A group of high school students in uniform (including an older man with a beard) laughing and gesticulating

Web Series: A Slice of Life

Web series offer an Australian slice of Life

Born from everyday experience
 Heather Gill

It's often said that you should 'write what you know', and many web series explore aspects of everyday life and their makers' personal experiences. In the best web series though, these everyday moments are served with a unique or humorous twist.

WARNING: this collection may contains names, images or voices of deceased Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Belonging and identity

As Australia continues to examine its past, culture and identity, these web series provide opportunities to reflect.

Wrong Kind of Black

Based on the life of Boori Monty Pryor, a Birri-gubbah-Kunggandji-Kukuimudji man from Townsville, Wrong Kind of Black revisits his time as a young man in the 1970s living in Melbourne:

Wrong Kind of Black, 2018. NFSA title: 1587696

Portraying everyday experiences within the events of the time provides the audience with engaging insights. In the clip above, for example, we get an indication of how the then recent Racial Discrimination Act 1975 (Cth) was going to affect his life. Clarence Ryan captivates as the young Pryor, grooving through the scenes, dancing between the hilarious and the poignant. Lucy Flanagan and Tom E Lewis play his parents and create a particularly warm family dynamic, as if the memories are tinged with the Queensland sunshine where they were created.

Kutcha’s Carpool Koorioke

Singer-songwriter Kutcha Edwards engages with other Indigenous performers around Fitzroy, Wurundjeri country. The streets they drive around became an important social and political hub for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples from Victoria and beyond. This exploration of place enrichens our understanding of the performers.

You can see images from web series, including Kutcha's Carpool Koorioke, in the image gallery below:

Love and dating

Considering the 20-something age bracket of many of those making web series, and the younger demographic they're aimed at, it is not surprising that a number focus on dating and finding love.

Sexy Herpes

Creators Madeleine Dyer and Daniel Mulvihill set their six-part dramedy at a sexual health clinic to increase awareness and generate constructive conversations about sexual health. They developed the series in consultation with experts in the field of gender identity and sexual health, seeking to reflect truthful portrayals for their ensemble of characters. The creators hope to break through any barriers that limit education about their subject.

No Strings Attached

The world of dating can be filled with awkward experiences. As entertaining as these can be when told to friends, you may think twice about recording them for others to see in a documentary. No Strings Attached overcomes this hurdle by replacing the participants with puppets – but keeping their voices. These puppet-led stories show that truth is often funnier and more entertaining than fiction:

No Strings Attached, 2016. NFSA title: 1485410

Education and Work

Web series are perfect for exploring Australia's changing educational sector and workplaces.

Aunty Donna: Glennridge Secondary College

Aunty Donna is a comedy collective that has built up a body of work across live performance and online. In Glennridge Secondary College, they turn their attention to high school. This familiar setting is viewed through the absurdist Aunty Donna gaze to create surreal observational comedy. Watch an episode of Aunty Donna: Glennridge Secondary College.

Halal Gurls

Web series offer great opportunities for diverse stories, and Halal Gurls brings us the world's first hijabi comedy series. Drawing its talent from from Sydney's western suburbs, the series aims at engaging the community they're portraying with authenticity. Aanisa Vylet, who stars as workaholic Mouna, is one of the five writers. The series follows three Muslim women as they navigate cultural rules, professional expectations and social codes in order to achieve what they want:

Halal Gurls: Episode 3 Going Up, 2019. NFSA title: 1590956

Mining Boom

Mining has had historical importance in Australia’s growth and the early 2000s saw Australia experience the biggest economic boom the country had ever seen. However, many of us have no personal experience of life as a fly-in fly-out (FIFO) worker. Mining Boom lifts the safety goggles on what really goes down on a remote mining site in Western Australia as screenwriter Pete Harris (who also contributes many of the character voices) draws from years of experience on oil and gas mining sites. In this short clip from Mining Boom, Jack (a law student formerly of inner-city Melbourne), acts as our guide.

You can explore more clips and full episodes from these and other productons in our Web Series curated collection.


Main image: Aunty Donna: Glennridge Secondary College, 2019. NFSA title: 1591102