In season 2 of the chat show Couch 44, the Couch 44 gang (Payton Hogan, Nathan Hamilton, Henry Buckley, Alina Jansons, Stanley Browning, Demi Formato & David Doherty) is back to explore Adelaide’s youth culture. Each episode focuses on a different industry that makes Adelaide’s vibrant culture – Creative, Film, Music, Activism, Sports & Culture.
Couch 44 – how it all began
In 2020, Couch 44 Series Producer and Director Maddie Siegertsz was in the last year of her Bachelor of Creative Arts (Screen) (formerly Screen Production) and got accepted to intern at Flinders’ partner Channel 44 as a Production Coordinator. After working on multiple projects at Channel 44, an employee suggested she develop Couch 44, and she did.
The first iteration of Couch 44 was started in early 2020 by a group of Couch 44 volunteers. Maddie tells us, “Originally, I didn’t have an end goal in mind for Couch 44. It eventually morphed into a chat show. I just started off slowly, making portrait documentaries on some visual artists around Adelaide. I enjoyed doing it. I was learning more about Adelaide’s vibrant creative scene, a scene I wasn’t familiar with.
“I then thought, what if this could become something else, something bigger? What if there were music performances? I booked a space at Flinders University to film music performances and interviews and it turned into Couch 44.”
How Couch 44 developed
“Filming the first season of Couch 44 then made me realise my next goal – to produce a more polished season of Couch 44, a chat show that explores Adelaide’s youth culture. I wanted to give opportunities to other emerging screen practitioners to build their portfolios.
“I realised on this journey, that I wanted to show that Adelaide’s youth scene was just as vibrant and busy as Melbourne’s and Sydney’s. Couch 44 is a celebration of Adelaide.”
Maddie learnt a lot from season 1. “The first season had no budget. The team and I used resources we already had. We had to quickly adapt to covid restrictions as well. Season 1 was more of a programming block with interviews and music performances spliced together.
“Season 2 is far more polished and refined, with a clear structure in each episode. Each episode focuses on a different industry in Adelaide (Creative, Film, Music, Activism, Sport, Culture). It’s a step above the previous season thanks to funding provided by the Community Broadcasting Fund.”
When it comes to season 3 of the show, Maddie would love to see it continue in some shape or form. As it is a volunteer project, however, the team depends on grants and funding.
How the team works together
At Couch 44, everyone has an assigned role. Maddie goes into detail, “I am the Series Producer and Director. I oversee the entire production and explain my vision to the wonderful department heads who then manage their own crew members within their departments.
“There are also other producers on the show, like Tully Templeman and Paige Sowter, to help me with the field report and spotlight segments as well as the administrative work. Each crew member’s role, whether it’s pre-production, principal photography, post-production or marketing, is crucial in getting Couch 44 to air on television.”
Benefitting from Flinders connections
The majority of the crew on Couch 44 consists of students and alumni that studied the Bachelor of Creative Arts (Screen) degree. Maddie still works with many of her Flinders classmates in the film and television industry and says she has crossed paths with them many times during her career.
“Most positions in the industry are not advertised on job sites. It’s all word-of-mouth. The networks I cultivated at Flinders have enabled me to work in film and television. I’ve also made a lot of life-long friends on Couch 44, and this wouldn’t have happened if Flinders and Channel 44 hadn’t given me the opportunity.
“Every film, corporate and television shoot is different, and as such, I learn something new every day. The Bachelor of Creative Arts (Screen) prepared me for working collaboratively with other people from many different fields. The degree allowed to me experiment and test what works and what doesn’t in a safe space.”
“To anyone looking to study in the field of Creative Arts, I recommend taking the internships and work experience programs Flinders University runs. It’s the quickest way to get on-the-job training and build your network. For example, Flinders University’s Screen department has a partnership with Channel 44. They run internship programs – I suggest you check them out.”
Join the advanced screening of the first episode of Couch 44
Come down to the Superscreen in Flinders’ Bedford Park Plaza on Wednesday, 3rd May and watch Couch 44’s first episode of season 2, focusing on creatives.
Payton Hogan talks to the colourful creative company Cram Collective. The Couch 44 team visits the studios of visual artist Mali Isabel & comic artist Georgina Chadderton. Field reporter David Doherty visits the Adelaide Fringe, and Sokel and Busseys are the first music performances for the season.
Bring your friends and family. Grab a rug and watch the advanced screening of Couch 44 before it airs on Channel 44. We’ll provide drinks and nibbles. See you there!