Anyone who’s watched an episode of Beached Az, following the surreal exploits of a whale washed up on a Kiwi shore, might be surprised to learn the animation was created and voiced by three Aussies from Sydney beach suburb Bronte. The comedy cartoons, with their over-the-top accents, have since become a YouTube sensation, racking up over 3m hits. So, with a new DVD on the shelves, we sat down at the ABC with creators Anthony MacFarlane, Nick Boshier and Jarod Green.

How did Beached Az get started? NB: It was my idea, the beached whale. I was living with Anthony at the time and I said I have this idea for a beached whale. He goes, “Sick, what if a seagull comes into the mix”, and I was like, “genius”. Then he offered me a chip and I was like, “Bro, I don’t eat chips”.

AM: We used to run separate businesses out of the same lounge room, so we would be together a lot. We would go off on tangents in Vietnamese accents or Dutch accents and we just happened to be in a week of New Zealand accents.

Is it true that two of you met while one of you tried to steal the other’s girlfriend… NB: When I first met Jarod around 15, he was that guy at the party I saw all the time but never spoke to. The only interaction I had with him was through him trying to pick up my girlfriend…JG: Successfully. NB: …successfully. I didn’t have anything to do with him but I interacted through him being a deviant. A sexual deviant. But then again he was successful. She was easily swept up by Jarod – he’s a good-looking guy.

How much work goes into making a one-minute episode? JG: The original took two days, so we got excited and thought if we made 20 more it would equal 40 days, but it actually ended up taking 10 months. It takes around about two weeks for every minute of a cartoon to get written, performed, recorded, animated, edited, sound mixed and everything in between.

Who’s your favourite character? JG: I always liked scripting the snail and the sea slug. It was one of those scripts that from the first idea was a laugh and a pleasure to write. AM: The walrus was a character Nick and I had been playing with for about five years. That Aussie ocker, fast-talking Chopper Reid-guy who kinda thinks his best mates are inanimate objects.

You recorded the second season in a studio didn’t you? AM: We found our own space, set up an office and our own recording studio that has a thousand whales stapled to the walls, which is awesome. It’s a comfortable space, somewhere we can come together and be creative. What the first one did for us was help us. When we decided to monetise it through merchandising it gave us a little bit of income to create more.

Do the Kiwis complain at all? AM: Nah, they love it. I think it’s a similar culture that we have with the Kiwis. There is a healthy rivalry between the English, the South Africans, the Kiwis and the Aussies that we can all have a laugh at each other and it’s all good fun.

Are any of your characters based on real people? JG: Probably all of them. We definitely look for big characters. These simple animations need big characters behind them to grab your attention. NB: The walrus was definitely Chopper. AM: Actually, it’s the Heath version of the Bana version of Chopper.

So how’s it going with the merchandise? JG: It’s an interesting model. We give away the show online and try to build as many fans as we can in any capacity, with the image that the more people love it, the more people will be inclined to wear a t-shirt or a cap or buy an iPhone app. NB: We figure if we can give people as much stuff as we can afford creatively, they may in turn want to interact by owning a little bit of it. It’s a nice exchange. Then if we make a little money it’s not like we buy cars, we might buy a better microphone so we can record more stuff. It enables us to continue to create.

The Beached Az Compete Az Collection DVD is out now, through ABC