Sexy Herpes is a six-part dramedy web series that many Melbourne JMC students and graduates have recently been working on. Under former directing and producing lecturers Madeleine Dyer and Daniel Mulvihill, the series has received post-production funding from Screen Australia.
“There is nothing better than working with our students on projects outside of JMC and seeing them grow and flourish.“
With a great mix of established and emerging cast, we chatted to Daniel and Madeleine about their inspiration for the project, their experience collaborating with JMC past and present students, and how they went about getting their funding.
You can watch the trailer at the bottom of this article, or head to their YouTube Channel.
What was your inspiration for this project?
We grew tired of seeing content that didn't represent our friends, family and the world we live in. We sought to normalise sexual and gender identity in our work, as well as tell stories from characters with different cultural backgrounds that weren't cliched (even if they may initially seem so) - and all in the name of comedy. We made a point of consulting with experts in the field of gender identity and sexual health throughout the development of this series, to ensure it reflects the truth of those communities as accurately as possible. We hope our transgressive comedy can catch on and go viral (pun intended), to help spread the word about sexual health!
It was unreal working with such comic talent. Having their support and belief in our work has meant the world to us and allowed the creation of something incredibly unique and special. The series is championed by Genevieve Morris (No Activity), Harriet Dyer (Love Child, No Activity) Jason Geary (Scare Campaign) Rohan Nichol (Star Wars) and online sensation Jay K Cagatay (Stuntbear), who all star in the series. It also features a great emerging cast, including Zoe McDonald (Open Slather) Chloe Ng (Neighbours) Mark Silveira (Pawno) and comedian Katie Castles (I Love Man Tits).
Talk us through how you got your funding.
So, essentially, we pitched to Beyonedge with a business proposal and they co-funded it, with a handful of other investors. Duy Huynh and Andrew Kelly of Beyondedge Productions loved the concept, and got on board in its earlier stages to help fund and co-produce the series.
‘When we read the script we were just crying with laughter and we just knew this comedy needed to be out there,’ says Duy Huynh.
We had a 'build it and they will come' indie mentality, which proved effective in the sense that we had something really strong from the shoot which Screen Australia could see and believe in. They came on after we applied to them for completion funding, so have been given money predominantly to help our marketing and publicity!
You had a lot of JMC current students and alumni working on this project, what are the benefits for both yourselves and your students of this collaboration?
Not only has it been an incredible work experience opportunity but has allowed for many to credit themselves on content as they move into other projects within the industry. It was resounding that the shoot was a very enjoyable and easy-going one for all involved and a lot of that can be attributed to the passion and joy all cast and crew had for the project. All JMC students involved brought an enthusiasm and eagerness to work under industry heads of department, leading to great networking opportunities that many have been able to actualise into further work.
For us, we get a lot from giving back and providing opportunities for our JMC students because it's been a relatively hard road for us to break in and meet the right people and we've been at it for nearly ten years in the arts industry, in general. It's easy for many creative arts students to feel lost once they graduate, when it's so important they get the chance to get real-time experience on set. We can proudly say we provided this experience to our JMC peeps. We are strong believers in creating your own work and want to help others to do the same.
What advice would you give to students that would make them more likely to be chosen to work on projects like this?
Get out there and get amongst it! Put your hand up and once you commit, commit wholeheartedly because it doesn't go unnoticed. The students that worked so hard on our project really stand out and we will do anything to help them from here on in. Once you make valuable connections in the industry, they are there for life. Don't box yourself in - if you get experience in any role, it's going to serve the same purpose - to get set ready and make industry connections! The more you work the more you'll be thought of for work. Work begets work!
What are your favourite things about teaching at JMC?
The students. We've met some absolute legends and really get excited when we see them working hard and doing well. There's also nothing better than working with our students on projects outside of JMC and seeing them grow and flourish.
JMC have been exceptionally supportive of us over the years as well and we are so grateful to Peter George and the rest of the team.
Sexy Herpes is live NOW and can be viewed here.
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