TikTok, YouTube, Instagram and other social media have significantly influenced what kind of content we like, what we want to watch and how, where and when we consume it. YouTubers and influencers have completely changed the way we perceive social media, so it’s no wonder that social media has also become a platform for television and film content. A series called The Outsiders, which we’ve had the opportunity to see in film form at this year’s Four River Film Festival, was published on YouTube and created in collaboration with JoomBoos, a platform that gathers Croatian influencers. Bruno Mustić, the creator of the series, along with the actors Marko Gregurić and Anja Polovina, answered a few questions about how the series came about, who the outsiders are and what it’s like to collaborate with YouTube stars.
Bruno Mustić, producer
You’re the creator of the series The Outsiders. How would you describe the series?
It is the story of seventeen-year-old Noa, who is a third culture child. Third culture children are children of parents who are diplomats, ambassadors and all those who, due to the nature of their work, move to another place every few years. Noa comes to Croatia with his mother and through eight episodes we follow him trying to fit into our society.
Were you ever an outsider?
We all feel that way sometimes, especially in our teenage years, and this series was made specifically for young people who feel that way.
The series was created in collaboration with JoomBoos, how did that go?
We had very good support from JoomBoos and 24sata, we were in constant contact with them and together we created a bilingual series that will be shown on JoomBoos’ YouTube channel, but which will also be distributed in other places. I believe that bilingual series are the future, because we can attract both Croatian and foreign viewers that way.
Did you watch any teen series in order to prepare for this project?
We watched a lot of teen series, for example Euphoria, Elite and Sex Education. The director Jelena Gavrilović and I watched those series because, although we were teenagers ourselves not that long ago, the teen culture and way of life have changed since our teenage days, so the relevant teen series served as research. In addition to watching these series, we questioned a group of teenagers about music and films. All this information came in handy while we were writing the screenplay.
How did you decide to make a series whose episodes are around 15 minutes long?
Today, everything we consume is a kind of instant content i.e. content that lasts for a few seconds (TikTok) or a few minutes. This format seemed much more dynamic than 45 minute episodes, and such dynamics suited the YouTube platform.
You live and work in London. What do you do there?
I’ve been in London for seven years now and I love it. In Zagreb, I graduated film directing at the Academy of Dramatic Art, I went to London for a master’s degree and stayed there after college. I work in a production company and develop feature films. I’m kind of divided between Croatia and England, so I’m here quite often. I am currently developing another series in Croatia, and I am working on feature films in London.
I’m sure that many young people have great ideas for a television series in their heads, but they don’t know where to start. Do you have any advice for them?
The most important thing is to start with an idea. Today’s technology makes it very easy to film an idea, we all have cell phones in our hands, but the story is the most important thing. I would advise young people not to be discouraged and to write their own story and characters. It’s important to work on a story that makes you happy and really interests you, because it’s never good to work on a story that you don’t really like.
Marko Gregurić, actor
Describe The Outsiders in one sentence.
A teen drama filled with anger and typical teenage problems.
Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you felt like an outsider?
I believe that everyone has. Whenever you find yourself in a new situation, you can feel like an outsider, but for the most part, people accept you very quickly.
There are not many television series or films for teenagers in Croatia. Do you think there is a lack of such content?
The content for teenagers in Croatia is quite weak, and perhaps our series can be a good basis for the development of other similar projects.
The series was made with the help of JoomBoos, a Croatian production company that brings together the most famous Youtubers and influencers. How was the collaboration between the actors and influencers on the set?
Everything started with Bruno Mustić, our producer; he actually brought us actors in and JoomBoos brought influencers to the project, which certainly helped the success of the series. We all clicked very quickly, we worked together very well and the atmosphere on the set was always great.
After you’ve experienced what it’s like to work with influencers, and you’ve become friends with some of them, do you think the myth that influencers don’t do anything is true?
I think the work of an influencer is very difficult; every view, like or comment is incredibly important for their career and that can become very stressful. Besides, it’s challenging to create content that’s fun and innovative.
After this experience, have you thought about becoming an influencer?
I got into this project primarily because of acting, because I love acting and films, and I don’t work as an influencer, at least not yet. Never say never.
This was your first acting experience, do you plan to continue with acting or is it just your hobby?
It started as a hobby, but I would like to continue to act because this experience was really wonderful for me. Of course, there were days when filming was tiring, but when I think about the whole project, this was a great experience.
Many children and young people want to act, but fear prevents them from realizing their dreams. What would you advise them, how do you relax in front of the cameras?
It is quite difficult and comes with time. The director is very important, but so is the entire production, because their attitude towards the actors greatly affects the actor’s relaxation and behavior. I would definitely encourage anyone who has a desire to act to try it, trust me, it’s great!
Anja Polovina, actress
We asked your colleagues this, so let’s see how different your answers are; describe The Outsiders in one sentence.
Have you ever felt like an outsider?
Yes, but I think everyone feels like an outsider. Maybe I didn’t feel that way at school, but, for example, I used to feel that way when I went out and was dressed differently, but I think you should learn to love that feeling. It’s not always bad to be an outsider.
You play the role of Nina. Who is Nina and do you have anything in common with her?
I play the main villain in the series, I play the so-called mean girl. I sincerely hope I have nothing in common with her.
It often turns out that female villains actually have a soft and gentle side. Do you think this is the case with Nina?
I hope so, it would certainly be interesting for me to explore that option.
Is it true that it’s more fun to play a villain than a good character?
Yes, it’s definitely more fun. If, by chance, you come to the set angry or irritated, which rarely happened on this project, then you can be rude as your character and thus release all your frustrations.
In popular culture, especially in teen series and films, there are many girls like Nina. Which famous mean girls would you put in Nina’s company?
Hm, interesting question. I don’t know who I would choose for my team, but what I can say for sure is that I would love to be friends with Regina George.
Is this your first acting experience?
I’ve worked on student films before, but this is my first experience on a professional set.
What are your plans for the future? Are you working on something new?
Honestly, I’m not sure. I would like to try to enroll in acting school, and maybe work on a new project.