Behind the Scenes – Making the HUMAN Book Trailer

Creating and producing the book trailer was a really new experience for me, and one I won’t easily forget. It was absolutely fantastic.

The cast and crew were terrific and we even celebrated our cinematographer Fil’s birthday on set with a cake (and I really appreciate him working on his birthday!). Clayton, our film director and editor had each shot meticulously planned out and worked long hours figuring out the most appropriate sets, lighting and sound issues to make each scene work. Working with Fil behind the camera, the two guys were completely focused and masterful in achieving an immersive story in a two-day shoot (and so much lugging of very heavy, very expensive camera equipment!)

Filip behind the camera and Clayton directing, with Jasmine performing a tricky ‘one-take’ shot.

Sonja, the 1st AD (Assistant Director) had us organised and on time as she worked ahead anticipating what each new scene might need (she’s clearly used to reading the minds of Fil and Clayton behind the camera!) Alex managed the sound recording equipment (you know those giant fluffy microphones with the long handles, they are actually as cool as they look, but so heavy (sorry Alex!) Alex composed the soundtrack (yes, played and recorded it) and brought in sound effects as well. Our make-up artist Rachel turned up each day laden with special effects make-up and hair equipment and did an amazing job transforming our main character from a mild-mannered archaeologist into a mud-covered, scratched-up cave-woman (on location in a wet forest too!).

Jasmine looking lethal!

Our actors, Jasmine and Rob did a brilliant job. In the middle of winter, Jasmine was covered in fake blood and real mud, running through the rainforest amidst mosquitoes and leeches in just a singlet and leather-hide wrap, looking like she belonged there – what a trooper! Her skill in portraying Ivy’s emotional journey, from shy romance to devastation and fierce determination speak for themselves. Rob flashed in and out of character at a heartbeat whenever the need arose on set, wonderfully portraying Ivy’s romantic lead and second main character Orrin James, who blames himself for Ivy’s disappearance and works tirelessly to bring her back from the past.

Clayton, Filip and Sonja scoping out camera angles before the cave shoot (it’s cold!)

Making the trailer was only possible because of the time put into planning every detail to make sure we made the most of each location. We shot our first day at Melbourne University, both outside location shots with the traditional sandstone buildings behind us, as well as within the Physics Department. Professor Rachel Webster is a lecturer and lead research academic at The University of Melbourne, and was kind enough to let us film in her office for the afternoon, which gave brilliant authenticity to our character, astrophysicist, Dr Orrin James.

Alex checking the microphone sound, Filip on camera and Clayton, between takes in the Geophysics laboratory at Melbourne University.

Laurence Deam, manager of the Geophysics Lab at Melbourne Uni kindly organised our time and space in his lab and even set us up with some serious live electricity courtesy of tech manager Steve Damen. We spent a long time in the GeoPhysics lab, filming a number of scenes there. Melbourne Uni was very accommodating and the Physics Department in particular, was great. Our second day was spent in the rainforest of South-East Melbourne, with mozzies, frost and mud. Jasmine, Clayton and Alex finished with a long afternoon of voice recording at our sound studio. From there, assembling the hours of footage, sound and effects into a finished piece was the hardest work of all, and that creativity and effort was completed over a number of weeks by Clayton and Alex.

Rob and Jasmine chatting between takes at Melbourne University.

With each new part that came together, I was blown away by the talent involved this team creating something extraordinary from an idea. It still astounds me. For my part, I busied myself creating and organising props, locations and scripts trying to make sure the essence of the HUMAN story was always at the heart of this cinematic experience.

The stunning fossils in Ivy’s office collection were courtesy of Crystal Universe in Port Melbourne and our featured Homo floresiensis woman was an incredible creation by the world-renowned and award-winning prosthetic and special effects team at Odd Studio in Sydney (Mad Max, Star Wars, The Great Gatsby, Superman Returns). I am so grateful for these businesses for their support.

Rachel poised for makeup fixes and Filip ready to roll as Clayton and Jasmine discuss Ivy’s cello scene.

This was a big project, that took months to co-ordinate and prepare for. But it was worth every second to see my beloved characters come to life on screen and be able to share them with you all.

Watch the full cinematic book trailer for HUMAN here, and let me know what you think in the comments!
You can find HUMAN in Paperback and Kindle on all major book retailers HERE
Ivy Carter: Jasmine O’Donnell
Orrin James: Rob Stanfield
Director: Clayton Smith
Cinematographer: Filip Milovac
Original Score & Sound Design: Alex Barry
1st Assistant Director: Sonja Milovac
Key Makeup Artist: Rachel Echols
Editing & VFX: Clayton Smith
Concept by Hayley Camille
Special Thanks to The University of Melbourne, Crystal Universe and Odd Studio for their support.