[Editor’s Note: A lot of our editorial coverage at Tubefilter focuses on the deals, trends, and ongoings of big and burgeoning media companies and online video and social media personalities. We track the content trends, business models, and distribution platforms all of them employ to bring their programming to audiences innate and new. Then we take a look at those audiences, too. But it’s well to remember, from time to time, that there’s an ever-growing group of entertainment-industry-curious individuals who are utilizing low cost tools of production and free online distribution to pull their creative ideas from their virtual headspace into moving-picture reality.
We cover these types of independent productions at least weekly in our Indie Spotlight, but that reviews the finished product. We haven’t yet explored in-depth all the blood, sweat, tears, and laughs that goes into bringing a low-to-no-budget web series to life. Until now.
Pablo Andreu self-identifies as “not a creator or a scriptwriter” and “certainly not a filmmaker,” yet he’s made a web series just the same. This Diary of a Web Series is the story of the making of that web series, broken down into weekly installments for your reading pleasure. It’s an honest, incredibly relatable, and often times comical account of a process that will be familiar to Ilana Glazer, Abbi Jacobson, Issa Rae, Katja Blichfeld, Ben Sinclair, and anyone else who’s ever been involved in an indie web series production. And for those in the audience unfamiliar with said kinds of productions, it should still prove insightful and amusing.
We hope you like reading Diary of a Web Series as much as we did. You can check out all the installments right here.]
“There’s something about him,” I mused about Cameron Clarke, an actor who eventually landed the role of Rich in STRAY.
Alison and I had whittled the pool of applications from about 150 online to a dozen in person and then, finally, two who we called back for chemistry reads: Cameron and Matthew. The two had separated themselves from the pack early on, but deciding between them was difficult, since each brought starkly different interpretations of the character.
Either actor would’ve done a fine job, but there was an indefinable quality about Cameron that kept drawing me back to him. Also, I could see Matthew playing other characters on the show, further swinging the pendulum in favor of Cameron.
After some deliberation, Alison and I chose Cameron, who went on to do a great job with the character. An arduous process produced two solid leads. We were happy with our choices and excited at the show’s prospects. Not bad for a couple of web series first-timers.
“He looks like you,” my girlfriend told me when I showed her who we cast for Rich.
“No,” I dismissed, but after taking a closer look at him, I realized she was right. We both have dark hair and fair skin, which surprises some people when they discover we’re hispanic.
“Something about the eyes,” my girlfriend elaborated.
Yep, again, she nailed it. We both had sad eyes – a physical attribute I thought would endear him to viewers. Had I just rationalized that for the familiarity I saw in him?
I was reminded of an episode of Seinfeld in which Seinfeld is saved from being hit by a car by a woman called Jeannie Steinman, played by the deadpanning Janeane Garofalo. After saving his life, Jeannie makes a comment about his collared shirt, a droll observation Seinfeld himself might make. Later, they meet at the diner, where Seinfeld orders his usual. Jeanie orders a bowl of Cheerios, which she discovers is the “usual” Seinfeld had just requested.
Finally, in a moment of self-revelation, Seinfeld divulges to Kramer: “Now I know what I’ve been looking for all these years: myself!”
Had I really just cast myself for my own show? Then, something else occurred to me: Cameron was a younger, taller version of myself.
“Don’t you dare go near him!”
Pablo Andreu is not a creator or a scriptwriter. He’s certainly not a filmmaker. He’s just a guy who decided to make a web series called STRAY. It’s a bromantic comedy in which a brash gay dude and a nerdy straight guy talk sex and relationships while reconnecting in New York City years after college. He hopes it’s funny. By some inscrutable alchemy, his scribblings have wormed their way into The New York Times, McSweeney’s and some others. Usually, you can find him babbling here: https://medium.com/@pdandreu
Photos by Alison Bourdon.