by Michael J. Nicholas
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A new Indie web-series from Triple Shot Productions, entitled Coffee Break, has just made its way onto the net. After the show’s writers (Neal Fischer and David Nevarez) had several scripts and television pilots rejected, they felt creating a show about a couple guys trying to make it as a writing team was the way to go.
The writers basically play themselves in the show and are known as, ‘Neal Coffee’ and ‘David Break’. The other characters have java-related names to boot, like ‘Phil Cream’, ‘Courtney Cup’ and ‘Rebecca Black’. One just has to mention the exploits of Neal’s brother, ‘Douchebag Dave’ and his related website, which is just calling for people to stop by and start up a conversation.
The show’s humor revolves around the highs and lows of breaking into the tough world of show business and is definitely worth a shot. You can check out all three parts to episode one of Coffee Break at, http://www.coffeebreakseries.com/?p=63
Following is my interview with writer/creator Neal Fischer about the web-series, Coffee Break.
FM: First of all, how did you guys meet? College? Work? The local bar scene?
NF: Well this started a long time ago when a samurai sword was dipped into the ocean and a droplet of water fell from it creating the islands that now make up Japan….err….wait, sorry. Triple Shot Productions is comprised of myself, Laurie Montague and David Nevarez. I’ve known Laurie since Kindergarten and David I met in High School. When we were all out in the world doing our own things, I happened to be working at Starbucks. David was also working at a Starbucks in another town. One day after work I visited him, knowing he loved comics and told him about a TV PILOT that I wanted to write and he was in. Since then we never stopped writing. When we came up with Coffee Break, we knew we had to bring Laurie aboard to make the magic happen.
FM: After ‘striking out’ on your 3rd failed attempt at getting a T.V. pilot picked up, how long did it take for the two of you to come up with the concept for Coffee Break?
NF: Funny enough, the concept of Coffee Break came from the writing of these pilots. When we had a deadline like, let’s say, 24 hours, we would get so uninterested in the material and become sick of it. Procrastination would set in and we would scour Facebook for character names, look at dumb facts on the internet, or watch scenes from movies to clear our heads. Specifically, Step Up 2: The Streets. Dancing really clears your mind. Oh, and we would play “In The Air Tonight” by Phil Collins, on loop, to help inspire us. Still works till this day. The idea of Coffee Break came when we both asked ourselves one night at 3:30 in the morning, “Why don’t we just make a show about writers who never write anything! It’s just about them TRYING to write.” And thus, your favorite new Web Series was born.
FM: What style of T.V. pilots were you writing? Sitcoms? Dramas? Reality?
NF: When David and I began our writing duo, we were writing a half-hour comedy. Then we were brought on by a company to help develop and write reality TV pilots. So we did travel shows, dating shows and a few other types of reality TV. In between our company writing we would write our screenplay ideas, 2 of which we hope to show everyone one day. THE BRIAR LAKE MURDERS and one you will hear in our show called TIN-MAN. It’s our passion project. We wrote it for Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Mary Elizabeth Winstead. We hope that they at least read it one day.
FM: Did you feel that your pilots were genuinely good or did you think they might have been rejected due to the fact you’re an up and coming writing team?
NF: We actually did think the pilots were good. We worked really hard on them, studied the genre (reality) and made it to the best of our ability. Honestly, all of our shows were inches away from being signed, sealed and delivered. They would get to these final meetings with heads of programming and development and then all of a sudden, Poof! They would be gone. So, who knows what happened in there. Luckily enough, after all these failed attempts, David and I thought “Enough of this waiting around, let’s make our own damn show and make people laugh.”
FM: When the idea for Coffee Break was realized, how did you feel about becoming
It was always our intention to play ourselves. We didn’t like it, but we knew that no one would understand our humor at first. We both had acted in High School, that’s when we met. We did “How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying” which is one of the inspirations for the title of our show, if you are familiar. It’s hard though, I’m not gonna lie. Whoa, side note, I just used one of David’s stock lines…weird. It’s hard because I am directing the show as well, and having to memorize all this dialogue AND set up the shots AND communicate with the D.P. and crew is a challenge. Clint Eastwood is one of my idols, but I’ll leave the acting/directing to him.
FM: Was it difficult getting other people/actors to get involved in the show? Are they friends? Lovers? Did you make them audition?
NF: It hasn’t been too difficult. I played drums for a production of MACBETH at Dominican University. I met a lot of talented actors who were perfect for the roles we wrote. Other than those people, we casted the off of Craigslist, and friends of friends. Some of the actors are friends and some of them are professional actors.
FM: I’m guessing you barely have a budget to work with, being a self-produced show and all. Do you have to come up with all the funding or are you lucky enough to have some generous people in your life?
NF: We pride ourselves on the work that we produce. Our work ethic is second to none. We did this first episode on a budget of $0.00. I know that’s hard to believe, but we did. The only time we used money was to feed the crew and actors. Everyone has been very gracious so far in knowing that we WANT to make it big, in hopes that we can all live comfortably and quit our day jobs.
FM: Roughly how long does it take to write and produce one of the parts to an
NF: When we shoot, we actually shoot an entire Episode. About 22-25 minutes long. We shoot it all at once, and then begin editing the parts (10min or less) for the internet. We shot the first episode over about 3 months on weekends, days off and holidays. It was a little difficult, especially with our wonderful Chicago weather. I can’t really give an exact time frame. If we had $$$ and a big crew, I would say an episode would take a week to shoot, just like the pros.
FM: Are any of the actors involved part of the production crew as well, or do you have other bodies for that?
NF: Believe it or not, our main production crew is 4 people. Me = Director, Laurie Montague = Location Sound, Editing, Sound Design, Andy Jarosz = Director of Photography, Color Correction and Special Effects and David Baum = Photographer, Second and Practical FX. We are actually looking for more crew members because while it worked okay the first time, we are tired people. Very tired. Stressed. We need help and we aren’t afraid to admit it.
FM: Will this be a short-term project or something you feel has enough ideas to where it can be milked for quite a while? And, considering past pilot rejections, if Coffee Break happened to gain a modest fan base, would you ever consider pitching the series as a legitimate T.V. show?
NF: We want to ride this train as far as it will go. We would love to make it full time if we could support ourselves. We see it as a show that would fit on F/X, Adult Swim, Comedy Central or H.B.O. So I think we could milk it. Once we started getting bored with it and the fans did too, than we would move on to something else.
FM: Neal, the fans want to know- is Douchebag Dave really your brother?
NF: Douchebag Dave is INDEED my brother. His name came from all the times he would come in the basement while we were writing and he would utter “Hello, Douchebags….what are you working on?” and then we would proceed to pitch him ideas and he would just tear them apart, while eating a Ho-Ho, then he would just disappear. We want people to engage with his character site more, because we love to see people have conversations with him. His site is www.DoucheBagDave.net, and please, people, comment on his videos and make him angry. It’s only better for you then! Thanks for the interview Michael, we hope all of you join us for your COFFEE BREAK! Till next time…
Michael J. Nicholas a.k.a. Nicky The Note - reviews, opinions, & life lessons.
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