Crowdfunded Super Dingo returns with new episode
Crowdfunding is just one element driving the success of new Perth comedy series Super Dingo.
The Perth team of writer-directors Ethan Marrell, Paul “Werzel” Montague and producer Natalie Lewis have just released the second Pozible crowdfunded episode in the series: Super Dingo Vs. The Hippies.
“People who we didn’t know placed the highest amount,” says Marrell. “Two lots of $500 came through from two people in the Pozible community who are keeping an eye on projects they really like. That is when crowdfunding gets exciting.”
They raised $5110, more than double the original $2500 goal. Once on YouTube the short became a viral success with over a million views in less than a week. “It was fast, like a flash bomb; it wasn’t a slow build.”
Two major Australian feature films are currently attempting to involve fans through more-ambitious crowdfunding schemes: horror film The Babadook and apocalyptic-noir The Second Coming. So far, The Babadook has raised $13.120 of its $30,000 goal and The Second Coming $11,175 of its $75,000 goal.
Marrell says crowdfunded productions need to establish a fanbase before a finished product, which produces a different kind of pressure.
“There’s a certain loyalty you want to keep for the people who have put money into it and you want to deliver on what you’d said you’d deliver on. You want to also make sure they’re happy with it.”
What appealed to fans was the concept: Super Dingo tells the peculiar story of a genetically-engineered cyborg Dingo and his Secret Bush Agency team, consisting of a local tracker Johnny Two-Trees, (a native American man played by white actress Georgina Gayler), Chinaman Bill (a non-Chinese Ash Penfold), Kelly, the teams resident sexpot (Lauren Lovelace) and the team’s very own alcoholic Bushman (Montague). The mysterious Chief, played by a cybernetic wheelchair-bound Marrell, heads the team.
The idea for the show originated from Montague, who grew up in the Wheat Belt area of Western Australia, and who dreamed of a team of bush-based superheroes. Mixed with this is an homage not only to sci-fi adventure shows of the '70s and '80, but also to a vast range of other pop culture influences, including a nod to Brian DePalma’s Scarface and a taste of Ozploitation with a cheeky John Farnham reference.
“The approach to the show is we throw in so many tropes that it becomes fresh again. Why don’t we just put all of our influences in a blender?”
The team was also awarded a collective $60,000 from ScreenWest’s XMedia Lab and ScreenWest to produce more webisodes for the Internet. Marrell explains: “The development fund is mainly to get our website constructed and to write more webisodes. And the Digital Breakout Initiative is purely for the internet and that’s funded two more episodes at this stage, Super Dingo Vs. The Barbarians and Super Dingo Vs. The Mummy, which will be out next year.”
Having shot the first episode out in Kalamunda, near Perth, Marrell hopes that Super Dingo’s success has a positive effect for the WA screen industry.
"That’s the big challenge: people who work in the industry all the way over here in little old Perth kind of want to bring more production over here, and they definitely want to bring more comedy over here.”
But creators in Perth can’t wait for things to change for them. “It would be a great breakthrough to bring productions here to Perth and sustain it without having to leave because the weather is so great here [laughs]. That breakthrough has got to come from making our own opportunities and the internet is definitely great for that.”
And what does the newest episode have in store for our intrepid Secret Bush Agents? This time they face the Hippies, headed by the villainous Moonjuice. “Moonjuice will be bringing pure evil. The Hippies will not be as light and fluffy as the Pirates. We wanted to go quite dark, and they’re pretty sinister. The Bush Agents end up in a little trouble in this one.”