Last fall, I wrote and directed Redmonton, a dramedy web series that has already earned 18 film awards from LAIFFA, IIFA, IndieFEST, and other international film festivals this year.

Redmonton: Behind the Scenes Photos

Learn more about the show at www.redmonton.com

It’s kind of bizarre to think about how it all started. For those who don’t already know the story, Redmonton is a funny and honest look at four young girls who are eager to leave their small town for their big-city dreams, but life keeps getting in the way. The main characters of Redmonton were a part of a previous project of mine called Fiction Meets Life (check out my recent blog post here). It was a storytelling blog with weekly fiction stories, told through written word, sound bites, and videos, which would reflect a variety of women’s perspectives during the recession in this fictional Midwestern town I created – Redmonton. And just in the first 12 days, our videos were getting more than 20,000 views.

It was more than I’d imagined, and I realized these stories needed a much bigger platform, so I was inspired to bring Redmonton and its characters to life through a web series. In looking at popular TV shows about 20-somethings like FriendsGirls (HBO), How I Met Your Mother, or New Girl, I saw the opportunity to tell a certain perspective on early adulthood that I felt was missing. For starters, they’re all in sexier cities like New York and Chicago, but at the same time, they’re also about young characters who’ve left small towns to begin the first chapter of their exciting adult lives in the big city. Redmonton is like the prequel to the typical sitcom, showing the struggle of following their post-college dreams in a post-recession world.

However, the characters of Redmonton are not your stereotypical Millennials. On top of facing joblessness after college, they face extraordinary life circumstances that distance them from the crowd. At the heart of the show, there’s four best friends: Caroline, who prematurely jumped into married life at 18, feels powerless over the decisions impacting her future; Eve has to put her plans on hold to care for her war-veteran father; Jennie is forced to return home after losing her job and going broke in Chicago; and Alison clings to a lifelong dream of being a ballet dancer after an injury.

It took me less than a month to write the script for eight short webisodes. I will say the most challenging part of writing Redmonton took place much earlier — creating the characters, their timeline, likes/dislikes, education, relationships, family history, past jobs, embarrassing stories, favorite foods, etc (you get the picture). I feel strongly that creating such an in-depth portrait of the characters is one of the defining strengths of the series. I had already been writing stories of their unique journeys for a while, because I know that these four characters will be so relatable and compelling for readers now and far beyond the life of the web series (or the blog).

That’s just my short introduction for now. Redmonton was an amazing project that taught me so much about writing, directing, and the filmmaking world, so I will be posting more soon about my experience.