Former movie stuntman brings a whole new kind of action to Gold Coast

The Gold Coast has a sharp focus on the future of film making.

Dec 08, 2023, updated Dec 08, 2023
PROXi uses latest tech in its movie making

PROXi uses latest tech in its movie making

Former movie stuntman Guy Norris has catapulted his career to even greater heights with his Gold Coast company PROXi Virtual Production, which he shares with his two sons Harrison and Harlon.

Norris, who started in the industry 40 years ago making sets out of cardboard boxes, said the latest iteration of his company evolved from the need to embrace new technology and show the creator or producer what their script would look like before the film was made.

PROXi works with world-class action design, bespoke virtual production systems and cutting-edge technical processes to create massive sequences on set.

This “hand’s on” virtual space enables changes to the likes of costumes and lighting to be made on the fly.

“The problem with traditional work it that it is hand animated, which takes a long time and you can’t actually vary it,” Norris said.

“My sons, who are in their 20s, came through the gaming world and the advent of the Unreal Engine.

“It is like a 3D version of Lego but it is all adjustable. You can be looking at a 3D version of your shots before you make them and that’s probably the biggest leap.”

Former stuntman Guy Norris worked on Mad Max 2 – The Road Warrior in 1981

In terms of of leaps, Norris is no stranger to danger, working as a stuntman with director George Miller on Mad Max 2 – The Road Warrior in 1981.

PROXi, which came into being during the filming of Max Max: Fury Road in 2015, is based at Pinnacle Studios at Helensvale – three large converted factories in which Norris’ company occupies two.

“The Gold Coast has always been my home and is a beautiful place to live. There are a lot of film makers who have moved up this way, the facilities we have are excellent,” he said.

“Eighty per cent of the stunt performers in the country are up here. Most of the technicians and post-production people use the Gold Coast and Brisbane as their base.

“They’ve got fab studios up here, the weather is great and it is a cheaper place for people to live.”

PROXi works with cutting-edge technology

In August, Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate announced two major developments for the screen industry with a funding increase through the Screen Attraction Program and further progress on the Yatala screen project.

Tate revealed a newly created Gold Coast Film Commission and a 300 per cent increase in screen funding to more than $1 million a year would support a greater number of international, national and local productions filmed on the coast.

PROXi, a multi-million dollar company that employs 15 permanent staff and as many as 150 stunt workers during the making of a film, plans to launch an academy to teach the industry about their work in the Unreal Space in a bid to “bring forward new talent and advance the industry along.”

“We are a little bit of a unicorn. Being in Australia you really do develop a different system of working,” Norris said.

“We’ve always had a reputation for great stunt work. I’ve been very fortunate that my sons came through the gaming world and the gap between gaming and filming is incredibly close. It is a unique combination at the right time.”

PROXi was a participant in the annual Gold Coast Business Week

Norris said as everything was now digital and stored in the cloud there was not “thousands of reams of tape” being used, leading to more sustainable practices.

“We can get an enormous amount of work out of a small group of people in one building,” he said.

“What we do has been exactly the same for the past several years but every single year how we do it changes.”

PROXi was a participant in Gold Coast Business Week, an annual event connecting leaders, professionals and entrepreneurs across the Gold Coast since 2018.

The week consisted of a variety of events, including workshops, networking opportunities, industry tours and keynote presentations from sustainability specialists and entrepreneurs.

Events were tailored to a variety of different industries including tourism, professional services, health, medical, sport, screen, advanced manufacturing and more.

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