Two Talented Artists Talk about how they Produced their First Web Series

By Fusfoo, @fusfoo

Have you been in a long-distance relationship before? Are you in one right now? If so, you will love the new web series “Long Distance” as much as we do. Mallory Goodman and Carolyn Daucher came up with an idea and brought it to life in the most relatable and comedic manner. Under the direction of Brenna Palughi and with Michael Crommett behind the lens, this series is one you just can’t miss. Long Distance is a fresh take on our current generation and the salvation we seek in technology. Living far away no longer hinders a romantic relationship as it would have in the past. Through video chat and all things digital, attaining normalcy is possible and in some cases even preferable. Naturally, there are struggles present in Jake (Ross Wellinger) and Morgan’s (Mallory Goodman) relationship as in any traditional relationships. This web series’ focus is “about being apart, together.” It’s our newest addiction. We asked Carolyn and Mallory some questions on what it takes to produce a web series. Check it out below!

Where did the idea for the web series come from?

Mallory Goodman: As an actress based in New York, I’ve often debated whether I need to move to LA to further my career. I’ve been with my boyfriend for almost five years now, so the decision to potentially go long distance is a weighty one for me. One day, I was discussing the dilemma with one of my and Carolyn’s mutual friends and she interjected with, “That would make a great web series!” She’d been encouraging us to collaborate for a while and I’d already been toying with using the long distance idea in a short film, so I just decided to go for it. Luckily, Carolyn was on board with the idea and we just sort of ran with it.

From inception, how long did it take to air first episode?

MG: About one year.

What made this idea come to life?

Carolyn Daucher: Mallory had some really helpful stored-up anxiety about potentially moving 3,000 miles away from her boyfriend, and I’ve totally failed at a couple of long distance relationships myself, so ideas for episodes came pretty fast. If we wrote them all down you could easily tell whose was whose: I was always thinking of things that could go horribly awry for our couple, whereas Mallory’s instinct was usually to help them succeed. We found a way to blend our perspectives and write a relationship that is working in its own weird, sweet, logistically-challenged way.

MG: From the start, Carolyn and I just worked really well together. We have a similar sense of humor so writing episodes together was easy and exciting. Plus, I think we both REALLY wanted to create our own work.

How did you do decide to staff your project?

MG: We decided to hire the best DP we could find (and afford) and figured he or she would lead us to a crew. After some searching, we were lucky enough to come across Michael Crommett, who is both a great person and DP! He did have colleagues he routinely worked with so we trusted him to staff the remaining positions. It was a great decision, as Govinda Angulo (assistant camera) and Rich Buonagurio (sound) were awesome!

CD: Mallory and I both have a lot of respect for well-composed images and clean sound, and had enough experience to know that those things aren’t easily come by. We were incredibly lucky to find Michael Crommett – as a DP he usually works in documentary but has a real talent for narrative. He brought with him Richard Buonagurio (sound) and Govinda Angulo (assistant camera), and I can’t say enough about all three of them. They made difficult things easy.
Brenna Palughi is one of my favorite people and favorite actors and a really nimble and empathetic director. I think I bought her a pizza and then she said yes. She’s been invaluable both behind the camera and in the editing room. Mallory knew Ross Wellinger, who plays Jake, from an acting class and asked him to come and audition for us. I now preach the gospel of Ross everywhere, because he is fantastic: funny and talented and very cool under pressure. Also surprisingly okay with us using his abs to market the show.

What was your favorite part about creating this project?

CD: The people, and the learning. It’s fun going to work when you’re working with people as kind and smart and creative as these guys. And I like a trial by fire: being responsible for every step along the way has forced us to learn some things we really had no idea how to do.

MG: The feeling of accomplishment from having an idea and seeing it through to production. Collaborating with great people and friends has made the process even more fulfilling. Sometimes you can be friends with people but not know whether you’ll click professionally, but when you discover that you do, as Carolyn and I did, it’s even more gratifying (and makes all the stressful parts a little easier). It was also great to include people we’d each worked with before. I’d met Ross Wellinger (the actor who plays Jake) in an acting class and it was fun to have an opportunity to work together. Carolyn and I had both worked with Brenna Palughi before and were thrilled she was able to direct. The entire crew was so helpful as well–everyone added something that elevated the project.

Did you have to raise funds to be able to complete it?

CD: We love Kickstarter, but we paid for this first season ourselves. We wanted to invest ourselves before we invested anybody else – which I think kind of freed us up to experiment a bit and screw up and learn from it. It’s also worth noting that our saintly team worked for cheap or for free and are our heroes.

Have all the episodes of the first season been recorded? Is there a plan to continue to a second season?

MG: All of the episodes have been shot but we’re still editing as we go. We’re getting this season out and we’re optimistic about the potential for a second season. We have a lot of ideas and notes for second season episodes. Anyone who’s been in a long distance relationship knows that there are endless ways to embarrass yourself and your significant other over Skype.

How does your most recent project compare to your previous work? How does it feel different?

MG: Well I’ve never actually produced anything I’ve written before; I’ve only acted in other people’s productions. I obviously enjoy both and having to wear so many hats over the course of this project has given me an even greater appreciation for the projects I’ve worked on previously.

CD: Mallory works primarily as an actress, and I’m a blogger and screenwriter. Most of our day-to-day work is more like a shout into the void than a tangible product. It feels good to have made a thing that is, if not touchable, at least clickable. It’s also provided me a rare opportunity to stop thinking about The Bachelor, which I spend about 75% of my work life doing.

What was the last great film you saw?

MG: Boyhood. I saw Boyhood on a tiny screen on a plane. I haven’t stopped thinking about it since. I’ve listened to “Hero” by Family of the Year (the song from the trailer) approximately 1,000 times. The last scene of the movie will probably stick with me for the rest of my life.

CD: I guess Mallory and I are the exact same kind of suckers because: Boyhood. I was actually floored by a few movies this year, but man. That one slayed me.

What makes a web series great for you? Are there certain qualities that make a web series better for you?

CD: Laughs! The internet is full of such dark things, like world news and WebMD, but is also such a powerful tool for transmitting LOLs. We’re both big fans of High Maintenance, which our director Brenna worked on and I think is kind of a gold standard now for web series. It’s very human and I think has proved that web content can have substance and pathos. But we’re also into fast, tight, single-joke web shorts. I love Couple Time and pretty much everything they do at Good Cop, Great Cop. Mallory and I also both have a deep, abiding affection for this absurdist one-off called “It’s Not About The Nail.” It has about ten million views on YouTube and I think one million of those are us.

MG: I think a great web series is relatively short and funny with a clear concept. I hope we’ve accomplished that! I think great picture quality and sound are also key. It was very important to us to look and sound professional and not have any distractions from the content.

What has been your favorite part of the process thus far?

CD: My favorite and least favorite part has been the editing process. I’ve taught myself a couple of new curse words, which is fun, and learned that the difference between funny and not-funny can sometimes be measured in milliseconds.

MG: Acting words I’ve written, and getting directed in a way I would’ve never expected. That’s a large part of what makes the process so exciting–creating something with a group of people and watching it take on a life of its own.
I’ve also really gained an appreciation for editing and the extent to which the story is truly shaped in the editing room.

What are you guys doing to get your name out there and get people to watch your web series?

MG: We’re using social media to the best of our ability: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. And moms. If you want the world to know about something you’ve created, tell your mom. Or you can tell my mom. That’ll probably work too.

CD: We’re tweeting and instagramming and Facebooking and bombarding our friends and loved ones with emails. My parents are doing some heavy lifting by calling everyone they know and telling them to watch their kid’s internet video.

Find out more about Long Distance here:

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