You never quite know where something will lead. We wrote a ridiculous 5 minute sketch in college about a self proclaimed “power couple,” took those characters and created an “interactive dinner party/performance art piece” (as some folks have said), and have now sold Vicky & Lysander to LogoTv.com. Weird.
To us, the most fascinating and funny characters are the ones who are super-deluded. Beyond help deluded. Perhaps this is why a social climbing, politically incorrect, obsessed with being cool couple is something we continue to revisit…
Vicky & Lysander (as the worst Dinner Party you’ve ever been to) was an unexpected success. Winning “Best Borderline Performance Art” in the NY Press 2010 edition, and selling out every night for three months at Grand Opening in the Lower East Side was extremely risky and thrilling. We had little idea of what we were doing and, in fact, the trial dinner party we did the night before the show opened bombed big time. Our sweet friends did their best to pretend it was funny but we quickly realized after that first dinner that you could not script or bullet point out topics of conversation, and that we were going to have to be ready for the possibility of ANYTHING happening. Our interactive dinner party was going to have to be an hour and a half of mostly improvisation. And that is what we did. For 80 performances. Great news – It seemed to work, it was a fun time, and we learned something VERY important. You don’t have to have all the “i”‘s dotted and “t'”s crossed to start a project. You just need to friggin’ get started and figure the majority of it out along the way. This is a lesson that we have carried with us in our work for the LES* Film Festival and the web series we just sold.
To clarify for all the sticklers and old school marms that are reading this, we don’t mean “winging it” in the sense of not preparing or not working your butt off, we mean “winging it” (last time we use that phrase, promise) in the sense of trusting yourself and your ideas and figuring out how to make the rest work. Because you CAN if you believe in your idea, have a team that believes in it as well, and you remember to stay positive. The most important thing is to get started, cause there’s never going to be a “more opportune time,” there’s never going to be 3 million dollars sitting around (unless you’re from old Robber Baron money). The best time is NOW and the biggest compliment we hear, whether or not people like what we do is, “Wow, I’m so impressed that you guys actually DID something. Most people just talk about doing something.”
In regards to the details or any inside advice; we shot the web series this summer with our friends and LES* colleagues and compatriots Tony Castle and Roxy Hunt of BFD productions. In keeping with the theme of the LES* Film Festival, which we all do together and because we had no other option, we shot it all on a budget of $0. That’s right Z-E-R-O!
The idea came after having not done anything with Vicky & Lysander for two years and wanting to take it in a new direction. Tony and Roxy have their own 5d camera, a boom and two lavs, we all had apartments to shoot in, we had NYC to run around and play in, and there’s brand new cutting edge, you heard it here first, software called Final Cut that allows you to edit from your own computer (wink). Completely DIY filmmaking. That was really what it took. All of it done by all four of us. Tony & Roxy as directors and producers, editors, sound mixers…Shannon & Damon as writers, producers, actors and occasional boom holders and our friends as our awesome guest stars and extra crew when needed!
We shot on the weekends, weeknights, and anytime that we could as we didn’t have the luxury of endless hours. We didn’t set out to sell it, we set out to make it and put it online and then send to friends. Selling it was the cherry on top and something very unexpected that came up. Our thinking going in was “No matter what, we will have created more material and learned something new in the process. Plus it will be fun! What’s wrong with that?” That and the fact that we knew all it would cost us was our time. This seemed like a pretty good bet to us.
So that’s our advice. Just get started. Make product. Team up with people that you know are reliable, smart, and willing to work hard. You don’t need an entire timeline and chart. Figure out the problems as they come. Be passionate and willing to work very hard. Don’t listen to the nay-sayers and pricks. There’s a million people that love cutting something apart before it even gets started. One person we met told us (in an obnoxious condescending tone with complimentary eye roll), “Oh…everybody is making web series these days…” Well good for them and good for us and shut the fuck up cause we don’t need anymore road blocks. Having no money and being only four people certainly brings enough. TUNE THESE DOUCHES OUT!
At the end of the day. We like these characters. We made something we like. We had fun doing it. And funny enough, someone else liked it too and hopefully others will as well. Good luck and God speed!
Damon and Shannon
A new episode of Vicky & Lysander airs every Wednesday @ 3pm on Logotv.com. For more information please go to www.vickyandlysander.com or watch below: