Thursday, 31 December 2009

Call for hobbits - Update 31/12/2009

Note that my earlier post on sending in your photos to the studio is NOT an official Casting Call - it is merely a replacement address for the obviously wrong information posted previously on some other blog that had been widely distributed online.

As far as I can tell, Altan Baltes (the author of that blog) is in the business of collecting $50 of anyone who wants their name and photos sent to publicly available studio addresses. It seems odd to me that you'd want to spend $50 for something you can do for free, but hey, if that's what you want to do, go for it. I suspect he got the addresses from (a) the phone book, (b) the yellow pages, or (c) a hat.

NB - If you want to send me $50, i'll happily drink it away in the nearest pub make sure your photo gets to the studio. Trust me.

There was a recent TORn message that suggested the address I posted may be wrong, but I assure you, your photos will reach the right people. TORn does not in fact, contradict my message - essentially what Xoanon is saying is that the actual OFFICIAL casting call will come approximately February of 2010. Xoanon has sent me a message about who his source is, and both our sources are very high up, and talking to each other.

The official casting call will come from the official sources, of which I am NOT one. I don't think TORn is an official channel either, but they have far better contacts than I have, so perhaps it will be through them. I promise I will post any information I have for all to see when it happens.

So, to recap:
  1. The addresses posted on the Acting Auditions blog are wrong.
  2.  The address I posted on my blog is correct - for now. There isn't an official call for extras yet though, but your photos will be kept until they need them.
  3. Around February, there will be a "proper" call for extras, through the official channels. I'll post anything I hear.
  4. As always, keep an eye on both my blog AS WELL as
  5. Send your photos with your contact details and any other information (age, location, availability, etc) to the studio, and wait. If they need more information, they will let you know in good time.
  6. DO NOT HASSLE THE STUDIO PEOPLE - they will make up their mind about hiring you much sooner (ie, "no thanks, we don't need psychos or stalkers on this movie").

I know everyone is very excited by this movie but we must let them move at their own time. Peter Jackson keeps assuring us that everything is still very much on schedule, and he knows  what he's talking about.

Something else too - I can not help you with visa applications, casting applications, or your shoelaces. Please don't ask. I can only offer my personal, non-professional advice (or indeed, downright UNprofessional advice), but I'm probably not the right person to ask. Please do your own homework first.

And one other thing - I've been asked a few times if there's an age limit for applications. I haven't heard about one, and I'm assuming there isn't one. There are often child roles in big movies, and I don't see why The Hobbit would be any different. I'm sending in photos for my youngest son who is 15 years old. Think about it - did you see any kids or teenagers in LOTR? Right, so apply already!

Good luck, and may the most interesting looking people get in!

  - Jack

PS - have a very exciting New Year everybody!!!

Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Cameras rolling???

Wow, interesting phonecall I just had. One of my contacts called me, identified himself as one of Saruman's spies (no, really!), and told me about his day. He mentioned he'd just run into a friend of his, who met up with an actor friend who was in town this week. Oddly, this actor said she'd been on camera already, for the new PJ movie. A quick double take confirmed that it was none other than - The Hobbit!

Cameras rolling already??? What??!?

So keeping in mind you heard it here (first hand), I heard it from a spy (second hand), who heard it from an unnamed friend (third hand), who got it from the horse's mouth (fourth hand information). So it's bound to be 100% true, right???

My suspicion, if it's true at all, is that it might have been an audition or something. I really don't think they've started filming already.

But it's kinda exciting to think it might have begun, isn't it?

  - Jack M, spreading a few more rumours before the end of the year... :)

Monday, 28 December 2009

Call for Hobbit Extras - for real this time!

After all that excitement a few weeks ago about the "official" Hobbit casting call that turned out to be mostly  bogus, I've done a little hunting around talking to people here in Wellington, New Zealand.

Here are the issues:

  • The personal blog (ie, not official studio site) where the bogus casting call was posted on mentions that "principal photography is tentatively scheduled to begin in New Zealand around May or June, 2011". As we've already found out from fairly official channels (eg, Peter Jackson himself), principal photography is scheduled to begin as early as March or April 2010. Why would they be asking for extras 18 months before they need them?
  • The  address given for the Principle Acting Casting Director, Liz Mullane, is not the correct address to send CV's to. It appears to be some sort of street address in an Wellington suburb, where as far as I can tell, the only businesses are the local fish'n'chips shop and the pub. I would not recommend sending any CV's to this address if you want to hear back from Liz Mullane Casting. Generally, actors are expected to go through their agents anyway, so principle actors wouldn't personally apply for roles in any case.
  •  The address given for the Extras Casting Director, Miranda Rivers, may well be right but it's also not official. I've not chased this one up at all, because I have the correct address (see later on this page).

So, the lesson, as Peter Jackson reminded us in the latest video clip, is "never believe anything you read on the internet (apart from this site, which is 100% accurate, all the time)". Ok, he wasn't talking about my site but it still applies, I think.

Now for the good news - I've been talking to my contact at Three Foot Seven Limited, the company here in Wellington who is actually making The Hobbit, and I have received permission to publish the ACTUAL address to send your Hobbit Extras application to.

First though, some helpful advice for applying:

  1. They will only consider you for a role if you can actually work in New Zealand. That is, you MUST have NZ Tax number. If you do not have one, do not bother to apply, you'll only be wasting their time (and yours). So, you must be either a NZ Citizen or Permanent Resident or have a temporary working visa that would see you through the entire filming schedule. NZ law says we must hire locals before we can even consider bringing in overseas people, unless they perform a task that can not be performed by locals (eg, principle actors). Extras are totally replacable. Think of extras as glorified props.
  2. It appears they will only accept physical mail, not email or fax.
  3. They will be looking for clear photographs of your head, straight on and profile, and also a full bodyshot (clothed, please!) face on as well as profile. It helps if they can see how many limbs you still have, for instance.
  4. Once you have sent them the photos and a return address, they will in all likelihood send you a proper application form with a bunch of relevant questions - other skills, measurements for clothing sizes, shoe sizes, that sort of thing. So, make sure you send them your return address.
  5. Do not bother to tell them what you think you'd be most suitable at (hobbit, elf, human, orc, whatever). They will decide that on viewing the photos. Generally, most people will want to be a hobbit or an elf anyway, but will end up being an orc or a dead dwarf, and in the background. Still sound like fun? Read on! :)

The address to send your photos to :

Hobbit Extras Application
3 Foot 7 Limited
PO Box 15104
Wellington 6243

After that, just wait. If they like your face, I'm sure they'll be in touch. If you don't hear from them, obviously you're just too ugly. Or, not ugly enough. I'm not quite sure how that works. :)

  - Jack M.

Thursday, 17 December 2009

Two months left for King Kong ship...

The ship used by Peter Jackson for the movie King Kong is finally to be turned into a diving attraction, somewhere off the Wellington south coast.

The aging fishing vessel, originally named "Manuia" and built in the Netherlands in 1965, was bought for the King Kong production around 2004. It was heavily modified by the Weta Workshop to resemble an old 1890's ship, complete with smoke-stack. The original red/green colours were replaced with black, yellow and rust coloured paint, and the general shape was changed as well.

After the movie was completed, it stayed on the edge of the Miramar peninsula, where it's been moored ever since.

Now, word has it that the King Kong ship is finally going to be sunk, around mid February 2010. This has been widely expected for about three years now but the signs are pretty solid this time. Slowly, the ship is being stripped of all furnishings and non-sinkable items, and anything environmentally unfriendly. It is my expectation that it will be towed out to sea and scuttled somewhere near Wellington waters, to attract divers.

Before it's completely stripped, I hope to get a few choice souvenirs off it, if there's anything left - I know for instance that a lot of the external rivets on the hull exterior are fake, and would make great collectible items.

NB - the horizontal line of rivets is has a gap where the paint has flaked
off, taking the rivets with it - obviously glued on to the side.

Let me know if anyone is interested - I can't make any promises but I'll see what I can do!

  - Jack M

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Update on casting call - READ THIS before you send your photos in...

While I've been hammering away on the look of the blog, here's been a few things happening here in Wellywood circles as well. By now you will have heard that a casting call has been announced by an American casting agency.

I'm not 100% convinced that it's all correct - the Actors Call address isn't at the studio, and the Extras Call address is different from the one I was given by Peter Jackson's office a few months ago. The few people I've spoken to in the last two days tell me their agents know nothing about any of this - you'd expect Wellington's own agencies to be in the loop before the internet announcements come through?

I will be contacting some people in the next few days to see if I can verify any of this officially, and I'll drop a note here. And on Twitter, and on Facebook!

For now though,make sure you send them only copies, so you can send them again when the call comes through from a NZ channel (for instance, your agents, or the Dominion Post). Kristin Thompson from The Frodo Franchise wrote a good article about how it all went the last time, during the King Kong days.

The best strategy as always : hope for a role, expect a rejection.

Hard hats please, heavy construction going on...

First of all I wanted to thank everyone for their great comments, suggestions and wellwishes. Positive criticism is always a huge energy boost, not to mention good for the ego!

As you can see I've been working hard on implementing some of the suggestions you've all given me. There's a button for adding me to your RSS reader (the +Google button), I've set up a Twitter feed (#nznoldor), and I'm currently working on Facebook as well, although that's proving to be a bit of a hassle.

I've never been a big fan of the Facebook look, but it's very useful for getting hold of people. So apart from my personal page, I've now set up a NZ Noldor page on it. You should be able to become a fan of it by clicking on one of the buttons on the right here.

I've tested everything as much as possible but let me know if anything doesn't work yet, I'll fix it as soon as possible.

  - Jack

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Blog feedback wanted - how am I doing?

Hi y'all! Hope you're all enjoying my little corner of the blogosphere!

I just wanted to make a few things clear about the purpose of this blog. There seems to be no lack of Hobbit Rumours blogs around - I'm currently subscribed to about a half dozen or so. The big one of course is (or TORn, to the initiated). You may have noticed that I've put their headlines into the side bar of this page. I'd be a fool to try to compete with them, and that was never my intention.

However, I've noticed that most of the other blogs seem to delight in reposting TORn's items on their own pages. This seems a bit pointless to me, as I'm assuming that most Hobbit fans will already have a permanent link to TORn anyway, so the link (and soon after, the blog) just becomes noise in an already noisy world.

Which brings me to the purpose of my blog. My blog isn't a high-volume one. Sometimes I'll not hear anything interesting for a week or two, other times I'll suddenly have half a dozen items in one day. In general I try to only write about local Wellington related news that I've come across myself. I have a good network of spies out there, some of whom have little or no access to the internet (I know, who'd believe that!... ((you know who you are, B&M))) :)

I always copy my entries to TORn's spy report email address - sometimes they think it's worthy of spreading further; sometimes they don't. That's cool - I'm always honoured to be mentioned by them. However, since they don't always feature all my entries, it's worth adding my blog (or my RSS feed) to your newsfeeds, if you want to stay up-to-date with the latest local rumours and news. I'm fully expecting to have a big increase in cool news in the coming months - that's the whole reason I started writing them up in the first place!

I'd like to ask a favour of you all - can you tell me what else would you like to see? Should I add a Facebook group you can become a fan of? A twitter feed? A usable email address? Something else? Leave me a quick message here with suggestions - I'd love to hear from you!

One request I've often had from my tour guests is why I don't sell t-shirts or other merchandise, either on the tour or here online. Simply put, I've generally concentrated on being a tourguide rather than becoming a retailer, and let's face it, there's already plenty of online shops to choose from.

Having said that, I've recently been playing on, and I've designed a basic t-shirt that I think looks quite cool. Would there be any interest in stuff like this? Do you like this one? Do you think it's the most awful design you've ever seen? Should I stick to guiding and blogging? Don't hold back! Tell me!

Get off the road, Wellington, NZ shirt

I often have access to local items that Weta Cave can't sell online for legal reasons (some of the LOTR related stuff can't be sold outside of NZ - please don't ask me for a legal explanation but that's what they've told me). I'm quite happy to buy off Weta Cave at their retail prices and pass them on to anyone out there, if there's interest in that. For instance, they've just started selling an ultra cool Sauron t-shirt designed by Daniel Falconer that they can't sell online - let me know if anyone is interested in one.

One cool shirt - it's just under $nz50.
Get in touch if you're keen on one
(I'll add a small fee for p&p and my time).

The floor is open - let me know your thoughts!

  - Jack M.

The Hobbit location in Upper Hutt's Harcourt Park?

This just in - I've just heard from a very reliable source that Upper Hutt will be overrun by a large film crew, come February 2010. My source mentioned it would probably be in the vicinity of Harcourt Park, which was of course the location for the gardens of Isengard, where Gandalf arrives on his horse and tells Saruman that he's found the One Ring.

Harcourt Park is a very green park full of grass, trees and shrubs, and was primarily used in LOTR to give Isengard a "cultured, English garden" look. I'm having a hard time picturing it as anything other than Isengard. The only Hobbit location I can think of would be Beorn's house, but that's just speculation, of course.

Technically, Isengard doesn't appear in The Hobbit book, although if the script includes the White Council sequences as widely reported, then we may yet see a return to the tower of Orthanc during the time that Saruman is still a good guy.

There is another possibility - Upper Hutt was also used for various river locations, notably the River Anduin and the scene where Brego rescues Aragorn from the (unnamed) Middle-earth river. There are a few rivers in The Hobbit story, so it might be a completely different location altogether.

If the crew arrives as early as February, they must be building quite a significant filmset, given that Peter Jackson has just announced that filming won't begin until mid 2010. To put that in perspective - Rivendell took almost three months to build, and Edoras took almost eight months. Helms Deep and Minas Tirith took about two months each. If they start building in Upper Hutt in February, and filming doesn't begin until June, that might be quite a major set by the time they're done!

Anyone have any thoughts? Please leave them below!

- Jack M.