‘WE STOLE A CAM­ERA TO MAKE OUR FIRST SKETCH’

Herald Sun - Switched On - - FRONT PAGE - AN­DREW FENTON EN­TER­TAIN­MENT WRITER

Work­ing Dog’s ABC com­edy Utopia mer­ci­lessly sends up gov­ern­ment bu­reau­cracy via the fic­tional Na­tion Build­ing Au­thor­ity, an or­gan­i­sa­tion that fails to achieve pretty much any­thing. The se­ries won the Lo­gie for most out­stand­ing com­edy this year, and star and co-cre­ator Rob Sitch gives us the low­down on sea­son two.

What’s the new sea­son about? For the sec­ond se­ries we al­ways wanted to keep the mantra that the of­fice gets big­ger, it gets even more ap­plauded and it still man­ages to not achieve any­thing.

Do you use events from the Work­ing Dog pro­duc­tion of­fices for the show? While the sub­ject mat­ter is big, large-scale na­tional dreams, what we’ve found funny is the tiny lit­tle things sit side by side with that and of­fices have an abil­ity to do that, so over a pe­riod of time we of­ten note some­thing down. One of the guys in our of­fice did a barista course and we all walked around feel­ing re­ally self­con­scious us­ing the cap­puc­cino ma­chine!

Is the se­cu­rity up­grade is­sue your char­ac­ter Tony faces this sea­son drawn from real life? Twenty years ago (se­cu­rity) was vir­tu­ally non-ex­is­tent and now, ev­ery­body seems to think they’re fight­ing the Tal­iban. That did come from our of­fice. Some­one bor­rowed some­one’s pass … Chan­nel 10 (home of Have You Been Pay­ing At­ten­tion?) has that on steroids.

Are they try­ing to stop their pre­sen­ters from leav­ing? (Laughs) Yes or the re­ceivers from get­ting in!

How did you choose the other co­me­di­ans in the cast? We’ve known and watched and liked (Kitty Flana­gan) for a very, very long time and that’s the way we’ve al­ways cast, we’ve never au­di­tioned re­ally. Luke McGre­gor is a good ex­am­ple, Ed Kavalee who’s an old mate of ours said keep an eye out for this young bloke from Ho­bart.

Your pro­ducer Michael Hirsh told me you guys started film­ing your own ma­te­rial in 1990 us­ing the cam­corder ma­jor prize nicked from Fun­ni­est Home Videos …. It was in the car park for Chan­nel 9 and we only had very lim­ited ac­cess to a part of the wardrobe depart­ment and there was a pair of red over­alls. We had a hel­met, I think it was my old mini bike hel­met that we sprayed sil­ver and we shot (S---scared) in the carpark us­ing Jane’s car!

How do you di­vide the cre­ative tasks up? In some­thing like this I di­rect, Tom (Gleis­ner) will sit back and do the re-edit, that’s a real task. For­tu­nately the set is so big he grabbed one of the fake of­fices and turned it into his of­fice. And then Santo (Ci­lauro) will shoot it.

I no­ticed while you were shoot­ing, Dave Law­son was book­ing a hol­i­day on Tri­pAd­vi­sor in the back­ground … Those com­put­ers are wired up so if he’s got four hours of sit­ting at a seat you’ve got a li­cence to Google.

Tell us about your lon­gawaited an­i­ma­tion se­ries, Pa­cific Heat, for Fox­tel. Big global drama, crime, nu­clear weapons, throw it all in. It’ll look like the fu­ture of the world will be rest­ing on their shoul­ders.

UTOPIA, ABC, TONIGHT, 9PM

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