The producers of the Sea Change television series say around 500 locals will be employed during filming in the Byron Shire, including a number of people in senior positions.
As production of the eight-part series continues across the north of the Shire this week, some locals have questioned the show’s claim that it will benefit the local economy and film industry by employing hundreds of locals.
Some have queried, in particular, whether locals would be filling senior positions in the production.
In response to a series of questions from Echonetdaily, the show’s publicist, Tracey Mair, said approximately 500 locals would be employed, including crew, cast and extras.
‘Of these, there are a total of 45 local crew, which is approx 60 per cent of our production crew,’ Ms Mair said.
She conceded that a number of the more senior positions in the production had been filled by Sydney-based employees, including the Director of Photography and the Designer.
Ms Mair said this was because ‘Heads of Department need to be experienced in TV drama and approved by the network’.
However, she said there were a number of senior positions that had been filled locally, including Director Wayne Blair, Producer Lios Randall, Script Editor Sam Carroll, Production Coordinator Nicki Ellis and Set Decorator Christian Petersen.
Ms Mair said the production’s philosophy was to provide opportunities for local people to get experience and credits.
‘In some cases we have employed people in roles they want to step into, and are supporting them to succeed by also employing a mentor/trainer in the first few weeks.’
‘In other departments we have provided attachment opportunities. And we are also working with local education providers and the Mullumbimby Neighbourhood Centre to provide opportunities for media students and Indigenous school students to observe production, meet cast and crew, and learn about career pathways as actors and in production.’
Yesterday, Billinudgel was transformed into the fictional seaside village of Pearl Bay for a full day of shooting.
The famous Billi pub became the Morning Star Hotel and the Billi General Store became the Pearl Bay General Store.
‘It was actually really interesting,’ local resident Kath said.
‘Sigrid Thornton and Tom Burstall were there and about 50 people doing all the filming and organising.’
‘It’s really interested to see how many people are involved.’