COLOUR BLIND – A WEB SERIES BY TAI HARA
“We’ve seen the Meryl’s, we’ve seen the Brad’s but why can’t we see a Black Brad? A Brown Meryl?”
Based on his own experiences in the film and television industry, actor Tai Hara has written and directed his first online five-part comedy series, Colour Blind about a well-intentioned but glaringly white casting specialist blundering through the maze of cultural sensitivity as he strives to bring diversity to the screen.
Under their new production company, Bag of Marbles, Hara also co-produces the series alongside Anna Lawrence, which received completion funding from Screen Australia and will launch Sunday, November 22.
Available to stream on YouTube, Facebook Watch, IGTV and colourblindwebseries.com, the satirical series reflects an industry working hard to get it right but serves as a reminder there’s still a long way to go.
Colour Blind is a hilarious look at self-proclaimed visionary in the world of ethnic casting, Gavin Walters. Originally an actor and all too familiar with rejection and struggle, Gavin has now made it his life’s mission to clear the stain of whitewashing, end the neglect of ethnic minorities and bring those faces to the forefront of our screens. With the best intentions, Gavin is determined to ‘roll out the red carpet’ for people of colour. Where are you from? What’s your tribe? What’s your DNA? Are you available for the shoot dates?
In the same vein as comic hits The Office, Waiting For Guffman and Parks and Rec, audiences are given a mockumentary ‘fly on the wall’ perspective of the peculiar world that is Gavin Walters Casting.
For Hara, writing and directing his first series was a passion project after experiencing people like Gavin Walters in real life, saying, “Colour Blind is a series inspired by my own awkward and uncomfortable experiences as an actor of colour in casting rooms. It’s a humorous comment on an industry working towards getting it right, but so often still missing the mark.
“Colour Blind is part of a much broader conversation that as a person of colour, I’ve publicly shied away from in the past for fear of retribution (or being ‘that guy’). Talking about your lived experiences can be a vulnerable position to put yourself in. But throughout my career I’ve consistently come face to face with these encounters, based purely on my race and ethnic ambiguity, that have left a lasting impact on me.
“Conversations around race and identity are complex issues that sometimes make people feel uncomfortable when presented in a dramatic light. What comedy does so well is it plants the thought through humour and then asks the audience to ask themselves; Why did I laugh at that? Why did I find that funny? For a conversation like this, it’s really important to put these thoughts in front of people and not tell them what to think but give them space to find it.
“The reality is, when having these conversations, you’re probably going to trip up and say the wrong thing, but that’s okay. I want to talk about race in a way that’s productive because, in my experience, there can be shame and guilt associated with it but in reality, we need to own it. This conversation is really important – we shouldn’t be afraid of it.”