INTERVIEW: Kit Williamson Previews Indie Web Series EASTSIDERS (Part 2 of 2)

EASTSIDERS creator Kit Williamson stars as Cal opposite AS THE
WORLD TURNS alum Van Hansis, who plays Thom.  Watch the first
episode of the series below.
Kit Williamson has appeared in television, film, and new media, as well as on stage (Broadway's "Talk Radio.") He's currently in graduate school, as a playwright, at UCLA. For his latest project, the upcoming indie web series EASTSIDERS, he exercised his talents as an actor and writer, and he also directed - for the first time.

In the series, Williamson plays Cal, who finds out his boyfriend Thom (AS THE WORLD TURNS alum Van Hansis) has been cheating on him, which turns their relationship upside down.

Continue reading our two-part interview with the talented actor/writer/director below.  If you missed the first part you can read it here.

WE LOVE SOAPS TV: Is EASTSIDERS self-funded?
Kit Williamson: It's self-financed. We're pursuing some other outlets too, but we may also do a crowd-funding campaign. We're going to gauge the fan response.

The fan community has been so wonderful to us. Van's fans have been amazing in the amount of support they've shown the show, and before we even had a trailer out. Their excitement is really bolstering our enthusiasm for our own project.

One thing I wanted to be really deliberate about in these first three episodes is not worrying about making money at all. I think that's something a lot of content creators think about before they even have a show that can be monetized. So I just wanted to put all my attention into making something cool, and hopefully financing for more will come as a result of that.

WE LOVE SOAPS TV: What are your goals for this project? Would you consider expanding this to TV someday? Or are you set with doing it for 'X' number of episodes and end the story at the right place?
Kit Williamson: I want to be open to whatever long-term opportunities emerge. Obviously it would be amazing if a network would decided they wanted to work with us on producing more content. But I really love the freedom that I have creatively to explore the story in whatever way I see fit from shooting it independently. Just being open to whatever happens is the key, and making sure at every step we are serving the story and putting the story first. If you don't do that, your success is almost empty to me because you haven't succeeded in what you came to this medium to do, which is to tell a story.

If the story ends after six or seven episodes, it will be because the story needed to end after six or seven episodes. We're still in the process of writing and developing future episodes right now.

The other thing I really loved about this process as a first time director is how much of the writing process happened on set. You obviously have a script that you worked very hard on, but when you get to the set you want people to feel free to be creative and have discoveries in the moment. It's been very educational for me in terms of collaborating on characters, and creating characters, with actors like Van, Constance Wu, John Halbach and Matthew McKelligon.

WE LOVE SOAPS TV: How will you measure success for EASTSIDERS? Is it the number of hits you get? Buzz?
Kit Williamson: People's investment in the story, and whether people are moved by it and can relate to it. And whether people are invested in these characters we've created. That's kind of all I can ask for. I'm a playwright so I'm used to measuring success in non-industry related ways. Playwriting as a medium is an art form that's becoming more and more like poetry in the sense that it's for a very specific audience, and it's a very specific kind of storytelling. So I just want to tell the story we set out to tell in the best way we can possibly tell it and hopefully people respond to it.

WE LOVE SOAPS TV: Outside of EASTSIDERS, what are your long-term goals in the business?
Kit Williamson: I'm in a movie that's premiering at Slamdance! this year called Best Friends Forever. It's a really amazing movie and my friend Brea Grant wrote and directed. She co-wrote it with Vera Miao, who's also a good friend of mine.  [Laughs] I'm sensing a theme here...  It's about the ending apocalypse, a buddy road trip about two girls trying to get through West Texas after four nuclear bombs have gone off across the United States. It's exactly the kind of movie I want to be doing. It's exactly the kind of work I want to be doing in my career. I feel very blessed because so is this project. To play fully-formed unique characters and be able to dig into a part is why I started acting in the first place.

As for as my long-term career goals, I really want to create my own content. My whole life I've been a writer and storyteller and I've also been an actor. The ability to kind of merge worlds in that way is a goal of mine because for most of my life I've kept them separate. I've never written a part for myself to play before EASTSIDERS. It's a new experience.

WE LOVE SOAPS TV: And you directed yourself as well. You decided to go for it all at once!
Kit Williamson: I was inspired by Brea. She did the same.

WE LOVE SOAPS TV: Hmm. This is going to really good or...
Kit Williamson: It's going to be really good or a learning experience. [Laughs]

I wanted to do the scary thing and not play it safe. I feel like I'm the best person to tell this story. I haven't directed any of my work in the past because I haven't felt certain I needed to be the one to tell that story. From the moment I wrote this I felt very strongly about how it would be shot, and acted, and the tone of the piece. I didn't really have to make a lot of decisions because I made those decisions in the writing process as far as how we would approach the scenes. It helps that as I was writing it I discovered that I wanted to direct it. I was able to tailor the episodes to locations and to actors.

WE LOVE SOAPS TV: As an indie project, were you also craft services and set design?
Kit Williamson: [Laughs] Well, I won't be receiving a credit. We did have an amazing group of producers. John Halbach helped produce. Chrissy Dodson, our editor, helped producer. Kristyne Fetsic, who is an amazing friend, produced as well, along with Jonathan Stahl. We had a really great team behind it.  Their support allowed me to kind of close my eyes and jump.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Watch the premiere of EASTSIDERS below!



To find out more about EASTSIDERS, visit eastsiderstheseries.com.

RELATED:
- EASTSIDERS Set To Premiere December 14, Stars Van Hansis & Kit Williamson
- INTERVIEW: Kit Williamson Previews Indie Web Series EASTSIDERS (Part 1 of 2)

Roger Newcomb is a producer and writer in New York City. Aside from co-hosting WE LOVE SOAPS TV, he has written and produced a full-length indie film, Manhattanites, and two radio soap operas, SCRIPTS & SCRUPLES and ROCKLAND COUNTY. He has also made acting appearances in indie web series IMAGINARY BITCHES and EMPIRE. He has consulted on numerous indie soaps, worked as a producer on the first two seasons of Emmy-nominated THE BAY, and is executive producer on the indie short May Mercy Lie, which is currently making the rounds at film festivals.

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