“My 3-year-old has an IMDB page,” admits filmmaker Louise Alston when we ask if she’s a stage mum. “But I didn’t do it myself! She was in one scene in Neighbours and some fan made it!!! I won’t lie, I was a little thrilled.”
We have known Louise personally for two decades, watching with great interest as she was studying producing at AFTRS, making short films, directing features with 2007’s All My Friends are Leaving Brisbane, then 2010’s Jucy, getting her stripes as a TV director on Neighbours, moving to the entertainment biz capital, LA, then coming back to Australia to direct the tween flick Back of the Net, which will be released in cinemas next year.
And just before Back of the Net, the ambitious, talented and resilient filmmaker made her first web series, Stage Mums. “I cast Anna Waters Massey and Cleo Massey in a short film in 2007,” she tells us about landing the gig and the mother/daughter team that are the Stage Mums driving forces. “They asked me if I was interested in this. I jumped at the chance. Great characters and a funny script. I loved making a short series. It’s almost the length of a feature all together. The script was very well crafted… better than some of the stuff I read here in LA!
“The beauty of web series is there aren’t rules, but that said, you have to be compelling. Every ep has to drive towards the next one. Characters with clear goals are important to give heart to the series arc. Shaz & Trace have very clear goals. To make their daughters famous!”
With the female-centric feature film Back of the Net in the pipeline, and Stage Mums on the box, Louise Alston is both excited and pragmatic about what the future holds.
“Back of the Net is for the tween girl in your life. It’s about the power of friendship, cute boys, mean girls, vaguely loving but uninvolved parents…I basically directed it for my inner 11-year-old self… who still makes many of my current real world decisions… It stars Disney Channel’s Sofia Wylie and I predict huge things for that girl. She’s 14 and has buckets of talent.
“There is so much to be said about women characters, so much freshness to be had,” Alston continues. “Obviously, the market agrees, with women focused projects winning at the box office. The only negative is that many of the people you’re pitching women-focused stories to, are older men. They often respond ‘I don’t know… it just needs something else for me to get excited about it..’ I often suspect that something is a penis….”
Stage Mums premieres on Channel Eleven from Sunday, October 14 at 8.30pm, with repeat Friday evenings, and will be available on TenPlay.