$1 Reserve

I’ve met a lot of people through TradeMe, people parting with fridges and washing machines and coffee tables, people in search of beds and microwaves. All nice people, all people with complex hopes and dreams like my own.

Despite this, the spectre of the TradeMe random has always been a source of some anxiety. Bridging the gap between online and real life can be stressful, because I think the world we live in gives us (well, me at least) a natural distrust of strangers. Yet my every experience with TradeMe randoms has been kind of sweet, in an awkward way.

On Monday a new web series was released called $1 Reserve. I watched the first episode and then, 40 minutes later found myself finishing the final. Written by Sophie Henderson and directed by Curtis Vowell (of Fantail fame), it’s funny and sweet and very very relatable.

The series follows the increasingly embarrassing journey of a girl named Jocelyn as she attempts to retrieves a list of her boyfriend’s possessions that she sold on TradeMe in a fit of rage. She thought he was cheating, she was wrong, and her efforts are a desperate ploy to win him back.

Producer Anna Duckworth of Candlelit Pictures says that relatable concept was precisely what made the series so exciting to be part of. Everyone has “their own TradeMe story,” she says, and in such an impersonal, digital age it’s a unique way to make real world connections with people. TradeMe obviously agreed, because when the crew approached the company about potential sponsorship, they jumped on board.

The series was filmed at the end of 2014, with scenes shot all over Auckland. Anna remembers driving over the Harbour Bridge one day when one of the key props (a borrowed surfboard) came loose from the roof and flew away. By the time the police arrived to help retrieve it, it had disappeared, but was found again when a surf shop posted a picture of the now-broken board on their facebook page. A retrieval story within a retrieval story.

Each 2-4 minute episode of $1 Reserve tells the story of one item, from a surfboard to a car, and even a dog (Sophie and Curtis’ own adorable puppy Chip). My favourite episode was the Playstation 4, but they were all funny and clever and sad and uplifting, each in their own way.

You can watch them all online, right now, for free. I highly recommend that you do, it’s 40 minutes very well spent.