Have you ever felt that life is often more complicated than it has to be? Sometimes, we all need a little help in making sense of it, which is why many people hire ‘life coaches’ to guide them through the more thorny parts of personal and professional life and to make their lives better. However, it doesn’t always work, and in the web comedy miniseries FORK IN THE SOCKET one man’s life coach does the exact opposite by making his life even more complicated.
Now streaming on its official web site and Youtube page, the six episode series debuted last October and stars Eli Godfrey (who also wrote and produced) as Kevin, an ad salesman who’s struggling to make it in the business world and desperate to please his girlfriend, McKenzie (Renee Bryant).
Along with his relationship problems, Kevin feels constant pressure to succeed in the cutthroat world of advertising at his employer, the Madison West Ad Agency. At work, he contends with his co-worker George (Frank Macauda), who hopes that his life will improve when he gets his inheritance from his dying great aunt, and Kevin’s boss Dani (Jai Yunae), who though younger than Kevin actually knows him quite well. You see, she used to babysit him when they were kids.
Making things somewhat easier for Kevin at work is Hannah (Lauren Grover), the agency’s gorgeous administrative assistant who he gradually takes a liking to. For Kevin, it seems like life can’t get any worse until a ‘life coach’ named Deacon Drake (Sean McCarthy) suddenly arrives on the scene. Over time, Deacon’s unorthodox methods instantly transform Kevin’s life – but not exactly in the way he anticipated or even wanted.
Working with someone who tries to make life better can be either a blessing or a curse – the latter being demonstrated in FORK IN THE SOCKET. As Godfrey says, the outlandish, uncouth and extremely eccentric character portrayed in his show came from some very familiar sources. “I had a lot of difficult friends going up, but I loved them because they were funny. I guess that’s what inspired the life coach character, who is sort of the catalyst for the whole story.”
Given that it’s a six episode ‘miniseries’, Godfrey sought to tell the story of a man whose attempts to make his life better with some extra help constantly go awry in a quick, efficient manner. It’s a production style that’s on full display throughout the six episodes. “I wanted to do a comedy where things kept moving along. I had been seeing a lot of indie comedies that were just long scenes of people sitting around talking, and I thought I’d try to do the opposite. FORK IN THE SOCKET is a lot of short scenes where something happens that leads to another location, where something happens, and so on.”
As was befitting the show’s storytelling, production of each episode of FORK IN THE SOCKET moved just as swiftly thanks to Godfrey’s talented cast and crew. “We did our main production on consecutive weekends, and then (director) Ryan (Gaumont) and I got pickup shots ourselves wherever necessary. Ryan edited the whole thing himself, and his childhood friend Michael Markowski (VOYAGE TREKKERS) composed the score from scratch,” he says. However, both Godfrey and Gaumont soon found out that bringing FORK IN THE SOCKET to the web was a much tougher task. “Producing the show was tough. I wrote it and played the lead, and producing just sort of fell on me by default. Ryan helped a lot, but we really needed a full-time producer on a project of this size, and we didn’t have one,” he recalls.
As Godfrey remembers, one instance that took place early on in production demonstrated just what kind of difficulties he and Gaumont faced. “Just to give an example of the little things that a lot of people never think of: towards the end of episode 1, I stumble drunk across town and sit down on a bench. We couldn’t be sure there would be a free bench in the right place at our location, so I had to find a friend who had a bench, find someone with a truck, and go pick it up on the other side of town. Ryan had to design the ad on the bench and take it to a print shop that would print something that size. That’s two favors, half a tank of gas, and several hours’ work for something that’s on screen for about 10 seconds and no one will ever notice. Multiply that experience by about 50 and you start to get an idea of what it’s like to produce a little project like this. And we’re still not even in the same league as, say, a cable show,” he says.
The series’ self contained storyline is perhaps the one thing that Godfrey feels sets FORK IN THE SOCKET apart from many other comedies produced for the web. It’s one that is filled with laughs, heart and a compelling story that shows how not all ‘life coaches’ are as dedicated or as well meaning as they come. “I think anyone who wants a decent laugh and a decent story that comes at you quickly will enjoy it. Anyone willing to invest a half hour in something full of people they’ve never heard of. As far as comparisons, we honestly weren’t trying to hit any certain notes. I’ve heard everything from Wes Anderson to PARKS AND RECREATION. Not sure if I agree, but I’m flattered.”
(Note: The series is not currently closed captioned, but Godfrey says that he is working to add that feature to each episode. “We planned on doing this right away and it turned out to be pretty tough to get everything to sync so we haven’t finished yet. Hopefully soon!”)
ON THE WEB: www.forkinthesocketseries.com