As the disclaimer to my LA Weekly Article this week states, I’ve known Azie Mira Dungey for a while. We studied acting at NYU together and reconnected when my fiance was living in DC a year or so ago. That’s when Azie told us about the museum theater work she’d been doing for the last few years at the Smithsonian, in addition to performing in the DC theater scene, and her most recent gig portraying Caroline Branham, George Washington’s housemaid, at Mount Vernon. Azie was full of stories about the unbelievable questions visiting tourists asked her, ranging from ignorant to blatantly racist. She had us doubled over in laughter with her recitations but also cringing and often horrified. We actually visited her at Mount Vernon and sat in on a Q&A.
This week in my column for the LA Weekly, I featured the indie web series, Friends In Therapy, which I discovered at the Hollyweb Fest. When I first saw the series, I thought the acting, writing and comedic timing was just brilliant. When I learned the show was completely improvised, I was even more impressed. All eight episodes are under two minutes each so you can watch the whole first season in about fifteen minutes, and I highly recommend it. As you probably guessed, it’s about two friends… in therapy. You can check out my LA Weekly feature on why I like the show so much HERE or in the paper today. In addition, below is my full interview with creator/stars Daryl Johnson and Joe Towne. Enjoy!
I will be totally honest. After season 1 I was totally burned out. If I never heard the word hipster again, it would be too soon. All I wanted to do was move onto my next project, which I envisioned would be – an artsy, dramatic feature film that would only be appreciated by art lovers; the opposite of Hipsterhood. But then all these little twitter and youtube comments kept popping up for me, and it was Hipsterhood fans who really wanted to know what happens to Cereal Guy and Faux Fur Girl. Like, they REALLY wanted to know, and they were upset the story was over. It wasn’t an overwhelming amount of comments, but I started to feel a responsiblity to my fans.
And so, I got over myself, and I wrote season 2. Believe me when I say season 2 is not about money, or fame, or even career-building. Season 2 is happening because the fans made me realize that the story of Hipsterhood is not over.
British web series The Vessel, captures the hilarity, awkwardness, confusion and joy of what happens when you ask your best friend to be your surrogate.
Rory and Mike are a gay couple ready to have a family, and they ask their best friend Kim to help them out. This may sound like a familiar TV show set up (I’m happy to say – go 2012), but with the expertly dry British wit of the show, the fact that all the characters speak directly to the camera, (Kim, the surrogate is the camera), and the choice to move through all nine months in ten short episodes, The Vessel tackles this modern fairy tale in a very different way than The New Normal, and perhaps one you’ll prefer
I spoke with producer/writer Chloe Seddon and producer/writer/co-star Phillip Whiteman about writing and producing the show as well as what the web series world is like across the pond.
When you call a tow truck, things are usually at a low point. If we’re going full
cliche, it’s usually pouring rain, your heel just broke and you’re crazy-late for an
important meeting. But Bill & Sons Towing is a call you’ll happily make. In fact, you’ll stay on the line for the full 10 episodes of this hilarious – and sometimes surprisingly poignant – web series about a floundering tow truck company run by four bickering brothers. I interviewed co-creator Mark DeAngelis about the project, and here’s what he had to say…
Squaresville chronicles the misadventures of two awkward, inquisitive teen girls Ether and Zelda, growing up in suburbia. The creator/writer/director Matt Enlow, a USC grad, already has several web series under his belt including Mountain Men and Engaged. Matt, who also works for Strike TV and Comedy Central is a master of the minisode. In addition to the more traditional (as traditional as something on the web can be) 3-6 minute episodes of his shows, he also makes minisodes to capitalize on the click-happy landscape of the web. These help build the world of his show with additional scripted content, offer interviews with actors and behind the scenes footage and generally get viewers involved in ways that could only happen on the web. I highly recommend minisodes as an addition to any series and Matt sets a great example of how to do it. Matt blogs about web media at www.mrmattenlow.com. Enjoy our chat!
My Gimpy Life – What Works/What Doesn’t
My Gimpy Life is an episodic comedy series created by and starring Teal Sherer, loosely based on her real life awkward adventures as a disabled actress in Hollywood. Sherer is best known for playing Venom on Felicia Day’s web series The Guild. The show is written by Gabe Uhr.
I’ve never seen a show with this concept. I’ve never heard these stories. And I want to. That’s a great place to start. Sherer identified that she had a unique perspective and found a way to share her stories through a comedic lens. All that’s awesome, as is the production value. Thanks to her friends in the web world and strong concept she was able to get funding up front to make it look great. That being said, only two of the five episodes from season one work from a story format standpoint and that’s too bad since this show has so much going for it.
Here’s one that works. See below for why.
Corey Moss, VP of Digital Entertainment at production/ management mogul Principato-Young talks with me about creating and selling content for the web including their latest series Game Shop.
How did you end up with the bad ass gig of VP of Digital for Principato-Young, and what is that exactly?
I came up through MTV news, so I had background of creating short form low-budget content. After that I worked at Yahoo for about three years, where I developed web shows. The business changed while I was there and brands began defining the content we created. It started that we would create content then a brand would come on to finance and sort of stick their logo on there. But when brands started coming to us with shows they wanted made and driving the creative side, I didn’t see that as being a successful business or a business I wanted to be a part of.
My belief is that to make great digital content, you have to have the talent drive the project. Soon after that, I was lucky enough to be introduced to Peter and Paul the founders of Principato-Young and launched their digital division. I work with all of our clients: actors, writers, sketch groups etc. to create content. We take that content out and find it homes and financing in the digital space, then we produce it.
“To make great digital content, you have to have the talent drive the project.”
Really excited about IGN START’s new web series comedy Game Shop. The show is produced by Principato Young Entertainment and written writers-room style by head writer Andrew Secunda (Conan O’Brien) and the stars Brea Grant (Dexter, Heroes), Colton Dunn (Parks and Recreation, The League), Barak Hardley (Greek), and Jordan Morris (Fuel TV). At the Digital Hollywood conference last week, I heard some wise words spoke by Morris regarding web series, that they should “have the pace of a comedy sketch and the beats of a television show,” and it looks like Game Shop promises to be just that. Check back tomorrow when I post my interview with Corey Moss, Game Shop producer and VP of Digital Content at Principato Young.
Real life actor/writer couple Allyn Rachel and Patrick Carlyle decided to make a slice of life web series about the weird things couples do when no one else is around. Eight episodes in and they sold the show to FOX with Ellen Degeneres Producing. Read my interview with them last year when the series had just started HERE. And keep an eye out for my follow up interview with them about turning their web series into a network pilot.