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Marine Assaiante and the Fundamentals of Creating a Web Series

Updated: Jun 2, 2023

Just days after delivering her second child, Marine Assaiante was back at the computer, determined to finish writing her half-hour pilot. But this writer, producer, actress, also had a passion project in the works, a web series entitled, Mom to Be, which recently received a 2023 grant from the NYC Womens Fund. Thrilled for her, the Dramatic Writing Lab (DWL) wanted to know more about Marine’s web series journey and reached out with a few questions – here’s what she had to say:


DWL: What made you decide to create a web series?

MA: I’ve always loved creating my own content. When I was in France, I produced and directed plays for 10 years. I also produced my first short film before moving to NYC.


As an actress, I think it’s important to create our own material. We get to play parts that are perfect for us, that can showcase us well and show agents and casting directors what type of roles we can do. As a foreign actress, I also have these limited roles that I can apply to (mostly all European) so it was great to create a lead role where I was able to use my accent in a creative way.


Creating your own content is also the best way to learn about this business, how a film set works, what crew members do, what producers do, etc… I think actors/actresses that are educated “behind the camera” are ahead of the game. I’ve learned so much throughout the entire process, from writing short content, to working with crew members, understanding producer’s roles, post-production, marketing, distribution, and the list goes on.


DWL: You have more than one web series -- how have you funded them?


MA: For my first web series, Check, Please! we successfully ran a crowdfunding campaign for the first 3 episodes. We raised 12K on the Seed&Spark platform. I personally loved the process of crowdfunding. It was a lot of work and prep, but so worth it, because we also were able to build an audience and create momentum for our project. I auto financed the rest of the episodes of Check, Please!

For Mom to Be, I also auto financed the production part. Then we received the NYC Women’s Fund Grant for post-production, which covered the entire post-production costs and some marketing costs as well.


DWL: How did you come up with your concepts/ideas?


MA: I worked 5 years as a waitress in NYC. With my friend Daniel Castaneda, we had so many stories and experienced so many crazy situations that we decided to create a web series about it. Check, Please is about Julie, a French actress working as a waitress in a NY restaurant. So, as you can tell, it’s pretty close to home.


For Mom to Be, I already had my first child, and I remember that I wished there’d been more TV shows about pregnancy and motherhood. So, I decided to create my own show about pregnancy. I knew I wanted a second baby, so I told my director and DP about the concept and told them to be ready to shoot as soon as I got pregnant. And it was a wonderful experience to create and shoot the series during the pregnancy.


DWL: One particularly liberating thing about writing a web series is that the episodes don’t require the complex story structure of a typical half-hour or one-hour show. What's the length of a typical episode and how many are in your season?

MA: For Check, Please! season 1 is 8 episodes, 5 to 8 minutes each.

For Mom to Be, I wanted to try something different, so all of the episodes are really short – 30 seconds each and there are 69 episodes total.


DWL: From start to finish, what was the duration of time from concept to "air"?

For Check, Please! we filmed the first 3 episodes right before the pandemic, so we had all of the pandemic to edit them, and we continued filming the rest of the episodes when things started to open again. We also had a good festival run with over 80 selections and 22 awards for about a year. I’ll say it took 3 years from conception to release.

For Mom to Be, we had to be on schedule because of the pregnancy, so things moved faster. It took a year and a half from concept to release. We’re actually still working on some of the episodes, but we’ve already started the release (2 episodes per week).


DWL: Where do you get your equipment for production and how do you edit?


MA: Check, Please! was a pretty big production for a web series. My DP, Wilhelm Kuhn, had his own camera, but we rented lenses and lights from different vendors in NYC. For location, we were lucky to be able to film in the restaurant we used to work in. For the editing, we had a French editor, Fabien Montagner, working on it from France, with the help of our director, Elea Clair, who’s also French. The sound mixing was done in Columbia, where the co-creator of Check, Please! is from. So, a very international team.

For Mom to Be, it’s a much smaller team. All of the episodes are filmed at my house. No sound needed, there’s just a VO that we recorded at my DP’s house who has good equipment. We only used my DP’s camera and lights to film. And my director was also the editor this time.


DWL: Do you use SAG actors?

MA: We haven’t used any SAG actors yet. For Check, Please! most of the actors in it, are friends that I met in acting classes or workshops. I used all of my network! And for Mom to Be, it’s only me on screen.


DWL: Any additional thoughts to pass along for those interested in creating their own web series?


MA: As an actor, I believe it’s necessary to create your own content, and not to be waiting on the phone to ring. It’s a great way to get the right material for your reel but also to learn about the business.

For writers, I believe it’s important as well. It’s the perfect opportunity to see your material brought to life, to adjust your writing for the actors, to learn how to tell a story in a short format and to expand your network.


Follow Marine and her projects:


Learn more about her production Company: I HEAR AN ACCENT PRODUCTIONS

Follow the I Hear An Accent Productions Channel: YOUTUBE


Follow on Instagram at:

@marine.assaiante

@ihearanaccentproductions

@checkpleasethewebseries


For more about Check, Please! https://www.checkpleasethewebseries.com/

Watch new episodes of MOM TO BE ON YOUTUBE every Tuesday and Thursday


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