Steph’s LA Weekly Web Series Pick of the Week: Wimpole Street

How did your background as a playwright influence the writing?

Short ‘webisodes’ are obviously very different from stageplays, but they both rely on good plotting, dialogue and structure. When I write a play I make sure I know my characters and I have a sense of structure before I even start writing – I did the same for Wimpole Street.

What web series do you like/what influenced you in the making of the show?

My friend Philip Whiteman made the series The Vessel. I loved the show, and he really inspired me to make a series of my own. He was so passionate about the web world – it was infectious.

How did you get such gorgeous costumes and set design?

My co-producer Rhiannon, who is also an actress, was in a play at the National Theatre (London) when we first started rehearsing and told me that the National also rented out old costumes. Every costume you see was once on the National theatre stage! Liz Evans, our costume supervisor, helped to choose the costumes, and our brilliant costume designer Emily Barratt made some other bits and pieces, and also designed everyone’s hair. Frances White, our production designer, really researched 1870 London and thought about every detail – from the Aspidistra in the background to the Victorian copper pots.

Catherine Skinner and Sam Wilkin as Gertrude and Matthew in Wimpole Street

Catherine Skinner and Sam Wilkin as Gertrude and Matthew in Wimpole Street

What was it like acting in the piece as Daisy? How did you get the right accent down?

It was so much fun playing Daisy, she’s so sweetly clueless – so inept, and yet so sure she knows what she’s doing. It was just fun. I didn’t want her accent to be too broad- just enough to suggest that she worked below stairs – a mild cockney.

Would you consider this a full comedy or a comedy/mystery? What influenced the tone and how would you describe it?

I see it predominately as a comedy -with a bit of mystery in the plot. I loved the British version of ‘The Office’ – what impressed me was the subtlety of the comedy – the way the characters gave themselves away without knowing it. I think Wimpole’s tone is softer and less acerbic, but hopefully that subtlety and nuance is still there.

When directing the piece, how did you get all your actors on the same page tonally? Did you use Downton Abbey as a touchstone or other comedies or dramas?

We rehearsed before the shoot days so everyone could meet each other and get on the same page. We certainly discussed Downton as a great point of reference for character research – also Downton’s precursors – the British tv show ‘Upstairs Downstairs’ and the film ‘Gosford Park’.

Writer/Director Caitlin Shannon and Rhiannon Oliver as Daisy and Clarabel

Writer/Director Caitlin Shannon and Rhiannon Oliver as Daisy and Clarabel

Would you say this a parody or homage to Downton Abbey at all?

I am certainly a Downton Abbey fan, and I’m sure in some ways the show influenced me in writing Wimpole. I love seeing the whole life of a household from the bottom to the top. So, in that way I would say it’s an omage. It takes place about forty years before Downton starts but that’s because I love Victoriana!

Any funny stories stand out from shooting/what happens when you’re on a shoestring budget?

We didn’t have the budget to shoot on a soundstage or in a Victorian museum (as we initially wanted to do ) We shot in a regular London home, – if the frame had been any wider you would have seen a tv and shelves full of CDs. The craziest thing to happen was that the doorbell rang on cue in Ep 2 . Our sound mixer was going to create a doorbell sound in post, but when we came to shoot the moment, the bell actually rang. It was a neighbour returning a set of keys to the homeowners. It was bonkers – that’s when you think there really are movie gods. The dog you see at the end of Ep 3 is there because the homeowners were dog sitting – I thought he made a great Victorian character.

How are web series regarded in England? Big following? People have never heard of them? People watch some?

I think there is a growing audience for web series in the UK. Granted there are still people who don’t know what a web series is, but I think all that will change in the next few years- it’s certainly a growing crowd. And now we have our own web series festival as part of the Raindance film fest in London.

What has been hardest/most surprising about promoting the show: festivals/where to distribute etc.?

I think most web creators will say that growing your audience is the biggest challenge, and I’m certainly no different. It’s been brilliant to see that word of mouth, and on line reviews have helped our audience to grow, but we’ve also had to put in consistent hard work on all social media platforms – it’s so true that when the edit is finished the work has barely begun! On the plus side, I had no idea that the world of web festivals existed when I started making the show. It’s been so fun going to festivals and connecting with other web creators. That was truly a lovely surprise, and a great way to learn from other creators and share ideas.

If you enjoyed this interview, check out the rest of Steph’s LA Weekly Web Series picks of the week HERE.

The Tangled Web Team Reviews Young Couple

2.75 CLICKS   
(out of 5)

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youngcouple After failed starter marriages, Nic and Chris struggle to connect between their day jobs and night lives. When Nic’s ex-husband, Mike, appears to rekindle their college band, Chris wrestles to give his wife the space to be a “true” artist, without letting her get away from the plans he’s set for their future. Watch Young Couple here…

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ERIN-244Unbelievable, undirected, and over-saturated with non-plot, this series is either so genius it’s over my head or just a total egocentric jack-off.  Read Erin’s full review…

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“There is a lack of confidence in the relationship dynamic that permeates the series and leaves the episodes unbalanced and inauthentic. ”  Read Jacqui’s full review…
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sc07ed7e45“The show falters when it enters overly dramatic territory, veering too close to melodrama in the season finale. The creative team is daringly going for both your heart and your funny bone, but they ultimately have trouble balancing the two.” Read Abdi’s full review…

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The Tangled Web Team Reviews Dear Son

2.5 CLICKS 
(out of 5)

2.75 clicks



A found footage comedy in which an expectant father records life lessons for his unborn son as his marriage collapses around him. 
Watch Dear Son here…

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“Sarah is written as unapologetically slutty and mean, and we can only assume that our anti-hero is dumb or delusional to have been with her so long.” Read Anne’s full review…

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“Berson proves to have absolutely no shame but even this feels put on and not quite scratching past the surface. The awkward pacing doesn’t help either and the moments that are actually supposed to be unbearable become boring instead.”  Read Danielle’s full review…

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While his stage of life makes him an empathetic character (who doesn’t feel sorry for the average joe getting screwed over by the hot slutty girl, right?). His behavior unfortunately makes him less likable.” Read Lorelei’s full review…

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Show Your Willie at the Digital Stage.org!

shakespeare-birthdayShakespeare turns 450 this year and YouTube turns 9. What’s YouTuber Brendan Bradley (Squatters, #WalkofShame) doing about it? Doing what YouTubers do best: Digital Creation and Collaboration!

Brendan’s gift to the bard and the YouTube community is bringing to life 450 of Shakespeare’s best speeches and sonnets collectively upload on The Digital Stage before April 23rd — Shakespeare’s birthday. This will create the LARGEST ONLINE ARCHIVE of performed classical speeches in history!

What an awesome gift! And you can be part of it. SHOW THE YOUTUBE COMMUNITY YOUR WILLIE [SHAKESPEARE]! Join the #Shakes450 collaboration by uploading your own monologue at: http://www.TheDigitalStage.org or by emailing Shakes450 a video at thedigitalstage@gmail.com

 

The Digital Stage is a collaborative channel dedicated to exploring & experimenting with live performance art in the digital space. Check out The Digital Stage on YouTube, Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr.

What the heck is this project?

Shakes450 is a collaborative transmedia project to collect 450 Shakespeare monologues for his upcoming “birthday”April 23rd. So far I’ve captured almost 100 monologues from actors I’ve worked with online and now it’s up to the audience to send in their own so we can get the rest. My hope is people from all over the world will continue to contribute monologues throughout the year! If we succeed, it will be the largest online compilation of Shakespeare performances on YouTube!

What inspired you to create Shakes450?

I got my start performing and producing in the New York theater scene. After the past few years of producing Webseries, I was itching to get back to my roots and get back on stage. But I wanted to find a way to integrate digital media into live performance. When I was studying in London, for Shakespeare’s birthday, The Globe theater opened their doors and allowed anyone to perform a monologue on stage. It was one of the coolest experiences of my life, performing for three tiers of screaming Brits. So I thought it’d be fun to invite some of the greatest web creators to give it a go and show a side of their work that the YouTube audience rarely gets to see.

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Steph’s LA Weekly Web Series Pick of the Week: Next Time on Lonny – Full Interview with Alex Anfanger & Dan Schimpf

As the final credits on the fictional reality show Lonny roll, the doe-eyed, mild-mannered protagonist waxes poetic about his hopes for his bowl-ing-alley date with Bethany. Then comes the teaser for the next episode: Lonny and Bethany’s date is interrupted by a spaceship that bombs New York City! Lonny is enslaved by a desperate race of blue aliens and must work in the salt mines until the aliens are defeated by their nemesis, the Bardox.

Who wouldn’t want to tune in for that? Well, you can’t. But each quick episode of Next Time on Lonny dishes up an equally hilarious, riveting, genre-bending take on where Lonny’s life will go next. Check out my full article on Next Time on Lonny in the LA Weekly HERE and my interview with writer/star Alex Anfanger and writer/director Dan Schimpf about how they made the show below.

How did the idea for Next Time on Lonny come about?

We were originally working on a different script for a television pilot that featured insane and totally unrelated “Next Time On” segments.  However, rather than shoot an entire television pilot (which we really couldn’t afford), we decided to pursue a more manageable web-series that focused solely on those segments. As we started to discuss that concept, we thought it would be funny to pair really extreme circumstances with a mindless and pointless reality TV show. It also seemed like such a great platform to showcase different genres and styles for us — Alex as an actor, and Dan as a director.

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LA Weekly Web Series of the Week: The Impression Guys – Full interviews with Writer/Director Ben Shelton, & Actors Jim Meskimen and Ross Marquand

Jim Meskimen and Ross Marquand have successful careers as celebrity impressionists. Their Walt and Jesse from Breaking Bad will blow your mind. But along with dexterous vocal cords, they share the frequent desire to drop their lucrative party tricks and perform as themselves. Or, rather, as fictional versions of themselves.

The duo’s real-life struggle to be recognized as dramatic actors is the subject of writer-director Ben Shelton’s scripted, TV-length, online comedy series The Impression Guys for Rainn Wilson’s YouTube channel, Soul Pancake. Check out the first episode above and click on one of the pics below to see my full interview with writer/director Ben Shelton or the impression guys themselves, Jim and Ross. You can read my full review of the show for LA Weekly HERE.

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Interview with Jim Meskimen and Ross Marquand

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Interview with Ben Shelton – Writer/Director

Want a free HD screening of your web series in front of industry pros?

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The 4th Tuesday of every month (Yep, including tomorrow) the Westside Comedy Theater in Santa Monica hosts The Web Show Show.

They screen episodes of six different series on their HD projector for a panel of industry pro judges, who offer FEEDBACK. For example, TOMORROW’S show judges are: Jermaine Johnson from 3 Arts Entertainment, Kristin Gerhart from Cutters LA, and Patrick Raymond from LD Entertainment

Following the pattern of Channel 101, the audience will vote on which creator gets to show another episode at the next screening and they a gift card for something yummy.

It’s FREE to submit your series — none of this festival entry fee crap. And it’s $5.00 to attend.  Bring all your friends and show off your show! Obviously… that would be stacking the votes, but hey, friends are fans too right?

If you’re creating a series, or thinking about creating a series, here’s a great place to go watch and learn how different types of shows play for an audience – what works, what doesn’t, why? You could meet some cool people whose work you really like! You could get a boost of confidence about your own work! HERE’S where you buy tix.

Check out The Web Show Show’s facebook page for more info.

And thanks to Ted Evans of the web series Funemployed for bringing The Web Show to TW’s attention.

The Tangled Web Team Reviews Indie Web Series: Gringolandia

3.25 CLICKS 
(out of 5)

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Gringolandia is a bi-lingual comedy web series about a Chilean in New York, living with his girlfriend and trying to ‘make it’ in the big city. Watch Gringolandia here…

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“Ross’ directorial debut hints at a bright future. He catches all the chemistry and heart of his ensemble amongst the broad humor of their eccentricities and cultural misconceptions. ” Read Steph’ full review…

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“It is refreshing how completely the actors throw themselves into the outlandish, one-sided characters that they play.” Read Anne’s full review…

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“Peter (Koke Santa Ana) and his American sweetheart Stacey (Schenider) have a playful chemistry and their lost in translation moments are adorable.”  Read Danielle’s full review…

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“Though its humor mostly aims for slapstick, Gringolandia doesn’t seem completely unaware of its potential for serrated-edged satire” Read Lorelei’s full review…

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Topical Musical Parody Web Series Installment #2: SHOULD I FRACK YOU?


Ever wonder what the F is with fracking? Why are people freaking out on both sides of the aisle? Check out my latest topical musical parody and decide for yourself. It’s called SHOULD I FRACK YOU? — ala Cee Lo Green’s FORGET YOU.

This is part of my mission addressed in THIS POST, that if the powers that be in Hollywood wont let you in the club, create your own club!

Also, if you think this vid is funny or important please share!

xo

Steph

Full Interview with VICE MAGAZINE’S Gavin McInnes about his Digital Feature: How To Be A Man

L-R: Liam Aiken, Gavin McInnes

L-R: Liam Aiken, Gavin McInnes

Mark McCarthy (Gavin McInnes) is dying of breast cancer, which means he has only a matter of months to capture his greatest fatherly advice on film for his unborn son. Ad-vice like: how to fight a bully, how to shoot heroin and how to give a woman amazing oral sex. That last item is a solo performance by McInnes (in a crowded bar) that will have men taking notes for eternity. How to Be a Man, which premieres March 15 on Netflix and digital download, is the second feature from Fox Digital Studios. Check out my review of the film for the LA Weekly HERE and read my full interview with co-writer and star, Gavin McInnes, below.

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