The support of a great team, household or community is important not only for a successful web series but also in life. We are excited to showcase so many series this year that feature this sentiment.
Exploring the world of theatre, gym culture, regional Australia and unruly share houses the following series are very different but all share the common element of supportive networks. We spoke with the creators Housemates (AUS), Sweatshop (AUS) , Silo Art Trail (AUS) and Theater People (USA) to gain an insight into their shows.
Housemates is a non-fiction series that documents the daily lives of people living in share houses across Australia. From young Christian hippies to frisky strippers, each house has an underlying theme.
Director and producer Rob Innes, explains the inspiration for the series.
“The inspiration came from our own experiences of living in share houses. My team and I had all lived in various share houses in Australia and overseas, and many of our friends had too. And each of those houses was totally different.”
“We wanted to explore how other people across the country were living, and how people were making shared living work.”
Highlighting the importance of the audience, Innes says he wishes for viewers to consider their own reality of living in a share house, and the challenges that may come with it. “I’d hope the audience considers each house on its own merits, and through the series, realise there are many different ways of creating shared living spaces -there’s no right or wrong way, just whatever works for you.”
Similarly, Sweatshop delivers the hilarious interpretation of gym culture, through the inner lust and ambition of gym junkies. Producer, director and creator Alistair Marks says the series was inspired by his own experience at the gym. The series stars some of Melbourne’s bigger names such as Michala Banas (Upper Middle Bogan) and Samuel Johnson (Molly).
“At the time, I was visiting a gym fairly frequently, and was taken by the ‘turnstyle’ nature of the environment – meaning that anyone could walk through the door at any time. This, coupled with the idiosyncratic nature of a gym (and the deeply philosophical life discussions I was having with my gym buddy) leant itself to a great series premise.”
As a Spotlight Selection, Spotlight showcases series made on a budget of $50, 000 or less, Marks explains how the series was funded.
“Sweatshop was funded through a very successful crowdfunding campaign, run on Pozible. The Sweatshop Nation deemed that this was a show they wanted to see, and we were able to raise almost twice our target.”
Although Sweatshop is not just about working out and Marks hope the audience will take away a lot more from the series.
“Sweatshop throws up a lot of interesting questions for the audience – first and foremost, looking at relationships, while also looking at personal ambition, self care, and mental health. It is my hope that the off-beat tone of the show will draw people in.”
Silo Art Trail, a documentary series that brings together art, and culture from regional Australia introduces it’s audience to Australia’s largest outdoor art gallery. These installations are large-scale mural portraits, painted onto giant grain silos, celebrating the people of the region. Vidad Narayan and Bryce McCoy are the proud directors, writers and editors of this spotlight series.
Narayan and McCoy explain what the art pieces mean for these towns.
“The greater project was a huge boost by bringing tons of people through their towns, which meant a gain for businesses servicing tourists. This has also affected neighbouring towns, with people from all directions taking the opportunity exploring other places to visit, increasing the popularity of the region in general.”
“Each artist reflected different themes specific to these country towns. These themes ranged from; the role of women and how progress is reflected; resilience through the harsh conditions that farmers face; the importance of sporting clubs that unify towns, recognition of the Aboriginal population in the area, the generations of families that are tied to the town; and farming as the predominant industry.”
During production, the crew saw loads of support from it’s locals who were interested in both the culture of the artworks and bringing their community together. “When the painting and filming in each town occurred, it became a bit of a circus, with huge numbers of people coming through everyday, as well as a lot press!”
Delving into a hilarious world and culture in the performing arts, Theater People all the way from Minneapolis, America, is certainly relatable. Writer, director and creator Matthew Anderson describes the series as a homage to the acting community of Minneapolis.
“My producer Lydia Bolder and I knew that the most valuable resource we had was the city’s huge, talented acting community. The availability of dozens of terrific actors and knowing that we’d never exhaust the comic possibilities of the theatre world were the major inspirations for Theater People.”
Anderson says the greatest challenge while creating the series was more logistical than operational. “The logistical challenges of producing, essentially, an independent sitcom with a huge cast and limited resources. Probably the same thing anyone faces when deciding to create a project like this. It’s enormously satisfying but of course it’s a lot of work!”
Anderson speaks humbly about his cast, even when creating a series on a shoestring budget. “I don’t think characters need to be extra bold to compensate for limited resources, I think they need to be entertaining, authentic, and realised by a team of great performers directed with an eye toward making them shine.”
Want more? Head to Melbourne WebFest 2018.