[vc_row type=”in_container” scene_position=”center” text_color=”dark” text_align=”left” overlay_strength=”0.3″][vc_column column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]Michael Shanks and Chris Hocking are the minds behind the 6-part-series “Wizards of Aus,” which premiered on SBS earlier this year and has received more than a million views on Youtube.

Last night at Loop, the two offered insights into their production process, offering advice to an audience of film enthusiasts and industry professionals.

Shanks portrays the series’ protagonist, a bearded “Gandalf-like” wizard, who travels to Melbourne in search of a magic free life. However the man talking to the audience last night was the clean shaven Michael Shanks – all of the wit, none of the magic.

The pair took the opportunity to reveal the intimate details of their 36 week long post-production lives, sharing their tips and tricks before stressing the importance of VFX for independent film makers.

“What’s been amazing about this whole process is the integration of After Effects, which is such an affordable piece of equipment … if it wasn’t for After Effects I wouldn’t ever have had a career.

“Anybody who’s written a script knows that if you’ve come up with a crazy idea and you write it, suddenly the problem of ‘we can’t afford to do this’ comes up.”

“So as a writer learning how to do visual effects was great because it means that I could just decimate the budget of anything I wanted to work on,” Shanks said.

Whilst the duo funded Wizards of Aus through Screen Australia’s Multiplatform Drama Fund they outlined the importance of taking on a wide range of roles, both to keep costs down and ensure they maintained control over their project.

“In order to make the scripts I wanted to write I had to learn how to do it. I wasn’t going to wait for someone to give me a million bucks, I was going to figure out how to do a million bucks worth of work for free,” Shanks said.

“Even though I was the series producer on the show I definitely don’t consider myself a producer, or a VFX guy or an editor, we just wanted to make something cool so we did it,” Hocking added.

Unfortunately for fans hoping to see more magic in Melbourne, both Hocking and Shanks were quick to confirm that there won’t be a season 2. However, they did indicate that they are already thinking about their next project.

“I’m in this position where it’s a possibility to make something, but I’m not sold on my own idea yet. So I’m just figuring out whether or not it’s the right thing,” Shanks said.

“We’ve got heaps of plates spinning, but we have no idea what’s going to crash and burn or what we can actually catch,” Hocking continued.

In terms of advice for up and coming creators, Shanks was clear – learn a technical skill.

“It’s been such an asset to me to be able to do some visual effects, and not just because that means I can do the odd freelance job and actually get some money.

“There’s plenty of Directors out there I know who are great, creative and interesting but nobody wants your project to happen except for you, so if you can find the gumption to get your own project up via your own technical skills then that’s such an asset,” he said.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]