Posts tagged: web series

Harnessing the Power of Fear to Generate Action

by Andie Bottrell

It’s been 9 months since I last blogged for LA FPI and the world feels like a drastically different place…a terrifyingly absurd place…the kind of place that I used to think only existed in dark, independent foreign films (a favorite to watch, though less favored to live in). Through all the political cacophony and “alternative facts,” one real, indisputable fact has emerged: Fear creates action like a motherf*cker. Advertisers, politicians, and religious zealots have harnessed this power for decades…but I’m not here to talk about any of that…I’m here to talk about creating.

It’s a story-line we’re all familiar with: A person has a near-death experience, survives and realizes what really matters to them. They quit their job, get out of that toxic relationship, sell the clutter, and live more simply in pursuit of their legacy. That may mean investing more time into your relationships with your family, or it could mean spending more time creating that masterpiece–or both! Or neither! Or something else entirely! Only your heart knows. The question is: If we all know the story, why aren’t we able to extrapolate the lesson of it without the near-death part?

Fear gets a negative connotation, some of which is justified, but fear is also adrenaline, it is motivation, and it can be the cold, hard hand of reality that slaps you across the face when you’ve tuned out on your life.

If you’re terrified of ending up as the person who always said, “I’m a _____,” or “I’m working on______,” or “I’m going to ________,” and then never became, never did, never got there…then you will do something. When the fear of not doing the thing becomes greater than the fear of trying and failing, you will do the thing. And when you do the thing, you’ll buck head-on with that fear of trying and failing like never before, and finally be forced to confront (ie. breakthrough) that fear. The good news is that the more times you breakthrough that fear, the further you’ll be able to go.

So, my advice? Be afraid, be very, very afraid. And do it anyway. Set yourself up to confront scary situations on the regular. Go take that stand-up routine you’ve got tucked in your pocket up on a stage in front of people and fill the space with your weird ass humor. Don’t just finish that book, put it out in the world–tell people, ask them to read it and tell you what they really think…then, send it to your idols–why not? Produce that play that you’re the most proud of but that no one has said, “yes” to yet. Start that business you’ve been dreaming about for 20 years.

In other words: LIVE LIKE YOU WERE DYING (because you are).

True: You might “fail.” You might fall flat on your face in the most humiliating way. Maybe no one laughs when they’re supposed to…maybe everyone laughs when they’re not. You will cry and there will be sleepless nights. You might go bankrupt. Maybe you go for it with all you’ve got and come up short. Maybe you’ll be forced to realize that you’re not capable of doing what you’ve always wanted to…yet. You could perish mid-pursuit…but, more terrifyingly, you could die never having tried at all–never having spoken your thoughts–never having shared your he(art)–never knowing what could have been…and then, you’ll have no one to blame but yourself.

It’s not hyperbole to say these decisions are life and death. Your life and your death…it’s your legacy in your hands, your decisions plotting your path. It’s a lot of responsibility to admit that to yourself. While “success” is a personally defined moving target–much of which involves timing and luck that is out of your hands…your effort, your output, and your action…well, that’s all on you, kid. Life is so, so weird and no one knows half of what they seem to know…rather than try to make sense of it, embrace the absurdity. Rather than wait for someone else’s validation, proclaim it for yourself: you belong. You’re voice, experience and perspective are the rarest, most valuable assets you have.

ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN! There’s just one catch: You have to try.

I promise you, if you let it, fear can be the biggest gift you give yourself (along with a hardy dose of kindness).

My Top 4 List of Scary Things From The Last 9 Months

1. True Confessions: Goldilocks & the Three Dildos

Back in September I had the opportunity (ie. volunteered) to get up on a mic in front of people and tell a true story from my life. True Confessions is a local storytelling event in the vein of The Moth and provided the perfect opportunity to scare myself shitless. It’s one thing going up in front of people under the illusion of character, costume and set, and another thing entirely to speak truthfully about truly embarrassing parts of your life that you think might be funny and poignant, but that could also just be quietly unacceptable to utter out-loud. I did it though (you can listen at the link above!) and the most surprising thing came from it…I was able to own my story in a way I never was before–always worried what others would think if I shared it…suddenly, that fear had no power over me anymore. I let go of shame and learned, by doing, how to be grateful for every odd, painful quirk of my story…for giving me such a great story to tell.

2. Art Hung on Gallery Walls

Art was always my Mom’s thing. She’s the professional artist. I was the artistic hippie who did all artistic things, but left the “serious” artistic pursuits in my Mom’s lane. I’ve always made art but rarely placed much value on it. It’s “my Mom’s thing.” As if my placing value on my work could in any way take anything away from my Mom–but I so clearly recall an incident in my childhood with a competitive friend when one of us crossed into the other’s artistic lanes and sparks flied. “Hey, that’s my thing!” To my Mom’s credit, she’s never been anything but supportive of my art. She’s even bought (ie. paid real dollar bills, yo) for my art (which is crazy to me–LOVE YOU, MOM). It’s completely my own neurosis. In the last two years, however, I’ve made more art than I have had space for and people started inquiring about buying, so I re-activated my Etsy shop and started reaching out to galleries to do shows. This makes me feel boarder-line legitimate artistically…and that means being vulnerable for my work to be judged through that lens as well…which is scary. In the last 9 months through to the next 9 months my work has shown at (for judgement and purchase) or will be shown at: BookMarx, Springfield Art Museum, Springfield Regional Arts Council, Tea Bar & Bites, and Arts & Letters.

3. LET’S TALK About My Poetry Book

I’ve been writing poetry as far back as I can remember, but like my art I never took it “seriously.” In the last few years, I have become more and more cognizant of the power of representation. The #BodyPositive movement, the #BlackGirlMagic movement, and #effyourbeautystandards among others are powerful because they provide much needed examples of strong, confident, successful, and beautiful that aren’t being shown as regularly in mainstream media and advertising. I’ve realized that my voice and perspective could add to the chorus of voices that have re-shaped my mind and my perspective on others and myself in monumental ways. And what if those people had never seen the value in their voices? My life, undoubtedly, would be vastly different today. This collection, LET’S TALK, has been in the works for the last 2 years and will be available on Amazon later this year through their self-publishing platform CreateSpace. It’s scary putting this book out there–it’s an expense–no, an investment. What if no one buys it? Or what if they do? What if they leave really awful reviews? But, more importantly, what if it helps? Anyone at all, even just a little…to feel less alone in life?

4. SEEK HELP & Seeking Funds

This was the biggest leap. This one was and is the scariest. No question. I wrote a web-series called Seek Help way back in 2012. It came out of me in a huge, easy burst of inspiration and I really loved it–which, if you write, you know how rarely that outcome occurs! I wanted to make it, but it required a specific set and a few other things that I didn’t have access to at the time. Every few years I would pull it out, re-read it and proclaim, “I want to make this!”

Then, this last year I was reading it with my friend Matt and it SPARKED. This was it. The time was now. We talked and decided to do a crowdfunding campaign to raise money to make it–and make it right. I was so scared to do a kickstarter…imagine asking for money for a project you really believe in and finding out just how many people find you or your he(art) project unworthy of giving to. But then I thought about all my friends who had had successful campaigns and how I had happily donated to many of them and I thought…okay, we can do this! People do this!

I made a plan, we made a video, we made a kickstarter, I researched, I submitted, I PR’d and I posted and posted and emailed…and then, I started to panic…like, dry-heaving, crying actual tears, out of my mind SCARED that because not enough people were responding that it meant that no one believed in me. I felt betrayed. I felt embarrassed for trying. I felt briefly like I was not worthwhile. Then, right in the middle of it, the election happened. To be clear, we were not on target for meeting our goal before the election happened, but once it happened, all progress slowed to a complete stop. Understandably people had bigger concerns–as did I.

In a weird sort of way, I found my perspective again. I stopped feeling sorry for myself and started feeling so grateful for everyone who did support me when there are so many other very worthy causes to support. When we failed to make our goal, I wasn’t yet ready to relinquish defeat. When I thought about making it any way we could scrape it together, I felt excitement and peace. When I thought about giving up, I felt depressed and incapable. So, it was simple. I didn’t want to feel depressed and incapable…I wanted to feel excitement and peace. Amazingly, some of the people who’d donated wanted to keep their pledges and help us make it. So, we reconfigured, re-cast, and re-committed. There have been no less than 5 major set-backs (all SCARY) since that decision was made, but this week I finished the rough cut of the first full episode which we shot this past weekend and I haven’t been able to sleep un-medicated since. I’m so incredibly giddy with excitement. I go to bed late and wake up early and don’t feel cranky about it…and this is the thing, guys…

THIS IS THE WHOLE ENCHILADA…

The joy you get from doing the thing? When it’s your thing–whatever that may be–is more than enough to absorb the fear and the setbacks. You only live once (probably)–SO GO FOR IT! And don’t hesitate to reach out to me in the comments if you want an accountability partner, or someone to bounce ideas off of. I love being an accountability and encouragement partner–especially for other strong, creative women! <3

 

PS. You can still donate to help us bring Seek Help to life and to release it out into the world with a bang at:   http://seekhelpthewebseries.weebly.com/about–donate.html

Here We Are Again, Another Year In

by Andie Bottrell

Landlocked Promo

It’s been five months since my last post back in April; I was talking about setbacks then. In October it will be 2 years since what I considered at the time to be my biggest setback…I moved back to Springfield, MO from Los Angeles, tail between my legs, and no money in my pockets. It is also 2 years since I started blogging for the LA FPI. These blogs have been rest stops for me that have forced me to be constantly taking stock of a bigger perspective, and by narrating my own story I’ve become more conscious of the good things that have happened and been tasked to find growth in the challenges. So, here we are again, another year in…

This Summer I created, wrote, directed, produced, starred in and edited a webseries called LANDLOCKED. You may recall I was taking lessons from my research on panic attacks and applying them to the creative process back in April while in pre-production for the series. We did 10 episodes shooting and airing one per week for ten weeks, juggling two sets in different time zones, directing over Skype, mailing footage back and forth, encountering a slew of frustrating technical difficulties, and finally, creating a season finale that has become the creation I am most proud of (so far). Here’s a four minute wrap up of the Season leading up to the finale:

And here is the series finale:

Watch all ten episodes and learn more about the series at www.landlockedthewebseries.com

I feel like, more than ever before, this last episode achieved the vision, tone, and quality I wanted, so I feel like whatever I do next needs to be BIG–balls to the wall, crewed up, funded, my soul on a platter stuffed into film…something I can take and show at prominent festivals that says, “I’m here. I’m ready. I’ve earned a spot at the table now.” Ultimately, my goal is to create a television show that I write and act in, so I am working to create a film that clearly shows my voice as a creator. It’s hard to create when you are putting so much pressure on yourself though, so it is important, I find, to actually not think about the big picture SO much and just try to enjoy each small moment, betting on yourself (instead of listening to the doubt) each step of the way.

Before we put away the big picture, however, I want to acknowledge something that 2 years ago me would never have believed…since moving back to Springfield, MO from Los Angeles I have worked constantly, become an EMC, and made more money from Acting in the past 2 years than I did from Acting in all 6 of my years in Los Angeles (not counting background work). That’s pretty insane to me. I never saw that coming. So, here we are again, another year in and I am getting ready to move out of my Mom’s house and into my own apartment here in Springfield. I’m still recovering financially and I’ve still got a long ways to go and even though a part of me feels anxious about having my own apartment here–feels like I’m settling in somehow into a place I never wanted to call “home”–the rest of me is able to acknowledge that maybe this is the best place for me to be right now. I can enjoy a lower cost of living and stay plenty busy taking advantage of all the acting opportunities afforded me while continuing to write and create my own projects with the hope that one day one of them will lead me back off to the big cities I know and love.

The important thing, I think, is to never stop; if you have a dream that beats through your heart daily and nightly, that makes you want to get up even when you’re dead tired, that puts a smile on your face even in your most trying times, then acknowledge that it’s there to be fulfilled, and whether or not you ever fulfill it in the way you think would be best, regardless of if anyone else thinks it’s what you should be doing with your life, no matter what circumstances you find yourself in…just never stop finding little and big ways to keep stepping closer to that dream, keep doing that thing that makes your heart swell. It’s there for a reason within you, and good things will be born of it.

Why I Love the Web Series World

by Cindy Marie Jenkins

About a year and a half ago I started getting really involved in the web series world, then created a site to connect potential audience with shows they might like.

I recently even went so far as to voluntarily watch every single show nominated for an IAWTV Award. From there I found even more shows that I love. Like anything independent, there is a ton of crap and a few that don’t quite make it to their potential. But wow, was I surprised at the gems that I found.

Here are a few great female helmed shows, coincidentally all with a lesbian bent. That is why I love the web series world. How often will you find so many incredibly different shows created by talented women showing their struggles – except perhaps in a play festival? The web series world is very akin to intimate theatre, especially in Los Angeles. Kiss a lot of frogs, you find a prince(ss) or two.

I hope you’ll give some of these shows a chance and let the creators know what you think. Share the ones you really like. Audience voice matters if indie artists are to rise above the mainstream.

******

little horriblesMy favorite is Little Horribles. It took me a minute to get it. By it, I mean that it took me a second to sync – or perhaps sink –  into Amy York Rubin’s brain. Once there, it was such a delicious train wreck that I couldn’t stop. When caller i.d. adds “Be Cautious” to the caller’s name, and Rubin still picks up the phone, you know there is drama.

Rubin’s specific brand of comedy makes each episode feel like really great improv, or incredibly relaxed banter. This could be a documentary, the conversations feel so real. Jokes tend to hit from the inside out, sometimes trailing your guts along for the ride.

Take a look. You’ll know within the first two episodes if this is a show for you. And if it is, I guarantee you’ll be a fan for life like me.

Little Horribles (http://LittleHorribles.com) is a Barnacle Studios (http://Barnacle.is) production in collaboration with Issa Rae.
http://LittleHorribles.com
http://twitter.com/LittleHorribles
http://facebook.com/LittleHorribles

Created + Written by Amy York Rubin @ayrubin
Executive Producer: Issa Rae @issarae

******

producing julietProducing Juliet is by the same team I discovered last year with their pretty wonderful teen drama Anyone But Me. As its name suggests, many stories circulate around theatre artists. The fact that most of the main relationships are lesbian is just a fact, not a plot point or the butt of jokes like in most mainstream stories (vastly generalizing here). Writer Ward has developed a great craft out of writing for the web. With episodes lasting an average of nine minutes, she wields her ensemble well. We follow certain characters and in the next episode could be taken through the same time frame from a different vantage point which quite literally made me gasp once.

New series from Tina Cesa Ward Executive Producer/Writer/Director of “Anyone But Me” and star of “Anyone But Me” Rachael Hip-Flores.
Visit the website: http://producingjuliet.com/
twitter @ProducingJuliet
facebook: https://www.facebook.com/producingjuliet
tumblr: http://producingjuliet.tumblr.com/
instagram: http://instagram.com/producingjuliet#

******

the better half

The Better Half is absolutely delightful. Everyone can relate to these woes and triumphs of being in a relationship, even if you’ve never had to have the “stop instagramming your poop” conversation.

http://thebetterhalfseries.com

https://www.facebook.com/TheBetterHalfWebSeries

https://twitter.com/betterhalfshow

http://instagram.com/thebetterhalfseries

******

single never marriedLauren Hamilton pitched me her show as ” a web show about a dating expert who sucks at dating, for your consideration to be reviewed. It stars myself, Lauren Hamilton, and my dog Violet (pic attached)” so I automatically love her.

Watch the first episode of Single, Never Married. I double dog dare you not to love her more.

 

The Suits

Whenever I need to refer to those on high with the money and power to make business decisions in a creative industry, they are THE SUITS.

I’m sure you can think of a few.

Last week for my monthly Bechdel Test Talk (which originated on this blog), we took the SAG Award nominees, the Independent Spirit Awards nominees for Best Picture, and the IAWTV (International Academy of Web TV) Winners to see how they stacked up against the Bechdel Test.

When I have more energy, I’ll update this with the score for the SAG Winners.

Normally, we don’t ‘score’ based on the Bechdel Test; we use it as a starting point for deeper discussions on how it affects our audiences and thus society.

For this Broadcast, however, scores seemed appropriate:

YES – MAYBE/DUBIOUS – NO

SAG AWARDS

SCORE: 2-7-5

 

INDEPENDENT SPIRIT AWARDS (Best Picture Nominees only)

SCORE: 1-2-2

 

IAWTV Winners

SCORE: # of shows 7-1-4
# of awards 12-2-6

See full lists below.

Shocker, as Co-Host Etta Devine stated. When there’s a lower barrier to entry (Whether The Suits, or the numerous people in -between, or society itself), Where most entertainment (web TV) is self-produced, The Bechdel Test flies high above the rest.

Methinks it’s time to show The Suits why creativity breeds quality.

There is far more diversity in the Web Series World as well, and not just in neat little boxes easily consumed by any audience. Some suggestions: My Gimpy LifeOut With DadThe Unwritten RulesBreaking Point and there are so many more but I can’t think of them past midnight. Follow Web Series Watch’s blog for news and recommendations (yes, that is my own web series and I’m too tired to disguise self-promotion either – besides, frick it. I’m proud of it.).

Watch our nifty 30-minute Broadcast to hear why some of the movies are dubious. Silver Lining Playbook, anyone? Full list and links we mention after the video.

Special special I love you forever thanks to Etta Devine & Caroline Sharp who join me on this adventure every month.

 

LA Times Story: http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/envelope/moviesnow/la-et-mn-sundance-2013-women-lag-men-even-in-independent-film-study-finds-20130120,0,712589.story
Ted Hope’s Blog: http://hopeforfilm.com/?p=8838

SAG AWARDS

SCORE: 2-7-5
yes:
The Paperboy
Les Miserables

dubious:
Flight
Argo
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
Zero Dark Thirty
Skyfall

trouble seeing film:
Rust and Bone
The Impossible

no:
Lincoln
Hitchcock
Silver Linings Playbook
The Master
The Sessions

INDEPENDENT SPIRIT AWARDS

SCORE: 1-2-2
yes
Moonrise Kingdom

dubious
Beasts of the Southern Wild
Keep the Lights On

no
Bernie
Silver Linings Playbook

IAWTV Winners

SCORE: # of shows 7-1-4
# of awards 12-2-6

yes
Best Comedy Series – Squaresville
Best Ensemble Performance – Squaresville

Best Drama Series – Leap Year
Best Writing (Comedy) – Squaresville – Matt Enlow
Best Costume Design – The League of S.T.E.A.M. – The League of S.T.E.A.M.
Best Makeup/Special Effects – The League of S.T.E.A.M. – The League of S.T.E.A.M.
Best Design (Art Direction/Production) – Continuum – Eric Whitney – computer voice
Best Editing – Continuum – Blake Calhoun
Best Directing (Comedy) – My Gimpy Life – Sean Becker
Best Female Performance (Comedy) – My Gimpy Life – Teal Sherer Teal
Best Directing (Drama) – Anyone But Me – Tina Cesa Ward (but it’s complicated in a good way)
Best Interactive/Social Media Experience – The Lizzie Bennet Diaries

maybe
Best Original Music – Cost of Capital – Rob Gokee
Best Male Performance (Comedy) – The Jeff Lewis 5-Minute Comedy Hour – Jeff Lewis – Poker Episode ?
Best Visual Effects (Digital) – H+ The Digital Series – Faction Creative and The Sequence Group: VFX Supervisor Ian Kirby; Digital Effects Supervisor Chris van Dyck; VFX Producer Caleb Bouchard

no
Best Animated Series – Red vs. Blue
Best Cinematography – H+ The Digital Series – Brett Pawlak – up to Episode 12. silent conversation probably about work between two women in Episode 13.
Best Female Performance (Drama) – Blue – Julia Stiles – Blue
Best Male Performance (Drama) – The Booth at the End, Season 2 – Xander Berkeley – Lead
Best Writing (Drama) – The Booth at the End, Season 2 – Christopher Kubasik
Best Supplemental Content – Red vs. Blue

WordPress Themes