Member Profile: Crystal McCallum
First question and I am already stumped!
My maiden name is Crystal Munitich.
I started my career with this name, obviously, and as the years progress, I seem to be leaning towards Crystal McCallum more and more.
Crystal Munitich (McCallum)
Department / Role:
Locations: Location Manager
How / where did you get your start in the industry?
I feel like I have lived two separate lives!
In South Africa, I was a Producer for many years, working for an Advertising company (that had both inhouse production and post-production), with an absolute diversity of production mediums. It just worked, balancing my creative and logistical mind, leading me to numerous National and International awards – I loved that company!
Then my life changed when I met my special human, my soul mate, my Jake and within 8 months of meeting him, I was engaged, married, resigned, packed up and shipped to Australia! Wow Whirlwind… and that is the start of my second life.
There were still a number of big agencies and production houses in WA when I arrived 12 years ago and as hard as I knocked on those doors, I could not get in.
Jake and I worked on our production company, producing a number of corporate documentaries.
I managed to land a casting coordinator role on ABC’s Prank Patrol, and that opened a lot of doors, at the same time the freelancing gigs started coming in (many from Toesox Productions) working across roles in production, locations and casting for TVC’s.
Within a couple of years and much tenacity the universe gave me many gifts and opportunities allowing me to work in TV and Feature Films as a Location Manager. I am so grateful for these amazing experiences and love what I do.
Who are some people that have inspired and/or mentored you?
So many wonderful people in my world with the most incredible minds that share so much valuable knowledge and nourishment, I just want to hug and squeeze them forever with the deepest gratitude.
My Jake – goes without saying.
Deon Opperman- This man changed my life! He offered me a full scholarship to attend AFDA – The South African School of Motion Picture. What an absolute genius of a mentor he was whilst I completed my second degree.
Megan Carpenter – she believed in me, giving me so many opportunities and teaching me the ways of WA.
Michael Montague – from the minute I met this genuine person he has enriched my knowledge and experience within my role.
Emma Fletcher – Making Magic wherever she goes! What a gem.
Brad Holyoake – What an incredible mind!
Warren Clarke – What a boss, what a guy, what a LEADER!
What are you looking for when you are given a script?
Besides the story and characters, I love a challenge. Complex scenarios for locations, so definitely locations that excite me!
I get too excited when I first read a script.
I get started working on a draft breakdown as I start reading, I would prefer to just read the script and turn my brain off, but it won’t… so this is just my process now and it’s fun.
Do you have a certain ‘portfolio’ of locations that you call on? Or do you often find yourself with a new location and a blank slate?
I definitely have my ‘Locations Library’ that I can use if they meet the brief. Location briefs are very specific to the script, like ‘a kitchen…it needs a vision line to the lounge through an archway and the back door can’t be in the kitchen, the windows’ aspect is east’.
I prefer to start with a blank canvas and love the challenge to find WA locations that have not yet been seen on screen.
How much of your job is desk based and how much is field based?
60 field – 40 desk.
But that changes depending on how many people are in your department.
Which do you prefer?
Field for sure ….
What’s your favourite thing about the job?
I have lots of favourites!
Scouting locations and negotiating the best deals, being on set – especially for technical scenes at locations and my favourite favourite is coming in on budget!
Career highlight so far?
Oooh Tough one…
Every single one of my jobs has had highlights, scenes that are location challenges but …
Hounds of Love (set in Perth in the late 80’s) finding those locations that meet the time period, it’s like an actor getting to sink their teeth into a really awesome ‘meaty’ role! Loved it!
The opening sequence of 1% – twenty or so Harley Davidson motorbikes riding through the Graham Farmer Tunnel. The logistics involved in shooting that one sequence were fantastic! Also, at the time, I had never worked on big “shoot-out” scenes, so that was great to work through the location requirements to achieve these scenes.
So many other highlights –Itch, The Heights, Cannes Media Lion Award, The Harry Potter Experience….
I could go on for ages! I just love our industry and what we do!
For anyone wanting to get into this part of the industry, what would your advice be?
Ha ha! You’ve got to have passion for scouting locations and driving. Lots of driving. Look at locations creatively. Be confident talking to people, be good at budgeting. I have to mention the obvious – be prepared to work very long hours, first person on set and the last to leave.
If you’re still keen…. email me! I am always open to helping young people in our industry, but especially in our department.
Thoughts/hopes/dreams for the WA film and TV industry?
I hope to see a government that embraces and recognises the arts.
We pay taxes, we have families, we have bills, we work hard and we play by the rules. The Arts contribute $111.7 billion to Australia’s economy, surely that’s enough evidence for the financial support needed.
I hope for a government as supportive of our Arts and Culture, as our neighbouring country.
On the other hand, Screenwest, has been a massive support during the COVID crisis and that has made all the difference to so many.
We’ve had a great run over the last few years and there is so much more chatter about WA becoming the next big filming destination, which is super exciting for WA crews and WA economy.
This is like giving me a family sized chocolate and telling me I can only have one square!!!
I have so many depending on narrative, locations, genres, directors and what resonates at the time… yikes!!!
I am just going to rattle them off and hope you don’t realise there is more than one!
ET, Up, Avatar, No Country for Old Men, The Dark Knight, The Square, Japanese Story, Nightmare Before Christmas, Mystic River, The Piano, The Bourne Films, Bond Films, Mission Impossible, Gladiator, Brave Heart, LOTR, Slumdog Millionaire, My Left Foot, Three Colours, Twelve Years a Slave, The Godfather.Posted on