Morgan Evans says of his new web series: “It is weird, it is sad, it is funny and it was expensive.” I can’t speak to the budget (though I’m assuming it cost at least the entire $10,133 raised on Kickstarter), but it’s certainly weird, sad, and funny. That’s why it’s this week’s selection.
As you may have guessed, I spend a fair amount of time trolling for and watching Internet videos. I take it seriously and believe web series are a big part of entertainment’s future. But lately I’ve been worried. I’ve found myself languishing in my exploration. Though I’m sure there’s still lots of quality product out there that I haven’t seen, most of what I’m coming across is unimpressive. Unextraordinary. Funny, sort of, but done. Not deserving of a series. Maybe there’s a shortage of good new stuff. More likely, my tastes are catching up with my expectations for the medium. I’m looking for funny and creative more than ever before. The Untitled Webseries That Morgan Evans Is Doing is a perfect example.
A poignant and clever commentary on being young, in New York, and in the comedic arts, New York filmmaker Evans has given us a fearless and idiosyncratic look into the familiar yet intangible machinations of life, the dimly lit little spaces between hope, excitement, disappointment, and uncertainty. The show’s often laugh-out-loud funny, without ever seeming like it’s trying to be. In a Woody Allen way, viewers are given broad punch lines in the context of a beautifully layered all-access pass to Evans’ world. To use Evans’ own words again: “I wanted to do something honest, true and with as many people as I could get my hands on.” He’s achieved his goal with flying colors (all while wearing some pretty good-looking specs).
Here are three reasons to watch. Cheers to the fast and furious evolution of web series.
Episode 1: “Ryan’s Stand Up Showcase”
The best films are more than sequences of situations, they’re discoveries — visceral experiences born from a carefully cultivated relationship between a writer, director, and his actors. There should be some unpredictability, some tension, some imperfection that leads to a greater truth. The way Evans captures stand-up comedy — a thick haze of stops and starts, near hits thrown off course by nerves, and underlying jealousy of he who’s better — is spot on.
Honest filmmaking requires an auteur to walk the thin line between holding an audience’s interest and allowing himself to indulge enough of his inner monologue to tell it like it is. In “Baby Shower”, two and-a-half minutes of set-up come into vivid focus when Evans covers a plush lion’s face with its paw. It’s a big build up for one shot, but it works. A move like that takes unabashed candor.
I’ve not seen many web series that blend score, photography, and dialog so uniquely.