We're one of NYC's premier sketch groups and we made "Life Sucks", a show about Middle School in 2001. The show is Freaks and Geeks meets Wet Hot American Summer. It was about to be sold to a network until a similar show was green-lit. Now we're bringing it to the people, releasing it on our own and have a lot of stories about how not to sell a TV show. Watch LIFE SUCKS here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLnYWfyDtiUZvMqncaifYZd7N-_fy9USI5

Proof:https://twitter.com/dfor1comedy/status/1081235443834855425

Comments: 313 • Responses: 83  • Date: 

Milligoon440 karma

Are you named after Germany's favourite New Year's comedy skit, Dinner for One?

DinnerforOneComedy49 karma

Wowie! This sparked some awesome convos. We are actually not named after that skit. We were a bunch of college kids 10 years ago who thought up the name and didn't learn about the British skit until we started posting youtube videos and were unsearchable! It was an amazing coincidence. Wish we were savvy enough to have named our selves after it! :)

p_a_schal15 karma

Try lying.

DinnerforOneComedy6 karma

We're working on that ;)

schriepes9 karma

No you aren't.

DinnerforOneComedy5 karma

You're right...lying would have been key to getting a network deal! damn! damn, damn damn.

haha

schriepes4 karma

You are gonna make it!

DinnerforOneComedy4 karma

Thanks!! You just made my day

JoSeSc11 karma

Have you considered changing your name ? Being unsearchable sounds like a serious problem in getting recognition

DinnerforOneComedy8 karma

So many times! haha. We started to get a following in the live sketch comedy circuit in NY and got kind of stuck with the name...now we are doing all we can to brand it in a way that people can find us!

absolutgonzo20 karma

Clearly they are, but why?

DinnerforOneComedy9 karma

We weirdly enough aren't. Just a crazy coincidence

Practical_Blueberry118 karma

A couple questions!

(1) How did you all get funding for your show?

(2) What is your most important advice for someone trying to sell a script/shop a show right now?

DinnerforOneComedy121 karma

  1. We did a fundraising site like indiegogo but specifically for indie television and were able to raise $85K
  2. Understanding the television landscape and how rapidly tv development is changing. Also - discuss with the network what exactly they are looking for. The more you can tailer your idea to what the network wants, the better

DinnerforOneComedy118 karma

We didn't raise the 85,000 until the last possible minute. We found it doesn't matter how long your fundraising campaign is. You'll get your most money the first day and the last hour! For reals!

Zn2Plus113 karma

BRB, starting a 25 hr campaign

DinnerforOneComedy26 karma

Good luck...begging everyone you know for money is key! ;)

ClairesNairDownThere16 karma

Hey, can I borrow some money? It's not for a competing TV show or anything

DinnerforOneComedy15 karma

haha we spent it all on this show! Check back in 6 months ;)

Practical_Blueberry6 karma

Thank you for the info! I look forward to watching.

BTW, what was that crowdfunding site you used? Sounds interesting!

DinnerforOneComedy31 karma

It was called Mobcaster but it has since died. RIP. In retrospect, I think there is a reason why people don't fund indie television. Networks want to put their stamp/brand on their shows and if you come to them with a finished product they don't know what to do with it. It's better to come into a pitch with a sizzle, season arc and pilot and let them help create the version of your show they want. You really need video content in the room though, it really helps!

Idealistic_Crusader2 karma

What is Indie Television? Ive been developing a very markitable idea for two years now and struggling to get in the door of a network as I have no idea where to start.
I'm all for going independent, but are you just talking about YouTube?

DinnerforOneComedy10 karma

Independent TV is kind of a new development. It's creating content without a network, in hopes of finding a network that will attach (or at least that's how we feel.) I would definitely look into the Independent Television Festival with your project. They will hook you up with people in the industry that will be able to see your work and help you make the right connections to start selling your product. I think indie TV is still developing, yes for now it's on things like Youtube, Vimeo Amazon direct and companies like New Form but the landscape is changing so drastically. The problem we faced is that the networks aren't willing to buy an already made series. They want to make it their own, which is totally understandable. I hope this is going to change as more and more people develop their own work.

DinnerforOneComedy2 karma

The festivals we went to with our show were NYTVF in New York and ITVF in Vermont. But there are also several others in LA, and probably more springing up in other cities.

nomoregravity66 karma

Sounds a lot like the Netflix show “Everything Sucks.” Were you inspired by that show?

DinnerforOneComedy91 karma

They may have been inspired by us! haha Actually, we have been developing the show since 2012. We were all in a panic when netflix released Everything Sucks and is one of the reasons our show died on the network level

DinnerforOneComedy61 karma

When we pitched the show - everyone wanted us to make a show about high school. But now, middle school content set in the early aughts is popping up everywhere. Networks are afraid to take risks on shows that A. don't have stars or B. aren't a classic formula

Duckboy_Flaccidpus17 karma

But now, middle school content set in the early aughts is popping up everywhere.

We probably can thank Bo for all this, maybe?

DinnerforOneComedy15 karma

I would guess Big Mouth and Everything Sucks were already in development around the time he was making Eight Grade but I'm sure its success did a lot for the industry's new interest in Middle School.

CletusVanDamnit18 karma

We were all in a panic when netflix released Everything Sucks

Well, it got cancelled after one season, and with Netflix having the best algorithms in the history of media, I tend to think their (the producers/creators behind everything sucks) formula didn't work. Does this make you think about trying to get your show out again?

DinnerforOneComedy19 karma

It definitely had a great cult following. I think if the right person sees our show and thinks it has a shot, we would love to go down that road. There is so much middle school content coming out right now. When we wrote the show 5 years ago people thought we were crazy and should make it about high school....how things change!

bobandgeorge9 karma

I'm not the right person, but I just finished watching your show and was laughing throughout. I think you've got a shot.

And yeah, high school has been done to death. From Beverly Hills 90210 to whatever new thing is on the CW.

DinnerforOneComedy5 karma

Thanks so much for watching!! We hope people watch and spread the word about it. Our favorite episode is 4...what about you!? Agreed! We were so sick of seeing high school shows with gorgeous model 20 somethings playing 16 year olds. Wanted to show the gritty, gross reality of middle school....it's not so pretty haha

Atlasvox43 karma

  1. How were you able to gain access to an entire school?

  2. What was the hardest part about working with those middle schoolers?

  3. How long did it take you guys to develop all of the final draft versions of the script?

DinnerforOneComedy51 karma

  1. We had to work directly with the board of education in Brooklyn and had to shoot EVERYTHING in the school in 30 days. It was a battle but we wouldn't take no for an answer and a lot of what we fundraised went to paying for the school.
  2. Hormones! haha...Making them feel comfortable on camera, for many of whom it was an entirely new experience. We had a theatre workshop going on throughout shooting to get them acclimated to their characters, improvising, etc.
  3. We had one month to write all 6 episodes. We really didnt think we were going to finish our fundraising goal but when we did we only had a month before shooting at the school because of school starting in September. We did 2 or 3 readings and edits throughout the course of shooting

gnrc32 karma

I work in TV and while Networks can be impossible to deal with, and in many ways make our shows worse, they are invaluable in the notes process.

Did you supplement having a network’s input in some way like by having TV veterans give you notes, or did you trust your instincts and give yourselves 100% creative control? Really curious what your post process was like.

Thanks for doing this AMA!!!

DinnerforOneComedy21 karma

Thanks so much! What a great question! We had created the show 100% on our own before getting a manager, executive producer and pitching to networks. Our EP was a veteran comedy central TV producer and we worked mostly off of his notes and suggestions. We had added a director/showrunner and well-known actor to the mix but did not get to go as far as getting bought by a network because of another show getting greenlit with the same premise. The biggest notes we received after pitches was that they wanted a name attached. We did all the post on our own. Our directed edited and color corrected and our producer is a sound mixer by day...it definitely took a village!

gnrc2 karma

Awesome! Thanks for the response!

DinnerforOneComedy5 karma

*That veteran EP really only gave us notes on the pitch process, because we had pretty much already cut the show before we met him. But as far as supplementing network notes, we didn't get any notes from experienced TV folks, so we just trusted ourselves and the input of our close friends, cast and crew. We did a few private readings of the scripts, and then in post production, our 5 core writers/lead actors/producer/director gave notes on every new cut over several months, but we kept that processes very internal.

giofan9221 karma

I hear one of your members likes taking baths. Thoughts?

DinnerforOneComedy68 karma

Can we please just talk about Rampart!

infinitewindow20 karma

This is a super-inside baseball question: did you end up posting to generally acceptable broadcast specs, or did you use any specific specs (e.g. Netflix IMP and loudness, Youtube DVD/Blu-ray repurposing, 422 vs 444, metadata, etc.)?

I work in post-production partly as a sales engineer and want to guide potential clients toward the level of technical precision that's right for their project, both creatively and exhibition-wise. Knowing what decisions you made for Life Sucks and why would give me a concrete and entertaining example to point to as a real-world illustration for clients looking to emulate your success.

DinnerforOneComedy24 karma

Happy to help! The specs we landed on are a result of a combination of past experience, in-depth research but also software and hardware limitations, and just a bunch of trail-and-error.

I cut the show in Final Cut Pro 7 (big mistake, but I couldn't afford the monthly fee for the Adobe Suite or Premiere), so Apple ProRes was my primary codec for the post process. I felt that ProRes 4444 was the best format, so then I dug around to find the best encoding specs. In the past I have used x264 as an encoding format and I've been happy with the results, and because we were posting without the support of a big post production company or network, with huge servers and lightning fast internet, we didn't have the resources to upload huge 4K files. So I settled on the highest res 1920x1080 export I could get, but the file sizes needed to be manageable, which was what I liked best about x264.

I tried Apple ProRes 4444 using x264 encoder, following Youtube's recommended specs, because Youtube was where it was going to live, but the quality wasn't great. So then I tried exporting and uploading a bunch of tests and eventually settled on a few tweaks of the x264. For bitrate, 45KB/sec seemed to produce the best image quality vs manageable file size, and while YouTube recommended keyframes every 24 frames, I was noticing a lot of pixelation in the darker scenes of our episodes so I ended up using keyframes only every 6 frames. Which does slightly slow down the online buffering a tiny bit but the quality seemed much better than every 24 or 12 frames. And for longer content like these 30 minute episodes, I definitely recommend using a compressed header. I don't think you need it on shorter videos (under 5 min or so), bit it definitely helps longer content load faster on people's browsers.

Our final files ended up being between 9GBs and 12GBs depending on the episode. Which did take 3-5 hours each, to upload. But it was way more reasonable than the uncompressed 4444 1080 exports which were about 50GBs/episode, or the 4K exports which were 250GBs/episode.

As far as volume, we specifically mixed the show for laptops and home speakers, so we didn't have to do any volume tweaks. But generally you want your dialogue to peak between 0 and +6dBs and obviously nothing should clip above +12dBs. And instead of following the YouTube recommendations, I chose to export the audio with less compression in LinearPCM Stereo at 48kHz and 24-bit sample size.

All that said, that's the precision that was best for OUR project and I applaud you for steering your clients toward finding the technical specs that best fit THEIR projects. Every project is unique. If you can upload 4K files, I would, and if you have the resources to move bigger files, I recommend it. And please don't cut a show in Final Cut Pro 7 anymore. I don't want anyone to suffer like I did.

mymyreally6 karma

This is such a great answer. Thank you. What was your main camera?

DinnerforOneComedy13 karma

Lenses: Fuji Alura 15.15 - 45mm T/2.8 & 30-80 mm T/2.8

DinnerforOneComedy13 karma

We shot on one camera. We used a Red Scarlet-X

ucbacademy7 karma

how were you guys going to handle 9/11?

DinnerforOneComedy7 karma

Check out episode 4! It is our 9/11 episode. We all were 13 when 9/11 happened and really took the time to think about what it meant to us at that time of our lives. In this episode, Ally gets her period and stays home from school. Wanting to stay home as well, Jake finds anyway to get his "manstration" Check it out and let us know what you think!

DinnerforOneComedy2 karma

If you wanna check out the episode...here it is!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Aq5z9yfh6Uo

stoppedforme7 karma

  1. The guy who plays Justin is mad hot. He single?

  2. What was Allyson's favorite scene to shoot?

  3. What was Jake's favorite scene to shoot?

  4. What was Max's favorite scene to shoot?

DinnerforOneComedy5 karma

  1. He is quite taken...sorry! but we so agree ;)
  2. Anything in 4....I loved working in my pjs ALL DAY...granted it was bloody, but fun
  3. The flour babies judges scene, couldn't keep a straight face. Ally actually laughs at the end of the take when she spits up the pancake
  4. Speaking on behalf of Max, I loved seeing a watermelon get thrown over his head....

DontPressAltF46 karma

Why do you call it a TV show when it's never been on TV, which is the clear qualifier for being, you know, a TV show?

DinnerforOneComedy8 karma

good question....we went back and forth with this when we finally decided to release it on our own.

It is a standard 30-min comedy, like on TV, and has the production value of a TV show. We want it to be watched like something on Netflix or on a network. We believe what we created is a television series and isn't the same as a web series. At the end of the day, doesn't matter what it's called more that our intention from the beginning was to develop our own series with full creative control and high production value. And I think we did that.

sam_zissou6 karma

Are y’all a self proclaimed premier sketch group? What does a premier sketch group entail? What are some auxiliary sketch groups in NYC I can check out if your brand of comedy doesn’t appeal to me?

DinnerforOneComedy9 karma

In the live scene here in NYC, we were the Peoples Improv Theatre's most successful monthly show of 2018 and have headlined for sketch festivals all over the country. We've been performing in premiere venue's like UCB for the last 7 years and have been featured on sites like Funny or Die. Check out Chris&Paul show they are awesome and Uncle Function is one of our faves. If you're in NYC, stop by UCB or the PIT on a random night and you're going to see some awesome sketch comedy

Panicless5 karma

That’s awesome! What went wrong with the network though? Did they say they want to buy it and then remembered they had a similar show? That seems weird.

DinnerforOneComedy20 karma

We pitched to TBS, TruTV, NBC Seeso (RIP) and Pop and they all were weary to buy a show without a star attached or celebrity show runner. We attached an awesome star (from breaking bad...guess who?) and attached a director who made Flight of the Conchords. We were about to pitch with our new team, when a show with the exact same premise was announced to release on Hulu. Everything fell through and we were told it was over

Panicless6 karma

One follow up question: why didn’t you pitch to Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, etc.?

DinnerforOneComedy16 karma

Our representation was not able to get us in those rooms. They were really focused on trying to get us on a cable network (perhaps too old fashioned for the landscape)....we definitely wanted to get in those rooms but perhaps they were already developing shows with the same premise...i.e. Everything Sucks, Big Mouth, Pen15.

Panicless5 karma

I see, very interesting, thank you! And is it Aaron Paul?!

SamTheBearJew9 karma

It was Giancarlo Esposito

Panicless3 karma

Oh, he is awesome as well!!

DinnerforOneComedy15 karma

He was supposed to play an EVIL vice principal who ends up dating Jake's mom. He glues children's hands to fire alarms #relatable

Roak-Wood4 karma

Hey guys! Thanks for doing this.

1) Life Sucks: great show, or greatest show?

2) Whats the biggest difference between writing for TV and writing sketch? You have a preference?

DinnerforOneComedy4 karma

  1. I would have to say one of the greats ;)
  2. Sketch is super fun because you have to challenge yourself to right a story in 5 pages or less. The biggest difference is the arc of your characters, that they will not just change in the course of 5 pages of a script but throughout 6 full episodes. We love writing one off sketches and building off of some silly joke we think of at 2 in the morning. But with TV, you really get to know your characters, fall in and love with them and put them in real, vulnerable situations.

thegratefulshred3 karma

Who is the sexiest DF1 member and why is it Kyle?

DinnerforOneComedy3 karma

My man!...he is quite sexy.....

SupremeDickWeed3 karma

I can't stop watching. This is great. I'm a stand up and comedy writer and mostly work with internet media. Projects this large seem hella fun to work on, but holy shit how did you manage to keep this many people dedicated?

DinnerforOneComedy3 karma

Thank you! We definitely had the time of our lives making it, but I also have no idea how we kept everyone dedicated to showing up every day. I guess all I can say is that we were hyper-aware that nobody had to be there and they were donating their time to us, so we tried to treat everyone as well as we possibly could. And that it's actually very fun to work on a show when the actors are actually funny and make the crew laugh every day. You'd be surprised how many comedies have boring-ass productions.

majikmike3 karma

Can you talk more about the pitching process to the Networks. Were those meetings setup by a manager (you mention our rep) and who attends those, pitches to them? I'm assuming you went to pitch with everything already shot and edited together?

DinnerforOneComedy5 karma

Definitely! We received pitches primarily through our management and executive producer. It's also great to send your stuff to festivals. We were fortunate enough to win best comedy at the Independent Television Festival, which opened some doors for us. Our managers actually didn't want us to show the networks our full edited show. We created a sizzle and only sent the pilot or the pilot script if they were interested. There are 5 of us that wrote and created the show so we rehearsed a 10 minute pitch all together about character arcs, log lines, season arcs, themes and storylines. So in the room it was the network, the five of us and our manager and/or executive producer. The less people in the room the better! They really want to know what other shows your show is like...that way they have a better understanding of how they can sell it. We didn't actually edit the whole show together until we decided to put it out on YT. All networks said we would have to reshoot the whole series if it was bought.

BigShoots3 karma

All networks said we would have to reshoot the whole series if it was bought.

Why was that exactly?

DinnerforOneComedy2 karma

Networks want to put their creative input and stamp on the project. Our managers suggested to us very early on to not even indicate that we had six episodes ready and shot. They wanted the network to pick up the show and pay to shoot a new pilot. We went into our pitches acting as if we had a pilot, sizzle and an idea....It is sad to think that those networks might have been interested if they had the opportunity to see the whole project in it's entirety. We felt very conflicted about the whole thing. Though the playing field has changed with digital TV...the rules are staying the same. The networks haven't changed the way they develop shows.

360walkaway2 karma

How often does your show get confused for a cooking show for people who live alone?

Jelly_F_ish4 karma

Every German will confuse it with a comedic skit, because they watch it every new years eve.

DinnerforOneComedy2 karma

This has been the issue with our name for the last 10 years....we are competing with a classic! :)

DinnerforOneComedy1 karma

haha...we are the most ungoogle-able comedy group. so people get oh so confused. We made the name up in college and it just kind of stuck. Any new suggestions? haha

bootscut182 karma

If you have to do it all over again, knowing what you know now, what would you have done differently?

DinnerforOneComedy4 karma

What a great question....

Yes and no...

The summer we shot the show was one of the best summer's of our lives. It was a literal boot camp in production and learning how to be part of a major operation! The selling/pitching process taught us how to network, get ourselves seen, pitch, learn the right jargon. It was a crazy good learning experience and I hope will set us up to succeed with our next project. Also, we still laugh at the episodes 5 years later! So we feel like we did something right.

It's taken up a lot of our time in these last five years which makes me think we would do it differently....but when it comes down to it...I think it was the journey we were supposed to take... (as corny as that sounds...sorry)

bootscut183 karma

Sounds very similar to building a company. The lessons you learn can be so invaluable and sometimes only truly understood through doing. Thanks for the lovely answer!

DinnerforOneComedy1 karma

Yeah...we always say we should've gone to business instead of art school...we are learning as we go

Popea1icious2 karma

Just watched episode 4, brilliantly written!

Who are some of your guys’ favorite sketch groups?

DinnerforOneComedy2 karma

This is a pretty basic answer but: Monty Python, Derrick Comedy, Key & Peele, Whitest Kids U Know, The State

And not really sketch troupes, but we also love Chappelle Show, MadTV and Sid Caesar’s Your Show of Shows.

To make it a little more interesting, these are some lesser know, current sketch troupes who we love:

In New York- Chris & Paul Show, Uncle Function, OK Meatplace

In Chicago- Huggable Riot

In Montreal- Raw Hot Fire

Gbrav7472 karma

First, I wanna say this show is so awesome! I know I fall right in your target demographic with it but still I’m binge watched the whole thing. Second, are you allowed to say which show beat you guys out for the network spot?

DinnerforOneComedy2 karma

Thanks so much! So glad you like the show! Yeah, it's a show coming out by the producer's of Lonely Island called Pen15 and will be airing on Hulu in February.

mvbrendan2 karma

How many Wildmannberry edibles were consumed in the creation of this show?

DinnerforOneComedy1 karma

We lost count

misstheground122 karma

Did you think about trying to fund future episodes through something like patreon? I've wondered if that could be a way for niche TV shows to survive without a network.

DinnerforOneComedy1 karma

We don't know much about patreon. Any thought about it and what it is? We are looking to make something new and start pitching new ideas. After this past experience, we feel more confident about the dos and don'ts of making something with this magnitude!

misstheground121 karma

Haha, so it's a platform where fans can pledge you a certain amount of money per month, like say $1-$5. So sort of like indiegogo or kickstarter, but it's ongoing funding, and you'd promise them content each month, like to put out an episode a month or whatever. It seems like with advertising you need hundreds of thousand or millions of views to be able to stay afloat, but if you had a dedicated fan-base (like 10,000 or whatever) willing to pay a few bucks a month, I'm wondering if it would be enough to survive as an independent show that wouldn't need to be greenlit by any networks. Anyway, that's something I hope to try one day! Congrats on making the show, I'm sure it was awesome and also incredibly frustrating, and good luck with whatever you make next!

DinnerforOneComedy1 karma

Thanks! I think it's definitely doable, if you have the fans to back it up. The thing is, with that amount of fans (particularly youtube subscribers), producers start approaching you because they know you already have a large following. Hope you get to try it and would love to see the final product! Hope you get a chance to watch the show and enjoy it.

Z_Designer2 karma

How did you get the manager on board who got you the pitch meetings? Wait, is that who got you the meetings?

DinnerforOneComedy2 karma

Yes our manager and executive producer got us in the room. That's the part that changes for everyone in this business. There is no one way of doing something which is one of the most frustrating parts about this creative industry! When we made the show, the five of us basically sent emails, texts, phone calls, set up meetings with anyone we knew to try to find a connection to someone in the industry. Our stuff got sent to a neighbor's lit manager, and we got a call back....months later! A couple skype calls later and a well made trailer and we were pitching. But that was after a year of contacting everyone and anyone. We also got a lot of industry response from festivals we went to. It's a great way to meet people, especially if you know no one in the business....like how we were!

Z_Designer2 karma

Awesome, thank you for the response! So your manager is also a literary manager?

DinnerforOneComedy2 karma

Our manager is a literary manager and he connected us to a TV manager in his company during the pitching process

Efronz2 karma

Are you the 6 or the 9?

DinnerforOneComedy5 karma

Again, can we please please please talk about Rampart

Balls-over-dick-man-2 karma

I think this is awesome, and you guys are heroes for spending so much time, energy and passion on making your show a reality.

In another scenario would you sell your souls to get a show green lit with a full order? Where’s the line for doing something well and just getting anything made so you can get ahead? Do you feel that this type of mentality leads to an ok status-quo or could be improved upon if there was more independent financing available?

DinnerforOneComedy2 karma

These are great questions! Thanks...it's been a long and arduous process but we are really proud of the work we put out.

This project has always been a labor of love so I think it was scary to think there was a possibility that we would have to change it and appeal to what a network wanted. If we weren't so attached to the project and were contracted out to make something else, I think we would feel very different. Our motto throughout this process was writing what we knew and writing what we thought was funny. We haven't crossed that bridge yet...but integrity is really important to us and creating something we are proud of. I think it is the shows that have fought for their spot in the limelight...the Freaks and Geeks, Always Sunny... that are amazing Tv shows, for a reason....they didn't back down and didn't appeal to the masses. Networks are afraid to take risks with these shows, but I think these shows are the ones that have a lasting impression

veryrach2 karma

Q1 - Did you, as the production team, all have 9-5 jobs & do this on the side or able to make it your full time?

Q2 - Shoutout to Alyson! Coolest girl!

Q3 - Where is the show going now? Do you all have any future plans?

DinnerforOneComedy7 karma

  1. Some of us did. I don't know how we managed to do this, but alot of us convinced our bosses to let us only work one or two days a week during the month of shooting at the school. That month is a bit of a blurr!
  2. She's alright, I guess ;)
  3. Collecting views on Youtube. After 5 long years of trying to sell it, we just want people to see it and spread the word. We want to use it as a calling card to make the next thing and hopefully have our next show be picked up. So the next time we make something as a group, we don't want to be killing ourselves trying to create it. It was an incredible experience but I don't know if we will ever make something like this in the way we did again. You realize how much there is that goes into making a show when your doing it all on your own.

JohnnyBoy112 karma

Are you looking into other avenues for sales, like amazon video or DVDs, etc, or is that not even an issue now since it's on yt?

DinnerforOneComedy4 karma

We decided to put it on YT and use it more as a calling card to show people what we could create all on our own. If any of those avenues approached us we would be so happy to talk further

DinnerforOneComedy2 karma

  1. After the month of shooting in the school we had to shoot around everyone's work schedules, so we were only able to shoot on weekends. it took 9 or 10 weekends to finish all the non school locations, stretching from the end of August to December.

veryrach3 karma

wow! That is a lot of weekends. Did you make any money off this project?

DinnerforOneComedy4 karma

We made a lot in the red! haha...we were never able to sell the project as a whole so never got anything for it....but are hoping our next project will yield some fruit!

zdawginator2 karma

How big was your production team? And, if you don't mind sharing, how was your budget split up? (Not exact numbers, more like which % went to went to actors, what went to crew, craft services, etc)

DinnerforOneComedy6 karma

We had over 100 cast and crew members - most of whom came from our alma mater, Emerson College. The actors and crew worked for food and we found if we created a fun environment with a great script, people stuck around. Most of our budget went to feeding such a large productions as well as the school and rentals. There was only one paid actor. If you watch the show, figure out who it was! We'll give you a clue - it's a child...a real child.

zdawginator3 karma

Wow, that’s really spectacular that you got a cast and crew of that size to mostly work for free. It definitely says something great about the environment you provided!

How long did shooting take overall?

I’ve only watched the first episode so far, excited to finish watching the rest!

DinnerforOneComedy5 karma

Oh great! Thanks so so much for watching. Episode 4 is our favorite!

The school shoot lasted 30 days. Everything that took place outside of the school was finished by December of 2013 so i'd say roughly 5 months for 6 30 minutes episodes....while maintaining our day jobs. So any moment we had to spare, was shooting!

DinnerforOneComedy2 karma

To be more specific:

Throughout the course of the 6 month production we had over 100 cast and crew members but...

Daily, at the school, our crew consisted of no more than 20 people

And when shooting at the other various locations, our crews were sometimes as little as 5 to 6 people or just our DP, director, producer (acting as sound) and a production designer...we had to get real scrappy towards the end!

DinnerforOneComedy4 karma

Also, to answer your question about %s:

10% - Location rental

10% - A Summer Camp we ran for our teen actors

30% - Craft Services

35% - Equipment

7% - Production Design, Makeup, Costumes

8% - Insurance & Post Production (note - almost all our post production was done for free/as favors)

We really needed another 75% to pay our cast and crew, sadly it wasn't possible on a show of this scale, but we were able to crew up, somehow, because we have amazing friends who love us, and because we were very young and inexperienced and offering other young, up-and-coming cast & crew an opportunity to get a lot of experience on a big(ish) show that they would otherwise be working as interns or PAs or background acting. However, I don't recommend following our model on this point. Please pay your crew, they are more important than fancy equipment or cool locations.

SamTheBearJew2 karma

I know what you are, but what am I?

DinnerforOneComedy3 karma

An associate producer of Life Sucks who has incredible vine content from the summer of 2013 at MS 88 in Brooklyn

DinnerforOneComedy3 karma

RIP Vine

naim_the_dream911 karma

have u ever thought about any of the networks that run on platforms like Pluto TV? they also seem to be indie

DinnerforOneComedy1 karma

After we found out about the competing show Pen15 and our star and director backed out, we wanted to get out our show as soon as possible. So you could all see it. We talked with some online platforms but the process for development was taking too long and we wanted it out before the end of 2018. Definitely a great avenue to look into for the next show or if any of those platforms would be interested in picking up the show for a second season.

mellsgonewild1 karma

One underappreciated comedy is Teachers on TV Land. I really don't feel like it gets enough exposure, but I'm wondering if your team has tried some uncommon networks like TV Land to pitch the show or even streaming services like Sony's Crackle? Are you considering a new type of show now that you're experienced in the hustle and bustle of network television promoting? - Jason

DinnerforOneComedy2 karma

Those ladies actually have a similar story! They are a sketch group who worked their asses off to find a network for their show. At the time, our managers thought our show was too much like Teachers to pitch to TV Land and Crackle wasn't taking pitches.
I think our plan is to use Life Sucks as a project to show executives what we are capable of on our own. We have 4 or 5 new show ideas and pitch packets that we are hopping to get in front of networks. We know not to make the whole series on our own now but to just create a trailer, pilot script and season arc. Unless Judd Apatow sees Life sucks and believes it needs to be made into a million seasons, then we are totally ready!

DinnerforOneComedy6 karma

Does anyone know Judd Apatow? ;)

dollar_slices1 karma

What is Ian hiding under that beard?

DinnerforOneComedy1 karma

A little scroll with the answer to your question. But he lost it somewhere in there years ago.

DinnerforOneComedy1 karma

The secrets of the universe

Profane_tendencies1 karma

If you need someone to eat with I can make reservations dinner for two?

DinnerforOneComedy1 karma

There's 10 of us in our group...make it for 12? ;)

criticalbuzz1 karma

How did you get the rights to all the music?

DinnerforOneComedy1 karma

It was a combination of royalty free stuff and us reaching out to through different channels to get approval from the artists. A lot of it (like our theme song) was written by Noel Carey who actually plays Gunther in the show!

tindol_mania1 karma

How ole are the 3 main actors? I can’t tell. Watched two episodes and it’s pretty funny. Well done y’all

DinnerforOneComedy1 karma

At the time we were 25 playing 13 year olds...like what wet hot american summer does!

Made up to look way younger! Check out 3 and 4...they are my favorite!

tindol_mania1 karma

I’m currently looking at some of the other videos on the channel. Love that y’all are doing this. Best of luck.

Hope not to offend anyone but I think max is my favorite. His character at least

DinnerforOneComedy1 karma

No offense at all...we like him too ;) Check out episode 4...it's the best!

cinemachick1 karma

Hi there, student filmmaker/animator here. I am working on a pilot for a show of my own (magical girl show - Sailor Moon meets Steven Universe) and want to pitch it to networks/streaming sites, but I know my lack of production experience will be my Achilles' heel. Any tips for building a pitch bible, working a room while in a pitch, and/or how to navigate experience gaps when talking with executives?

DinnerforOneComedy1 karma

I think connecting with someone on the production side would be key. Networks like to see sizzles/proof of concepts - basically a short trailer that shows your ton, style, characters, etc. The more visual you have the better.

Our biggest issue in the pitch room was wanting to fill the silences and talking too much. It's ok to take pauses, let the execs take in what you've said and ask questions. Don't bulldoze over them. Less is more. Give them enough information that they are interested and can be curious. Don't give them nitty gritty details. Let them be able to paint their own picture and envision the show. They want to be part of the creative process as well.

Since we had already made all 6 episodes we didn't make a bible. We were very familiar with our story arcs and characters. But the more you know about your show the better. You should be able to answer questions about arcs in the second, third season.

I think the biggest thing we learned is it may be in your best interest to start pitching to managers, producers, show runners, directors that love your project and would be willing to vouch for it. Networks want to feel secure in working with people who have created/produced/ran a show before.... hope this helps!

gnaarface1 karma

Which is your favorite member?

DinnerforOneComedy5 karma

I would have to say....I like the black guy who plays Michael, Clarke and Duncan in the show. How versatile!

gnaarface2 karma

What a safe, PC answer. My favorite is Justin Time. Don't you agree?

DinnerforOneComedy6 karma

Oh you mean Brain Time! Yeah, I love that guy. He's like..."Brian Time!?"

fruitfiction1 karma

How do y'all feel about Gerber Singles? Did the product idea play any role in your name "Dinner for One"?

DinnerforOneComedy1 karma

So bummed those didn't catch on. I don't think it played a role in our name but it captures the exact same spirit that we hope our name evokes. 10/10, would buy if I could.

JerobifromATCQ0 karma

Why did you steal the name of dinner for one which is a very well known sketch comedy act from 1963?

DinnerforOneComedy2 karma

not intentional...just a couple of college kids, at the time, who thought it would be a funny name. Didn't learn about the sketch comedy act till after our conceit, when we posted something to Youtube in 2009 and our sketch was buried on page 5. We took it as a good omen.

redditready1986-4 karma

a show about Middle School in 2001. The show is Freaks and Geeks meets Wet Hot American Summer.

So there is a bunch of "middle school" kids expressing their sexuality and such? Yeah, that's sketchy, no thanks.

DinnerforOneComedy5 karma

It's like Wet Hot, we are 20-somethings playing middle schoolers (makes it not as creepy) haha More like big mouth