In the last five years of working in the service industry, my friends and I have probably said "you can't write this stuff" at least a hundred times. I finally caved and gave it a shot.
Front of House is a scripted web series that revolves around three characters, Hillary, Rob and Liam. All three are struggling to find their path in life by way of serving beers, steaks and ice waters with lemon to the endless stream of New York City patrons. Hillary, an ambitious writer with big career hopes and limited patience for customers, Liam, a struggling actor trying to find a backbone and an acting job, and Rob, a Southern dude who is good at keeping secrets, are all navigating their respective lives while working in a high end New York City restaurant. The series revolves around their attitude toward their current jobs, their backgrounds that brought them all into the service industry, their friendships with each other, relationships and struggles to get where they want to be in life while paying their dues to the service industry gods.
As I mention in the video, I've done several articles for websites like Brobible and Huffington Post about working in the service industry, including "Ten Things Every Bartender Absolutely Hates About You" and "Five Reasons Everyone Should Work in the Service Industry at Least Once in Their Lives". Both articles went pretty viral and the comments blew up. There was a big divide between those who agreed with me -- people who had experienced working in the service industry firsthand -- and those who disagreed with me -- people who had never worked a service industry job. I wanted to write a series that was relatable for anyone who has ever experienced the unique life lessons that come from being a waiter or a hostess or a bartender or busboy, but that also gave insight to the truths and lives of service industry workers that someone who had never worked in the industry might not know about. I think I did a pretty good job of writing a show that everyone can relate to, whether you've ever worked in a restaurant or not. My goal was to create strong characters that the audience cared about, and I think with the chemistry our cast has, I definitely succeeded.
A restaurant is an amazing location for a storyline because it's literally a microcosm for a million different backgrounds, stories and interactions. You have busboys from Senegal working with a chef from Queens working with a maitre d' from France working with a preppy white waitress from Long Island getting drinks from an actor from LA, plus every oddball customer you might ever meet from the lady who never leaves that hits on all the managers to that regular who tips you a hundred bucks on a twenty dollar check. I wanted to share some of the stories my friends and I had, the lessons we learned and the lives we've lead by way of three really strong, well written characters that each bring a different element to the show. I wrote five episodes, tried to compile some of the best stories and life lessons I had witnessed over the last five years and here we are.
As John mentions in the video, for a web series centered around a restaurant, the location is one of, if not the most important elements to making the show work. The biggest bulk of our budget will go toward securing a space in New York that helps bring all the stories to life. It can be extremely expensive to find a location that will allow us to shoot in their space and work around our schedule. Your donations will help us secure this location and bring the story to life in vivid detail, as well as help finance insurance, contracts and fees that are required to use a space for filming.
Other than location, your donations will also help us fund the daily budget required for filming a web series, from equipment like cameras, sound and lighting, to hiring a kick-ass director of photography, to making sure the cast and crew don't pass out from starvation (aka Kraft Food Services on set) to post production editing and making sure the series looks and sounds as authentic as possible.
With all five episodes written and completed, we plan on casting the series in December and shooting the series throughout January. With a little help from the agency I'm represented by (UTA) we are hoping to find distribution for the series and have it up and ready to enjoy by late February.
This show has so much potential and my biggest goal has always been to share stories with the audience that are relatable, funny and entertaining. With your help, I know without a doubt Front of House will bring all of those elements to the table. With ice water and bread.
Risks and challenges
There are loads of hurdles to filming on a small budget. Organization is key to keeping a cool head even when things around you fall apart. My goal is to have a crew made up of successful and experienced directors, producers, DPS, gaffers and sound coordinators to help mitigate issues.
Much like any person who works in the service industry's network would be, our cast alone is made up of experienced actors and editors with a wide network of friends and coworkers in the industry. We have numerous fall backs and people to reach out to if we need an extra hand or a little help with editing, equipment or cast. We are also planning to have several potential backup locations for the restaurant scenes (by way of our own connections within the industry) if we lose the main restaurant set by chance on a day due to scheduling conflicts.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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