Filmmaking is a field that requires as much ego-handling as it does teamwork, and the unanticipated problems that pop up on any production can challenge the temperaments of any cast and crew. In season 3 of the Stream Now TV mockumentary THE MAKING OF, those problems lead to hilarious behind-the-scenes friction for questionably skilled auteur Sam Dawson (Sam Mason Bell) and his fledgling battalion of collaborators. (You can check out the show’s Stream Now TV page here)
That conflict is chronicled by the observant lens of an inquisitive documentary filmmaker (played by Jackson Batchelor, who co-created the series with Bell). In THE MAKING OF’s season 1 finale, Sam’s directorial ambitions are almost sunk when his production money gets stolen, leaving Sam and loyal friend/camera operator Rishi (Rishi Ghosh) uncertain of if their dream project will ever launch. Once Rishi’s girlfriend Jane (Ashleigh Motely) saves the day with a late funding boost, Sam’s filmmaking dreams are reborn – but with Jane dictating the kind of movie Sam will direct.
The second season of THE MAKING OF records how Sam tries to steadily guide an amateurish yet devoted cast and crew on an extremely low-budget horror film, “GREY MAN”. The performances of its doltish troika of actors – Ross Thompson (Ross Alan Doney), Ryan Wilson (Ryan Carter) and Ben Wood (Phil Lyndon) – predictably cause headaches for Sam. So do the relentless putdowns volleyed by Sam’s snobby competitor, filmmaker Paul Renior (played by Chris Mills). Softening those blows are Sam’s mother Suki (Suki Jones) and girlfriend Amy (Suzy Weatherall).
Once Sam’s crew wraps up their first big feature in season 2, they’ve got new challenges awaiting them in THE MAKING OF’s third season.
“In season 3, the gang are trying to come up with a new film idea, taking inspiration from everywhere, with Sam, Ross, Ryan and Rishi going from one ludicrous scenario to another,” Bell says. “Jane and Paul now try their best (while) working in the system. Rishi is now feeling more confident after the spin-off THE LOST RISHI FILES (also on Stream Now TV), continuing to work with the gang developing the new idea.”
As some members of Sam’s team try to break into respectable filmmaking, others stay close to their determined leader. “Sam is desperate to come up with the next big idea but (is) struggling. Jane and Paul, now living in London, start their careers working for the establishment. Ryan now is a porn actor, much loved by his director, to an arrogant level,” adds Bell. “Ross dreams of making ‘GREY MAN 2’. Suki and (her boyfriend) Kev (Kevin Cordell) are still together after a year. Rishi slowly found himself drifting away from the group into the crazy world of conspiracies.”
However, the show must go on – and Sam hooks up with an interesting blend of old and new talent in THE MAKING OF’s third season. “In this season, we have a lot of new characters as the gang build their cast with old names like Mike Reed and Simon Berry (who audition in season 3). New characters joining season 4 are Alice, played by Alice Mulholland, a whip-smart straight laced actress looking for her first major film credit,” Bell replies.
The talent Sam works with on his second film – or whatever word you use to define his latest cast – is as offbeat as you’d think. “Rebecca Clears plays Rebecca, a mysterious actress who seems to be more interested in the documentary than acting,” explains Bell. “Tom, played by Martin W. Payne, is a dedicated actor who’s a bit of a nudist. I won’t reveal who gets cast in the new film; best to see in the series!”
With a fourth and final season concluding THE MAKING OF’s hilarious inside look at indie filmmaking, Bell is impressed by how the show’s protagonists have developed during the series – both for better and for worse. “It’s been great to see the characters move forward with either their own crazy creative ideas or within their relationships between each other, but for me in season 3 we see some big changes and not necessarily for the good. As we know, the final season is season 4, and we knew with season 3 as a penultimate, we needed to some big changes.”
The remarkable chemistry and interplay between the cast of THE MAKING OF solidifies the power of the series’ humor.
“One of the things that makes the comedy stronger and funnier is simply the nature of the actors’ relationships that have developed since the beginning,” Bell comments. “They just naturally can respond to each other. The show, like CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM, is bullet point improv, so without that connection and relationship, you wouldn’t get that naturalism that the cast simply always delivers.”
For Bell, keeping THE MAKING OF’s production fresh goes hand in hand with the growth of Batchelor’s all-seeing documentary filmmaker. “As Jackson’s character (the documentarian) has evolved each season, we change things up each time. In season 2 we used a lot more camera zooms, and in season 3, Jackson has employed a sound recordist, the brilliant Emma Jayne Lloyd (RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW), giving the show a little shine to the product.”
Through their exclusive content deal with indie series streaming network Stream Now TV, Bell and Batchelor’s production company Trash Arts Productions has gifted that above-named platform with superbly made original comedies like THE MAKING OF, THE RISHI FILES, and the historical documentary THE RETHINKING SERIES.
With Bell and Batchelor giving Stream Now CEO Ron Valderrama a guest role in season 3 of THE
MAKING OF, the filmmakers created an amazing opportunity to give back to the entrepreneur
who saw what they could deliver for his outlet. “We adore Ron. He’s a huge supporter for
independent media, and to persuade him to send us an audition piece was awesome,” Bell says.
“Without saying too much, expect him to return in Season 4!”
“They (Trash Arts) have been a critical relationship for me It was very kind of them to let me have
a role in the show,” says Valderrama, who filmed his scenes in the U.S. and sent them to the
U.K.-based staff of THE MAKING OF. “I play Randy Rogers, a bad American actor going for a
British role. I have a terrible British accent that really sounds more like a bad Jersey accent.”
With one more season of THE MAKING OF on the horizon, Bell feels that the acclaimed
mockumentary will give new and old viewers a rewarding conclusion. “We hope it gets to reach
out to new audiences, and for the audience to like where it’s going,” Bell remarks. “Once you have
the knowledge a show’s ending, you want them to be comfortable with where the story’s heading,
and we hope the show achieves this.”
(NOTE: Season 3 of THE MAKING OF is closed-captioned.)
Watch season 3 and all seasons of THE MAKING OF on Stream Now TV here: