Gardens of Edinburgh representing Yarra at Melbourne Webfest

The Fitzroy hipster is a fascinating character, a baneful creature or a delight, depending on who you’re talking to.

Although the hipster is not a new phenomenon, the inner north is arguably the birth-place of the modern Melbourne kind. This particular hipster can often be found frolicking in Edinborough Gardens on sunny afternoons.

Enter actor and writer Rhett Hughes, who has captured the Gardens and her subjects in his latest web series, “Gardens of Edinburgh.

Featured in this year’s Melbourne WebFest ‘Spotlight on Melbourne‘, Gardens of Edinburgh, is a comedic portrayal of the goings on in the iconic North Fitzroy park.

Gardens of Edinburgh

Having moved to Melbourne after a stint as a manny (male nanny) for Sting, Rhett tells YR about his first experience at the Gardens.

“My friend invited me to Edinburgh Gardens, I’d never been there before. We had some very funny conversations… it had quite an eclectic crowd… and I immediately thought this would be a great location to set a web series.”

To Rhett, the Garden itself was to be a central character in the series; not only a place, but a catalyst in defining the events taking place on screen.

The conversation unfolding in the episode ‘Southsider’ is difficult to stomach. Striking a chord with any Northerner, the reaction of the recurring character, Brett, seems perfectly acceptable. Owing to my journalistic integrity and responsibility to the audience, it’s with a heavy heart that I must reveal this episode is based on true events.

“Yes, I have [gone Southside]. I ate my own words and I’ve gone to Brighton.” Says Rhett.

What was said after that is a bit of a blur. However, if it’s any consolation, I do recall him offering only kind words for his former home in the North.

Rhett Hughes, Photo: Facebook.

For both past and present Northsiders, creating can be challenging at the best of times. Most budget web series rely on the help of friends in return for the promise of a lifetime of favours.

“We shot Gardens of Edinburgh, all five episodes, for under $500. The quality definitely looks more expensive than what it was, but that is because I had really fantastic people helping me with it [and] because people worked for free.” Says Rhett.

The evolving nature of the way we consume content continues to shape our on-screen experience. The growing popularity of Melbourne WebFest, which this year saw its highest number of web series submissions, highlights the expanding landscape for creators globally.

“The whole world is your audience. There is a demographic out there that want to watch whatever weird idea you have. Just keep producing content [and] keep chipping away at it… A lot of people talk about producing work, but getting the wheels in motion is a different ball game… Actually shooting something is a feat in itself.”

As Rhett wisely says, “if you produce work, someone will watch it.” Here’s hoping we’ll see some more of the Yarra’s iconic features on-screen soon.

By Tiyana Matliovski

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