Just as every couple tries to make ends meet while keeping their romance afloat, they also realize how difficult all that can be when children enter the picture. The new comedy series BEST THING YOU’LL EVER DO explores those issues through the eyes of two people whose love for each other suddenly converges with major changes in their professional lives – and the potential for welcoming a new bundle of joy into their world becoming even greater.
Created by and co-starring Monica West, the first season of BEST THING YOU’LL EVER DO (now streaming on its official web site and Vimeo pages, see additional links below) follows the journey of Mae (played by West), a woman who tries to balance her relationship with thriving entrepreneur Sam (Bhavesh Patel, THE GOOD WIFE) with the exciting new career path she decides to embark upon after being stuck in two less than ideal jobs.
Mae and Sam seemingly have it made, until Sam decides to announce his hopes for launching the next phase of their relationship: parenthood. From there, they’re faced with perhaps the most difficult decision any couple can face: whether or not to have kids. Throughout the course of each episode, Mae decides to consult a variety of experts whose knowledge of the subject, and their advice, proves to be just as diverse as their personalities.
There’s Adam (Liam Vincent), whose only real “experience” raising a “child” happens to be the time he’s spent house training his disobedient dog Cashew (played by himself, West’s real life dog). As for his “expertise” on child birth, Adam decides to give Mae some much needed guidance on the topic of egg freezing based solely on a news story involving MODERN FAMILY star Sofia Vergara.
Meanwhile, next door neighbor Leanna (Myra Lucretia Taylor, HBO’s GIRLS, FX’s ATLANTA) lends her advice to Mae; counsel that only serves to make the potential mother-to-be even more anxious. In addition, Michelle Ang (Emmy nominee for her portrayal of Alex on AMC’s FEAR THE WALKING DEAD) plays Sena, who provides Mae with some much needed encouragement thanks to her experience as a mother who successfully manages parenthood and career.
As an actress, West finally experienced the career breakthrough she had hoped for after years of hard work and dues paying. Not long afterward, she would achieve a romantic breakthrough that had its roots during a world-spanning production of a recent feature film. For West, it was those successes, as well as the responsibilities and privileges that came with them, that factored into the overall development of BEST THING YOU’LL EVER DO.
“My real life experiences very much informed the series and the character of Mae,” West says. “When I turned 34, two amazing things happened to me: I played a lead role in an indie action movie called BLOOD, SAND AND GOLD (we filmed in 5 countries including Morocco – it’s coming out in 2017, by the way), and I met my husband. After so many years of waiting tables and a string of bad dating experiences, I felt my life finally coming together!”
Just as West and her spouse began to enjoy the benefits of their marriage, it was only a matter of time before the inevitable next phase of their lives would become an issue: “No sooner did that happen, people are asking me, “are you going to freeze your eggs?’ ‘When are you going to have a baby?’ So, my life was great, except that I was lying awake at night thinking about this baby question,” she remembers.
As those concerns persisted, West decided to turn them into creative inspiration as she developed BEST THING YOU’LL EVER DO.
“I thought about it (having children) so much that I decided to put this anxiety to work, and (to) write a series about the decision to have kids—or not,” says West, who describes her series as one that humorously and realistically reflects the experiences of viewers currently facing the anticipation and apprehension of child birth.
“I wanted to talk about things like egg freezing (that comes up in episode 3 as we walk along a cliff on the Pacific Ocean) and the experiences of working moms, and (to) also share the perspective of a woman who regrets having kids (episode 4),” West explains. “There are other perspectives on the baby question in future episodes in season 1, and we’ll also learn more about the actual experience of freezing eggs.”
The risks and rewards of raising children amid career and romantic success are captured by West through each of the series’ characters, who also reflect the real life struggles faced by its audience. “I think viewers who are pursuing their career dreams at full speed will hear Mae speaking for some of their own concerns,” she responds. “In episode 3, Mae says, “I can’t start a company while I’m breastfeeding, and I can’t just wait two years to start a company because by then it will be too late.’”
A project that’s been in the making since September of last year, BEST THING YOU’LL EVER DO’s cast and crew would embark on an extensive bi-coastal production process; one that received a boost thanks to the success of its Kickstarter campaign, as well as through the efforts of actress/casting director Elvy Yost (Sophie on the hit ABC drama THE CATCH), and series producer/director Catherine Fordham (whose short film CONSOMME will premiere later this Fall on AMC’s new horror-centric streaming video service Shudder.TV).
With episodes being shot in San Francisco, including one filmed in Brooklyn, West, composer Tiffany Topol and editors Jennifer Harper and Minos Papas completed final post-production work on BEST THING YOU’LL EVER DO in October – just in time for the series to screen at this year’s Brooklyn Web Fest, and for it to earn the fest’s New Hollywood Emerging Voices Award. West also hopes that the series will soon be one of Vimeo’s featured Staff Picks, as well.
Citing the hard work and lessons learned by all involved throughout the series’ production, West encourages filmmakers to take the first step towards bringing their stories to the world. “Do not wait for people to help you or give you approval. Just make your work,” she says. “The most amazing thing about creating film and television for the internet is that you can truly hone your voice in an awesomely huge, vibrant, interesting environment. There’s no need to be perfect off the bat. Just make your work, find your voice – that’s what I’m going to continue to do!”
In total, BEST THING YOU’LL EVER DO is a comedy that everyone, regardless of whether or not they’ve decided to start a family, will instantly identify with. “For many people, their late ‘30s are a crucial time in their careers; it’s the point where they’re getting promotions and awards and recognition. Perhaps they’re making enough money to finally support themselves,” West says.
While the series’ two main protagonists deal with the consequences of whatever decision they eventually make on the parenthood front, West continues to weigh the possibilities and challenges presented by being a mom in her own life. “It’s really hard to think about compromising those hard earned successes, and it’s equally hard to think about the fact that you might regret your decision if you choose not to have kids,” she adds. For me, it’s been the most difficult decision of my life so far!”
NOTE: Regarding closed-captioning of BEST THING YOU’LL EVER DO, West says: “Japanese subtitles might very well be in our future. Some of our (Kickstarter) backers are from Japan and we want to have a screening party in Tokyo next year!”
ON THE WEB: www.bestthingseries.com