Directed by: Madeleine Dyer
Created & Written by: Madeleine Dyer & Daniel Mulvihill
Produced by: Daniel Mulvihill
Starring: Zoe MacDonald, Genevieve Morris, Jay K Cagatay, Chloe Ng, Mark Silveira With Harriet Dyer and Rohan Nichol.
Production Company: Mad Dan Productions & Beyondedge
Digital Platform: Youtube
Article by Daniel Mulvihill
Madeleine and I hail from regional QLD and were lucky enough to cross paths studying a creative degree at University of Southern QLD from 2006-08.
Since then, we’ve been based in Sydney and Melbourne and have studied under private mentors from AFTRS and IFSS. After numerous shorts and pilot teaser reels failing to break through the traditional barriers, we were hungry to enter the web series space as filmmakers.
The idea for Sexy Herpes as a series was conceived over a boozy night in Melbourne’s inner north. A family friend, who is also a sexual health nurse, was mentioning that her job, which consisted of seeing everything unwanted around peoples’ nether regions, was affecting her own intimate relationships. She wasn’t finding sex, sexy anymore. With that, we ran with the idea and created the characters and situations and storylines that became the series.
Our primary focus in creating this series using the vehicle of sexual health was to tell a thematic poignant story that was female driven on and off the camera and also sort to normalise important current issues such as sexual preference and gender and cultural diversity.
We wanted to go out on our own, so we were able to raise over 30K privately to shoot the series. After pitching to Screen Australia’s Multiplatform program for completion funding, we were fortunate to receive partial funding in order to complete post and market the series online. It was realised in late September 2017 on Youtube under Sexy Herpes TV.
When coaxing and locking down the private investment for the series, it was so important for an indie production such as ours to ascertain the right cast for these complex and diverse characters. We were bold and reached out to the likes of Gen Morris (No Activity) and Rohan Nichol (Underbelly, Star Wars, Home & Away).
We wrote the protagonist role of troubled sexual health nurse, Sarah, specifically for actor & comedian – Zoe MacDonald. They all said yes, which meant we freaked out and were like, ‘Shit! This means we’re going have to actually do this because it’s out there now, and we can’t procrastinate anymore!’
We did an extensive audition process and then had a read and a few days development with the cast to get the scripts in order and went into pre-prod.
When you’re shooting a series called Sexy Herpes, there are bound to be interesting anecdotes every day (and there were). The most notable for the production team was when we were shooting a scene with Zoe Macdonald and Jason Geary, which involved a proctoscope curtesy of production design and props department. Although the one we had didn’t look real at all. So props and production went hunting around the disused clinic for a real one but to no avail. With time running out, we ventured to parts of the working hospital and begged security to assist us in getting a spare proctoscope. Jeff, stall wart of the hospital and a man also in his 70’s, wasted no time and came back with a used and un-used anal device in hand. We chose the un-used one for obvious OH&S reasons. Scene was shot in the nick of time and all thanks to Jeff in security.
Sexy Herpes can be binged here.