Travis Bain is a filmmaker based in Cairns, Far North Queensland, Australia. Born in Port Macquarie, New South Wales, in 1973, Travis fell in love with cinema at an early age, when his parents took him to see his first movie, Star Wars, at the age of four. The VHS boom of the early '80s fuelled his obsession with all types of cinema, ranging from Kubrick and Lean to exploitation schlock. In 1998 Travis moved to Brisbane to study film & television production, learning all aspects of camera operation, lighting, sound and editing. While still a student, Travis won awards for his short films and TV commercials.
In 2002, inspired by Robert Rodriguez’s $7,000 breakthrough feature El Mariachi, Travis began production on his own self-funded debut feature, Scratched. Scratched screened at the Brisbane Powerhouse in 2005 as one of the four finalists in the inaugural Australia/New Zealand digiSPAA Digital Feature Film Initiative, and also screened later that year as part of the official selection for the Melbourne Underground Film Festival. Travis's latest project is the horror/adventure feature Throwback. As of 2015, Throwback has screened at almost a dozen international film festivals, won awards and been released on DVD and Blu-ray in Australia, the UK, New Zealand, the US and Canada, with other territories to follow. Travis is currently developing his new feature Starspawn, inspired by the works of horror writer H.P. Lovecraft.
What's Your NativeAdVantage:
What do you do best?
I suppose my work ethic is my strongest feature. When I’m on a mission to get something done, I drive myself virtually into the ground to achieve it, and I won’t stop until I do. It’s a big, cold world out there, and you won’t get anywhere in life by just meandering along waiting for good things to come to you. I suppose my second-best quality is my ability to rally people by grabbing their attention with a good narrative. I moved to Cairns, North Queensland, a few years ago and without knowing anybody in town, I managed to persuade a whole bunch of people to make a movie with me for no money in their spare time. My narrative was “Hey, guys, I’m making a movie, come and join me because it’ll be really cool”, the movie was “Throwback” and it’ll be out on DVD across the US on July 21st. Mission accomplished. Now we’re getting ready for our next adventure, “Starspawn.”
What makes you the best?
I don’t believe I’m necessarily “the best” at anything, but I do believe that the best way to achieve success is to surround yourself with collaborators who are good at what they do so you can bring out the best in them, and be consultative with them. Often they’ll come up with a great idea you hadn’t thought of, or offer a unique perspective on how to solve a problem you thought was insurmountable.
How will you become the best?
Right now I’m assembling a team of filmmakers and actors to help me bring my new feature film “Starspawn” to life. We’re crowdfunding it on Kickstarter until July 19, and if we hit our funding target, we can commission some alien puppets and costumes and start shooting some preliminary footage to show people a taste of my larger vision. In the grand scheme of things, it’s just one of many, many steps in my journey to being a Hollywood-level filmmaker, but I believe if you want to reach the summit, you’ve got to stay focused on your long-term goals. Driving instructors always say you should not just look at the car in front of you but also what’s happening on the road ten car-lengths ahead of you.
What are your aspirations?
Personal: I want to see if I can somehow get that elusive work/life balance right. I love my family and don’t want them to ever feel like they’re coming second-fiddle to my film work, so I guess my personal goal at the moment is to try to spend more quality time with my loved ones.
Business: I want to go from making low-budget indie films to making summer blockbuster tentpole films one of these days. I couldn’t think of a better career than having hundreds of millions of dollars at my disposal to put amazing spectacles up on the big screen for the world to enjoy. David Lean, Sergio Leone, Anthony Mann, Spielberg, Fincher, Kubrick ... those guys are my heroes and I want to walk in their footsteps, or stand on the shoulders of giants, as it were.
What fascinates you?
“Go hard or go home.” If you believe in something and want it to succeed, you’ve got to throw yourself into it 100%. You can’t achieve your dreams without losing some sleep and making some sacrifices along the way. Some people take shortcuts to fame but they usually only end up enjoying their fame for fifteen minutes. Clint Eastwood’s been a force to be reckoned with in Hollywood for over 50 years and he sure didn’t take any shortcuts to get where he is.
I’m drawn to and inspired by people who are generous in spirit and encourage others to pursue their dreams. If I had to choose my ideal dinner-party list, it’d include not only some celebs I admire like Billy Connolly but also some non-famous people like my local barista Gilberto Risa, a very supportive Italian-Australian gentleman who’s been behind my film endeavours all the way. It’s sometimes hard to be a filmmaker some days with all the malicious idiots online who just want to tear you down to make themselves feel more important, but you’ve just got to rise above them and believe in yourself, and prove them wrong. Success truly is the best revenge.
I love travelling but I haven’t done nearly enough of it. I visited the US for the first time last year but only saw a small part of California. I’d like to roam around the whole country, plus Canada, Europe, the Pacific Islands.
I don’t normally get caught up in material things, but I must admit I’ve been dreaming about a vintage Ford Mustang for years. Maybe one day ...
I love great cinema and the artists who have given us over 100 years of wonderful films. I love good food, good wine, good company and the music of the mighty Led Zeppelin, the greatest rock band of all time. They’re all the things I need in my life to make me happy. And if I can get my new movie “Starspawn” off the ground, I’ll be even happier! http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/starspawn/starspawn-an-hp-lovecraft-inspired-sci-fi-horror-f