While the show went through many twists and turns in the writing process, fans might be surprised to learn that some of those twists had a lot to do with variables in the real world. For example, many of the cast members are public school teachers in Baltimore City. We (meaning myself as the writer and main actor and my colleagues) have tried very hard to make our schedules flexible so we could record after a long day of dealing with middle school students. Sometimes, these schedules wouldn’t work and the availability (or lack thereof) of some of the actors forced me to re-write parts of the storyline all together -sometimes midway in the production of an episode. But, of course, I’m a well seasoned writer and these bumps actually made me think of more creative ways to make the story stay in rhythm.
But now that Season 1 is complete, I can honestly say much was learned from both the writing aspect and the production. Season 1 was way over budget and I blame my lack of experience in the production side of things for this. Next season, there will be less of a need to spend so much money on things I can do myself. Plus the publishing company that finances this show has put a cap on the budget for next season. Anyway, as the season progressed, there was more of a conscientious effort to streamline the production for a finer quality sound. The equipment wasn’t any different; the finesse in the production improved.
I’m certain Season 2 will be much more action packed and intense because there is so much conflict that needs to be resolved. Plus, I will spend a great deal of time over the summer planning the next two seasons and get a jump start on the production long before the next school year begins. You see, we can’t do Season 2 right now because the school year is about to end and we (meaning most of the cast) won’t have access to everything needed to produce the show. We want to preserve the environment as much as possible so when September rolls around, it’ll be like Season 1 -only we’ll be better prepared and more experienced. But like every school year, teachers move around and I am praying everyone stays at the same school when the fall session begins. If not, that would present a little problem in accessibility to some of the characters and thus I’ll have to work around that. Not to mention there will be more students who will want to be part of the show (as many have expressed great interest) and that will also be something to consider. The more staff and students participate, the cheaper the production because it’s essentially an after school project and there’s less money involved -just what’s spent on pizza and sound effects.
I don’t want fans to think I’m being cheap. On the contrary, the less money spent on actors, the more can be spent on the production -and that’s really what’s at the heart of this project. But that doesn’t mean there won’t be paid actors in the show -of course there will be. In spite of having a company finance the show, the truth is it isn’t a very large company and money is tight. Professionals and semi-professionals will likely join our cast because let’s face it -when you pay for an actor, you generally get good stuff. I literally had to shelve characters on the show because the (free) actors were so bad. Anyway, the storyline for Season 2 is quite ambitious, so there will be many late nights editing and fine-tuning every second and every sound effect. That’s really where my focus will be on. Oh yeah, and I’ll be finishing the novel while all of this is going on.