[Editor’s Note: Welcome to Diary of a Web Series, the column that offers you an entertaining look into the machinations of a zero-budget web series made possible by an idea, fortitude, and democratized tools of production. For all the background on why we started publishing Diary of a Web Series – and why we think it’s great – check out the first installment right here. You can watch the web series the diary is about, too. It’s called STRAY and it’s good. Click here to watch it. And you can catch all the installments of Diary of a Web Series right here.]
I looked at the shoot schedule and realized that the shoot after next had not been confirmed and that the venue had not been booked. I called our director.
“Hey, Alison, can you shoot on the 24th?”
“Are we still doing this?”
“Yes, we’re still doing this.”
“Are you sure, because I’m pretty sure we agreed that this was a waste of our time. Remember?”
“No, we never had that discussion.”
“Maybe we should revisit this.”
“Can you shoot on the 24th or not?”
Luckily, I had prepared for this eventuality by engaging a second director, since, as I was quickly finding, the most challenging aspect of a small production, apart from raising money, is getting people to commit to a date when you’re not paying them anything.
“Hey Dane. Are you available to shoot on the 24th?”
“I’m sorry, who on Earth is this? How did you get this number?”
“This is Pablo.”
“How many Pablos do you know?”
“Just the one.”
“OK, I’m that one.”
“Cool, what’s up?”
“Can you shoot on the 24th?”
“An episode of STRAY.”
“It’s a web series that you direct.”
“Oh right, I thought we weren’t doing that anymore.”
“Yeah, we’re still doing that.”
“Are you sure? You should talk to Alison.”
Next, I reached out to Jon, our sound guy, a sweetheart of a man.
“Hey Jon, are you available to shoot on the 24th?”
“I hate you.”
Maybe If I got the actors bought in, the rest would fall into place.
“Hey Sha, can you shoot on the 24th?”
Sha didn’t respond for a couple of days, so I followed up. He finally sent me a text:
“Hey man, there is a 22.5 percent chance I have a show that day, a 27.5 percent chance I’ll be out of town that weekend, a 15 percent chance I will have given up on this production by then, a 35 percent chance I will have forgotten about this exchange by then, and whatever remaining percentage that I’m available.”
I reached out to the other lead.
“Hey Cameron, can you shoot on the 24th?”
“Sure!” he eventually responded on the 25th.
Screw it, I decided to book the venue and guilt everyone into doing it that day whether they liked it or not. I contacted the Airbnb owner, whose name, I kid you not, was Destiny.
“Hey Destiny, is your place available on the 24th? We’re shooting another episode there.”
Finally, something was panning out.
“Great!” I exclaimed. “Wait, it’s not letting me book.”
“This is high season for me,” Destiny replied. “I’m requiring at least two-day bookings.”
“OK, no problem. Um, it’s still not letting me.”
“It’s three days now.”
“What? You just said two days a second ago.”
“Four days. Want to make it five?”
“This isn’t Breakfast Club.”
“That’s six. Want to make it seven, tough guy?”
“I can’t afford that.”
“I have your mother.”
“What is she worth to you? Eight days? Nine?”
Back to the drawing board.
“Hey, everyone, can you shoot on the 12th?”
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.