DIY Filmmakers Speak to CCNY Students

Screen Shot 2013-11-25 at 7.49.05 AMEvery semester, students in MCA 233 Introduction to Journalism cover an in-class “press conference.” On November 5, two filmmakers joined us from L.A. via google hangout to talk about their newly launched YouTube TV series, Overly Attached Andy. Below, read two of the best stories, by Aurea Gonzalez and Akbar Mirza. (A third article, by Georgia Stefos, is posted on The Campus website.)

janekosekfilmcourage(1)Making TV on a Budget: A Filmmaker Explains How It Works by Aurea Gonzalez

You’re broke, but you want to make a movie or TV show. You love to write, but you don’t know how to get noticed. Everyone wants to make it big, but how do you push forward to get started? Web series on sites like YouTube have become the next outlet for independent filmmakers to bring their ideas to life.

On October 15th, YouTube premiered a new web series called Overly Attached Andy created and financed by Leena Pendharkar and Jane Kelly Kosek, two independent filmmakers. The two chatted with CCNY’s journalism class over Google Hangout Tuesday, November 5th, discussing the growing phenomenon of TV series launched online.

After being a filmmaker for over a decade and working on Academy-award winning projects like A Beautiful Mind, what could cause Kosek to go from long films to short webisodes? “Making an independent film takes a year to three years,” says Kosek, 44. “Web films were much more immediate.”

After meeting her partner Pendharkar, the two decided to create Overly Attached Andy since web series were becoming a lot more popular. Each episode of their show, which looks at the life of an L.A. hipster, ends with a question for viewers to allow for more interaction.

Not only is web filmmaking quicker, but it’s also cheaper. With the internet, you don’t have to worry about huge production costs, hiring a staff of 300 or buying expensive equipment. “If I can shoot on an iPhone and call my friends to be my actors, I’m going to do it because I need to keep working,” says Kosek. “Don’t let money stop you; get out there and do it. You don’t need money to make a movie or a show.”

Kosek encouraged the City College students to do whatever it takes to get a foot in the door in Hollywood or any industry. “You really have to be the best intern in the whole world because that’s what’s going to get you paid gigs” she says.

Networking, which is major in the film industry, can happen anywhere and anytime. “You learn to build resources along the way as you’re doing your projects,” Kosek says. “And you learn to do them economically.”

To learn more about Pendharkar and Kosek and to watch Overly Attached Andy on YouTube, subscribe to So Natural TV.

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Two-Way TV: Behind the Scenes on an Interactive Web Series by Akbar Mirza

Jane Kelly Kosek and Leena Pendharkar have long dreamed of making interactive television shows. At the end of every episode of their new YouTube web series, Overly Attached Andy, the characters ask the viewers to respond to a question. At the end of the third episode, one character asks, “have you ever been lied to on a date? Tell me in the comments below.”

Overly Attached Andy joins the growing list of web series launching on YouTube that take advantage of the interactivity of web media. In the last decade, online video has exploded. From YouTube to Netflix, video on the web is changing the way we think of television. In fact, YouTube alone is more accessible to U.S. adults age 18 – 34 than any cable network.

Kosek and Pendharkar decided to jump on the trend. Their show about Los Angeles hipsters, which debuted on So Natural TV on October 15, releases a new episode every Tuesday. The two filmmakers recently spoke to a class of journalism students at CCNY about making television for the web.

They launched Overly Attached Andy via YouTube to skip the Hollywood Hunger Games. Kosek remarked, “when you do anything on film, it can take anywhere from a year to 8 years to get anything made.” By bypassing the middle man, they can “communicate directly to an audience.”

Another appeal of web video is that it lets you interact with your audience. Kosek comments that “it’s a more one-on-one experience.” It also appeals to her partner Pendharkar, who “wants to engage with the audience directly.” Through a technique known as “breaking the fourth wall,” characters on the show speak directly to the audience.

Accessibility may be the biggest pull of online video. Kosek says that So Natural TV takes advantage of the ability to produce their series in a quick and cost-effect manner: “We can develop something in one to three months … get the shoot done within a month. Post it in a month and we have our series on air immediately.”

The advantages of web series raises the question: Is it possible that online video can replace traditional television shows? Kosek doesn’t seem to think so.

“No. There will always be those outlets. Always,” said Kosek when asked if there will be a time when traditional television/cable models will be obsolete. “This is just another avenue to get stories told.”