I wrote a web series (WHAT?). That web series is now ACTUALLY being FILMED (seriously?? Yes). This is the story of how that began…
This whole ridiculous journey began in March of 2013 when I became utterly obsessed with the web series “The Lizzie Bennet Diaries” (look it up if you haven’t heard of it) and facebooked (is that a word… is now) my best friend, Ed, over spring break with the proposition that we write our own web series:
This launched us into the most epic brainstorming session about what on earth we should create and somehow we landed on Romeo and Juliet college style.
This idea was a LOT harder than we originally expected, though, because, as I’m sure you’re aware, although the story of two star-crossed lovers is pretty damn relevant, the actual Shakespearian story of Romeo and his Juliet is just a little dated. We knew right from the get go that we wanted to create a Shakespeare based project that would be both entertaining and relatable, funny and depressing, and yet nowhere near melodramatic… this is a HUGE undertaking when your source material includes both of the underage protagonists dying in each others arms by the end. We decided right away that there would be no death in our story, there would be no parents, but there would still be Shakespearean text, heaps of partying, and a true love story.
Looking back at the beginning of our project it seems so obvious now that we would choose to highlight two dueling fraternities as the main source of conflict—when people think of college tensions aren’t frats the first problem that comes to mind? But, at the very beginning of this show, we really struggled to find two different and yet similar groups to divide our lovers…
The Frat thing was decided upon pretty quickly however… though we did have a few different ideas about Jules’s relationships in the beginning and how things were going to progress.
(So weird that a character who is now her brother was once going to be Juliet’s boyfriend… icky)
Frat theme chosen we had to figure out how to transform the more dramatic (melodramatic?) moments of the story into something relatable and understandable… death, for example, was a big one as we had to figure out how to deal with not only our lovers death’s but also the death’s of their kinsmen:
(As for their own deaths, well, you're going to have to tune in to see how we "kill off" our Romeo and Juliet)
Luckily, Ed and I tend to often be on the same page… even if it takes a little refining to get there.
The brainstorming process took a little under a month until one night, in a fit of procrastination, I decided to just write an Episode and see what happened. Without really thinking about it, I wrote Episode 2, introducing Jules and her roommate (the Nurse character) Nancy and sent it to Ed to see what he thought. He LOVED it and next thing I knew Episode 1, the one introducing Monty, was in my inbox. It all kind of spiraled out of control then and within the next month we had ten episodes written and had planned out an eighteen episode series.
The series has changed significantly since that first draft—I think any piece of writing that you spend a lot of time and energy on will change greatly in most situations—but the basic concept has remained the same and throughout it all Ed and I have worked in much the same way: as partners. Sometimes we would switch things up and write from each other’s characters perspectives (see if you can guess which ones!) but at the end of the day we both put in equal amounts of work on all the episodes in our web series.
We never thought this would ever be a real thing… that others would be excited by what we’d created and would be willing to spend heaps of time turning it into a reality seemed crazy at the beginning. Now that we are actually filming our web series though, I cannot even begin to express to you how completely STOKED I am. This is a reality now and no longer something stuck in Ed’s and my strange mental connection… now it’s something we can share with others and hopefully use to bring a little bit more enjoyment and Shakespeare to the world.
We began filming last weekend and today I saw some of the footage for the very first time and I gotta say… it looks good! I cannot wait to share this series with you. Chances are you will hear a lot more about it before it is actually released next semester but I wanted you to know all about this web series I’m working on so that you can be excited with me!! Comment below if you have any questions or comments about the project and stay tuned for Jules and Monty coming to a youtube browser near you sometime next semester.
Sneak peak of our film action! Comment below with any thoughts you have to share.