How to Write a Web Series (or anything!) For YOU to Star In

Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson, creators and stars of web series turned TV show: Broad City

Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson, creators and stars of web series turned TV show: Broad City

So you’re an actor. And everyone’s telling you to ‘make your own work’. “Make a web series,” they say. “Be like those Broad City chicks. Be like that Awkward Black Girl. Be like those Workaholic guys. You know what you should do? You should be like that Lena Dunham girl and write your own Hollywood Ticket.”

“Great!” you say. “Thanks a lot. But how the hell am I supposed to do that? Where am I supposed to start?”

Last weekend, I discovered Where. To. Start…. The Write Your Own Starring Role Intensive with Melinda Hill and Laura House. This one-day intensive changed my life. I am not kidding. I showed up at the class with a notepad and a dream – discovering how to meld my acting self with my writing self and figure out where I fit in the comedy landscape.

I left with not only that HUGE question answered, but a fully fleshed out sit-com character to write for myself, the premise to the series, a cast of hilarious and theme driven supporting characters and a bunch of story ideas that I felt ready to start writing immediately into a web series and TV version of the show. IN SIX HOURS. Are you kidding me? No. And there were snacks.

Melinda Hill

Melinda Hill

I have been in awe of Melinda Hill (Late, Late Show with Craig Ferguson, Bonnie Hunt Show, BBC’s World Stands Up ) and her stand-up for a while now because her comedic perspective is so clear. In her act, she plays an alternate version of herself, at times bubbly, naïve, at others sarcastically shallow and always romantically challenged. She’s hilarious and she seamlessly translates her various honed comedic personas into her work — including her award-winning web series Romantic Encounters and her series produced by FunnyOrDie, The Program. Comedians want to work with her and execs want to cast her. She’s selling her brand. Just like that Lena Dunham girl and all those YouTubers your Mom reads about in the Sunday Magazine section and then leaves you an annoying message about. I couldn’t think of anyone better to teach me how to find my comedic self. And then…. It got even better.

Laura House

Laura House

Melinda’s partner in crime for the class, who actually takes the lead as an instructor, is veteran TV Writer, actress and stand-up Laura House (Mom, Samantha Who?, The George Lopez Show, Mad Love, etc.). She’s not only an incredible writer/performer who has sold numerous projects to ABC, FX and Nickelodeon. She also already starred as a comedic character based on herself in MTV’s first scripted series, Austin Stories.

As an instructor/guide/comedic voice guru, she’s unstoppable. She’s fast, savvy and insightful when it comes to character, structure and story. She’s honest about what works and what doesn’t and she’s full of ideas and options NOT just problems. She has crafted an invaluable worksheet to guide you through the day in creating a show around yourself. It’s a framework for brainstorming you can use again and again.

Another inspiring writer/creator Issa Rae & the cast of Awkward Black Girl.

Another inspiring creator/star Issa Rae & the cast of Awkward Black Girl.

If you’re in search of your comedic voice and ready to hunker down and write yourself that “Hollywood Ticket”, I can’t recommend these ladies enough. The clarity, creativity and insight of these two is unprecedented as is the productivity you will experience in the class. Seriously, someone said it was the most productive they had been in 40 years. This 6 hour intensive may very well change your life.

Check out the WRITE FOR YOURSELF website for more resources, inspiration and info about upcoming intensives. You can also email: TigerLilyClasses@gmail.com for more info.

Austin Film Festival Announces New Digital Series Competition

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AFF ANNOUNCES NEW SCRIPTED DIGITAL SERIES COMPETITION FOR 2015 FESTIVAL, OCT. 29-NOV. 5, 2015

The Austin Film Festival has always been an incredible place for TV and Screenwriters to attend panels, win competitions and hobnob with the movers and shakers of media. This year, the festival is opening up its competition to DIGITAL CREATORS for the first time.

You can submit a FULLY PRODUCED series OR a SCRIPT for a series. I’m sure AFF will continue its reputation for discovering new gems, rewarding the best in the biz and launching careers. This is a festival I would highly recommend submitting to.

Find out more on the AFF website HERE. If you’re looking for inspiration for a series, check out my picks for BEST web series of 2014 for the LAWeekly HERE.

No One Really Has It Together. Interview with LIFE COACH series creators Bayne Gibby & Kal Bennett

LIFE COACH episode 1 from Full Belly Films on Vimeo.

Some people have life all figured out, hell some of them are so confident about their fabulous life choices, they charge other people money in exchange for guiding them only the right path.

In truth, we’re all just big bags of bones, flesh, insecurity and insanity. OK maybe that’s too harsh. We’ve all got our own issues and challenges, but maybe each of us has also figured a few things out for ourselves. The new web series LIFE COACH, created by Bayne Gibby (The Comeback, Enlightened) and Kal Bennett (The Mentalist, How to Get Away with Murder) and starring Gibby, Bennett and Emily Bicks (Castle, Step Up) explores how a troubled woman, a life coach and her teenage daughter end up helping each other get through life just a bit better.

Gibby and Bennett took the time to answer a few questions about how they tackled the world of indie filmmaking in order to produce this awkwardly funny, honest and charming series.

A note from the creators regarding their answers to my questions: “Bayne Gibby and Kal Bennett took their rambling answers and compiled them into cohesive paragraphs. But, if you’d like to, please imagine that we talk like this– in unison and never once saying “like” as a useless filler.)

How did you two meet and why do you think you make good creative partners?

The two of us met in Shari Shaw’s acting class about 6 years ago. We cracked each other up. In 2011, we made a very low-key short film together called I’M OPEN, where one friend gives the other relationship advice and it goes horribly awry. We shot it in 3 takes in front of Bayne’s apartment. Bayne’s mailman literally interrupted one take to hand her some mail. (He was a natural, but Bayne panicked and ruined the take. Kal was disappointed in her.) People really responded to the short and we realized the dynamic we had on screen was funny and interesting. We began brainstorming what else we could make together.

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Steph’s L.A. Weekly Valentines Day Series of the Week: Online Daters & Swipe Click Bang

After roommates, dating is probably the second most saturated subject matter in digital video, but these two series manage to stand out from the horde. Read my full review of both series for the LA Weekly HERE or in the paper this week.

Click on the PHOTO for my interview with the creators of each featured series. Click the NAME of the series to watch it online.

Online Daters

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Swipe, Click Bang

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