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Dubbo Weekender: Kandy crush

Published in Dubbo Weekender, 13.09.14

Long lead times are often the hallmark of big screen productions– from inception to screening can often take years. But a group of local filmmakers has been burning the midnight oil to produce a seven-minute feature film in just five months, in time for its premiere in Dubbo in November. The producer shares a glimpse into the creative journey to Kandy: the film.

Read the full story here

Stars for a day

It’s been months of planning, refining and rehearsing (pre-production), and a full day of shooting (production). But now what? The lights have been turned off, the cameras packed up, the rubbish put out and everyone has gone home, resuming their former pre-film lives. Or, have they?

The day of the shoot started before dawn, with minds alert and ticking over all the things that could, should, would happen that day. The first of us arrived on location at 7.30am in time to set up and get the make-up underway. By 9.30am, the 1st AD (assistant director) was calling everyone on to the set and it was sometime after 10am before the cameras were rolling.

The process throughout the rest of the day, was one of positioning cameras and the boom, positioning actors on the set, blocking in movements and positions, adjusting, shooting, reshooting, breaking to dump data from the cameras, whilst dealing with wardrobe malfunctions, refuelling bodies, reviewing scripts and rehearsing lines before the whole process started over again.

Prior the last scene coming to life for the cameras, the clapper presented the last slate of the shoot announcing “We really did it!”. The scene was shot and the producer called “It’s a wrap” at about 5.45pm. No more lines, no more scenes, no more makeup or hairspray required. Time to clean up, pack up and turn out the lights.

Celebrations were had the following night with the wrap party – sharing stories from the set, video spoofs, a glimpse of some of the real action and stills from the day, over champagne and Thai food. There was a feeling of euphoria evident in the unanimous “Yes” to the director’s question about whether we’d do it again.

It has now been several days since the wrap party and we aren’t talking about the lead up to the shoot any more and the stylistic development of our stars – the characters of Kandy: the film. That’s done. Now it’s about the editing process, the soundtrack that needs to be written and the marketing…the trailer, the billing poster, the merchandise, the editorials, online content generation and publicity opportunities. Our cast have probably resumed their previous lives, but for many of the crew, we’re now in full post-production swing with only 10.5 weeks until our debut at the One Eye Film Festival on 14 November.

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Butterflies, production schedules and bandaids

Kandy the film Dubbo FilmmakersWe’re now only about a day out from shooting Kandy and there’s a flurry of activity going on across Dubbo – equipment is being checked, and re-checked, lists are being drawn up and edited, catering is being ordered, tubs are being packed, last-minute wardrobe items are being chased down, the producer is madly sending instructions to the cast and crew…and hopefully someone is remembering to pack the first aid box.

Let’s just hope the first aid box is a precaution – but it’s about planning for the unpredictable. While we’ve had two rehearsals, many meetings, along with pages of email correspondence, scripts have been gone through, reviewed and edited again, you just never know what might happen on the day.

So, while we’re trying to deal with the butterflies by keeping busy with preparations for Saturday, the excitement of that first call of Lights. Camera. Action!, will no doubt let loose another cloud of the flying creatures on the day. Stage nerves are good though – they remind you you’re alive.


Final Kandy rehearsal before the shoot

The cast and crew of Kandy had two hours to do one final rehearsal before shooting the short feature film – next weekend.

It was a jam-packed two hours of meeting the hairdresser, having the first round of publicity photos taken, making wardrobe decisions, a round-table read-through (sans scripts) and finally a rehearsal shoot, complete with lighting.

Despite learning that there’s a lot of sitting around on set during these productions, the energy levels were high in anticipation of the polish required for the final performance in front of the cameras in a week’s time.

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First rehearsal for cast & crew of Kandy

It was the first rehearsal for the cast and crew of Kandy today – a full-on two hours on location to introduce ourselves to each other, run through the production schedule, read through, block in scenes, work out camera logistics, make some big decisions about styling and wardrobe and to generally get a feel for what will be an intensive few weeks in production.

The cast is:
Kandy – Billie Palin
Violet – Erifili Davis
Valerie – Brenda Allen
T-Bone – Justin Riley

One more rehearsal is planned before the shoot starts on 30 August. It’s an important time for the production, with every single member of cast and crew now impacting on everyone else involved. It’s down to business, and the reality that the film business isn’t really all that glamorous!

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Unearthing local talent in screen tests

Dubbo Filmmakers conducted screen tests and auditions for four roles in the short film, Kandy, at the Fire Station Arts Centre in Dubbo over two hours on 8 August, attracting strong interest (and healthy competition) for the lead role of Kandy and the cameo, T-Bone.

Ten actors in total put themselves in front of the camera for the screen tests, role-playing an extract from Kellie Jennar’s script. Some of those auditioning have performed on stage before, but it was a first time screen test for most. The majority who came to auditions had contacted the casting team or producer prior to the day. However, there was also one walk-in late in the audition session, wrapping up the auditions with a surprise.

A skeleton production crew was on hand to administrate, direct, advise, role play and to handle audio and camera. The executive team has to now consider the outcomes of the tests before a final decision is made by the director during the coming week. The race is now on to bed down the cast, get a rehearsal schedule in place and get ready for shooting on the weekend of 30 and 31 August. Nothing quite like running to a tight timeframe.

Kandy will screen at the One Eye Film Festival on 14 November.

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Casting call & screen test

Kellie Jennar Candy 2014 Dubbo Shorts
Violet and Valerie – on stage in the 2014 Dubbo Shorts production of Candy (photo: Orana Arts)

As the theatre play, Candy, comes into production as a short feature film, Dubbo Filmmakers are now conducting a casting call and screen test for interested actors on Saturday, 9 August from 9.30am at the Fire Station Arts Centre in Dubbo.

Screen tests start at 10am sharp

Scripts are being provided, so anyone thinking they would be interested in playing the following roles, please contact Producer, Kim V. Goldsmith prior to 8 Augustby email or mobile 0419 439 923

The original 10 minute play, “Candy”, was performed as part of Dubbo Shorts in May 2014 and awarded the Playwright Encouragement Award at Crash Test Drama in June 2014.

The film will be screened at the One Eye Film Festival in November 2014. The screenplay has been written by the original author, Kellie Jennar, with assistance from Gabrielle Battistel. It is being produced by Kim V. Goldsmith and directed by Peter Aland with a full production crew made up of Dubbo Filmmakers members.

Candy tries to educate two older ladies about the world of on-line-dating in a workshop, only to find her boyfriend, T-Bone, advertising himself as a potential date.

Candy/Kandy – female in late teens/early 20s – Kim Kardashian styling
Violet – female in mid 40s to early 50s – single & somewhat adventurous
Valerie – female in mid 40s to early 50s – single & more conservative (older than her years)
T-Bone – male – early to mid 20s – wealthy, serial predator in the online dating game

Half way into a new year with a BIG project

Dubbo Filmmakers started the year with a monthly challenge. Obviously the challenges weren’t great enough because by early July the group was in the early stages of producing its first short feature film.

Candy being performed on stage at 2014 Dubbo Shorts (photo: Orana Arts)
Candy being performed on stage at 2014 Dubbo Shorts (photo: Orana Arts)

While more details are yet to be made public, the group have been very fortunate to have in its ranks writer, Kellie Jennar. Kellie has provided her theatre play, “Candy”, for the film treatment, rewriting it as a screen play.

With the production crew and schedule now established, it’s all systems go to get the film in the can and publicised in time for its showing at the 2014 One Eye Film Festival in Dubbo on 14 November. It’s now a matter of watch this space.