Now Streaming in Austin: Distance
He said, she said, IRL and online
Thanks to technology, it's never been easier to be in a long-distance relationship; but even then, is it really that easy? In Distance, the new web series starring former Austinites Alex Dobrenko and Ashley Spillers (last seen together in the deliciously quirky Arlo and Julie) as Sam and Emily, two lovers living a continent apart.
Dobrenko based the show on his own long-distance relationship experience, and built the show in two halves – Emily's version of events, and Sam's version. Each mini-episode stands alone, or can be watched together, in any order, creating a "Choose Your Own Adventure component," said Dobrenko.
The scripts were crafted by what he called an indie writers' room: Without the resources to assemble a team and brainstorm like a TV sitcom, they exchanged ideas and drafts via text and email over weeks rather than days. But while both sides of the drama are telling the same story, it's told twice, once from her side, once from his. The scripts concentrate on the idea of subjective experience, so each version unfurls as a separate work, with separate directors. Fellow ATX-to-L.A. transplant Carlyn Hudson (The Big Spoon) directed Emily's interpretation, while Jack Lawrence Mayer set the tone for Sam's version of events. That meant each actor was basically playing the same character twice. Dobrenko explained, "Jack was my shepherd for Sam as Sam sees him, but when it was Carlyn directing me, she would take me into the areas where Sam is who Emily thinks he is in a given moment."
Watch the entire first season at www.distancetheseries.com.