Quarter Life' finds the funny in being single working millennial in Atlanta
Two local actors write and produce their own comedy Web series with Indiegogo crowdfunding
When it comes to bringing a new Web series to life, a little courage can go a long way. "It's like walking in the dark with a flashlight, you just keep moving forward," Celia Quillian says regarding the creation of "Quarter Life" with Shelli Delgado. Quillian and Delgado are two local actors who met during a touring production of the Anne Frank story And Then They Came for Me at Georgia Ensemble Theatre. While this might not seem like the natural birthplace of a comedic film series, they realized they could make each other laugh pretty easily offstage, and they decided to try their hand at sharing their mutual sense of humor with others. Now, thanks to support from the Atlanta film and theater community, they are set to begin production on the first season of "Quarter Life," a comedy about millennial life in Atlanta.
The series is set to star co-writers Quillian and Delgado, along with other local favorites like Emily Kleypas (voted CL's Best Actress of 2014) and Molly Coyne (currently starring in Georgia Ensemble Theatre's Peter and the Starcatcher). It will also feature real Atlanta locations. "We just locked down Hoof & Ale in Marietta," Quillian says excitedly. "And my friend's father is generously letting us use his office as the setting for the office where the two main characters work."
The pair started an Indiegogo campaign to fund the project, and as of press time they were halfway to their $10,000 goal. But Delgado vows that "regardless of how much money we make from the process, it's going to happen." Unlike similar crowdfunding platforms such as Kickstarter, Indiegogo does not require that its participants meet their goal in order to retain the funds raised, which was one of the main advantages in choosing this avenue for the project.
Both actors have been staying busy in the Atlanta film and theater scene. You may recall Delgado as the ensemble member with the great stank face from Rent at Actor's Express last summer, and she will be on stage as Little Red Riding Hood in Into the Woods at Aurora Theatre in March. "It's really important for artists to create work for ourselves, especially in Atlanta where that's very doable," Delgado says. "In L.A., we'd probably be one in a million, but here everyone is supportive and eager to be a part of what we're doing." The series will initially run for seven 10-minute episodes following the main characters, also named Celia and Shelli, as they are promoted from being staff writers to the viral video production team at a magazine. Each episode will also feature a two- to three-minute comedic short produced by one of the characters as part of the video production gig. The show aims to defy the stereotype of millennials being lazy and entitled as it shows the ups and downs of two hard-working young women and their friends and co-workers.
Quillian and Delgado were inspired to create an authentic vision of life in Atlanta, as opposed to the less realistic, more glamorized versions of New York City or Los Angeles portrayed in shows such as "Girls," "2 Broke Girls," or "Broad City." As working actors in Atlanta, both women have done their share of odd jobs around town, and these experiences will be reflected in the characters' adventures. They plan to release the episodes through their YouTube channel on a weekly basis beginning in mid May or early June, with a kickoff party to take place to celebrate the launch.
Plans for a second season are already in the works, with the main focus remaining on the two central characters. Quillian notes that "the beauty of 'Quarter Life'" lies in the transitive nature of relationships we have in our 20s. "There are two guys in the show who are our 'love interests,' but if neither actor can make it for the second season, we'd say, 'You know what, sometimes in your 20s you just date other people!'" Of course, the women are balancing their day jobs and rehearsals for other acting projects, but they can't stop their enthusiasm for the series. "Every time we meet, we brainstorm new ideas for episodes for the next season," Quillian says. "We just love working on it and writing it." Delgado agrees that the way friends and boyfriends come and go during this time in one's life will allow the team to make use of Atlanta's large pool of actors while getting the job done efficiently. They've also learned to be flexible and adjust their scripts based upon the available settings, such as turning one club scene into a house party, for example.
They plan to pitch the show to multichannel networks to gain a broader following. "The ideal goal is that we're able to keep doing it and eventually develop a following so that we can use those funds to keep making new episodes," Quillian says.
These Gen-Y locals are finding their way in the dark just fine, one step at a time.
Editor's Note: In the original story, the author incorrectly noted a Marietta location where filming for the series will take place. It will happen at Hoof & Ale.