Ever wondered what the Bible writers’ room looked like? Well, now’s your chance.
Australian comedy company Cameralla put Matthew, Mark, Luka and John to the test to pitch each other ideas for how to write the difficult sequel to The Old Testament – in their new series, Bible Writers’ Room (AUS).
Melbourne WebFest spoke with Carl J Sorheim (Writer/Director), Julian V Costanzo (Producer), Natalie Bond and David Gannon (Co-Creators & Key Cast).
What inspired the concept of ‘Bible Writers Room’, and has the idea strayed far from the initial concept?
CJS: I literally just thought “what would be the most high-stakes, epic writers’ room ever?”
DG: We always wanted the absurdity and focus to be more on a writers’ room rather than religion, but reverse engineering stories from the Bible could easily overtake. We had to be sure to keep it in the room and not go too far with it.
What is your favourite aspect of the series that you’d love your audience to know about?
NB: Probably just the overall journey in the lead up to the shoot. There are so many pieces that lay on the cutting room floor from rehearsal. Endless hours of biblical research, then laughter and toying with ideas whilst maintaining and circling the main idea around how intense a writing room can be. And also that my mum made the costumes – feels a little like Dance Moms…of Bethlehem!
DG: Troy (Key Cast) went full method and had a stroke…of genius, in his mind. Basically, he refused to wear underwear, as he claims that “they probably wouldn’t have back then”…it was a sight to behold.
Bible Writers Room Trailer
If they only took one thing, one message, what would you like the audience to take away from the series?
NB: Probably to really look and listen deeply into what is being said in each scene. That way the realization around the fact that we are actually taking the p*ss out of writers more so than religion should allow for less offence taken and scrutiny! Sigh.
DG: That people are people and we are all in this together. No matter the race, religion, creed, Reddit subgroup – we are all trying to figure this life thing out and if we stand a chance of doing so, we will have to leave egos at the door, communicate and work together. “Yes and”, as opposed to “you’re wrong”.
This isn’t your first rodeo creating a web series! For aspiring creators, what would you describe as the ‘holiest code’ of making a web series?
DG: You can’t afford to have a ‘lull’ episode. Be sure to make the characters and story interesting enough, that viewers will want to watch more whether they tuned in at the fifth episode or the first. With the algorithms the way they are on most platforms, it will be rare for them to stumble across them in the order you wished them to.
What plans do you have in the future for Cameralla? Part two of the Bible Writers’ Room?
NB: We have been working really hard on a new series and several features which we are really excited about. This down/iso time, whilst it has been frustrating on many fronts has also been a time we’ve been able to get really creative and smoosh our brains together for some delicious new stuff. Stay tuned!
DG: With every project we put out, we naturally have a vast world it could expand into (this is another tip for those creating web series, as they always have to potential to catch the eye of networks who would like a full 30min ep series), but for now we have been developing an amazing new series ‘Lady Lord’ and have a bunch of new sketches ready to shoot when possible.
What research (if any!) was taken into developing your series?
NB: Carl has always loved staying in hotels, namely Best Westerns – I thought it was for the delicious ‘deliver to your door’ breakfast but as it turns out, the old top dresser drawer bible gave him time to unwind and research deeply into this piece…and that he did – he knows all the stories, verses and quotes by heart now. It’s really quite impressive.
Set design, Costuming was all heavily researched to ensure we were remaining true to the time and setting of the piece.
DG: Some would think that attending Mass every morning at a Christian Brothers boarding school would be enough, it wasn’t. The Bible is indeed a bible, and it took quite a bit of re-hashing and ‘fact-checking’ to make sure we had it right. The last thing you want to do is make uniformed jokes and wind up with egg on your face or an outraged comment section. Only by basing everything in truth can you afford the liberty to embellish & expand. If we are in fact going to hell for making this series, I know in great detail what to expect.
Any last words?
NB: Nup, I’ve said enough.
DG: “Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.” John 21:25 (a legit quote from the bible). Laughter is indeed the best medicine… that and disinfectant. Keep washing those hands people!