Two Weeks team winning the inaugural Student Series Award at MWF 2017. Pictured Left to right: Richard Fabb, Mary Duong, Isabel Stanfield and Rhiannon Steffensen.
Most people say when it comes to a career in film, getting your foot in the door is 90% of the challenge.
We all know it is a difficult market to crack.
Thankfully, online platforms such as Facebook and Instagram now make it a lot easier to reach a larger audience anywhere and anytime.
At the 2017 Melbourne WebFest, a new student category was introduced into our program. Screening six students series from Australia and internationally, the inaugural award winner was Brisbane drama series Two Weeks, made by students from Griffith University.
“Since our win at MWF, both our series and our profiles as web content creators have received some attention and gained a lot of traction,” says producer Rhiannon Steffensen.
Two Weeks have gained great success screening and recieving awards at many web festivals around the world including the T.O WebFest, Long Beach Independent Film Festival, SAE ATOM awards and a premiere at the Brisbane Queer Film Festival earlier this year.
Rhiannon says festivals and other similar events are integral for all filmmakers. “It’s such a collaborative environment, with opportunities to meet and hear from so many different creators and it just opens your mind to a realm of ideas and processes that you may not have previously been aware of.”
Prior to the student category, Melbourne Web Fest and web series festivals across the world have always welcomed entries from young and emerging creators. We are extremely exited to see the continued success of many student and graduate web series.
We spoke to some other student alumni about the opportunities that were presented to them following their involvement in MWF.
Andrew Mills is a co-creator, producer, director and writer for Leftovers, a comedic web series that explores different themes in contemporary society. The series was also created by and stars, then RMIT students, Helena Ruse and Pippa Mills.
Andrew describes the entire web series process as “completely thrilling.” The best part is “creating stuff and making things that other people can enjoy.”
“I remember seeing it (Web Fest) come up on Facebook in 2014.”
Although Andrew didn’t have a project or web series of his own yet, he attended some of the workshops, got to meet creators and hear about how they made their series.
“It was pretty inspiring and made me realise that there’s people out there making series for the web, something I didn’t know much about back then,” says Andrew.
Following his involvement in MWF, Andrew says that one of the greatest opportunities was meeting a tonne of people and making connections and friendships with others who are doing similar things.
“We were able to feel part of a community of likeminded people. Those are always the best kinds of opportunities,” says Andrew.
Leftovers has been selected as one of the twenty recipients of Fresh Blood 2017, a joint initiative between ABC and Screen Australia, to promote a new generation of comedic talent.
Each team recieves $15,000 to create 3 x 3-5min sketches that will be shared on iview nearing the end of the year.
Andrew said in an interview with ABC that the “funding will allow us to expand on the world and characters we’ve created in our online videos.”
“We hope the financial assistance from Fresh Blood will allow us greater freedom in our storytelling and production values, something we’ve long been aiming to achieve.”
SYD2030 was created by a Sydney students and received the award for Best Drama at the Inaugural MWF.
Although the series had an incredible outcome, the process to originally find funding was a ‘nightmare.’
“In the end, we decided to invest in our own futures and made the entire series with our own money,” says co-creator Tatjana Marjanovic.
Although she got some of the money back when different channels picked up the series, Tatjana agrees that “it was and always will be a passion project made by us for us.”
Similarly, Two Weeks producer emphasised the importance of using your time and money wisely.
“We now live in a world with a massive over saturation of content and if you want to compete, you have to be smart in the way you spend your time and money so your project stands up against the big guys and stands out to audiences”
“Our industry will forever be evolving in the way we create, distribute and exhibit content and festivals like MWF are essential in keeping one’s finger on the pulse,” Rhiannon says.
Submissions are now open for MWF 2018, if you are a student submit now under our student category for a discounted rate. All students series selected to screen at MWF 2018 will receive free access to Final Draft script editing software.