kelsey web series

'Kelsey' Invited to be Screen in Palm Springs!

There wasn't room for our series to be included in the In With The New Out Panel we've been touring with at the upcoming Cinema Diverse: The Palm Springs LGBTQ Film Festival.  But the New Media programmer enjoyed our series so much that they invited 'Kelsey' to screen in their New Media Spotlight. That'll be on September 19th. We can't afford to fly out for that, but hopefully the audience enjoys our series! Details on the screening can be found HERE.

What Kelsey Could Have Been

As a reward for our recent Crowdfunding campaign, we promised supporters that they'd get our outline for what would have been Seasons 2 & 3 of Kelsey, had it continued, along with the would-be Series Finale script. We're keeping the script exclusive to the campaign supporters, but we decided to share the breakdown of the would-be seasons with the rest of the series fans. Enjoy! 


What Kelsey Could Have Been

Our original plan for Kelsey was to have 3 seasons. We went in expecting to do 3 - no more, no less - assuming the series found an audience. As you all know, it did find an audience, but continuing past a first season just wasn’t in the cards for us (http://www.congestedcat.com/blog/2014/4/8/christina-kelsey-talk-kelsey-whats-next).

That said, we did do a lot of planning for what the series would have turned into, and are proud to be able to share it with you. We hadn’t worked out all the details, but had seasonal arcs & storylines for each character.

The Story

SEASON TWO

Kelsey & Joanne

We would have jumped 3 months from the season 1 finale, explaining that Kelsey took a stand and chose Joanne, asking Shane to leave and not contact her or her friends. Joanne gets over the incident and she and Kelsey are happily in love for a couple of episodes until they start discussing where their lives are headed. Joanne’s character is developed more throughout the season. She’s in school and has literary aspirations. A rift in their relationship is planted early on and grows as the season progresses. Joanne is very determined and, in her final year of Grad school, often busy working and writing. Kelsey becomes annoyed with Joanne for never being available to go out. Joanne becomes frustrated because Kelsey doesn’t understand why planning for the future is so important to her. She points out Kelsey’s lack of direction and it becomes apparent to both of them that Kelsey’s wishy-washy nature doesn’t pair well with Joanne’s plans for herself. They end up breaking up. It ends mutually, realizing maybe it’s not them but the timing that’s not right.

Sam & Rowan adjust to really just being friends. We were very against on-and-off relationships; we definitely wanted to firmly keep them off. Rowan would settle into domesticity with Kate and be surprised that he was happy about it. He would continue to grow as a person and have revelations about what it means to be in a good relationship with open communication, which at times could sound preachy, but the others would accept him. Sam expands on the business front. She becomes boss to a whole group of employees and ends up dating one of them. This turns into a serious relationship throughout season 2 despite her initial distaste for him (keeping in line with her type).

Tyrone would go through a dating phase, where he’d sleep with a new man every week. He considered this the path to finding himself but continuously feels emptier. By mid-season, he would go into a dry spell and decide to study religion, to humorous effect. He would not end up with anyone by the end of season 2.  

The season would end with Kelsey attempting to find a hobby by doing something with each of her friends to no avail: yoga with Tyrone, jogging with Rowan, kickboxing with Sam. It would end with her doodling to pass the time and realizing she’s always loved drawing. This was a seed we planted in season one with her doodles all over her office and bedroom.

Fun Bonus: We had one fun idea for a 3 episode arc towards the middle of the season where Sam, Rowan & Tyrone would meet up at the bar without Kelsey, not knowing what she’s up to, and end up telling stories about what they did yesterday. In each story, Kelsey would make an appearance. What happened for her that day and ultimately where she is at the moment of them all meeting up would only become clear through the combination of her appearances in each of their stories. We unfortunately didn’t get to flesh this out further, but believe it would have been a ton of fun to do. Interestingly, this idea was conceived before Arrested Development season 4 premiered on Netflix. If you’re a fan as we are, you can imagine that we were not disappointed, but rather elated that we had come up with such a similar creative-structure to that of those brilliant writers.  

SEASON THREE

Kelsey would have relationships with women that weren’t perfect and they’d usually end in Kelsey getting the fade away. Showing growth, she would not be too bothered by it.  By mid-season, she’d meet Carol, who would have been in three episodes. They’d get along and have chemistry but Kelsey would realize that she has a lot of growing to do and Carol is not the one. She ‘d substitute her need for love with the passion she’s found in drawing. By season’s end, she would get hired by a creative agency and actually flourish in the new environment.

Rowan would accidentally get Kate pregnant and they’d decide to keep the baby since Kate is very financially stable and ready. She and Rowan would decide that he would be the stay at home parent. Many jokes would come out of the group’s reaction to how much Rowan has changed, for the better.

Sam would break up with her boyfriend and casually date another guy throughout the season. She’d get promoted again within her company to Marketing Manager, which would force her to consider moving to the West Coast. After a pro and cons episode, she’d decide its best if she goes, and Kelsey would have to come to terms with it. 

Tyrone would meet the man of his dreams at Kelsey’s new job. Fearing he’s been replaced, he would follow her to happy hour after a workday to meet her new coworkers. It would turn out that the guy she had befriended is just enough like Tyrone that they hit it off.

By the finale, Kelsey would get her own studio apartment and learn what it means to be okay with being by herself.

The Look

Christina wrote about the unique look & feel of the series/1st season in her ‘Directing Kelsey’ series on our blog. Feel free to give that a read here: http://www.congestedcat.com/blog/?category=Directing+Kelsey.

As for where the rest of the seasons would have gone visually:

            SEASON TWO

Season 2 would have been firmly planted in the present, with no more flashbacks/camera-slides to the past. This would have meant a big shift for viewers of the show (though not unfamiliar since we toyed with it in Episode 9 of the series), but a necessary change to represent Kelsey’s ability to finally live in the present. An exception to no longer doing flashbacks would have been the 3-episode arc towards the middle of the season, (discussed above) involving the 3 supporting characters. It’d be a fun throwback to the 1st season and Kelsey’s story-telling nature.

Christina & Peter (our DP) were still in talks about how they’d progress the look of the show in Season 2 when the decision was made not to continue. However, since the motif of working up to tighter shots and lenses was no longer a constraint, they discussed the varying ways they could show the deterioration of Kelsey & Joanne’s relationship, a lot of which revolved around creating physical distance and strategically placed barriers between them as the season progressed. (For instance, using furniture or literal dividers like doorways, to separate them within shots.) The show would retain its warm, intimate look both in shot construction and color tone.

            SEASON THREE

Season 3 on the other hand would focus quite a bit on the future. In fact, it would spend much of the season flash-forwarding to Kelsey breaking up with Carol, specifically Kelsey doing the dumping. The season would have brought back the camera-slides of the first season, but always sliding into the future. It would still feel warm, but with a little less of a sitcom glow to it. It’d grow up, so to speak. It’d look a little more cinematic and have more blues (over its original orange-hue) incorporated. This would have been to create a sense of finality, while retaining an openness to future possibilities. The motif of progressing the color tone over the course of the season, basically working its way up to the look of the flash-forwards, was discussed and likely would have been one of the more noticeable shifts of the series, most reflecting of it coming to a close. 

Web Series are the New Black - Cinema Q Recap

Christina and I were invited to be a part of a panel tour on web series a couple of months ago. Kieran Turner, who writes and produces Wallflowers, had reached out to Christina because he had watched our show and thought we’d be a great addition to his panel.

We thought it was a great opportunity for us to expand our audience and meet other filmmakers.

Christina and I are planning on attending as many panels together as possible. This one, however, was scheduled on our original shooting dates for ‘Not Our Living Room’ and ‘We Had Plans’, so Christina encouraged me to go on my own to represent. And who would say no to that? That = Christina. No one says ‘no’ to Christina. Just kidding. I was thrilled to be able to go.

 

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Cinema Q is a Denver based film festival in its sixth year. It is sponsored by The Center and Out Front Colorado, and the panel took place in the beautiful Denver Film Society building. Ernie Quiroz is the programming manager and he coordinated most, if not all, of our travel.

I flew in to Colorado on Friday, July 25th. I’d been patiently awaiting this day, because a) I’m always excited to meet other filmmakers, b) I love anything LGBTQ and c) I’d never been to Denver and I’d heard lovely things about it; I couldn’t wait to explore.

I was the first of my panel to get to Denver. The Film Festival organizers had a volunteer pick me up at the airport. His name was Matt and he was wonderful. I ended up taking the ride with two other filmmakers, Dan and Antonio, who shot Mala Mala, which opened at TriBeCa Film Festival and celebrates the trans community in Puerto Rico.

During the ride Matt gave us a bit of background information on all of the myths surrounding the Denver airport, which made the ride go by quickly.

After settling in at the hotel, two of the four other panelists arrived at the hotel.

Kieran, the organizer or our panel and creator of “Wallflowers” and Jason Cicci, who is the creator/writer/actor of “He’s with Me” arrived at the same time. I had watched both of their shows and was a fan. Both are relatable, down-to-earth comedies about life, love and daily tribulations with LGBT elements.

We all hit it off immediately. I wasn’t expecting such genuinely sweet and hilarious individuals (because Hollywood…), but we could not have had a better time. Kieran, Jason and I got a bite to eat and had a couple of drinks, shared filming stories and personal anecdotes.

Later, we all got a ride to the Film Society. At the building we met up with the final panelist Rick Copp, the writer/producer/actor of “Where the Bears Are”. He was the perfect addition to our team. He’s a super entertaining individual and he has a lovely loud laughter that fills a room.

The panel began on time at 7pm. There were between 20 and 35 people there. I forgot to count. Personally, I thought it was closer to 35, the others thought it was closer to 20… so I’m giving you the range.

Sebastian La Cause, from Hustling, had to cancel last minute, so he wasn’t there in person, but all of our shows got to air one episode.

 

I got very nervous as ‘Kelsey’ was about to go on. It was weird, because I only get that way when I have to speak in front of strangers, and that wasn’t the case. It is a very nerve wracking, but also humbling experience to see your work on the big screen. Luckily, Rick was sitting right next to me and was laughing throughout the screening, so that boosted my confidence enough to feel comfortable speaking about our show on the panel.

I did miss Christina, though. A lot.

The questions individuals asked were great. They really seemed interested in the medium and what the mechanics behind the scenes were. It did appear that all of us had self funded the first season, and every season the learning curve improved.

As for what the future of web TV is, I don’t think we came to a clear conclusion. More data is needed, more success stories and more outlets. We all had the consensus we’d stay with web, since it’s affordable and we can tell our stories the way we want to, but as far as how to fund projects, there are many ways to do it, but none of them are easy or consistent.

After the panel the four of us went out to drinks to the ‘Shag Lounge’. It was great. I was exhausted (jet lag from the 2 hour difference). We had a couple of good laughs and parted ways.

I can’t wait for the group to meet Christina and to do more panels. I’m also addicted to all the shows now (yay binge watching!). I will say Rick had the best tagline for his show: “Where the Bears Are, it’s like Golden Girls meets Murder She Wrote with big hairy gay men.” Who doesn’t want to watch that?

All in all, it was one of the greatest experiences I’ve had career-wise. And I can’t wait to do it all again. Next time with my partner in crime, Christina Raia.

-Kelsey

'Kelsey' Press & Interview Wrap-Up

Now that "Kelsey" has officially come to a close, we thought we'd wrap up all the awesome interviews & press we got during the show's run. 

In addition to having all our episodes featured on AfterEllen, One More Lesbian, and the PNT TV Network since our premiere, we started getting featured on SheWired about halfway through the season as well, with incredibly positive reviews & comments! We were the number 1 show on PNT TV for every single episode, and we were featured on a couple wonderful lists on AfterEllen with comparisons to SNL and other Primetime shows. 

Our first big buzz was actually on BuzzFeed itself with the 8 Lesbian Web Series you should have on your radar, as mentioned in the pilot episode post. We were also on National Television, though it did not end up being as cool as it originally seemed. That experience can be read about in Christina's words here

The biggest news to announce is that the series made the cut for Indiewire's Critic List: 2013's Best Comedy Web Series, and 18 More You Need to Watch Now! We then were featured on Indiewire again with their list 15 Women-Driven Web Series That Could Be the Next 'Broad City' (which was an exciting comparison because Broad City started as a no-budget web series until Amy Poehler took it to Comedy Central).

We got some amazingly positive reviews along the way:

  • Eli David of the WebVee Guide reviewed us after binge watching the series. 
  • New York Cine Radio talked about the first episode in their 89th Podcast episode from 15:00 to 28:30 and gave the series 4.5 out of 5 'Sandwiches.'

And we did some fun interviews:

We only featured the highlights in this post. For a full list of our press, check out the Awards Section of the Kelsey Facebook Page

Although there will be no additional episodes of the series, we hope that audiences will continue to discover and enjoy the show. If we get any new press for the series, we'll be sure to keep you updated. (We may actually be doing a Panel tour at LGBT Film Festivals later this year to talk about the show & our upcoming work. So, we will definitely have news on that, and look forward to meeting some of our out-of-town fans!)

If you're unaware of the fact that we wont be continuing the series, feel free to read our last post for details; and be sure to check out our Seed&Spark campaign for our 2 new short films launching on June 10th. As said in the post, we'll be giving away our outlines for what would have been Seasons 2 & 3 of 'Kelsey,' including the Series Finale script to all fans who give at least $10!

Thank you again for supporting us and watching the show! 

-Christina, Kelsey & the Team. 

Christina & Kelsey Talk 'Kelsey' & What's Next

Christina & Kelsey made a video for the fans of 'Kelsey' to let them know what's next for the creative duo. Below it is Kelsey's recap statement that you could alternatively or additionally read, but feel free to watch the video if you'd like to hear more of what they have to say. And be sure to support and share their Seed&Spark campaign, planning to launch on June 10th. 

 

Thanks for watching & supporting!

I remember celebrating my birthday on the first read-through of all episodes. It was the first time the cast and crew were introduced to the entire season, and the energy in the room was phenomenal. I remember the excitement and giddiness I felt of what was to come.

And here, a year later, I can say that I'm so proud of what we made happen. It's all thanks to some very talented individuals, who despite constant curveballs and uncertainties remained collected and helped the first season of ‘Kelsey’ come to fruition. Christina and I set out to make a show that was, first of all, one that both of us would want to watch, and one that would give representation to individuals who tend to get neglected on mainstream television. It feels like we accomplished both in an entertaining way, and we're truly proud of that. 

Now that season one has come to an end, the question of ‘Kelsey’s future has become very prevalent. Christina and I had worked out what we would want to do creatively with two more seasons if/when the series acquired a following. Christina and I funded the entire first season out of pocket, putting us in not insignificant credit card debt, because we knew we were making something we believed in and something we wanted to share with others. But we always knew that we'd have to Crowdfund if we wanted to continue. Luckily, it seemed like that was a very viable option with our fanbase. You wanted more and we wanted to give you more. 

However, unfortunately, the plan to keep going with the series will not become a reality. At the end of the day, making a film/tv show/web series is a business, which entails a lot of negotiation and compromise. While in discussion about the upcoming season, some key members of the series had expectations we simply could not meet. We are a small production company that works with minimal budgets and has never seen a profit; so the payoff for most of the work we do is getting to produce content that we're passionate about and sharing the finished products that we put our pride and joy into with an accepting & grateful audience. To be frank, we aren’t willing to sacrifice our integrity or the passionate work environment that we strive to create for our team just to please a select few. That in no way discredits the hard work that has gone into the first season by all. We want to thank everyone from the crew & cast for their dedication and talented contributions. But the time to move on to bigger & brighter creative prospects has come. 

Christina and I left 'Kelsey' season one on a cliffhanger, figuring it would be a creative push for us to continue. Had things gone the way we planned, we'd be delivering on that decision. We apologize to anyone who feels let down by the fact that we can't. However, we do not want to let fans of the show down by any means. We will continue to put out work together and prove that we're a team worth your trust and support. Our next projects are two short films, both about siblings. We’re exploring a different genre with these two pieces. They address the topic of loss, one with two brothers and one with two sisters. Not unsurprisingly, they are based on personal experiences that I have gone through. We want to show the versatility of what we can portray; but you will get the same (or better) quality in storytelling and production value. We're excited to announce that we'll again be collaborating with our 'Kelsey' Cinematographer Peter Westervelt as well as much of the core production crew members. We're also excited to announce that Lauren A. Kennedy (Joanne on 'Kelsey' & Jesse in Christina's feature film Summit) will be playing one of the sisters.

We are planning to Crowdfund for these pieces, so keep an eye out on CongestedCat.com for our Seed&Spark.com campaign in June. Seed&Spark is one place to fund & follow, discover & watch indie films. We’re aiming to launch our campaign on June 10th and will have 30 days to raise $20,000. This money will go towards production costs as well as paying all of the crew and cast for their work. The creators and cast often get all the glory when it comes to film. The crew members and how hard they have to work to make it all come together is often overlooked. Christina has managed to find an incredibly talented and passionate crew and it is time that they also reap more of the benefits. I know Christina feels very strongly about this and I, too, am consistently amazed and inspired by the work that they bring to every shoot. So, $20,000 may seem like a lot of money but we want these shorts to be products that the crew & cast are not only proud to be part of, but also are able to make a small income from. Most of them exclusively work freelance, and most are doing majority unpaid gigs. 

So, thank you! Thank you for reading this. Thank you for watching and supporting our show. And thank you for the positive response we’ve gotten. We are incredibly proud of the work we’ve accomplished so far and extremely humbled by the amazing reactions from fans. We sincerely hope you will give us a chance to show you other sides of our talents.

You’ll find our Seed&Spark campaign posted on this blog in 6 weeks. And, please note, even if you don’t have any funds to contribute, sharing goes a long way!

In the meantime, tweet at us, leave a comment, re-watch 'Kelsey,' check out the other fun projects CongestedCat Productions has been working on.

Sincerely,

Kelsey (on behalf of myself, Christina & the rest of the CongestedCat team)

- - -

We're Casting for 2 of the roles! Read below if you're interested. 

  • "We Had Plans"

Director: Christina Raia  Writer: Kelsey Rauber

PREMISE:

Diana & Liz are two adult sisters who love and respect each other more than anyone else in the world. But their future plans are tested upon receiving news.

CHARACTER DESCRIPTION: 

DIANA, 30s, Caucasian, the older sister who has grown up taking care of her younger sister. But roles shifted a little upon the realization that Diana cannot have kids. She is a little quirky and slightly needy. Also, a lesbian. 

*Non-union only. Production will happen over 1 day in July (additional details upon callbacks).

  • "Not Our Living Room"

Director: Christina Raia  Writer: Kelsey Rauber

PREMISE:

Two brothers get ready for their moms' anniversary party, but quickly realize something is very wrong with their environment when they try to leave the room.

CHARACTER DESCRIPTION: 

CHRIS: 22-28 age range, he's fun loving and easy going. The younger, more carefree brother. He jogs, so is in pretty good shape. The actor playing the other brother (JAKE) is caucasian. Ideally, Chris would be mixed race because we want them to be half-siblings & reflect diversity. But caucasian actors should definitely apply as well.

*Non-union only. Production will happen over 1 day in July (additional details upon callbacks).