Tash Sinclair’s web series Poly Movement begins tomorrow (Tuesday 6). Ahead of the launch, Sinclair shared some of the journey so far.
Sinclair pitched the idea to Maori Television about three years back. The show follows the journey of aspiring Māori and Pacific Island dancers from Whitireia Community Polytechnic in Wellington. Their repertoire covers Māori, Cook Islands Maori, Samoan and NZ Contemporary Dance genres.
Eventually Maori Television turned the show down, although Sinclair was encouraged to rework the idea for a younger audience and pitch it as an online show.
As a webseries, Poly Movement picked up support from Te Mangai Paho at the beginning of this year, the first time it pitched. The timing isn’t always ideal for annual funding rounds, and the proposal for support of a second series is going in just as the first series launches.
Although it wasn’t Sinclair’s Plan A for the idea, the online environment is a good place for reaching the younger audiences who are very much the natural targets for Poly Movement.
Social media is a big part of the campaign to draw eyeballs to the show. It’s been made with support from Whitireia, whose students it follows, so there’s an obvious network of students – and their various social media groups and networks to tap into.
That will be important as the series rolls on – through the holidays to late January. “The content is strong enough for an audience to keep returning,” Sinclair says. “The dancers involved also have their own social networks to help pulling people back into it.”
The show has had a facebook page since July, and the series will release on both facebook and YouTube. Facebook’s minimum age limit of 13 for account holders would hurt Poly Movement’s viewing numbers, as the show should draw a good number of intermediate school-age viewers. During production and post, Sinclair has also posted shots to an instagram account, which have garnered a fair bit of attention and good levels of engagement.
Sinclair has also been having discussions with a VOD site.
Poly Movement shot between April and August, following events which culminated in an overseas trip. Sinclair shot on three cameras, a couple of Canons and a DJI Osmo – along with collecting a very small amount of iPhone footage from environments where it wasn’t necessarily practical to set up a camera, like airports.
The footage is a mix of interviews, singing, drumming and dancing, so potentially a challenging one for sound recording.
The show follows the dancers’ journeys through preparation for international folk dance festivals in Portugal, and makes the tip with them.
After directing and shooting the show, Sinclair has been doing rough cuts on the material, before handing those over to others. Around 20 people have worked on the production over the course of the shoot and post, some of whom Sinclair hadn’t worked with previously. “I did’t know them from Sam, but they just got on and did it. I’ve been impressed with the work ethic and commitment.”
Sinclair doesn’t have an accurate minute count of the amount of material she’s captured, but it’s 1.5TB: “a heck of a lot!”
Poly Movement trailer
The first trailer has picked up 23,000 views, which is a strong base to work from.
Poly Movement releases episodes weekly, each Tuesday at 7pm, from 6 December to 24 January.