I have been using this blog quite a bit to promote great web series I have come across. But lately, it seems the creators of these series are finding me! How cool is that? So you can imagine how much I geeked out when I heard from Matt Palazzolo who has written a web series that was directed by none other than Star Trek: Voyager’s Tim Russ. The web series is called Bloomers and it is about a diverse group of 20-somethings learning new ways to love, work, and laugh in Downtown Los Angeles.
Matt was gracious enough to answer a few questions for me for about the series:
Where did the idea for Bloomers originally come from? What was your process in writing the series?
Bloomers actually came from the lack of acting jobs I, and my co-producer, Fernanda Espíndola, had at the time. We were frustrated with the lack of quality roles that we could audition for – so we thought – why not just create them? My process in writing Bloomers was (1) to make a cohesive story about friends, a story that matters to 20-somethings today, and (2) to make sure I created characters that highlighted the strengths and talents of my actor friends.
How did you manage to get Star Trek’s Tim Russ involved and what was it like working with him?
Getting Tim involved as one of the directors was an accidental blessing. Tim happens to be the next door neighbor of my co-producer, Fernanda. She asked him to read the script and give some feedback if he had the time. He read the script, he liked the script, and then we asked him if he might want to be involved – and he said yes. I’m really grateful that such a talented and established actor & filmmaker fell into our laps. On a side note – I’m a hardcore trekker, I even have a Star Trek tattoo on my shoulder – so for a brief moment I did geek the heck out when Tim agreed to direct. My geek-out soon subsided though, as Tim is a really easy artist to collaborate with. He puts a lot of thought and care into his work, keeps his eyes and his ears open, and has a lot of fun on set.
How did you go about finding actors for the project? Did you have auditions or are these people you already knew?
As I mentioned above, these actors were mostly all my friends. I wrote the parts for them. The two exceptions to that are Jay Ali, who plays Vaughan, and Swati Kapila, who plays Joanna. They were both last minute additions. The girl I had written the part of Joanna for booked a really awesome acting gig and so she couldn’t do Bloomers. We had an audition a week before filming and found Swati, who ended up being flawless for the part, such a bright light in the show. The original actor we had playing Vaughan was flying out from NY to shoot Bloomers, but he get terribly sick the day before his flight and couldn’t make it out. So Fernanda asked her friend, Jay, who happened to be an extremely charming and talented actor, to fill in literally a day before shooting.
What sort of specifics go into making a web series? What is the process for taking it from the written word to producing it for the web?
I think both the fun thing about and the challenge for making a web series is that there are no rules. You can make a series with lots of money or, like with our production, no budget. You can use a professional camera like a Canon 7d (the camera we used) or you can film on an iphone and still have it turn out looking great. For Bloomers, I wrote the scripts in about 3 weeks, then we had a very fast pre-production period (also about 3 weeks), and then we shot for another 2 and a half weeks. The most stressful part of the process was definitely pre-production – finding locations, wardrobe, makeup, lighting, and crew with no money to spend is a very difficult task to undertake. It requires asking for a lot of favors. I think that’s the biggest lesson Fernanda and I learned from producing Bloomers — always ask and most of the time you will receive.
How are you planning on promoting the series?
We’re promoting Bloomers all online at the moment, through social networking and by writing to blogs like FanGirl Confessions – you know, reaching out to people who would actually genuinely care about our show and particular people involved in the production. With promoting Bloomers I often feel like my co-producer, Fernanda, and I are little kids with a lemonade stand, doing everything we can to get the neighborhood involved in making it a success. LOL. We’ve had really positive feedback so far, though, and I am so grateful for that.
Will there be a second season? What is your ultimate goal for the series? Television? More web series? Exclusives with online sites like Hulu?
Let me answer these two questions at once. Hopefully, yes, there will be a second season. And hopefully that second season will be on TV. That’s our ultimate goal. We’d like to be one of those lucky web series that make the jump from web to TV. That’s what we’re strongly focusing on right now, but if that doesn’t happen we still intend on making more episodes for the web. Everyone involved in Bloomers is kind of in love with these characters — and we all really want to explore their stories more. So, Robin, if you happen to know any big TV Execs, send ’em our way. 😉
I wish I did know some big TV execs, Matt! But if I run into any, I’ll be sure to mention your series!
Check out the first episode for Bloomers below. For more, visit www.bloomerstheseries.com.