Starting From Now is an Australian multiplatform drama created by Julie Kalceff. With 4 seasons, the series explores the entangled, increasingly complicated lives of its four female protagonists as they struggle to work out who they are, find a place where they belong, and maybe even find someone to love along the way.

What (and/or who) inspired your series?
Starting From Now was a direct response to the lack of diversity in mainstream media in Australia. Women are decidedly under-represented in the media, particularly in regards to sexuality and ethnicity. I was inspired to create a series with strong, complex female protagonists who aren’t defined by their relationship to a man.

What do you want audiences to take away from your series?
The characters are women, first and foremost, being lesbian is part of who they are, but it’s not their defining characteristic.

What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome making this series?
Like most productions, there’s never enough time or money. You have to think outside the box and you have to work extremely hard to achieve the results you’re after.

How do you reach your audience?
We’ve spent the past two and a half years building up a strong presence on social media. We work hard at maintaining this and keeping our audience engaged. Before I released our first episode I forged relationships with prominent websites and bloggers so that when the series was released, there was an audience already waiting for it.

How do you finance your series?
The first two seasons of Starting From Now were self-funded and the third was the result of a small crowd funding campaign. For Seasons 4 and 5 we received funding from Screen Australia and Screen NSW and secured corporate and community partnerships with IVF Australia and ACON.

What is your favourite thing about making web series?
The freedom to tell the stories you want to tell. You have the opportunity to prove there’s an audience for the content you want to make.

Have you achieved the goals you set for this series?
I believe we have. I had two main goals in creating the series – to provide an alternative to mainstream representations of women so that people questioning their sexuality don’t feel so alone; and to prove there’s an audience for this type of content. We’ve received numerous messages from audience members who are grateful for the series and have been waiting for content such as this for a very long time. We’ve also recently broken 24 million views, a number that will continue to grow with the release of Season 5 in July.  

What’s your background as a content creator? And how did you approach this project differently to previous projects?
I started as a writer. I graduated from the AFTRS with a Master of Arts (Scriptwriting) in 2003. It’s only been in the last five years or so that I’ve started directing. Most of my work prior to Starting From Now was on shorts but I was also one of the writer/directors on the web series The Newtown Girls. For some reason I approached Starting From Now with less fear than previous projects. This may have something to do with the fact that it was to be released online and there’s more freedom, but I felt like I could experiment more in terms of character and story and just have more fun with it.  

How important do you think representation of stories like the ones we see in Starting From Now are?
I think diversity of representation is extremely important. The more diversity we have on screen, the closer we come to reflecting the society we actually live in and the less alienated those being represented feel. It also helps breed understanding and compassion. One of the best things about stories told on screen is that they allow those watching to start conversations they may have otherwise found difficult to have.

Do you see the stories told in the series as being true to the experiences of young relationships, particularly LGBTQI ones?
Starting From Now is a drama so the storylines and character arcs will always be heightened in some way but I hope, overall, they’re quite true to life. One of the things I wanted to do in creating the series was look at topics and relationship issues that aren’t usually explored in a web series. The series focuses on topics such as infertility, infidelity, drug and alcohol abuse, depression and sexual assault and has, I believe, done so in a realistic and believable way.

Starting From Now on the web:
Starting From Now website
Watch Starting From Now
Starting From Now on Facebook
Starting From Now on Twitter
Starting From Now on Instargam