In every discipline of the filmmaking process, the ability to specialize in a specific craft is critical to the total success of a productive shoot. As web series work with small crews and even smaller (or zero) budgets, actors are significant players in the creative direction of those projects. Not only do they have to present excellent performances on film, but they frequently excel in key areas behind-the-scenes.

Actor/musician/composer Shantell Yasmine Abeydeera, who co-stars in season 1 of the LGBTQ romantic comedy Girls Like Magic, is one performer who impressively represents how being skilled in multiple elements of web series production can lead to remarkable results. On top of being one of Girls Like Magic’s two leads, Abeydeera also wrote the series’ original music, and supervised the placement of songs presented in all 8 episodes of the show’s first season.

Abeydeera puts forward a superb portrayal of Jamie, a young lesbian singer who’s dealing with a less-than-satisfying life. While Jamie tries to deal with the regrets resulting from her past decisions, her companionship with new neighbor (Magic, played by the show’s creator, Julia Eringer) unexpectedly evolves into a romance that shocks Magic’s control freak boyfriend/screenwriter (Dominic Adams, Devious Maids, Six), Jamie’s estranged ex-girlfriend (Brea Grant), and Jamie’s highly conservative parents.

As Girls Like Magic’s first episode premiered on July 25th on new Youtube channel One More Lesbian (link below), the series’ eight episodes were previously released as a feature film for viewers to purchase on iTunes. The movie version of Girls Like Magic is also streaming on Amazon Video, Fandango Now and Vudu. On those channels, more audiences are gripped by Girls Like Magic’s funny yet emotional chronicle of how an innocent friendship turns into a life-changing turning point for two women.

Girls Like Magic’s expansion into iTunes and other forms of distribution has evidently paid off for the series’ talents. Yet, the enterprise represents a personal milestone for Abeydeera, who met her future wife/future Girls Like Magic stylist Stacy Schneiderman before the first episode was filmed. With a second season of the series on the drawing board, Abeydeera looks back at the joys and complexities of being an all-around multi-tasker during production of Girls Like Magic’s first season.

Snobby Robot: Talk about the character you play in Girls Like Magic.
Shantell Yasmine Abeydeera (co-star/composer/music supervisor, Girls Like Magic):
I play Jamie. Jamie is an LGBTQ musician with immigrant parents who is dealing with – or in her case, not dealing with – the challenges and complexities that those identities can bring to ones life. When we first meet Jamie, she is completely stuck, both emotionally and within a pattern of poor life choices. Over the series, a string of unforeseen circumstances force Jamie into making some pretty dramatic life changes. So by the end of season one, we see the beginning of what I hope is a great period of growth for Jamie.

SR: What was it like working on the show?
Abeydeera: It was a weird and wonderful combination of fun and messiness. Fun, because we were making a show and messy because we were making the show in my apartment. The location choice did have it’s advantages, I mean, I didn’t have to get up at the crack of dawn and drive to set. However, I did find myself tripping over my fair share of film equipment in the middle of the night. Honestly, being able to be a part of a team creating content that focused on inclusivity was a joy, so it was totally worth the occasional bruise.

SR: Girls Like Magic is now on a variety of streaming platforms, including iTunes. How will that expanded presence benefit not only your work on the show, but also the show itself?
Abeydeera: The creation of on-demand and streaming platforms has completely changed the way we ingest entertainment. People are no longer locked into watching what is programed for them, they now have a myriad of choices which is fantastic. More and more people are looking for streamlined content that represents them.

Because of these platforms, they can search tags and genres and easily access entertainment that speaks to them. This not only benefits audiences, but it benefits independent producers of content like our show. People all over the world have found and watched Girls Like Magic on these platforms, and as a result of its success we are looking into doing a second season, which was always the dream. So, fingers crossed.

SR: You also did the music for Girls Like Magic. Talk about your work on that part of the series.
Abeydeera: My role as composer and music supervisor didn’t really kick in until after we had wrapped filming which is fortunate because the music process was extensive. The prospect of being able to tell the story through more than one medium was really exciting to me. Our director, Kit Williamson (Eastsiders), wanted the underscore to mimic the playful tone of the girls’ relationship. I did my best to create pieces of music that encapsulated that while also trying to support the emotions the actors we conveying on screen.

The deeper I got into the process, the more fascinating I found the relationship between music and a film’s narrative. The right piece of music can make a scene soar, while another can cause it to flatline. There was a lot of trial and error, but eventually I’d find a piece of music or write a piece of music that felt as though it was truly destined for each scene, and that was an awesome feeling.

SR: As an actor and musician, what were some of the biggest difficulties that came with doing both jobs on Girls Like Magic? How did you overcome those difficulties?
Abeydeera: I think the biggest hurdle for me (in performing multiple production tasks on Girls Like Magic) came as the music supervisor. The show was created on a micro budget, which didn’t have a specific allowance for music. This meant I had to rely on the relationships that I had fostered with generous musicians who essentially allowed me to borrow their music for the show. Asking for those kind of favors is difficult.

As a musician myself, I know how much time and money is invested in music production, and I wish I’d have been able to compensate them accordingly. Fortunately for us, all of the artists who we placed on the show are impassioned advocates and allies of the LGBTQ community and (they) were happy to lend us their art. I look forward to being able to work with those artists again on future projects where I can hopefully give them appropriate compensation.

SR: What were the biggest advantages of both acting in Girls Like Magic, and in contributing your music to the show?
Abeydeera: I think the biggest advantage was the feeling of overall creativity. I was able to work within the three mediums that I’m the most passionate about (acting, songwriting and storytelling), and combining all three of them to create a complete product which was thoroughly gratifying.

SR: You also met your then-girlfriend (now wife) Stacy, as you began working on Girls Like Magic. What was that experience like?
Abeydeera: Actually, I had met Stacy a few months before we started production on Girls Like Magic and took advantage of her incredible styling skills by dragging her onto the project. She took on multiple style departments for the show and played a huge part in getting us over the finish line. She is such a dream to work with, which is probably why she is now the hair department head on a new Hulu series.

We make a pretty good team, although I do remember feeling so completely awkward when I was about to shoot the attic scene, and I requested that Stacy step away from set. Love scenes are always awkward, but doing one with my best friend in front of my new girlfriend was a little too awkward for me.

SR: Overall, what do you want people to take away from watching Girls Like Magic?
Abeydeera: It’s pretty simple. Love is love, it knows no gender, it’s wonderful and it should be celebrated.

To watch Girls Like Magic on the new One More Lesbian platforms, visit: (on the web) (on Youtube)