Web Series Wednesday: Dee-Brief (Exclusive)

Produced by Jessica Pearce
Directed by Sarah Hickey
Written by Jessica Pearce, Sarah Hickey, Alexandra Hines and Chloe Martin
Starring Alexandra Hines, Chloe Martin, Joshua Hine, Liam Seymour, Luke Goodall, Marc Gallagher, Matt Trubiani, Tegan Crowley
Production Company Monster and Bear
Digital Platform YouTube

What’s it about? Dee-Brief is a 9-part dramedy series (and three x thirty minute episode series for broadcast) that tells the story of Dee (Alexandra Hines) and Kate (Chloe Martin), two best friends trying their best to navigate their late 20’s in Melbourne. After Dee breaks up with her long-term, on-again off-again partner, she moves in with best friend Kate to try and put the pieces back together. But ‘adulting’ is hard when your best friend is just so damn excited to have you around again. And being single looked a hell of a lot different the last time you were here.

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Article by Jessica Pearce

We are coming at you from inner-city Melbourne with the only female centric improv dramedy series on Australian screens, with a love story to end all love stories.

Dee-Brief isn’t your classic love story by any stretch of the imagination, it is a love story that is so completely relatable and honest, that it feels like we’ve all ‘been there’ and ‘experienced’ the lead characters journey. Where we believe Dee-Brief really delivers, is in the love story that focuses on the friendship of two best friends (Dee and Kate), and not the men that come in and out of their lives. 

We’ve drawn inspiration from many women, and woven the stories of their break-ups, their best friendships, their flat mates stories, which enabled us to create an authenticity and honesty to our characters.

I started writing Dee-Brief after my own tumultuous breakup. I had moved in with my best friend at the time and she was crucial in helping me process the break up.  As the dust settled on the relationship, I began to see the humour in how ludicrous our behaviour had been. This spurred me to start thinking about the hilarity in everyday life. 

It was during this time that I realised that romantic relationships can last three to seven years, but friendships can last more than ten years.  That’s when I started exploring how those friendships are more formative to you and your own personal growth than your romantic relationships. I looked around and found there were not many shows out there that were 100% wholly and accurately portraying the dialogue between young adult female best friends.  It was here that Dee-Brief really started to take shape for me.

Through the nature of writing from real life conversations and events, the characters were built from reality and reflected the intelligent and strong women I knew around me.

For me, Dee-Brief’s heart sits deep inside that type of friendship. A friendship where you can let your veil down, where you can be completely weird around each other and they completely get you. It’s the whole ‘sister from another mother’ vibe, where you would go to the ends of the earth for them. It’s these beautiful female friendships that I have found are crucial to survival. Having a best friend that picks up all the broken pieces when your relationship and life falls apart (as they often do in your 20’s and you’re not yet equipped to deal with it), is a life saviour. 

These friendships were the most formative relationships of my 20’s. It was this one core theme of the show that resonated so deeply with cast and crew and drew Monster + Bear’s Director, Sarah Hickey, into the project early on, which was a real game changer for Dee-Brief.  

Originally I had written a scripted comedy series and when I brought to it Sarah Hickey (Writer/Director), Sarah felt this show would best suit improv.  This decision to go with improv, impacted the entire production in so many positives ways, from what we ended up with on screen to how we shot the series. Taking the production up a few notches from a one-camera shoot to mostly a two-camera shoot, which for an independently funded series has a big flow on impact. The decision to go with improv has brought such richness to the show in many different ways and is certainly reflected in what audiences get to see on screen.

Sarah’s vision as a Director for Dee-Brief was to remain flexible and adaptable in the casting and creative process with the end goal to cast two incredible female leads. We settled on a group format audition process and created a fun and different process throughout auditions, as we wanted to see the dynamics with the actors.  We paired them up and had them improv a variety of real life scenarios.  From this process two actresses stood out as their dynamics together were undeniable.

Alexandra Hines (Dee), Chloe Martin (Kate) and our director Sarah Hickey spent months together developing Dee and Kate’s back story by creating a smorgasboard of synced memories they could draw upon during the show. We covered things like: How did the girls meet? What dramas have they been through in the past? What are their political stances? What are their vices? They would explore as much as possible, as well as improvise historical moments to ensure these memories were implanted in the girls’ minds as they drew nearer to the filming of the show. This process occurred for some of the additional characters also.

There are a lot of projects out there where a director has worked with a script as a base, then given performers some freedom on set to flesh this out. What Sarah and I did with Dee-Brief, was place a lot of trust in both Chloe and Alex to work with us and develop their characters from the way they hold themselves, to the way they interact with one another. We wanted the cast to have 100% organic responses to each other on filming days.

During the production itself, we knew what ‘A’ was, and we knew what ‘Z’ was but we accommodated an entirely flexible journey in the middle, and as a result we believe the audience is in for a treat because of it. We’re extremely proud of the universe we’ve created within this show and we feel the format has absolutely paid off despite its stresses.

Dee-Brief not only taps into an honesty through truthful female characters, but it was important to us to also embrace our location: Melbourne. The same way Girl’s and Broad City are undeniably New York, anyone from Melbourne will get a sense that this show is finally doing this beautiful city justice. We set Dee-Brief in the trendy confines of the Fitzroy/Collingwood area, and in the show we feature art from local artists, local fashion designers and a soundtrack featuring only Melbourne-based bands (mostly female lead or driven), everything about this show oozes the real Melbourne.  

The response to the show has been extraordinary since release, and we are excited about the how much Dee-Brief is resonating with audiences. The first 3 episodes are available now and will be released Mondays at 7.30pm weekly AEST. 

You can watch all episodes on DEE-BRIEF here. Follow DEE-BRIEF on Facebook here.  

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