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Behind the scenes of filming at the Screen Queensland Studios

The Bachelor of Film and Television at Bond is a degree like no other. Situated on the Gold Coast, which is quickly becoming a hub for Hollywood blockbusters, Bond gives its film and television (FTV) students the chance to learn from experienced industry professionals and offers access to state-of-the-art equipment.

Current first-year FTV Bondy Loysh Cartmer was, along with a handful of other students from her cohort, recently invited to create a short film at the Screen Queensland Studios. As Australia’s third-largest film studios, Screen Queensland invests in a wide range of film and television endeavours, driving both local and international film production.

We sat down with Loysh to chat about her experience going ‘behind the scenes’ at the Screen Queensland Studios, as well as what she’s learned so far in the Bachelor of Film and Television.

Loysh Cartmer

Hi, Loysh! Tell us a bit about yourself.

I have always been fascinated by what goes on behind the scenes of film and TV production, so I decided to pursue a degree to learn all about it. I have been running my own photography business for 11 years, and have also been an extra on many television sets, for Aussie shows such as Neighbours, Underbelly, Party Tricks, House Husbands, and more. There are so many roles in the industry that it’s hard to pinpoint exactly what I want to achieve, especially considering that I am only in my first year of the degree – but I’ve always known that a career related to film and television was for me!

What do you enjoy about studying film and television at Bond?

Studying the Bachelor of Film and Television at Bond University is an incredible experience like no other; one that I’m really lucky to be a part of! Something that sets Bond apart is the industry partnerships and the academics that teach FTV courses – the University has connected with so many experts and provided a space for them to impart their knowledge and experience on the next generation of filmmakers. As part of the degree, you learn everything from cinematography and sound design to screenwriting, directing, producing, editing, and more.

Did you know? Bond University is home to The Creative Hub, Screen Queensland’s dedicated co-working space for film and TV industry professionals. 

So, what led you to the Screen Queensland Studios?

In 213 (the third semester of 2021), first-year FTV students got the amazing opportunity to produce a short film at the Screen Queensland Studios in Brisbane, which stemmed from Bond’s partnership with Screen Queensland. Derek Hall, the manager of the Studios, was invited to speak to our class and gave lots of great insight into what’s involved in hiring a professional studio space. At the end of this session, he offered for us to film in the studios for a few days for free, an opportunity that would usually cost thousands of dollars – and one we leapt at!

We were encouraged by our lecturer, Dr Darren Paul Fisher (Head of Directing – Film, Screen, and Creative Media) to really make the most of this unique chance. Throughout the semester, Darren taught us fundamental filmmaking principles such as interpreting scripts, breaking down dramatic elements, visual storytelling, time and space manipulation, and camera coverage for single- and multi-actor scenes. This really bolstered our knowledge ahead of our time at the Screen Queensland Studios.

Then, over the semester break, we collectively nominated roles for the project, met with Darren on group Zoom calls, and spent lots of time planning ahead of our shoot, which was scheduled for January 2022. Eventually, the big day rolled around – our first day on set!

Can you tell us a bit more about the project itself?

The Screen Queensland Studios is adaptable for any number of productions, but in this instance – seeing as we were accessing it for free – we were dealing with an empty warehouse, and no budget. This meant what we could produce was limited, but definitely didn’t cap our creativity! Two of the students in our class wrote a script for the project, entitled ‘Survive in Silence’. The plot follows two Australian Federal Police Counter-Terrorism Officers tasked with finding and defusing a bomb inside an army storage facility. The main challenge presented to characters in the film was defusing the bomb in complete silence, as the bomb-maker monitored their every move.

For this project, I was given the role of sound recordist, which I really enjoyed. Drawing on my past experience as a photographer, I also took stills on the day to capture the set and the whole experience. I really appreciated the opportunity to gain more hands-on experience, and to explore a variety of roles in the film and TV industry as part of this project.

Where is the film now?

I’m happy to report that the overall production was successful, and the film is now in the editing phase. We have all banded together really well throughout the two-day shoot, and now, the post-production process. We were given a kind send-off from Derek Hall, who I think loved giving most of us our very first opportunity to work in a real-life studio. He even welcomed us back for future projects!

Do you have any advice for future film and television students?

The greatest advice I can give to anyone wanting to study film and television would be to get as much experience as you can. Offer to help on other people’s films to gain more exposure. Network with others and communicate well. And, most of all, be someone who you would want to work with and always come prepared. I have had some amazing experiences on sets and have loved working with people throughout my time at Bond University so far. The academics at Bond really do know their stuff, and it is a blessing to learn from them. 2022 has only just begun, and it’s already lights, camera, action!

Image: Loysh Cartmer and Eloise Bowden

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