March 23, 2012

Web Series Unplugged Los Angeles Event Recap 3-21-12

At a restaurant/flamenco ballroom off Sunset Blvd in Los Angeles, California, there is an event that shows up every third Wednesday night of the month. That place is El Cid and that event is called Web Series Unplugged, a dinner and show set up where creators of different web series get together with fans and others to display their works hosted by Michael McCarthy.

Left to right: James Ashby, John Brence, Chrissa Villanueva

This was brought to my attention by SMBC Theater, a comedy sketch web series which sprang from the Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal web comic by Zach Weiner. When I arrived at El Cid I was met by James Ashby (Co-Creator/Co-Writer, Executive Producer, and self proclaimed Once and Future King of SMBC Theater), John Brence (actor/director and co-creator of Ogeeku), and Chrissa Villanueva ( Host of Hello Pop!).

Michael Rousselet and Marque Franklin-Williams

Angel Askins

Adam Robert Thomas

We were soon met by Marque Franklin-Williams (actor of SMBC Theater and writer for Hand 2 Mouth, Warehouse 13, and Ogeeku), Angel Askins (actor for SMBC Theater and works in post-production), Michael Rousselet of 5 Second Films (who was also showing videos that night), and Adam Robert Thomas (freelance writer for Ogeeku).

The place was nice and this was early in the night.

Soon we went from a room with maybe a dozen people….

The place was so packed they had to bring in more tables.

To filled to capacity with standing room only. It got very warm in there, the wait staff were able to keep me hydrated at least, so that was a small blessing. Besides SMBC Theater and 5 Second Films, we were introduced to series such as Brown Betties Guide: How To Look For Love in All The Wrong Places summarized as “You get plenty of guides on how to help you, we have one that doesn’t want to do that.” There was a bit of a hiccup in that we missed watching an episode, but it was funny with its wonderfully pathetic advice.

Death Will Tremble was a surreal story of a man’s madness as he goes about trying to live his life. The creator and I look like we could be brothers.

Fight Night looked like it could be a pretty decent indie film about a man trying to win a boxing match after getting out of jail.

In Reverie was a series of stories with the focal point being being a woman who goes in and out of day dreams, never quite sure what is real and what is imagined.

The New Adventures of Pinkgirl and The Scone was a mockumentary about two ex-super team members still trying to be masked vigilantes. I liked the Scone’s superpower in becoming as tough and strong as stale bread, it’s cute and silly while still being better than no superpowers at all. Pinkgirl’s power is to shoot pink energy blasts when she is on her period; this reminded me of PMS Avenger from the Mystery Men movie.

My Brother’s Keeper is on its third season, and it seems to be about different people all trying to lead their lives. I felt like I needed to see it from the beginning to get the full effect of it; it had a very Crash vibe to it.

The Yeti was the story of a man who flees life in the city to find himself befriended and mentored by the Yeti of Griffith Park. The story had a wonderful blend of knowing jest with a narration that gave it the right amount of serious when you knew it was joking all along.

There was a series I believe by the name of Clay Davis, Con Man. I can’t remember if that is the name and what I find online is a single clip from the episode we watched, with that title also attributed to it. It was a show about a con man and his assistant living their lives one con at a time. It had a 70s vibe to it that reminded me of Anchorman in tone.

SMBC Theater had three of their skits to show. They didn’t feel like they brought enough, they weren’t pulling any punches with their view of sexual orientation, religion, and cannibalism (those are the big three things all the politicians talk about right?). I’d seen them before, but they were still just as funny, though some audience members may have been squeamish at them, I still saw them laughing.

5 Second Films had a torrent of films to show, and had the audience roaring and kept coming at the crowd at such a rapid fire pace that kept the crowd lively. 5 Second Films are at their best when viewed in large quantities, so I was reminded of showing them to my friends at home with the mood surrounding me.

This was prior to needing more tables for all the guests.

Overall, the night was a rousing success with plenty of laughs had and appetizers shared (great calamari and empanadas). If the goal was to watch a bunch of web series with the creators and get to know them, then job well done. I may start making the monthly trip back to the El Cid, and if you can get there, I suggest you do as well.

Just some friends having a good time…even if not in the foreground.

Alexander Bustos



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