Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Update on Noldor Blog

After an extended blogging sabbatical, it's probably high time I started updating this thing again. :)  Truth be told, I just  haven't heard anything newsworthy recently, or at least nothing that wasn't already widely reported by other sources. I think we all know by now that Guillermo del Toro has walked away from The Hobbit production. I have very little else to add on that matter except to say I'm genuinely sorry to see him leave the project. I had the pleasure of meeting the man on several occasions, and he struck me as perfect for the job, also given his previous movies. Alas, it was not meant to be.

On a personal note, I've "pulled a Del Toro" myself (as a friend of mine phrased it so delicately). After working for only three and a half days over the last two months,  I've decided to resign from Flat Earth Tours. I still think they have a lot to offer people - they also run Wine Tours, Cultural Tours, Wellington Historical Tours, etc, but anyone who knows me will realise I need more Tolkien in my life than they were offering me. It wasn't a decision I took lightly, but a necessary one. I have rent to pay and cats to feed!

So I'm considering all my options, of which I'm sure to write about at length, at a later date. In the meantime, I know some of you were planning to come to New Zealand on one of my tours with Flat Earth - if you're already booked in with them, I'd say stick with that booking (ask for Todd, he's a fantastic guide as well). If you were hoping to have me as your guide, I can run a private tour instead, but please get in touch with me as soon as possible so I can arrange dates etc.

I'm not sure what the future holds, but it's pretty bright. There's lots of excitement on the horizon - apart from anything else, The Hobbit will surely start at some point. If you been following me on Facebook or Twitter, you'll know that I like to drop obscure hints about rumours I am not allowed to speak openly about - I've been hearing from almost all my studio contacts that the mood is very hopeful, closer to the sources. Surely the MGM creditors must by now realise that the longer they wait, the less money this project will make since all the good people are leaving (no, not me, I meant GDT, dummy!). Time is of the essence. If the first Hobbit movie is rubbish, there will be less audience for the second one, so the stakes are high to do it right. Perhaps Peter Jackson will direct after all (or should I say "Derek"?) ...

Few other things have happened here in Wellington of late. Richard Taylor has turned into Sir Richard Taylor, although Tanya Rodger was passed over for a Queen's honour (this time). Sir Ian McKellen arrived here today for a week to perform a play. And we're expecting there will finally be a "Wellywood" sign in our hills, but that seems to be dragging its feet. I'll be amongst the first to post photos when it happens, I hope!

One small but significant event on the horizon - the Weta Cave has announced that they will be closing for a few days in August (from the 9th to the 13th), for their now annual makeover. No word on what the new displays will be, I couldn't get anything useful from Anna, although Steve mentioned that some of it may be from "one of the movies he's in" - I didn't actually realise he was in anything, so that didn't help me at all - thanks Steve! :)

If you haven't been to the Weta Cave since before July last year, get there quickly before they change everything again - and then revisit after August the 13th for the new stuff!

Hopefully I'll have more news for you again soon. Keep watching!

  - Jack M.

Wellington NZ casting update - finally!?!

UPDATE  Thu 2010-07-01 - 10:09 - ...and Star Now has now also closed applications. False alarm, folks - The Hobbit has not started yet, no agency should be taking your money just yet.
UPDATE  Tue 2010-06-29 - 18:41 - it looks like the Hobbit references have been wiped off their site again. Hold on while they stabilise...

The information is still listed here on this "talent-supplier-to-other-agencies", Star Now Ltd. Let's see how long till they fold as well.
UPDATE  Tue 2010-06-29 - 17:21 - the information has also just appeared on Kam Talent's own website. Apply through their site if you live in Wellington!

I've just been alerted to some exciting news (thanks Heike!) - Auckland based Talent agency called Kam Talent is setting up an office in Wellington, and is looking for Hobbit Extras and Featured Extras! Peter Jackson's office is NOT yet involved though - so I 'd be a little cautious about getting over-excited just yet.

My source at 3'7" Limited, the company who will eventually be shooting The Hobbit, has indicated that there is no green light yet - and "WHEN and IF we have a greenlight and shoot start date, we will set up our own extras team who will sort through the mountain of applications we already have, whether they are with an agent or not. People should look out for official casting calls in local newspapers, or join a local Wellington agency" (my bolding and emphasis).

My suspicion is that perhaps Kam Talent is jumping the gun a little, so that when 3'7" Ltd actually has their real casting calls, they will be able to supply the studios with a ready-made list of potentials. So before you read the rest of this entry - be aware this is STILL NOT and official casting call. That WILL still come, and you'll hear it from the studio, most likely either through this blog, or through The One Ring blog.

That said, read on! This information came from Kam Talent themselves. Kam Talent was also involved with The Lord Of The Rings casting, as well as a host of other productions, so it probably is all on the level. At the time of writing, this information does not yet appear on their own website, but I'm sure it's only a matter of time. A quick call to their Auckland office confirmed that they are definitely looking for people.

The information I've received suggests they are looking for people of any gender, aged 5 to 70, physically fit and natural looking men, woman and children of all nationalities and shapes and sizes. Also, men, woman and children with natural long hair - men with beards/mustache and character faces would be an advantage. I guess I will start growing my moustache again!

Furthermore, and this is the news we're all waiting for - "We are looking for small adults that are five (5) foot and under". Um, three foot seven, perhaps?

If you have children who are interested (or you are a child!), make sure you know that they need to be self-confident, and are able to listen to directions, and follow orders. All children should of course be accompanied by their parents or guardians.

So if the studio is saying they'll hire both directly as well as through agencies - so why would you join an agency? Are there advantages? As far as I can tell, there are some, but you pay a (small) price for it as well. For one thing you can relax about missing the official casting call, since the agency will handle all that. They will also be able to put your photo and CV through in the correct format so you don't have to worry about that either. Essentially, you're buying piece of mind. According to the Kam Talent website, they charge up to nz$150 per person, which is only deducted from your first fee - so no work, no fee. If all you're looking for is a chance to appear in your favourite movie, and aren't that actively involved in keeping an eye out, than an agency might be the perfect thing.

On the negative side - the studio may already have enough extras applications ("...the mountain of applications we already have..."), and may not use the agency.

Exciting, isn't it? :)

As always, I hope to see you on the set!

  - Jack