Special Interview: Simon Van Der Spoel ‘Stalking’

theaussieword.com has a chat with ‘Stalking’ Writer and Director Simon Van Der Spoel

Currently in post production, the short film finished shooting on the 7th of February after a successful crowdfunding campaign last year via pozible, and was shot in various stunning locations throughout the Sunshine Coast in Queensland.

Synopsis: Jess and Laura are two friends on a fitness hike to a private swimming hole in a tropical jungle, whilst discussing the events and relationships they are dealing with in their lives. But they’re not alone in their journey, shadowed by a figure armed with a rifle. Danger surrounds them and survival is uncertain.

Q: What’s your background in the industry?

A: My career has been based in TV mainly, first as a news camera operator and editor for six years, and then working in Commercial Production for the last four making TVC’s. I’ve made documentaries in the past as well, the most notable of which was “Spitfire Guardians” broadcast on the History Channel and narrated by the late Bud Tingwell, so I work in TV, but I dream in film as they say.

Last year I made a concept trailer for a feature film I wrote called “Redeemed” which did get a lot of attention, and even got seen by Eric Bana, but it was massive in scope, especially for an indie film, so I’ve had to scale back my ideas to something that can actually be put into production.
Q: It seems your projects have a military angle in most of them, why is that?

A: I’ve always had an interest in the military since listening to my grandfather’s stories of WWII, and growing up reading Biggles books, the imagery associated with our armed forces and the men themselves, their stories always interested me, which increased as mates joined the infantry. In the case of ‘Stalking’ I contacted former SAS Sniper and author Rob Maylor to ask if he wanted to be involved, as I wanted a high level of authenticity of someone who actually looked and moved like they knew how to handle themselves. I was extremely lucky for him to agree to be a part of the film!

Q: How did you raise awareness of your pozible campaign?

A: I used twitter and facebook to spread the word, and utilised a pitch video about the project. The thing is, I made the video and my wife said it looked too serious, and suggested I put the bloopers in, which I did and I got more response about the fact we laughed and stuffed up, and people donated because they said we didn’t “have a pole up our butt”, we showed we were genuine ha!

Q: What was your casting process like?

A: I put out a casting call for the two female leads and got over 60 responses, from all over the east coast. We narrowed down our top 30 and set a casting date, from which 20 confirmed, and then we auditioned them, out of which we screen tested different combinations of our top 6, and decided on the talented Trudi Michelle from the Gold Coast and Morgan Allan from Brisbane.

Q: What did you shoot the film on?

A: We decided to shoot the film on the Canon 5DMKII, because the talented Director of Photography Glen Bowden owned his own gear, and his skills in shooting gorgeous women were renowned on the coast. He came with years of experience and we didn’t have to hire too much equipment because he had it all, and the DSLR style of shooting lets you shoot lean and mean, which is how I like to shoot, I’m used to being fast and self sufficient on set from my news days, and that’s how I ran the set. It worked and we got some amazing shots in a small amount of time!

I drew the entire film as storyboards and Glen and I just worked our way through the shots I had imagined months ago!

Q: Tell us about the costuming in the film.
 A: The costuming was very easy actually, I contacted Megan Gale via twitter and asked if I could use her swimwear for the girls, as they are classy characters and bright happy characters. She agreed and I bought the swimwear direct from her company Isola!  Brittney Moroko my stylist then arranged the other costumes to suit the girls, and we were away. The hair and make up was done by David Moore from Gloss Salons, who flew up from Sydney to be on set in the jungle and keep the girls looking amazing!
Because Rob Maylor is a former Sniper, and a hunter in his spare time, he had his own camouflage gear, which we used for that level of authenticity which couldn’t be done from a disposal store.  Nothing beats the real deal!

Q: What stage is the film up to at the moment?

A: I’m in the process of editing the film, which is a lot of footage to be carved into the final film, and then be graded and have the music and soundscapes put to it. I’m proud of my actors and crew to have made the film look incredible, and now it’s up to me to make the final product. I’m excited to share the teaser trailer for the film, first with TheAussieWord!

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