And if you can, do they need a passport? That’s just one of the more unusual questions which keep film industry travel specialists Stage and Screen on their toes.
When a life-sized robot suit needed to make the journey from New Zealand to the set of a shoot in Adelaide, Stage and Screen Team Leader, Carmel Page was up for the challenge. The robot in question was the star of sci-fi thriller I am Mother being filmed in Australia, but it took dozens of phone calls to convince the airline and customs officials that the robot wasn’t a cyborg from the future with sinister plans.
“The fact that the suit contained a lot of batteries was one of the main concerns for the airline, while customs – both in New Zealand and Australia - had a long list of hoops we needed to jump through before the ‘robot’ made the flight,” explained Carmel. But it’s not just irreplaceable props that get the VIP treatment from film industry travel specialists Stage and Screen.
Every week the Stage and Screen team are called to draw on their unrivalled film industry knowledge to solve travel issues, both big and small. From a Hollywood A-list celebrity who will only travel to Australia if they can secure two seats together – with just 48 hours notice. To finalising mountains of Carnet (international customs and temporary import-export document) paperwork for a crew bringing all of their own camera equipment into the country.
As industries go, few are more demanding that the film industry and as locations go, few are as diverse as Australia. So it’s no surprise that the number of international and local productions underway is growing, with Stage and Screen proud to cast itself as a vital member of the production.
In fact critically-acclaimed movie The Dressmaker, which debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival, had its origins in regional Victoria with Stage and Screen on call behind the scenes. While in the last year or so, Stage and Screen has also been the travel provider behind big name movies including The Incredible Mr Dundee, Angel of Mine, I am Mother, 2067 and Relic.
Recognised as a leader in the film travel business, Stage and Screen now has offices in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Auckland, Los Angeles, New York, Toronto, Vancouver and Cape Town. While the highly experienced team are used to calling in a lot of industry favours and pulling a lot of strings to make the impossible – possible.
Needless to say, bulletproof relationships with travel providers are paramount. Whether it’s finding a long-stay private house rental for an A list star that wants privacy, security and room for their whole family. Or booking accommodation for a world famous director who wants the comfort and security of a 5-star hotel, but in a residential area where they can protect their anonymity.
But it’s when heading bush, to take advantage of Australia’s unique outback locations, that the logistical complications can quickly escalate. Just try finding long stay accommodation for a cast and crew of 165 people in a small regional town! “You not only have to get creative, you also have to understand the pecking order to determine who is booked into the best available accommodation – because it’s not always the headline star,” explains Carmel. ”The directors are often celebrities in their own right.”
From air travel and car hire for the location scouts, to getting a film’s VIP stars to industry premieres and festival launches – every job is planned with the same meticulous attention to detail. And it’s fair to say that after the cast and crew, there is no one more invested in a film’s success than Stage and Screen.