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For those who have been somewhat out of the loop or are not big followers of this blog, I’ve been slaving away at a web television concept since the end of the 48 hour film challenge last year.

This has been a real eye-opening and strengthening experience for me. Firstly, I have a new found respect for the amount of trouble and time that goes into producing a show and I really now understand why some shows can take decades to be produced.

One thing that has always bugged me about producers is that it is never really clear what a producer does and how they go about it. Well the reason is because a producer really does a little bit of everything and has to spend a lot of time looking at the real logistics of a film.

It does surprise me how many people I have met who kind of think that saying “oh I want to be in a film” don’t realise how much work making a film is. Like I said – new found respect.

I’m not sure who coined the phrase, but it is very much a case of herding cats. Particularly when you are making a production on a zero-budget. Relying on volunteers means you have to be skilled at balancing compromise with control. You need to get everyone together and keep them pumped about the project, but at the same time you have to make it as little hassle as possible for them because they are not getting paid for the work.

You can’t rely on the promise of “if this becomes big…” you really need to make sure that the people involved are as committed to the vision as you are.

For me the big challenge isn’t so much the compromise, nor the frustration when people aren’t available – these are par for the course and I expect those things. It’s about me being able to give the design, director and actors room to interpret my script and world in a way that works for them.

This is tough when you’re trying to stay true to a vision, but also be open to new ideas. And it is one I find I constantly berate myself over. Sure, there are important things that I want to ensure make it into the series, but I have to make sure that everyone is enjoying the project – and they need to be able to express their own creativity when doing this. Which means I have to be willing to say “cool, not what I really wanted, but let’s go with it.”

Like I said – compromise.

We’ve recently been doing casting calls for the series – which has been a fantastic experience for me. Norman, our director, is really good at guiding actors and while he sometimes has different ideas about the characters than I do – he does a good job in auditions at getting the actors to try out ideas.

There is something cathartic as a writer to see people reading your lines and bringing the characters to a semblance of life – and it really helps to push me further with the project.

But the best part to date is how everyone who has auditioned has genuinely laughed at the jokes in the script and commented on how fun the characters are. I had some doubts about how humourous the script was going to be – but after watching some of New Zealand’s prime time “comedy” out there – I think our show is going to knock people’s socks off.

While we are still to finalise who is playing what roles, we have found some very talented actors who are keen to just be in the series and love the characters. Now, more than ever, I really find myself genuinely believing that this project is going to be something that people are going to talk about and want to see more.

That pushes me to work harder and get everyone organised and ready to shoot this sucker.

Why WebTV and not a short film or national television show? Well I have a bit of a strategy here. Firstly, Web TV doesn’t require as much in the way of resources to film and distribute. Secondly, every man and his dog in Wellington is shooting a short film. It’s easy to just get lost in the sea of mediocrity and fringe film. There is an increasing demand from television companies for local web based content. What we’re doing with our show is ambitious and has the potential to be news worthy once it is released. Thirdly, a television show allows for more time to tell your story and focus on characters. It also means you can release a feature length story in fifteen minute parts. I find this preferable.

Although it does mean that we are effectively filming six short films as opposed to one! 🙂

I am so excited! This is proving to be a very eye-opening and educational experience. It also has the potential to lead to some very big things, and that potential also excites me.

Love and Huggles

Conan

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