Students’ show hits TV screens

Production of a Melbourne Underground episode

The producer sits with the musicians, making them feel as comfortable as possible.

Microphones have been pinned to the guest band members.

Auto cues have been prepared, the lighting is perfect.

The assistant director starts the countdown, “ten, nine, eight”, as the floor manager simultaneously holds up hand signals.

The director positions the cameras and the vision switcher practises cutting to different shots.  

Someone waits with anticipation to play back video.

The graphics appear on screen.

The hosts begin.

“Melbourne is the most liveable city in the world…”

Melbourne Underground is a new independent music talk show that focuses on the underground music scene of Melbourne.

Deakin University’s bright students created a pilot as a part of their course, which was sent to Channel 31. Impressed by their work, the TV station contacted their unit chair seeking a multi-week series of the 10 minute show.

Deakin University’s TV studio, Jamieson Salter

The hosts of Melbourne Underground, Imogen Harkness and Dylan Dower, said they can’t wait to see the show kick-off.

“The first episode was really just a trial and error process but now we can go up from there,” Dylan said.

“We got such good feedback from the first one so it’s exciting to see it become more professional and to see what the response is,” said Imogen. 

Director of Melbourne Underground, Joshua Machuca, said the diverse group of students has become extremely close.

“We started out just as the team for the class, it was for our assessment. It was a very unique group, some of us had no experience in film and TV,” Joshua said.

Imogen and Dylan said that in the media industry everyone possesses big personalities and that the key to getting along is through teamwork.

“Initially a challenge was gelling with everyone because none of us knew each other prior to this. As cliché as it sounds, we’ve met so many great people, we spend so much time together. Because it’s a time consuming project, we really connected. We all have the same goal in the end,” they said.

The show will cover all things that are musically unique, not just alternative and indie music. They’re on a mission to discover the huge spectrum of music that’s distinct from well-known pop songs.

Topics that Melbourne Underground will showcase are local music around a train station, as the show targets a younger demographic which catches public transport. They will also include documentary style packages at the end of each episode which introduces certain music styles such as religious albums and sport music in the AFL. Finally, each episode ends with a guest live music performance. 

“I’m really excited to learn about some music and meet the band members. It’s so nice to be around creative people producing their own stuff,” Imogen said.

The show will be funded by the Deakin Community Bank and produced at the university’s TV studio. Two episodes are filmed in the one day, with people constantly running around to get tasks completed in time. Although Melbourne Underground isn’t broadcast live, the show appears to be live to the untrained eye, with everything being filmed incredibly fast. 

Imogen explained, “It’s exciting but nerve-wracking, we can’t steer the ship. Everyone looks at us on the TV but there’s so much going on in the background. It’s so easy to watch a show and say ‘that was bad’ or ‘that was good’, with us doing it we see everything that goes on behind the scenes.”

“It’s sort of a dream come true to be out there in front of the show,” Dylan said. “We’ve had all types of behind the scenes experience and it’s really opened up my eyes to all the little things you don’t really see on the outside and it’s really interesting and makes you want to keep going,” he said.

Melbourne Underground Set, Jamieson Salter

All the students need to work together to chase this dream of creating content for TV. In normal circumstances university students have a lot on their plate and although creating a TV show is an amazing opportunity, it also increases the workload.

“It doesn’t feel like this amazing blissful peak of existence because I’m stressed, I’ve got my part time job, my units and homework,” Joshua said. “My life hasn’t really changed, I’ve got this extra responsibility now. There’s no time to catch up to that wow moment. The world keeps moving,” he said.

The class is recruiting volunteers to get involved in creating the documentary packages.

“It takes up the majority of my time. We’re making 16 documentary packages, where in my documentary class we make one. I’m learning a lot,” Joshua said.

Joshua Machuca, Director of Melbourne Underground, Jamieson Salter

Although creating a TV series is a high pressure situation, for an aspiring director, this opportunity is a dream come true.

“I don’t think opportunities like this come often. Why am I here at university studying if I don’t take this chance? I would say it’s the most rewarding thing I can do”.

The show can be viewed on its YouTube channel, ‘Melbourne Underground’ as well as through its Facebook page 




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