Image: Internment (AUS)

This year Melbourne WebFest brings three web series together that help represent the day-to-day drudge that is often the nine to five business lifestyle – Internment (AUS), Lift (AUS) and For A Good Cause (AUS).

Beginning your career can be tough. It’s not easy being a young professional, especially when internships are your only option. Internment featuring Helena Ruse and Pippa Mills, shares the tale of what it takes to be the world’s best intern – even when you’re put under bizarre challenges.

Andrew Mills, director and screenwriter of the series, wanted to share his own experiences of volunteer and unpaid work – and most importantly,  created the series like a journal of ‘how not to treat an intern.’

“Being in the film industry means we’ve had a lot of experience as volunteers and unpaid interns. Really, it’s the only way to get that initial experience on sets and in production companies, so it’s necessary for anyone wanting to work in film and television… Pippa used to get spied on by her boss for example because her boss didn’t trust her. This became a subplot in an episode,” says Mills.

“We had interns work on our series, which goes to show how necessary they are for low budget productions in this industry. But I think in most corporate environments internships should not be used in this way and this is what the series is trying to explore.”

Fortunate to receive production funding from Screen Australia, Mills says it’s fundamental that Australian creators are supported. “The setting of an office would not have been possible without their financial support, nor would we have been able to secure our large cast. A series of this kind just would not exist. That’s how essential it was. If we were to do a web series without the financial support of this kind, it would probably have to be shot in our bedrooms and have only two characters,” says Mills.

Traveling up the chain in the office environment, Lift directed by Zoe Pepper and produced by Mad Kids, shares the tale of one’s journey through, you guessed it, a lift.

Starring Lucy Durak as the goofy and charismatic Olivia, the web series dives into human connections in the office, and a love story one elevator ride at a time.

Filmed entirely in a lift, Durack explained the space was entirely flexible, allowing the cast and crew to work in the studio at ease, with a few tight space complications. “… Through our production designer Danielle Fernandes and our team along with sponsorship from Liftronic, we were able to build our own real life lift in our studio,” says Durack.

Image: Lift (AUS)

“…[However] we filmed during a week of a heat wave with temps between 35-40 degrees every day and we quickly realised there were a few challenges we hadn’t considered by boxing ourselves into a lift with very warm lights above us.”

Besides being recorded in a small set, the series reflects the goodness of people around you.

“We wanted to talk about the expectations of success versus happiness. Both our main characters are swayed by paths they think they should follow to tick off those KPIs but ultimately decide to make choices for themselves and their own happiness.”

During election time, there is nothing better than an advertising agency stuffed with bigwigs trying to transform into the peoples’ messiah. For A Good Cause presents us with the chaotic and not so glamorous environment of the ‘CHANGENCY’, a big city media agency that creates progressive, social change content and political advertising but with some dodgy decisions.

Director Tony Walsh told us some of the inspiration for the series and how much of it relates to real life experiences. “I wanted to make a show that was an intersection of my interests: satirical comedy, social commentary, politics, and observations on the media industry and the ridiculous things that happen within it, says Walsh.

Image: For a Good Cause (AUS)

“ It’s somewhat based on a true story my friend experienced, my own experiences, and the pilot plot is based on a somewhat infamous Labor advert that came out in 2017 with Bill Shorten and an almost entirely Caucasian cast. We just imagined what it would be like if the production company had caught the mistake instead of missing it completely.”

Overall, Walsh thinks the current workplace environment of Australian media agencies are at risk of becoming Americanised. “Unpaid internships and overtime, unrealistic expectations… I think there’s a problem with the way some companies approach representation.”

Check out these awesome nine to five web series – whether you’re wanting to escape your own, or need a laugh after your daily grind, they’ll be there for you.

Get your tickets to Melbourne WebFest 2019 here.