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    This week, as promised, a sneak peek behind the curtain at the making of our family-made short sci-fi film…

    ‘STRYDER’ – The movie.

    Click the image to watch the film, then read on and be bedazzled at how we made it (no sequins were harmed during the making of this film).

    'STRYDER' the movie

    Click to play

    So…How did we do it?

    Lying down, standing up, bent over the car seat and squatting on our haunches…basically. (You won’t believe how limber we are).

    The whole thing was entirely made and put together using the smallest production company in the world…my index finger! (When I say ‘my’ I really mean, ‘our’, as sometimes it was Mumma’s index finger — okay, this is getting weird), all on my iPad-3. I storyboarded key scenes using a simple app called, Sketches. I kept the drawings so simple that a child could understand them, (that’s my excuse). Funny how if I showed them to someone and said Indy drew them, they’d compliment the crap out of them but if I said it was me, I get the raised eyebrow and the ‘geez, my two year old can draw better than that,’ remark.

    We actually filmed in 3 different locations in 2 different states: (Consciousness and Unconsciousness). All the scenes of me in the car, the missile explosions and the Stryder walking up the driveway, were filmed in country NSW, where I was approached by concerned elderly onlookers checking if I was okay. They saw me lying in the driveway and thought I’d been run over. Assuring them I was completely fine, I’m just ‘filming my robot’, did absolutely nothing to alleviate their fears for my safety, but somehow raised concerns for their own? Damn judgemental eyebrows. Bad weather and evading authorities meant we had to flee the state to finish the rest.

    All the shots of Indy in the car and his smokin’ reveal were filmed in our driveway at home in Melbourne, and the rest in our backyard. Rather than set our child alight, in order to add smoke to Indy’s reveal, we held incense sticks under the iPad lens so the smoke would waft up into the shot. For Indy’s costume, we bought two sets of the same clothes and burned holes in one set with a lighter and Mumma’s skill at applying makeup in a kayak during turbulent weather, really paid off to complete his look. (Incidentally, it was her idea to ‘blow-up’ Indy. Decapitation was also on the cards but what can you do, ‘rock’ beats ‘scissors’).

    If you thought the special effects looked like they were right out of Star Trek, it’s because I had a little help from visionary Star Trek director, JJ Abrams, and his production team at Bad Robot Interactive (how ironic), on my case. For a fist full of dollars (well, half a fist really. Maybe just a nub?), you can purchase their Action Movie FX app which I used to film the transporter and missile FX. The transporter shots I filmed twice.  Once with nothing in the frame, then again with the Stryder in the frame, then spliced them together in post-production. The missiles were easy-peasy, just point and click. Point the iPad camera at the car and hit the app button for 10 sec. The app creates the missiles itself and saves it to your camera roll. Putting out the fire afterwards is your concern…or your neighbours?

    The other FX app I used is Exploder CAM™, which I used to create the laser beams from our prop sonic screwdrivers to blow up the Stryder. The ashen remains was just dirt from the garden spattered about. Then I simply used the iMovie App to assemble it all together. The trickiest bit of all, was trying to get a 19 month old toddler to look where you want them to look or do what you want them to do. Just like a husband, really?

    Our rule of thumb was, if it’s not fun for him, it’s no fun for us. So make it as fun as possible, jump around like an idiot off camera, wave monkeys around in their eyeline and just point the camera at them. They’ll do whatever they do and you just go with it.

    And as you saw, he had a ball making it and so did we. Hope you enjoyed it.

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