OVAS 2017 Creator Q&A - Benjamin Bryan
Could you tell us a little bit about your work and how you got into the industry?
I went to film school like a lot of other director hopefuls - we were told “you will never ever get a job in the film industry” by one of our lecturers, in some kind of attempt to soften the blow of failure but he only proved himself to be a dickhead and gave me the incentive to do what he declared impossible. I guess in some way he was an evil genius. Starting out in the camera department I’ve worked my way up from taking coffee orders to taking orders to ordering coffees. It’s a really good place to be if you want to make films, there’s so much language that gets used onset and so much etiquette that takes a long time to learn. These days I pay the bills working as a 1st AC or Focus Puller - whatever the hell that is.
Where did you get the idea for Idiot Box?
Idiot Box is a reflection of my childhood, growing up in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne. I like the idea that we are all children at heart and I believe it - I wanted to write something that incorporated that my childlike passion for anarchy and destruction.
Given it’s comedic nature, is the show scripted or improvised?
All the episodes of Idiot Box were scripted and revised a number of times, a lot of ideas didn’t make the cut or were completely reworked. With any writing I think that’s really important but don’t let anybody tell you that improvisation gets you nowhere, you just have to factor it in. Get it right on the page then allow space for improvisation - even if you don’t use it, it’s a shitload of fun and keeps everybody’s spirits up (as long as you have the time). Also sometimes things just aren’t as funny as you thought they’d be and having actors that can bring their own comedy to it can really save your terrible writing. Our episode with the toast popping into the toilet was improvised, it was just supposed to pop and stay in the toaster but I propped my iPhone under it to set it at a slight angle and the toast went straight to the bowl first take - it was definitely a lot more funny.
What is the series shot on?
We shot on Sony FS7 @ 4k - it’s a great little lightweight camera with internal filters and batteries that last forever - perfect for docos and low budget stuff.
Are you hoping to create a second season?
I’d love to make a second season of Idiot Box, it’s been written, so hopefully there’s the demand.
What has the response to the series been like?
So far the response has been good, a lot of people identify with the main characters it seems and while none of our episodes have gone completely viral yet we’ve cleared over 1M views collectively and we’ve had a lot of people tell us they’re enjoying the show. No offers from Hollywood yet but I haven’t checked the mail in a week or two so who knows...
Q&A Wrangled by Monroe Scott