Ahead of the third edition of Melbourne WebFest, we are profiling all the official selections that will be screening 10-12 July at Deakin Edge.
The pair swore they would travel to Mexico together for the first time and this web series documents their Mexican adventure. Created by Matty Roberts and Josh Capelin, Andy and Ben Do Mexico follows these mates as they explore the sights, smells, flavours and chillies in one of the most culturally interesting countries in the world.
Can you tell us some of the differences between being on Masterchef and making a web series?
Masterchef was our first experience in front of a camera, and of course a network production is going to be vastly different to web – gruelling schedule, deadlines to meet, and the filming went for months. We were locked away in a house and took buses to the location every day. You also have no say in how it’s going to turn out. It was an incredible experience and I’m a huge supporter of Masterchef because I wouldn’t be where I am without them – but was so different to filming for the web and for this series. For web, there’s no boundaries and that suits me! We were able to work really closely with the Producers and El Davros our Director, so the collaboration aspect was awesome. Our schedule was still gruelling and very constant – we wanted to pack in as much as we could while we were abroad – but we were in control. Because there was no script we could riff on our presentation delivery, which made our style really ‘in the moment’ and unrehearsed. We could see and have a say about different shots (especially where capturing the food was concerned), and were able to have a say in the editing process.
What’s special or different about your series?
I’ve always said that it’s the kind of show where the audience really feels like they are actually there in Mexico with us. Also there’s two of us – we can play off each other and our differences allow the audience to get different perspectives on all the food and travel experiences we had, and it allows them to see how we interact as they come on the journey with us, as opposed to us speaking to camera like many single-person food and travel shows. We have a lot of fun too – and we did whatever we wanted due to the web format, so we were flexible with being able to show things that may have been censored in other medias. It’s a very raw series – what you see is what you get. We got to a location and literally rolled camera and just got stuck into it!
How many people worked on this project?
Our crew was purposefully small in Mexico so we could manoeuvre in and out of locations quickly, without being too obvious. Only 4 or 5 guys. Though the entire project had a team of about 10 people working on it across the pre-prod, shooting in Mexico and post-prod. We were really keen to make this a strong digital project so social media, distribution and our connection to the series sponsors was really important to us.
What was the most difficult challenge you had to overcome in production, and how did you go about it?
Editing hundreds of hours of footage was probably the biggest challenge. Just deciding with our director and the producers on which parts we would instruct the editor to build the segments around. Also some days working in Mexico after a large night of ingesting Tequila & Mezcal were particularly hairy…
Have you achieved the goals you set for this series?
If you told the Andy & Ben that were on Masterchef way back when that this was going to happen, we would have thought “no way”. But then we made the promise to each other that we’d head to Mexico and we left Masterchef and stayed good mates. The fact that we were able to take along a crew, get the project funded and put together this series means that our goals have been reached above and beyond. Goals = tick, tick, tick.
Was there a stand out highlight or moment from your time in Mexico? If so, what was it?
It’s a tie between pulling in a 2 metre long sailfish while deep-sea fishing, and making a fresh ceviche on the beach with my best mate – that has to be a highlight. Being able to head into a small village and have lunch with the locals in their kitchen and watch them make food that is so ancient and typical of Mexico was a pinch yourself moment and something that we’d dreamed of but didn’t think would happen.
In what ways do you utilise social media to further your brand?
I’m lucky because Ben and I still have pretty strong and loyal fans and followers. I love being able to share what I’m doing with followers across the globe and be able to have a dialogue with them. You’re able to immediately see what works and what doesn’t with the audience.
It’s an incredible tool for reaching out to people too – following other food and travel pages to get inspired and to see what others are doing. It’s taken me over to LA now where I’ve been working closely with the Tastemade Food Network. I’ve found it really useful when I head to a new city I’ll do a shoutout on Twitter for the best places to check out, and instantly I’ve outsourced decisions on great bars and restaurants to visit.
From a brand point of view, it’s just a great tool to be able to share projects that we’re doing with such a big audience
As a content creator, where to you go to find information about other film makers and web series?
We’re really lucky in working with the Projucer guys Josh & Matty, they’re guns at what they do, they have their finger on the pulse here in Aus and in other overseas markets, and together we are constantly coming up with awesome ideas to add to the list of dreams that Ben & I are trying to tick off.
Are there any web series, other than your own that inspire you?
I love Jamie Oliver’s FoodTube videos, and VICE’s Munchies series – that makes me want to just pack and up and never stop eating and exploring.
You’ve done Spain, you’ve done Portugal and Mexico. Where will you go next?
We might stay a little more local…something down, down under perhaps. Stay tuned! Also we are airing all these locations as a 5 episode TV show on Network TEN starting Saturday July 18. We like the idea that we’ve been able to turn a web series into a TV show, not the other way around. It’s where the world is heading and I’m stoked to be a part of that.
Andy & Ben Do Mexico on the web:
Watch Andy & Ben
Andy & Ben on Facebook
Andy & Ben on Twitter
Andy & Ben on Instagram
Keep up to date with Melbourne Web Fest on twitter: @MelbWebFest.
La Trobe University is Melbourne WebFest’s exclusive learning partner.