Life is complicated enough as it is for all of us, and trying to cut through all the nonsense can be even more so. Nowhere is that more evident than in the up and down world of entertainment, where the unpredictable nature of the industry can determine the success or failure of all those involved – including the people who make their living in front of the camera.

Yet, one thing remains certain, no matter what we do for a living – life changes constantly. It’s how we deal with it that makes all the difference. That’s the theme of the new comedy web series WACKO SMACKO, created by and starring Mary Neely and set to debut its first season of 8 episodes soon on its official web site and Vimeo pages.

Mary Neely in 'WACKO SMACKO'Neely stars as young, struggling actress Sofia, whose latest gig happens to be a silly national commercial for an indigestion medication named, interestingly enough, WACKO SMACKO.

Stuck doing a series of ads alongside dancing hot dogs and hamburgers, Sofia’s confidence on camera conceals her inner discontent with her career.

Luckily, Sofia’s got a much needed support system in her best friend Deb (Cala Murry), who opens up her own bakery after leaving the employ of her boss Alex (Mark Sullivan). Having had a fateful one night stand, the relationship between Alex (who’s married) and Deb becomes increasingly complicated, leading to Deb’s departure from the cookie shop job she previously had.

The series also stars Moe Irvin as Sofia’s much older boyfriend Stephen, whose career as an actor is only slightly better than that of his younger counterpart. Sofia writes Stephen off as just being interested in her sexually, yet when Stephen proves her wrong, Sofia must examine why she finds it so hard to believe that others could actually like her as a person.

As a result of these events, Sofia and Deb’s personal and professional lives become even more complicated. When a conflict arises between the two, it’s hard for both to be completely honest about their feelings.

Mary Neely and Moe Irvin in 'WACKO SMACKO'Having produced a short film called THE DRESSER (available at the link below), which introduced the two main characters and fast-paced tone also seen in WACKO SMACKO, Neely used her experience on that project as a springboard to develop her skills as a filmmaker.

As she explains, she also used the insight and suggestions she received from her fellow filmmakers as a means of fully developing the concept for what would eventually become her first web series.

“After making the short and getting feedback from friends/peers/attendees of film festivals I wanted to go deeper than one funny situation and push myself to another level,” she says. “I knew I wanted to make a web series, but only had a few non-linear scenes written, all while keeping the same two main characters but making sure to delve more into their personal lives.”

Perhaps the biggest moment in the development of WACKO SMACKO came when Neely exhibited THE DRESSER at last year’s Reykjavik International Film Festival, where it was an official selection and was nominated for the event’s prestigious Golden Egg Award (given to short films from participants in the Festival’s Talent Lab for young filmmakers).

Cala Murry in 'WACKO SMACKO'Given the type of comedy presented in the film, Neely says she came into the screening expecting the worst.

“I was so nervous sitting in the back of that theater in Reykjavik. It dawned on me for the first time that it was totally possible for the film to bellyflop and writhe in agony in front of a bunch of refined Europeans,” she says. “I was scared my humor wouldn’t translate and that nobody would get it and I would just be seen as a silly American with a flannel on.”

Incredibly, the reaction among that audience proved to be greater and more positive than she expected. “It was the best feeling to be proven wrong, and to really see from multiple young women an excitement that they were experiencing empathy and relating to something I created,” Neely adds. “…It was there (Iceland) that I found the drive and passion to make the series happen.”

Despite her initial fears, the overwhelmingly positive reaction and feedback she received from those who viewed it proved to be the key factor in jump starting WACKO SMACKO. Most memorably, it was a chance meeting with 2 moviegoers that Neely cites as the catalyst for the web series’ creation. “After the screening, two Icelandic young women came up to me and told me they were so excited to see characters that they could relate to,” Neely adds.

Cala Murry and Mark Sullivan in 'WACKO SMACKO'The mere fact that people identified with the story and its characters proved to make the biggest impact on Neely.

“That was the most amazing feeling, because even though we come from such different places, we still have so much in common. It fueled my belief that young women’s stories deserve to be told.”

What truly sets WACKO SMACKO apart from other comedy web series can be found primarily in the deeply personal – and humorous – style of storytelling that can be found in each episode. It’s comedy that’s especially reflected in the relatable characters presented in each episode.

“The only thing I can think of is the content–so much of what I wrote actually has happened to me and I wanted to focus on the flaws of my character (and I guess myself as a person) rather than making her cool as a cucumber because that’s not interesting,” says Neely. “But she’s also not a typical ‘mess’ if that makes sense too.”

The flawed nature of Sofia’s character is on full display throughout each episode, as well. “She (Sofia) has her life together in a lot of areas but in others everything’s falling apart but then they switch, she betrays herself, things change and she can’t keep up. I just wanted to be as honest as possible about being a whole, complex person.”

Even more distinctive is WACKO SMACKO’s portrayal of an industry that’s known more for its glamorous public depiction than it is for the cold hard realities of the business itself.

11083905_1388782204776511_1719431273345826210_n“Also, it’s not a typical depiction of L.A.— like my short, I wanted to show the grimier and more realistic side of the entertainment industry: the low budget sets, the sleazy manager’s office, and parties where you want to gauge your eyes out rather than talk to the dude who loves to take photos of himself topless by a pool,” adds Neely.

Having assembled her cast from a large personal network of friends and actors she worked with previously, Neely and her team began the toughest part of any web series project – getting each episode on camera.

Given the fact that this was her very first venture into full-on web series production, Neely experienced the successes and the struggles that so many other creators have witnessed behind the camera.

“Production was definitely stressful–I produced this on my own and had a very very low budget so people dropped out last minute, etc. but that’s to be expected when there’s not a lot of money involved,” she says. Luckily, her resourcefulness and the talents of her ensemble cast came to the fore as shooting progressed. “But I used every contact I have to get really great locations, and I’m so happy with the final cast and production value.”

WACKO SMACKO is not just a comedy that tries to pull back the less than glitzy side of show business. It’s a show that gives viewers a true glimpse of friendships, romantic relationships and the often uncomfortable moments that can arise – especially from miscommunication. Overall, WACKO SMACKO proves that despite those awkward moments, how we manage to rise above them makes all the difference.

Says Neely: “It’s okay that people aren’t always on the same page/are confused by each other/come together or apart at the wrong time. It doesn’t have to make sense — but just don’t turn against yourself and betray your own morals when you are perplexed by missed connection. Find the friends that make you happy and cling on for dear life.”

(Note: Regarding closed-captioning of WACKO SMACKO, Neely says: “At the moment it’s not closed-captioned, but check back in with me once I’m done editing.”)

THE DRESSER, Neely’s short film which inspired WACKO SMACKO, can be viewed here: