Hi Judd! Congrats on the popularity of The Letdown. I was able to catch it myself and enjoyed it. While I don’t have experience in parenthood, there were still many universal themes we could all relate to. Can you tell us a bit about creative choices you specifically made in regards to the show’s cinematography to help give it its style?
Co Creators Sarah Scheller and Alison Bell always wanted this show to feel authentic. The idea was to tell these stories truthfully and while we weren’t making a documentary we really steered away from the glamour often attached to Network Sit-Com.
We looked at shows like Girls and Fleabag as key references and I liked the rawness of Netflix 13 Reasons Why who had used the same cameras I selected.
What are the similarities and differences you’ve noticed in response to the show between Australia and other countries, particular the US?
As you mentioned, this show has universal themes and the social media reaction from around the world has been incredible.
We had a great reaction to the pilot in Australia and won an AACTA (Australian Academy Award) for that. We expected the same support from from the loyal fans however the impact and reach of the shows release on Netflix in over 200 countries has proven the stories we told are universal.
The series is known for its deadpan humor. Filming the series, did you find yourself unable to hold back laughter on set? Talk about any scenes that you had trouble filming because it was too funny!
I have been known to bit my lip while trying to hold back the laughs on set!
The comedy is dry and Alison Bell is an incredible performer. In fact the ensemble of Mothers (and Fathers) in this show has some of the best actors on Australian television.
At the end of the day we just had to dig deep, bite down and get on with the job, Shooting 7 x 30 min episodes in 6 weeks with rain and babies is quite a challenge. Luckily all the crew have a good sense of humor.
Going back a little, how did you land the gig to DP The Letdown? I’m curious as to your path in working on the show!
I really enjoy working with Director Trent O’Donnell, we have shot many hours of television together, so when he signed on to direct the pilot I jumped at the chance to work with him again. The fact that I had a new baby myself meant the work was very real and relatable!
In fact three of the other crew members had babies on the way while in production, it was a very understanding group.
If you could, please also let us know about CBS All Access’s All Access! I see you are working with the who’s who of comedy here.
The day after wrapping up The Letdown in Australia I jumped on a plane back to LA to prep NO ACTIVITY for CBS and Will Ferrell’s Funny or Die.
This is a reworking of the Australian version of the show which I had shot 2 seasons of for streaming service STAN (playing on HULU in the US)
Having Will Ferrell involved was an amazing experience and opened the door to the some of the world’s top comedians and actors.
Academy winner JK Simmons, Better Call Saul / Breaking Bad’s Bob Odenkirk and incredible new comers like Jesse Plemons and Mackenzie Davis.
I’m embark on season 2 at the moment and excited to have many of the cast returning for more fun and laughs as well as some new special guest celebrities who will be announced soon.
Are there any social media pages you’d like our audience to know about to follow you?
You can see my work on my website www.juddoverton.com as well as Instagram juddovertondp and vimeo juddoverton