buck house set - 1995
An animated overview of the set used during filming of the first Buck House pilot in 1995.
This set was designed to be easily set-up and pulled down at the end of each shoot, seeing as we were filming in the busy studios of the Australian Film, Television & Radio School (AFTRS). It also allowed access for multiple studio cameras on huge dollies, as well as providing good viewing angles for the live studio audience.
The set would be installed early Saturday morning, with actors rehearsals taking place from around mid afternoon. A technical rehearsal would take place on Sunday, with recording following that. Upon wrap, the set was deconstructed and stored away until the next filming weekend.
Buck House set - 1997
An animated overview of the set used for the 1997 version of Buck House.
Unlike the staging used for the 1995 pilot, this set is reasonably compact and of considerably more complex construction. It was designed to allow single camera shooting, where the camera could get into the set and shoot from any angle. A 'floating' flat would be used behind an actor if we wanted to turn the camera around and shoot off set.
This set was built to sit permanently within the warehouse space we leased for the duration of the shoot. We filmed two episodes per week (Mon-Fri), so four weeks filming altogether for the eight episodes recorded to date.
You'll note with the two designs, we used a very similar layout for each - the kitchen being on the left of set.
Naturally, we reused various components of the 1995 set in construction of the 1997 version. Having a bigger budget allowed for more elaborate construction however, including two beautiful plaster arches (the animation doesn't do them justice) - one as an entry from the front hallway into the living room, and the second, leading from the living room into the kitchen.
The two sets also incorporated large staircases, both of which lead nowhere. The stairs were totally redesigned and rebuilt for the 1997 version of Buck House. The bay windows have also been utilized in both versions.
Buck House online
Buck House was originally devised to be narrowcast on the internet via an online portal producer/director Brett Harston created called QueerVision - an internet 'TV station' for the LGBTQIA+ community of Australia.
Owing to the terrible bandwidth of the fledging internet at that time, the QueerVision promo video was originally smaller than the size of a regular YouTube thumbnail today. Videos at that time had to be tiny otherwise they would take hours (if not days) to download - no such thing as real time streaming back then.
The 'Media Bitch' segment on Foxtel reviewed Buck House on QueerVision in 1998.
This clip shows the intro and outro of that segment.
Key admin & production staff of QueerVision (1997)
Front Row, left to right:
Michael Geen, Brett Harston, Emma Kennedy
Back Row, left to right:
Glenn McKenzie, Peter Vitez, Graeme Hindmarsh, Dion Wilton, Adrian Britnell, Ian Jopson, Megan Carter
World Premiere of Buck House: 1998 Mardi Gras Film Festival
Ian, Scott, Kate and Chris at the World Premiere screening of Buck House
photo by C. Moore Hardy
Ian, Kate and Scott at the after-screening party
photo by C. Moore Hardy
Advert for Buck House in the 1998 Mardi Gras Film Festival program.
Documents can be found at:
More work from Brett Harston...
A Scottish sitcom pilot produced in 2004
Starring HAZEL O'CONNOR, JANE MACKAY, LYNNE McCALLUM & ERIK GRIEVE
WE THREE is an original situation comedy with a Scottish flavour, set in the arena of inner city Edinburgh. Sharp, witty and totally unique, WE THREE revolves around a household of three mature women (and one son) whose antics are anything but routine. And more so off the stage than on...
"The road to fame and fortune is paved with dissension and failure, particularly where our ensemble of intrepid female performers - WE THREE - are concerned. The troupe sing, joke and entertain their way through a myriad of disasters as they strive for the one big break that will hurtle them to the heights of show business success."
"And it's not that they don't have bona fide talent, it's just that Lady Luck manages to elude them at every turn as one harebrained scheme after another leads them further from their goal."