Catching up with Claris Jacobs

Catching up with Claris Jacobs

Claris Jacobs is one of the founders of The Candle Wasters, who created vlog series Nothing Much To Do and Lovely Little Losers. She spoke at the NZWF15 panel session Building And Sustaining An Audience.

The Candle Wasters will shoot their third series, Bright Summer Night, in April. Bright Summer Night will air on The Candle Wasters YouTube channel from the 8 July 2016.

You received funding for Bright Summer Night from NZ On Air, and then added a further $25,000 to that via a Kickstarter campaign. Did you have specific plans for that additional money you raised?
We always planned to do a Kickstarter campaign for Bright Summer Night. Not only are crowdfunding campaigns an amazing source of funding, they’re also a great way of keeping your fans involved with your projects.

I feel like our fans are part of the family because they’re helping us make this project! Even on a basic level, we all write names on envelopes and sign postcards for them, so the 10,000 YouTube subscribers from around the world suddenly feel way more tangible and like real people instead of numbers. It’s pretty mind blowing to know we have fans in places like Israel, Switzerland, America, and more!

In general, the more money we get, the better we can make our projects, so we’re always looking funding opportunities.

Our production budget is actually higher than the funding we’ve been able to generate from NZ On Air and the Kickstarter – and it’s not just for fancy lights and things! It’s also about paying everyone who works for us. With Nothing Much To Do we couldn’t give our cast and crew anything, and with Lovely Little Losers we were able to feed them – this is the next logical step.

You held auditions earlier in February. How did they go and are you able to make any announcements yet?
Auditions were amazing! It was so cool to see how many people were interested. Overall we had 220 people audition, from Auckland, Wellington, and some audition tapes. Aotearoa has so many creative young people and it was awesome to have that reflected in our auditions. Because of this large number of auditions, it’s taking us a while to make decisions. We will update everyone on social media when we’ve cast the show!

It’s interesting when directors use the same actors for multiple movies, but we’re largely interested in working with new people for Bright Summer Night. We may use the same actors from NMTD, LLL or BSN in our future projects but for now, breaking from the vlog format and getting a new cast feels right. In my opinion, the most important thing is whether an actor is right for the role. I’m sure the fans will love the cast of BSN! I mean we’re only gonna cast people that we think are amazing.

You’ve flagged that Bright Summer Night will move away from the vlog style that drove Nothing Much To Do and Lovely Little Losers. How’s that affecting the writing process? What’s exciting you about the possibilities of a new approach?
First off, I just wanna say that I’m really loving the writing process for this series. Robbie Nicol, from White Man Behind A Desk has joined our writing team, and he is very clever. So that’s adding a new vibe to our writing. There are also way fewer episodes. So instead of spreading ourselves really thin over 80 episodes, we get to concentrate on 10. We’re making 10 short films in a way.

In terms of not doing vlogs – oh man, I feel so free! The format of vlogs is great, but it’s really exciting to be using the traditional format. Much of our time writing NMTD and LLL was spent justifying why the camera was capturing each vlog. Who turned the camera on and why, and why they edited the video and uploaded it. Now I get to write things that a character would never ever film themselves doing or put publicly online. It’s very exciting!

As far as other web content goes, what are you enjoying at the moment, and what’s on your radar?
I recently watched the French Canadian Féminin/Féminin which was really cool. I’ve also been watching a lot of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver clips on youtube. Robbie Nicol and his friend Max Apse have started a podcast and it’s really funny! It’s called How’d It Go and can be found on soundcloud or itunes.

Top image: Nothing Much To Do