Bear suits and microwaves

An interview with Matt Okine, co-creator and star of web-series The Future Machine.

You are asked to describe The Future Machine to someone who has never seen it. Using mime. You are allowed to have three props, what would they be and why?
A beer bottle, a watch, and a German Microwave.

The beer bottle would be used to demonstrate the two main characters love of beer, and that they live in an apartment that is littered with empty bottles.

You need the watch because it’s a time machine.

The microwave would signify the most active ingredient necessary to build a Future Machine. It needs to be German because Germans don’t mess around, and you can trust it’ll be efficient. The last thing you need when you’re banging about in a US Government TV studio in 1969, trying to film a ‘moon landing’, is for your time machine to break.

What are the main differences between making a web series and traditional television
The freedom. We funded the show, so we can do what we want. With TV, a lot more people are gambling on the success of your show, and I think that wears off onto the creativity. More investors means less creative freedom.

How do you attract an audience? Do you rely on word of mouth?
That was our biggest rookie error. People throw the word ‘viral’ around all the time. Advertisers are always talking about ‘filming virals’, but – unfortunately – most ‘virals’ lie dormant for their entire life. There’s this idea that as soon as you put something on the internet, people are going to feel compelled to share it, but it simply doesn’t work like that. A web-series isn’t a one-off 40-second clip of a person hitting their nuts. It’s a show that requires an investment from the viewer, like any show you see on TV. Nothing will ever beat word of mouth, but you also have to think smart when it comes to generating other forms of advertising and marketing. Get on forums that have members interested in the topic of your show. Hand out flyers around areas that cater to your target demographic. Our most successful marketing tool has been a “Missing Finger” pole- poster. Any time we put them up, our ‘daily views’ double.

If you’d had a million dollars at your disposal how do you think the show would
have been different?
I don’t think you ever have enough money when you’re making a production. Your ideas just get more extravagant, and everyone’s ego on set gets bigger, but throwing money at a piece of paper doesn’t produce a better script, and I wouldn’t have changed the cast.

Maybe we would’ve filmed it in a studio over two weeks, instead of in a warehouse under the flight path over one week. And we could’ve paid everyone a bit better. But the real difference would’ve been in advertising. They say your marketing budget should be equal to your production budget, and not the 10% that ours was. Yikes!

What was the strangest thing you found yourself doing during production?
Sitting in a green suit – hair parted – speaking in a terribly bad accident, with an angry cat in my lap trying to scratch my face off.
(Note to script writers: NEVER write a scene involving animals)

Also – recreating the famous pottery scene from Ghost with Andy Ryan (who played TOM). I guess you don’t really know someone until you’re in each other’s clay-coated arms swinging around under a spotlight.

Would you like to share a random anecdote? Bonus points if it features a couch.
One night, I slept-walked in my lounge room and pee’d all over my couch.

The internet. Friend or foe?
Friend, friend, friend! Dear god I love the internet. Sure there’s a lot of crap out there, but it’s still a blessing to anyone wanting to create. It’s beautiful to think that no matter what sort of topic your art focuses on, there are people all over the world who share the same interest. It’s just a matter of getting it infront of them! To think – without the internet – you wouldn’t be reading this fully sick interview.

Your time machine has developed a strange fault which means you can only travel
back in time and meet infamous dictators? Who would you visit first?
Hitler. I would kick him in the nut.

To be completely honest, I’m not very down on my basic dictator knowledge. If that ever happened, I’d probably just have a garage sale and hopefully sell the time machine for a cheeky ‘fiddy’.

If someone wanted to buy a bear suit where’s the best place to look?
Ebay! It was such a bargain. Delivered straight from China to my doorstep for mad- cheap. I can’t tell you how great it is to have two Bear suits. I don’t know when I’ll ever need them again, but I will definitely be the coolest person at the next “Pedo bear” dress up party.

Microwaves. Discuss.
They will probably kill you. But they heat meals so quick! I guess you have to decide if you want to save that time now and die 20 years earlier, or live 20 years longer, but spend it waiting for your fried rice to reheat on the stove.

Muppet? Kermit. I love the way he says his own name.
Colour? Red.
Sound? Soda water fizzing over lime and ice.
Letter of the alphabet? I quite like cursive F’s.
Accent? British – when combined with hip-hop.
Biscuit? I prefer cake. But if I must choose, I’d say Waterthins (with cheese and dips).
Number between 7 and 45? Definitely 12

The Future Machine is available on the internets for you to view at your leisure. How convenient. 

Further reading

December – home

I spent the first minutes of 2018 on the beach. I’ve never actually spent New Year