A Web Series for Those of Us Who Work at Home

HOME/OFFICE trailer from Good Worker on Vimeo.

Technology has made it possible for over a million people to become independent workers in the last year alone. Many of you web series creators may be among them! We know you’ve got that entrepreneurial spirit. But too much freedom can sometimes bring it’s own ups and downs. In between bouts of productivity, independent workers and filmmakers James Darling and Josh Shayne decided to make a web series about it: HOME/OFFICE. The first season of the series explores common challenges such as winning a client, avoiding distraction, trying to stay in-shape, dating online, and meeting intense deadlines.

As web series creators, we’re always interested when an indie series finds funding before it launches. Isn’t that the dream? HOME/OFFICE was able to do so, partnering with very specific brands DreamHost and Backblaze. Here’s creator James Darling explaining the smart way they went about funding the series:

“We self-financed these initial 8 episodes and shot them over 7 straight days at Josh’s apartment in Brooklyn. Once the episodes were finished, we reached out to brands that shared our audience–freelancers, designers, and entrepreneurs–and offered them ad spots after each episode and promotion on the show’s website.

Basically we’ve managed to put the show “in the black” before airing a single episode — which, as you know, is quite unusual for an independent web series.  We’re hoping to replicate and expand upon this model with our 2nd season and future shows–ideally lining up the budget with brand partners/sponsors BEFORE production.”

Good Worker co-founders Darling and Shayne are both graduates from NYU’s acclaimed Tisch School of the Arts film program. They are already accomplished filmmakers and screenwriters in the traditional sense: Darling’s screenplay In Motion won an Alfred P. Sloan Prize in 2005 and his feature film project The Pilot was awarded the Richard Vague Production Grant from the Kanbar Institute of Film & Television in 2015. Shayne’s 2013 screenplay You’re the Ones was a semi-finalist in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Nicholl Fellowship in Screenwriting and his short film Le Voyeur aired on IFC in 2007. In 2009, they were hired by Stetson Hats to travel cross-country and film their quest to deliver an inaugural hat to the President.

Learn more about Good Worker and watch the full series Home/Office at Home/Office.tv

LA Weekly Web Series Pick: The Smalls Family

David Catalano’s web series The Smalls Family, features a sit-com-esque suburban clan with one twist: their dialog is a word-for-word transcription of songs by platinum record-selling hip-hop artist, Notorious B.I.G.

“Some people wanna stick me like fly paper, neighbor!” fumes teen Katie Smalls to her parents over a pizza dinner in their upper-middle class home. A jealous friend just texted her at “5:46 in the evening” and now she’s steamin’, “Why they wanna stick me for my cream?” Check out Steph’s full review of The Smalls Family for the L.A. Weekly HERE and continue reading for her full interview with creator David Catalano.

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A Web Series Experiment! Your Click = Cash Money!

Last year, I shot a pilot episode and trailer for a quirky little travel web series with my fellow comedian and adventurer, Robert Boesel: #LAblocks. We wanted to explore LA like no one else had — BLOCK BY BLOCK.  We wanted to pinpoint the most interesting INTERSECTIONS of Los Angeles, in order to help visitors and locals alike get the most bang for their buck and SATISFACTION for their STEP.

How awesome would it be to know EXACTLY where to go to spend a whole afternoon or day in one awesome neighborhood of LA, no driving around necessary? But as LA enthusiasts, even WE were shocked at the incredible amount of art, architecture, events, history, people, stores and stories we discovered at each block.

We shot a trailer and a pilot episode and did our best to find a brand to sponsor our incredibly well shot, reasonably priced show. And… no takers. We tried for almost a year! But we LOVE this show and we care about it SO MUCH that we weren’t gonna see it die.

We decided to RELEASE the Trailer yesterday and ask friends and fans to SPREAD THE WORD and help us build our subscriber base to show the world — and brands with the same adventurous, travel/culture conscious spirit as we have — that the world wants this show!

When we get to 1,000 subscribers, we’ll release our FIRST EPISODE: 5th & Spring. Hopefully, at 1,000 subscribers, brands will already start to take notice. If we can sign on a backer for our first episode, we will! Otherwise, we’ll release it and keep building our audience and investing our OWN money — if this is the show you want to see!  Help us with this experiment! Let’s see how many subscribers and views it takes for a like-minded brand to help us make this show a reality.

We’re in a world where the AUDIENCE gets to dictate to the ADVERTISERS what they want. If homegrown, exceptionally executed, funny, truthful, educational, fast and short travel info is what you want, let us know with your click! And help us spread the word.


Steph & the LAblocks team.

#LAblocks, a new kind of travel show, exploring LA block by block!

#LAblocks, a new kind of travel show, exploring LA block by block!

Check out our website too! This is the level of awesome you can expect from us with everything: www.LAblocks.com 

Steph’s LA Weekly Pick of the Week: Ask A Slave

Azie Mira Dungey at Mount Vernon - photo by Johnny Shryock  http://www.corporateheadshotsla.com/

Azie Mira Dungey at Mount Vernon – photo by Johnny Shryock http://www.corporateheadshotsla.com/

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.

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Friends in Therapy – Bare-Bones Online Comedy at Its Best – Full Interview

Joe Towne & Daryl Johnson

Joe Towne & Daryl Johnson

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!

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To Season Two, or Not To Season Two? That was the Question for Shilpi Roy and Hipsterhood. Read Why (& How) She Went For It

Screen shot 2013-02-06 at 12.14.30 AM
What made you personally want to do a season 2?

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.

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UK Web Series Corner: Interview with Chloe Seddon and Phillip Whiteman, Writers of the Brilliant UK Web Series: The Vessel

thevessel2British 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.