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The Boys Are Back

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the boys are back

Screenplay by: ALLAN CURBITT
Director of Photography: GREG FRASER

It is not often opportunity knocks and you make a decision that changes your course for the future.

That is exactly what happened to my husband Rob and myself when Locations SA Sarah Abbey suggested our home at Myponga Beach would be an ideal location for a feature film.

Our world turned upside down when the build commenced some two months later. Big trucks and lots of tradesman under the meticulous guidance of Construction Manager John Moore for the next eight weeks custom built a beautiful house for the film The Boys are Back.

For another five weeks there were people everywhere – noise, dust, lights and yes the sounds of "quiet on set", "rolling", and "cut".

We needed to vacate our home to enable the film crew to use it for the green room, schooling for the child actors, for props and anything else that was required. We stayed with a neighbour at the beach but were welcomed daily if we wished to view filming and see to the animals. Caddy our dog just loved all the attention and befriended anyone willing to offer a leg to lean on or something to eat. The chooks got very well fed especially by Set Decorator and Props Departments. The house was engineered to withstand the weight of fully sodden AstroTurf should filming be interrupted due to the sounds of rain on the galvanised roof. When building for a film set, black felt was used in ceilings to absorb light and sound, power points visible for filming lacked wiring, toilets weren't connected to plumbing. Paint finishes were dulled down with Vegemite to avoid light reflections and spray on dirt to alter exterior wall finishes. The rear south facing wall was representative of an old house in the process of renovation and a clay like substance painted on the weatherboards enabled the paint to flake and peel away to represent neglected paint work. The roof, guttering and rainwater tanks had spray-on rust colouring and coloured mixture of paint and paper placed strategically on the tank stand represented moss. All in all smoke and mirrors – I take my hat off to the very talented crew of painters and set designers under supervision of the award winning Production Designer Melinda Dooring and Art Director Janie Parker.

Of course, always in consultation with the Director Scott Hicks and Producer Tim White and Greg Brenman.

A chook shed was built amongst a long old stone shed, and a flying fox was engineered from a tree house built amidst a huge old river red gum tree that spanned across the winter creek. A quaint vegetable garden appeared to the rear of the house and fruit was attached to the lemon tree and ripe tomatoes tied to bushes. As Jack the Greens Manager said “in this industry if you want a horse – you dress a cow”.

In eight weeks a magical lifestyle grew giving support to local and Adelaide business.

Crews worked extremely long hours working at times under difficult circumstances. Many people stayed away from their families and friends not only in Adelaide but also from interstate, working twelve hour days six days a week, and the film industry no longer appeared to us as glamour and glitz, but sheer hard work!

We were invited to the premiere. In our minds we secretly hoped for somewhere overseas like Los Angeles. But alas we attended opening night at the Piccadilly Cinema in North Adelaide. The evening was very exciting and almost surreal to see the finished product. We both felt very proud.

We were given the unique opportunity to keep the house and were required to apply to the Yankalilla Council to seek permission to do so. Many of the ceilings, permanent plumbing and electrical works, bathroom fixtures and the like had to be built to comply with strict building codes.

We decided we would turn the house into a tourist accomodation and fulfill a long standing dream to operate a Bed and Breakfast.


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