Comedy loosely based on actresses’ life experiences
A LACK of relatable women on screen prompted the creators of the comedy web series Flat3 to take matters into their own hands.
The show stars the Kiwi Chinese actresses JJ Fong, Perlina Lau and Ally Xue as flatmates who get themselves into silly situations trying to figure out who they are, what they want to do in life and how to negotiate flat duties.
The third season premieres on Youtube and Vimeo today.
Fong, 28, says she took the initial idea for the show to writer-director Roseanne Liang because she felt there was a lack of strong female roles in the industry, especially nonstereotypical Asian female leads. Roseanne Liang agrees. ‘‘They are usually portrayed as either the dragon lady; a slightly inscrutable, grumpy, over-achieving girl or a prostitute.’’
The Herne Bay resident says she started writing and found her style of comedy was similar to that of the three actresses.
She is the director of the 2005 documentary Banana in a Nutshell and the 2011 film My Wedding and Other Secrets.
People can relate to the characters because the roles and the situations they find themselves in are loosely based on the actresses’ personalities and real life experiences.
‘‘It shows what really happens sometimes in your life when you’re a woman in your mid-20s, single and living in New Zealand,’’ Fong says.
Pitching their comedy series to the television networks was never on the agenda.
‘‘TV is based on advertising and it’s about the mainstream,’’ Liang says.
‘‘We sit outside that as niche programming.
‘‘We wanted it to be a hit but I think the first instinct was to make something for ourselves.’’
Flat3 has attracted a lot of international attention from bloggers and has been selected for various film and web festivals.
The new season is one of four web series to receive $100,000 from New Zealand on Air during the latest funding round.
That’s a major step up from previous seasons.
The first had a budget of only $1000 while the second crowdfunded season cost $10,000 to make.
Liang says the funding was a huge help.
‘‘I’m incredibly grateful that we live in a country that can support its creative voices like this.
‘‘On screen you’ll see better locations and lighting. Generally the standard of production has gone up,’’ she says.
The lack of restrictions has been the best part of being web-based, the 36-year-old says.
‘‘We are making exactly what we want to make.
‘‘No-one’s telling us how to change it for the audience or trying to second-guess the audience.’’
Season three is likely to be the final chapter, but the show may yet live on.
Flat3 has been optioned for a Kiwi television pilot.
A collaboration with an American web-based channel is also under discussion.
‘‘There’s nothing set in stone but we really love working together,’’ Liang says.
‘‘I’ve become a bit too used to creative freedom.
‘‘I won’t be relinquishing that any time soon I hope.’’
Go to aucklandcity harbournews.co.nz to watch an episode of
above: Ally Xue, JJ Fong and Perlina Lau star in the third season of Kiwi comedy web series Flat3, which premieres on September 26. Independent approach: Writer-director Roseanne Liang loves the creative freedom of making a webbased series.