Talking with Anne Flournoy creater of “The Lousie Log” web comedy series
The Louise Log started out as a no-budget NYC-based web series featuring non-professionals. Now over the past six years and thirty-four episodes, it has grabbed awards, seen some major cast changes-the show lost (and found) a lead this last season-and this fall the shows were crowdfunded by fans of the series on Seed&Spark. I was lucky enough to get a sit down with creator Anne Flournoy and discuss the making of The Louise Log, a comedy about “the inner life of a real Greenwich Village wife and mother detoured from her life’s dream by the antics of her strong-willed, crackpot relatives.”
Some (most) productions would end after a lead actor leaves, what gave you the tenacity to just soldier through, look for a replacement and start a crowdfunding campaign?
The Louise Log is my life’s work and so there was no question of continuing. As far as losing our lead actor Christine Cook, I was scared at the prospect of finding a new Louise, but living in New York City it seemed likely that somehow we’d find another suitable actor…. and we were extremely fortunate to find the gorgeous and wildly talented Morgan Hallett. As far as crowdfunding, it wasn’t clear until midway through the crowdfunder that we were going to have to recast Louise.
Speaking of crowdfunding…. godsend or just another form of Internet begging? Discuss.
Most indie filmmakers have hit up family and friends at least once in their careers. But even with a big family and circle of friends, that business model can wear a little thin the second time around. Not that crowdfunding is easy, in fact it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life, but it’s a game changer to be able to reach a much larger group of prospective donors and have their (on average) $25-$100 donations add up to an actual budget. I see crowdfunding, and specifically crowdfunding on Seed&Spark, the awesome film/video platform where we financed the production of Season 3, as a total godsend.
Are we-as audience and creators-now in an age that the net has gained either such infamy or legitimacy (or both) that things created for and by it don’t need to ‘grow’ into a network offering?
That is a complicated question. I’m very happy making The Louise Log for the internet. I love the short format. I love the artistic freedom and having total control. The only negative for me is the enormous challenge of marketing and getting the series out to its audience who, we now see, are willing to pay for it.
Very few people in web series are making money with them. This means that the people who are making the shows are also working at day jobs as well as handling the even bigger job of promoting and marketing the shows. So though I am not eagerly pitching The Louise Log to the networks, (pant pant, another job!) I am in awe of their distribution channels and would love to hear that one of them was interested in airing this show.
What struck me from the new clip, other than the hilarious ‘bare down’ part, was the seeming claustrophobia of the pov, is this something indicative of the whole series?
According to our analytics, more and more of the audience is watching this show on mobile phones. With that in mind, when framing the shots, I always try to get at least one person in close up. (There’s nothing I find more frustrating than a wide shot on a tiny screen.) That said, the scenes in the ‘massage episode’ trailer take place in unusually small rooms.
What does being/shooting in NYC give your production ‘good and bad’?
I don’t know if there are any negatives to being in NYC for making a web series other than the obvious one that the cost of living is high. The positives that come to mind are 1.) We have an extraordinary pool of actors (I was fortunate enough to cast the hilarious New York theatre legend Everett Quinton for Season 3?). 2) If you shoot with a skeletal crew and without a tripod, there’s an incredible variety of locations. 3) The Apple stores sprinkled around Manhattan offer one-to-one and group help with all kinds of tech challenges. And last but not least 4.) you won’t be alone. With the IAWTV, its spinoff Big Screen Little Screen, the Digital Caucus of the Writers Guild and more, there are meet ups and groups galore for web series producers.
What else do you have on the drawing board currently?
Aside from editing and then releasing a new episode of Season 3 on the last Thursday of every month, we’re about to launch into a firestorm of promotion. We’ll be posting behind-the-scenes clips, bloopers, etc. every Thursday and I’ll be doing short video updates even more often…possibly every day, God help me!
Here’s a teaser of the show and its official website http://thelouiselog.com.