Laughter truly is the best medicine. At least that's the belief of a North West filmmaker/farmer duo whose tongue-in-cheek video about innovative ways to make some extra cash in the drought has gone viral for all the right reasons.
While drought is generally no laughing matter, Moree filmmaker Merri-May Gill has provided something for people to laugh at, adding a little humour to an otherwise sad situation.
"I feel that everyone was so low and this is something that's a bit against the grain, tongue-in-cheek and taking the piss for once," Merri-May said.
"Everybody is so down, so having something to laugh at, even if it's only for three minutes, is good. And it gives people something else to talk about.
"If you don't laugh, you just cry. And Australians love to laugh."
The premise of the short film Golden BS | Dust to Dollars is about thinking outside the square when times are tough, and sees Moree grazier Andrew O'Neill come up with some innovative ways to boost his income, which is currently "low to say the least".
"So we have to start thinking outside the box and try and find some solutions to keep feeding our cows," he said in the film.
The idea all started a few months ago when Andrew heard about Americans charging money for people to pat cows.
"I thought what a good idea, we have some quiet bulls, maybe I could do that," he explained in the film.
He mentioned it to Merri-May and the pair teamed up to create a quirky video, encouraging city people to get out bush and pat a bull.
"I thought, we can push this a bit further," Merri-May said.
And so she came up with a number of other money-making ideas for a second video, since the bull patting scheme still had insurance, Work Health and Safety and biosecurity issues to work through before it could take off
The latest ideas include using dust to make wine bottles look vintage for "authenticated aged wine"; selling sounds from around the farm for video games; and spray-painting the abundance of cow patties lying around gold to create Golden Bullsh**, or BS.
"It's our fourth film together - I just make Andrew do sh**," Merri-May said.
"This time it was golden," Andrew added.
It sure has been gold, with the Golden BS film going somewhat viral since its release on Tuesday, November 12.
Since then, the original video, published on Facebook by Merri-May, has had more than 35,000 views and has been shared more than 500 times. It has also been posted multiple times on various other sites, including ABC Newcastle, One Day Closer to Rain (Drought) and #buyfromthebush.
"It's the first time I've had more shares than likes on one of my videos," Merri-May laughed.
"It's just extraordinary.
"I'm just excited when I can get up to 200 views ... I'd be lucky to get 100 views on my Vimeo. Probably most of those are generally mum having a look.
If it made you laugh, if it made you smile, that's what it's about.Merri-May Gill
"I'm stoked I've just had one video sort of go viral - it's like a hit song and that's all you're known for. I'll take what I can get. As long as it gives a heap of people a laugh, that's all we can hope for."
Merri-May said she's had some great feedback on the film, with many people even commenting with orders for Golden BS.
"If it made you laugh, if it made you smile, that's what it's about.
"It's also the timing. If it was a good season, it would never have taken off."
Andrew has also gained a lot of attention since the video has taken off, with his dry sense of humour winning many fans.
"It's a drought, what did you expect? Dry humour for dry times," he joked.
"I've had a few comments saying good acting, but I'm not acting. That's me."
"I can't think of anyone else who could have pulled it off; and with the ability to keep a straight face," Merri-May added.
The film is being entered into the North West Film Festival, following on from Merri-May's success last year, and wasn't going to be released to the public until afterwards.
However, at the insistence of Merri-May's Rabbit Hop Films mentor Sascha Estens, it was released a few weeks early.
"Sascha said everyone is so down at the moment, you've got to release it now," Merri-May said.
Merri-May will also be entering at least one other short film into the festival.
Meanwhile, Andrew is planning on selling his Golden BS at the next Moree Markets for a follow-up video. Stay tuned.