In between working on an original novel, collaborating on a television series pilot, and waiting for news on a proposed media tie-in series, I’ve been lending a hand to the creative team behind A Little Help. It’s a ridiculous new comedy web series involving quite a few of my most talented current and former student-writers/producers as well as folk who brought you Epilogue – self included as consulting producer. The series goes into production next month with a release date for this summer. ALH is currently running a fundraiser over at Indiegogo and trust me, your crumpled up dollar bill wedged into your armchair could make all the difference. There’s a terrifically funny cast involved – Beth Domann from Springfield Little Theatre plays Deb (the hippy mom) and for that reason alone, it’s worth investing a buck or two.
A Little Help follows an aspiring stand-up comedian who wants nothing more than to leave St. Louis and chase his dreams to New York City. It’s a little hard to do when he has to navigate a few of life’s more absurd obstacles: His hippie parents accidentally plant drugs on him, his sister’s focus is on shopping for the right sperm, his best friend’s attention is on a rabbit, and the girl of his dreams spends all her time working or studying. Yeah, just another day in the life for Ringo (his parents may be Beatles fans, did I mention that?).
The web series as a venue is no longer the newest frontier, but it’s certainly become one of the best ways for new (and old) talent to stretch their creative muscles and for you, the audience, to try out new things. The beauty of this medium, of course, is that you don’t have a million network or studio notes dumbing down the material. (I can’t tell you how many times I read a great script about two nuns in Idaho and by the time the network or studio got their paws all over it, the project changed into a story about two cops in New York City).
The downside of independence, of course, is a lack of funding. If we – as an audience – want television and film projects that make us sit up and notice — and we don’t want to be bored by paint-by-numbers storylines — then we need to support series like A Little Help. Think of it as investment in the next decade’s stories. On the subject of ‘tomorrow’s stories,’ I’m offering an analysis of your treatment, series bible, full screenplay or teleplay analysis as one of the perks. I’ll read through your material, write up a three page analysis, and then meet online for a one-on-one session to help you plan your rewrite.