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The Indiewire Springboard: ‘American Viral’ Co-creators AnnaRose King and Jennifer Suhr on Women and Modern Comedy

The Indiewire Springboard: 'American Viral' Co-creators AnnaRose King and Jennifer Suhr on Women and Modern Comedy

Every Friday, Indiewire’s Springboard column profiles an up-and-comer in the indie world who deserves your attention. Select profiles will include photography by Daniel Bergeron, exclusive to Indiewire. Today we talk to web series creators Jennifer Suhr and AnnaRose King.

AnnaRose King and Jennifer Suhr are the creators of the web series “American Viral,” available on Thundershorts, the new web comedy platform from Indiewire’s parent company SnagFilms. Along with co-creator Shandor Garrison and their NYU professor Michael Showalter, who also produces and stars in the series, they developed the show from a graduate school project all the way to plans to pitch it as a sitcom for television. “American Viral,” a satire poking fun at so-called YouTube families who thirst for their 15 minutes of fame, is not their only venture. They are also co-founders of a women’s film collective, La-ti-Da Productions. Here, they talk about web series development, that state of comedy for women, and the opportunities for crowdfunding. The season one finale of “American Viral” goes online Tuesday, July 22nd.

READ MORE: SnagFilms Launching New Comedy Site Thundershorts, with Original Series

We started it out as a web show, too. And then when we took it out to look at potential for it as a TV show, having it come back as a web series was kind of awesome because it just trickled back to where it originated from. So, that was cool as a creator on it, to see something that you had its conception in web. And we kind of went to, “Oh we’ll have the half hour serial version,” and it’s great that Thundershorts wanted to shoot it. – AnnaRose King

There’s so many great opportunities for crowd sourcing at this point, where you have an idea and you really feel strongly about it you can pitch it to your friends and other people. Make your product strong, feel like you’re excited about it and then there are a number of options. – J.S.

There aren’t enough women directors. So we were like, Let’s make a group where we can help get each other work and can support each other as directors. – A.K.

The great thing about web series is that you can tell a story for cheap if you want to do it yourself. It’s much more egalitarian. The networks tend to play it safe, and I get it
because they’re investing money in things, but you also want to see
them be more ballsy, and to try to do stuff that can prove that, oh
people like funny dudes but they like funny women as well. The more they
can see that with people making their own stuff and getting a response,
the easier that it gets. – J.S.

We try to keep it fun on set and not boring, and try to shoot pretty quickly. Our strategy is like, let’s keep it fun so they can actually have fun and we’ll all have fun and then let’s also do it quickly as possible so they’re not super bored. – A.K.

I think the thing I find most exciting about whole featured content and this independent culture is that you have people actually who are the creators on the ground level, creating stories and shaping how storytelling is going. They’re profiling and showing atypical characters, atypical leading ladies, leading male characters. – A.K.

My family worked in television but on the syndication side so it’s always sort of been in my blood to want to do broadcast in some way. Like, my dad is passed away now but if he was alive he’d be interested that I’m still working in television but in a totally different way than maybe he would have expected, you know? So that’s where I would like to take it. – A.K.

What we really tried to do with “American Viral” was really pack in as much story as possible. What we were trying to do is kind of make some sort of hybrid of long form and short form in the same episodes. Because you have other web shows that are so many different types. There are different types of stories coming out online just like there are different types of TV shows. I think that’s exciting, to see where storytelling is going. – A.K.

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