You’re young. You’re living in New York. You’re looking for a way to show what life in the big city can be like. And, if you’re Austin Spero and Rachel Ravel, your next thought is “musical web series.”
That idea eventually became “Rachel Unraveled,” a journey through NYC, complete with original songs and music. It’s a satirical look at the day-to-day of an aspiring actress, something that a number of the cast members (including established Broadway vets) can easily relate to.
It’s an ambitious first outing for Ravel and Spero, branching out into a crowded entertainment space with an idea that requires more than just a camera and some locations. Their initial campaign to fund the first season of the show was chosen by IndieWire readers as Project of the Week and then Project of the Month for August.
We spoke to the show’s two creators about their recently completed next step and where the show might go from here.
What’s next for the project?
Austin Spero: We just wrapped our pilot episode, “Audition,” shot in New York City! It’s exciting to see Rachel’s world finally start to come together after months of planning and crowdfunding. We plan to release the episode for streaming through our website later this month!
Rachel Ravel: We’ll be submitting the pilot to all the major web festivals with hopes to get a little buzz and raise some money before filming the next five episodes of our season in the spring! Look for misadventures in babysitting, Seamless (a popular New York food delivery service), and “Hamilton.”
What are the biggest challenges for the project?
Austin: We’re two 20-year-olds heading our first endeavor in filmmaking with a team of people much older than us with a lot more experience. We’re writing, we’re acting, we’re hiring, we’re casting, we’re managing social media. It’s a lot to stay on top of, but we’ve been extremely lucky to have found collaborators who are willing to play and support us as we learn. Part of the fun of this project is doing what we can with what we’ve got. Obviously we can’t rent out the Gershwin, but it is a wonderful challenge trying to make a school auditorium look like a Broadway stage!
Rachel: Another big creative challenge we’re facing is how to set our show apart for an audience who has grown up watching “Glee,” “Smash,” and countless other TV shows set in a fantasyland of show biz. The idea for “Rachel Unraveled” came from our frustration of seeing regurgitated plot lines about young actresses winning Tonys the second they step off the bus at Penn Station, and we know we’re not alone. We need to prove to potential viewers that we get their frustration and we will not disappoint.
What are your goals?
Austin: Hulu picks us up, and we win an Emmy.
Rachel: And then we fly off into the sky in a magical car like at the end of “Grease.”
Austin: But in reality, our greatest hope is that people love the show and want to help us fund an entire season!
What do you wish someone had told you before you started?
Rachel: It is illegal to climb trees in Oshawa, a town in Ontario, Canada.
Austin: Shark pregnancies last up to four years.
Rachel: If we had known all these things before we started production, we would probably be on Comedy Central right now. But in all seriousness, if we just had an old, wise, mentor to bend down on one knee, pat us both on the cheek and say, “You can do it, kids,” we wouldn’t have spent so many pre-production nights snapchatting each other crying selfies.
Austin: Instead, we are each other’s old, wise, 20-year-old mentors. And we still send each other crying selfies, but that’s just because we cry easily and watch a lot of good TV.