The indie web series scene in Australia continues to grow with local comedy The Future Machine. This week the show launches the final episode of its 8-episode first season. It stars comedian Matt Okine, Cariba Heine (H20: Just Add Water) and Andy Ryan (Tomorrow When The War Began) as roommates who build a time machine in their kitchen to resolve an argument.
David Barker, Tom Sheldrick and Matt Okine (director, writer and star respectively) co-created The Future Machine and cleverly designed a concept that’s expansive in its scope (it’s about time travel), yet limited to a single filming location – an apartment. While many web series have been filmed in filmmakers’ apartments due to low budgets, this series pulls out all the stops in terms of delivering a robust and high quality level of production.
Director of Photography Nino Tamburri chose to shoot the series on the Canon 5D and 7D (now a staple of indie filmmaking) with a wide array of SLR lenses providing a filmic visual aesthetic. The excellent photography combined with Shona Menzie’s production design transforms a bland warehouse into a colourful and often exciting bachelor pad. Throw in some decent acting and funny punchlines and the series is effective as a low key, high concept comedy.
The budget of the series is reportedly AUD $15, 000 – and for 30 minutes of content, that ain’t bad. Especially when you consider that director David Barker comes from a commercial background (he co-founded Sydney-based commercial production company, Taxi Films) and actor Andy Ryan was one of the ensemble of teenagers in the big-budgeted, Stuart Beattie-helmed action flick, Tomorrow When the War Began.
But it hasn’t been all smooth sailing. A recent article in Encore Magazine sparked a passionate and fiery debate about the success of the series and its future, which inclined at least one YouTube commentator to post a video in response. Still, the creators are optimistic and pleased with their views surpassing the 10,000 mark.
Co-creator Matt Okine would like to do a second season, but for now he is content with building a solid fan base and demonstrating to brands how he might feature their products in future seasons. “We’ve given companies a good example of how we envision that partnership to happen through our relationship in this first season with local Aussie brewers, Skinny Blonde. We want to make sure that if there is branding incorporated, that it goes hand-in-hand with the lives of the two main characters – which is why an alcohol company would be an ideal partnership.”
When asked why make a web series, Okine laments, “None of the networks in this country want to take any risks by making something original, so they often rehash old stories. They take off one hospital drama, and replace it with another hospital drama. The same thing for cop-shows. And crime shows.”
The Future Machine is certainly different from any television show out there at the moment, but whether it’s unique enough for audiences to follow it online into a second season, only time will tell. Unless of course they’ve been to the future already and know something we don’t.