Two Philadelphia local web series have been selected to be a part of the 2013 LAWeb Fest on March 28-31. Clark: The Web Series is a completely bonkers character study that playfully explores the life and perspective of a fictional version of Philadelphia artist and filmmaker, Daniel.
Joining the westward charge, the star-studded Flour Web Series is the story of two sisters who couldn’t be more opposite of one another, Tulip and Violet.
We chatted with Daniel Warwick (Clark) and Deirdre McCullagh (Flour) via email about their upcoming projects and the LAWeb Fest.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? Where are you from?
Daniel Warwick (DW): I live in south Philly though Clark was mostly shot in University City where William and James lived.
Deirdre McCullagh (DM): I am a Philadelphia based actress/model/writer and now producer/director.
How did you get your start in video and, namely, in creating your own web series?
DW: I started doing web series because I’ve done video professionally for years but never anything that I had produced or wrote on my own. I wanted to make something that me and my friends would enjoy, and we uploaded it to youtube because it seemed pointless if we were the only ones that saw it.
Almost immediately we were featured on Alterati.com with the condition that we gave them a new episode every two weeks for an entire season. So suddenly every week I was shooting one episode, writing another episode and editing yet another episode at the same time from September until something like January in 2010/11.
DM: I grew up doing musical theatre starting at age 7 and that continued or perhaps evolved into what I’m doing now. I’ve been involved in over 20 productions (from film/tv/commercials) though out the East Coast. In 2012 I created the comedy web-series Flour, where I am the producer, writer and play the character of Tulip.
I also run a Philadelphia based production company, 4Reelz Productions, with my longtime friend Cassia Rainne. We have two films in the works this year, alongside starting the second season of Flour.
Who makes up your series’ team and what are their roles?
DW: The story was dreamed up by William James and myself. I wrote scenes and some specifics on characters, but let them improvise because they aren’t actors.
Much of the dialogue was never written down but we had talked about most of it beforehand. The three of us sort of repeat jokes or phrases to each other a lot, improving on them, giving them little twists. So by the time we were filming ,what you see was basically conversations we had had 4 or 5 times before that. But, something new would always come up from it.
So what it comes down to as far as everyone’s “role” is that I did all the work and James and William just had fun. It was the worst 6 months of my life. (Editors note: I’m pretty sure he’s lying here. This seems like perfectly good fun to me.)
DM: I have a great team! I am the writer, executive producer and actress so I usually bring in my production partner for 4Reelz Productions, Cassia Rainne, to fill in the director role. Jeni Miller, who stars as my sister on the show, is the assistant producer but you can also find her being craft services, the production assistant and casting director. She is very good at juggling multiple hats!
When did you start your series and why?
DM: Flour didn’t start off as “Flour the web series.” I actually needed a commercial reel for acting, so I roped in Jeni Miller to help me create a Gatorade commercial, but that didn’t work out and then we decided that a cotton commercial might work and still no luck.
In the midst of all that planning we ended doing what now is known as “the teaser” for Flour as two sisters who are living together but are complete opposites. We released our first episode in March 2012 and pretty consistently released an episode a month until November 2012.
DW: We started in fall of 2010. I had done a little 30-minute movie with William, James and Dave that was a parody of those alien abduction shows you’d see on the history channel. It was a silly thing that I just started because I [had] the equipment and education/experience in video and I was just doing commercial work.
So it was kind of out of boredom and needing to do something that made me laugh. We started Clark because I wanted to keep filming, editing, making something that I enjoyed to watch, and meanwhile William was sculpting this 4-foot [phallic] in his living room so it just kind of worked out. I enjoy nothing more than watching William do something stupid on camera because he’s the most entertaining person I’ve ever met.
What made you ultimately decide on the format of a web series?
DM: It’s funny, I never really sat down and thought, “You know I want to create a web series.” It happened so organically. I wrote the first script really easily, filmed it and people seemed to enjoy the plot and the characters.
So I continued, and I liked that it gave people a chance to engage more on a monthly basis with what was going on in these characters lives [in] a shorter [format] (around 7 min per episode) than something would if you were sitting through a full length film. I like being able to create continuingly changing storylines. [Flour] can go wherever I choose to take it since each episode is standalone. Also, it is the wave of the future. Even sites like Hulu are offering web series strictly [through] their site.
Can you tell us a little about the writing process? Where does your humor originate from?
DM: Anything can inspire me–people, places, things and especially experiences. Humor exists all around us. The darkest situation can have elements of humor, we just have to be brave enough to seek it out.
Having the ability to laugh at ourselves is paramount; there are several jokes that came from conversations, witty in the moment observations and, from time to time, flukes that just plain make you laugh.
What is your audience like?
DM: Well, I’d like to say [that] my audience is funny! I think they have a good sense of humor and appreciate independent filmmaking.
Mostly, they are people who love to laugh and who are willing to push the boundaries of comedy. Women and men have enjoyed our humor with ages spanning from early twenties to late fifties. If you like comedies like Will and Grace, Modern Family, Friends or New Girl you will probably enjoy Flour.
How did you get involved with the LAWeb Series Fest? Is there an entry process?
DM: I got involved in the LA Webfest because some webseries I knew of got selected for it last year. They have submissions from all over the world, and said they have received over 500 submissions in 2013. We are one of the lucky 150 to be screened at the fest this year in March!
DW: A friend posted on her Facebook about entering her web series, which I just happened to see. There was a small entry fee and I’m impulsive, so I submitted my series.
Apparently the screeners watch your entire series, or at least the season that you submitted and they pick two episodes to show at their festival. I’m not sure if they turn anyone away or how strict their rules for getting in [are]. I mean, if I got this bizarre show in, then I imagine that they aren’t very exclusive.
What are plans for 2013 beyond the fest?
DW: I’ve gotten involved with a new show with a Tales From the Crypt style format called Death’s Chronicles produced by David Powell III. I’ll be co-producing, editing, doing digital effects and, maybe, guest writing/directing for that [in] 2013.
And I’ll most likely be submitting the movie version of Clark: A Gonzomentary to Philadelphia Independent Film Festival this year.
DM: We plan on shooting the 2nd season starting in March, and promoting the last season throughout the year with various festivals and promotional pieces.
I am also looking to do a Flour short film, but that will most likely be in the fall. As for my production company, we are in pre-production on a film right now that starts in June called “Untitled: The Film?” I am also lucky enough to be cast in some other great films from DC to NY, most of which are filming in the summer and fall.