Delivering international television content from the Australian bush
From dirtgirlworld to collaborating around the world
For a decade now, mememe productions has created educational family content inspired by the natural beauty of rural Australia. dirtgirlworld and its live-action successor, Get Grubby TV, have delivered positive, eco-friendly messages through a unique blend of 3D animation, photomontage and live action.
The results speak for themselves – mememe productions has won an Emmy, been nominated for a BAFTA, and earned accolades from the Australian Directors’ Guild and Australian Animation Awards. Some 10 years after its debut, the original dirtgirlworld animated series is still watched around the world.
Despite being based on the very edge of Australia, over 170 miles away from any major city, mememe Productions delivers dirtgirlworld content across the USA, Britain, Canada, and beyond. Creative Producer Cate McQuillen barely ever has to leave her bountiful back garden – an environment that clearly shines through in the show. Using the video review tools, cineSync and Frankie, mememe’s widely spread team could work in harmony and review shots with far-off partners, ensuring that dirtgirlworld had the global reach it deserves.
Really digging reviews
dirtgirlworld premiered in 2009, commissioned by the Australian Broadcasting Company, British Broadcasting Corporation, and Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Its 52 original animated episodes—which focused on outdoor activities and green-minded habits—gained incredible international appeal and have screened in 128 countries to date
“It’s a unique situation because, geographically speaking, we’re as isolated as you can get,” McQuillen jokes. “The creative team is based in remote, rural Australia. If we didn’t have cineSync or Frankie, I don’t know how we would have created dirtgirlworld! We needed to review, annotate and write on top of shots before episodes aired – working with broadcasters around the world to get that final approval.”
mememe Productions first started using cineSync video review early in both the software and studio’s life. In fact, McQuillen and team helped provide crucial feedback for the early versions of cineSync, as Cospective worked to create the ideal tool for all kinds of creative teams. With the original show requiring a combination of animation and composite work, there were plenty of hands contributing to the effort.
Finding the ideal fit
More recently, mememe has started using Frankie for reviews with their ever-widening array of partners – and they have found it to be even more successful for bringing their various stakeholders together. Now, there’s no software to download: clients can simply click a URL and enter the session from anywhere in the world.
“Because the work is so varied, and people’s technical capacities are so varied, you can imagine where Frankie is such an essential tool for us,” says McQuillen. “Frankie is scaled-down for work with partners who are not tech-savvy. Local government, council, and federal authorities take part in our review sessions. They can’t get over how incredibly easy it is to have genuine and real feedback.”
mememe productions uses Frankie across the whole process, from previsualization to review. Sometimes they’ll let clients review on their own time and then collect the notes later, and other times they’ll have everyone in a session and connect over Skype to discuss the finer nuances of a shot. The ability to draw right atop both still images and video obviously lends itself to pointing out issue and needed tweaks, but McQuillen says that it’s just as useful for giving positive reinforcement to colleagues who might be half a world away.
“I just love the fact that I can draw a massive smiley face on a frame that is perfect. It’s not just about the things that have gone wrong, but also the things that have gone right,” she says. “Being able to write ‘Spectacular’ on that frame, especially when we’re working remotely from each other… it’s really important to be so supportive and positive with each other when we’re not in the room.”
Collaborate from anywhere
For Get Grubby TV, mememe productions built a real-life version of the original dirtgirlworld animated environment outside of McQuillen’s home. When shooting, everyone comes down for six or seven weeks for a communal experience away from a big city or a studio setting. “It’s like having a mini music festival,” says McQuillen. “We all camp and live in caravans, and eat the food in the garden.”
mememe’s editor begins the editing process while onsite, and then continues when he’s back home 2000km south, using Frankie to keep up the daily collaboration. Ultimately, Frankie has afforded McQuillen the ability not only to work with other teams from around the world, but also to maintain an environment that has inspired so much of her creative work.
“The heart of what we do comes from nature,” she says. “With Frankie, I can live at the heart of the show in rural Australia – reflected in the look, feel, dialogue, music, and sound effects. dirtgirlworld has global success, because it’s genuine.”