After a successful pilot launch last September, the fierce, female-driven, and award-winning team behind “You’re The Pest” are back and ready to raise money to make the full first season.
The comedic web series follows two estranged friends, Alex O’Malley and Marissa Morales, who take over their parents’ extermination company in Queens. The series explores the meaning of family and how to take care of yourself as an adult, featuring a type of character that is sorely missed in the television archetypes of today— women with personal agency.
We reached out to Taylor Coriell, executive producer of “You’re The Pest,” to get her thoughts on the power of web series to empower under heard voices and lesser-served audiences. At the heart of web series she feels the reason is pretty simple, “No one has to give the green light but you! There is no barrier between you and the audience you are writing for—- no network, no studio, no one saying no. All you need is an idea and a camera.”
This is very much counter to the more traditional world of Hollywood. While web series have proven time and again that the access they provide has made them the medium for diverse voices, Hollywood has drawn a lot of criticism while they struggled to address this same issue. “Undoing the knot of the problem comes with recognizing the tangles we’ve created in our society over many, MANY years, which I’m happy to say, seems to be a pressing issue at the forefront of MANY people’s minds these days.”
The structure and history of Hollywood and America itself has a lot to do with the industry’s struggle with diversity. “You know how people say to write what you know? Well, if the same type of people with the same types of opinions are the ones writing/directing/producing content, then all we’re going to see are those same types of people with the same types of opinions packaged and repackaged over and over again. And then those people are going to hire new people who write the stuff they like and identify with the most. So we just have the same boring cycle of the same content over and over and no way to break out of it without a huge effort.”
With web series we are seeing a new industry being built entirely from scratch, from the ground up and it’s giving us a second chance and a new start. For the team behind “You’re The Pest” this is a truly great opportunity.
“Our team is committed to equal representation in the media for women and people of color, and is so ready to put our money/time/effort where our mouth is on the representation front,” explains Taylor.
For example, we were casting the character of Rye (Marissa’s favorite bartender). Jasmine and I had written it as a man…. basically, like, a hot Brooklyn-y bartender….. so basically every bartender that’s ever been written into anything. As we were gearing up to see actors, the team started discussing the possibility that Rye really didn’t NEED to be a male. Rye was written basically to be a voice of reason, so why were we so set on it being a man and forcibly creating a romantic THING between him and Marissa? So we decided to open the narrative up and just see people in general for the role, because finding the right PERSON for Rye was more important than Rye being any specific gender or ethnicity or look, especially since we’d really like to develop a storyline for Rye in future seasons. We saw all types of men and women, and were lucky enough to find the exact right person in Chantal Maurice. Every part of the process since then has been like that—- just making a more thoughtful, concerted effort to think outside the box.
With a little extra effort the team has been able to achieve their goal of increased and accurate representation in a way that hopefully can serve as a template for other producers going forward – be they in web series or in Hollywood.
“I truly believe that when you see yourself and the people you know onscreen— when your stories are validated in that way— it not only changes how you see yourself, and what can be possible for you, it changes how you see others.”
The team is launching a Seed & Spark campaign, which began October 18th and is running until November 16th. They plan on shooting the rest of the series during the first two weeks of December 2017 and airing the remaining episodes on YouTube in Spring 2018.
Coriell adds, “This campaign is a great way for us to meet and listen to people who love comedy and are passionate supporters of female artists writing empowering and hilarious female characters. We’d love to have people follow us and join in on the conversation about people THEY would like to see onscreen!”
How can we take part in supporting ‘You’re The Pest?’ Coriell explains, “The best way to help is to tell your friends about the show— the nature of web series is to hear through word of mouth that something is good.”
With their ‘Seed & Spark’ campaign underway, the most helpful thing would be the support their campaign directly. She adds, “It’s free for you and if we can get to 500 followers in the next two weeks (in addition to needing to raise just over $1500 more), then we’ll be eligible for the Seed Fund, which would enable us to do so much more with Season 1 (i.e. extra content, better compensation for everyone across the board, etc) Plus we’ll be updating our S&S page regularly through the whole process of pre-production, production, post-production, and beyond, as well as our social media pages. It’s just one more way to keep up with what will (hopefully) be one of your new favorite shows”
If interested in supporting the project, please visit https://www.seedandspark.com/fund/yourethepestseries