I first became aware of Chuck Graef‘s subtle and powerful music when I experienced it watching the haunting and hilarious web series Stockholm. He captured the quirky/scary tone of the series perfectly. His music helped the story hit home in a genre that’s hard to pinpoint. When I made my very first web series Josie & Dale (eek it still hasn’t been released… you know how that goes creators! I’ve already made 4 more! J&D will be out soon!) I knew immediately who I wanted to hire and was blown away by Chuck’s work. Chuck excels in his works= in every facet of the industry, but I feel his talent and passion for the digital space are unique and very worth sharing with you all. I recommend Chuck highly. You can find out more about his rates/work samples HERE. And check out our full interview below.
I first became aware of your work through web series. How did you get involved composing for web series?
The first web series I worked on was about six years ago, when the whole idea of web series was still pretty new — less than half of Americans had access to broadband. The series was “Z.E.R.O: War Of The Dead,” about a paramilitary zombie-fighting squad, kicking zombie ass. They had an actual budget, with uniforms, extras, makeup effects. The producer was a friend who was also producing Fangoria’s website. It was very fun to work on – composing for suspense and horror is like getting to drive a hot-rod.
What do you like about working on web series?
I like the bonsai quality – a webisode is about the same length as a Warner Brothers cartoon. But in that short space you’re trying to get a lot across and help create a vivid, memorable atmosphere, so you really need to make good choices. And there’s bound to be fairly dense dialog to sculpt around. All those things enforce a discipline that’s really interesting.
Many parents have found themselves struggling to explain to their child why he has to wear pants in public or why she cannot have another cookie. But only one man made a web series about it.
In May, Canadian filmmaker Matthew Clarke and director Darshan Rickhi launched their web series, Conversations With My 2-Year-Old, with the hilarious conceit that in each true-to-life episode, Clarke’s daughter, Coco, is played by a grown man. Read more of my LA Weekly article on Conversations with my Two Year old HERE, and check out her full interview with Clarke below.
How did the idea for the series come about and especially the idea for it to be a WEB SERIES as opposed to sharing the stories in a different form?
I think anyone who spends a significant amount of time around kids experiences these crazy interactions. I remember one day I sort of stepped back from one of these conversations and I thought, “This is insane. If she were an adult she’d be escorted out of the building right now, but because she’s 3 feet tall and adorable, nobody blinks an eye.” I just felt there was something really funny in that, and so I started writing down these conversations after they would happen and before long I had a collection of these “scripts.” I’ve worked in the film industry for a while now and the idea just seemed perfectly suited to a web-series. They were these short little vignettes that I felt we could execute really effectively. Also, doing a web-series is really attainable. You don’t need anyone’s permission. You just shoot it and put it up. That was really appealing to me.
Producer Antoine Disle of the Marseille Web Fest and French bank BNPP have decided to bring the best of the web to FRANCE! They produce the series HOLLYWEB (I’m the host!) and each week we go behind the scenes of a different Digital show shooting in Hollywood. This week, the hilarious show Gigi: Almost American starring Josh Gad, produced by The BBC, My Damn Channel and comedy troupe: The Lost Nomads.
Learn more about Gigi: Almost American HERE!
Somewhere between the three mile line to meet Shane Dawson and the Make-Your-Own-Mustache-Everything Booth, was the smiling, crowd-hustling team from the comedic web series Versus Valerie. Episodics were largely underrepresented this year at VidCon in Anaheim,CA, so it was a breath of fresh air (or necessary gasp of oxygen) to be able to sit down and chat with the cheerful and calm “Valerie” herself, actress Hannah Spear. Largely aware that I was one of ten people here over the age of 22, I needed to have what she and her team were having STAT. Turns out they’re just Canadian.
Walk me through the casting process for Versus Valerie. Did you know anyone from the project or was this something you got from your agent?
I think I’d lived in Toronto for two months, I didn’t even have an agent, when Stephanie Kaliner (the head writer of both Sexy Nerd Girl and Versus Valerie) saw me do an improv set at a bar and thought I might be great for the role of Valerie. She mentioned my name to Simon Fraser (Co-creator and director) and they brought me in for a screen test. I think I was the only one they auditioned, the character just stuck.
(out of 5)
Versus Valerie follows Valerie Lapomme, YouTube’s Sexy Nerd Girl, as she navigates her chaotic life, sliding between reality and her video-game and genre-bending imagination. The show was funded by Canadian Independent Production Fund for WEB SERIES! Learn more about IPF here. Watch Versus Valerie here…
“That this series trades in frequent sex dreams and love life hand-wringing while also smacking of a Nickelodeon sit-com suggests a confusion of purpose.“ Read Samara’s full review…
“The acting, production value, fantasy sequence integration, nerd-dom referential queues and storylines are all top notch. ” Read David’s full review…
“Versus Valerie trips over its own special effects, self-indulgently preferring flash-in-the-pan brouhaha over the human experience. ” Read Jacqui’s full review…
“Production values are high, but the show feels tonally inconsistent and forced. Whereas the vlog made me believe in Valerie as a real person, Versus Valerie made me question her authenticity.“ Read Abdi’s full review…
The trailer premiered today for my latest gig as the host of Hollyweb, the new series from producer Antoine Disle of the Marseille Web Fest and French bank BNPP. Each week we’ll bring you stories from the front lines of the new Hollywood. Everyone from the biggest studios to first time independent creators is turning to the web to tell their stories. In this series, we explore how these changes are happening and what shows and frontrunners to look out for. Episode 1 premieres OCTOBER 23rd, HERE at welovecinema.fr.
(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…