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Podcast – Creating White Fever with Ra Chapman and Katherine Fry

Ra Chapman and Katherine Fry share the journey from development to production of new ABC comedy series White Fever.

Ra Chapman and Katherine Fry on the set of White Fever

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

“Choose your collaborators wisely.”

Representing multiple communities as a Korean adoptee in Australia on screen in an irreverent comedy about sex and identity was no mean feat as creator, writer, and star of ABC’s new comedy series White Fever Ra Chapman shares, so finding the right combination of talent, consultants, and passionate advocates was important.

“Trying to tell the perfect story or a homogenous story [will] drive you crazy, but also you will lose the specificity of the particular story you're trying to tell. So, I think having collaborators that you can lean on, friends and family that understand this stuff is just so important to survive that.”

Co-developer and script producer Katherine Fry agrees. “Surround yourself with people who are passionate about that idea and story, and want to want to see it being made. That would be my one very clear piece of advice,” she said.

In the six-episode series, Korean-Australian adoptee and party girl Jane (played by Chapman) finds herself in the midst of an existential crisis when her friends call her out for having “white fever”. She goes a journey to try and reprogram her libido that forces her to embrace her past and discover who she really is.

Inspired by Chapman’s lived experience as an inter-country adoptee, ensuring authentic representation, the “specificity” as Chapman says, across every level of the project was central to every decision, and included extensive consultation and negotiating specific roles – including in the edit.

“I was always going to be very involved as the creator, but it soon became evident that I'd been so involved all the way up [including post-production],” she said. “And it's just with this show, the specificity of it was the key.”

“There was some kind of resistance to that initially because [the] idea that it’s not great for a lead actor to be in the edit room. So, we have along the way tried to challenge little things that were perceived as normal,” Fry said.

Throughout the latest episode of the Screen Australia Podcast, Chapman and Fry share their experiences developing White Fever for television; juggling multiple roles in front of and behind the camera; balancing the comedic and dramatic in storytelling; representing lived experiences authentically on screen throughout development, shooting, and the editing process, and more.

White Fever is available to view now on ABC iview.

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