It's called Gemma & The Bear and we just released the first two episodes this past Monday.
It was over two years ago that it all began - sometime between giving birth to my son and my mom's brain tumor being diagnosed. Kevin and I wanted to make something together and I thought it should be a web series. We'd done theater together, but I wasn't doing theater at the moment because I had a tiny child to take care of. Something on-camera felt more manageable.
So we began. We met and wrote and had a reading and got rid of everything we'd written and started again. Working on the project was always a joy; it was also my artistic life-line. Without the luxury of time I used to enjoy, it became important to focus on doing one thing well, and that was our show.
Late last summer - almost a year ago - we began our casting process (we paused so I could have back surgery), in the late fall we launched our Indiegogo campaign, and in December we finally - FINALLY - started filming.
We shot for seven non-consecutive days in December, January and February, going by location rather than chronology of the script. When our office location fell through the morning before the shoot, my brother came through with his office for us and we squeezed what we'd planned to film in three days into two. We made third graders stand outside on one of the coldest days of the year. We re-cast a major role at the last minute because our original actor was injured. We called in favors. We got it done.
I handled the craft services and, later, the payroll. I wouldn't choose to take on those extra roles again, but it felt really good to support our cast and crew in a loving way through food, and later, to appreciate them by redistributing about 75% of what we'd raised to make the show in the form of checks to our artistic and technical collaborators.
I thought the hard part was over. And then I found myself a producer of a project in post-production.
But now it's here! Gemma & The Bear. Kevin R. Free was my collaborator in all things - writing, acting and producing - and Matt Scott as director, editor and co-writer has provided invaluable additional vision and input. This has been one of the most rigorous and most rewarding artistic experiences of my life and while I learned a lot (and would do some things differently if I had to do them over) I am incredibly proud of what we've made.
We're still working on episodes 3, 4, 5 and 6 - they'll be out in August - but for now I hope you enjoy episodes 1 and 2.