David Penn is just a writer trying to get his show Groomates picked up. He accepts that the sitcom will never be bigger than the mysterious hit show Swamblers, and he’s coming to terms with the fact that one man is pretending to be two different cast members.
If you have no idea what I’m talking about, then you need to go and check out Break a Leg, the hit show from Late Again Films and For Your Imagination. The series, which picked up a sponsorship deal with Holiday Inn Express back in June, is currently airing its final episodes, and Tubefilter’s Drew Baldwin got a chance to sit down with co-creator (and star “David Penn”) Yuri Baranovsky, and ask him a few questions.
Tubefilter: Let’s start off with the finale–how has the response been?
Yuri Baranovsky: Overwhelmingly good. People are really surprised at the high production values of this one — we’re gone all out and, I can honestly say, the finale is the best looking independent show I’ve personally seen. We have special effects, we have armies of children (coming up!), we have cowboy towns, we even have an actor from the original Partridge Family. The last few episodes are really good, I think. Generally, we’re just excited to see what the reception will be like and we’re very, very proud of these last few episodes.
TF: Has getting a sponsor affected the show? In terms of creative freedom, have the sponsors made any changes?
Baranovsky: They didn’t change anything. The only thing it affected was the lengthening of how many videos we release. We were going to release the entire finale, back to back, but now we’ll have little in-between videos to split it up a bit. The sponsor has no say over any of the content.
TF: What’s it like working at Late Again Films?
Baranovsky: I’m not sure if people know this, but it’s really made up of very few people, all working full-time jobs, trying to make the best possible show we can. We’re filmmakers, all of us, we’ve made a film together, we’ve made Break a Leg together and, ideally, we’ll be making future projects together. The people involved in Late Again Films are some of the most talented people I’ve ever worked with. They learn programs in days, they take any challenge presented — no matter how hard — and dive in, headfirst. We’re planning to build a giant, 24-foot ramp for one shot, purely for filmmaking and comedic purposes. That alone should tell you everything about our production company!
TF: How has using Blip as your standard player worked out? Where do you get more views, Blip or YouTube?
Baranovsky: Blip’s been great for us. The quality is good and the company is extremely sociable and helpful. It was with their help, along with For Your Imagination, that we got the sponsor. I can talk to any of their higher-ups almost at a moment’s notice. They’re fantastic, and they helped us grow when we were just starting out. It depends, as far as views go. If we get a feature on YouTube, then YouTube. If not, Blip usually takes the lead.
TF: What would you have done differently in making the show, if you had the chance to do it again?
Baranovsky: Aside from purely technical stuff, I think we would’ve made each episode a bit more stand-alone. We would’ve made it a little simpler to tune in from the middle and understand what’s happening and I think we’d aim for a slightly more sellable story. We’d also shoot all the episodes at once, and then release them week by week over a certain period and call that a full season. People love episodes, and it’s tough to keep them interested while we shoot for 3 months. That said, Break a Leg has been amazing to us, it has provided an invaluable lesson for us, it has taught us how to be better writers, filmmakers, marketers — you name it. It has given us amazing press, a dedicated fanbase and a lot of great connections.
TF: What’s in store for you in the future?
Baranovsky: Right now, we’re talking to people, trying to follow various leads — the goal is, come the end of October, to have a funded project to do. Be it an internet show, a TV show, the second season of Break a Leg — whatever people are interested in helping us create. We’re talking to everyone and, hopefully, will have some kind of announcement once Break a Leg wraps.