Community Critique: The Adventures of Serena Berg

(Shawna K) #1

Hello! I’m Shawna and I’m the creator/writer/director of the webshow The Adventures of Serena Berg. This is a modern genderbent adaptation of Cyrano de Bergerac and it centers around a young transgender woman named Serena who navigates through adventures at college. The premise? She sets up her best friend, Roxanne, with the cute new guy. Only problem is, Serena’s secretly in love with Roxanne.

There are 74 episodes available to watch at your convenience! The show is mixed format: part vlog and part narrative style. I also wanted to create a story with strong, complex characters who face important issues of today’s age, like depression, emotional abuse, and sexuality. Diversity was also very important to me; over half of the characters are POC actors!

I welcome feedback and critique on any aspect of the show. If there are any questions, I’m happy to answer them. Thank you!

(Bri Castellini) #2

(sam lockie-waring) #3

i like the green wall. the production design is simple, but comfortable and doesn’t feel too presentational, which is good.

i’ve never read cyrano de bergerac, so i’m looking at this without the benefit of knowing the original story. the first episode is a risk, with no dialog and no real story points, and i don’t know if that pays off. it’s just confusing, and knowing a girl loves books isn’t really a character trait i’m willing to follow into a story. if i look at that like a pilot, i’m left wanting.

same with the second episode… i still don’t really know anything about your character, and she speaks so slowly -possibly a directing issue more than an acting one- i barely want to. there’s no conflict or plot, and there’s barely a character. i’ll keep watching and update the critique later, but it’s not a strong start, and even if it’s the most amazing show in the world, a slow start is really really dangerous.

(Bri Castellini) #4

I didn’t want to copy the compliment, but I just got to episode 3, and I have to say, I really do like the production design. The ‘FUCK OFF’ on Mikayla’s side of the cork board made me lol.

On episode 3- I immediately like the mean girl a lot. She’s the first performer with any sort of scene presence. Serena and Roxanne are cute but very low-energy performers, even in their quippy dialog. That could be a directing thing, but as soon as episode 3 started, I latched on to Mikayla/Medusa because she was the first person who spoke with inflection and energy and I kind of wished the show were about her instead, even if she’s kind of mean. I think I agree with Sam that it might be more of a directing issue than an acting one- sometimes, getting the words right isn’t the only thing you have to focus on as a director, and the energy of the scene is often more important than being completely 100% true to the script.

Episode 4 has been my favorite so far, because the interactions all happened at a much quicker and more realistic pace. However, I’m left still not really knowing who anyone is. I know Serena and Roxanne are friends, and I generally know everyone’s sexual orientation, but that’s about it, and that’s not enough for me to care about any of them or what happens to them. Also, there’s still not really a story- there are just people who talk to each other about things I’m confused by.

The episodes with more people definitely have inherently more energy, which is good, but something you should probably consider for scenes and episodes with only one or two performers. Picking up the pacing will help, which I know isn’t always possible when you’re filming lots of scenes on a tight schedule, but especially for single person vlog episodes, it’s really important.

(Jenna) #5

Still watching, but knowing the plot of Cyrano, I don’t see a lot of chemistry between Roxanne & Serena to build their relationship upon. I understand they’re friends (and have been for a long time it seems) but there’s nothing in the interaction between the characters, especially on Serena’s part, to establish any sort of romantic interest between the two.

I’d also say that while I’m overjoyed about the amount of queer characters in this series, I find that they do little to actually show any of their identities other than just outright stating it. For instance, Serena’s first admission in the second episode that she’s Brett’s “favorite transgender asshole.” While I don’t disagree this is something that one might say when talking to a friend (as a queer woman myself, I make jokes like this all the time), but there is little in the series so far that actually comments on this identity and makes it matter.