If you have not yet heard of the Ashley Denise webseries “Anthology” here is your chance to experience the young director’s work, as well as an opportunity to help her see it made into a full-fledged online episodic series, a la “Orange Is the New Black” and similar streaming shows on Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, and the like.
“Anthology” is an eight-episode webseries that follows an ensemble cast of six main characters: John, Ricki, Ashley R., Will, Reid and Devina – all 20-somethings trying to function as young adults in New York City. What separates it from others is that in place of a traditional script, the series is built on a loosely structured outline with improvised dialogue in order to capture the raw impulsivness, grit, and chaos of the American, millennial experience. In this way it is similar to hit TV shows like “Curb Your Enthusiasm” and “The League,” and indie movies like last summer’s “Drinking Buddies.” What makes “Anthology” stand apart from those is its use of diverse and multicultural characters, and element that the producers contend is, “seemingly unheard of in the DIY or mumblecore genre.”
The characters evolve over the course of the show as they struggle with themes of identity, religion, sexuality, burgeoning careers and substance abuse. Each episode will share a structure similar to a half-hour television program, as opposed to a 4-5 minute webseries, and serves as an introduction to the characters for the feature film Summer Burn Down, whose initial script inspired the series. Show creator and director Ashley Denise, says she intends to, “use this series as a launchpad for viewers and investors alike, with the intent of seeing the project to fruition through Summer Burn Down,” in which all six characters will converge at a family cabin during the last weeks of a summer.
Some of the actors you will recognize, like Ashley Denise Robinson from Randy Wilkins’ short film and webseries “Docket 32357” and Jonathan Duran from the great short films “The Lesson Plan” and “When It Rains.”
The show’s pilot season, which served as a prequel to the main storyline, was launched during the summer of 2013. Throughout it, each character’s individual backstory was introduced independent of the other characters. The upcoming season will serve as a continuation of the plotlines and themes that were developed during the prequel, while illustrating how all of the characters’ lives become inextricably intertwined. You can see an early example below in which John (Jonathan Duran) struggles with his preacher father’s interpretation of how the young man should approach his first sermon.
To make the show of even better quality than you see in the pilot episodes they need the right funding. To ameliorate production costs, they are launching a crowdfunding campaign through Seed & Spark, which as many of our readers know is similar to Kickstarter with the major differences being it focuses solely on supporting filmmakers and calls upon collective engagement from the community. To that end, unlike Kickstarter’s all-or-nothing mantra, if they reach 80% of their goal, “Anthology” will be greenlit and will receive the funds.
The campaign is currently live and fully breaks down what funds are needed for specific production purposes like camera rental and craft services . It has until October 10 to reach its $10,000 goal. Here is the link to it: http://www.seedandspark.com/studio/anthology The intro video there tells the story on a whole as well.
You can catch all of the pilot season here.