Hey fandles! This Sunday March 26th marks 3 years since we released the first episode of ‘Nothing Much To Do’!
We wanted to celebrate this milestone with you all by doing a communal re-watch of the series. We’re using a website where we can all watch the episodes at the same time and anyone can add comments while we watch. The Candle Wasters will all be there and we may even manage to convince a few cheeky cast members to join the fun in the comments section!
The re-watch will be starting at 2:30pm NZST and should end around 7:30pm NZST. We’ll post the link to the site on Sunday, see you then!!
Much as I love NMTD as my favorite adaptation of my favorite Shakespeare play, LBD for introducing me to the genre and the genre to the world, and so many other literary-inspired webseries for so many reasons, Lovely Little Losers will always be my favorite.
The premise is simple: Benedick, Balthazar, and Pedro (now going by Peter) from Nothing Much To Do are going to university in Wellington and living in a flat together with the lovely and awkward Freddie Kingston. Freddie and Ben decide to impose some order on the flat with a set of absurd flat rules that everyone has to follow, including a curfew, vegetarianism (and vegan Fridays), Ben getting to film everything, imposed flat bonding in the form of challenges, and the worst rule of all, no romantic relationships, aka no shenanigans.
The series is loosely based on Shakespeare’s Love’s Labour’s Lost, but in reality there are only about five episodes that have anything to do with the plot of the original play. Apart from those moments, the inspiration mostly just creates the premise and the names of certain characters.
Freddie, Benedick, Peter, and Balthazar sign a bunch of ridiculous flat rules that at first seem like a good idea and quickly spiral out of control. Then Beatrice and Meg decide to road trip to Wellington, where, due to The Rules, they end of sleeping in a tent in the back garden along with Kit, another friend of the flat. It’s hard to say more about the actual plot without spoilers, since it’s barely revealed what’s been going on until almost the end (starting around “SARDINES” and going until “FEATHERS”), so I’ll move on to my other categories.
All actual episodes are posted on the Lovely Little Losers YouTube channel, with Ben as the main (unreliable) narrator, Meg as secondary (mostly reliable) narrator, and other characters (such as Beatrice and Peter) occasionally filming/uploading videos as well. Fifteen videos are devoted to “Balth in a Bath,” which was all filmed on the same day in February but is uploaded sporadically throughout the year. There are also between fourteen and seventeen song videos, depending on how you define “song” (more on that later). There are also a few extras on other YouTube channels that, while not technically part of the story, help illuminate things considerably (the channel I’m referring to here is Zoos Job, though there are also two videos on the Nothing Much To Do channel).
How to watch LoLiLo:
This is ordinarily not one of my categories, but in this case it is very necessary. You MUST read the video descriptions, and also check the comments section, to have ANY idea what’s really going on here, and even then most of it’s going to be subtext. You can watch the series either in the order it was intended to be watched in or in chronological order (which ruins a little of the mystery but averts a Zoos Job marathon later on. Links to both playlists are below). Keep in mind that Benedick is the narrator of nearly the whole thing, and that he is editing the content to fit his own agenda – the one @beatriceeagle calls “Project Birdy-Fingers.” This means that two-thirds of the love stories in LoLiLo are almost entirely hidden from the viewers and once again need to be read through subtext.
Off the charts dedicated. This series has a much more experimental style than NMTD – several episodes use more than one camera angle, nearly every episodes has multiple characters in it, and is frequently filmed over multiple days and edited into non-chronological order – but there is still always a reason for the camera to be there and always a reason, in-universe, for it to have been edited and uploaded the way it was. This dedication to realism made things that much more difficult for The Candle Wasters, but it also adds hugely to the value of the series.
As I mentioned above, many, many episodes of LLL are actually songs. The series has been referred to by many people as a “secret musical” because of this. 11 songs are almost entirely character development. “A Merry Note” was written by Shakespeare and was mostly The Candle Wasters being clever and making us think our ship had sailed. “Heaven in Her Lips” is a cute love song. “Stay” is secretly plot, though the lyrics also assist in understanding “one foot on sea one on shore one in the boiling hot lava,” which is the real first episode of LoLiLo. Then we get to the question of whether certain other videos are songs. “Berry Nice,” while a Balth in a Bath episode, is clearly a song. But what about “Beatrice and Ballads,” which is essentially the reprise of “Beatrice, You’re Vivacious”? What about “A Sonnet,” which, although not a song, is the inverse of “An Ode” and should therefore be included for the sake of symmetry? Of course, the numbers don’t matter, because the songs are amazing. The songs themselves were mainly written by Reuben Hudson, Elsie Bollinger, and Maude Morris, with some help from other writers, and are performed mostly by Reuben Hudson and Mouce Young, with help from most of the rest of the cast.
Very strong. Several characters are not white at all (Kit and Jaquie), and race just generally is a non-issue. LGBT representation is also great, especially for a pre-2016 webseries: Peter is now openly bisexual, Balthazar actually uses the word “gay” to describe himself, Paige and Chelsey are a lesbian couple who have basically the only functional relationship in the whole series, and the sexuality of several other characters (Kit, Freddie, Costa, Vegan Fred), is never defined, though I headcanon them all as bi. Though there are no disabled characters, there are extensive explorations of mental health issues, though as usual for The Candle Wasters, this is largely in subtext. Also, people actually talk about money in this and have realistic issues with money, which is a nice change from every other webseries I’ve seen.
Fantabulous, especially since The Candle Wasters had an actual budget for this series. As mentioned before, there are even episodes shot with multiple cameras THAT ACTUALLY WORK. Yay for realism and quality combined is all I can say.
My three favorite things about Lovely Little Losers:
1) My two favorite episodes, “RUSSIANFUDGE” and “ACCOSTED”
2) Balth in a Bath, because Balth in a Bath is perfect and innocent and lovely and actually includes a lot of exposition and character/relationship development that doesn’t exist anywhere else.
3) The fact that I keep getting more out of it on every rewatch – and I have now seen this thing in full ten times, though it’s been more like twenty for some episodes (”TEA,” “RUSSIANFUDGE”), and I have no idea how many times I’ve watched/listened to some of the songs.
Difficult things about Lovely Little Losers:
On first viewing it can be almost impossible to understand what’s going on almost all the time, and it can be easy to skip things because the series seems largely plotless. Do not give up hope! There is indeed a plot, but you have to hunt for it. If you finish the series and still feel confused or dissatisfied, I recommend a rewatch and @beatriceeagle and @marydebenham ‘s LLL rewatch metas, which have been invaluable for many the confused/dissatisfied viewer. It can also be frustrating that certain things (like apologies) are never said on camera, but we can blame realism for that.
All I can say is, despite its surface flaws, LoLiLo is not only my favorite webseries but also only of my favorite pieces of literature of all time. There’s so much here, in character, in content, and in theme, and I could talk about it for ages more than I already have. Although on first viewing I had no idea what to make of it, I now give LLL a solid and glowing 5/5 stars.
The bad news is, we haven’t been able to cast a disabled actress in the role of Zara. Due to several reasons (Wellington-based filming, production management, comfortable with kissing a woman, chemistry with lead, acting and singing talents…) it is something we have been unable to do for this webseries. :( As we feel it is important to cast disabled actors in disabled roles we have chosen to re-write the role of Zara for an able-bodied person, rather than putting an able-bodied person in a wheelchair. In future we aim to represent physical disabilities in the media we create. Because diversity and people seeing themselves on-screen is really important to us.
Now, for the good news, we have a #HPLW cast. We have a Billie, a Zara, and a Cris. We’ll tell you which actors are playing these roles very soon (before this Wednesday!), but in the meantime we wanted to address the series as a whole. It is still a musical, it is still incredibly gay, and it is still starring three women (well… generally speaking) in the roles. Our cast also show some of the ethnic diversity in New Zealand. Queer roles are played by queer actors, and this webseries looks to be as fierce, funny, and feminist as we can make it.
We’re super excited to share this story with you all, Claris, Elsie, Minnie, Sally, and Robbie xx
Hi! I was wondering what your lighting set up looks like, specifically with Bright Summer Night? Like what kind of lights you're working with? Also, what do you shoot on again?
On Bright Summer Night we put a lot of budget into hiring a van of lights. I am afraid I cannot be more specific as I have not studied lighting and we had an excellent Gaffer and Best Boy, Bret Saunders and Roger Awhimate, handling everything - Roger makes a cheeky cameo as one of Thea and Petra’s dads in the family photo. :D
We shot Bright Summer Night on a Canon 5D Mark III, which we also used for LLL and Tricking Ben (it’s a camera The Candle Wasters purchased with the help of fandles for the LLL Kickstarter - so thank YOU all for making our stuff look so pretty). NMTD has a combo of the Canon 5D, a Canon 80D, and a camcorder from the mid 2000s haha
Jess Charlton was our cinematographer on BSN, and she brought a lot of lenses to play with for the shoot. She’s also with us on Happy Playland which we are filming on a Leica SL.