Breaking into the highly competitive world of acting can be a huge challenge, and nowhere is it more difficult than the city that never sleeps – New York.

Those who manage to make their way through the endless maze of classes, auditions, and heartbreaking rejections, know all too well just how complicated the road to stardom can be.

In the hilarious comedy web series OFF-AWFUL, a small town girl named Sarah Jane (played by series creator Sarah Jane Marek) decides to try her luck as an actress in the Big Apple.

Throughout the show’s 5 episode first season (now streaming on its official web site and Youtube pages, see links below), she experiences a wide variety of hilarious and memorable moments, with offbeat people who serve to make her path towards being the next big star an often difficult one.

Helping her make sense of it all is Lisa (Tiffany Sims), her best friend, roommate and a longtime resident of the city who knows all about its distinctive quirks and its diverse group of people. While Lisa shares the good times and helps Sarah Jane through the bad ones, she also tries to steer clear of anything that even looks the least bit suspect. She’s also got a thing for good looking guys, as well.

Season 2 is currently in pre-production, and 5 more episodes are planned. In addition to creating OFF-AWFUL, Marek co-wrote the series with friend and fellow writer Katie Sullivan.

Based loosely on her real life experiences as a small town girl taking on the big city, Marek also was inspired to create OFF-AWFUL by some of the more eccentric and unique individuals that add to the overall flavor and atmosphere of New York.

“Coming from a small town in Minnesota (Winona), I felt like Alice in Wonderland. After a while, I kept hearing about similar experiences and ‘New York’ characters from other friends and actors. I wanted to create a web series that captured these wacky experiences and people,” she says. However, the biggest reason Marek created her own web series may well be the most obvious: “I also got sick of waiting for the perfect gig as an actress.”

Having endured the often outrageous and difficult aspects of auditions, plus the even more absurd wants and needs of casting directors, Marek knew that the only way she could truly make a name for herself in the ultra competitive entertainment industry was to make her own luck. To that end, she developed the concept for what would become a comedy that depicts some of her own experiences in comical and memorable fashion.

“Agents and casting directors told me they liked me but didn’t know what to do with me. Some of them told me I was ‘funny looking.’ They are jerks, but I am an odd type,” she remembers.

“Instead of giving up or waiting I decided to create my own opportunity with this web series. I worked with one of my first friends in NYC, and a great Upright Citizens’ Brigade trained writer, Katie Sullivan, and we developed the show.”

After assembling her cast of actors, including two from CREW: THE WEB SERIES who appeared with Marek in a special crossover episode of OFF-AWFUL (the “mob apartment” episode), the filming of its 5 episodes began. Even though Marek had no experience behind the camera, her talented and dedicated production team made each episode of OFF-AWFUL an education in filmmaking she never had before.

“I made so many mistakes. I didn’t go to film school or know anything about how to do this, I just knew I wanted to do it and jumped in,” Marek recalls. “I learned everything along the way. I was lucky to have great directors, an amazing crew to help me.”

While Marek hopes to produce 5 more episodes for season 2 of OFF-AWFUL, the success of that series has also led to further career opportunities for the talented actress/writer. “The show has already led to work for my writing partner (Katie Sullivan) and I to write on STYLED BY KREE, another web series,” she says.

In fact, viewers can expect to see more of her character in an entirely different setting on-screen. “My OFF-AWFUL character, Sarah Jane, will also show up in the series,” she says.

Inspired by the unique character (and characters) of New York City, plus the difficulties every young performer finds upon moving there, OFF-AWFUL is an honest, heartfelt comedy series that will appeal to the average viewer and the aspiring actor alike. Furthermore, it shows that amid all the distractions and difficulties of big city life, there’s plenty of humor to be found – even if it’s awful.

(Note: The series is currently not closed-captioned, but Marek says she plans to add that feature soon.)




TWITTER: @OffAwful


Episode 1 of OFF-AWFUL can be viewed at the embedded link below: