Comedy! Series! Web! Fresh!

Hello world! I have finally emerged for air just in time to wrap up 2016.

Photographed by Sam Haines

While the rest of the world has been coping with Brexit, Trump, and numerous celebrities dropping like flies, fellow VCA alum Simon Trevorrow and I have been working on a web series since April, Fresh! We've shot three out of six episodes so far, we are yet to finish. But one could say we're doing a pit stop over Christmas and New Years to recharge batteries and take a chance to change tyres before we run them off completely.

If I were a cleverer blogger, there would have been more short and regular updates. But I'm not. 

In our great sunburnt country, an interesting phenomenon happens to some of us after a certain amount of years in the country, we start to blame newcomers for problems out of our control. Most of the time it’s because of jobs and money. But sometimes it can just be because they cut us off in traffic. Many even develop a selective amnesia about their own family history. These meltdowns are fuelled by the tough economies and the rhetoric used by politicians and media everywhere, including other western societies.  

Discrimination can be hurtful and dangerous, but it’s also bloody funny. Watch any “racist rant” on YouTube and marvel at the masterly skills in twisting logic and inventive swears. So while contemplating the best setting for a comedy web series to ease the unease and laugh at the laughable, I looked no further than the place where I grew up. In the last 60 or so years, Melbourne's western suburbs has seen its fair share of crime but has also been the first home of many refugees and foreign invaders who have settled in Australia. The area, like its predecessors Northcote, Thornbury and St Kilda, is gentrifying rapidly. It is also where I first heard the uttered words “go back to where you came from.” Ah, almost a rite of passage.

The local market is a nexus hub where locals of all ages, race and religion cross paths, it is also where many small business owners make a living, co-habitating in a small space, sometimes in passive aggressive competition with each other. The workers are part of a seldom acknowledged labour force who are up before dawn, work 12 hour days and see their family between 12PM and 6PM on a Sunday before going to back to bed for work the next day. Their world is separate from the usual stories we hear of lovelorn adolescents, detectives, doctors and office workers who play pranks and break the fourth wall.

Our representation of minorities and their cultures in our national narrative, like our internet speeds, fashion seasons and film releases, continually struggle to keep up with the modern world. Except when it comes to food. Australians seem to be all over food of any culture. So it was decided that our web series Fresh! would be a show that enthrals viewers under the guise of being about food, but in essence about the people who brought the different flavours to this country, and their conflicting urges to survive and belong at the same time. 

Like with anything nowadays, something doesn't exist if it doesn't exist on social media, so we're working on it. Watch this space!