God bless America and our inalienable right to overly-specific food sensitivities. Whether your hilal/atkins vegan, lacto-ovo/high-fiber/raw, paleo/soy-sensitive or only subsist on cocaine. This sketch from my all-lady sketch team JustBoobs is for you.
Ever wonder what would happen if Spike Lee and Christopher Guest had a brainchild who wrote a character-driven procedural web series? Meet Diarra Kilpatrick, creator, writer and star of American Koko, a web series that follows Akosua Miller (Kilpatrick) and her fellow gumshoe “Race Detectives” at the E.A.R. (Everyone’s a Little Racist) agency.
On the surface a procedural about sleuthing out racism and racial ignorance in everyday political incorrectness, American Koko uses its equal-opportunity offensive sense of humor to highlight the many ways in which racism is pre-programmed into today’s American society — an objective that’s flipped delightfully on its head when Main Character Akosua falls for (gasp) a white guy. Using the microcosm of an 8th grade musical to earnestly yet satirically ask “what’s the appropriate level of blackness?” — and then actually waiting for an answer — is no easy feat. But, as Diarra so succinctly says, “you can talk about anything if it’s clever and it’s funny, and if you approach it with some irreverence.”
I had the pleasure of sitting down with Diarra and director Miles Orion Feld (both repped by CAA) to drink iced tea, discuss TV, race, making a web series, and the inspirations behind this exciting new serialized-procedural web series, whose humor manages to somehow be both irreverent, indeed — but also equal-opportunity offensive.
How would you define your use of the term “post-racial America” for dumb white folks?
D: When Obama was elected people were trying to peddle this idea that there was no race issue anymore, this was a cornerstone of how far we’d come. a) we haven’t’ gone that far, we still have a long way to go b) I’m not actually interested in a “post-racial America.”… people’s culture and ethnicity is exciting information about who they are… it’s all a way in which we celebrate life. Everyone’s culture shapes how they specifically celebrate life… I’m interested in how people do that in their own particular way. I don’t want to live in a world that’s just beige.
Are you considering attending the LA WEB FEST? Watch my 5 minute behind the scenes episode of Hollyweb – the French series on digital hollywood that I host – and get a taste of what it’s like. It’s HUGE and there are lost of interesting panels and speakers as well as creators from around the WORLD.
BUT – as the creator of the series says himself, it’s like the “Public School” of web series. Almost everyone gets in and there is a HUGE range of quality. The screening rooms are not the nicest and you get a feeling its more quantity over quality.
That being said, it’s a great way to get the word out about your series, garner awards and meet other creators and even festival runners from around the world.
I hope this short vid helps you make the decision that’s right for your series.
Hey all you creative kids out there! Just wanted to share my sketch team’s first vid: TEXT DECODER! Developed by my team JUSTBOOBS SKETCH, written by me, based on real life necessity!
Ever asked a friend for advice/analysis about a text conversation? Why not call TEXT DECODER!
#JUSTBOOBS Sketch — Funny from the Female Perspective
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Following in the footsteps of Felicia Day’s hit web series The Guild, sleek, smart Canadian web series LARPs brings to life an endearing cast of characters from yet another oft-ridiculed ‘nerd’ sub-culture: Live Action Role Playing.
Hollywood loves to throw a LARPer into the cast whenever they need an aspersers nerdy escapist, ie Christopher Mintz-Plasse in Role Models, but the LARPing community of hundreds of thousands in the US alone is, of course, far more nuanced. Read the rest of my LA Weekly Review of LARPs HERE, and check out my full interview with Director Julian Stamboulieh and writer/actor Jon Verrall about creating the show below.
Do you have an advice on anything from the conceiving to the writing to the shooting to the promoting of web series — things you learned that you wish you had known before?
JULIAN: The web is a free platform to showcase work. For some reason, most people take the word “free” as an excuse to cut corners and produce low-quality content. Take the budget, time and stress that one would usually dedicate to dealing with broadcasters and large production companies, and reinvest it into creating the best possible work you can, as it will be representing you to the potential millions of viewers we all are hoping for.
That being said, my three key suggestions are:
1) Spend as much time in pre-production as possible (for both script and organization), as an extra week of planning will cost significantly less money wasted than an avoidable production mishap.
2) Sound is the most overlooked, underappreciated aspect of production. Beautiful visuals can make a movie, but poor sound can so easily break it.
3) You can have 5-star actors, an amazing camera with a talented DOP, and the most amazing script for an established director to interpret, but if a cast and crew are hungry, the set will be one of pure anger and misery. A well-fed team is imperative to a smooth production. And I don’t mean pizza and beer, I mean healthy energy foods.
Every morning, Alex (Topher Grace) wakes up in a new body. Some days he’s a virile, chisel-jawed man; others, a prepubescent girl or an overweight hipster. Some days he can speak only Mandarin. The pain of his predicament hits home when we see that he has to measure his feet every morning to find shoes, or when he wakes up next to his sexual conquest of the night before, only to find himself a withered octogenarian.
This is the premise of The Beauty Inside, a breathtaking six-episode series that follows Alex as he tries to woo Leah (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), a young antique-store owner. Unlike the steadfast antique pieces they both love, Alex’s appearance changes daily, rendering their love impossible. Read the rest of my article here…
If schadenfreude came dressed in a yellow mini-dress and heralded from Kansas it would be Amy Kersten at the season three premiere of her digital-series, Hot Mess. Hot Mess is scripted non-fiction, the real stories of real NYC women keep together one post-it note at a time. This post Sex in the City, pre-Lena Dunham series was first hatched in 2007, and it’s come a long way baby.
NYC 2007 – Amy and I were roommates: two straight girls, two gay boys and two cats in a one-bedroom railroad apartment in a 4th floor walk-up in Brooklyn. We kept our sanity and the bed bugs at bay by playing “Enya cover band” with wooden spoons and pots in our kitchen. We laughed, because here’s the thing that can’t be conveyed in an HBO show. NYC is so inconvenient, physically uncomfortable, hot, sticky, and deeply human – that the only way to keep it together is to embrace the ridiculous. Community is forged in “Fire”, literally – I did a turn in an episode of that same name when our oven exploded.
Now ingrained in Hot Mess lore is the story of the seed money that birthed season one, compensation after a giant television fell on Amy’s head on Halloween while working at NYC’s poshest health club. The universe seemed to be whispering (loud enough to shake televisions from the sky) real life is funny. Soon Amy hooked up with co-conspirator Cheri Paige Fogleman and the series took off.