Web series Jiwi's Machines to feature Kiwi-made contraptions
Remember when you were a kid and you wished for a Wallace-and-Gromit type machine to get you up in the morning and make your breakfast?
That was Joseph Herscher, too - only he actually set to work to make the dream a reality.
At 6 years old, a young Herscher made a "lolly machine" - "it just stored my lollies for me in a big box that went down a tube so no one else could get them".
Now, at 30 years old, he's making his living from these odd contraptions.
They're called Rube Goldberg machines, named for a cartoonist who used to depict them in his work.
Simply put, it's a complex chain reaction machine that "usually does some ludicrously simple task at the end - like turning a page or watering a plant".
Since the lolly machine, Herscher has gone on to make machines to hold his books while he was in bed, dispense giant jaffas, smash a Creme Egg, and just recently - to get himself dressed.
His interest in the machines faded in Herscher's teenage years, but at aged 22 he and his flatmates decided to make something - they lost interest within the day but Herscher kept building until the machine took over the whole apartment.
"And then I didn't know what to do with it, so I filmed it, put it on Youtube and it went viral - got 7 million views"
It was then the job offers started to come in. He's since worked on promotions, advertisements, events, educational kids' books and even Sesame Street - and he's now creating his own comedy web series, where in a world first, each episode will feature a new Rube Goldberg machine.
The series, Jiwi's Machines draws inspiration from silent comedies and their heroes; the likes of Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton - Herscher even especially learned mime for the part.
The four-part series, funded by NZ On Air, features physical comedy and classic gags as well as the machines. In it, Herscher stars as Jiwi with a cast of six, which includes well-known actress Olivia Tennet and a cameo appearance from leading Kiwi scientist Dr Michelle Dickinson.
"I started off doing it because I thought I needed it - I thought I needed something to hold my books for me or turn on the light from bed...it was pragmatic. But I did also notice that it made my parents laugh and that kind of spurred me on. Now I do it for entertainment really, for other people," says Herscher.
"I love the playfulness of seeing everyday objects used in unusual ways, that delights me and I want to share that delight with other people. We are naturally playful creatures, so for us to see a machine which is somehow playful rather than meeting an end goal - it tickles us."
Jiwi's Machines begins in November, see jiwismachines.com for further information. See the full video for The Dresser and a series promo below: