I’ve recently been witness (and a participant) to a number of film projects helmed by women. Some are massive endeavors; two years in the making, fundraising to create high-scale production budgets, large casts and crews, and visual effects. These are absolutely beautiful and inspiring developments for women making their mark in film and the Hollywood machine.
But sometimes, there are those smaller blades of grass that are stretching through the cracks in the cement that deserve some attention. Expanding, as creative energy so often wants to, these little blades are reaching for light regardless of any obstacles in their way. In come, Allison Walter and Leigh Nieves, creators of the “sit-sketch-web-com” series, How to Live Without Experience. A story about two friends who grew up with parents in the circus, and move to LA to try and be… normal. A unique and titillating twist on the “country bumpkin moves to Hollywood to become a starlet” scenario, these two want to be normal in spite of their only life experience being they are the progeny of circus performers. Get away from the circus? Why not move to LA? It’s normal there, right?
Rather than a simple overview of the series, the important thing is to acknowledge female actors taking matters into their own hands and making something happen. Establishing a track record as doers is what mattered to these two when putting their first self-produced project together.
“Just do it. Recognize your excuses, set a schedule, and stick to it. You will never have ‘enough money’, so make your goals of the project clear, and get at it.”
After moving to LA just two years ago, the duo met at Clay Banks Studio International. Both recognized the comedic talents of the other and started writing sketch together over a bottle of wine. Hence the name of their production company, Wine Room Productions. Only six months ago, they decided to combine forces and launch a digital series Since it was their first project, they decided to keep it manageable by using locations that were already available and writing guest roles that would highlight the talents of friends. Being the two leads with no ambition but to be normal in the twisted world of Hollywood, they left a lot of playing room for the bizarre characters that populate the world of the piece.
“We wanted to create roles that were different from the typical breakdowns on Actors Access.”
They also put in hours of research to see what types of series were out there and gaining traction. Such podcasts as Limited Release, and the online transmedia magazine Snobby Robot, allowed them to garner much needed background on the current climate of the digital series platform. A free introductory class with PR Consultant, Brian Rodda, gave them plenty of helpful tips on how to be prepared to market a web series. Once they were ready for filming, they entrusted their brainchild into the capable hands of female director, Danielle Argyros, and DP, Samahra Little. In just two months, they had wrapped shooting and post-production on their maiden voyage into the world of self-producing.
“Be in love with your content and don’t be self-conscious.”
These young women are just a testament to the old adage, “Where there is a will, there is a way.” If you are an actor, stop judging yourself and your ideas. If you are experiencing a dry spell in work or just not loving the work that you do, then gather some friends, break open a bottle of wine, and take the risk of putting yourself out there. Take the plunge, even if you are living with little to no experience.