Casting Manager Bridget Bordello providing the amazing talent.

Our main cast members Krista Vendy (Polly) and Peter Flaherty (Eugene) joined us for the readings, along with Co-Producer Lucinda Bruce, taking the readings to another level, we had a lot of fun and Director, Michael Wormald, and Producer, Ivan Malekin, along with the rest of the team can't wait to announce the rest of our cast.

Snap of Michael Wormald - writer / director of @Choir Girl  Photo Credit Daniela Ercoli

Snap of Michael Wormald - writer / director of @Choir Girl 

Photo Credit Daniela Ercoli

Our 3rd day of PrePro finds us in a production meeting with our Director, Production Designer, Art Director, Producers and our "in film photos” Film Photographer and then heading to Dockland Studios in the afternoon to check out a potential space for building our sets. We’re all excited about the project and can’t wait to share our progress and end product with everyone!!

Written by: Dani Ercoli & Lucinda Bruce

Production Meeting means a crowed NPG (Nexus Production Group) Office.

Production Meeting means a crowed NPG (Nexus Production Group) Office.

The Search for Josephine

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We are looking to cast the lead role of Josephine, 15-16, Slavic origin.  She has escaped from a war torn country and has been forced into the sex trade against her will. Her beauty and soft face belies hardness in her eyes. Josephine is haunted and has an edge to her - she has seen the horrors of the world and can’t hide the cracks.

This is a difficult and demanding role. We need an actress who is willing to push herself for the sake of story - the role does feature nudity and sex scenes, including a difficult rape scene, so requires an actress confident in herself and her body.

We will look at self-tapes as a first round of auditions. We are open to looking at actresses from anywhere in the world.

If your background is not Slavic (Croatian, Serbian, Macedonian, Bosnian, Albanian, Slovakia, Polish, etc) you will be required to learn an accent and some basic words.

To express interest, and for more information about the film and the role, email ivan@npgroup.com.au with a headshot and CV.