Ed Kavalee has put everything on the line to bring telemovie Scumbus to our screens. As well as writing, producing and starring in the comedy, most of the cash used to fund the tale of two police officers who get relegated to the "scumbus" as punishment for acting up came straight out of Kavalee's life savings.
"Nothing about what we did was what people would recommend you do," the former Nova announcer said from the noisy streets of Los Angeles where Scumbus aired at the LA Comedy Festival on Sunday.
"It's all my own money, it's basically all the money I made in radio so it's the old life savings trick. My girlfriend was like 'We could buy an apartment', and I was like 'We could buy an apartment or maybe we could do this'. She was really good about it.
"There's nothing about this film that is smart. People say, don't use your own money, this is all my money, people say don't make something that is going to be hard for people to get and I'm making a comedy film and nobody makes them."
Scumbus follows lifelong best mates, both police officers, straightshooter Tommy (Kavalee) and his dropkick pal Red (Perth's Toby Truslove) who thinks laws were made to be broken.
It's Kavalee's first film and the former Thank God You're Here cast member came up with the idea with LA-based actor pal Josh Lawson.
"Josh and I had the idea together years ago," Kavalee said.
"We were walking along one day and we were trying to think of a film we could make that was pretty much in one location.
"At the time I was living in this really dodgy area and it had these temporary police stations. There would be prostitutes and drug dealers out the front of the house and people would complain.
"So they put these police stations up and the drug dealings just moved 10m down the road while it was there and then they'd take it away and everyone would just move back."
However, Lawson's involvement with Scumbus came to a screeching halt when he hit the big time in the US, where he is currently starring in black comedy series House of Lies.
Despite flying solo, Kavalee - who is working on his first film for cinema release, Border Protection Squad - quite literally put his money where his mouth is with plans to use the film to promote the growth of local comedy.
"There's a bit of a point I'm hoping to make about comedy in Australia and particularly comedy talent being utilised because I think they're underutilised," he said. "I feel as though drama is valued more than comedy in Australia and I'm hoping other people do what we did and just make something.
"A lot of dramas have come out and they're good, bad and otherwise but I think people are harder on comedy."
The film stars almost every big name in Aussie comedy, including Glenn Robbins as Sgt Chester, Kavalee's former radio partner Tony Martin, Peter Helliar, Dave Hughes and Ryan Shelton - most of whom weren't paid much for their roles, if at all.
"All the parts were written for particular people," Kavalee said.
"I can't afford these people, I can't afford Glenn Robbins, Peter Helliar.
"I said 'I can't pay you what you're worth but if we all get together we could get this thing made', and they said yes. "It was only at the end that I looked at the IMDB and I was like 'Holy s…, look at this'.
"There was so much quality in the cast that it was great but not surprising about what I knew about comedy people; people say they'll be there and they're there."Scumbus airs Saturday at 9.30pm on Ten.
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