Over the last few weeks I’ve been producing and directing a new webseries for Neighbours, to air during the annual transmission break (the show is off air for five weeks Dec-Jan). The series was created as 10 x 5 – 8 min episodes for Tenplay in Australia, released twice a week, and for the UK, 25 x 1 – 2 mins, released daily. Short form video under 60s has been performing well across UK social channels, so it’s been an interesting experiment releasing the same content in two formats in different markets.
The writers for the stories are Jo Zantuck, Matthew Bon, Ben Nicholas, Shane Isheev and myself. We broke the stories around the existing plotlines for the season finale and premiere, creating self-contained stories that would add to current long-term plots. They’re a mix of drama, comedy and romance. I’m a big fan of improvisation, so where possible I encouraged the cast to ad-lib dialogue.
My story (Tenplay eps 7 & 8) focuses on teen character Piper, who is surprised by her boyfriend with a romantic New Years Eve in the city. The only problem is, their relationship is a secret, which complicates matters when Piper’s mum announces she wants them to spend the night at home. Eventually it’s a question of will-they-find-each-other in the city, as Piper wonders the streets whilst vlogging her misadventures.
David Franjic shot the first couple of scenes on the Neighbours backlot, including a Glidecam sequence across Lassiters lake. From then on, we formed a guerilla unit in the city – which meant, to keep crew numbers down, I was directing and camera operating. A couple of nights in the city allowed us to get a real sense of Melbourne, shooting near Flinders Street station, Southbank and the library.
Shot on the Sony FS7 with the Sony 28-135 f4, as well as Olympus Zuiko 28mm and 50m.
There were also a couple of VFX shots I tackled, with sign replacement (establishing the Rebecchi Roadhouse), and bokeh fireworks. Both handheld, with tracking in After Effects.
Behind the scenes