Set in the world of independent theater, “Theater People” is a comedy web series about the drama behind the drama.
UPDATE: We've hit our goal! Thanks to everyone who has pledged so far to make this happen! With a few days left before the end of the campaign, we're happy to announce that all additional money raised will go directly to paying our talented cast. Check out the latest entry on the Updates page for a fun, new video with more information and pledge your support today!
"Theater People" started with a desire to create a series that would showcase the talented stage actors of the Minneapolis/St. Paul area. The show's producers all have their roots in local theater and we knew there was comedy to be mined from the crazy nature of the scene. Ignoring the fact that we had no money, we decided to produce the first season on a shoestring budget with whatever resources we could put together, trusting that good scripts and strong performances would be enough to make it work.
10 months and 35 shoot days later, we wrapped on season one with a cast of 20 principal roles, more than 50 speaking roles and a rotating crew of volunteers. Everyone worked for free (most juggling our production schedule with demanding stage commitments) and nearly all of the locations and equipment were donated.
Since its release, season one of “Theater People” has logged nearly 15,000 episode views. A recent Facebook post by American Theatre Magazine brought in 4,000 views in a single week.
It's been great to hear from theater people all over the world who are relating to these stories and characters. The warm reception has spurred us to begin work on a second season… and this is where you come in.
Why We Need You
When we decided to embark upon a new season of “Theater People”, we vowed to make it even better and funnier than season one, which means having more control over the way it’s produced. And that means money.
Equipment and Crew - Our battered $700 Canon DSLR camera from Best Buy has served us well, but the show will look far better with professional gear and someone who knows how to use it (though Matt did his best with season one). The same goes for sound. We’re also determined to no longer ask our crew and collaborators to work for free – while we could never afford their professional day rates, at least we'll be able to offer stipends to offset the paying work they sacrifice by helping us out.
Locations - One of the tricky parts of making a series about theater, it turns out, is that you need theaters. For season one, we were fortunate to find a number of great, generous theaters willing to let us borrow their spaces for minimal fees. However, limited and sporadic access meant that things like building sets or shooting several days in a row were impossible. With season two, we look forward to establishing home bases in rented theaters that can give us all the advantages of real film sets, allowing us and our actors to realize our ambitions more effectively.
Props and Costumes - Like stage productions, film projects require props, costumes and all sorts of other accessories to create a world. When your film project is about stage productions, you end up needing a ton of them. (And weird ones, at that.) We begged, borrowed and bargained to get the costume and prop elements we needed for season one and then tailored our material to what we had available. For season two, we look forward to being able to match our resources to our ideas and not the other way around.
That’s What We Get… What About You? In exchange for your financial support of “Theater People” Season Two, we’re excited to offer a bunch of cool “Theater People” gifts like DVDs of the show, t-shirts, posters, invitations to parties and screenings and more.
In addition to cool swag, throughout our Kickstarter campaign we’ll be releasing new videos we hope you’ll enjoy. We’ve produced a number of brand new shorts that we’ll roll out over the course of September and have even dipped into the season one archive for some never-before-seen material. We appreciate your time and support and we hope this expresses our tremendous gratitude.
The world of the web series is still being explored and defined. Some comedy web series are collections of skits. Others are essentially showcases for standalone short films. With “Theater People”, we aim to produce a truly independent sitcom – a show that tells stories over the course of multiple episodes with a cast of recurring characters. We see “Theater People” as a traditional network comedy, but produced locally and available globally.
Season one was a huge first step – an indication of what can be achieved even with exceptionally limited resources. With season two, we look forward to taking that achievement to a professional level and expanding our audience to include a wider mainstream audience. New outlets like Hulu and Crackle have sprung up with an eye toward original web-based content and the possibilities for independently produced shows like "Theater People" seem to be growing all the time.
There’s an industry-wide discussion happening right now about the ways in which entertainment is produced and distributed and we want “Theater People” to be a part of it.
Spread the Word
If you believe in “Theater People”, spread the word via email and Twitter (@TheaterPeople) and Like our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/theaterpeople). We’ve found fans in communities around the world – the key is just getting the word out there. Introduce your people to “Theater People” and help us make this a bigger, better, self-sustaining show.
There’s an exciting future for our sometimes talented, sometimes delusional, always dedicated theatrical semi-professionals. With your support, we can make it happen.
Risks and challenges
Season one proved that we’re adept at adapting to the obstacles and challenges that present themselves during any independent film production. That said, variables like location availability, actor conflicts and even the weather can cause delays or otherwise alter a production schedule, meaning that our planned timeline – shooting Fall/Winter 2014, releasing episodes early 2015 – may require adjustments.
We'll keep investors in the loop throughout the process with a production newsletter including behind-the-scenes stills, shoot updates and progress reports.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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