September 9, 2010

The Best Friend

WEBSITE: www.thebestfriend.tv
CREATORS: Marilyn Anne Michaels & Allie Smith
EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS: Michael Elias, Marilyn Anne Michaels, & Allie Smith
DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY: Cat Deakins
EDITORS: Donna Mathewson, Katrina Bolletta
DIRECTOR: Tarique Qayumi
ASSISTANT DIRECTOR: Alize Emme, Sylvia Terry
LINE PRODUCER/CASTING DIRECTOR: Lydia Blanco
FIRST ASSISTANT CAMERA: Jacki Moonves
GAFFER: Taryn Roraback
SCRIPT SUPERVISOR: Amanda Sammarco, Sarah Horton
CAST: Marilyn Anne Michaels, Allie Smith, Eric Loya, Jeanette O’Connor

The Best Friend is a musical comedy hybrid that disproves a few misperceptions about women, while also being deliriously fun. In the Hollywood formula, the romantic lead is usually the cute, perfect, clutzy girl with a quirky best friend who has the responsibility of delivering a few quips. This show turns that formula on its head.

Described as “a little bit Bridget Jones, a little bit Cathy,” the show’s romantic lead is the self-help addicted, endearingly imperfect songwriter Millie (played by co-creator Marilyn Anne Michaels) who has an epiphany in therapy that she has been living in the shadow of her adorably blonde, size 2 best friend Sooze (played by co-creator Allie Smith). [Insert girls going, ME TOO!] The show succeeds because of both girls’ willingness to poke fun at their strengths, weaknesses, and the stereotypes that try to define them, ultimately proving that women are fabulous in all shapes, sizes, and hair colors.

Produced by two “empowered” actors, the show also disproves the idea that women are not actively working as crew members. In addition to the two female creators, take a look at the partial credits listed above and you will see female editors, DPs, gaffers, ADs, and assistant camera operators.

The teaser is below. The Best Friend airs exclusively on Koldcast. Click here to watch the show, and make sure you’re watching with Firefox. (Handy tip.)

September 8, 2010

Delusional Downtown Divas

WEBSITE: http://www.delusionaldowntowndivas.com/
WRITER/DIRECTOR: Lena Dunham
DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY AND EDITOR: Sara Rossein
CAST: Lena Dunham, Joana Avillez, and Isabel Halley

Created by Lena Dunham and shot and edited by Sara Rossein, Delusional Downtown Divas is a quirky mockumentary following three young women (Oona, Swann, and AgNess) living in Tribeca, who are cluelessly attempting to break into the art world in ways only trust fund kids would even dare to do. Treating “the absence of any work as the work itself,” Oona, the aspiring novelist who never writes, Swann, the performance artist who only performs privately, and AgNess, the businesswoman who has never paid rent, fumble their way through the city equipped with their friendship and over-the-top abstract fashion. Divas has aired two seasons so far and features Dunham’s trademark wit, which has since won her Best Feature at SXSW for her second film, Tiny Furniture. Dunham was also named one of Filmmaker Magazine’s 25 New Faces of Independent Film in 2009.

September 8, 2010

Missed Connections Live

WEBSITE: www.missedconnectionslive.com
CREATOR: Melissa Center
DIRECTOR: Rachel Connors
CAST: Melissa Center

Created by Melissa Center, Missed Connections Live launched its first eight episodes on a simple budget with a very simple format. Inspired by actual postings in the Missed Connections section of Craig’s List, Melissa played a new character each episode who vented in monologue about a random, unknowing person she happened to cross paths with. Looking to revamp the show, Melissa recently launched a successful Kickstarter campaign, invested in a new camera, and paired the monologue-format with an actual interaction. And what she has is a fun series about the randomness of living in New York City.

Melissa shared her thoughts on her development process In Her Words to DCTV here.

And here is the first new episode since — Hipster Chick– which pairs the LES cutie monologue from Episode 2 with a look at the LES cutie in question…

September 7, 2010

Today Show: What Women Want to Watch on TV

The Today Show ran a recent piece with Jennifer Pozner, Executive Director of Women in Media and News, discussing the trend in Fall TV programming of depicting strong, smart, independent women, whom are willing to fight for their rights and get as down and dirty as the men, and the opposite trend in the representation of women in reality TV, whom only seem to fight amongst themselves. Really interesting points made, click the link below to check it out.

September 7, 2010

In Her Words (Being a Multi-Hyphenate): Julie Ann Emery

Becoming a successful, self-sufficient working actress aint easy, but Julie Ann Emery has been doing it professionally since the age of 16. Most known for her role as Eve Mendes’ lovelorn best friend in the hit film Hitch, she has appeared in a long list of television shows and films, which include Steven Spielberg’s Taken, ER, Line of Fire, Commander in Chief, Army Wives, and Dexter. Last year, she took a step in a new direction– writing, co-producing and directing the award-winning web dramedy, Then We Got HELP! DCTV asked Julie to talk about the transition from taking direction to giving direction.

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A year ago at this time, SAG called me an actor. Now SAG calls me a multi-hyphenate. This still feels strange to me. I am the Writer/Director/Actor/Executive Producer of Then We Got HELP!, and though I always saw myself moving beyond being an actor, that’s a lot of hyphens all at once.

I am not unusual in the Web Universe. Particularly amongst women it seems. Actresses are taking the creative and producing reins and powering guerilla-style TV onto the Web. This is good news for women viewers and creatives alike. It means more female centric programming. More young female writers and directors with a place to cut our teeth and grow into tomorrow’s female filmmakers. But it still feels strange to me.

As an actor, I have had the great fortune to work with some of the brightest writers and directors in the business. To move from calling myself an “Actress” to a word that includes me in their ranks…multi-hyphenate…is something I’m still grappling with.

My own psyche aside, what does this transition mean? For me, acting requires a singular focus and an almost obsessive responsibility to my character. Being a multi-hyphenate requires juggling layers of split focus and an obsessive responsibility to…everyone else. And I like that. I like powering a project through to completion, instead of leaving the set on the last day of the shoot and wondering if it will all come together. But I won’t lie, the stress is not small. Even for a little show like ours.

In a lot of ways, I really enjoy ‘the buck stops here’ aspect of multi-hyphenating. I love creating an actor-friendly and actor-centric set. I love digging into the scenes with the cast, watching everyone’s work come together and collide, and desperately trying to make certain it all winds up on camera before the day comes to an end.

And because our budget is small, I’ve added Editor to my hyphens. And I like sitting in a dark room till all hours painstakingly piecing the story together. Because I admire what our cast has brought to the table, I feel an immense responsibility to their work, and to the time they have given to us. I am honored by our small but dedicated following. I feel a responsibility to them for each episode to be better than the last. It is stressful, exhausting, exhilarating, satisfying, and completely worth it.

The hardest part for me? Remembering to put my Actor hat back on before “Action”.

Julie Ann Emery
Creator, Then We Got HELP!

September 3, 2010

GritTV: Daryn Strauss, Creator of Digital Chick TV, Speaks About Women in Digital TV

Daryn Strauss, creator of Digital Chick TV and the web series Downsized, took some time out to speak about the need for online female programming and to raise awareness for female creators for the current affairs show, GritTV with Laura Flanders. The full show, which includes an interview with Steve Earle, will air at 8PM today and then will circulate on the Dish Network Channel 9415 and DirectTV Channel 348. You can read Daryn’s full piece here or watch below.

September 3, 2010

Road to the Altar

WEBSITE: www.roadtothealtar.com
DIRECTOR: Annie Lukowski
WRITER/PRODUCERS: Annie Lukowski and Leyna Juliet Weber
CAST: Jaleel White, Leyna Juliet Weber, Ari Zagaris, Tara Ochs, Alec Musser, Susan Floyd, Rodney Perry

Premiering in June 2009, Road to the Altar is a hilarious mockumentary about the absurd process of wedding planning. It follows one couple, an in-over-his-head groom-to-be Simon, played by Jaleel White from Family Matters, and his high-strung micro-managing super-fastidious bride-to-be Rochelle, played by writer/producer Leyna Juliet Weber, on a 10-episode journey through linens, lilies, and bridalwear. Imagine Christopher Guest meets Bridezillas, and you’ve got this off-beat fun comedy.

September 2, 2010

In Her Words (Women in Comedy): Heleya de Barros and Vivian Kerr

“Marci, what are we doing with our lives?”
“L–living the dream?”

We could very well have asked each other that same question one year ago. The life of a 20-something struggling actor in LA is…well, not glamorous. We were working our catering and coffee-shop day jobs, waking up at 4am to make cappuccinos or staying up until 2am to serve appetizers, to pay our bills so that we’d have the luxury of being able to audition. The only problem was, the roles we were auditioning for—the ones we were working our day jobs in order to get—weren’t really the ones we wanted to play. Don’t get us wrong, we love a good “girl-next-door,” but after a while you start to itch for something a bit more challenging, a bit more fun, a bit more off-the-wall.

Both of us love comedy, but it seemed that whenever we’d go out for roles in comedies our characters weren’t ever funny. They were the girlfriends or the best-friends, the “straight-man”—always setting up the joke, but never getting to deliver it. We wanted to play characters that were way outside the box. We wanted to create a show centered around two female characters who were as over-the-top and ridiculous as possible. Dwight Schrute to the 10th degree.

British comedies like Absolutely Fabulous and Greenwing inspired us with their incredible plotlines and absurd tangents, while It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia proved that as long as the concept and writing were strong, a show could have legs. We decided to challenge ourselves: could we make a show about two girls in Los Angeles while avoiding the usual cliché storylines? Could we incorporate elements of absurdism and still ask an audience to care about the characters? Above all, we wanted the show to reflect our sense of humor; that show became our web series, We Are with the Band.

So many actors spend their entire careers waiting for the phone to ring, hoping that they might be a part of something they believe in. We decided to just go for it. It was scary and stressful, and there was a steep learning curve, but the professional and personal rewards have been all the more meaningful. After almost a year of working on We Are with the Band, we have a show that we’re proud of, and that reflects our taste.

We may still be making coffee and serving appetizers, but at least we’re doing it in order to be able to create and play substantial, fun, and daring characters. In our minds, that opportunity is living the dream.

Heleya de Barros & Vivian Kerr
Co-Creators, We are With the Band

August 31, 2010

“Webisode”- Derogatory Term?

WEBISODE (noun): a word used to describe an episodic produced for the web; a word used in 2006; a word used by people that don’t watch web TV; a word used to segregate web content from television content; a word used as a pet-term so people can type it quicker  i.e. “brangelina”?

It’s time to vent on that controversial word you either love or hate! DCTV would love to hear your thoughts on the use of the word “webisode”. Is it derogatory, celebratory, scandalous, outdated, silly? You tell us!

August 31, 2010

Mother Eve’s Secret Garden of Sensual Sisterhood Trailer

Check out the newly released trailer of the estrogen-centered vagina-friendly and absurdist sex therapy comedy, Mother Eve’s Secret Garden of Sensual Sisterhood. Directed by Erica Jensen and produced by Maitely Weismann, the show fully embraces the P-word… and possibly each other.

Each episode tackles a different issue such as Sex, Money, Career, Self-Image, Men. With her own brand of exercises and re-enactments, Mother Eve helps the awkward, the damaged, the crazy, the frustrated, and the clueless to uncover the confident, sexy, powerful potted plant that is every woman. And, who knows, you might learn something too.

For more info, click on www.mothereves.com.

August 31, 2010

Party Girl Plus One

CREATOR: Jennifer Dawson
DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY: Daniel Doherty and John Orphan
CAST: Jennifer Dawson, Vince Pavia, Bisou the Dog, Michelle Betts, Elise Salomon, Bel Baca
WEBSITE: http://www.partygirlplusone.com/

Party Girl Plus One is a fun dating series depicting life as a single divorcee over 30. Taken directly from creator Jennifer Dawson’s own dating diary after her divorce, the show follows Jennifer as she goes on a string of bizarre and hilarious dates in an attempt to find her “plus one”. The show is about the quest for love A.D. (“after divorce”) of a self-proclaimed partygirl, who at the depressing prospect of aging within the party scene, sets out on a quest to settle down. Problem is, the available men are crazy, including a sommelier with a smell fetish, a crybaby, and a guy who won’t go home.

Disclosure: this is definitely an Rated R show, with lots of sexual content, but if you loved Sex and the City for daring to reveal the hilarious truth of the sex life of the over-30 crowd, then you will love Party Girl Plus One for bringing it to the web.

August 30, 2010

Pics from the Missed Connections Live Premiere Party 8/29

Photography by Biz Urban

Premiere attendees were treated to prosecco, cupcakes, appetizers, a special performance by Bridges and Powerlines, whose song “Middle Child” is featured in the opening credits, and an advanced screening of Episode 9: Hipster Chick, soon to be released online at www.missedconnectionslive.com. Check out Melissa’s recent In Her Words piece for DCTV for more information on the re-launch of the show here.

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