Doing Web Series Right: Creator of ‘I Love Lucy & Bekka’ Talks About the Power of Female Friendships

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Rachael Holder

Rachael Holder photo by Anakela Washington

A new comedic webseries created by New York playwright Rachael Holder and starring Golden Globe Winner Gina Rodriguez (Jane the Virgin) and Kristolyn Lloyd (The Bold and the Beautiful) was released last month. Comprised of eleven two-minute episodes, I Love Lucy and Bekka is a fly on the wall experience of conversations between two female best friends, tackling topics from audition tips for The Voice (a conversation had while on a toilet) to what to do when someone dies on Facebook.

Holder says she based the series off her own life experience. “This is the stuff that I would say with my best friend when we had nothing else to do but talk on the phone for four hours. I’m 31, I mean I don’t know if that’s young or cool still, but I like to write about when I was 22 with the perspective from where I’m at now.”

Describing her writing process for the two minute vignettes as “popping candy”, Holder said she took breaks while working on other scripts to expel bits of dialogue running through her head. “Initially it was just for fun. Jason Wolf, who produced I Love Lucy and Bekka, really wanted me to do something to get my work out there on a more publicly accessible platform, so I sent him these little conversations, and he loved them. We met in LA, I went back home to New York City and immediately did a Kickstarter campaign.

ES: Did you have your stars attached at the time to help you with your crowdfunding campaign?

EH: No! (Laughs) No, you know the intro video you have to do for those? Those people in it are my family. I handed them a script and they had no clue what I was doing. My manager had no clue either. Somehow it worked. This whole thing. It all kind of happened by mistake and on purpose at the same time.

ES: Llyod and Rodriguez have infectious chemistry. How did you get two actors of that caliber to star in an independent webseries?

RH: I knew Gina [Rodriguez]. We both went to NYU and a few of our friends are mutual. I met her at a party my first year in LA. She pulled me aside and said, “I heard that you write funny. So…think of me”. About a year later when we were in production I thought she’d be great for Lucy, and she was interested. She was the one who actually told me about Kristolyn. We did a chemistry test with about eight other people – which I had never done before, so I didn’t know what I was looking for except that I just wanted them to get along naturally – and then Kristolyn came in. They were so adorable and hilarious, I cried. I know that’s embarrassing but it was one of the best days of my life.

ES: This was filmed pre Jane the Virgin. What are your plans with the series moving forward now with Rodriguez’ busy schedule and increasing star power?

RH: I would love to do a second season. I actually started writing new episodes this week. I’ve also written a pilot for the show. We, the entire team, are all really excited to see what can happen with these characters, whatever platform.

ES: How did you film the series?

RH: We jam-packed it into a week, two episodes a day, except for “Crying” which took a day, and another day we shot three.

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ES: Do you have a favorite episode?

RH: Probably “Crying”. I think that’s most representative of my voice. My producer initially didn’t understand why they’re crying the entire episode. I kept telling him to trust me. ‘It’s like a fart at funeral. It’ll be funny!’. Then when we filmed, he got it. There’s this overall message that comes through that it’s all OK. You can be 22, totally selfish, and it’s all OK.

ES: The branding of this series, from the website to the opening graphics, it’s impressively designed. Did you have anything to do with that?

RH: I’m doing it all (laughs). I don’t know what I’m doing, and I’m doing it all. Except the set design. Katie Wong did that and she’s fantastic. But yes, I did the website and all the social media. Although, I’m a bit clueless when it comes to that, so one of these days I’m going to have to hire a 12 year old to explain it all to me.

ES: What’s next up for you?

RH: I am a freelance writer looking to land somewhere. That’s what I tell my parents whenever they call to check up on me. Honestly though, it’s a great time to be a female writing for minority characters. I feel very supported by the industry, like it’s the right time for my voice to be heard.

All eleven episodes can be streamed on the show’s site, ilovelucyandbekka.com.

About Erin Stegeman

Actor/Writer/Director. If you need me, I'm at Starbucks. Catch my series Once Upon A...Anonymous! - YouTube Channel: ERINSTEGEMAN