The plot is easily laid out: “Don’t be Frank” is a story about solo mum Sela who has always dreamed of making films. When offered the producer role on a low budget zombie film, Sela is starting to work with director Frank Anthony and his eclectic team. She follows them through a simultaneously entertaining and disastrous journey as they make a movie.
Local writer/director Nick McLean based the story around his own experience: “most of the characters are real people I have worked with or know. I thought, you know what, I see these people every day, let’s make a comedy show.” Nick met with Aaron Keown and worked on a concept and script. They organised a 2.5 – day shoot and had so much fun that they decided to keep going – this was 2 years ago.
Lot has happened in the meantime: creative producer Scott Flyger (Due South Films) came on board to help finance the project,
platform submissions, evolve the original premise and introduce a new core character. Leading to Nick searching for and finding the new protagonist Sela, played by Faletolu Fasi Sela. Sela’s role represents normality in Frank’s chaotic world and gives the audience a sympathetic character to journey with throughout the series. “Sela made everything fall into place”, says Scott. “Bringing her into the series has made it a more interesting dramatic, complex and comedic idea. Combined with the others, we have a very strong creative team of players, dare I say one of the strongest comedy troupes in the country.”
Nick agrees and points out that the work on-set and off-set is outstanding: “the group dynamic and the on-set improvisation is absolutely fantastic. I love making people laugh with my stories and it was good to see everyone is having fun.”
The duo plan to produce multiple episodes. In order to do that they need to secure funding first according to Scott. “We have platform support which is a big deal, but the next hurdle is to get NZ On Air funding. In addition to that, the platform is not a known comedy platform, so we are pushing into new territory. I’m really excited as we are the first web comedy series to go through this. Hopefully, the work we do makes it easier for other similar regional projects in future.” To strengthen their case, Scott set up a crowdfunding page to show the regional support and local buy-in for the project. “We’ve done everything we possibly can to realise the web series. If we are able to secure additional money then that helps our case later on when we go to NZ On Air.” Check out the “Don’t be Frank” on Facebook.