In 2014, the New South Wales Government introduced new lockout laws, with the objective of reducing alcohol-fuelled violence in the city of Sydney. The legislation required bars, pubs and clubs in the central district to refuse entry after 1am and to cease drink service at 3am. These new laws deeply impacted all the musicians, artists and bar owners whose income was mainly dependant on the night-life economy.

After the Lockout (AUS) gives a voice to the people that were impacted by the lockout laws, and takes the viewer on a nightlife journey around Sydney.

Melbourne WebFest spoke with Lauren Rose Beck and Jayde Harding, two of the four shooters, directors and editors of the docuseries, who told us about the filming experience and the message they were trying to convey.

What was the process of finding the different interviewees?

We had a pretty clear idea of the different kinds of voices we wanted to include in the series which made all the difference when trying to find interviewees. Our schedule was super tight so it was very much an ‘all in’, ‘try everything’ approach. It ended up being a monumental combination of personal networks, community posts, trawling gig guides and cold calling venues to pull the series together in a matter of a few days. Our producer was incredible at convincing bars to allow us to film there too.

Overall how long have you been working on your series?

Unbelievably, the series was conceived and planned in just two weeks and filmed over three nights. The project was set up to have really short deadlines so we really had to just keep rolling, take chances and make it work.

After the Lockout Trailer

What did you learn out of this experience?

We learned just how much you can get done in a short period of time when you have a common goal and a team. We learned just how important these issues are to the music, entertainment and events industry across Australia. We were constantly approached during filming by punters who wanted to offer words of encouragement. We also learned to double-check that the keys aren’t in the car before locking the door…

What’s something unexpected that happened during the making of your documentary?

During the final episode as we were filming a satirical casino themed party in the park, we had a vague idea that police would likely show up later in the night to shut the party down. We never expected them to show up so quickly and in such huge numbers. It was so early in the evening that most of our crew had gone to get dinner at the time, so it was a mad scramble to cover the scene and collect our gear as the party was being pulled down around us.

What were your intentions when making this series? What was the message you were trying to convey?

The politics of the lockout laws and festival license laws have been well reported in the media, but we really wanted to focus on the artists that hadn’t been heard from and who had been catastrophically affected by these changes. We wanted to give a voice to the people that had lost their gigs and venues specifically and to illustrate how many people there were who’d been impacted. I think the artists, bar managers and event workers speak for themselves in this series to convey their concerns.

Are you planning on making follow-up episodes showing the evolution of the situation? Since on January 14th this year, the NSW Government lifted the lockout laws in Sydney’s CBD and Oxford Street. Or even episodes showing the impact of COVID-19 on these same industries?

The devastation that COVID has had on live music venues, event workers, artists and festival culture is one that we can’t yet truly understand. Not to mention the bushfire closure of festivals, and the damage already done by lockout laws and festival restrictions. That being said, the people who work in this industry are resilient and we hope to see this industry evolve and recover from all of these setbacks. We would love to make a follow-up piece when venues and festivals rebuild. We hope that it’s soon.