If you were to look around a dim, chilly pottery studio, you would probably just see a space for making ceramics.

Alistair Reilly looked around and instantly saw a morgue. A little unusual, but as a location manager for film and TV, his job is to see the unexpected potential in places and spaces.

Alistair was recently in Tasmania working on The Gloaming, the new “Tassie noir” detective tale from writer and creator of The Kettering Incident Victoria Madden.

Parts of the production were filmed inside the University’s School of Creative Arts and Media at Hunter Street, and students were given the chance to tour parts of the set with Alistair as he explained what goes into his role as a location manager, and shared tips from his decades of experience working in film and TV. 

“When I film at universities, I like to do work-integrated learning schemes so students from media, film, or like-minded creative programs can see scenes being made or shot, to help them with their education and hopefully into the future in their film careers,” Alistair said.

What it takes to set the scene

Alistair is always looking for interesting places. 

Some are obvious- others are more subliminal.

“We were looking at Domain House which is a beautiful, old house that sits up on the hill and suits our story very well. That stands out as an obvious filming location.

“At Hunter Street we saw a beautiful, red wooden door and thought there might be an interesting space behind it, and there was. Sometimes you get lucky with what you see.”

Why productions are embracing 'Tassie noir'

“Victoria Madden is a Launceston girl, and she wants to bring the industry back to the island. She’s a very creative mind and she has worked on some high-level shows around the world and Australia,” Alistair said.

‘Scandi noir’ refers to a genre of crime drama set in Scandinavia and Nordic countries like The Killing and The Bridge where a bleak and foreboding landscape underscores the darkness of the story.

Alistair said Madden has created ‘Tassie noir’, using Tasmania’s unique environment to tell similarly grim tales.

The landscape elements of being this far south of the equator, and in winter, becomes a character of the show.

Take advantage of new technologies

“I think all around the world we’ve opened up our creative minds a little bit more. Streaming platforms have helped more with more content and more places to put your content, which opens up the world creatively for everyone," Alistair said. 

If you love it, make it happen

Alistair’s advice for the creatives of the future is simple: if you love it, pursue it.

“For anyone wanting to pursue the arts, just be dogged, keep going, because you will get your chance. Don’t take a knock back or a negative response to some of your creative work as ‘give it up’. Keep pursuing it if you love it," he said.

You’ve got to want to do it with all your heart.

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