Screen Arts student wins funding for animated series Bloke of the Apocalypse

Tuesday 14 May 2024

Bachelor of Screen Arts student Charlie Faulks will be producing a zombie apocalypse-themed YouTube series thanks to funding from NZ On Air.

Charlie with two of the characters of Bloke of the Apocalypse. Image credit: Jack Marlin.

Last updated: Wednesday 15 May 2024

The third-year Bachelor of Screen Arts (BSA) student will receive up to $472,368 to create Bloke of the Apocalypse, a six-part animated comedy about a rural zombie outbreak. Charlie says the idea for Bloke of the Apocalypse was inspired by his upbringing in rural Gisborne.

“It’s a very personal story, minus the apocalypse part! Bloke, the father in the series, is a caricature of my dad, they’re spitting images of each other. Oliver is a mixture between me and my little brother Ollie. Thankfully they both love seeing themselves as little animated characters. I just need to find a way to add my mum in – she really wants to be in the show.”

Charlie says the funding will be injected into every aspect of the project.

“Animation, marketing and, most importantly, building a team. We’ve also got a lot of freedom to create adjacent content that will lift the show itself higher. Essentially, Bloke of the Apocalypse is being upscaled in an expansive, exciting way.”

Alongside producers Ben Powdrell and Francesca Carney, Charlie created extensive pitch documents and attended a lot of meetings to put the project forward for funding. He says despite the months of waiting to hear whether they were successful or not and then not being able to say anything until the official announcement went live, it all paid off in the end.

“Everything is still very new. We’re slowly beginning to have conversations and sign contracts. But all that fun, creative production should begin at the end of July.”

Charlie moved to Wellington in 2022 to study a BSA at Massey, and says he finds the city cosy and central.

“Back in 2022, it was the scariest thing moving from little old Gisborne to Wellington, but I settled in pretty fast. It’s a very inclusive, welcoming city. My passion lies within film, animation and everything else creative, so Massey in Wellington naturally seemed to be the best choice for me.”

He enjoys that the BSA programme covers such a wide-range of screen-based specialisations.

“It’s been fantastic to learn the ins and outs of the filmmaking process at Massey, getting technical with editing and camera work. It’s such a luxury having direct access to industry-standard tech and to have made friends within the course.”

The Bloke of the Apocalypse funding is part of a $5 million investment from NZ On Air as part of its new strategy to engage young New Zealanders with local content. The Within My Reach funding has been given to projects it believes will resonate with youth, as well as provide opportunities for new young creatives.

NZ On Air received more than 150 funding applications and selected 12 projects to fund. The successful projects will be enjoyed across a range of social media platforms, after audience research in 2022 revealed that a social media-first approach would be needed to reach 15-24 year old audiences.

NZ On Air Head of Funding Amie Mills says it’s vital the agency continues to look for ways to engage young New Zealanders with great local stories.

“This demographic is more connected to social media content than generations before them. In these formative years in their lives, it is hugely culturally important that rangatahi see and experience local stories within this content. Stories that ground them in Aotearoa New Zealand and reflect their own lives and experiences authentically, but at the same time entertain and expand their minds.”

Read more about the funding here.

Visit Charlie’s website, Instagram or YouTube channel for more of his work.

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