QPIX funds Monster short

By Andrew McMurtry

How to Make a Monster, the highest-funded short film in QPIX history, is set to wreak havoc at festivals throughout 2011.

The seven-minute film, filmed in Brisbane, is set in the back of a car, going at high speeds down a highway, under pressure from teenage hoons and an imminent birth.

With two months and $15,000 to make the film, producer Nicole Manns had to hit the ground running to get the film ready by deadline.

“We decided, being the highest-funded film QPIX have made and being all visual effect and green screen laden, that we needed to shoot it straight away,” Manns explains to INSIDEFILM.

“I basically did 16 hours a day for two weeks straight in pure pre-production, getting cast and permits and getting the crew together and catering and really pushed for time.

“We only had three days to shoot with the cast and our lead Michael Dorman [Daybreakers], who flew up from Sydney, was only available for particular dates, so we rigged an entire studio in a warehouse so we set up a green screen, lighting rig and cars in the warehouse and just shot for three days straight.”

Due to the relatively small budget for such an ambitious action-packed car chase film, the crew decided early on they would be shooting the action in front of a green screen.

However, that didn’t mean things were smooth sailing during the three-day shoot.

“We actually accidentally stole a car, and so I had to give police interviews and reports while filming when our production runner was sent to move our DP’s vehicle into designated parking that we had,” Manns laughs.

“The next day, the DP has come back and said ‘Where’s my car?’ and the runner said ‘it’s there’ and he said ‘that’s not my car’.

“It turned out that our runner had actually taken somebody else’s car that was also a white Nissan Pulsar and the DP’s keys unlocked the door and turned on the ignition so the next morning I had to ring the police and tell them that I had accidentally stolen a vehicle, and they couldn’t understand how it had happened.

“And then the same day our studio flooded because of torrential rain and one of the pipes running through the building actually exploded, so we had a foot high spurt of water coming out of the ground for about an hour and we were about two inches deep in water.”

Despite the challenges and time constraints, Manns feels a huge sense of accomplishment that the film is now almost finished.

“There hasn’t really been anything like it from young filmmakers in Queensland before and the production values of the film are incredibly high and our DP Luis Bran [The Reef], who has been in the industry for quite a while now, everyone has just pulled together and although the film isn’t finished yet, it is way beyond what I expected,” Manns says.

2011 is hopefully going to be the year for How to Make a Monster, with the film looking to do the local festival circuit before developing packages to break into the more famous and prestigious festivals such as Cannes and Sundance.

“We are definitely aiming very high with the festivals and we’ll see how it goes fingers crossed,” Manns says.

Visit the film's Facebook page.

Improvised studio in warehouse

And again…

A scene from How To Make A Monster

How To Make A Monster

The Crew