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Did you ever see Three’s Company? If you think hard you might remember the catchy theme song that started out with, “come on knock on my door, what’s her’s and his and her’s three's company, too.” I could never quite figure out why two women in the swinging 70’s could only have a male roommate who was gay. But it only comes to mind because in 202 A Series, we see this dynamic again and this time the guy is actually gay.
The pilot Episode begins with Nya (Malinda Hale) crashed out on her couch when she starts waking up as her roommate Lola (Tia Robinson) comes home from a rough night of waiting tables.
202 ... Strong Writing: But Don't Play to the TV Audience
By: Lucas Cuny, MFA
August 19. 2017
Lola, we find out, has been suspended for the night and didn’t quite make the money she had hoped. Well, sure enough, rent is due and again the ladies are short. Nya just so happens to have a friend looking for a place, so in comes Dwight (Lionel Reneau).
Lola is not too happy about this situation as Dwight is anything but subdued. He’s a party planner looking to have a good time, in what was a quiet apartment. Dwight is a firestorm as he enters the apartment, Nya seems up to the change although Lola has her doubts. As far as basic tropes and characteristics, we have a strong antagonist and protagonist: Lola and Dwight. The show ends on what I refer to my students as a peril, or cliffhanging moment. Lola, loathing the new living situations, and Dwight and Nya planning a big shindig to welcome him as the third roommate.
Web series are tough to pull off because we are too prone to produce content that work for classic mediums, but may not work for streaming or Over the top medium pathways. Malinda Hale gives a really good performance and seems naturalistic, which when you cast something indie is always a challenge. As the old screenwriting adage goes, your best bet is to get into a scene late and get out early. There are some interesting moments and fun aspects so I’d say to Mykell, the show’s creator, start with moments and build the series from those moments first.
Pilots are the worst shows to produce, you have to set up everything and it seems you can’t get to the good bits right away. But to all looking to go the web series routes, the best ones seem to be those that set up everything and get through a first episode in less than five minutes. The one thing I’ve learned is YouTube or other streaming sites don’t require the old tropes of titles and tons of exposition. We know as the audience it will build with each 2-5 minute episode, and those shows that stay under five minutes are the strong shows thus far.
But I’ll knock on the door of this show again.
Lucas Cuny has a Master's in Screenwriting from California State University Fullerton, runs a film festival in the Inland Empire, Teachers Film and Media at The Art Institute, and Produces Video for California State University, Los Angeles.