I was recently lucky enough to be invited to come along to a short film shoot for ‘The Wolf’ which was at Kryal Castle. I’ve wanted to go to Kryal Castle for years, ever since I saw their delightfully tacky ads on tv - I was totally enamoured. What was this magical medieval kingdom just 30 minutes outside of Ballarat? I’ve watched a lot of Merlin, I know what cool stuff goes down behind palace walls. But I digress - The Wolf is a short film based on the video game series The Witcher (which I have never played, but know a little about. Very little. Hardly anything at all) which is spearheaded by cosplayer Nathan Wright (Strong Like Gaston Cosplay). We’d previously worked together on a trailer for the film (our last shoot) and before that, a shoot for his Metal Gear Solid cosplay. It’s excellent to work with someone so enthusiastic and willing to go the whole nine yards for a costume, donning full armour and SFX makeup, just for fun.
We slept the night in the barracks of the castle (not as exciting as it sounds but please imagine we slept in a stone-walled room with candlelight in 4 poster beds like lords and ladies) so we could have an early start. After make-up, wigs, costume for the actors, and a quick walk around the castle for the photographer, editor, and camera crew, we headed out to the jousting arena for the first shots.
It was exactly as cold as it looks, and my pockets were filled with muesli bars. $7 for 12 has never been such a great bargain. We did our establishing shots, and the shots to set up the duel. Real swords! Well, real swords but not sharp. We also had trained knights (Dan and Chris) who work at the castle to work with fight choreography, wearing all their armour and everything. Sick.
After a little while, there were some education groups coming through so we cleared off to the throne room for a bit more action. It was nice to be indoors but it wasn’t really any less cold. I was happy though cos it had started to rain.
After a lil lunch break, we were back in the jousting arena for more fights! Now we had Chris in his full black knight getup, complete with axe that would soon be set on fire. Have you ever tried to light an axe on fire in Ballarat winds? It’s very hard.
Little bit of fake blood, little bit of fire. Just your average Tuesday.
While the boys were doing that, Kirsty and I zipped off to take some photos of her cosplay as well since she’d been waiting all day for 2 scenes. Classic.
After stuff was set on fire, it got more rainy, and it was time for horses! We worked with a bunch of horses and all of them were so pretty and good boys.
We finished up right as the weather was starting to go PROPERLY bad, raining too much for us to film, but not before we got some drone shots of the property and got a bit drenched at the same time.
On the drive home, Nathan and I stopped at McDonald’s and the attached service station had a beanie that looked like a cupcake and it was $14.99 and I bought it. What a great ending.
I play a lot of video games, but The Witcher isn’t one of them. I’m more of a Zelda: Breath of the Wild girl. Or Stardew Valley. Not that I don’t like other games, I just enjoy those more.
Nathan is a big fan of The Witcher (understandably) and has been working on his Geralt cosplay for a long time. He told me like 6 times to play The Witcher, like I got time for that. I have a farm to take care of. Mayo doesn’t make itself.
This one took a lot to get together, cos it’s a lot of makeup and driving. Make-up took about an hour before we drove 2 hours to a farm on the South Gippsland highway. We ate fish and chips in the back seat. After some location scouting on the farm, we got all our shit together to shoot. We started in a kind of a pine forest, which made horrifying sounds like all the trees were about to fall down. If you looked up you could see them all swaying and creaking. We actually found a couple of animal skulls (we think fox and sheep) that we set up for some photos - I insisted if we moved them we’d all be cursed, so I guess I’m cursed now.
We spent a while there, playing with cameras and drones etc, before we drove back up to another section of the farm. By this point, it was getting pretty dark cos we spent ages in the pine foresty bit. We were going to set up a campfire scene, but the fading light and heavy costume got us realising we maybe needed to rush. We lit a survivor tiki torch and went through a fence to a wooded area with a sharp incline to test out the light. I was pretty convinced that a single flame wouldn’t be enough light to focus a camera, but it turned out much better than I thought and we made some of the most dynamic images yet.
We definitely ran out of time for everything we wanted to do, next time we need to plan better. But we did great overall! Nathan’s wig and make-up were by Kirsty Nisbet of Twisted Gelfling Cosplay.
I used to cosplay a whole lot when I was in my early 20s, and although I don’t do it so much anymore I follow a lot of cosplay pages on Facebook. I was real excited when my friend Nathan asked if I could do some photos of his Metal Gear Solid cosplay cos he was super proud of it. And duh, I said yes. We were lucky that daylight savings was on because we didn’t get out to location until about 6:30 which would normally be already dark, and we were finished by around 8pm! It was a good chill time and you can’t even tell we’re standing next to a carpark in a residential area.
Thanks Nathan for good party time in the Dandenongs and for singin Ben Folds all the way home.
Costume & Talent: Nathan Wright
Make-Up: Kirsty Nisbet
Model: Sara Bolch
HMUA: Sara Bolch
Wardrobe: Sara Bolch/Greta Punch
I’ve been trying to work on my photography more lately. I’ve been taking a lot of paid jobs, which is excellent, but I haven’t done anything of my own creation for such a long time… maybe even since I finished at RMIT (which is 5 years ago!).
I decided to put a callout for models and artists who wanted to make some images with me just to build both our portfolios. Elijah responded and came over one afternoon - sadly we’d missed all the afternoon sun which is what I wanted to use so it was an exercise in improvisation as well. We were happy with our results! I look forward to working with Elijah a lot more, we make good stuff.
Kain, 22, Gay
When did you first realise you were gay?
When I was about five, I noticed I liked boys. And I had, like, Spice Girls posters. The first CD I ever bought was the Spice Girls. My mum was like, “Do you like boys?” and I was like “…no…”
What issues matter most to you?
I don’t have my own reality TV show, and Lara Bingle does. And that upsets me.
Emily, 17, Queer
When did you first realise you were queer?
“I think I was probably about 12 - but I didn’t start, like, toying with the possibility ‘til i was about 14, which is when i put a name to it.”
What do you think the future holds for queer people?
“I think the world’s getting much more accepting of queer people, and maybe ten/twenty years from now when acceptance is at an all-time high, that queer people will be celebrated rather than ostracised.”
Jack, 22, Gay
Who is the most important person in your life?
Mum. Mummy. She’s always there, she always will be. Until she dies, of course.
Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?
I’m either in Australia, working freelance doing something creative, or I’m overseas doing something similar. I guess… it’s really hard to project because I’m at that age in my life where I’m beginning as an adult… I don’t know, to be honest. But, I just want to be doing something creative.
Alice, 20, Queer
What issues matter to you most?
I’m pretty into feminism, intersectional feminism. So, most of my activism is concentrated into queer activism, which means at uni, at Minus18, I get involved in other projects, I have a broad sense of issue - race issues, women’s issues…
Try to imagine your life ten years from now… where are you?
At 30? I’m either a cynical burnt-out high school teacher, or I’m still really engaged in queer activism and I’ve actually managed to be in a position to do that and be financially secure.
Ella, 18, Lesbian
What do you think think the future holds for queer people?
I think it can only get better from here on. I think, in any sort of rights movement, there’s going to be steps backwards while we’re trying to move forward. People are going to do stupid things, but as an overall, even just in the time when I’ve been alive, I’ve seen such a massive change in people’s outlook, and I think it can only get better from here on.
Who knows, and how did they find out?
Pretty much anyone who’s close to me knows, my friends know because I told them, although some of them suspected it pretty early on. My family knows… well, I used to live with my grandparents and I slowly broke it to them - I gave them little pointers and then one day, quite abruptly I said “You guys know that I’m gay, right?” and… yeah, that was kind of how I came out to them.