Coverage

  • From kitchen cabinets to movie battle scenes – a carpenter finds his calling

    You never know where a chance encounter will lead you in life – just ask Ross Murdoch.  Back in 2000 he was a house carpenter having a quiet drink in a pub when he struck up a conversation with a stranger, who happened to be a set painter on a popular kids’ TV series, Saddle Club. Murdoch went away with the phone number of the series’ art director and within days found himself on set building horse stables.

    Fast forward to 2017 and Murdoch is one of the busiest construction managers in Victoria’s film industry. He’s in charge of sets for the new sci-fi thriller Stem, by writer-director Leigh Whannell, who’s back home in Melbourne after a big splash in Hollywood with Insidious and Saw. In the cavernous workshop at Docklands Studios – a former maintenance depot for the Port of Melbourne – Murdoch leads a 25-strong crew creating a world in the near future where technology controls almost everything. Stem is the story of a paralyzed technophobe using an experimental computer chip to avenge his wife’s murder.

    Docklands Studios Melbourne large workshop

    The workshop at Docklands Studios has provided sets for dozens of film and TV productions

    As trucks rumble in with building materials and machinery, Murdoch reflects on a career spanning two dozen film and TV productions, building sets or heading construction. Highlights include an elaborate old London street scene for the Gold Coast shoot of Peter Pan (2003) and a dilapidated Mexican church for the Docklands shoot of Ghost Rider (2007). For the West Australian shoot of Red Dog: True Blue (2016), Murdoch created an underground cave filled with water. On a tight budget and a fast turnaround his team sculpted the cave from concrete in Perth and trucked it in sections to the filming location where it was sealed and filled with water.

    Murdoch’s longest project was the $200 million blockbuster The Pacific (2007-08), at the time the most expensive mini-series ever made.  As second in charge of construction, Murdoch spent six months in tropical far north Queensland crafting bloody battle scenes from World War Two. Then came five months based at Docklands Studios, including the re-creation of 1940’s Melbourne in the city’s CBD for the dramatic re-enactment of US troops arriving in town.

    Along the way, he had a stint on the tiny Mediterranean island of Malta, running a fleet of 80 trucks transporting crew and equipment for the ambitious World War Z (2013) – a job he rates as his most stressful to date.

    “Murdoch seems to thrive on tight timelines and budgets, along with the pattern of working feverishly for weeks on end.”

    Over the years, Murdoch’s steady-as-a-rock persona has served him well in the high-pressure world of film – 12 to 13 hour days crafting sets, adding finishing touches as the cast and crew move in, while making every dollar count. “When we start a shoot, I’ll discuss ideas with the art department and they’ll get their people to start drawing things up. That’s when I start costing things, trying to justify each expense to the art director.”

    These days Murdoch spends most of his time in his hometown Melbourne, and has been a familiar face at Docklands since it opened in 2004, on productions such as Where The Wild Things Are (2009), Predestination (2014) and Childhood’s End (2015). As sets take shape in the workshop, Murdoch has created a family atmosphere among the tight knit crew. His wife, Jess Rogers, coordinates travel and transport while their Blue Heeler, Zissou, greets visitors with a friendly lick.

    Murdoch seems to thrive on tight timelines and budgets, along with the pattern of working feverishly for weeks on end interspersed with down time. With the Stem shoot close to wrapping up, he and Jess are looking to grab a quick break before the next project comes along.  In April, he’ll be keeping an eye on the small screen for the launch of Season 3 of The Leftovers. Murdoch was construction manager on the acclaimed mini-series, shot at Docklands Studios and around Melbourne during 2016.

    Bringing filmmakers visions to life is an unexpected career path for a bloke who used to knock together house frames. So, what about the guy he met in the pub all those years ago? Well, fate has brought them back together, making sets for Stem. “If it wasn’t for him, I’d probably still be building kitchens,” Murdoch laughs.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

  • Docklands Helps Bring Hollywood Down Under

     

    Fairfax Media reports that the Australian film industry has started 2017 on a high.

    Read more: 

  • Golden Boy of Horror Comes to Docklands

    “Saw” co-creator Leigh Whannell returns home for his latest production, as Fairfax Media looks back on his brilliant career.

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  • HBO series filmed in Melbourne as government incentives and low dollar work in Australia’s favour

    Hollywood producer Eugene Kelly – a long-time fan of Docklands Studios –  sat down with Fairfax business reporter Lucy Battersby to explain the appeal of working in Melbourne.

    Read More: HBO series filmed in Melbourne as government incentives and low dollar work in Australia’s favour

     

  • Docklands Studios wraps filming on three productions

    A staff writer for If Magazine recently reported that two television series – Tomorrow When the War Began and Jack Irish together with feature film, The Berlin Syndrome – have recently finished filming at the Studios and are now in post-production for release next year.

    Read More: Docklands Studios wraps filming on three productions

  • Jocelyn Moorhouse and ‘The Dressmaker’

    Oct 10, 2015 Journalist, Steve Dow for The Saturday Paper writes a long feature on acclaimed director Jocelyn Moorhouse’s return from the US because family was more important than the Hollywood machine. And how finally The Dressmaker came to fruition and was filmed in rural Victoria and at Docklands Studios.

    Read More: Jocelyn Moorhouse and ‘The Dressmaker’

  • Docklands Delivers Mixed Slate

    Aug – Sept 2015 If Magazine covers the benefits of a Melbourne-based studio shoot at Docklands Studios, a facility that is slowly changing industry perceptions that it is only for big budget Hollywood projects. The article highlights a variety of projects shot at the Studios recently and emphasises the advantages of weather proof buildings, on-demand technical services, office space, parking, art department and storage facilities all contained on the Studio lot.

    Read More: Docklands Delivers Mixed Slate

  • Revenge is back in Fashion

    Oct – Nov 2015 If Magazine covers the evolution of The Dressmaker from page to screen with its producer, Sue Maslin and director, Jocelyn Moorhouse. In the article, Director of Photography, Don McAlpine says, “We did some of it in the studio, (Docklands Studios Melbourne) more or less at my insistence, where you are protected from the weather and you can spend more hours working instead of travelling.”

    Read More: Revenge is back in Fashion

  • Victoria’s screen sector being "Shaken, not stirred in the 2014-15"

    National Film Editor, Karl Quinn reports for The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald on the performance of Victoria”s screen sector being “Shaken, not stirred in the 2014-15”. He reports that Melbourne”s Docklands Studios had a “good year” and covers highlights of other Creative Victoria screen entity”s including ACMI and Film Victoria.

    Read More: Victoria”s screen sector shaken, not stirred, in 2014-15

  • The International Business Times reports on the upcoming premiere of The Dressmaker

    The International Business Times reports on the upcoming premiere of The Dressmaker shot at Docklands Studios Melbourne and on location in Victoria. Director, Jocelyn Moorhouse; producer, Sue Maslin and stars including Liam Hemsworth, Judy Davis and Hugo Weaving expected to attend.

    Read More: Liam Hemsworth attend Australian Premiere Dressmaker

  • Oddball doubles box office to 2 million in two days

    National Film Editor, Karl Quinn reports for The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald on how the makers of the recently released and hugely popular family feature film, Oddball managed to make a successful movie featuring both animals and children. The scenes of fairy penguins and children on the beach at night were shot on a coastline and beach set at Docklands Studios Melbourne.

    Read More: Oddball doubles box office to 2 million in two days

  • Time lapse video of the construction of Oddball set

    The Age features time lapse video of set construction at Docklands Studios Melbourne for Oddball.

    Oddball time lapse

    View video: Time lapse video

  • The Dressmaker begins Docklands production

    Michael Bodey for The Australian’s Reel Time column reports on Director, Jocelyn Moorhouse’s adaptation of Rosalie Ham’s bestselling novel, The Dressmaker commencing filming at Docklands Studios.  Kate Winslet, Judy Davis, Hugo Weaving and Judy Davis will star in the film.

    jocelyn_moorhouse

  • The Dressmaker rolls

    Don Groves for If magazine writes about The Dressmaker, a tale of love revenge and haute couture shooting at Docklands Studios. The ensemble cast includes Kerry Fox, Sarah Snook, Shane Jacobsen, Rebecca Gibney, Shane Bourne, Caroline Goodall, Alison Whyte, Sacha Horler and Genevieve Lemon.

  • Oscar winner Kate Winslet spotted out and about in Sydney as shooting for Aussie film begins

    Jonathon Moran for The Daily Telegraph’s Sydney Confidential reports that Oscar-winning star Kate Winslet is in Australia for the filming of The Dressmaker at Docklands Studios Melbourne and on location in Victoria in the Wimmera. The film willalso star Liam Hemsworth, Judy Davis and Hugo Weaving.

    dressmaker

  • Alien invasion heads to Melbourne’s Docklands

    Sarah Thomas, entertainment writer for the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age hints at explores some of the Sci-Fi themes sure to excite audiences of the newest production, Childhood’s End shooting at Docklands Studios during its 10th Anniversary year.

    Read More: Alien invasion heads to Melbourne’s Docklands

  • Reel Time

    The Australian’s media and entertainment writer, Michael Bodey highlights in his column that US science fiction television miniseries based on the Arthur C. Clarke novel, Childhood’s End is filming at Docklands Studios Melbourne.

    Childhood's End by Arthur C. Clarke original book cover Ballantine Books

    Childhood’s End by Arthur C. Clarke original book cover Ballantine Books

  • US sci-fi drama to shoot in Melbourne

    Don Groves for If magazine releases news that the 13-week shoot for Childhood’s End will take place at Docklands Studios and on location around Melbourne. The series will debut on the US Syfy network next year.

  • ‘Focus on Melbourne – Victoria’s Secrets’

    FilmInk publisher, Don Kornits explains from the film perspective why Melbourne is considered Australia”s cultural hub. He touches on the State Government”s support for the local industry, MIFF, Open Channel, Docklands Studios, Melbourne”s collegiate atmosphere and Victoria”s talent pool.

    Read More: Focus on Melbourne – Victoria”s Secrets

  • ‘Docklands Studios Melbourne’s 10 Year Anniversary Celebration’

    IF magazine”s social pages capture guests who attended Docklands Studio”s 10th Anniversary including: local actor, Jane Turner; producer, Anthony Ginnane; the Hon. Minister Louise Asher; US-based director, Rod Hardy; producer, Paul Currie and visiting actors Ben Lioyd-Hughes and Kaya Scodelaro.

    Read more: Docklands Studios Melbourne”s 10 Year Anniversary Celebration

  • ’10 Hollywood and international films shot in Melbourne’

    Emily Webb writing for the Leader community newspaper and Herald Sun online lists up 10 international films made in Melbourne including Ghost Rider, Knowing, Killer Elite and Where the Wild Things Are that were all filmed in part at Docklands Studios.

    Read more: 10 Hollywood and international films shot in Melbourne

  • The Australian, ‘Arts’ Reel Time

    The Australian, ‘Arts’ Reel Time column by Michael Bodey reports on the wrapping of The Moon and The Sun filming at Docklands Studios Melbourne and the departure of its star, Pierce Brosnan.

    Read more: The Australian, ‘Arts’ Reel Time article

  • ‘The Moon and The Sun producers bank on Bingbing factor in China’

    Karl Quinn, National Film Editor for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age reports on the historical fantasy, The Moon and The Sun being shot at Docklands Studios Melbourne. The article focuses on one of the film’s stars, Fan Bingbing and her amazing fame in her native China where the film industry is booming.

    Read more:The Moon and The Sun producers bank on Bingbing factor in China

  • ‘William Hurt shoots for the Moon (and the Sun)’

    Karl Quinn, National Film Editor for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age covers Oscar-winning actor William Hurt’s role as Pere La Chaise in the Australian-Chinese co-production The Moon and The Sun filming at Docklands Studios Melbourne.

    Read more: William Hurt shoots for the Moon (and the Sun)

  • ‘Pierce Brosnan caught in character while filming The Moon and The Sun in Melbourne’

    Luke Dennehy for Confidential in The Daily Telegraph and Herald Sun covers Pierce Brosnan’s movements around Melbourne while filming The Moon and The Sun at Docklands Studios.

    Read more: Pierce Brosnan caught in character while filming The Moon and The Sun in Melbourne

  • ‘Lights, Camera Action for Party’

    Confidential for Herald Sun and The Daily Telegraph reports on Docklands Studio’s 10th Anniversary featuring the Victorian Minister for Innovation, Services and Small Business, Louise Asher MP and actor/writer, Jane Turner, cutting the Studios’ birthday cake.

    Read more: Lights, Camera Action for Party

  • ‘Pierce Brosnan fantasy The Moon and the Sun overcomes the tyranny of distance’

    Karl Quinn, National Film Editor for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age goes on set with producers of The Moon and The Sun, Paul Currie and Bill Mechanic, to discover the mermaid’s grotto and recreated Versailles interiors now filming at Docklands Studios Melbourne.

    Read more: Pierce Brosnan fantasy The Moon and the Sun overcomes the tyranny of distance

  • ‘Docklands Studios birthday party buoys spirits’

    Karl Quinn, National Film Editor for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age covers Docklands Studios Melbourne’s 10-year anniversary.

    Read more: Docklands Studios birthday party buoys spirits

  • ‘A Decade of “Action!”’

    Empire magazine’s, Travis Sheridan reports on various film and television projects based at Docklands Studios over the past decade contributing more than half a billion dollars into the Victorian economy.

    Read more: A Decade of “Action” article

  • ‘Docklands Studios makes it to 10 Years’

    Michael Bodey for The Australian ‘Arts’ talks to Rod Allan CEO, Docklands Studios about the Studio’s history and its current status serving a broader range of screen industry clients.

    Read more: Docklands Studios makes it to 10 Years

  • Happy 10th Birthday Docklands Studios

    Docklands News provides a potted history of the Studios located in the suburb of Docklands, only five minutes from the centre of the city.

    Read more: Happy 10th Birthday Docklands Studios

  • Docklands Studios Turns 10

    David Knox of TV Blog, TV Tonight covers Docklands Studios Melbourne’s 10 year history.

    Docklands Studios Turns 10

    Read more: Docklands Studios Turns 10

  • ‘A Decade at Docklands’

    If magazine Editor, Emily Blatchford interviews Rod Allan CEO, Docklands Studios Melbourne and covers the Studios’ 10 year history of TV and film production, facility enhancements and future plans.

    Read more: IF Magazine Apr May 2014

  • ‘Sun rises on Brosnan Australian film shoot’

    Karl Quinn, National Film Editor for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age reports on the star line-up, production expenditure and employment opportunities created by fantasy-feature film, The Moon and The Sun filming at Docklands Studios Melbourne in the first half of 2014.

    Read more: Sun rises on Brosnan Australian film shoot

  • ‘Behind Closed Doors. This Month… Docklands Studios’

    Journalist, Peter Barrett for Melbourne Magazine takes a full tour of the Studios including a visit to the set of Channel Seven’s, Winners & Losers. This story showcases the Studio facility with its.

    Read more: Behind Closed Doors. This Month… Docklands Studios