Find out why filmmakers Alex Dobrenko and Phil Kaye decided to take a big risk with their series Distance—and how it paid off.
[Editor's Note: We've invited our longtime collaborators at Seed&Spark to share videos and takeaways about crowdfunding from their filmmaker interviews at SeriesFest 2016.]
In this latest video from Seed&Spark's trip to SeriesFest 2016, Seed&Spark talks with Alex Dobrenko and Phil Kaye, creators of Distance, an original series based on Dobrenko's real life experience navigating a long-distance relationship. In order to depict two different people in two time zones, the team took a big storytelling risk: each episode is actually two episodes, one from the perspective of the guy in the relationship (played by Dobrenko) and one from the perspective of the gal (played by Ashley Rae Spillers), each directed by a different director (Jack Lawrence Mayer & Carlyn Hudson.) Find out why the team doubled their workload...and how it's paying off.
Below are some key takeaways:
1. Why not take a chance?
Kaye and Dobrenko knew they were biting off a lot when they chose to shoot two episodes per 'episode', but they also decided the extra work was worth a try. Why? Because they didn't have anything to lose yet. "We're at the easiest part of this filmmaking journey, where no one really cares," said Kaye. "So why not just shoot it?" Basically, the best part of not being known yet is that you can do whatever you want—and just imagine if you succeed.
2. Use your life for inspiration
In the midst of his 3-year long-distance relationship, Dobrenko was fascinated with the work that both partners had to put into it to make it work, and he used that as inspiration for Distance. "Everything just becomes a little bit different with long-distance [relationships]," said Dobrenko. "I thought it was a really cool new lens [through which] to look at age old relationship stuff." Spoiler: The relationship survived, and the couple now lives together in the same house, in the same city.
3. Give yourself room to play
Rather than weave the stories of the male and female partners in Distance, Kaye and Dobrenko shot two separate 'episodes' for each episode, one focused on each of the partners, with different directors: the male episodes were directed by a male director, the female, a female director. "When you have one single narrative arc, inevitably stuff it left out," says Kaye. "Telling the story from two different sides gave us so much more to play with." The extra effort is paying off: Distance premiered at SXSW and continued on to SeriesFest 2016. Keep up with the journey of the show here.