"Creating a web series has been the most fulfilling and educational creative experience of my life."
Erika Robel is the Executive Producer, Writer and star of the upcoming web series, Fully Engaged.
Beyond creating a website for this hilarious new show, I got to sit down with the talented creator. Check out the backstory and inside scoop below!
Tell us a little bit about the creation story of Fully Engaged?
In April of 2014, I got engaged to my (now) husband Danny. As we started planning the wedding together, we started to have these experiences that were so bizarre, heart wrenching, and/or hilarious that sometimes we would just look at each other and think, “This can’t be real life!?”
I also talked to friends who had gone through the same process and we all agreed: weddings can make even the most sane and grounded people lose their s**t!
So, I did what I always do, which is turn to TV and movies to laugh about it. But, I couldn’t find anything that I really related to. That’s when I knew I had to make something of my own!
What can audiences expect from the full series?
Expect to laugh! It’s comedy, plain and simple. None of that messy dramedy stuff! At its core, it’s the story of Erika and Danny, a nice, normal couple living in New York City. Sure, they come from different backgrounds and they’re on a tight budget, but they love each other and they have a strong sense of self, so planning a wedding won’t be as hard as everyone makes it out to be, right? WRONG!
Audiences can also expect to see some of the funniest performances from supporting cast members in any series EVER. I’m serious. We got some of the most talented improv performers in New York City to play characters like the best man, the maid of honor, the photographer, and the wedding dress salesman. They really elevated the script to a place where we were rolling around on the floor laughing!
What are some lessons you learned about creating a web series?
Um, how much time/space do you have? Haha! Creating a web series has been the most fulfilling and educational creative experience of my life. I learned that being the executive producer is both incredibly empowering and challenging. For me, the most difficult part was learning to trust myself when making decisions.
I also learned that creating a web series is not just assembling a team of collaborators, writing a script, and shooting it. When we wrapped on our nine day shoot in May, I was exhausted but also really excited. The whole cast and crew knew that we had something very special and we were all ready to receive our Oscar for Best Web Series.
But, Rob (Margolies, director) and Jenny (Sciarra, producer) turned to me and said “Now the real work begins.” I was like “Ha! Whatever.” I mean, I had heard such buzzwords as “editing” and “color” and “sound” before. But as an actor, I never really had a concept of what those entailed. As usual, Rob and Jenny were right. Over the next six months I got to witness the amazing process of how post-production editors turn raw footage into an engaging story that looks great. I’m just grateful that I got to learn from such wizards!
Why did you choose CSM to build your website?
That was a no-brainer. I met Tony about a year ago through a happy accident. When I saw his company’s website and websites he had built for other people, I was immediately drooling. I thought, “Wow! This is exactly what I want my site to look like!” When it came time to build the site for Fully Engaged, Tony was the first person who came to mind. Not only did I know the site would be gorgeous, sleek, and easy to navigate, but I also knew that he would integrate the tools we needed for social media.
What responses have you received so far?
The response has been phenomenal! We only launched two days ago, but people are already expressing a crazed excitement to see full episodes! There is a definite buzz, people are sharing the site, and they are very much invested in the series. Most important, my team and I feel 100% confident with the site as we prepare to take our next steps.
Great insight into what it's like to produce a web series!Thanks for the interview, Erika!
Click here to learn more about Fully Engaged.
Tony Howell is a digital strategist dedicated to helping you design your future—creating offline success from your online presence.