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Web Series Post! New Zealand's Flat3

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Flat3 Webseries follows three girls – Lee, Jessica and Perlina on the rollercoaster that is life. These ladies describe themselves as “sometimes smart, often silly, a little rude, and a lot awkward.”

You know this kiwi comedy is going to be great! Starring the new 'Go Girl' JJ Fong and it is co-written and directed by Roseanne Liang who also directed NZ film 'My Wedding and Other Secrets'.

Check out the website to meet the team, read the blog, and catch up on the episodes Season 1 of the homegrown web series.


What gave you the idea for your Flat3 Web Series?
Roseanne Liang: I’ve been watching UK and American comedy for a while now and coveting it. HBO’s Girls was going big and I was falling in love with the gleeful abandon of Louis CK’s Louie, and I’d have a lot of discussions with people in this industry about why NZ was too small to make independent comedy like that - our niches weren’t big enough. It was frustrating. Then I went to the Big Screen Symposium in Auckland where a speaker called Ted Hope said that, contrary to the hand-wringing that industry types were doing about piracy and free online content, the internet was an opportunity for ‘super-niches’ - content makers around the world could reach all the diverse and specific audiences around the world, and vice versa. Then JJ sent me an email saying something like - “We’re thinking of doing a webseries with Perlina and Ally. We’ll run it like the 48hours film competition and have fun”. And I thought - heck yeah!

Perlina Lau: For Jess, Ally and I it was a fun project and a chance to work together and do some comedy. We all love it and watch ‘New Girl’, ‘Girls’ so drew inspiration from those but put our own spin and experiences into it instead. It was really a case of sitting around one day and just decided to do it - right before we sought the help from Roseanne. It was like “Shall we make a Webseries?” - “Yeh! Cool. Sweeet!”

What is involved in making your own web series?
Roseanne Liang: We couldn’t pay anyone, so we shot weekends. After a full week of ‘normal’ work, we would go home - JJ would bake and Hweiling the production manager would go shopping, I would do shot lists and print out the paperwork for the shoot, all the actors would learn lines (at the beginning, Ally was in the midst of her Optometry exams, and then once she’d finished those, she’d be out procuring props for us; Perlina was working night shifts and then we’d start the working weekend. We’d be shooting at the flat and I’d stop and say - “Wait.. what’s that noise?”. And JJ would yell - ‘Sorry! Just cooking lunch!’. It was madness, but I have to say I loved it. I was tired to my bones, but I felt alive. [Laughs]

What was it like working on NZ film 'My Wedding and Other Secrets'?
Roseanne Liang: I know this is going to sound cheese-tastic, but it was a dream come true. Seriously. OK, so at the time it was this intense cauldron of emotions, a potent mixture of stress and exhilaration - the feeling that ‘This is my dream job, this is what I was meant to do’, but also huge self doubt and self-imposed pressures, like ‘I’m a fraud, they can’t see it but I don’t know what I’m doing, I better not screw up this opportunity or else I’ll never get another one”. This is pretty common I’ve heard. When I look back now though, I’m just thankful for everything - all the amazing people I worked with and got to know, and the kindness and generosity and soul that remains a hallmark of our local screen industry.

JJ, you are one of the newbies on Go Girls in the newest season - how did you land that role?
I auditioned for the role like everyone else, and after about 4 callbacks later, my agent called me to let me know I had landed the role! It was very exciting.

Did you have a favourite day of filming?
Ally Xue: The title sequence. All I had to do was run, then pant excessively like a broadway star after a big number.

Perlina Lau: I think doing the scene with Nic Sampson in the foodcourt was my fave. Did it pretty quickly but we just improvised most of it so I don’t even know how they cut it to make it look consistent!! Genius editors. Also my dance with Katrina for our band Katrina/Perlina. Super sisters in the super city.

Do you have any passions outside of acting?
Ally Xue: Roseanne is a great baker...I assume her cookies taste so good because it’s made with passion and love. [Laughs] I nominate her to enter ‘NZ’s Hottest Homebaker’. Those reality cooking shows are all the rage.

What has been the biggest challenge?
Ally Xue: We had our hopes up when we applied for NZOA funding for Season one. The NZOA brief was to fund small, unique, digital projects. And we thought - Hey, we’re female. We’re minority. We’re making comedy. We’re online. We gonna get it fo’sho! Hence, the disappointment of not getting it, broke our spirits a little. Our vision of a slick, well polished product was now out of reach - but we were wrong. The generosity of our friends came to the rescue! Another challenge was crossing over that threshold and putting our plans into action. So often people think to themselves, ‘Hey, that would be a great idea’, but never do it. We didn’t want to be one of them. We also didn’t want someone else making a product like ‘Flat3’ and beat us to it. [Laughs]

Perlina Lau: Agreed - we all did this on the side of our other jobs so getting everything together and being as organised as possible was quite a challenge! Amazing and very fun but pretty hard work when we were covering all the roles between the 5 of us! (Including Roseanne and Hweiling)

Who are your role models?
JJ: As cheesy as it may sound, my dad is my biggest role model. He has owned his own business for nearly his entire life and never had a choice in his career path like I have had, so he’s done extremely well for himself and the family and I guess I wanna do the same in what I’ve chosen. He’s taught himself to be business savvy, dedicated and hardworking, sometimes its not all about talent but about how hard you work for something your passionate about.

Perlina Lau: Probably my family and friends. (waw waw - boring answer) Simply because they’re all super hard working and talented so they set a pretty good example! And of course, Leslie Knope.

What's the best piece of advice you have been given? Personally? Professionally?
Ally Xue: A director once told me ‘Don’t quit your day job!' [Laughs] He didn’t mean it in a nasty way. He just gave me a dose of reality - which is the NZ screen industry is small. It is tough. Not everyone can survive life as a full time actor. Personal advice...um, don’t slouch (I still do, it’s my default position).

What's coming up next for you?
JJ: I think we would all love to aim to making a season two of Flat3, we are just in talks about it and how to go about funding and finding the right producer to come on board.

Perlina Lau: Definitely a second season if we can wrangle some dollars. It would be great to work with everyone again and we have lots of ideas!!

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It reminds me of Awkward Black Girl in a way. I thought the first episode was slow, but I loved the episodes after it. Giggling at the last ep. Plus it's nice to see something pretty good featuring WoC.

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