4 January 2016 - 'GUNNEDAH HERO' - THE MOVIE



G'day folks,

I've probably told you before that I am currently writing the screenplay for my very first book - 'Gunnedah Hero'.  Yes, this was my first book, and I rejected four contracts for it by publishers in New York, London, Sydney and Melbourne; fearing I was about to be screwed. So, I self-published it and the book has won two awards in the Australian National Literary Awards.

This is my first screenplay, and what an intensive and stressful job it is. Writing a screenplay is nothing like writing a novel. Why? Mm ... I've thought about that a lot. Firstly, my mind is fully conscious that everything I write will be visual - on the screen. Whereas, writing a novel, I have to use the correct words to conjure up a picture in the mind of my readers.

So, here is some background to how this came about. Let's look at the blurb on the back of the book so you know what the story is about.

Blurb for ‘Gunnedah Hero’

Fourteen-year-old Gunnedah ‘Gunnie’ Danson has a 500-word assignment on drought. His late grandfather has left him a box containing a manuscript. It’s been written by Gunnie’s great-great-grandfather, Smokey ‘Gun’ Danson after his journey up the long paddock during a harsh drought as a fourteen-year-old drover in 1910. At the back of the manuscript is an envelope. It’s NOT to be opened until Gunnie has read the entire story.

Gunnie spends the weekend at Wiralee Station; a cattle station that’s been in the family since 1848. There, he reads the awesome manuscript and learns of Smokey’s adventurous journey. Gunnie overhears several secretive conversations. His snobby Aunty Kate wants to divorce his uncle and sell Wiralee Station. He finishes the manuscript and opens the mysterious envelope. Will it legally prevent his aunt from selling Wiralee Station?  

 How did this come about?

The movie director, John Campbell, who has been a guest on this blog, read the book and rang me. He loved it and wanted to make his first feature movie. You can read more about John by clicking on this link when he was a guest on this blog:

Some background.

It has always been a dream of mine for my books to be transformed into movies. Why not? Having said that, as I've written my manuscripts, I've often mentally viewed hundreds of scenes in my books as they would appear on the screen. It has helped me to write more succinctly and deliver a far better paragraph or chapter for my reader. Not only, I've always had three major rules, should someone approach me to make a movie for any of my books:

1. Don't change the story.

2. Let me have final say in who will be the actors. After all, no one knows the characters better than me.

3. The movie must be professional - no 'ifs' or 'buts'.

Fortunately, John Campbell agreed with me, hence I am writing my first screenplay. Although making a movie is a whole new ball game for me, I am looking forward to being on the set as a consultant, taking photographs, observing and watching closely at every little thing.

What's happening?

 Besides me writing the screenplay, we have had several meetings and John has organized a crew of 35 skilled professionals, including a very experienced director of photography, production manager, editor and casting directors. Also, we have established researchers, ensuring we have the most authentic sets, and clothing of course. By the way, the casting directors are folks I know very well. They are a married couple who have been involved in stage shows, pantomimes and theatre for decades. The cast required for this movie will be well over 70.

Director, John Campbell

Here is a brief outline on who is doing what:

Peter, the Director of Photography; Josephine, the Production Manager and Christine our Editor.

  Casting Directors Donna and Peter, two experienced actors, using their vast data base, select and audition for a 71 strong cast, in the roles they must play in the first movie.

  Leisa and Sue's research team ensure we get authentic sets, clothing, props, and vehicles of the time, both present day and back in 1910, where our stories are told.

Peter and his camera team photograph the incredibly dry New South Wales cattle country, and take you right into the action, with stunning close-up shots and spectacular lighting.

John supervises the scriptwriting, rehearses the cast, and directs each one of them, as they portray their unique part in front of camera, to bring these stories to life.

  Movies are made in the cutting room, and Christine has proved herself a fine Editor over many years, as these stories evolve in her skilled hands, in the editing suite. 

  Every movie requires an excellent sound track, and Chris is our man; recording quality tracks during shooting, and mixing post production, to a flawless final release track.

  Some members of the crew will use a second skill, like Christine, as Assistant Director, scheduling shoots with Josephine and controlling the 'set' with her natural 'loud voice'.

Chris has the latest recording studio for composing the Music and recording the Amazing Sound Effects, that will bring Peter's pictures to life.

  Peter and John have been selecting all the technical equipment. Using Modern Ultra High-Definition Cameras, we can show our movies in the large cinemas Worldwide.

Both cranes and dollies keep the action moving and maintain the tempo. Chris also has the top Microphones, essential to capture the high quality original sounds required.

  Remotely controlled helicopters take us high over the family herd, as young 14 year-old Smokey, single handedly, moves his herd along the dusty 'long paddock' with his dogs.

Where will this movie be shot?

Most scenes, especially outdoor scenes, will be shot in a magnificent area of New South Wales, known as The Riverina. Here are some pictures of the area:

Where to from here?

'Gunnedah Hero' is book one of a series about the same family. The sequel, 'A Drover's Blanket' is already published, and the third book in the series will soon be written - 'Magic Billie'. Why do I think this will make a great movie? Simple really. This will be an authentic movie for the entire family. Australians will learn swags about their history, be entertained and maybe be moved by the strength and courage of our pioneers. Not to mention that there is a lilting love story in the background.


Click on the following link if you are keen to read some of the top reviews for this book.


John Campbell has over 60 years experience as a film maker. Our Crew and Cast are initially volunteering their services, as film production initially requires money and resources to finance them. So, we are searching for funding; we have the rest. Anyone who is well-connected can contact me regarding the financing: 


Get on board, folks.

Clancy's comment: Well, there ya go, folks. Any assistance would be greatly appreciated. Spread the word. Know anyone at Disney? 

Oh, by the way, I finished writing the screenplay yesterday - 475 pages!

I hope to see you on the red carpet.

I'm ...

No comments:

Post a Comment