Locally based digital content has continuously made strides in its legitimacy and crossover potential over the last year, from coverage in festivals like Africa Rising International Film Festival and Broke Ass Showcase to the arrival of VOD platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime and Viu amongst others. Some of the highlights include Tali’s Wedding Diary‘s, a Showmax Original, dominance at this year’s SAFTAs, taking home over 5 SAFTAS including Best Comedy Series to the Netflix launch of Shadow, the first local series to be acquired by the streaming juggernaut. Internationally award-winning comedy web-series, Chin Up! joins those ranks with its landmark acquisition by Showmax.
Chin Up! is a comedy web-series that’s created, written, directed, produced and starring Lara Lipschitz following the trials and tribulations of a struggling actress trying to survive in the industry. Started over 5 years ago, the show has produced over 3 seasons of entertainment and is a brilliant star vehicle for Lipschitz to show off her vast comedic range. By its third season, Lipschitz has shown her capability and range within milking physical as well as cringe comedy as the show throws her character increasingly within awkward situations and relishing in the absurdity of it all. As the show has grown, so has its quality, writing, world-building and featured cast, from established comediennes like Gilli Apter, Claudine Ullman and Julia Anastasopoulos to TV actors like Loyiso MacDonald and Makgotso Monyemorathoe. That growth in quality has yielded incredible results including a NYC Web Fest award for best actress and as of last week, a Showmax acquisition of the whole series to its platform with its third season premiering on it outright.
What’s noteworthy about this progression, especially on a platform like Showmax, is that it’s an acquisition of an already made web-product with public history. Previous successes of local web-series and personalities like Suzelle DIY and LaSizwe have usually led to mainstream projects like Tali’s Wedding Diary and Fake It Till You Make It respectively for its content creators. Chin Up! has the potential to lead to something different; the scaling of digital content in its original form across different platforms. In other terms, it speaks to the financial viability of local web-series as their own product and not just as a tool for leverage, in the same vein as web-series turned TV-series Broad City and Drunk History. Our Web-series Watch article series explores this very idea about the potential of digital content within the local space.
Chin Up! is a fantastic web-series that has great potential for scaling into a cable-like show with the right financial backing, see Girls & Mozart in The Jungle. The third season does a great job in showing the potential of how such a scaling would work from both a character perspective and within dynamics. Each episode is an extended sketch of a topic and storyline which could be stretched thematically to a longer slot with running B and C story-lines for characters like her father, agent and fellow acting peers like MacDonald and Ullman. Whether or not Chin Up! is provided the opportunity to realize this potential is something we would have to wait and see, but its Showmax progression has marked a step closer to the dream for local web-series. Throughout its three season run, Lipschitz has more than showcased her ability and tenacity in being a savvy independent filmmaker and continues to be a trailblazing figure to show what is possible for local content. It’s incredibly exciting to see where this takes her journey next. To watch Chin Up! season 3 on Showmax, click here.