Cleaning a mess is a dirty job, but somebody’s got to do it! Nowhere is that more true than in season 1 of the acclaimed Australian comedy web series THE CLEANISTS. Since its debut last year, fans worldwide have experienced the misadventures of four dedicated but wacky house cleaners who find themselves in situations that are often as sticky and grimy as the houses themselves.
There’s Gregg (James Chapman), the group’s voice of reason who’s gradually starting to come out of his shell thanks to a new love interest. Libby (Shanon Kulupach), Gregg’s former love finds herself swept aside by his new flame while trying to work alongside him.
In addition, the always unpredictable Phillip (Craig Lindeman), continues to try to get in the way of Gregg’s romantic exploits. “Leading” them all is the domineering and tyrannical boss Magda (Gabriella Stevens), who only serves to make the tough task of making a house squeaky clean even harder through her attitude.
Now THE CLEANISTS is about to embark on its sophomore season, and promises to be even bigger and funnier than its first one. Along with its first season streaming on its official Youtube page, the series has gained more audiences through pay cable distribution deals with the UK’s Showcase TV and its sister channel InfoTV.
Yet, as any web series creator knows all too well, the success of a show depends on its fans. To that end, THE CLEANISTS has launched its official crowd funding campaign for season 2 on the Australian web site Pozible, and seeks to raise $10,000 (Australian) dollars by July 14th (July 13th in the United States).
Full details on the show’s campaign, its incentives and how people can donate to it are available at that site. If successful, series creator Tristram Baumber says that pre-production will commence 2 weeks after the campaign’s conclusion, and season 2 will debut sometime this December – nearly a year after its debut.
The video features the show’s characters in a hilarious pitch designed to make people laugh out loud and to get them to donate to its crowd funding campaign for season 2. (More on that ahead, and the video itself is embedded at the end of this article).
As Baumber explains, Pozible’s convenient, easy to use design and its benefits for users and organizers were among many factors that immediately convinced him to use it for his campaign. “We decided to use Pozible for a few reasons. One is that it’s an Australian-based site, which seemed fitting for an Australian-based web series,” he says.
“Another reason is I’ve known lots of people who have run successful campaigns on Pozible,” he says. It’s a very well-thought-out, reliable and user-friendly platform. People can donate from anywhere in the world, which is a huge plus for us. Finally, and this was the clincher, it takes one click to log into Pozible using Facebook sign-in. People don’t have to be familiar with the site to jump on, make their donation and get on with their day.”
Every web series crowd funding campaign has its own unique benefits for donor and creator alike. Of course, the perks are just as diverse and interesting and the ones provided by THE CLEANISTS’ campaign are no exception. “We’ve got all kinds of incentives, starting with “thank-you”s for people who donate $10 and going all the way up to a custom-made scene of THE CLEANISTS for anyone who donates $2,000,” Baumber says.
“In between that there are signed photos, HD downloads of all the episodes, producer credits, the actual t-shirts worn by the cast and fan appearances in the show. We’ve tried to think of the coolest things we could possibly offer our fans. And we’re open to suggestions if people think of any other rewards we could add!” he adds.
In addition, Showcase TV and InfoTV has also picked up THE CLEANISTS for season 2, reaffirming the networks’ commitment to the series itself before a single frame of film has been shot for its new episodes.
Above all, though, transparency is key in the success of any crowd funding campaign. Baumber feels that letting people know where the money donated (and earned) is going and how it will be used is perhaps the most crucial part of THE CLEANISTS’ campaign. “We’ve been as transparent as possible in letting people know where their money will go, because we think that’s important.”
When it came to shooting THE CLEANISTS’ special crowd funding campaign “minisode”, the experience of it was an incredibly memorable one for him and his cast. “The campaign video was lots and lots of fun. I love working with our cast, and the format of the video allowed us to do lots of crazy humor we might not be able to pull off in a normal episode. We shot it in a morning, with a skeleton crew, and we’re really happy with how it turned out,” Baumber says.
“There are some subtle references to things that will happen in Season 2. Our hope is that when people see the Season 2 episodes, they’ll say, ‘Oh, that’s that thing from the campaign video!”
Recalls Kulupach: “It was like a reunion! We were even back at Craig’s house where we shot the first episode! Lucky for him the weather was warmer! I think it really showed that we had done it before. Our chemistry showed; we all understand our characters so much more. Things went quicker!”
The loose atmosphere on set also gave the cast plenty of opportunities to improvise and grow their characters, and Chapman was equally as eager to take advantage of them. “It was like a small taste of what we could expect from Season 2. It was such a thrill coming back to each other after almost a year since filming. We had lots of time that day, which made it even more fun because we got to mess around and improvise some of the dialogue.”
Lindeman also found ways to go off script during shooting of the special minisode. “Tristram gave me a bit of leeway to work with a bit of improv which I enjoyed. It’s difficult to come up with weird Philip-isms between takes,” he says.
Through that “minisode”, Baumber feels he may have already started a new trend in donor outreach. “I know that crowd funding campaigns usually have videos, but I haven’t seen one that’s framed like it’s part of a show, with the fictional characters presenting the video. It just seemed like a fun thing for us to do – but maybe we’ve unwittingly become trailblazers!”
While filming of season 1 was a rewarding experience for Baumber and his team, the limited budget they had to work with made that process much more challenging. As Stevens explains, the group hopes to overcome those obstacles once season 2 gets rolling.
“Season 1 was a lot of fun to film – a bit rushed and hectic at times. Filming two episodes per day became a bit exhausting, but the final product was worth it. The process for us as actors really is the easy bit: we film, we go home. The editing and post-production processes are the most time consuming. I think in Season 2, with the assistance of funds, the filming will be more professional and we’ll have a bigger crew.”
While Baumber hopes that he can expand the show’s overall production style and storytelling scope, it all depends on the success of its crowd funding campaign. “Right now our big hope is that we’ll actually get to make Season 2. That’s where all our energy is focused. Beyond that, we’d love for it to be popular with audiences. I know we’ll make a better show this time, if we get to do it.”
Already having achieved acclaim and a tremendous worldwide fan base on Youtube, THE CLEANISTS’ cast also has high hopes for the success of the campaign. As Kulupach says, “Obviously my hopes are that we reach our target! Trit’s writing is so great and this season the scripts are a lot more ambitious! Last season we achieved such wonderful quality on next to no budget so we want to top that. Season 2 is far more of a whirlwind story than Season 1. You get a lot more of each character. In Season 1 everyone kept within their particular box, if you will.”
Stevens echoes Kulupach’s sentiments. “I think ultimately we would just love to do a Season 2. The campaign is going to do wonders for us and help us produce some amazing work. I know Season 2 is going to be very entertaining; audiences will love it,” she says.
“The season’s overall story sees a lot of development between all the characters and some loose ends are tied up nicely. Some surprises and shocks, all in distinctive CLEANISTS style.”
Lindeman also anticipates plenty of laughs once cameras roll on season 2. “Personally, I’m keen for the popularity of the show to take off. We all believe that it has the potential to be bigger and bigger. Everybody loves quirky humor and contrasting characters, right?”
Although Baumber and his team have a long way to go toward a successful campaign, the chance to bring its legion of viewers a new series of janitorial misadventures in season 2 of THE CLEANISTS provides them with amazing incentives all their own.
Says Baumber: “I guess the biggest advantage to all of us is that we’ll be doing work that we love. It’s rare for a project to come along with a team as amazing as this one. If we get to make Season 2, we’ll be working as hard as we can to do our best work. And that’s always a benefit to artistic folk. Aside from that, maybe we’ll sell the show for a million dollars and all get rich!”
(Note: Regarding closed-captioning of season 2 of THE CLEANISTS, Baumber says: “We would love the series to be closed captioned and/or subtitled. It’s not in our budget at the moment, but we’d definitely be trying to make that happen.”)
To donate to THE CLEANISTS’ season 2 crowd funding campaign on Pozible, please visit:
To watch season 1 of THE CLEANISTS and to view their “minisode” promoting its season 2 crowd funding campaign, visit:
THE CLEANISTS’ special “minisode” for its season 2 crowd funding campaign can be viewed here: