New bite-sized show packs a punch
When does 11 minutes feel like half an hour?
Even actor Sibylla Budd was shocked at how much drama her new short form series Mint Condition packs into each of its five episodes.
Budd stars with Bernard Curry, Gary Sweet, Grace Champion and Damien Richardson in the series about fortysomething mum Audrey who opens a record store and coffee shop with her teen daughter after her marriage breakdown.
Shot in about 10 days in Melbourne late last year, the series is soundtracked by local indie musicians including Mick Thomas, Jade Imagine, Charles Jenkins and Kylie Auldist and will likely draw comparisons to cult film High Fidelity.
Locations included Oh Jean Records in Fitzroy, Bakehouse Studios, Red Betty Bar in Brunswick, and PBS FM in Collingwood.
"I couldn't believe how much they could fit in such a small space of time," Budd said.
"We are over-saturated with so much now and attention spans are getting shorter and this show packs a punch with gentle humour."
Short form series are enjoying their moment online and via streaming services.
YouTube has been an incubation lab for the format, with comedy proving an adaptable genre for bite-sized shows.
The cult following generated by the Katering Show catapulted its creators Kate McCartney and Kate McLennan to mainstream television success when it was picked up by the ABC.
Some of Netflix's most popular shows, including After Life and The Good Place, run under 30 minutes while the streaming platform now hosts a plethora of under 20-minute series including the buzzworthy Special and sketch show I Think You Should Leave.
A new made-for-mobile platform called Quibi (quick bites) will launch in Australia with a plethora of short series from big players including Chrissy Teigen, Sophie Turner, Liam Hemsworth, Reese Witherspoon and a Steven Spielberg horror show After Dark.
Mint Condition, by independent production house Boilermaker, is fast-paced and immediately engaging about dealing with teenagers (Champion), ex-husbands (Sweet) and ex-rock stars like Vince (Curry). You can watch the entire series in an hour.
Budd's indie music fangirl character also allows the series to showcase 23 songs from 14 artists across the five episodes, a bonus for the musicians who can't play live in the pandemic shutdown.
She said the show's focus on music was one of the big reasons she signed on to the project.
"I loved the idea of showcasing so many of these terrific Melbourne bands; it's such a great way to help them get their music to an audience when there's nothing happening for them with gigs right now," Budd said.
Mint Condition's producers have bravely launched the show during the COVID-19 shutdown, which has resulted in the suspension of local content quotas and created uncertainty for planned drama, children's shows and documentaries for the next year.
"We know things aren't easy right now," the show's co-writer and producer Gareth Calverley said.
"We decided to launch the show in the hope that it connects with an audience worldwide. It's made for anyone who loves independent Australian music and for those who believe it's important to support local filmmakers during a difficult time.
"Short form content is taking off around the world. New international platform Quibi is a great example, "quick bites" of original new shows. Our audience can experience Series 1 of Mint Condition in one hour."
You can watch via mintconditiontv.com
Originally published as New bite-sized show packs a punch