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Web Series Crush-o-the-Week: Self-Storage August 20, 2010

Posted by therealgirlsguide in Blog, Uncategorized, Web Series.
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Is it just me…or does everybody go through a period in their life where they seriously contemplate moving in to a storage unit? I mean they’re clean, sometimes even air-conditioned…and start at $50 a month! Of course there’s no amenities (like toilets or showers) but hey… it’s a step up from camping/or card-board-boxing-it, right?

So, you can imagine how excited I was when I stumbled across a new series on Strike.Tv called “Self-Storage.” Created by (and starring) Kimberly Trew and Julie Mann, the series follows the lives of roommates “Dana” and “Shoshanna” after they are evicted and move into a storage unit.

After watching all five episodes back to back (and laughing my ass off), I decided…hey why not give back some of the love that Real Girls has been getting and interview another awesome girl-powered series?

Introducing Real Girl’s “Web Series Crush o the Week”: Self-Storage (with Kimberly Trew and Julie Mann)…

RG: Where did the idea of Self-Storage come from?

KT: Julie and I met working as spokespeople for a luxury automobile company-crazy, right? Anyway, a big part of our job involved picking up the cars from a storage facility in Azusa and then driving them to golf tournaments or whatever. So we started spending a LOT of time in this random storage facility, meeting super wacky people, hoarders and whatnot and then one day we were like….”Hey-what if…?” And the rest is history. Also, I’m kind of obsessed with alternative living spaces. I live on a 43′ mini yacht in the Marina right now. Not joking!

JM: What Kim said. Also, at the same time I had another part-time job covertly helping a celebrity leave her husband. We kept carting her stuff to a storage unit. One late night in the storage facility, the household’s eccentric maintenance guy made me keep quiet and listen for the noises of “people living in there.” Naturally, “Self Storage” was on a collision course with creation.

RG: Why did you choose to do this as a web-series (as opposed to a short or a pilot)?

KT: I think we wanted to do something that people could see. A lot of times, you do a short or a pilot, and it ends up only being seen by a few people. This was something we made to entertain our families, our friends, and ourselves, and I think a webseries is the best format for that…

JM: And we had all kinds of goofy ideas that would have made great sketches so I think the web series format just translated better.

RG: What’s your writing/acting/producing background?

KT: I’ve been acting for years…started out in musicals when I was little and then got my Theatre degree from Loyola Marymount. Since then, I’ve done a lot of shall we say, varied projects…Everything from serious plays to a National Lampoon movie to a German Febreze commercial in which I played a supporting role opposite a beagle. As far as writing and producing goes, this was my first time! And it’s been one of the most enjoyable experiences of my life.

JM: Oh man, I never wanted to be a producer. I still don’t want to be one, so I’m thankful that Kim enjoys it! I wrote for a season on “The Dish” for the Style Network. That built joke-writing confidence, as I’d never considered myself a writer. Acting, however, is what I’ve spent most of my life doing, and luckily I’ve been able to support myself over the last few years with commercials.

RG: You two have such great rapport on camera. Have you worked together previously?

KT: No, we’ve only known each other for ten months. I’m seriously convinced that we knew each other in a past life. It’s just too weird…

JM: I think it was at some point during the shoot that Kim turned to me and said “Can you believe we only met 6 months ago, and we’ve already written a web series and now we’re actually shooting it?!” Pretty fantastic.

RG: Any wacky on-set anecdotes?

KT: There were tons of anecdotes, but I’ll stick to the legal ones for now 😉 We were on a tight schedule and our wonderful director, Scott Keiner, was trying to make sure we stayed on task. I was fussing over our canine actress, Ouzo, and Scott got annoyed with me and told me to buckle down and focus. But throughout the day, people had been noticing that there was a dog on set and thought, “Cool! I’ll bring my dog.” Then THREE other dogs randomly showed up that afternoon, it became like Dog Central-I thought Scott was going to go through the storage unit roof; it was both AWESOME and terrifying! Haha. We still talk about it, but I don’t know if we’ll ever resolve this dog incident.

JM: There was also the missing sombrero incident. We needed it for the last day of shooting, but it had already been returned to wardrobe. Scott (sorry Scott!) thought that the scene wouldn’t be funny without the sombrero. I ran off to make up and had Ashley give me a uni-brow. I got back to set and proudly pointed at my forehead, but Scott was inconsolable. And we had another “creative differences moment.” I think the scene still came out funny.

RG: What was the most challenging part of the process?

KT: This project has been such a labor of love…I’d have to say that for me producing has been such an interesting ride. I’m used to showing up on set and then being finished. But when you’re producing and writing something, you have to be there every step of the way. At the risk of sounding corny, it’s a wonderful, crazy, time-consuming, beautiful adventure…

JM: Ditto all dat. Each step has been scary, new and exciting. Every time we’ve accomplished another feat, there seems to be another order of business to tackle. Like at the moment, I’m trying to figure out how best to market the series and broaden our viewership.

RG: How did you finance it?

KT: With our money, ingenuity, and awesome friends. 😉 And money was not the most valuable resource in this equation.

JM: Street walking.

RG: Have you encountered any challenges in producing, marketing or pitching the series that you think may be unique to female creators?

KT: I think that being a female creator has inherent advantages and disadvantages. There are certain groups, companies,and festivals who are apt to take your project less seriously and turn you down because they think dudes are funnier; that’s just the way it is. But I don’t believe complaining is going to do us any good in these situations. We must create our own avenues of opportunity and truly support one another. But on the other hand, comediennes can take some liberties that men can’t take. Will I describe what those liberties are? No. 😉 But trust me on this one….

JM: Yeah, unfortunately a lot of times people are skeptical of a female comedy series, but also, there are great benefits to being funny chicks. For instance, we might never have met you guys if we weren’t a dynamic, female duo :). And as Kim touched on about “liberties”: as women, we can make potentially offensive jokes, push the envelope in ways that people may be more willing to forgive simply because we can’t be labeled as ‘misogynous white dudes.’

RG: Any advice you have for other female web creators?

KT: Yes! Know that your voice is unique and people want to hear your perspective. Don’t be afraid to ask for favors; for example, my rockstar friend Heather D’Angelo (of the band Au Revoir Simone) wrote and performed the theme song. I didn’t think she’d have time because she’s always globe-trotting, but I asked anyway, she was able to do it, and now all of my friends can’t get the jingle out their head! 😉 Also, if you find or have the opportunity to create a great project with awesome people-do not make any excuses. Just go for it!!! You will be glad you did.

JM: I’d add: keep it simple. The simpler the premise and locations, the more doable it is on a low budget. We had only two main characters and one location. Not only did that keep our costs down, but it was far easier for the crew and we were able to schedule around our actors needs as well. RG: What’s next for Self-Storage? KT: We’ve been having some interesting business chats, but we’re still focused on the art right now. We’re writing Season 2 and we can’t wait to get back on set again!

JM: We’re also planning to put up some little shorts/ confessionals in between seasons.

RG: Any other projects on the horizon?

KT: No. I’m boring-this is all I do right now. Aside from dealing with sea lions who try to get onto my boat-but I feel like that’s a whole different webseries…

JM: I’m building a time traveling robot.

***

To find out how YOU can help the support the cause of creating more awesome girl-powered comedy, please check out our Real Girl’s Season 2 Fundraising site (All donations are tax deductable!)

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Comments»

1. Julie Mann - August 20, 2010

You are super! Thank you for supporting us 🙂
Here are the Strike.TV and Funnyordie links:

http://www.strike.tv/show/self-storage

http://www.funnyordie.com/search/a?q=self+storage&x=14&y=16

2. michelle may - August 20, 2010

Great interview! And I adore the series.

3. Gayle Brix - August 21, 2010

Thanks for turning me onto tune in hilarious Self Storage! Pass it on & go girls!!!!

4. Heather - August 21, 2010

Congrats! Great show and great interview…everyone should see it!


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