GONE ARE THE DAYS of traditional television – local series Rostered On has fast become an online hit having accumulated more than one hundred million collective views from its videos on Facebook.
Produced by Robot Army Productions, the YouTube comedy show has struck a chord with audiences all over the world, with each episode trending well on YouTube. This is the story of a home-grown passion project that’s gone onto international success.
Geelong Actor, Paul Moore, who starred in Channel Seven’s, Winners & Losers, played the lead role of Shaun in Rostered On and says it has been a journey.
“At the start, writer and director, Ryan Chamley came to me and said, ‘I’ve got an idea, it’s a day’s work.’ ‘I’ll do it for free,’ I said and we just shot a few scenes and had a bit of fun with it. Ryan put it together and put it out. It got that many comments and feedback from people talking about it.
“We realised that so many people work a job that they’re not the happiest in and they do it because they’ve got a family to support or they have to support themselves,” he said.
Paul said that the reason the show had resonated with its audience is due to its no-holds-barred approach and Ryan’s creative genius.
“The biggest thing about the show is just how relatable it is – that’s the trick to why it’s getting shared and commented on. The great thing about Ryan’s writing is the honesty, and the truth of it. It is how it is in real-life. When you sit down and look where it all started you realise how many people get treated badly by customers every day,” he said.
The show started with no money and no connections, though, with Paul’s complete faith in the project, he wanted to ensure that Ryan’s story could be told.
“I was talking to Ryan on the phone and he needed an investor; I said, ‘Mate, this is going that good we need to make a series out of this – here’s a bit of my money, I want to be an investor, whatever it takes. He went and wrote it, we both cast it and the journey along the way was huge,” he said.
Despite all the success, it was not handed to them on a platter; it took the passion and hard work of everyone on the show for it to be where it is today and there were setbacks along the way.
“It’s really interesting because initially we went to the ABC and showed them the pilot episode. We thought they’d say, ‘oh, we love it!’ and they’d throw money at us and we’d make it. But they came back and said, ‘sorry, you need to get a following before we’ll look at it.’ We just looked at each other and thought if we did go out and get a following we wouldn’t be coming back to you,” Paul said.
Paul believes that the current quality of television could be different if the people calling the shots would give smaller productions a chance.
“It makes you wonder who is making the decisions at the top of these networks … if you’ve got someone that has looked at our product and said, ‘it’s good but I don’t know if it’ll work,’ and you put it out on social media and it goes wild … how many other shows are they turning down? TV networks aren’t working because you’ve got the wrong people running the show.
“It’s taught me that if you believe in your project, and believe what you do, then it’s always going to work,” he said.
Due to the success of the pilot the show had to look for another location. Waurn Ponds Shopping Centre was generous enough to give a vacant shop to film in for two months. The team spent that time doing extensive preparation and setting up the store and then the series took 10 days to shoot.
“Everyone wanted to be there, and it needed to be a huge team effort because we were down staff huge compared to what a big project would have, but everyone just rallied together,” Paul said.
For Paul, working with a bunch of dedicated and passionate actors on a smaller-scale production was a welcome change from working on previous bigger projects.
“It was like we were the underdogs; at no point, did anyone crack the shits – after every take you would just burst into laughter and laugh your ass off. At the end of it your cheeks would be killing you it’s just that type of set. It was so cruisy, it was a fun time,” he said.
Paul hopes that the show can go beyond mere entertainment and influence a positive change within the community.
“We just hope this series can also teach the everyday person how to behave when you go and buy something. I hope it makes the world a better a place, it becomes a talking point then.”
The show has just launched its own merchandise line where you can get a personalised “Electroworld” swing tag or polo shirt, available here: http://rosteredon.thetshirtmill.com.au/shop.