They're the stars of Sublets a comedic web series about two roommates trying to fill the void of their roommate who has finally had enough, but they're also the visionaries behind the series. Meet Dolan Bloom and Caitlin Morris and learn more about their first web series below!
netTVnow: Where did the concept for Sublets come from?
Dolan Bloom & Caitlin Morris: We had been working on a few different series ideas, but were dreaming a bit too big. One night, after having attended a friend's release party for her great (!) series, Oh Liza, we were talking at a bar and stumbled upon the idea. We were both dealing with awful sublet situations at the time and thought not only was there an incredible amount of fodder, but it would also be totally producible. Additionally, it allowed us to bring on so many of our talented actor-friends who, without a rotating character spot, we would not have had the opportunity to showcase.
netTVnow: How involved were you both working with the writer?
DB & CM: After a few months of groping around blindly through the writing process and one draft of a pilot, Dolan and I decided we needed a self-identifying writer to keep guide us. We both had so many ideas, but were really struggling with how to translate our season outline into fully realized episodes.
Adding Sean Murphy, a fellow Otterbein alum, to the mix was the magic ingredient. We were able to present him with our outline of the season, how we envisioned the drama playing out, detailing the various characters and their idiosyncrasies, etc. He took the outline, shook it up, challenged us on numerous points, presented some alternate twists, and we were in business. The process of writing the show became such an enjoyable, dynamic experience--hours of us on a shared Google doc, picking apart each line, fighting for what we wanted and eventually, exhaustively, giving into the best idea.
netTVnow: You both also play the leads of the series, if you could describe your characters in three words, what would they be?
CM: Tess: Plucky. Sarcastic but Genuine.
DB: Will: Enthusiastic. Loyal. Credulous.
netTVnow: The series had some amazing one-liners. My favorite being, "You look like a cell bitch in a monkey prison." What are some of your favorite lines?
DB & CM: Ep. 1 - Brendan: "We're out of toilet paper. What have you been using?" Tess: "Make-up wipes!" Ep. 1 - Brendan: "It's Goldman-Sachs." Will: "That's what I said, Gold Man Sacks." Ep. 2 - Will: "Who gave me that lap dance last night? She was amazing." Kevin: "Oh, that was my friend Eric." Will: "Well, 5 stars." Ep. 2 - Tess: "I wish Noah was a little bit more like Charlton Heston. Gun-toting, loose-shirt-wearing, parting seas." Ep. 3 - Will: "Oh, yeah, I'm like the Jane Goodall of sports." Rick: "You see, I didn't even know Roger Goodell was married." Ep. 5 - Danny: "You haven't been doin' you, man. You've been doin' me." Ep. 6 - Jessica: "I don't like Will. I think he's pretty creepy. He reminds me of a homeless Keebler elf."
My favorite string of ad libs from filming was that spun by the incomparable Daniel Everidge (Rick) wrestling with Will: "This is the Dragon's Wrath, this is called the Knot of Exodus, you can't get out of this..." and so on.
netTVnow: Is this the first web series either of you have been involved in?
DB & CM: It is indeed! In fact, coming from theatre backgrounds, it's some of the first on-camera acting work and certainly the very first producing work we've ever done.
netTVnow: What was that like to experience firsthand?
DB & CM: It was a true trial by fire--lots of learning on the fly, lots of surrounding ourselves with far more experienced folks and learning from them, lots of nodding and smiling and then frantically Googling terms.
Our third producing partner, Samuel Froeschle, comes from a pretty extensive TV/film background (Art Director on GIRLS and Blind Spot)--he was incredibly patient with us, really helped us understand how to take this thing to the next level.
netTVnow: What were some of the more technical things that took you by surprise in the creation of the series? Non-technical?
DB & CM: Dolan and I were both stunned by how much time it takes to shoot 90 minutes worth of material. We were both totally convinced that our nine-day shoot would allow us plenty of time to knock everything out. Needless to say, the fact that we managed to make our, sometimes 14-page, days was no small miracle. It required an inordinate amount of commitment, sleep deprivation, and hustle from every crew member. In general, getting clean sound takes in New York is very difficult, but in Washington Heights it's almost impossible. If you score one solid hour without bachata music blaring from a neighboring apartment, you should consider yourself very lucky.
Non-technical: I think we were shocked -- at the end of the insanely stressful period of pre-production right into frenzied production, when so much was being asked of us, on so little sleep -- that we never pulled each other's hair out.
netTVnow: Where do you hope the web series industry will be in a few years?
DB & CM: Hopefully the industry will have the infrastructure it needs to become a viable, marketable medium. Platforms that produce, promote, and celebrate web series are certainly beginning to pop up, but I anticipate that we will see even more of that in the coming years. A vast majority of people consume their entertainment via the web these days, so it should logically be the era of the web series. The one big dilemma is that there seems to be such a massive quantity of series online these days, that it's hard for the average viewer to separate the wheat from the chaff--that's why sites like netTVnow are so important. There should be more of these sites devoted to curating the web series experience for the viewer, ala Netflix.
netTVnow: Any advice for people wanting to get involved in web series?
DB & CM: Just jump.
The idea is everything. If it's an idea that excites you, if it feels buzzy and important, there are ways to do it! Don't wait until you feel like you're "ready" because you'll never be. Never be afraid to ask for advice either; in fact, just asking for help opened so many doors for us as we began working on the series. Hire people who are smarter than you. Collaborate with the same people you love having a beer with. Tell your story. I guarantee you, you will learn a Film School textbook worth of lessons in the process.
netTVnow: Any upcoming projects we can share?
DB & CM: Dolan is currently producing and directing an upcoming series called Nannies, another collaboration with Sean Murphy and Eric Folks, who plays Danny in Episode 5. He's also overseeing the development of a short film script to be filmed this spring.
When I'm not working on Sublets or performing in Drunk Shakespeare, I am one-third of Pitch Her Productions, a non-profit production company promoting women in film. Pitch Her just wrapped principal photography on our second short film, A Bright Second, we're heading to the Adirondack Film Festival this weekend to screen our first short, Our Everlasting Universe of Things, and, additionally, we are in pre-production for Keep Me Posted, a new web mini-series about three friends and their relationship...with their cell phones.