Olympics themed 6 x 9 web-series The Power of the Dream, created by Alexandra Keddie and Bobbie-Jean Henning, will launch this July, just in time for the games.
The comedy mockumentary follows the quest of two athletically challenged cousins trying to fulfill their Olympic dream, and was conceived when Keddie planned to attend an adult gymnastics class.
“Bobbie thought that was an absolutely terrible idea,” she told IF. “Considering I have flimsy ankles and weak limbs.
“I was like ‘No, no, I was really good at gymnastics when I was in grade five and not much has changed so it’s going to be fine’.
“She said she’ll support me all the way to the Olympics, so we workshopped this idea of the coach and athlete situation.
“We were excited about the idea of what the Olympics actually looks like if we had a real, normal person trying to do these things.”
Co-creators, writers, and executive producers, Keddie and Henning play the lead roles with Christina O’Neill rounding out the main cast.
Meg Ham served as director with Elise McCann (producer) and Alice Stephens (DOP) also on board.
The series features former Olympic gold medallist Susie O’Neill in a special guest role.
“We were bold,” said Henning of O’Neill’s casting. “We Googled who her manager was. We called them up.
“She’s a ‘yes and’ kind of girl.
“Especially for our age group she’s iconic.”
Keddie agreed: “It had to be someone that the characters idolised from their youth. Her, Cathy Freeman, and Ian Thorpe are the main three of that era.”
O’Neill reportedly embraced the role and the comedic tone of the series, even though she was unable to join the rest of the cast.
“Her scenes were shot up in Brisbane which was sad but Meg was thrilled, she said she was so keen,” said Henning.”
“There’s a few secret takes that no-one will ever see of her really going for it.”
The show is produced by Chips and Gravy films, the production company founded by Keddie and Gemma Bird Matheson.
The pair co-created 2018 web-series The Housemate, a Bachelor parody about two friends trying to find the perfect housemate in inner-city Melbourne, in which Henning also featured.
The pilot garnered 270 thousand views on social media, leading to it being picked up for a six-episode run on ABC IView.
“The Housemate was really running blind,” Keddie said.
“Gemma and I had no idea what any of this looked like.
“It felt so good to be able to go into this with that knowledge and a bit more of a foundation of what the company stood for.”
The Power of the Dream was fully funded by Screen Australia, with the production team working hard to stick to budget.
“We counted every penny absolutely, but we were able to do it with the work ethic of our team, particularly on set,” said Henning.
“There wasn’t space to do a bunch of different takes of everything so we had to rehearse.”
With a glut of content on social media, gaining traction and attention will prove a key challenge for the project.
However, the team have put some unconventional strategies into place to get the word out, forging marketing partnerships with brands including Remedy Kombucha, Pana Organic, Twoobs Shoes, and Clothing the Gaps.
“We’ve spent a lot of time finding the right brands that connected with us ethically as people but also connected to the project,” Henning said.
“People have been really responsive which has been really surprising. They’re like ‘Yeah, we’ll share your stuff if you share our stuff’ and they give us a product to use in the show.
“That’s been a key part of the plan which is still very much unfolding as we speak.”
Keddie expects the marketing strategy to remain fluid as the series releases.
“It will be a lot of choose your own adventure, figure it out as you go kind of thing,” she said.
“When we release all the episodes it will just be ‘Okay cool, getting some traction here, let’s move here quickly.’
“The social media space is moving so quickly we’re just trying to figure it out, especially with TikTok – we’re old.”
Keddie and Henning are developing comedy series Spread your Wings, having received funding from the ABC’s Fresh Start Fund.
“It’s a really funny, lovely comedy about a group of misfits who come together to put on a musical,” said Keddie.
“We all have a special place in our hearts for musicals.”
Keddie feels The Power of the Dream goes beyond its comedy roots in many ways.
“This is just a really positive uplifting series about two women who just love to give things a go,” she said.
“They don’t care too much what other people think of them and they never let that get in the way of reaching their goals and achieving their dreams.
“They’re so supportive of each other, having a great time with unwavering belief in each other and themselves.
“For Bobbie and I it’s like the best versions of ourselves in that way.”