Exposed: BENITA CAREY

Screenworks was delighted to receive Benita Carey (McLeods Daughters, Crownies, Underbelly, Janet King ) as a professional Screenworks member when she arrived in the region in 2011. As a highly experienced, Emmy nominated Post Production Superviser, Benita spends part of her working week in production studios in the city and part in her home office at The Channon.

We spoke to Benita about her work and how she manages her active career and living in a regional area. We are also impressed that she is keen to get more involved in local productions.

Tell us a bit about what you do in the Screen Industry and how you got involved.

I am a Post Production Supervisor and I specialise in TV drama series – with a smattering of feature work as well.

Essentially, this means I manage everything that takes place after the images are shot. My responsibilities include designing the post production path, organising the processing of rushes, management of the edit through to lock, supervision of sound and music post as well as final images, grade, mastering and ultimately delivery of masters.

I was lucky enough to have a casual job as a runner while I was at University. It was for a prominent TVC production company back in the 80’s when we made really great ads! I sat in on the edit and post production after the shoots – and was hooked!

McLeods DaughtersWhat projects have you most enjoyed working on, and why?

I had an absolutely fantastic time working on McLeod’s Daughters for 4 years. The main reason was that the crew were very tight – like a family. Everyone really cared – about the show and each other, especially my post crew based in Sydney. It was an incredibly special environment to work in.

It was very rewarding to work on several series of Underbelly. I believe the franchise pushed Australian television to new limits, and I’m really proud to have been part of such innovative television creation, which extended into the post production.

I also worked for several years on an American-funded sci-fi series called Farscape. It was massive and had the healthiest budget for a TV series that I’ve ever experienced. We had animatronics, puppeteers, huge art department, many, many visual effects shots and great production values! I worked as the Visual Effects Supervisor. It was hard work, but great fun! I was nominated for a Primetime Emmy for that show and flew over to LA, strolled on the red carpet and lived it up for 24 hours or so. It’s not really my thing, but it was an amazing experience and I wouldn’t have missed it for quids.

The Australian Film, Television and Radio school have employed me several times on longer stints and quite often as a guest lecturer. Having been a student there, I like to give back where I can and I love teaching students about the joys and complexities of post production!

And, of course a big mention to The Gods Of Wheat Street, which was produced in 2012 in the Northern Rivers where I was able to work with a passionate and dedicated crew of local film professionals. It was especially rewarding to meet indigenous film-makers and learn more about their culture.

How long have you been living and working in the Northern Rivers?underbelly

We moved up here from Sydney 3 years ago while I was still Post Producing Underbelly Razor. Since then, I have completed 5 television series, shot across Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and here in the Northern Rivers. I am half way through a new series at the moment.

When I am contracted on a series, I generally work full-time. Because I live in the Northern Rivers, this means I generally work 3 days a week from my home, and 2 days in Sydney where I attend screenings and sessions with the Producers and other members of the crew.

I also do consultancy work for up-coming productions – designing post paths, setting up budgets, hiring crew and developing deliverables lists.

What is important to you in running a successful and creative regional business/ working regionally?

The phone and the Internet. Technology allows me to work remotely and have the best of both worlds. If we didn’t have mobile coverage on our farm, I could not be working full-time on Sydney or Melbourne based series.

Being away from the hustle and bustle of the city definitely helps to free the mind, and there is nothing like working in my home office and glancing out the window to see wallabies, cows and ducks milling around!

Tell us a bit about what you have been working on most recently?

I am currently working on a series called Deadline Gallipoli for Matchbox Pictures. It will be broadcast on Foxtel. I can’t say much about it at the moment, as the details are under wraps….

GOWSIs there anything else that you would like to share with us about you and your work?

I feel very lucky to have had consistent post production work for 27 years in an industry which fluctuates wildly. I am also lucky enough to have come through the post production process myself – from Assistant Editor, Editor and now Post Production Supervisor. It’s in my blood.

I love being part of the story telling process. Post production contributes more and more as we add each process to the story we are building. It’s so amazing to see the effect a change in post production can make – such as a trim in the edit, extra ADR lines or sound effects, a music cue, a grade tweak, a reframe, insertion of a super or a VFX shot. The attention to detail really makes a difference to the overall impression on the audience. It is unbelievably exciting!

Now that I’m firmly entrenched in the Northern Rivers, I would love to become more involved on local production as part of an emerging industry in our creative and beautiful region..

Published on September 15, 2014 1:00 am