Recently, I had the good fortune of having a bit of chat for my RMIT podcast, ‘A Bit of Chat’ with the creators of the Australian web series, Bruce – Warwick Holt, Mat Blackwell and Tony Rogers. It was a wonderful opportunity to talk with such great comic minds and they gave a real insight into the challenges (and joy) of trying to tell Australian stories in an increasingly US-dominated market.
Set in 1788, Bruce is a comedy web series about Bruce Williamson, a hapless young man who deliberately becomes a convict so that he can follow his lady love, Daisy, to the new penal colony in Australia. Alas, she has fallen for a soldier and thus Bruce if forced to share a small tent with Garry, an incompetent hangman; and Mick, an erudite serial killer. Avoiding the avenging codes of chivalry from enraged British soldiers, Bruce also tries to get along with the original inhabitants who want nothing to do with him nor any of his kind. It’s a wry and dark look at our humble beginnings while engendering Australian sense of humour.
Ten years in the making and made on a minuscule budget (yet looks impressively big budget), the series has been shown on youtube only and has already had a huge following.
Here, I speak with Warwick Holt. Warwick is one of Australia’s top comedy writers. As head writer on The Project, Warwick is not only the Winner of 5 AWGIE Awards, he also has a Masters degree in Applied Maths. He has written for Good News Week, The Glass House, The Great Comedy Debate, Good News World, The Sideshow, The Ministry of Truth as well as a documentary, The Phandom Menace. These are just some of the many projects that Warwick is involved in.
Next up, is the multi-award winning writer, Mat Blackwell, has been writing stories since he was a wee boy. It wasn’t until he met Warwick Holt that he got drawn into the television world, writing for The Glasshouse, Good News Week, Sideshow, Wednesday Night Fever, to name but a few. Co-writing with Warwick on Bruce, Mat has also written a speculative novel, ‘Beef”, a love story roasting in the future of a vat meat world.
Lastly, Tony Rogers. The acclaimed director, apart from directing many award-winning television commercials, has had a very successful run of comedies such as How to Speak Australians, Rats and Casts, Fourth of July (Won’t Last), FUNT and of course, Wilfred, which has gone on to be made as an HBO version starring Elijah Wood.
Credits for the above video:
Camera: Natalie Stojanovski, Armin Bilcevic and Jennifer Argitis
Editing: Natalie Stojanovski and Jennifer Argitis
Script/presenter/locations: Russell McGilton
Principal Direction (though we all had go!): Russell McGilton
Equipment: RMIT Media Department.
Thanks again to Warwick, Mat and Tony for their generous time.