When it comes to achieving your first big break as an actor, the path is filled with as many twists, turns, ups and downs as any great drama. Nowhere is that more evident than in the city that never sleeps – New York. The new comedy web series NO METHOD follows one such struggling actress as she navigates both an industry known for its ruthlessness and the often awkward personal relationships in her life.

Created, directed, written by and starring Caitlin Graham, NO METHOD follows Graham (as a slightly exaggerated version of herself) as a young actress who tries to overcome the usual struggles that many upstart performers face – from the highs and (mostly) lows of auditions to the constant drama of romance. NO METHOD debuted last October on its official web site and Youtube page. One episode has already aired, and 7 more are scheduled. In addition, the show’s first two episodes were funded through the popular crowd funding site IndieGoGo.

The series also stars Isabelle Pierre as Caitlin’s overachieving best friend Greer, Hannah Abney as Jewel, another actress whose hopeful outlook on life plays in contrast to Caitlin’s view of it, Julia Kwamya as Caitlin’s outspoken, often uber-dramatic but always supportive friend Ade, Sheira Feuerstein as the overly narcissistic actress Krista James Thompson, and Garrett Paknis as Caitlin’s arrogant ex-boyfriend Dan, whose professional growth as a musician only serves to remind Caitlin of her continuing career struggles. In addition to those characters, two new roles will soon be introduced later in the season: Michael Indeglio as Caitlin’s new beau Riley, who like Dan is also a musician, but just as irritating, and Jackie Rivera as Jackie, Caitlin’s socially awkward other best friend.

Every actor knows the frustration of trying to land that first part, even if it’s a small one. It’s an experience that Graham knows first hand, and those stories are portrayed in hilarious fashion throughout NO METHOD. “It was mainly borne out of my own frustrations as an actor and not having much of an outlet for that. The day-to-day life of unknown, struggling actors can be both isolating and hilarious, and I wanted to do something that would illuminate both the disquieting and ridiculous aspects of that. Comedy from misery, and vice versa,” she says.

For Graham, the humor portrayed in one of the web’s most popular sitcoms not only struck a chord with her but also played a key role in the development of NO METHOD. “One of my friends had turned me on to Issa Rae’s web series THE MISADVENTURES OF AWKWARD BLACK GIRL, and I absolutely loved it. It was clear that she had taken real frustrations from her own life and made something that was deeply personal and really fucking hilarious.  A lot of the humor and cultural references on that show are very specific, almost as if she’s including a lot of inside jokes but ones that also happen to resonate with a very wide audience, myself included. I wanted to make something personal and personally hilarious on that same level. Seeing ABG made me realize it was actually possible.”

As challenging as it is to be a working actor in New York, casting a series brings on it’s own difficulties. For NO METHOD, Graham assembled her cast using various methods. “You would think that being an actor, I would have simply milled my friends for my entire cast, but that wasn’t the case!  Because I’m an actor, I appreciate that it’s much more important to find the right person for a role than just someone with whom you know you’d enjoy working (though that definitely plays a part in it, too). Apart from one or two of the supporting roles, we found all of our cast members the traditional way: through casting calls on sites like Backstage, Playbill, and mandy.com,” she recalls.

Along with the task of finding talented actors to perform in the series, Graham soon found out what directors have known for a long time: chemistry is key. “With all of our recruiting, both behind and in front of the camera, we were very mindful of which personalities would work well with each other and create the most fun, creatively satisfying environment. We’ve certainly had our missteps along the way, but overall, it’s been shockingly low-stress simply because of the people involved.  We really have created a family, and I pretty much live in fear that they’re all going to abandon me any day now. That being said, a lot of the pilot was touch-and-go because it was my first time taking on an enterprise like this.  So it was challenging but ultimately a really rewarding learning experience,” she says.

Many TV shows, movies and even web series have focused on the struggles of young actors who hope to make it big in showbiz, but NO METHOD is dramatically different in its portrayal of them; a factor that Graham feels sets her show apart from all the rest. “There are, predictably, so many web series that focus on aspiring actors. But to be frank, I felt like I hadn’t seen one that was a true representation of an actor who is struggling. I wanted to explore what it’s like when you have no union, no agent, and really shitty prospects.  How does that affect your relationships, your self-esteem, and your overall outlook on life?  In that way, I didn’t really want it to be about the acting world specifically.  The main character’s journey is definitely a universal one, and it’s not as much about the fact that she’s an actor as it is about the fact that she feels totally lost and out of control of her own life.  She’s sort of plummeting down a pit of despair.  But it’s still funny, I promise,” she says.

According to Graham, another aspect of NO METHOD’s effectiveness is its humor, which evolved during the writing process from the seemingly traditional style found in most comedies to a more daring, edgy and darker kind of comedy. “Our show has actually been compared to LOUIE quite a bit, which is definitely daunting but it also makes a lot of sense.  When I was originally writing the pilot, the humor was very straightforward; the tone of the show was purely comedic in the way that most multi-camera sitcoms are.  But after seeing LOUIE, I felt inspired to make the show darker and a bit more real. I wanted people to be laughing one moment and feeling sad or uncomfortable the next. I’m not sure we’ve gotten there yet, but that’s the goal!”

NO METHOD is a sitcom that’s about much more than just achieving success in the entertainment industry. It’s a show about people, and especially how important it is to share the ups and downs of both career and daily life with those you love and care about. Says Graham: “As the season progresses, I’d say the main theme of the show is the triumph of friendship over just about everything. Caitlin and her two closest friends, who are all going through their own separate struggles, still manage to find solace in each other and can only survive as a result of that.  On a personal note, my friendships with the women in my life have always been crucial to me.  It upsets me that there aren’t nearly enough representations of female friendship in film or TV, at least not representations that ring true for me.  My female friends are everything to me, and there have been multiple periods in my life where I might not have continued getting out of bed in the morning were it not for their support. I hope that level of friendship resonates in our first season, and in a way that’s not cheesy.”

(Note: The series is not currently closed-captioned, and Graham says there are no plans to do so.)

ON THE WEB: http://www.nomethodseries.com

YOUTUBE: https://www.youtube.com/user/NoMethodSeries

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/NoMethodseries

TWITTER: https://twitter.com/nomethodseries