I recently had the opportunity to interview Sara, Emmanuel, and Matthew, who are key parts of the web series “Teenagers.” TEENAGERS is a web series that explores teen angst, freedom, sexuality and racism through the eyes of several teenagers as they navigate their way through their final year of High School.
You can watch the 1st episode and read what Sara, Emmanuel, and Matthew had to say in our interesting Q and A, below.
1. What’s the story behind your team wanting to develop “Teenagers” into a web series?
Mathew: Sara and I wrote the script after struggling for many weeks to come up with a solid idea for a web series. We had the idea to make a web series before we had written the script for “Teenagers,” but couldn’t decide on one story to tell. Once we had a handful of stories and characters in our vault of ideas, we tossed them all into the creative blender, and from that, “Teenagers” was born.
2. Who is involved with the project, and how did you attract those individuals to join you on your journey?
Mathew: Once we had written drafts for the first 4 episodes of the show, we reached out to the actors we knew we wanted to work with (Nykeem Provo and Dana Jeffrey from my previous film, “Legs,” which screened at festivals in Canada, France, and the UK), because we knew that we wanted to work with actors we were comfortable with. However, I also went out on a limb and reached out to an actor I wanted to work with, but didn’t know well, and that was Emmanuel. I sent him the 4 scripts on Facebook, and the next morning at 8:30am I got a message from him saying: “I love the scripts. What are you doing tonight?” And the rest is history.
3. What are the core goals for the series?
Sara: We wanted to create a story dealing with youth, but with no boundaries. So many of the teen shows out there are censored, corny, and simply not very realistic. In reality, teenagers deal with everything from drugs to sex, they swear, they curse…
Mathew: We wanted to showcase this, in an artistic way. And we wanted this show to be a way for anyone, youth or adults, to escape into an entertaining, quirky little world for 10 minutes.
4. Is each episode inspired by true life events, or is each script written from a fictional perspective?
Mathew & Sara: The show is a work of fiction. Of course, since we were in High School just under 3 years ago, the experiences still affect us. But, I would say it is more cinematically inspired… We were inspired by the emotions we felt in High School, but we were also inspired by the classic 80’s teen films like “Breakfast Club” and “Pretty In Pink,” and wanted to showcase those themes in a modernistic way.
5. What have been the biggest project challenges?
Emmanuel: In the beginning we had minor challenges because of the project being low budget. Some of the actors and crew had to do different jobs. For example we didn’t have permanent drivers and not everyone had a car, so I had to drive most of the actors to set and back home. Once, one of the lighting guys had to replace the sound guy because he had class. We had two actors drop out of the project last minute, and I had to find other actors to replace them. All these challenges were necessary because it gave us a chance to gain more knowledge and experience. We we’re fortunate to finish filming all 8 episodes on time and to also have Mathew and Dmitry, who do a great job editing the show.
6. How does your team collaboratively manage the project work flow?
Emmanuel: We worked well together. The cast and crew became like a family because we did a lot of things together. We would eat together, sing together to keep our spirits high, dance together, some of us even cuddled. We shared personal stories and encouraged each other to continue doing good work. Because of this, when the time came to promote the show, each one of us did their part without feeling like they were being forced to. We made conversations on social media feeds and would talk to in person about the show with lots of positive energy. We just all flowed together like a well oiled machine.
7. Do you have any tips or insights for producing a web series?
Sara: I think its important that if you are going to go all out and take your web series seriously, you need to work with people that you are comfortable with and that are passionate about the idea. Our actors were all passionate, our cinematographer Dmitry is incredibly passionate about the show as well… It needs to be a positive experience. It’s also important to let go of your ego when working in a team-oriented setting.
Mathew: The most important thing, though, is that you have fun with it. If you aren’t having fun, then whats the point?
8. Where can we watch “Teenagers” and what can viewers expect from the series in the short and long term future?
We thank Sara, Emmanuel, and Matthew for their insightful answers for web series creators to learn from! We also wish them all the best with their show and journey going forward.
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