I recently had the opportunity to interview TJ Brown who’s a co-creator, writer, and actor in the roommate web series “The Apartment.” This series is a comedy about the incredibly awkward and ridiculous adventures of 5 roommates.
You can watch the latest episode and read what TJ had to say in our interesting Q and A, below.
The Apartment – Episode 5 – Mail
1. What’s the story behind your team wanting to develop “The Apartment” into a web series?
Lisa Best and I had been trying, (and failing), to get a sketch group formed for a few months. We even made a couple of sketches featuring all the members of “The Apartment” cast, but it just didn’t feel right. Then, one day at work, Lisa came up with the idea for our pilot episode. She pitched it to us and we all got very excited. Lisa attributes her inspiration to a desire to cast one of her bosses as our landlord which, of course, we weren’t able to do.
2. Who is involved with the project, and are the cast members roommates for real?
The five stars: Lisa Best, Andrew Duvall, Paul Laier, JC Currais, and myself are all the writers as well. We are also real life roommates (art definitely imitates life), and we are also stand-up comics from Florida. Our director Daniel Brea is the glue that holds our insanity together. We’ve also been fortunate enough to have some very talented friends that are going to be making appearances. Aristotle Georgeson crushed it as our slightly weird landlord, and Greg Kashmanian will be appearing in season two and, hopefully, more to come.
3. What are the core goals for the series?
We wanted to make something different. Our core rule is to avoid the joke that always gets made and instead, make it weirder. It gets weird. Our hope is that, as the show’s popularity grows, it may eventually lead us to an opportunity to make full TV episodes. Big dreaming.
4. Where do the ideas for episodes come from; real life experiences, fiction, or a combination of both?
A lot of our episodes start as something that happens around the house. Somebody says “this should be in an episode” and then we take it as far as our imagination will let us. “The Apartment” is basically what life would be like in our home if the real world didn’t get in the way.
5. What have been the biggest project challenges and struggles to date?
We had some trouble finding a director. We needed somebody that would compliment the team, and become another voice behind the camera. It took time, but we were lucky enough to get just that. Also, the first series hit some unseen real life roadblocks (we actually lost our apartment) that forced us to shoot 8 episodes in one month.
6. How does your team collaboratively manage the project work flow?
This particular team works very well together. Sure, we argue….a lot, but it’s because we are passionate about making great episodes. The writing is collaborative for the most part, and, once we start shooting, it becomes the kind of creative scene where everybody is adding ideas and jokes to make it work. The interview scenes are my favorite. It’s like a joke off every time.
7. Do you have any tips or insights for producing a web series?
Don’t get caught up in what people will think. Have a vision, and have faith in that. We have a team of funny people, and our core rule is simple: we have to think it’s funny. Now we just have to hope the audience will agree with us.
8. Where can we watch “The Apartment” and what can viewers expect from the series in the short and long term future?
“The Apartment” season one is being released every Tuesday on our YouTube channel, and we have a Facebook fan page set up also. The first season is nine episodes and really just explores our relationship in the house. We have started writing season two, and we are going to try to increase the scale a bit; take our characters into the world a bit. That being said, this show is and always will be about 5 oddballs stuck together in one apartment, for better or worse.
We thank TJ for his insightful answers for web series creators to learn from! We also wish him and his team all the best with their show and journey going forward.
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