Crowd Funding Spotlight: HellLA, Seeking Sublet & Cost of Living

By | April 19, 2014

HellLA

In the overabundance of crowd funding campaigns, how do you figure out what to fund? Well, I thought I’d make a few recommendations of shows created by women. In this group of shows, affording and surviving a city without losing your flipping mind is the theme. Click on the links to contribute.

HellLA
18 days to go to help back this itty bitty comedy created by LA native Rory Uphold as a “love/hate letter to LA.” The show airs on YouTube but almost feels a bit vine-like. Each episode is super-micro-sized and satirizes an individual quirk of Los Angeles angry-Zen-skinny-actressy-organic culture, with the charm and wit of the show lying with Rory herself, who despite having been born and raised in LA, basically feels like a fish out of water. The smart show is trying to raise $15,000 on Kickstarter to shoot a second season, and they are almost there, so help em out.

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Seeking Sublet
5 days to go to help fund freshman NYC based comedy about subletting nightmares. Co-created by Katie Tibaldi and Josie Chai, both young NYC based writer/producers who have worked on a variety of shows including Nurse Jackie and Last Week with John Oliver, the comedy focuses on the rotating characters who sublet from a pair of New Yorkers who need a third roommate to make their overpriced NYC rent. The show has not released episodes yet, but they have released several videos on their Kickstarter page.

Cost of Living
In this comedy about affording San Francisco created by Shannon Bowen and Dave Binegar, two friends try to make a go at it in one of the most expensive cities in the world. This show is trying to raise $10,000, and they are pretty close. They released their first episode on Vimeo, so you can get a sample.

VIDEO PICK: #Hashtag

By | April 5, 2014

Hashtag web series

It’s taken me a craaaazy long time to check out Tello Films, aka “the lesbian Netflix.” (The Chicago-based production company Tello launched in 2010 and merged with distributor One More Lesbian in 2013, so I blame my two-year hiatus from blogging!) Like Netflix, this premium video channel is subscription based, with subscription costs at a low $3.99 per month, which gives you access to several female-led, character-driven lesbian web series and new voices, to get that out of the way first.

Their latest series, #Hashtag, is a look at dating in the social media age, written by and starring Caitlin Bergh and Laura Zak, who play besties in this thoughtful, realistic comedy about insecurity in a self-absorbed world. To set this up, they open on a body-conscious sequence of Skylar, a stand-up comedienne played by the adorable Bergh, getting dressed, over-examining the image she projects in the mirror. She later totally flops in her stand up routine because her healthy relationship with her totally responsible, level-headed girlfriend has infringed upon her ability to over-share with deprecating jokes for the sake of comedy. Meanwhile, her friend Liv (Zak) is pre-occupied with her #1 Instagram commenter and whether or not she can translate that into an IRL relationship with her. These are two girls whom, at the moment, want to be liked more than loved, and that is the core of their generational problem. (Incidentally, Skylar and Liv’s ADD-laced, photo-sharing-fest of a Skype conversation in Episode 2 is spot-on and hilarious.)

The show is directed by Jessica King and Tello’s CEO Christin Mell, who capture the quiet and absurd desperation of this relatable circle of young women.

What I particularly liked about this show is that the desperate narcissism of these two characters does not make them unlikable, in contrast to what has happened with Girls. Skylar and Liv have authentic struggles in their real lives that make them question the authenticity of those whom seem to genuinely like them, which hits the nail on the head of the confusion of millennials.

The trailer is below.

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VIDEO PICK: Uninspired

By | March 29, 2014

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In Uninspired, a hysterically half-asleep web series from creator and star Becky Yamamoto, a New Yorker attempts to find some inspiration after she gets laid off. It is a wakeup call of sorts, albeit an “uninspired” one amidst an aimless lifestyle surrounded by friends who are also half-asleep at life, including a boyfriend who is too stoned to hear anything she says (Paul Thureen), a pregnant best friend who is in a completely different stage of life (Megan Neuringer), and a 19 year old girl whom she helps score alcohol (Tanisha Long).

What I really dig about this show is that it is somewhat of a departure for Yamamoto, a talented NYC comedienne out of The Groundlings and UCB who has made many appearances in other NYC web comedies, including Jack in a Box, Mimi and Flo, and Two Jasperjohns, typically in character roles since her range is ridic. In Unspired, she shines in a more personal, authentic way, which is to me what indie web series are all about. While the show is a comedy, it taps into something quieter and sadder about middle class NYC life, with some really lovely, funny performances from guest stars you will recognize from other web series and smart, grown up writing.

The second episode is below. If you’ve ever attended a baby shower and noticed we regress twenty years when celebrating a birth, you will appreciate it. Also, Katina Corrao (in a guest appearance) is so crazy hysterical as that friend who is the best!… and the worst.

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Web Series vs. TV on the Web

By | March 22, 2014

It’s Women’s History Month, and it seemed like the perfect time to bring back the blog! The very last post was July 15, 2012, yikes!

Back in 2012 when I took time off from Digital Chick TV to create digital content for media companies, we were struggling to get scripted web series to be taken seriously, and by “seriously,” we usually meant get a TV deal or some TV-like money and respect. 2 years later, this conflict still continues, but now “TV series” are being produced for distribution on Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu. Of course, none of the shows on these platforms are created by web series creators. In fact, for the most part, web series creators are still kept in a separate category from TV creators, unless they choose to meet in the middle and collaborate. This got me thinking– after two years, is there REALLLLLYYY a difference between “web series” and “TV on the web?” And you know what? I would say yes!

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Female Characters in Decision-Making Roles– How Do Web Series Fare?

By | July 15, 2012

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A few years ago if you surfed the television, you’d be swimming in a world of empowered female characters, women who were leaders in their fields– The Closer, Damages, Saving Grace, Brothers and Sisters, The West Wing, Medium, Xena — even Sex and the City had at least two women who were leaders in their fields (three if you count Carrie who was financially a mess but did have her own column and her face on a bus). Fast forward to 2012 and we’re faced with women who are financially, hierarchically, and often romantically subordinate but feel they are entitled to more — Two Broke Girls, Girls, Enlightened, Smash — and they often hold nasty grudges that last entire series — Revenge, Ringer. Even Nurse Jackie got hit with misogynism when the hospital’s female chief administrator was downgraded and replaced by a male, and Jackie, whose dominant personality and job excellence is the entire premise of the show, was fired for not knowing her place.

So, how do web series fare?

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Downsized Season 2 Episode 6 “Dad Headache”

By | May 18, 2012

If you thought Abby Lee Miller got herself in trouble with her dance moms, wait until you see what pageant coach Astrid (Shannon Conley) has to deal with in a financially strapped pageant dad (Kaipo Schwab). In this bonus episode of the Writers Guild Award nominated dramedy Downsized, Astrid’s headache is the least of her problems when Nate has some news about Poppy’s pageanting.

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