ARLO - Short Film



Over the past two years I have been collaborating with writer-director Wayne Tunks. Together we have created two seasons of the award winning mystery web series After Nightfall, and an indie feature film According to Otto, both of which were filmed in locations around Wayne’s home in suburban Blacktown. So when Blacktown City Council recently announced an initiative to fund local filmmakers we leapt at the chance.

“Blacktown Shorts is a new western Sydney film festival, delivered as part of Blacktown Arts’ upcoming Magnify 2019 festival in Blacktown. We are currently open to short film proposals from emerging and established filmmakers, with a focus on finding and supporting Western Sydney talent.” (


Wayne wrote a short drama called Arlo, set entirely in a suburban house in Blacktown. Arlo is about a young boy’s freedom to express himself in the face of his grandmother’s narrow-minded views on gender. The script was a lovely story so we immediately got the band back together, bringing back crew from both After Nightfall and According to Otto.


Fearing the weather was going to be terrible on our shoot day I snuck out to Blacktown during rehearsals and shot some late afternoon establishing shots of the house with a lovely big sun flare smashing into the lens. I wanted the film to feel like it takes place on a lazy Sunday morning, with light pouring in through the windows and Arlo’s parents lounging around in their pyjamas; the perfect morning interrupted by an impromptu drop in from the in-laws!


That evening as I was driving home from location it started raining and continued all weekend. Luckily I had the establishing shot in the can already. I arrived on set at 7am the following morning and setup an Arri M18 outside the window to simulate the morning sun. With such an overcast rainy day the light levels inside the house hardly changed at all throughout the day, so once we set the lights we were right to shoot all day.

Wayne assembled a fantastic cast with Janine Penfold (Paper Giants: The Birth of Cleo) as Arlo’s grandmother who has entirely too many opinions on how little boys should dress and act. The film takes place almost entirely in the lounge room with Arlo’s parents and grandparents, so all our coverage was contained to the one space. We had the big M18 outside and a smaller Creamsource inside for level and that was it. We also used a haze machine to give the ‘ray of light’ effect to the sunlight smashing in through the window.


For the last scene of the day we had to get some shots of Arlo playing in his cubby house. We ran up the street between rain showers to use a neighbour’s cubby house, taking the Creamsource, camera on an easyrig and the lens box with us. These shots aren’t quite as full of sun flares as the rest of the film so we might have to see what we can achieve in post.

We now have two months of post-production before Arlo premieres at Blacktown Shorts and we’re super excited!


Arlo was filmed on the Red Monstro with Schneider Xenon FF lenses and Rhodium FSND.
Writer | Director | Wayne Tunks
DOP | Nicholas Price
Sound Recordist | Johno Purdon
Focus Puller | Soumya Lakmé Iyengar
AC | Cayla Blanch
Editor | Samuel Fitzpatrick
Colourist | Keiran Lee
Sound Design | Mixer | PJ Johnson
Producers | Wayne Tunks & Nicholas Price

Janine Penfold, Kelly Monisse, Tom Harwood & Kim Knuckey, with Kaden Monroe as Arlo.

Nicholas Price
DOP | Cinematographer

P. (02) 9427 4444

Nicholas Price is a Sydney based DOP | Producer who has made commercials, video clips, TV, documentary and short films. Nick is a Masters graduate of AFTRS and is always striving to bring a unique visual style to any project he works on. He recently shot the award winning web series After Nightfall and feature film According to Otto. 



One of the most challenging parts of being a filmmaker, and a cinematographer in particular, is that we have a tendency to not share information with one another. So when the opportunity came up to spend a week at the ASC I leapt at the chance. The ASC is dedicated to passing on knowledge and skills, and gives you the opportunity to pick the brains of some of the best cinematographers in the world.

“The American Society of Cinematographers was founded in Hollywood in 1919 with the dual purpose of advancing the art and science of cinematography and bringing cinematographers together to exchange ideas, discuss techniques and promote the motion picture as an art form—a mission that continues today.”

The ASC clubhouse is located just behind Hollywood Boulevard and is an amazing building. Inside is a homage to the studio era of Hollywood, with old Panavision 35mm cameras, and black and white framed photos of legendary cinematographers at work.

The ASC Clubhouse in Hollywood at night. Photo by Isidore Mankofsky, ASC.


I arrived for breakfast at 7:30am on Monday morning and met the students that I would be spending the week with. I wasn’t the only one that had travelled a long way, the students came from all four corners of the world and from all walks of life.

Our first speaker of the day was the amazing Stephen H. Burum, ASC, cinematographer on Rumble Fish, The Untouchables, Carlito’s Way, Hoffa, Mission Impossible, and my personal favourite, St Elmo’s Fire. Stephen came up through the studio system and has an astonishing body of work and knowledge to go with it. He walked us through a few of his scenes as well as scenes from Hollywood classics to get us thinking about how we cast shadows, what type of shadows (hard or soft), and how we fill them and manipulate them to separate planes within the frame. He mentioned that we should try not to focus too much on the mechanics and think more about the ‘why?’ If the character’s ugly shoot them ugly, or progress the lighting from ugly to flattering as the character changes.

I didn’t realise at the time but Stephen and a number of other great cinematographers would be there with us for the entire week and I was able to ask him questions as they popped up. He knows all the tricks, such as seamless iris pulls on the move or how to frame with actors moving in all directions. (His advice by the way was to lock the left side of frame and the headroom, and not to worry too much if other actors drifted in and out of the frame.)

The question I would end up asking every cinematographer that we met was how do they deal with shooting dialogue scenes outside in natural light over the course of a full day or multiple days. Shooting in Australia under a harsh sun makes it really difficult to match shots as the sun moves over head and becomes ‘toppy’ and ugly. Everyone had the same answer: with great difficulty, but the key is lots of planning; keep the sun behind each character throughout the day and try to shoot close-ups with a scrim through the middle of the day when the sun is high overhead. It’s amazing how many questions you already know the answer to but you’re just looking for reassurance from those that know to tell you that you’re on the right track.


After a great lunch we met up with Don McCuaig, ASC to learn about shooting second unit in Hollywood. Don has had an amazing career shooting second unit on some of the biggest films in the world. A lot of second unit involves pre-vis, heavy CGI and trying to match seamlessly to scenes that have already been shot by the main unit. Second unit also gets to shoot a lot of the big stunts and action scenes, which are often the most exciting work on the film. Working second unit in the studio system seems an absolute world away from what I’m doing (small independent films and video clips in Australia) but it’s an interesting peek through the shutters at what possibly lies beyond.


While we were with Don McCuaig, ASC, the staff at the clubhouse had been busy turning the main room into a mini expo. Representatives from Panavision, Arri, Schneider, Zeiss, Red, Panasonic, Kino Flo and many others had set up displays and gear for us.

It was a great opportunity for me to catch up with Christopher D'Anna from Schneider because I needed a bunch of filters. He was able to organise a couple of Rhodium ND filters to fill in the gaps in my collection and a set of Hollywood Blackmagic, my favourite diffusion filters. He also organised a tour of their new Burbank facility as well.


While the mini expo was happening inside, the ASC crew were setting up tables and chairs outside preparing a huge meal. We had a wonderful dinner that night with all the sponsors and a number of ASC cinematographers who came to meet the students. I had a chance to meet another Australian, Peter Moss, ACS ASC, who is an amazing cinematographer living in LA. Mossy embodies the ideas behind both the ACS (Australian Cinematographers Society) and ASC, and is happy to encourage and share knowledge with the next generation. It’s so easy to get caught up in the competitive nature of getting jobs, funding and even awards that we feel like we can’t ask questions or pass on the techniques that we learn along the way. It was so refreshing to just spend a day learning and sharing.

I went home exhausted that night to my Airbnb in West Hollywood and set my alarm for 6:00am. That was just Day 1, there were still four more days to go.

Nicholas Price
DOP | Cinematographer

P. (02) 9427 4444

Nicholas Price is a Sydney based DOP | Producer who has made commercials, video clips, TV, documentary and short films. Nick is a Masters graduate of AFTRS and is always striving to bring a unique visual style to any project he works on. He recently shot the award winning web series After Nightfall and feature film According to Otto.


November was a huge month for After Nightfall with big wins in Baltimore, New York and Sydney.


Wayne Tunks and I made a pact that if After Nightfall got into New York Web Fest then we would fly over for the screening. We had just finished filming Season 2 when the nomination came through, but not only did we get into New York, we also got into Baltimore New Media Festival as well, which was the week before New York.

Unfortunately I was booked on another job, eight days filming on a fifty-foot boat off the Great Barrier Reef, so I missed Baltimore. Wayne flew out to the U.S. a week before I did and when I arrived back on dry land I received a phone call from Wayne in Baltimore, not only had we won Best Mystery/Thriller but also Best Cinematography as well.

Two days later I was on a plane for New York where I met up with Wayne (writer/director), PJ Johnson (sound designer/mixer who was nominated for Best Sound) and Jacinta Moses (one of the main cast members). Meeting up in New York was a wonderful experience; it was amazing to remember that After Nightfall was conceived in a small house in Blacktown (Western Sydney). I still remember the day that Wayne sent me the scripts, I phoned him up after reading them and said “Let’s start shooting ASAP!” A week later we had our first shoot day under our belts, it took ten days to complete and a year later we were all in New York. Wayne was still on a high from his week in Baltimore while the rest of us were just excited to be in New York. 


NYC Web Fest ran over three days and it was great to meet filmmakers from all over the world. We got to see a bunch of screenings, attend seminars and soak up the world of new media and web series. The three days culminated in an awards ceremony where, to our great surprise, After Nightfall won Best Mystery/Thriller Web Series. 


We had an amazing time in New York, it would have been great if PJ could have picked up an award as well but the nomination was incredible and to win best series with the team there made it really special. We flew back on a high to discover that we had also been nominated for a bunch of awards at The Changing Face International Film Festival in Sydney and Made In The West film festival in Western Sydney. Changing Face was hugely successful for After Nightfall, winning Best Web Series, Best Editor for Paul Anthony Nelson, Best Ensemble Cast and Best Actor for Rob Miniter.

The following day we went to the Made In The West Festival, celebrating films and filmmakers from Western Sydney, where PJ won Best Sound. We were all stoked for PJ to have a win and it turns out he didn’t need to go to New York to win awards, he could do it right here in his own backyard.

November feels like a turning point for After Nightfall, winning awards at international festivals and standing out in a very crowded market of high quality web series. With Season 2 almost completed editing and Season 1 still to screen in Miami and Seoul, there is still plenty to look forward to in the months ahead.

Nicholas Price

DOP | Cinematographer


P. (02) 9427 4444


Nicholas Price is a Sydney based DOP | Producer who has made commercials, video clips, TV, documentary and short films. Nick is a Masters graduate of AFTRS and is always striving to bring a unique visual style to any project he works on. He recently shot the award winning web series  After Nightfall and feature film According To Otto.