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Podcast – Robyn Butler and Wayne Hope on making Australian TV

The creators of series including Upper Middle Bogan, Little Lunch and now ABC’s Summer Love discuss their collaborative approach to making television.

The InBESTigators - Anna Cooke, Aston Droomer, Co-Creator Robyn Butler, Co-Creator Wayne Hope, Abby Bergman and Jamil Smyth-Secka

Find this episode of the Screen Australia Podcast on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or Pocket Casts

One piece of advice from actors/writers/directors/producers Robyn Butler and Wayne Hope is: “Don’t be put off by a no.”

“You need no’s. You’re going to get lots of no’s and that’s ok,” Hope says.

“More no’s than yes’s,” adds Butler.

It’s part of working in this industry, but as Butler says, it doesn’t mean the idea won’t work – it’s just not right for the current market.

Summer Love, the show that we’ve just made right now, I had as an idea 24 years ago… and it was a holiday house anthology series and no one knew what I was talking about,” she says. “So your ideas are never gone. They just might take shape or take time and in the meantime you go, ‘what else do I want to talk about?’”

Hope agrees. “That buyer might not have a spot for that, but it doesn’t mean what you want to say isn’t valid… and the great part about the market right now is there are so many smaller places to make things, which I think is fantastic for a creative,” he says. ”There’s niche opportunities, so keep knocking.”

Butler and Hope – who are partners in both work and life – are co-founders and co-directors of the production company Gristmill and are responsible for titles including comedy series The Librarians, Upper Middle Bogan and Very Small Business, feature film Now Add Honey and acclaimed kids’ series Little Lunch and The InBESTigators to name a few. Their latest show is the anthology series Summer Love, with all eight episodes available to binge on ABC iview.

Throughout the podcast, the pair discuss developing Summer Love in the midst of the pandemic, as well as talking more broadly about starting Gristmill, their approach to writing, advice on pitching, identifying your place in the market and why mentoring and elevating other people’s voices is a big focus.

“There’s plenty for us to still be learning all the time… but we’re bringing younger people (through),” Butler says, adding that particularly in the last five years they have mentored creatives on series like Summer Love or people who started out in work experience at Gristmill have ended up being writers or directors.

“We’ve really tried to do that (mentoring) and we want to keep doing that.”

Watch Summer Love on ABC iview here.

Subscribe to Screen Australia Podcast on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or Pocket Casts

Audio Transcript

[00:00:05] Caris Bizzaca Welcome to the Screen Australia podcast. I'm Caris Bizzaca, a journalist with Screen Australia's online publication Screen News. I'd like to firstly acknowledge the various countries you're all listening in from - the unceded lands of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. This podcast has been created on the lands of the Gadigal people of the larger Eora Nation, and I've had the great privilege to be a visitor and be able to work on these lands during my years at Screen Australia. Always was. Always will be. For this episode of the podcast, we are joined by Robyn Butler and Wayne Hope of production company Gristmill. Partners in both work and life. Robyn and Wayne have made titles including comedy series The Librarians, Upper Middle Bogan and Very Small Business, feature film Now Add Honey and acclaimed kids series Little Lunch and The InBESTigators. Their latest show is the anthology series Summer Love, which you can watch all eight episodes of on ABC iview Now. Throughout the podcast, Robyn and Wayne talk about developing Summer Love in the midst of a pandemic before chatting more broadly about starting their company, including their approach to writing, advice on pitching, identifying your place in the market, and why you shouldn't be put off by a no in the screen industry. As always, remember, you can subscribe to the podcast through places like Spotify and iTunes where you can leave a rating and review. Any feedback. send to [email protected] and subscribe to Screen Australia's Industry News for all the latest funding announcements, opportunities, videos and more. Now without further ado, we'll jump into the chat with Robyn Butler and Wayne Hope talking about their new series, Summer Love.

[00:01:48] Robyn Butler Summer Love is an anthology series, set in a holiday house and each episode a different set of visitors hire the house and experience some iteration of love and it might be platonic love, it might be romantic love, it might be sibling love, and it might be a melancholy love. And so it's just different perspectives of love with different people in the house.

[00:02:12] Caris Bizzaca And can you also talk about the kind of setup of the series, having different writers involved, different cast involved for each of the episodes?

[00:02:21] Wayne Hope Yeah. So it's an eight episode, 30 minute series, anthology series, as Robyn said, and we've written one of them. We wrote the first one to kind of set the tone, as it were. And then we invited seven other writers or writing teams to come on board. Many of those were people that we'd admired for several years, many years, and it was a nice way to get them to come work with us. It was unusual for us. We usually write a lot of our own material, so this was a project that we thought we could kind of organically bring other people in rather than come and write ep four of season three of Upper Middle Bogan. This is an overarching idea and a theme and you can bring your voice to that idea.

[00:03:09] Robyn Butler It was a COVID lockdown developed project, as was everything else in the universe in the last two years, which is why we sort of came up with the idea of the holiday house and love and warmth and hope and all those things that we were all aspiring to-

[00:03:28] Wayne Hope Yeah basically, 'get us out of here. Make us feel like this' was the remit for the show.

[00:03:33] Robyn Butler But it was at the time too, when Wayne and I had a really kind of big conversation with each other to say, 'Well, how do we authentically get other voices into our work?' It's really hard when we develop and create most of the work. How do you bring someone else's perspective? And so this Holiday House idea was a really genuinely authentic way to do that. And a fascinating idea for us - we're always fascinated with the idea of the the visitor's book, you know, who are Gavin and Denise who were upset with the hot water, you know, who signed the book or, you know, who are all these people who experience the exact same set of circumstances around them? But they have a very different experience. And so it was a good way into that and then to reach out to people who could provide us with different perspectives.

[00:04:24] Caris Bizzaca And how did you go about reaching out to the writers who did get involved?

[00:04:30] Wayne Hope [joking] Just money.

[00:04:31] Robyn Butler Yeah, money.

[00:04:32] Caris Bizzaca Yeah. [laughter]

[00:04:33] Wayne Hope Cold, hard cash. Just briefcases. No, we went to the writers before we pitched to a network, so we wanted to really, which we often do, we kind of try and develop the idea as much as we can and, and really know, make sure that we want to live with something for several years. So we thought it gave a better picture of what the anthology series was like if you had the writers attached, because then you go, Oh, okay, there's Nazeem Hussain and Miranda Tapsell, James Colley and Patrick Brammall, and you can kind of get a feeling based on those voices and for a network to go, 'well, we know their other work, so it's going to feel like this.'

[00:05:18] Robyn Butler You're almost casting the show with the writers. Like you do with actors, you're you're almost casting it. And we talked to a lot of people and heard what they might be interested in talking about. You know, Nazeem Hussain, one of our first conversations - we didn't really know Nazeem at all. And this was all on Zoom, of course, with everybody. But we obviously really liked him and when we had a chat with him, one of his first sort of perspectives about the beach was that, that is a white person thing. Like, like people from the subcontinent don't do the beach. He said I remember the first time my whole family went to the beach. We all piled out of this, you know, two carloads of people and we all had sort of curry and these big pots of curry on the beach and we're standing and eating curry and looking around. And he's going, 'I'm really sure this is not what we're supposed to be doing on the beach.'

[00:06:09] Wayne Hope Pack it out, pack it up. We're wrong.

[00:06:13] Robyn Butler And it made us laugh and lean in so much that when we just go 'yeah, let's tell that story.' But I think one of the interesting things we did when we were kind of talking to writers was that we were just really trying to kind of take our time and stumble across people. Like I was reading Miranda Tapsell's book at the time, Top End Girl, which is delightful. And I knew Miranda a little bit, but I got to this chapter where she tells the story of meeting James, her husband, and they do this really cute thing where she does a paragraph of, it's her version of events, and then he does a paragraph of his version of events and I do this little romcom he-said-she-said thing and it was so delightful that I came into Wayne's office, where we're sitting now, and went I think I found another writing team for us, and so we were trying to find people like that that spoke to the idea that just seemed intrinsically connected to the show. And when we zoomed with them and go, you know, what do you think of this? And they were on board. We go, okay, that's, you know, number two, there's number three.

[00:07:21] Wayne Hope Yeah Kodie Bedford and Bjorn Stewart was another writing team that we saw on a Writers' Guild panel via Zoom, and we didn't know their relationship with each other and they were in separate Zoom boxes, kind of Brady Bunch in the opposite corners. And as they were going through this, I think Kodie was hosting, but they had a really good rapport with each other.

[00:07:47] Robyn Butler A lot of banter.

[00:07:48] Wayne Hope Yeah a lot of banter and we're going, 'gee, I wonder if I we could get them to go together.' And then we found out that they were actually in the same house, they were just one upstairs and one downstairs and they work together a lot. So we kind of found that, you know, stumbled across that too. And so we're just trying to look for-

[00:08:04] Robyn Butler Organic.

[00:08:07] Wayne Hope Yeah and chemistry that we thought, 'oh this is tonally the same', you know, there's something that feels similar to us that we could share something with.

[00:08:14] Caris Bizzaca And then what was the brief that you gave to the writers? Was it, you know, we're looking for something comedic or we're looking for something dramatic or what was that brief like?

[00:08:24] Robyn Butler Well, we had basically, we'd written this script, our episode, which I think is episode four in the series. We wrote that to kind of go like just as an example of can you do a stand alone three act structure and in 30 minutes and make it compelling and entertaining enough. So basically we had that as the template. We need a three act. We needed a good first act that goes, 'Oh God, this is what's going to happen.' And then second act it's going to get worse before it gets better. And then third act, we're going to resolve it all. With that in mind, we basically said, 'Do whatever you want, but it has to be compelling enough that it is standalone.' It's not 'The One Where They Go To The Holiday House.' We've never met these people before. And given that it's love, something needs to happen to turn these people's lives on their heads. It doesn't have to be a huge thing, but it might be. But something has to happen enough to engage an audience for that one half hour. You know, it's very different if you know, oh, Rachel and Ross always do these things. So because they did it three weeks ago and they did four years ago, you know, we know Rachel and Ross. So that was the biggest thing I think we had to kind of work with. And then we'd get them to pitch their ideas to us and we'd see if there was any overlap. Yeah, so that was the process of sort of going, we think that idea works and then people would come back with a breakdown - a scene breakdown, not a nervous breakdown [laughter]. And then we'd sort of go into drafting. I mean, it was very, very interesting process. Pretty well all on Zoom. We had a couple of people in L.A.. We had two teams in L.A., we had people in Sydney and people in Melbourne. We were mostly on Zoom anyway, so it didn't really matter where anybody was. But we were trying to keep the spine of the show, the show, so that you felt like you were watching the same show, even though it was a completely different thing every week, that every week you were tuning in and you go 'oh, this is the show that I like' rather than 'what happened to the show that was on last week?' So that was our sort of task and it was really challenging and as a result, incredibly satisfying.

[00:10:43] Caris Bizzaca And for anyone listening, you can watch all episodes of Summer Love on ABC iview now, but it is a series that was produced by your production company, Gristmill, and I wanted to talk to you a little bit about that and your approach to creating television together. So I suppose, first of all, how did the two of you meet and start working together?

[00:11:07] Wayne Hope Well, I met Robyn on a show that she co-wrote called Small Tales & True for Foxtel way, way back. It was a fantastic mockumentary, way before anyone was making mockumentaries in this country, and I got cast in a couple of episodes, one of which was playing her husband: it went pretty well. [laughter]

[00:11:33] Robyn Butler And so we started working together. We were working together as actors before we started the company together. But we were we were together for a couple of years, I think. And I always wanted to write and perform and make things. This was well before the Internet well, YouTube, anyway. And it was quite limited as to what we could do. And I think I dragged you kicking and screaming a little bit in the beginning.

[00:12:05] Wayne Hope To which part because that happens a lot.

[00:12:09] Robyn Butler [Laughs] To everything. To me in the first place. To making things.

[00:12:15] Wayne Hope Making things ourselves, yeah.

[00:12:16] Robyn Butler I'd been trying to get shows up with the ABC and with various production companies and it was just so limited. There was just such a tiny, tiny space for people to have things be produced. And so it was really frustrating. And in the end, the way we got started was because we heard that Foxtel, cable TV, were looking for five minute interstitials. And I said, let's make something ourselves. We can do this. And Wayne is very, very technically able-

[00:12:56] Wayne Hope But let's just clarify. At the time that meant I owned one of those purple iMacs before most people did. So that's the context of technically able-

[00:13:05] Robyn Butler  That's not true. You could shoot and you could do stuff. So we were able to make this little show, which was actually a real precursor to the show that we're just making now Summer Love, which was called Stories from the Gulf, which was every episode a person hires a Volkswagen Golf. And we followed their story and we made them as 5 minutes. And when we made three of them, on the smell of an oily rag - Wayne made a boom pole out of our camp bed, like it was just absolute bare bones. Somehow through something, SBS got wind of it and rang us up and said 'We need five minute shorts before we play the film on Saturday night. Can you give us thirteen of whatever you've got?' And we went... 'yes.'

[00:13:58] Wayne Hope Absolutely. I'll just speak to production. [laughter]

[00:14:02] Robyn Butler And that meant that we had 13 x 5 minutes. We had 65 minutes of screen time, so we were suddenly eligible for funding. And we had these credits. And it just absolutely opened every door for us. And in fact, when we finally went to make a big show at the ABC they'd sort of seen that and said 'oh so you're production company, you can make this?' And we went '..... mmhmmm.'

[00:14:27] Wayne Hope Yes, we can. Do you have your own camp beds at the ABC or do we bring ours?

[00:14:31] Caris Bizzaca I need a new boom pole. [laughter]

[00:14:33] Wayne Hope Exactly.

[00:14:36] Caris Bizzaca When you created the production company, so did you create it to make those 13 - was it 13 episodes for SBS? And so you created Gristmill then?

[00:14:48] Wayne Hope It was. It was for that purpose and it was good - it was kind of stumbling into it. And it was a nice way to do it because it was out of necessity. What was required was we need to formalise because SBS said we'll take an order for this, so you need certain structures in order to do that. So it forced us to formalise that. And it's great when you're naive. It's a wonderful place to be and you're hungry to to learn. You stumble into walls and you know in hindsight to go, that was embarrassing, but it wasn't the time because I didn't know any different. And so it was a really great learning curve. And on to The Librarians at the ABC where it just expanded quickly and it was a wonderful ride for those first bunch of years.

[00:15:34] Robyn Butler That's why we always say to people when we get inundated with people's requests just for advice and how do I get into it and what do I do? And we just go, you have this portal in front of you. You have this thing where you can make anything you want and do anything. And it's off-Broadway. If it's if it's a killer piece of work, then great, everybody's going to see it and it's going to go nuts. But in the meantime, if it's not, you're going to just practise your craft. And it's just such a great time, I think, to be able to create anything. And you've got these little things that you can film everything on. That's a phone.

[00:16:17] Caris Bizzaca You thinking back to your purple Mac?

[00:16:19] Wayne Hope I know. Do it on that! [laughter]

[00:16:24] Caris Bizzaca And so do you kind of both pitch each other ideas a lot of the time? Like how does that kind of work in terms of, you know, pitching and developing an idea?

[00:16:34] Wayne Hope Yeah, it does work like that. We kind of always have a bunch of ideas that we're moving around and they take their place at the front of the queue in strange ways. Often it's a feeling of what might be in the zeitgeist a little bit, and that is of interest to us. Summer Love, our new show came about whilst we were working on another show and the pandemic started and it was quite dark subject matter. And we found, you know, two months into the initial lockdown and things, it was quite gruelling and quite hard to work. And plus we also thought, I don't reckon anyone's going to buy a dark show right now, so we flipped probably because personally we wanted to flip. And that's a good way to go. I think we're guided heavily by what we both feel and what interests us, what's socially going on in the world, and then feeling like, oh yeah this feels like it's got a place in the scheme of things right now.

[00:17:30] Robyn Butler And we're very supportive of each other's ideas. And we're not we're not precious either. At the same time, like if we were to say, you know, I've got an idea about a hot air balloonist, and you'd go, 'Oh, that's pretty challenging.' 'Yeah, probably.' You know what I mean? Like, we don't sort of... that's a very good idea, though, write that down. Very strong. Hot air balloon. Very strong. [laughter]

[00:17:55] Caris Bizzaca Heard it here first [laughter]. And when you are developing an idea or you're writing an idea, do you both write together? Do you write separately? How does how does that side of things work?

[00:18:10] Robyn Butler We always break story together because that's the hardest part. You know, that's the part that makes you want to cry. We tend to sort of have the idea and then sort of just ruminate on the the breaking of the story. And that can be just, you know, us sitting in the office or going for walks, walking the dog. You know, it can be a bit over time. And then the general process is that once we've broken the back of it, I'll tend to write it up into a sort of outline form. And then Wayne kind of has a look and sees if he's on board with it. If I've been true to the breaking.

[00:18:51] Wayne Hope We've developed more and more over the years to know our special skills, if you like. And I think that's very normal for partnerships, to find... Initially, I think we were trying to do everything together, every single word, every, and now - Robyn's just brilliant on structure. She's a fantastic skilled writer. So once we break it, you know, it's much more beneficial for her to write that up.

[00:19:17] Robyn Butler But we've done a lot of that work. You know, we might do little dialogue exchanges, too, when we're in in the room as well. So I'll just jot down what-

[00:19:28] Wayne Hope We know how it sounds.

[00:19:28] Robyn Butler Yeah, we know what it sounds like. So sometimes the outline might just be, you know, passages of dialogue in there as well. And we just sort of have to divide and conquer with things. At the moment, you know, sometimes I'm just more across the writing. We've got a couple of other projects that we're working with other people, and Wayne's been working in post on our show Summer Love. So just in terms of just pure pragmatism, we have to sort of split up and not do all the jobs together, but-

[00:19:56] Wayne Hope Then we divide up the producing side as well. We kind of naturally gravitate to particular areas of that and that kind of works really well.

[00:20:03] Caris Bizzaca And what do you kind of - I mean, there are aspects that you that you do on your own, but what are kind of the benefits do you think of like a creative collaboration as opposed to some people who do just work mostly on their own?

[00:20:17] Robyn Butler I think... I mean, everybody's just so, so different. I think we genuinely bring out the best in each other. Like, I know when I hand over a script, a draft to Wayne, I know it's going to be better when I get it back. I know he's going to go, what about this in here? And I wonder if we need more of this and it'll just be better. And I guess I just I suppose because we just trust each other, so we know that there's never going to be any animosity about it. I think sometimes people don't like collaborating out of fear. Fear of giving up that idea or what if something-

[00:20:56] Wayne Hope We're incredibly aligned in what we like and what we think too, which helps. I think it's harder if you are collaborating, having to kind of, you know, wrestle with a particular tone or a feeling, and that can be very hard. But once we decide, yes, we're going to do this, we kind of know what it is, and then we value add to each other. So, you know, foot on the floor this Summer Love we both directed together, which we've kind of always been doing, we just formalised it for the first time. It's either one of us has been in the director's seat, but we always both of us are on set. Both of us are at the split. You know, we have been for 20 years and it is that thing again, if I'm directing, I know I can look to Robyn and go 'have we got it' and she can be, you know, very exacting and kind of knowing that it's there or we need to tweak something and it'll always be spot on to go, 'oh no go back in and get another take because that was rubbish, Wayne.'

[00:21:46] Robyn Butler I would never.

[00:21:48] Caris Bizzaca Not in those words anyway [laughter]. And in terms of like pitching an idea, do you have any advice for people if you're going in to do that pitch at a at a broadcaster or streamer or wherever it might be?

[00:22:04] Robyn Butler I think more and more, because people can be at various stages of their career when they're pitching, they can be at various stages of experience and skill. And maybe the spec scripts they've gone in with isn't as developed as it might be or the Bible they think they've developed isn't as developed as it might be. And I think that's all okay because I think executives are able to see that level pretty clearly and know what they dealing with. I think the most important thing, though, is to know what you talking about, to know what you want to make and to have a point of view. I think to be able to articulate whether it's in pictures - because some people are better with pictures than words when they're pitching. But to have in pictures, 'the show looks like this'. The show is a little bit like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but it's also a little bit like The Good Place. It looks like these things. So people go, 'I see what you're saying' and you say, 'But what I want to talk about is I want to talk about when I was 15 and I lost my mum and then how I just stumbled around for ten years after that. And so it's about somebody's search' you know, just knowing what that logline is and knowing what the theme of what you want to talk about is, because everybody can work with that. All the materials you've developed might be not exactly what people are looking for, but but they can instantly say, 'you know what? I think that's a really interesting area and we'd like to explore that' or 'that's really interesting here. We've actually got something very similar'. And you're identifying your place in the market, which you just can't underestimate as well, that it's not how good you are or how talented you are or what good writer you director you are. It's where are you positioned in the market for what the market needs and wants right now? And if that doesn't work, go away. And a good thing to remember is that Summer Love, the show that we've just made right now, I first had as an idea 24 years ago and it was called Lot 23A and it was holiday house anthology series, and no one knew what I was talking about. I thought, would be funny to have a series set in holiday house, but nobody else did. But 24 years later, in the pandemic, we went, 'Hey, what about that idea of a holiday house' so that your ideas are never gone. They just might take shape or they take time. And in the meantime, you go, 'what else do I want to talk about?'

[00:24:48] Wayne Hope I was going to say, don't be put off by a 'no'. You need no's is you going to get lots of no's and.

[00:24:54] Robyn Butler More no's than yes's.

[00:24:55] Wayne Hope Yeah and that's a great example of that that you just keep it because if it is something you want to say, it's about how you want to express yourself. That buyer might not have a spot for that, but it doesn't mean what you want to say is invalid. It might just make 24 years of percolation before someone-.

[00:25:16] Robyn Butler Or two years. Or six months.

[00:25:16] Wayne Hope Yeah, but you've got to find - and the great part about the market right now is that there are so many smaller places to make things, which I think is fantastic for a creative. You know, we came through when there was five networks, you know, and so it was very hard to get a comedy up. Now there's, you know, SVODs and so many places and that's to the creators benefit because it means there's niche opportunities. And so you just keep knocking.

[00:25:46] Caris Bizzaca And you said how you often have a couple of different ideas, maybe in development, and also like looking at your slate over the years, there's quite a lot of variety there. You know, you've got some kids shows, you've got like all-out comedies, you've got comedy/dramas and things like that. Can you talk a little bit about your slate and if that variety is really important to you in kind of developing the slate? Or is it just what happens because of what the market's interested in at that point in time?

[00:26:19] Wayne Hope I think it's a little bit market focused or has been the longer we've gone on, but to be honest it's often been driven by ideas that we've had where we're passionate about to go 'let's put some time into this', which is great. We've been very fortunate that those ideas have moved through to production. So it's a nice mix of a bit of planning and a bit of spontaneity, cobbled together, wouldn't you say?

[00:26:45] Robyn Butler  I would and the great part about it, and we're totally aware of the privilege of where we sit in our careers right now, that we have a bit of luxury to be able to go 'what we want to do next.' We probably have five or six things on the slate that we're able to go, if we're having a conversation with a broadcaster, or a streamer, and they say, 'we're looking for this' and we go 'we've actually got something like that', but we certainly wouldn't be taking something and then going, 'Oh, you want that? Well, I've got an hour drama. But no, I think I can make that a 45 minute reality show. No, I think I can do that.' We would never be doing that. We would just hold. What's the expression again? Keep our powder dry. To just wait and see where there was a good fit for things in that it is important to have a slate that's diverse and expansive so that you've got a little bit of choice to move.

[00:27:40] Wayne Hope Yeah, you're not just stuck on the one thing. And you know, when you do get some no's that you just keep slamming up against that. Yeah, I remember once and years and years ago an ABC executive going, after getting a no, [saying], 'but we do need something for 10:00 on a Thursday for $70,000.' And us going '... I've got no idea, that just doesn't, it didn't mean anything. And we kind of went ok, well, we're never going to be able to work that way where we go, we're trying to fit something because there was nothing. There was no idea whatsoever. So we go the other way.

[00:28:27] Caris Bizzaca And so you talked a little bit about it, but what are some of the the big changes that you've seen in the TV landscape in like the last five years or so?

[00:28:38] Robyn Butler Just the expanse.

[00:28:41] Wayne Hope The expanse. Just a great storytelling thing is the release from the schedule. So as we've moved away from network television and advertising, a half hour can actually be a half hour and not 24 minutes, not 21 minutes. And to have that flexibility so on Summer Love, you know, we'll go from 27 to 33 [minutes]. And it really helps for the story sometimes to go, 'I do need another couple of scenes to tell this.' That's been a really dramatic change.

[00:29:17] Robyn Butler And expansive in the way stories are told you know it doesn't have to be - anything goes it can be half hour, but half hour kind of a dark comedy or it can be a hard comedy or it can be a just a half hour drama. I mean, you watch all sorts of things. It doesn't really matter anymore. And the biggest thing I think we've experienced is the sort of global nature of everything that, you know, there was this aspirational time you had to move to Los Angeles. You had to get you jobs over there. And now it's just like with all the streamers being here, you know, our two kids shows Little Lunch and The InBESTigators. The InBESTigators was a co-production with Netflix, but they're both on Netflix and they've been so crazily successful and they're [set in] these little suburban primary schools in Melbourne and there's no attempt to change any story, any vernacular. I mean, admittedly Netflix translates them into however many languages - they're in 190 countries or something. But we get this fan mail from Poland and Brazil and Ireland and everywhere going, 'Oh my God, I'm so obsessed with your show.' These little ten year olds in Moorabbin Primary School in Melbourne. That's the astonishing thing to me now that for years we grew up watching American and English television and thinking that we had to emulate those worlds. And in fact, our world is quite sufficient now. And to see those Australian stories at that young age translate is that's really something isn't it.

[00:31:02] Caris Bizzaca Yeah 100%. Just last two questions. What do you feel that the future holds for Gristmill?

[00:31:13] Robyn Butler Well, it's an interesting time in our lives where we have probably more resources and definitely more skill. We're at the, you know, getting to the pointy end - there's plenty for us to still be learning all the time. We learn constantly. But we're bringing younger people. We've done a lot of mentoring over the last probably ten years, but particularly in the last five years we've mentored in the Summer Love - we've mentored directors and writers. We've really tried to bring people through the company - people who started doing work experience who've ended up being writers, who ended up being directors. We've really tried to do that and we want to keep doing that and, you know, representing other people's voices. That feels really exciting. We want to just explore probably drama more. Just with you and me [Wayne] - just more fireworks.

[00:32:14] Wayne Hope Yeah, yeah.

[00:32:15] Robyn Butler Just more spicy stuff.

[00:32:17] Wayne Hope Work out, why is there so much drama?

[00:32:18] Robyn Butler Why is there so much to drama?!

[00:32:20] Wayne Hope Reflect on it.

[00:32:22] Robyn Butler Do the fucking dishes. [laughter] Yeah. So, yeah, it feels exciting.

[00:32:28] Caris Bizzaca And the, the last one being the question that you get asked a lot by people, which is your advice for anyone that wants to get into the industry?

[00:32:40] Wayne Hope Well, we're always very encouraging. We know that there's a kind of quick answer for a lot of people to go 'oh, don't do it', or, you know, 'you'd be crazy.' But if you feel passionate about it and that's your jam, go for it. It's a fantastic job. It's great exploration that ties work and your mind together. It's very rewarding in that sense as long as you're up for a bit of a bumpy ride. There are ups and downs and if you're up for that ride, then go for it.

[00:33:15] Robyn Butler I think that's the most crucial part of it is that I think people want to do it because it looks like fun and they have got something that they want to say. But it's really important to just remember that tenacity is your friend and that getting no's is not the end. It's just it's like I said before, you do get more no's than yes's, and that's just the job. With cast, you've got to show up and then cast say no or the music licencing company says no. And you go oh I really needed that bit of the puzzle. Or the locations says no. You know it's constantly problem solving and if you want to be have longevity in this don't try and burn brightly too and don't compare yourself to other people.

[00:34:13] Wayne Hope I know, just take care of yourself because it's so much to think they're saying no to you as a person. They're not. It's business and it's all sorts of things. So you've got to look after yourself and-

[00:34:24] Robyn Butler And just keep working, keep making things, keep writing things, keep directing things. Maybe for you, maybe for your friends. Just keep working.

[00:34:36] Caris Bizzaca That was Robyn Butler and Wayne Hope of Gristmill. And remember, you can catch Summer Love on ABC ivew now. If you're enjoying this podcast, you can subscribe to it through places like Spotify and iTunes, and you can also subscribe to the fortnightly Screen Australia newsletter to keep up to date with new initiatives, opportunities, videos, articles and more. Thanks for listening.