Falling out of focus

IT’S happening more and more.

Extremely talented indie filmmakers producing incredible pieces of work with little-to-no financial backing.

Plum Loco, a seven-part web series written and directed by actor Harry Quinlan, was shot in his Perth home, which he shares with six others and the film is so low budget he played the two main protagonists, Harry and Hari.

• A scene from Plum Loco, written and directed by Perth filmmaker Harry Quinlan, who chose to make a low-cost web series because of the expense and lack of funding for big screen productions in WA.

“My two leads were available whenever I needed them,” Quinlan laughs.

“I could shoot whenever I had the house to myself without making enemies out of my roommates.

“Early on I was a one man band: I put the camera on a tripod, hit record, acted, hit the editing hard that night, discover the whole thing was out of focus or that the mic didn’t record then do it all again the next day.”

Recently the Film and Television Institute WA, which provided financial support for emerging filmmakers, closed its doors, merging with Screenwest.

Quinlan says it has become much harder for Australian film creators to get their work shown in the cinema or on TV, so many are doing low-cost web series to showcase their talents to a global audience.

“It costs so much to enter shorts and features into festivals,” he says

“I just wanted to tell a story that people could see from anywhere in the world at their own leisure.

“A web series seemed like a good choice for this reason.”

At its core, Plum Loco is an absurdist version of The Odd Couple, with surreal outcomes at the end of each episode leading to a heart-melting finale.

“I liked the idea of the traditional odd couple dynamic,” Quinlan says.

• Harry Quinlan as Hari in Plum Loco. Photo supplied

Plum Loco is an extension of that premise but viewers are left wondering why there are two of the same person living together.

“I loved the challenge of coming up with an original twist which I’m sure will surprise most viewers.”

Quinlan called in favours from just about everyone he knew to help out with technical roles, like sound mixing and the more complicated camera operations.

“Credit must be given to Jessica Witt, another housemate whom I induced multiple panic attacks by asking her to do tricky focus pulls and complicated camera moves,” he says.

Quinlan recently won best actor at the inaugural NextGen Webfest held in conjunction with the Revelation Perth International Film Festival at The Backlot Perth.

All seven episodes of Plum Loco are available on YouTube.

by MATTHEW EELES

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