Giant Monster Trashes City: The Movie



PRODUCTION DIARY (by Garfield Barnard, Producer)

In the Beginning: This is, of course, a non-profit project and a good excuse to have a party, with all funding coming from my savings. There are no contracts or video sales involved, but with a little help from our friends we'll be on our way to the largest short-film festival in the universe! If any money has to be spent on this project, just get me a receipt and I'll be glad to pay you back. I need all the help and feedback I can get, so if you have any suggestions, ideas, problems or questions please call me any time.

So, the plan is to throw a Kirribilli trivia reunion over a weekend in November, enticing some of Australia's best talents with free food & drink, and using the opportunity to film a Tropfest entry for 2004. Easy. Pub Theatre regulars and other friends have graciously agreed to attend, and perhaps take a role (if their busy schedule allows):

Scott Agius * Dominic Alati * Jan Armstrong * Tony Calder (TC) * Alan Cinis * Neil Davies * Warren Evans * John Gaspar * Kym Goldsworthy * Michael Harris * Robert Hood * Gary Kennedy * Scott Kiely * Ron Lee * Wade Murray * Nikki Roberts * Barrett Skuthorpe * Karen Smith * Mark Spain * Cat Sparks * Russell Taylor * Iain Triffitt * Sue Tuckett * Vicki Walsh * Chris Wauchop * Bill Young * And Many More!

Have I missed anybody? If there is anyone else you can think of from those seminal trivia nights fifteen years ago, please contact them, or me, immediately.

Suggested dates:
(anyone can attend, but most important are the names highlighted. If any date is unsuitable for anybody, please contact me immediately).

June 18th Wednesday - Special effects production meeting.
All went well. Effects supervisor CHRIS WAUCHOP, model builder WARREN EVANS, monster maker NEIL DAVIES and CGI artist TIM NEWSOM met with director JOSH GROOM and myself. Last-minute decision to meet at my place instead of Century Tavern. Subjects discussed include actual effects filming date (October 22), effects test shots (August 31), number and scale of model buildings required, pyrotechnics, the size of the diaorama required, and what we can get away with. It was decided to shoot the final scene in four quick cut-aways: foot stomping on building, clawed hand gripping train carriages (a bullet train?), reptilian head turning away from camera, and foot rising from building, followed by dragging tail. Only three or four seconds of each. The practical effect of having a roof collapse on a group of actors will be discussed once a venue is found. Neil already has the head, arms, and feet of the monster, and will make a matching tail.

June 23rd Monday - Tropfest tag announced - "HOOK" - at author ROBERT HOOD's suggestion, we've decided to give the Major a hook for a right hand. GARY KENNEDY insists he can get a prosthetic claw, but just to cover our bets (and to appease me) I'd like the newspaper sub-headline "AIR FORCE PREPARES OPERATION SKY HOOK" or something. CAT SPARKS has volunteered to create the fake newspaper front page, a photo of which will be incorporated into the video cover. Not only that, TIM NEWSOM is looking into getting the rights to use "Horror Movie" by Skyhooks over the end credits. This would also have a subliminal meaning - when the song was first released there was no film clip, so Channel Seven put together a montage of Godzilla footage....remember that far back?

June 25th Wednesday - Set production & design meeting.
Costume provider GARY KENNEDY and assistant KAREN SMITH, sound & CGI guy TIM NEWSOM, author ROB HOOD, photographer CAT SPARKS, transport captain MICHAEL J. HARRIS, director JOSH GROOM and I met at the Century Tavern, my shout. Josh has agreed to organise photography and lighting, and Film Make-Up Technologies have agreed to help us with basic make-up but we're still looking suitable studio/set. Gary seemed confident in finding a suitable venue, but I'm making enquires through corporate leasing, as well. We need at least 8 x 8 metres, well-lit, no windows, to move into for a week to prepare the set before rehearsing on the Saturday afternoon, filming on the Sunday afternoon. Everyone's help is required finding suitable set pieces. Gary's extensive costume collection will supply us with three matching soldier uniforms for the opening sequence, the Major (or some other high-ranking uniform) with a hook for a hand, half-a-dozen lab coats, hard hats, professorial tweeds, smoking pipes, I.D. tags and associated props.

July 16th Wednesday - Actors/director meeting I.
The Royal Hotel at 156 Norton Street, Leichhardt after 7pm - my shout. BILL, KYM, JAN, SCOTT and BARRETT finally met JOSH. MICHAEL and STEPHANIE took a few photos, while I had dinner. Gary, Ron, Wade, Alan, and Mark were unable to make this meeting, so a second has been arranged for Sunday 27th July. Discussion included final decision who's for what role and how that character can be portrayed, and what everybody can contribute (not just performance, but suggestions, ideas, props, anything). The entire meeting went well, no fights started, no-one stormed out, everything still running smoothly.

July 18th Friday - Manager Fred Lukabyo has given permission to use TCS car park for the opening exterior shots. All liability and responsibilty falls to me, so DON'T break a leg....

July 27th Sunday - Actors/director meeting II.
Leichhardt Royal Hotel, 1.00 pm Sunday afternoon. Actors ALAN & MARK and special effects people NEIL & TIM attended to discuss the film test late next month. Josh was in Kenya, Gary was in Adelaide and Ron was in Canada. Everybody was invited because they screened a couple of our short films in the hotel on the day. "The Making Of A Film" was judged best movie! "Coven" and "News For Wombats" will be screened late September.

August 30th Saturday - Actors/director meeting III.
The final actors meeting, introducing Josh to Alan, Mark, Ron, Russell, etc. Royal Leichhardt Hotel for lunch - my shout - about 3.00 pm at 156 Norton Street. Wade Murray is currently in Hong Kong. It may also be the best time to discuss cutting the script down to a workable seven minutes. I've just received Rob's cut, and in combination with my cut and Josh's cut, I'm sure we can do it. Due to a major computer virus, my e-mail system is a little stuffed up, but with Michael and Tim's help it'll back up-and-running in no time. Tim is awaiting reply on availability of the Skyhooks song "Horror Movie" - he seems very confident that it won't cost much - and Nikki Roberts has joined the team as make-up artist.

September 14th Sunday - Another virus! Due to Warren's flu, the special effects test has been postponed till today at 61 Hilma street, Collaroy. WARREN, CHRIS, NEIL, TIM, JOSH, SCOTT, STEPHANIE, MICHAEL, GARTH and me over at Warren's place anytime at 1.00 pm. Tested for the right explosion look, the right collapsable models, the right camera speed, etc. We spent most of the daylight hours working on the "foot" shot, deciding on a harmless miniature bang made from LEDs and match-heads. We got the final excellent example shot around 5.00 pm just in time for people to start going home. The monster's claw and head will be shot against blue-screen. Although everything went well, we didn't get the actual shots that day. That's Sunday October 12th. Warren & Chris have found a substance that breaks apart like cement, Neil is making a monster tail out of foam rubber, and Tim is supplying the pyrotechnics.

October 8th Wednesday - Interiors confirmed! The Australian Academy Of Dramatic Arts have offered us a couple of rooms to use on Sundays and Saturday afternoons - free of charge! Located on the third floor of The Centre, 46-58 Holt Street, Surry Hills, Josh and I have an appointment to see the spaces on Sunday afternoon after the film comp at the Royal Hotel. We start arranging for set pieces on Monday. Next Wednesday at TCS has been confirmed by Mr. Lukabyo - get ready!

October 10th Friday - Our first little hitch - Gary Kennedy and Russell Taylor have swapped roles due to Gary's work commitments.

October 12th Sunday - Leichhardt Royal Hotel, 156 Norton Street.
1.00 pm upstairs in the bistro. Not really a meeting, but the second round of shorts in competition including "Coven" and "News For Wombats" were shown - my shout, as usual. Appointment to meet VICKI WALSH, the manager of the A.A.D.A. at 4pm to inspect the spaces with TIM, MARK, NIKKI and me. JOSH couldn't make it due to other film commitments. The rooms are perfect! The good news is the two rooms chosen at the Academy are right next to each other - one room draped entirely in black, the other exactly the same size. We have them most of Saturday and all of Sunday. Let's get those set-pieces ready.

October 15th Wednesday - Filming opening exterior sequence.
Shooting at TCS/CCN taxi base 9-13 O'Riordan Street, Alexandria. 10 pm till 1 am. On time and on budget so far! Why so late on a week night? Fewer cars, fewer people, fewer problems with public liabilty, better control of the environment. We required only five or four camera set-ups, so we finished a little early. Soldiers played by TCS employees SCOTT AGIUS and BARRETT SKUTHORPE, with WADE MURRAY acting as security, RUSSELL TAYLOR as the Convenor, director JOSH GROOM, photographer SCOTT KIELY, make-up artist NIKKI ROBERTS and myself. GARY supplied his Jeep to arrive in, and STEPHANIE supplied lights to see it. MICHAEL J. HARRIS was also required to play the Convenor's driver in military costume. The crew and actors gathered around 9pm at the nearby Green Square hotel, 936 Bourke Road, Alexandria, about three blocks from TCS base. Actors were all asked to bring black trousers and shiny black shoes/boots and GARY supplied the miltary shirts.

October 19nd Sunday - Filming final effects sequence.
CHRIS WAUCHOP, WARREN EVANS, TIM NEWSOM, NEIL DAVIES, JOSH GROOM, SCOTT KIELY, MICHAEL HARRIS and myself, filming at 61 Hilma street, Collaroy, at 12 noon. Still on schedule, still under budget! We wrapped it up by 6.00 pm, with several large explosions and blue-screen shots. We've now got a beginning and an end - now we need the middle bit....

October 26 Sunday - We checked out the sets and available props with manager Vicki Walsh Friday arvo at 6.00 pm at The Centre, level 3, 46-58 Holt Street, Surry Hills, the Australian Academy of Dramatic Art. Josh Groom, Tim Newsom, Neil Davies, and myself. Besides the set, we have just as much extra space for make-up, costuming and catering.

November 9th Sunday - Begin preparing studio/set - Props required include banks of computer monitors, looped read-outs and pictures supplied by TIM NEWSOM, coffee mugs, ashtrays, water jugs, six clocks representing world times, banner, map, and other props supplied by GARY KENNEDY. The Academy has offered a suitable conference table and chairs.

November 15th Saturday - Level 3, 46-58 Holt Street, Surry Hills, the Australian Academy of Dramatic Art. Those pesky drama students insist on being educated, so unfortunately the rooms will not be available until around 5.00 pm on Saturday, but we've still got all of Sunday! Sorry if we have to cram. There will be people, or signs to direct you to the set. Besides the set, we have just as much extra space nearby for make-up, costuming and catering. Parking is reasonable on the weekends - the parking bays are free on the weekends according to Vicki, as well a parking in nearby Devonshire street. I'll be happy to pay any parking fees, but any parking fines incurred will have to be the individuals responsiblity (that didn't sound too ruthless or mercenary, did it?). We have a set completely draped in black already, and a bank of nine television monitors are being organised through Richard Newton at Videowall audio/visual. With sharp "Thing"-like dialogue and the brilliant talent we have involved, how can we go wrong? The videowall should arrive around 4.30 pm. Dinner on Saturday by 6.00 pm. Rehearsals, final costume and camera set-ups from around 5.00 pm till evening. Free food & drinks. Everyone's invited!

November 16th Sunday - Primary filming from noon till early evening. Free lunch around 1.00 pm and dinner around 6.00. Wrap party. Free grog. Everyone's invited!

December - Editing & opticals.

January - Sound & music.

February - Tropfest!

Aftermath - Note to Cast and Crew
"Giant Monster Trashes City has NOT made it into Tropfest. Don't forget, last Cannes Film Festival the short film prize was won by "Cracker Bag", a Tropfest loser (I don't envy the judges, with a thousand movies to choose from). Our film WILL be sent to dozens of other festivals and conventions world-wide, I'm discussing the possibility of it being shown through Dendy theatres. I'll keep you up-to-date if we do win anything, and I'll get you a copy of the video by mail (or I'll invite myself over for dinner one night using the video as an excuse).

What some consider genius is often nothing more than good luck. I'm lucky because I have no enemies. I have a lot of friends who dislike me, but no actual enemies. It's impossible to achieve anything worthwhile without the help of others. I'd like to thank Scott Agius, Dom Alati, Jan Armstrong, T.C., Alan Cinis, Neil Davies, Warren Evans, John Gaspar, Kym Goldsworthy, Josh Groom, Robert Hood, Gary Kennedy, Scott Kiely, Ron Lee, Steph Lennon, Wade Murray, Tim Newsom, Chris Newton, Nikki Roberts, Barrett Skuthorpe, Karen Smith, Mark Spain, Cat Sparks, Keiron Summers, Russell Taylor, Iain Triffitt, Sue Tuckett, Vicki Walsh, Chris Wauchop, Rocky Wyzenbeak, Bill Young, and everybody else! Somebody asked me how many people worked on the film - I said about half of them.

The film was dedicated to Godzilla, celebrating his 50th birthday this year, to Roger Corman, arguably the most influential man in Hollywood today, and to the creator of 'Bambi Meets Godzilla', Marv Newland, who proved the most simple short film can be remembered forever.

Producers happily assemble the best creative forces available - the writer, the director, the actors - all hands combine to fashion an outstanding short film, perhaps the first of its kind. Viewers will look at this work with varying degrees of pleasure and interest, then toddle off to bed. If all goes well, the critics will say 'Above Average' and his friends will say they're proud. Then suddenly it's all over, to be vaguely remembered for a few hours, a few days. Roses bloom longer. There is no elevator to success - I tried to take the stairs. To a solitary man, good friends are everything - like jockeys legs, they are few and far between." Garfield

Giant Monster Trashes City premiered at the Sour Grapes Film Festival 2004 at the Fox Strudio Comedy Store in Sydney on Saturday, July 10, 2004.

During August it was shown on Channel 31 in Brisbane, Melbourne, Adelaide and Canberra.

It was screened at The Second Scoop Of Eyescream at the Paddington RSL club on Halloween Sunday 31 October, as part of a program that included: The Bomb (Sixxx Legs), in which a perverted scientist peers into his microscope to view his own private peep show of an insect strip club called 'Sixxx Legs' (directed by Eddie White, SA); and Apocalypse Meow, in which a lonely fugitive battles to keep his insanity in a hostile future world (directed by Chris Newton, NSW).

A DVD is on the way!

Anyone seeking further information on the film or wishing to organise screenings may contact Barnard's Star Productions by email at

For those who want to know what it's all about,
the original story upon which the film was based is available on-line. Just click on the icon below.

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Copyright © 2003 Barnard's Star Productions


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