By Sarah Stopforth
Interview with Creator Finnian Williamson
Finn, you’ve done it! You’ve started a web series! Congrats. How and when did this idea come into fruition?
The idea came from growing up watching YouTubers and seeing social media turn into a way of life for a lot of people our age. Plus the fact that there’s very few commentaries on this crazy transition into a ‘like-for-like’ era. Patrick’s just a product of his time, a guy who’d rather depend on Facebook likes from strangers then choose to take responsibility for his own self-esteem. And I’m kind of hoping that’s something we can all relate too, even if we hate to admit it.
Did you have help developing the script, or was this always your baby?
I wrote the script myself but used it as a graduate project for uni, so I did get some extra treatment from my tutor. Yeah, it can be seen as my ‘baby’, but the crew who helped out over countless weekends with their free time made Patrick what it is. And because of that they deserve Facebook like or two.
Why did you decide to create and star in your own web series?
Seeing lanky teenagers not that different from myself set up YouTuber accounts and get millions of views is pretty attractive to any insecure, pimply teenager. So, I thought, why not me? And I made a YouTube channel, where I’d talk to camera and put on a persona. And it was terrible. I didn’t have anything to say, obviously, and I hated doing it. Making videos was a hobby of mine before, and I’d manage to turn it into a way for me to get attention. That was five years ago, and you still see kids like younger me all the time, if not more. It’s crazy – the whole idea that there’s millions watching someone they think they know, putting on this persona, eating it up. We’d rather have a relationship with these pixelated personalities then whoever’s next door. I just feel there isn’t enough of us looking at this era and thinking, y’know, this probably a bit fucked. But I’m just another hypocrite because I’ve finally got my own show that people seem to be interested in, so I’m just as bad as the rest of them.
The Pilot is incredibly self aware, which I love. It also explores many of the attributes of youth culture in 2016, from hipster and party culture to social media. Patrick’s pilot looks at Tinder and Facebook specifically, and how deeply they have actually affected our subconscious, our insecurities and the way we think. It’s fascinating yet frightening. Was this always something you wanted to comment on in the series?
I feel social media’s a nightmare case for any one with low-self-esteem or insecurities they haven’t dealt with. The whole notion of ‘likes’ is disgusting. It means nothing, it’s so superficial, and if you haven’t worked through that insecurity of yours yet, don’t worry, some stranger’s might fix it for a minute or two. Judging some random on how many likes they’ve got on their profile picture? It’s like, get a life. And yeah, I’m saying that from experience, but I think at some point a lot of people our age have been there. Clearly I’m already a cynical middle-aged man about this, and that’s because I’ve wasted so much time and energy in front of a screen. There’s a Lorde lyric that goes “the internet raised us”, and it’s true. So it’ll be fascinating, and scary, to this this how accidental parenting has an impact on us in the next decade or two.
Now that the Pilot is done, what’s next? How many episodes are you aiming to release?
It’s so ironic; my pilot depends on people ‘liking’ the episode, ‘liking’ my work, ‘liking’ my performance – and that’s all it is, a performance – for my show to continue. That’s how a pilot survives. Everything I’m bashing, I’m relying on as well. So if we do decide to continue it, we’d be looking to gain funding to support a possible six-episode series.
What should people expect from the arc of Patrick in this series? What makes this series something a person of our age group, or any age group, want to watch?
The series would become something quite different after the pilot in how it’s presented. Each episode would reflect Patrick’s mental state – with mental health something hinted at in the pilot – and be of a different in genre and style. It’s the same show – Patrick working through his mental health issues and us exploring his life. This pilot reflects his insecurities in a Facebook era, but future episodes would reflect his attitudes and fears towards other areas of life. For example, there’d be a parody of The Bachelor in which Patrick is, well, The Bachelor and we see his unrealistic expectations towards relationships and love.
The Pilot episode of Patrick’s How To Be The Best at Everything is being launched on Sunday the 11th of December. Visit their Facebook page for updates!