Stories of backstage intrigue are as old as the stage itself, as writers have brought them to plays such as Noises Off! and films such as Waiting For Guffman. Now, Emerging Artist Productions brings such a tale to the Web in EXIT Stage Left, a web series that follows the trials and tribulations of an off-Broadway theater troupe attempting to mount a new play while not killing themselves or each other.
The thirteen-episode first season launched on Christmas day, with episodes to be released on the 10th and 25th of each month. The company is currently in post-production on episodes three and four, with the eventual goal to be two or three episodes ahead as the season progresses.
EXIT is Emerging Artist’s first foray into web-exclusive content, according to series creator Sinohui Hinojosa. “I was at AFM this year, pitching some film projects that we’ve been working on, and because this was right after all the money disappeared, we knew that we were going to have a really hard time to get enough capital to do some of these projects,” he said. “So we decided to do a Web series and hopefully get notice, let people see our production quality.”
That’s not to say that EXIT is a creative cash-grab for the northern California-based company. The unique format also allows he and his co-producers to create character-driven stories in a way they haven’t been able to do before.
“One of the things that we find with short films and other projects is that we never get to have characters that are as fully realized as we’d want to,” Hinojosa said. “We’re able to show more and build more there.”
The series follows the exploits of the Lowry Theater Company, from director Ronny Simons (Michael Navarra) all the way to stage manager Jill Baynor (Terri J Freedman). All of it is seen, in many ways, through the eyes of Pam William (Katie Kimball), a documentary filmmaking student from NYU, who also maintains a blog at pamwilliamsNYU.blogspot.com.
The documentary feel, aided by the show’s one-camera cinematography, lends a very life-like effect to the proceedings. “We’ve had many people think that the Lowry Theater Company is a real company,” Hinojosa said. “We’ve had people call us up and ask if they can see our next play. So we’re doing something right.”