How did you approach writing a series specifically for online distribution? I wrote the script as a short film years ago, when I was just starting out as an actor. I always Iiked the story and slowly developed it more, eventually turning it into episode form and adding the idea that it was a sporting event. In terms of writing for online, I wanted to give the episodes a really fun tone. I also tried to end every episode on a hook. Further to that, it was a clear objective in post production to give the episodes a fast pace, keeping the energy of the storyline going. I feel like you don’t have long to keep the viewers attention online. I pictured people watching with their finger on the trigger, if they aren’t engaged for even a couple of seconds, it’s over!
One of the series leads Ellie Rose Giddings has over 20,000 Instagram followers, was it a tactic to cast someone with an Instagram profile?
It was a consideration given we were planning to crowdfund the project. I think more and more producers will look to that. When I cast Ellie and Victoria [Ferrara] too, who has a following as well, I just thought they’d do a really good job. They both thought the script funny; they just seemed like people I wanted to work with. I think how many followers you have is probably really important to some projects, but to me, the kind of people you’re working with is so much more important. When you’re doing a project like this, you rely a lot on the kind of people you cast, and I got really lucky.
You mentioned the crowdfund; you did run an unsuccessful campaign, was that deflating?
Not really, I’d also previously pitched it to the ABC. I didn’t take either personally, I just sort of went, okay what now? We asked for $5k and we raised around $3k but it was all or nothing, so we got nothing! Funnily enough $3k is pretty much how much it cost me to make the series. So that’s definitely something for people that are thinking about doing their own crowdfund, flexibility is probably the better way to go, even if they do hit you with higher fees. For some reason I felt relived when it was unsuccessful, it felt to me like now I could just make it how I wanted to, without worrying about pleasing anyone who’d given us money.
Do you regret going down the crowdfund path?
I do regret spending so much time planning it, I wrote a promo video script (‘Help us Save the Lunchtime Quickie’) to accompany the crowdfund page. I spent forever working out the concept, planning it like a marketing campaign. I was just over-thinking everything, trying to make it perfect. In the end I think it missed the mark. If I could do it again I’d make it a lot simpler, more humble and less gimmicky. A lot of people did tell us they liked the video, they just didn’t want to give as any money! The whole time we were running the crowdfund campaign the script to the series was completely finished, so we could have been shooting the actual series. Crowdfunding is a lot of extra work and energy you could be putting into your project. If you can make it work financially without it, I’d say just go for it.