Students do a lot of things. They write essays, do assignments, survive 9am lectures, cook pasta for dinner for the 47th day in a row, and make this great thing called a web series.

With submissions of drama, comedy, and even animation for the 2018 Melbourne WebFest awards, the future of the web series format looks bright. We are proud to show off these amazing works of passion that students from Australia and around the world have worked so hard to complete. We spoke with the creators of Perfect Pair (DK), Get Real (AUS) and Junk Male (AUS) to get an insight into what is was like making their series’.

Working in retail has become something that most students do on the side to support themselves financially. Dealing with annoying customers, good friends, and lazy co-workers can be a hard task, Joseph Valentino Palau and Alistair Macfarlane know this very well and have used their experience in a shoe shop to create their series Perfect Pair.

“Alistair and I have a history in working in a shoe store and wanted to make a series for all those who experience the everyday funny nonsense in the retail world.” says Palau. “We feel that the most interesting element was how we tried to make the show international and touch on what it’s like for foreigners to work in retail. Our show has many different backgrounds all working together.”

But just because you have a great idea doesn’t mean you’ll have the most glamorous places to film, as Palau and the rest of his 10 person crew discovered. “We rented out a basement of an apartment building that had several rooms. We turned the rooms into a retail store…the location is not made for filming so we had to do our best to work around that but it was fun and we all became a family for those days,” says Palau.

Working throughout university, students will go through the struggle of group assignments, some groups may fall apart at the seams, but others collaborate to make phenomenal work.

Nicole Pavich, the series director of Get Real, describes herself as one of the lucky ones, expressing that collaborating with her students “was easily one of the most enjoyable and rich learning experiences [she has] ever had.”

“It was a privilege to have worked with a crew who had such a diverse range of ideas and skills. It was also quite special to have shared the experience of creating what, for most of us, was our first web series.”

When deciding on how to proceed with Get Real the teams involved were given a great deal of creative freedom, Pavich says “each episode crew was given the task of deciding on their topic themselves… we wanted to give them the scope to be as creative, bold and unique as possible. The only guidelines we told them to adhere to were that their themes had to speak to what it means to ‘get real’.”

Pavich and the executive team decided this year that Get Real would be an entirely web based series because “we wanted to recognise that the web is redefining how media is being consumed.”

“A web series gives people the luxury of being able to elect when and where they watch video content and we wanted our production to do this, and be accessible to anyone, anywhere, anytime,” explains Pavich.

Also leading to a new way to structure and distribute the series, Pavich says the opportunity allowed the crew to create short form episodes. “Enabling us to explore more themes, as opposed to having to create 30 minute episodes for a television time slot… and perhaps most importantly, the web was a platform that enabled us to distribute our work relatively easily and cheaply – given we are a student production with no funding, ensuring we could do this was imperative.”

Good music makes the creative world go round. Whether you obtain the rights of an existing track, hire someone to compose it or make it yourself, it’s required at some stage during production. Ashley Chapman, co-director and creator of Junk Male, knows a lot about how using music to their advantage takes a series up a notch.

“We used the song ‘Bloodsucker’ written by Mitchell Casey’s (co-creator and writer) band FLOGS, as the most popular song Junk Male stole, which we used as the soundtrack. I created a lot of it recording my guitar and keyboard, using different “versions” of this song,” Chapman says.

When dealing with music in picture, inspiration can come from almost anywhere. Chapman and his writing crew took inspiration from the mockumentary This Is Spinal Tap, which is the format that they originally wanted to go with. “We watched This Is Spinal Tap but turned it into a drama instead. I had also been quite paranoid for some time that people would steal my film ideas so I expressed that through the plot. But ultimately, Searching for Sugar Man was our inspiration.”

Are you an aspiring filmmaker? Come and see these brilliant student made series live at Melbourne WebFest.