Other People's Problems - Episode 1 (Australia | 2017, 8 min)

Directed by: Erin White

Written by: Penelope Chai, Jane Dickenson

Cast: Maria Angelico, Ainslie Clouston

Florence ghost-writes letters for people in exchange for clothes. Her bestie and housemate Ann is a life-saving paramedic. Florence is convinced that a well penned letter can also rescue situations, but solving other people’s problems is hard when her own keep getting in the way.


Interview conducted by Jeff Ayars, Web Series Curator

Q: What’s your background & how did you get started?
A: (ERIN WHITE - DIRECTOR) My background was in dance. I was going to be a dancer. And then I was going to be a musician. And then I was going to be an artist. And then I was going to be a writer. And then I was going to be an actor...It took me until my early 20s to realize that making screen stories incorporated everything I was interested in: visuals, sound, choreography, stories, connecting with an audience. So I started making short films, and I kept on making short films at film school. And after making many bad ones they eventually started getting selected for festivals and I won some awards, which helped me make the jump into television. Charlotte Seymour, the producer of Other People’s Problems saw a show I had made and the team then selected me to direct the series, which has been one of the highlights of my career so far. It was such an enjoyable process working with such an amazing bunch of people - most of whom were women!

Q: What inspires you to create?
A: (JANE DICKENSON – CO-WRITER AND CO-CREATOR) I think collaboration is one of the most inspiring parts of creating. There's such a great energy when you're working with a team of highly talented humans. The team that worked on Other People's Problems had such a breadth of experience and creativity, inspiring everyone to bring their absolute best to the table.

Q: What advice do you have for indie creators on a budget?
A: (CHARLOTTE SEYMOUR - PRODUCER) The budget is the story of the production process of pre, shoot & post & then delivery - this means you must do many, many versions of your budget. Then the final cost report becomes the real story of the making of the film. I always try to reduce the variables & lock in as many constants in each pass of the budget.

Remember what seems insignificant can become a blow out & what is seemingly big may stay that way or disappear or even become a cheaper option. Breakdown your script in every department, if there are a hundred extras or whatever that need frocks & hand bags plus 20 of those need a costume change then as Producer you calculate it all in detail first. Doing this also means you know your script/s back to front which is key to trouble shooting when the pressure is on during the shoot and you will not only know how to rob Peter to pay Paul but importantly be able to have constructive conversations & negotiate realistically with the various Heads of Departments.

Always get quotes & more quotes & they mustn't be lump sum quotes but itemised so you can negotiate each line item. Assumption really is the mother of all f***k ups, being woolly & general = aaarrrgghh.... being specific & detailed = fabulous, it makes you fully informed, less stressed, plus gives everyone a strong foundation & means you only say no when you really have to & when you really mean it.

Q: What makes your project special?
A: (PENELOPE CHAI – CO-WRITER AND CO-CREATOR) What makes Other People’s Problems so special is that it's based on real people’s real problems and the real letters we wrote to try and solve them. The stories all come from an online project called Clothing for Correspondence, where co-writer Jane Dickenson and I ghost write letters-on-demand for strangers all over the world in exchange for secondhand clothes. We’ve been doing this for years, so have a treasure trove of beautiful and bizarre stories that make us laugh, cry and scratch our heads. We’ve been privileged to engage with these people and their predicaments and love that, with their permission, we can bring their stories to the screen through Other People’s Problems. The other thing that makes the project special is that it was made by a brilliant team of filmmakers with mostly women at the helm, including the producer, director, writers, cinematographer, other heads of department and lead actors

Other People's Problems is an Official Selection of the 2018 NYC Independent Film Festival.