So what exactly is ‘This is Fiction’ all about?
Author: Editorial Team
Learn more about the experimental, South African web series, as creator and director Dominique Little, answers a few questions ranging from concept inception, to key take-aways from the experience.
How did you decide on the concept for 'This is Fiction’?
At the time, I was working as a photographer, which introduced me to a wide range of diverse people. Whilst I was falling more in love with this difference, I also became hyper sensitive to the fear of ‘otherness’ amidst millennials. It was ultimately when Riddles (Nawty Ryma) and I became friends, that I really wanted others to experience the gold in the people we’ve been conditioned to fear. So, I decided to embark on a new journey of filming a series that would introduce us to our neighbours, and at the same time make us question our own beliefs and prejudices.
When did you start shooting and when did it wrap up?
When I started I knew very little about film, narrative and actually getting a series made and seen by an audience. I started working on This Is Fiction full time back in 2014. We filmed in September 2015, 24 hours in each character’s world. Editing was a long process and we only wrapped as recently as June, 2017. Right at the beginning, I remember someone telling me that it would take me 3 years. Thank God I didn’t believe them, otherwise I may never have started! I am incredibly thankful that I pursued this adventure, what I have learnt along the way has been invaluable.
What were some of the stumbling blocks you had to overcome, shooting the web series?
Maintaining my sanity! Dedicating four years of my life to create something that, for the most part, I was working on alone in, has had stumbling blocks for days! If you ever want to learn about who you are and what you’re capable of, do something that means something to you, and do it with everything you've got.
What were some of the highlights of the production process for you?
Upon reflection, I realised that it was a 'sink or swim' process. When you throw yourself into something that you know very little about, you have to figure things out as you go. The amount I have learnt over the course of production and the impact it has had, both rank very notably on my list of highlights.
How does this project tie in to the broader goals of Parody Gang and where can we learn more about them?
Parody Gang is about creating work that drives shift, work that connects people with conscious engagement of themselves and the world around them. This Is Fiction is about exactly that, escaping into your reality and safely being allowed to question the world around you, your perception and the choices you make that arise from your beliefs. You can learn more about Parody Gang on the website and please get in touch with us in the contact section, if you have any questions.
Who were some of the key people you collaborated with to make the project happen?
The Parody Gang collaborators are fantastic individuals from vastly different industries, bringing fresh skills to This Is Fiction. Collaborator roles fluctuated according to the stage of the project, and any hands on board are encouraged to stay challenged, learning and furthering personal goals in the process. I am so thankful to everyone who has come on board to help out, and while it isn't possible to list everyone individually, I would like to sincerely thank everyone who has been a part of this journey with me.
How has the reaction been from the cast members, especially after watching the first few episodes?
The cast aren’t professional actors playing a role, and they also aren’t depicted accurately as themselves. I surmise that it has been a bit of a mind game figuring out who they are in the show, how that relates to their real life, what they are actually representing and how close or far that is from their truth. Other than that, it’s been a lot of “That was legit” to “Wow, I should’ve done my hair that day” (laughs).
Why is this series relevant to the youth in South Africa, in 2017?
Besides being a trip into self and other, the show is more explicitly a view into life as a millennial in Joburg; our thoughts, choices and flavourings. Each episode deals with topics that affect every one of us on a day-to-day basis. As young people, this is a time for us to take the risk of building something we believe in, working together and making choices that will serve us and society on a deeper level. We can’t do that when we’re paralysed by the fear of our dreams, or our fear of ‘the other’. This Is Fiction is a humorous way of bridging those gaps.
You appear in numerous episodes across the series. Was it strange trading the behind-the-scenes role, to be in front of the camera and what did you learn, watching yourself on the show?
Being on screen is a very select portrayal of who you are as a person. This is why throughout the series, I chose to exaggerate the fictional elements of documentary filmmaking. Who we are on screen really is a ‘presentation of a representation, of the real thing’ - Nawty Ryma. More simply, because I play a character, it is strange to see me being me, but not really being me, because I am directing a narrative and then edited into a fictional caricature.
What do you hope people will get out of watching the series?
My hope is that people will enjoy watching the series unfold and that it allows them to start a thought process of questioning their perception, of their own reality . I also hope that they have enough laughs throughout, that break down the barriers that exist in our beautifully diverse nation.
What is your dream for a project like this?
My dream for the project is that people from all walks of life see it, enjoy it, and are shifted by it, even if ever so slightly. Being a hybrid-genre (an experimental, docu-fiction web-series), it’s a little hard to categorise, so my dream is for people to have fun connecting with something new, sharing it with their friends, and start a new conversation around who we are as young people, and the choices and opportunities we need to seize, together.
Watch the trailer for the series here and check out all the episodes in one place over here too. Get in touch with us regarding your thoughts and opinions on Twitter, Facebook & Instagram or use the online contact form with any queries you may have.