“When I grow up, I want to marry a grown man addicted to playing video games,” said nobody ever.
Game Over is an eight part New Zealand web series following the lives of four odd ball girls who bond together from their shared hate of computer games. In a quest to stop their addicted boyfriends from gaming their lives away, the four girls start up a secret club.
In a quest to stop their addicted boyfriends from gaming their lives away, the four girls start up a secret club. What follows, say the creators, is a comedic and trivial journey into four very different lives. “ It is silly, unpredictable, sad and a little bit wacky.”
The cast and crew behind Game Over are a mix of multi-talented females. With their skills in Directing, Writing, Improv and Comedy, expect to see good things from such a talented and fresh group of women.
Director Trish Phelan has been working in the film, television and theatre industry for the past six years. Actresses/Writers Loren Mason, Susannah Smith-Roy, Lana Walters and Laura Daniel all have diverse acting experience.
Viewfinder talked to Director Trish Phelan about creating the pilot for the web series Game Over.
What was the inspiration for the idea behind Game Over?
The idea for the series came from a friend’s personal experience. At first the idea was quite foreign to me (a grown man playing computer games for ten hours straight every night, why?) but after researching gaming addictions it became clear that her personal experience could be turned in to powerful fiction.
Why make a web series?
The motivation to make a web series is simple really, I love directing actors and the actors love acting! It’s also great experience for us to practice our skills.
The web series has been in the pipeline for eighteen months – were you applying for NZ ON Air funding during that time?
No, we haven’t approached NZ On Air for any web series funding yet, the main reason being that we have all been so busy working in the Industry that we haven’t had the time to approach a production house to back us. However we will definitely apply for funding for season two once we have our first series under our belt.
What were some of the highlights of making the pilot?
Working with four actors who had developed such strong characters. Each actor spent a lot of time prior to filming polishing their character so when it came to filming the dynamics on screen was gold for me.
What do you think are the most important elements of a successful web series?
Don’t make a show reel, tell a story like any TV writer or short film Director would. Tell a story that you will enjoy making and most importantly surround yourself with people who want to be part of the project.
The acting is really strong – how did you find your cast and crew?
Thank you (we think so too!). The cast and crew, including myself, trained at Unitec School of Performing Arts and have worked together on various projects over the years.
Our team also includes actor James Kupa, Caleb Wright, Producer Kali Moss, Assistant Director Phoebe Borwick, Writer Danny Aumua, Director of Photography Venusi Taumoepeau, Sound Operators Cameron Magill, Gabriel Muller and Editors Matt Allison, and Jack Brown.
“Don’t make a show reel, tell a story like any TV writer or short film Director would.”
There has been lots of talk recently about not enough women Directors in New Zealand – but we’re noticing quite a few women making awesome web series; what are your thoughts around this?
I have been lucky to work with many different television directors, many of who have been female so I have not been discouraged in any way. It seems to be different in the Film Industry so perhaps women Directors in New Zealand see this as a platform to be taken seriously, that they do have what it takes to direct great content. I think females also have a knack of multi–‐tasking so many can direct and produce their web series at the same time.
What are some of your – (and the rest of the teams?) – fav web series?
Can you share any techy stuff; camera/s used, sound and editing equipment?
We shot the pilot on a 5D Mark III and edited on AVID.
What’s next after the web series is made? Where will you distribute it? Will you enter web fests? Is there an opportunity to make revenue from it?
Yes we hope to enter the series in to as many Web Festivals as possible – probably starting with the Melbourne and LA Web Fest. It will play out on Youtube, Vimeo and through our website gameoverwebseries.com, which is yet to be launched. In terms of revenue, that is something our producer is currently looking in to…maybe a gaming company would like to advertise their game before the show!
With your experiences so far making the pilot and now crowdfunding – do you have any advice for other web show creators?
Our experience making the pilot was a positive yet demanding one, positive in the sense that we had a lot of laughs along the way and I think we nailed the tone of the show, but demanding because we had a limited amount of time in each location and two of the actors flew in for the weekend, so we were on a very tight schedule! Crowdfunding has proved to us that we are worth investing in. We have been approached by a few companies who would like to get behind us and help with post‐production costs.
I noticed the pilot was longer at around 11 mins than other pilots; there’s such a debate about the length of web series episodes.
The pilot duration didn’t concern me. I tried to focus on setting up the world, the idea and the characters as opposed to creating a five minute video. Not many series have four main leads in the pilot so I guess the pilot wasn’t going to be the standard length!
Any tips on shooting on a budget?
Don’t be afraid to ask people for help, most people understand that it is a labour of love and will be more than happy to assist. The worst thing that can happen is that they say no.
What are your thoughts about the future of the web series format?
Short bursts of entertainment seem to suit people’s lifestyles these days and I think the format of a web series will only become stronger and more credible. One component of a web series that has changed over the past few years is the duration. The average webisode a couple of years ago was 1:30, many are now between four to five minutes. People are viewing these series more and more like a TV show, which is great.
Once you’re funded when do you think audiences will be able to watch the web series? And what can they expect?
We really hope to have the whole series online by June this year (give or take a few months!) No hopefully June. The audience can definitely expect more unlikely friendships and a myriad of uncomfortable situations. As we are writing I keep referring back to the American sitcom ‘It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’ – I love the offbeat scenarios.
I also noted there’s no swearing/ explicit language etc (that’s common in many web series comedies) –was that a conscious decision?
Not really. In one of the first drafts Sacha had a much sharper tongue but it didn’t suite her when it came to filming. There are however quite a few scenes in the series that may provoke some characters to use explicit language… but that’s all I’m saying!
- Support the show on Kickstarter: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1090307147/game-over-web-series#
- Follow on Web Series Channel: http://webserieschannel.co.nz/webseries/game/