Hey again peeps,
Your friendly creative kid Charli here, with a sneaky behind-the-scenes look at our biggest shoot of the year- Halloween!
Before we get into the nitty-gritty-bloody stuff, let’s take a step back and discover how a shoot comes together.
Most shoots start about four weeks out from The Big Day, with coffee and a conversation with James.
For Halloween this year, James’s biggest influence was Dracula. He wanted to do something Transylvanian.
‘Well, we designed a lot of the clothes with a vampire queen in mind. I was thinking of Dracula. Transylvania. And a Parisian damsel in distress, who gets taken away to Dracula’s castle to wed Dracula- it’s quite dark and romantic.’
Conversations I have with my boss – priceless. After he talks about his fav pieces and the ideas behind a collection, we then have to try and bring to life some of the magic that goes into creating these amazing garments. It’s my job to come up with the narrative we’re going to tell and how we’re going to make it come alive through pictures. It’s definitely a process, and it usually goes a little something like this:
Me: Well James, we might run into a few issues there. For one, Australia is pretty limited on the castle front. The only castles close by are going to look pretty cheesy.
James: Well. Hm. Cheesy hey. Unless we made it deliberately cheesy? Like a cheesy pulp horror film? What about that? That could be cool.
And that’s why my boss is probably cooler (and crazier, let’s be honest) than your boss.
The next step in this process is the pitch. This is a scary part where I have to pitch some ideas about how we’re going to tell this story. Ever tried to describe a picture before it’s a picture? It can be pretty tricky, particularly when your audience is your boss. I’ve found the best way for me to do this is through a brain dump on a wall.
Brain dump looks like this:
On the inside, I usually look like this:
If everyone gets pretty excited about my, uh, dump, we move into pre-production and concept artwork. Luckily, everyone was pretty excited! We decided to invent our own film studio- ‘BMC FILM STUDIOS’- which would be producing three cheesey horror films, and we’d shoot them on some B-grade movie sets, with over the top kooky characters.
The next stage is called ‘making all the things.’ It usually involves our fabulous producer Maddie- aka miracle worker / organization queen, anyone else I can convince to join us, and lots of coffee.
By ‘anyone else’ I absolutely mean Marvelous Matt, our resident Mr Fix-It. A lot of peeps don’t know how awesome Matt is. Just FYI- he’s pretty much one of the hardest working peeps at BM. And he worked round the clock with us to try and bring this crazy story to life.
After four weeks of blood, sweat, swearwords, and tears, its finally time for shoot day. And if you’ve taken all the right steps right in pre-production, shoot day is probably more fun than going to a dozen theme parks.
Meet our beautiful team.
There’s Mad, producer extraordinaire - keeping the whole show running smoothly and on time (and kicking butts when it doesn’t). She hustles the whole team, coffee in one hand and a clipboard in the other. She’s pretty much Wonder Woman.
Bon, our fabulous in-house photographer, whose job it is to snap the magic moments and then work her postproduction skills on them after (those filters girl, damn). Girl rocks a big lens and knows how to light a scene perfectly. She usually has a charming assistant, Paul, and on this shoot she even had a lighting guy, Chris.
For this shoot, I was lucky enough to have two totally killer assistants - Carla and Matt, take a bow. You guys rock. They did everything from foaming up test tubes…
To running to Bunning’s for last minute bags of dirt. Turns out I severely underestimated just how much dirt it takes to make a mini-graveyard (in case you’re wondering, it’s about 25kg). Extra shout-out to Carla, whose little hatchback became a little garden when one of the bags split open in her back seat. Sorry, girl!
This is Tristan. He’s our super talented cinematographer. He usually directs badass stuff like music videos and TV ads, but sometimes he comes along to our shoots and creates killer behind the scenes vids of all the insanity that happens on set.
Then we have our crew of hair and make up artists- lead by the feisty Amelia. She’s one of Australia’s best.
You know how many hair and make up changes we had for this shoot? 9. That’s more than any shoot we’ve ever had before. And each one was completely different, down to every detail.
Next up, we have our beautiful babes. There was our new gal, Yani.
Samie - our fav crazy human.
And Ashleigh, another new hot little boss from Sydney.
We also had our clever copywriter AC on set, covering the shoot on social media. Stay tuned- she’s got a pretty special Halloween tale coming your way next week ;)
Our marketing manager Jess swung by make sure everything was running smoothly and lend a hand (literally!).
And (of course) BM’s head honcho, and creative genius, Mr Lillis.
Once the team had assembled, and we had a motivational pep talk from the bossman, it was time to get cracking.
Once the set is ready, it’s time to test out the composition and the lights.
We shoot, and quickly check how everything is coming up on the camera. Emphasis on quickly – we only had one day to shoot 3 different scenes!
Sometimes we make a few changes to the composition of a shot. We generally go in with a pretty solid idea of what shots we need. Some stuff works, some stuff we have to work through to make a lil’ better. This can be stressful sometimes (especially on days like today when have 8 hours to shoot three huge concepts) but we usually get there in the end. It’s kind of like playing model twister. ‘What if we switched her out, and put her arm through here?’
Shooting three cheesy horror movies in 8 hours was crazy ambitious. Probably (as I would hear in many meetings after) ‘Too ambitious, Charli.’ Somehow though, we pulled it off.
I think the biggest lesson I personally took away from this shoot was people power. Even if you have a whole heap of crazy cool ideas, they’re only ever as good as the people who bring them to life (and the time you have do it in plays a part too!). So shoot peeps, thank you. THANK YOU!!
Whether they dripped wax, dobbled fake blood, spent 10 hours editing one image, or carted 25kg of sand on and off a set full of dog bones, each person on this shoot gave their everything (and then some) without complaint. In fact, they did it with a whole heap of passion. That, I think, is what we’re all about. Working hard to make cool stuff. We love it. And when we see you guys getting excited about our stuff, it makes the whole not sleeping, dropping hammers on toes (actually happened – I am a disaster), and being perpetually covered in paint thing so very, very worth it.
Til next time,