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.
Interview with Jim Meskimen and Ross Marquand
Interview with Ben Shelton – Writer/Director
(out of 5)
Teachers is an episodic comedy web series from The Onion and Chicago based improv and sketch group The Katydids. Each short episode follows the trials of a team of elementary school teachers facing overbearing parents, bratty children, and their own demons. Watch Teachers…
“What makes this series stand out is how much character it’s able to squeeze out from so little running time. Some of that comes from using a real school location with real elementary school-aged kids, but more so it is from the beautiful, realistic yet comedically-heightened acting from the six lead women. ” Read Igor’s full review…
“There are four main components to a successful comedic web series: brevity, timing, believably, and originality. Teachers makes the grade in all categories.” Read Erin’s full review…
” Each sketch is stand alone funny while also connecting with the other stories to create an appropriately hysterical character arc for each teacher; no easy feat for sketch.” Read Danielle’s full review…
“It’s no surprise that the Onion is the engine driving Teachers with such finesse. Like the dummy newspaper, Teachers has a clever way of tricking its audience into submitting to its point of view.” Read Lorelei’s full review…
My good friends over at the web series school Creator Up are hosting an awesome event called the Web Series and Video Hackatack. Check out the info below if you have an awesome idea for a web series and but want a bit more guidance on how to make it and who to do it with! You can also visit their website for more info HERE.
You have an amazing Web Series idea, but don’t have the crew, the guidance, or experience to get it off the ground. Before you stash away that incredible idea in that dark place where all ideas go to die, come join CreatorUp in its first ever weekend Hackathon! Here’s what you’ll get:
- Early access to on demand courses that will jumpstart your knowledge of Storytelling/Production/Distribution – the trifecta of Web Series Success! (Valued at $125)
- Meet crew, and collaborate with other Creators to get your projects off the ground.
- Mentors will be on site each day of the Hackathon to give you guidance, and answer any questions you might have.
- And most importantly, it’ll be a blast! We’ll lock you up in a room for 2.5 days, where you’ll have no choice but to create that amazing idea that’s been gnawing at you for months!
What are the deets on the dates of the event?
FRIDAY – October 25th – Red Lion Tavern – 7-9PM – Meet & Greet & Pitch
- Pitch ideas & vote
- Selected individuals/partners form groups
SATURDAY – October 26th – General Assembly (1520 2nd Street, Santa Monica CA 90401) 10AM – 6PM
- Develop Story with groups
- Write screenplay
- Develop production plan
- Beginning shooting
SUNDAY – October 27th – TBD
- Complete shooting
- Complete editing
- Show & Tell Screening
You get course access to:
How to Develop & Pitch Your Web Series
How to Prep Your Production
How to Distribute your Web Series
Here are the questions you’ll want to start thinking about?
1. Are you pitching a show idea, or hoping to crew-up? If you’re crewing up, what position do you hope to fill: DP, Editor, Actor/Actress, Director, Writer?
2. Have you gone to film school? If so, where? What was your experience?
3. What do you hope to accomplish from this weekend’s event?
4. Have you shot a web series or short film before?
5. What challenges do you currently face, or are facing, getting your project off the ground?
6. If your project is selected after the night’s pitch, what role do you intend to play in making the project (i.e. Writer, Director, DP, etc.)?
7. Do you have equipment, camera, editing software, or otherwise that you intend to bring with you during the weekend’s event? If so, what?
8. What is the idea you’re pitching?
Want to know more? Email: Sara@creatorup.com to apply.
(out of 5)
Hired by a certifiable “genius,” Dave must navigate a maze of eccentric colleagues to run a successful (or even functional) research and testing facility. Watch Research.
“The series is shot professionally and beautifully, in well-decorated sets, but none of that matters when the characters don’t act like human beings.” Read Igor’s full review…
“The comedy beats are well paced and set up some amazing characters, but to the chagrin of the viewer, the series then goes “full retard.” Read David’s full review…
“Is the series about anything? Not sure. But it’s tremendously fun, and the acting and directing is confident and primetime ready.” Read Samara’s full review…
“At its worst, the show feels like a network sitcom that assaults us with its weirdness… Still, it manages moments of quirky charm and its capable cast often rises above their iffy material.” Read Abdi’s full review…
(out of 5)
STOP THE BLEEDING! is a comedic, mockumentary-styled web series about a dysfunctional non-profit that serves the bleeding disorder community. When sardonic TV producer FRANKLIN (Dru Johnston) created a reality show granting its winner the opportunity to start an NPO, he never imagined that winner would be a guy like SPENCER (Patrick James Lynch), the goofy young hemophiliac with boundless energy & absurd notions of advocacy. Alongside happy-go-lucky BENNY (Seth Kirschner) & the ingenious do-gooder JACQUI (Kate Dalton), if this tenuous group of misfits can learn to work together, they may just be exactly what health care needs. Watch Stop the Bleeding…
“Lynch manages to take comedy archetypes to a delightfully silly level while still keeping them believable. These oddly comforting characters are the kind an audience can really root for” Read Danielle’s full review…
“The entire likeable cast has great timing, is well directed, and the punchy writing gives the characters great opportunity for range.” Read Erin’s full review…
“With high production value, excellent actors, a quirky framework at a bleeding disorder non-for-profit borne out of a reality show competition, this web series should be a slam dunk. It only falls slightly short because it lacks – excuse the pun – blood and guts. .” Read Jacqui’s full review…
“Each webisode far exhausts the audience’s attention span for this forgettable, translucent world. The stakes are all over the place and rarely fully developed. ” Read Abdi’s full review…
(out of 5)
Wallflowers is a web comedy about a support group for people who can’t get dates. With the help of dating guru Janice, they’ve vowed to turn things around… even if it kills them. Watch Wallflowers
There’s lots of ways to use YouTube to pursue your creative passions or launch your career. Here’s my profile of a modern comedienne who I think is tackling the world of new media brilliantly and who I personally think should be a star from the tiny to mega big screen. With over 1.4 million subscribers to her channel, Helbig is one of the most popular personalities on YouTube. Her deadpan delivery, master comedic timing both as a performer and editor and her dedication to building her brand through daily content won her Best First Person Series and Personality of the Year at the Streamy Awards, the Internet’s Oscars, this year. If you’re interested in the YouTube world, she’s a great entrepreneur to learn from. Check out my feature on her in the LA Weekly HERE.
(out of 5)
The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl is an award-winning web series that follows the life of an awkward Black girl named ”J”. Watch The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl
(out of 5)
“The Guild is a independent sitcom web series about a group of online gamers. The show started in the late summer of 2007, and for the first season was financed solely by Paypal donations from fans. Since season 2, The Guild has been distributed by Xbox Live and Microsoft and sponsored by Sprint. Episodes vary from 3-8 minutes in length, and follow the Guild members’ lives online and offline. The show is now in its sixth season. “ Watch THE GUILD.