In the fifth anniversary year of Melbourne Web Fest, the interns have documented life behind the scenes in their own web series: Mashed Up. Former MWF intern Bryanna Reynolds has a few questions for Co-Director Richard Khouri about the series.
BR: What inspired the creation of this particular series?
RDS: There is definitely a big inspiration to this series, and personally for me, it was The Office. I’ve watched The Office US over 13 times over now, so that is definitely prood of the above! It’s my all time favourite show, both for the characters & plot, but also for the unique way that it was shot. Huge inspiration.
BR: There are similarities between the series and the popular comedy series ‘The Office’. Did the series inspire you?
RDS: I guess the first question I answered answers this one also haha! You guessed it. I’m actually very glad that you were able to see similarities between Mashed Up and The Office. There were a number of people that drew the same conclusion, so when I hear that, it makes me happy to know we succeeded. It’s very rare when the original vision you imagine becomes the end result. 90% of my vision for Mashed Up became a reality. The other 10% were just lack of budget and specific equipment & props.
BR: What type of audience do you think would mostly likely be able to connect with the series and this particular humour?
RDS: Of course, anyone who enjoyed watching The Office, or other similar mockumentaries like Parks and Recreation. Anyone who is familiar with pop culture references or memes would enjoy this series too. There is a lot of silly, but smartly placed humour and plot hooks in this series that I hope will be appreciated! Also people who are appreciative of really, really bad puns will like this series haha!
BR: How long was the process of creating the series from conception to broadcasting online?
RDS: We actually had a very quick turnover from start to finish. The idea spawned from an earlier suggestion from last year by my fellow AV Manager, Harrison Lawrence. The idea was “life of an intern.” This year, we decided to go with that as a base concept. We all decided on the mockumentary style for the series. It went from there. It took 2 weeks to write, which included coming up with the idea, group brainstorming, first, second and third (and more) iterations of script drafts, up to the final write ups. Then we shot the series in 3 days and gave ourselves a good month to edit from the coming weekend we wrapped up shooting.
BR: What was the most challenging aspect in directing the series or was there a moment that proved difficulty, yet you found a way to overcome it?
RDS: From a director’s standpoint, I didn’t really find too much difficult to pull off at all. Everyone on the team was just on it from start to finish. The most difficult part to shoot thought, and even then, it wasn’t as difficult as we anticipated, were the one shot scenes. These were scenes that were shot with one long camera track with no cuts, some of them going for over a minute of continuous dialogue. These scenes I think were the most fun to shoot AND most crucial to the success of the episodes. It really made them flow well perfect and feel immersive, something the audience will appreciate.
BR: What did you and cast/crew enjoy most about the creation of this series? Was there a particular moment that made you laugh out loud?
RDS: Honestly, I personally enjoyed the multitasking of various tasks that I was able to undergo. I was the producer of the series, but I also wrote and edited the final scripts, co-directed the three epsiodes alongside Max Robins & Paul Khalil, did a lot of camera work and worked out cinematography both from our crews projections and on the fly while filming. I really enjoyed it because again, this series is something I was really passionate about, so I was really just enjoying see it come to life, while being able to witness and have a strong influencing hand in every aspect of it’s creation!
What made us laugh out loud? Well, that was seeing all our inside gags and jokes come to life from script to screen. We would always watch back particular scenes to both make sure they were perfect AND to give ourselves a laugh. I’d also like to give a special shout out to our festival director himself, Steinar Ellingsen, for his brilliant performances. He really nailed his scenes! I want to give another special shout out to Alexander Hipwell for truly going out with a bang. This was his final year at WebFest, so we wanted to send him off right. I think that was one of the best things to have shot and have seen. You’ll all see what I mean when you watch the series!
BR: What are the plans for the future of the web series?
RDS: I am definitely up for a Mashed Up season 2. I can safely say that several of our now former interns are also very interested in seeing this becoming a reality. We have a few ideas up our sleeves on where to go, but we will just have to wait and see!
BR: What was it like working with the Melbourne WebFest interns and creative team?
RDS: As always it was an absolute pleasure. Every year we get a bunch of fresh new faces join us as our interns. This year, we were fortunate to have received such a hardworking and passionate bunch of interns that really wanted to see this series become a reality. Without them, it wouldn’t have been the success it was. I want to thank my co-writers and co-directors, Max Robins & Paul Khalil, who also did a lot of editing with our production manager, Nisha Paekhun and our 1st AD Susu Najjarin, along with my camera crew Calvin Kunkel & Madison Clifford too.
BR: What would you say to anyone out there wanting to get involved in the world of web series creation?
RDS: Just get out there and make one! It’s simple advice, and everyone will tell you the same. If you have an idea, don’t sit on it. If you’re passionate about it or just really, really want to get your vision out there, write it down. From there, create a draft based around your idea, script it and then go from there. Don’t let your idea just be another idea. Free it from the jar the is your mind and write it down! It begins from there.
Watch Mashed Up on YouTube !