High Wire steps up ABC production

Independent production company High Wire Films is currently filming their second season of Lowdown, featuring Adam Zwar, for the ABC -yet they are quickly developing a sizeable slate for such a relatively small outfit.

In addition to having produced ABC2’s Twentysomething with Electric Living Productions, High Wire has a further two projects for the ABC in 2012. And it doesn’t stop there.

“We’ve got four series that we’ve produced in the past year and a half,” says Producer Nicole Minchin.

“Two unscripted comedies have been completed and delivered to the ABC. Then we have a feature film in development and a couple of Pilots that we want to produce.”

Writer / Director Amanda Brotchie adds, “And we’ve optioned a book as well for a TV series.

“For the book we’d be looking at a one hour format rather than half hour.”

Brotchie and Minchin are partners in High Wire with Writer / Performer Adam Zwar. With so many projects on their plate, multitasking and diversity are essential.

“While Amanda is in Post (Production) on Lowdown we’ll try and get the next project moving,” says Minchin.

Zwar, who co-created both Lowdown and the cult hit Wilfred (Renegade), will serve as director on the unscripted comedies. But none of the other projects are vehicles for him as a performer.

“I think he’s probably keen to be involved in a smaller role. But it would be an ensemble cast,” Brotchie says of the book project.

“It would have comedic elements but it wouldn’t necessarily be classified as a comedy,” adds Minchin.

“It would be potentially for commercial networks.”

The new season of Lowdown again teams Zwar with Kim Gyngell as tabloid newspaper reporter and editor, respectively. Guest stars in the second season include Brett Tucker, Matt Preston, Steve Bastoni, Antony Starr and Julia Zemiro.

“Everything is sharpened to be honest, all the cast know the world and the characters better,” says Brotchie.

“There’s still a sense of the ridiculous but it’s also a little bit closer to the bone, particularly with the tabloids and the newsroom. And of course we had the funny issue of writing about phone hacking and then that came up later so we had to modify it to keep up and possibly outdo what reality had already orchestrated.

“For each episode we looked at a different kind of thing that happened in the media and used that as a starting point. So one of them was that dilemma of ‘Do you use private investigators to get material on someone?'”

Minchin says that despite changes within ABC management, ABC1 Channel Controller Brendan Dahill and Head of Comedy Debbie Lee are big supporters of Lowdown.

“There was a bit of regime change between first and second series and we were wondering if that would affect us,” she explains.

“But they were so positive about the first one that we’ve had a very smooth run with them. Really they’ve just read the scripts and embraced them.

“We were really fortunate. Any note that Debbie Lee gives us is very much in line with what we’re going for, so there’s no trouble getting nutty notes from network execs or anything like that. It always enhances what we’re doing.”

The series is due to air on ABC1 in 2012, which thankfully buys them a little bit of time to secure the services of Geoffrey Rush once again as narrator. They are still waiting to lock him in once again.

“We are hopeful he will. It’s about his schedule really, but we have every indication that he will,” says Minchin.

“He loved series one and he’s a great supporter of the show,” Brotchie added.

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