A Travellerspoint blog

By this Author: Brian_H

What's been happening on set

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What's been happening on set since our Christmas break? Well knowing that my unit has finished its episodes (so we cant be seen in anymore scenes) i've been tagging along with the other units doing back ground actions. We've been filming more battle scenes where i've been firing the machine gun on a rocky hill side, running around firing my M1 grand into a cave then have the men around me throw a grenade into the cave to take it over, also been running past the main cast with the machine gun while gun fire hits around us.

The last two weeks my unit (1/7) has been helping out on the Iwo Jima set because their set is very big with a lot of background to be filled. So the last few days we've had 160 extra marines to teach the basics and keep everything in order. The set is filled with black sand that is very hard to run in. We've been having to crawl up the sand, drag dead bodies back down, run from point A to point B, run and take a hit (die), while big explosions are going off with tanks on fire and smoke blowing over the set.

Friday, (while we were getting the 160 extras to drag bodies, run and crawl for a scene) me and 4 other guys from my unit were called up in front of the camera to take hits. Because we have been to boot camp with all the training and have been on set from the start, we were told we were getting squibbed which means we would have small exploding blood packs rip threw our clothes to emphasise us being shot. This only happens if your close to camera and if you're a stunt person but the director and Freddy Jo wanted to use us. So in the scene 5 of us are crawling through the black sand while explosions and gun fire is happening around us. We all get up to run for it when we all get fired at and we fall to the ground like a tonn of bricks. I had 1 hit on my thigh, 2 on my ankle, 1 on my shoulder and the last one was an exit shoot which went right through my right shoulder. Since we all were going down at different times we had a button to push which was up our sleeve to make the squibbes explode. The explosions didn't hurt that much, it just felt like someone giving you a quick dead leg or a dead arm. After the squibb goes off the blood pack busts through the clothing which goes everywhere including all over your face and hands. The director was happy with our falls so maybe in the future we'll get more opportunities like this. The bonus is we get paid as a stunt person for the day on top of our normal pay day, so for that day we got paid about $700.

Another highlight is that we got to watch 2 of the episodes. Today everyone from A core went over to Freddy Jo's penthouse to watch episode 2 and episode 5. These episodes are almost finished with a few shots and computer graphic images to be added. Captain Dye wanted us to see what we've done so far because on set as we're unable to see the playbacks. Episode 2 was mostly all about the unit i was with so Jess finally got to see what ive been getting up to the past 7 months. I was pointed out 5 or 6 times in 2 to 3 different scenes which was cool. The episode was amazing and it isn't even the final cut. We then watched episode 5 which is all about a different unit but i was still involved with the actions in the background. We got to see the days and hours spent on the boats and the beach landings we did in Port Douglas. Warwick was also seen in a scene were the main cast is in their tent talking while he is laying in his bed reading. Episode 5 is also half done with shots still and CGI's to be added but again everyone thought it was awesome. Hopefully in a few weeks time we'll get to see more half done episodes!

Posted by Brian_H 00:03 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

The Great Ocean Road Tour

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Jess had arranged for my birthday present a tour along the Great Ocean Road which was at the top of our lists of things to do in Melbourne. So last Saturday morning we were up and on the bus at 8:30am. We left the city traveling through old suburbs and little surf towns on the coast of Geelong. Our first stop was at Torquay for lamingtons, biscuits and coffee. The bus driver told us that this was the best beach in Australia but personally I don’t think he has ever left Victoria if he can make a comment like that! It was pretty windy and cold so Jess and I played on the swingset, took some photos and jumped back on the bus.

Our next stop off was at Bells Beach, where they filmed the movie “Point Break” and hold the oldest surf carnival every Easter. Bells Beach isn’t much of a beach as it is more cliff and rocks but that’s probably why it makes for a good surf carnival. The rain had stopped spitting and the sun came out for us so we were able to get a few nice photos.

After Bells Beach it was a long coastal drive on the official “Ocean Road” passing through Lorne and stopping for more photo opportunities along the way. We stopped off and had lunch at Apollo Bay and then we were off to “The 12 Apostles.” This is the main highlight of the trip which we were very excited to see as we had seen pictures of it on post cards and we were keen to take our own post card photos. They call it “The 12 Apostles” but there are only 9 standing now, 3 have collapsed since they named them and of course they can’t keep changing the names everytime one collapses.

The bus pulled over at a lookout point where we took some awesome photos. We then moved down the road some more to where I surprised Jess with an early Valentines Day present - a helicopter ride over “The 12 Apostles.” Jess got to sit in the front seat of the helicopter cause she was the lightest out of the 4 and I got a window seat in the back. The flight took us over the cliffs and dropped us down low to get some amazing photos. The helicopter ride was priceless and gave us a mind blowing view.

We moved down The Great Ocean Road some more where we stopped along the shipwreck coast at Loch Ard Gorge. This is where two people got washed up after a ship wreak 100’s of years ago and I think it’s where they filmed part of the movie “The Pirate Movie”.

We kept traveling down the road stopping at more lookouts and seeing more rock formations. We had a last chance stop for food at Port Campbell and then visited the remains of "London Bridge." London Bridge was once connected to the cliffs but a few years ago a group of people jumped the boundaries and walked out along the cliff having it collapse after them leaving them stranded on the arch out in the ocean. Pretty interesting story and pretty cool to see what they would have been stranded on for 4 hours until rescuers came!
At this point it was about 6 or 7pm so the tour ended and we traveled back to Melbourne after a long day of sight seeing.

Thanks Jess for a wonderful birthday present.

We've once again reached our photo upload limit but Jess has loaded all the pictures onto her Facebook which if you copy and the paste the address site below you should be able to see. The first link are the main Great Ocean Road photos and the second link are photos from the helicopter ride.


Posted by Brian_H 00:01 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

My New Years Eve Movie!

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Posted by Brian_H 20:11 Archived in Australia Comments (1)

Warwick comes to town

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It’s been awhile since Jess and I have written on the blog so there’s a lot to catch up on! I’ll start from about 2 weeks ago when my brother Warwick came up to work on the movie.

Warwick had been part of the movie production earlier on and helped out with interviews and cast selection so he was able to come up north and work on set for 2 weeks as part of the marine core. The first couple of days on set was pretty much stand-by and wait to be brought on set to do scenes, so it gave us both time to catch up and time for him to chat with guys he had worked with in past productions. We were lucky enough to do a couple of scenes together side by side. One scene was with us firing on the front line which in rehearsals I had to refresh his memory on firing a rifle as it had been 3 or 4 years since Warwick has used an M1 Grand. The scene was cool cause behind us a marine got his head blown up with brain splatter landing on us and an amputee got his leg blown off.

We talked about doing a scene together like in Saving Private Ryan with the brothers fighting in the war next to each other, so we were lucky enough to pull some strings and make this happen. The scene was with mass explosions with us landing on the beach. We ran from the beach edge up to the tree line with the camera following us from behind while running past guys firing around us, guys getting shot and us crawling and ducking for cover along the way. Warwick was next to me and pulled a stunt guy who had been shot into a bunker, while I was taking cover fire and reloading and then ran straight into a mortar explosion which blew me on to one leg. It was pretty forceful!

Days went by of us lying around as production did close-up shots on lead roles and shot script. The last day on set with my brother saw us laying on the beach firing at a peel-box (a big concrete slab the Japanese were in that has an opening for a machine gun to fire through while sweeping the beach to kill hundreds of marines). I was on the 30-cal machine gun while Warwick was laying a few metres away firing at the Japanese with his rifle. Once I opened up with the 30-cal everyone could hear the velocity of the 200 rounds I had fired within 30 seconds. After they had called “cut” my brother came over and said that his whole body was shaking from the vibrations of my machine gun. It was that powerful.

Throughout the time he was here we hit the pub a few times and went out for dinner plus watched some footy games.

Jess got us both on Quicksilver VIII on one of our days off. It was a pretty nice day, not the clearest of days but still nice and sunny, so the visibility under water was pretty good and we saw lots of fish.

When we hit the pontoon we went on the semi submersible (which is like a little submarine) that takes you on a tour to all the different bombies where they tell you about the coral and fish around the pontoon. After that we went for a snorkel and cause Jess was working that day she was able to join us and go snorkeling on her lunch break. The divers let her borrow an underwater camera which was pretty cool and they then burnt the pics to a disk for us (which we will be adding to the blog!).

We saw lots of colourful fish and were a bit surprised at the colours of the reef. We were expecting the bright colours like you see on TV, but it was explained to us on the sub tour that 90% of coral is brown, green and blue 10% is the more colourful stuff you see on TV. We also got to see some clams, and Jake who is a big Maori Rass that Jess always talks about. He is very large and playful and apparently lets you touch him. After our snorkel we had lunch and enjoyed some free beverages that Jess had organised for us and then headed back to Port Douglas.

The last day that Warwick was here he organised for everyone to get together for dinner at the Hogs Breath Café on the marina. It was a good night with a few drinks had and then we headed to the Courthouse for a few more drinks while watching the All Blacks play Romainia. He then headed back to Sydney the next day to get back to work but we will catch up with him again in Melbourne for the Marine Ball and also in Sydney for Christmas.

Posted by Brian_H 16:40 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Fun times on set

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After doing night shifts all last week we ended up changing back to day shifts this week. This was a little hard on most of our bodies, but we still kept up the PT on set which makes some of the crew stop and stare when we do our run with cadences. Some of the actors come over and join in which is cool but some don’t as they think they did enough of that stuff on boot camp.

This week on set we were covering the aftermath of our night in contour with 800 Japanese, which in the end the Marines killed all 800 of them. So we did a lot of scenes where we had to walk around kicking dead Japanese soldiers (most of them were fake), with missing arms, legs and heads. A lot of them were freaky looking because it looked so real.

Friday was our last day to shoot the first episode so Thursday and Friday we had to re-shoot some scenes they weren’t happy with. It takes about 24 days to shoot an episode and every episode we’ve been told we’d get a different director. Hopefully Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks will direct an episode. Some of the scenes we had to re-do were our river scenes which took awhile and were very cold!

The first episode follows the journey of a Marine called Leckie, and the men around him. The second episode (which we start on next week) follows another Marine who comes into the war to join Leckie. The second episode is where I come into the story and follow along side the Marines already at war. This means more background stuff for me, a lot more action on set and around camera. The following weeks to come will see us doing a lot more beach landings, but this time with Japanese firing on us. These are bigger scenes than usual and cost about $30,000 for every take!

Jess has been doing her training on 2 other Quicksilver vessels recently which move a lot differently to the boat she is used to. This takes some more adjusting for her stomach so the sea sickness isn’t gone for good just yet. She said she’s been fine the past 3 days on Quicksilver VIII and doesn’t need to take the tablets anymore because the days have been sunny and calm. She also saw a humpback whale breaching the other day so she was pretty excited to see that.

Posted by Brian_H 23:12 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Night Shoots

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We had our first week of night shooting, starting from 4pm and finishing around most mornings at 4 or 5am. I was pretty used to night shoots as I did a lot of night work when I was a bartender. Monday through to Thursday we sat on set doing nothing at all for the 12 hours we were there, but that left a lot of time for playing cards, PSP games, gameboy games, and to read books and magazines. One of our trainers was getting a bit sick of us just lying around sleeping or playing cards all night so we were up doing PT (Personal Training sessions) at 1am everyday of the week. In the end we enjoyed it as it kept us awake and it kept Captain Dye happy, as he thinks we’re all to fat for our roles as skinny Marines. Doing nothing for 4 days on set wasn’t fun but then Friday came around and we finally got to jump in our fox holes and let a few rounds off at the Japanese. The scene was awesome as all machine guns were in use, all rifle men were firing in a line firing at 800 Japanese soldiers, so we let a lot of ammo off. I was happy because I was on the 30 cal machine gun which I let off 200 rounds in a 30 second take.

Posted by Brian_H 23:04 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

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