Broken Contract a near-paperless production

26 October, 2014 by Don Groves

Producer Hayden Fortescue believes his action comedy Broken Contract is the first WA-shot feature to have been shot almost entirely without paper.

Christopher Morris (Offspring, Crownies) plays Max, a down-on-his-luck club owner who hires a hit man for protection after a local gang threatens his livelihood and his family.


Esther Anderson (Siberia, Home and Away) plays the detective who gets involved after Max’s friends and enemies start disappearing.

Fortescue set out to save money by emailing contracts, OH&S and medical reports and call sheets, and issuing digital invoices and receipts.

During the shoot in Perth in April/May, writer-director James Pentecost used an iPad that held everything he needed – script, schedules, notes and an app that allowed him to pre-plan the set-ups for every scene.

Dispensing with traditional storyboards, he and DoP Ross Metcalf used the app, Hollywood Shot Designer, to figure out when and where every light, camera or piece of grip equipment was required and when. The app cost $20.

So little paper was needed, the production used just one ream consisting of 500 pages for a total cost of $3.50.

Asked where he got the idea, Fortescue told IF, “I’d just finished on a larger budget film in the production office and felt a little sick with all the paper wastage that happens on a film.

“I just knew with all the tablets and technology out there today that a paperless production was something that could be achieved and so I tried it. The smaller size of our film meant we could experiment and so I took full advantage of it.

“The amount of money we saved would probably have been around $1000. Mostly because it cuts out all sorts of costs , not just paper but things like printer hire and ink and additional fuel costs to run call sheets to set each night.

“On a larger scale film the savings could be much more substantial though. Once a film reaches a certain critical mass it could pose more problems than it’s worth but small films with smaller crews can definitely use it to their advantage.”

Broken Contract is the second feature from Pentecost, whose debut was Twisted Minds, and the third from Jag Pannu Productions in association with Fortescue and Pentecost’s VCR Media.

View the trailer here