Writer / Director / Actor Karolina Sivas joins us to discuss five key lessons she learned during the production of her upcoming web series “Broken At Love.”
Let me start by introducing myself – my name is Karolina Sivas; I’m a graduate of the University of Southern California’s School of Dramatic Arts, an actress, a writer, and a filmmaker. In December 2008 I created my production company Brown-Eyed Girl Productions and embarked in my first filmmaking adventure with a tennis-based action/drama film short called “Double Fault,” which I wrote, directed, produced, and co-starred in. About a year ago, I dove into the web series world and began developing my new series “Broken At Love” – a romantic/drama that again has tennis as a backdrop (that’s kind of my thing). “Broken At Love” takes a look at what happens when an idealistic college senior gets the rare opportunity to meet her celebrity crush, professional tennis player, Holden Gregory. What starts out as a crush turns into much more, with friends and competing love interests further complicating things along the way.
Creating “Broken At Love” was a learning experience in so many ways and I’d like to share my top tips when embarking in creating your own original web series content.
1) “Too many cooks in the kitchen.”
I originally started out with the idea that each episode should have a different guest director (the actress side of me wanted to work with as many directors as possible as the actor/director relationship is a powerful one in filmmaking). The idea was soon scrapped when too many opposing ideas from the directors started to emerge. And many of the ideas conflicted with the story I was trying to tell through my writing. We also had more than one Director of Photography at the start of filming. Instead, “Broken At Love” is almost entirely filmed by one DP (a friend and USC Cinematic Arts graduate) and I’ve directed almost all of the episodes (with only a couple of guest directors). Basically, keep the production small, consistent, and make sure everyone is on the same page.
2) “There is no harm in asking.”
By far the best advice I can offer is never be afraid to ask. For example, all the beautiful locations you will see in “Broken At Love” is because I simply sent an email asking a place if they’d permit filming/what their filming policies were. And about 99 percent of the time the answer was yes. Sometimes the best people and places to ask would be those that normally wouldn’t receive that kind of question. Most people love being connected to a film project.
3) “Go big or go home.”
For me, I don’t see there being any point in doing something you only want to be moderately successful. When I started “Broken At Love” I will admit that although my dreams were big, my plans weren’t. It took meeting some really fantastic actors that I was excited to act with and direct that lifted my dreams and aspirations for the project. Make your project with the mindset that it will get a million hits online.
4) “Think outside the box.”
Along the same lines as #2 and #3, I recommend you think of clever strategies to make your filming experience and series the best it could be. For example, after a film shoot I made a simple tweet about a delicious gluten free treat I was eating throughout the day to keep me going. The tweet got back to one of the head people in the company and a month later I had two full boxes of gluten free yummy snacks. And we had that for our long weekend shoots to keep us happy.
5) “Chemistry is everything.”
Chemistry with people working on the web series with you – on screen and off screen – is critical. Meshing well together is very important because you really do become a family, especially when you keep the group tight and small. And in my show’s case we spend a lot of long weekends together.
Like any new filmmaking adventure you hope to learn a lot and most importantly make a good final product that connects with people. To learn more about “Broken At Love” please like us on Facebook at http://facebook.com/brokenatlove and check out our promos and teasers at http://youtube.com/brokenatlove. Show premieres on August 23rd (My Birthday!) And you can follow me on twitter at http://twitter.com/brwneyedgirlprd