Steve Bas­toni

Herald Sun - Switched On - - ON THE BOX - ANNA BRAIN NA­TIONAL TV WRITER

What’s an ac­tor to do in be­tween gigs? From the heady heights of Went­worth, Steve Bas­toni opted for the fur­thest ex­treme: Wel­fare. But he’s not sign­ing on at the lo­cal Cen­tre­link of­fice ... he’s cre­ated, and stars, in a se­ries which spoofs the bu­reau­cracy. And you might be sur­prised to learn where his fund­ing came from.

Where did the idea for Wel­fare come from? I was ap­proached by a young co­me­dian, Laura Jane-Emes. She had this idea of a show set in a Cen­tre­link of­fice, a p---take of the sys­tem, ba­si­cally, based on her own ex­pe­ri­ences. She came to me and said “I’m not sure how to pro­ceed with this, would you help with the pro­duc­tion side of things?” It sort of evolved from there.

How did you get it made? The most log­i­cal and cost-ef­fec­tive way for us to do it was as a web se­ries, so we de­cided to raise some money through a crowd-fund­ing cam­paign. We reached our tar­get eas­ily, just $8000. And an ac­tor, Sara West, who was film­ing Aussie movie Don’t Tell, showed Wel­fare to the film’s pro­duc­ers. They were so im­pressed they de­cided to in­vest, be­com­ing co-pro­duc­ers.

“Pro­duc­ing this has given me a lot of free­dom cre­atively. With that comes re­spon­si­bil­ity” STEVE BAS­TONI ON WEL­FARE

Is it more fun be­ing the boss? It’s a far cry from sit­ting by the phone, wait­ing for it to ring, for a KFC com­mer­cial. Pro­duc­ing this has given me a lot of free­dom cre­atively. With that comes re­spon­si­bil­ity.

Did you rally your mates when it came to cast­ing? It has been a big ad­van­tage hav­ing 30-odd years in the in­dus­try, I’ve ac­cu­mu­lated a few contacts along the way. Peter Hel­liar came and did a fan­tas­tic guest role, Shane Jacobson, we had Pia Mi­randa, Damien Wal­she-Howl­ing, and Daniella Fari­nacci, from Lantana, plays my wife.

Went­worth fans want to know if Don Ka­plan will re­turn. I hope so, I had a lot of fun work­ing with Celia Ire­land and Si­grid Thorn­ton, of course, is mag­nif­i­cent. I’m a huge fan of Went­worth. I haven’t been asked yet, hope­fully a pro­ducer will read this and I’ll get a call.

Ka­plan was a meaty male role in a show with pre­dom­i­nantly fe­male char­ac­ters ... It is great to see so many great Aus­tralian ac­tresses get­ting some meaty roles. I ac­tu­ally did the orig­i­nal, Pris­oner. I did 10 episodes, play­ing Ju­lia Blake’s son, who mur­dered his fa­ther, and she was try­ing to pro­tect him, and goes to jail. I get all kinds of feed­back from the diehard fans. WATCH A TRAILER FOR WEL­FARE, FACE­BOOK.COM/WEL­FARE.SE­RIES/

/ YANNI

Steve Bas­toni tack­les Cen­tre­link bu­reau­cracy.

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