My name is Melissa Malone. I’m the creator (among other things) of the web series, “Or So the Story Goes,”- an anthology series that takes classic children’s literature and adapts it with a modern, horror twist. The series began as a project to teach teens about filmmaking and has grown into a full-fledged award-winning web series.
My bi-monthly column ''Or So the Web Series Go(es)" will discuss all the things that we “work” with throughout the web series world and my experience/advice in each. Obviously, take it with a grain of salt but… I’m happy to offer some insight (and take any questions along the way)!
If you prefer a lengthier look into who we are, check out my previous post It Better Make Your Heart Sing (aka If Not, Don’t Bother).
Doing it All (Oh, and also acting)
It’s seen all the time in the web series world- the producer, writer, director, or sometimes all of the above is also acting in the series. This makes sense. The new media world is a great place for us to create our own work- produce our own ideas. Often, series are created BY actors as an outlet to do what they love. I know it certainly factored into my creation. Why shouldn’t it? What I DIDN’T think about going into it were the complications that come with having BOTH sides of production on your plate at the same time. It can be extremely tricky to give everything your all and manage to also give the performance your series deserves. However, there are a few things you can do to help.
Know yourself. Everyone is different, but no one knows you like YOU know you. Don’t take on a role that’s too much for you to handle with all the other responsibilities. Think about this FAR into pre-production. If you’re a writer on your series, think about it before even putting words to paper. Know how much responsibility you have in the upcoming season and how that will affect your role. Plan accordingly. If you’re like me and you always assume you CAN do it all… ask for an outside opinion- spouse, friend, someone else working on the project…
Take a timeout. There are days when I’m answering questions about a shot set up, checking in on arriving actors, heating up food for crafty and double checking a script change. Suddenly I realize- I have to get into makeup, wardrobe and run lines at the same time. Most days I can manage this- I’m a master multi-tasker. But there are days that the scene we are filming calls for a bit more emotion or I’m having a rough day. It’s okay to check out for a few minutes and go somewhere quiet. Breath. Scream. Listen to music. Do what you need to do to get back at it. It’s amazing what 10 minutes of pausing can do to refresh yourself.
Don’t rush yourself. I’m proud of my concentration as an actor- my ability to zone in on the task at hand and let everything else melt away. This is much easier said than done when it comes to my series. It’s easy to rush your performance when you know how many OTHER things need to happen. Remember that your performance as an actor is just as big a part of your show’s success as everything else you do.
Delegate. This is something I struggle with the most when it comes to the series (AND my life) but there’s a 100% chance that you are doing tasks you DON’T need to be doing yourself. Take a moment to make a mental list. Do YOU need to be the one pouring that salsa into a jar? Is there someone else that can cover that task while you get into wardrobe? In my experience, there is. If you need to hire someone, DO IT. I realized about halfway through color grading/correcting our second season, Sweet Truth that if I could get rid of that ONE task- it could cut my stress down by SO much. Now that I’m no longer doing it, I can say I was right.
Bottom line: You wouldn’t want to cast an actor that was going to be distracted while on set when they were supposed to be performing. You have to hold yourself to the same standard you would anyone else and take the needed steps to make that happen.