Lenny in Love
Directed by Jonathon Gittus
Written by Jonathon Gittus
Produced by Jonathon Gittus
Starring Alex “Stingray” Steiner, Harléne Hercules, Stanley Roach and Niramonh Thomson
Production Company (N/A)
Digital Platform YouTube
Lenny in Love is a five-part web series that tells the story of Lenny, whose growing infatuation with a local fish and chip shop employee begins to threaten his once-cosy relationship with his eccentric girlfriend, Gretel.
Lenny in Love is Jonathon Gittus’ second web series, having written and directed the 2016 series No Pink Cowboys. Jonathon Gittus writes exclusively for Cinema Australia about the new comedic/tragic web series.
Article by Jonathon Gittus
Stingray (who plays Lenny) and I were friends in high school where we made “movies” with an analogue video recorder. I then studied Screen and Media and RMIT and we fell out of contact until again meeting up semi-regularly a few years ago. He mentioned that he wanted to do more acting, so I started experimenting with a failed short story idea about an urban recluse who’s continually ordering fish and chips as a poorly disguised way to see his crush behind the counter.
Stingray and I met several times before the shoot to talk about the main character, Lenny. He was a tricky character to pin down because we wanted him clueless enough to not be aware of how crappy his situation is at the start of the show, while still being interesting/relatable enough to carry the story for its entirety. We wanted the audience find Lenny pathetic but still side with him, which took some work to get right. We found it particularly tricky deciding on a haircut and outfit that looked “off”, while not coming across as an attempt at a Melbourne-inner-suburbs hipster. I lost a lunch break somewhere along the way sourcing images for a ‘bowl cuts’ folder, which was then used as a reference by the staff in Henry Lee Barbershop, who apparently enjoyed breaking all of the rules of hairdressing to make Lenny resemble a failed draft of Nintendo’s ‘Toad’ character.
As the writing got going, I decided Lenny ought to be sharing his “apartment” (an out-of-use office storage area) with someone from whom he needed to keep his growing romantic infatuation a secret. So in comes his Gretel, who’s paper mache art no better than the nursery rhymes she sings to mitigate her cabin fever. In 2016 directed Harléne Hercules for one scene in the web series No Pink Cowboys and I had her in mind for Gretel from early on and luckily she was interested and available. She turned up the bonkers-dial and made Gretel funnier, sadder and a much bigger part of the story than first planned. With two strong leading characters, the project then snowballed away from the anticipated five-minute short and became a 36 minute, five-part series.
The shoot took place over four full days (“full” meaning about 15 hours) and three half-days in mid 2017. The key cast I’d worked with before on No Pink Cowboys, who are an extremely pleasant group of talented people. Marty Gubbins did the cinematography and lighting, which he managed to look beautiful with IKEA fairy lights and a few lamps (two of which were from the tip and hard rubbish, respectively).
Eve Gailey was an excellent First A.D who had been on board from the first draft of the script and had a strong interest in the story and characters, which proved invaluable when we needed to compromise something since she always knew how each part of the project fitted into the larger whole. Plus she was more organised than me. Thanks to the rest of the cast and crew who are too numerous to include in this already-blown-out article.
I’m really proud of how Lenny in Love turned out. Although the show is probably in parts too silly to fall neatly into drama, and not frequently funny enough to land solely in comedy, what I like about content made specifically for web is that there are no rules on form/genre and I enjoy this variety that web series offer, so I’m optimistic that Lenny in Love will get some love back. Happy viewing!
You can watch the entire series of Lenny in Love here.