Web series have taken off in the last few years as a new medium that gives artists a viable way to make content. One new series, PSYCHODRAMA, has just launched over the summer,using the picturesque backdrop of our neighborhood.
I recently had the pleasure of sitting down with the three young ladies (Luisa Fidalgo, Liza Renzulli, and Kimmy Foskett), who created and star in the series, to discuss their experience with inspiration, crowdfunding, and, of course, shooting in Greenpoint.
GP: Instead of asking you the obvious “what’s it about?” I’m more curious to know, “How much of the series is adapted or based on yourselves, individually, and how do you manage the relationship between yourself and the character you are playing on screen?”
Psychodrama: All of it! We play versions of ourselves and use our own names, but there is a definite line between character Kimmy and real life Kimmy. We highlighted our personality traits that we found the most interesting to play out on screen and then defined the character versions of ourselves based on those traits: Kimmy is a ball of nervous energy and frenetic passion; Liza, is an intellectual misanthrope bogged down by her own neuroses; and Luisa is a tres-cool European transplant who wants to experience every crazy thing New York has to offer.
GP: What is the secret to making your stuff look so good? It looks really professional as far as visual quality and production values.
PD: We knew from the beginning that we wanted to make something that was high quality. We figured that if we were going to ask people to watch a series that we made about our own lives (self-indulgent, much?), we wanted it be visually appealing! We made sure that lighting, sound, hair and make-up were all important parts of the process, and most importantly we hired a fabulously talented DP, Joseph Bearese a.k.a. Superman. Joe directed, shot, and edited the entire series. Joe’s work as a Director and Director of Photography has been seen at Cannes’ short corner and numerous other festivals as he has worked on feature films, short films, music videos, and television shows. Joe’s extensive network in the New York indie scene was amazing for our production, we ended up with a stellar crew who had all worked together before on music videos, features, and television shows produced in the city. He is also adorable.
GP: Are you all Greenpoint residents? Any good stories from shooting in the hood?
PD: We love Greenpoint! Only one of us (Kimmy) currently lives there, but Luisa lived in Greenpoint for two years when she was in acting school. And Liza spends a lot of time eating and drinking and making web series there. Our friends Kimmee Arndt and Evan Hoffman who are (adorably) a couple that owns a spice company together (Greenpoint Trading Company, everyone check them out!) have lived in the neighborhood for some time and they have developed a wonderful community there. They helped us to find shooting locations because they have lovely generous friends all around GP! Throughout the process it was wonderful shooting there, NO horror stories, just ridiculously hospitable and wonderful businesses and people.
GP: I dont want to point out the obvious, but it seems like comparisons to shows like GIRLS (also shot in Greenpoint) are going to be made. Do you embrace that or wish to distance yourself from the work of Lena Dunham and/or programming of its ilk?
PD: A comparison to GIRLS is epic, we love that show and Lena Dunham is definitely inspirational to us as lady-filmmakers. And even though there are obvious correlations to GIRLS, PSYCHODRAMA was an original creation by a group of young artists, independently made for under $5,000. Psychodrama has a DIY quality. We pulled our actors and crew from a community of artists who are launching careers in a difficult industry and together we made something that was truthful and funny on a shoestring budget. Our structure is also very different. We believe people aren’t watching long videos online, so our episodes are approximately 5 minutes long – about as long it takes your boss to take a bathroom break. Additionally, because we knew we wanted bite-size, consumable content, we decided to make the series non-narrative. There are no story lines really; just short moments of quirky neuroticism, underlining the absurdity of being in your twenties.
And also our stories are true. Every last one of ‘em.
GP: How did you raise money? What did you do to achieve success via crowdfuding? What advice would you give to other people looking to successfully reach their crowdfunding goal?
PD: We raised our money primarily through Indiegogo. I think the thing that made our campaign successful was that we cared about the project so much. We talked about it to our family and friends for months before launching our campaign. People knew it was something we were passionate about and wanted to see realized. Our advice would be to get others excited about your project.
GP: How many episodes are you planning to make, and where do you want to take the series in the future?
PD: We want to take it everywhere! Everywhere! Season 1 is being released throughout summer 2013, and then we hope to move to web series festivals. We have loads of ideas for Season 2 and our audience is growing. This is just the beginning!
With three episodes of the series now online, you can catch up on all the PsychoDrama on Vimeo and be sure to read up more about the project on their website at www.psychodramatheseries.com