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‘Twentyfiveish,’ IndieWire’s September Project of the Month, Builds a Quarter-Life Crisis on a Solid Foundation

"As long as you are incredibly prepared, have a plan and a professional presentation, you will find what you need if you knock on enough doors."

Alyssa Brocato (left), Katie Micay (center), and Jacquelyn Ryan, producer and co-writer (right)

Coralee Trigger

How do you move forward to tell a story about someone in danger of retreating? That’s the big question for the creative team behind “Twentyfiveish,” an upcoming web series selected by IndieWire readers as Project of the Month for September 2016.

However you define “millenial,” there are certain anxieties that come from the uncertainty of the future and the growing pressures to enter adulthood in a predetermined way. That’s the challenge faced by Tucker (Brendan Robinson from “Pretty Little Liars”) on a weekend vacation, when he’s confronted by friends of the past and present.

With a team led by filmmaker Katie Micay and writer/producers Kyle Bown and Jacquelyn Ryan, production is scheduled to get under away in a few short weeks. But this story doesn’t end when shooting wraps. We spoke with Ryan via email about upcoming responsibilities beyond bringing “Twentyfiveish” to a screen.

What’s next for the project?

“Twentyfiveish” is participating in the New Voice Rally on Seed&Spark until the end of April, where we are competing with nine other fantastic projects for a distribution deal and a series premiere at SeriesFest, among other incredible prizes. Many of our team members are finishing production on the Freeform television shows “Famous In Love” and “Pretty Little Liars,” which is filming its series finale right now.  In a sense, “Twentyfiveish” feels like a new beginning for us as we embark on a new journey after seven years on the same show together, and it’s exciting to have this creative liberty moving in a new, digital direction.

Production will start at the beginning of December, so right know we’re heading deep into pre-production, casting our remaining roles, securing locations, and crewing up!

What are the biggest challenges for the project?

The biggest challenge, so far, is that the New Voice Rally requires us not only to create a great pilot episode, but also to accumulate followers on our Seed&Spark page and engage people on social media! It’s very intense because we have our show’s content that we are producing but also our social content, so it’s a lot of planning and organizing. Luckily, we have an amazing social media team, led by Coralee Trigger who is a Creative Arts Emmy winner in the digital realm.

And our shooting schedule is also a challenge. We have seven days to shoot our web series and a 50 page script, which is essentially the pace of shooting an hour-long single camera episode of television.  We are going to spend the next few weeks meticulously scheduling, planning, and rehearsing to ensure that we can complete the work on time, on schedule, and right on budget!

Twentyfiveish - Project of the Month BTS

Katie Micay, writer/director/producer (left) and Alyssa Brocato, director of photography (right)

Coralee Trigger

What are your goals?

Our goals are to create a moving, funny, and enjoyable series that people of all ages, but especially of the #Twentyfiveish age, can relate to. We would love to secure distribution for the series so that it can be enjoyed by as wide of an audience as possible. Our essential goal is to gain enough momentum for the series to have a second season, and to use this series as an example of the fantastic work our team can create and a springboard for other projects.

What do you wish someone had told you before you started?

There’s a tendency to enter the industry with high hopes, and getting easily discouraged when success isn’t granted quickly. I wish that someone had told me to relish every opportunity and take it as a change to learn as much as you can. Even if you’re offered an opportunity that doesn’t seem like it’s on your path, it can’t hurt to try it. Learning as much as you can about every craft will only make you a stronger filmmaker in the end. And while you’re working a “day job” take your nights and weekends to shoot your own projects, so that you can grow and feel fulfilled.

Most of us on team #Twentyfiveish have been working in television for a number of years, so we knew that creating a high-quality digital series with limited time and resources would be challenging. And it has been! No matter how many times one does it, crowdfunding is incredibly difficult thing, even with a large, well-prepared team (having a large, well-prepared team is essential). We made it to 100% funded with just minutes to go in our campaign! And with that, the money that we are crowdfunding is only a portion of the budget we need to shoot the series, so we’re looking for investors. Every project I produce, I hope that independently financing will become easier than the last time. I wish someone had told me to accept that it’s a struggle to find financing and always will be. But as long as you are incredibly prepared, have a plan and a professional presentation, you will find what you need if you knock on enough doors. That said, if you’d like us to knock on your door, let us know!

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