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The Brains behind “Brains”

I wear a lot of hats on my web series. I’m the creator, the writer, the lead actress, the head editor, and an executive producer. But I could not have done it (and I cannot continue to do it) alone,  so today I wanted to give shout outs to all the other incredible and talented and hard working people who are helping me make my silly zombie show a reality.

IMG_1381This is Andrew Williams. He is the director, executive producer, and assistant editor on Brains, in addition to being one of my best friends and one of my new roommates. I’m not being dramatic when I say that Brains would literally not exist without Andrew. He and I read the entire first season aloud to each other several months ago, and with no hesitation he was like “yeah, we can absolutely do this. When do you want to start?!” Andrew is experienced in production and knows a lot more than he gives himself credit for. I’m new to screenwriting. I’m used to writing a thing and then occasionally letting other people read it. Andrew writes things in order to see them on screen, and without his passion and encouragement Brains would just be a silly thing I wrote one time that was never seen or heard from again. Plus, he’s an excellent director and his poise and energy on set is something you can’t fake or discount.

IMG_1232_2This is Alex Martin. He’s my executive producer and assistant director from the graduate class a year ahead of Andrew and I, Cohort IV. We wouldn’t have met him at all, without a full-program meet and greet back in January set around a visit from some Disney executives. He and I just started talking, and then he, I, and the rest of the brohort got a little drunk and moved the party to a nearby bar after the Disney thing was over, and I mentioned that I was making a web series and he drunkedly expressed excitement about this prospect. I invited him to the first full read-through, but a massive snow storm hit that day and he was unable to attend. I was disappointed, because he seemed cool, until he emailed me saying that despite his inability to get to the aloud reading, he had read the entire series, loved it, and wanted to help produce it. The rest is history. Alex is one of the most consistently positive, dedicated, and hard working people I’ve ever met. Any time I get overwhelmed, I call him and he immediately makes me feel better. Alex is my rock, and I couldn’t produce this show without him.

IMG_0324Hot damn, it’s Chris Cherry. Chris is my script supervisor, which basically means he gently reminds me when I forget really important lines and makes sure we keep visual continuity between filming days/episodes. He takes pictures of the set, of costumes and hair, and watches the script as we film to make sure there are no inconsistencies. He is also one of my best friends and new roommates and has run so many lines with me recently he should get a friggin medal. Chris was the first person to read the full first season of Brains, which was incredibly kind of him considering it was a first draft, and without him, the script would not be what it is today (which is, IMHO, excellent). He is another person I can turn to in times of stress whose presence is inherently calming. I can always count on Chris to call me out when I miss important lines, which is something I do a lot, and no one on set is more flexible or forgiving. He also agreed to play the only male character other than Damian or Carl (or the nameless CPS officer later in the series), despite my making him wear a turtleneck in the first episode.

IMG_0505Page Schumacher is a creative genius. When she’s not dying my hair red, doing my hair and makeup on set in order to make post-barista-job me look presentable, or doing freaking incredible zombie makeup, she’s also helping Jim as a production designer. She was the person who made my favorite set piece, the brain poster next to Alison where a bunch of inaccurate hippie stuff is crossed out and labeled correctly. If I could only keep one thing from the dorm background, it would be that, because it is so Alison it hurts. Page is a friggin trooper, and anyone who can make the two transformations below in less than half an hour each deserves all the praise in the world. She’s also just a delightful addition to set and ran sound for the vlog portion of the pilot, even though she’d never done it before. Trooper.

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Rebecca McDonald was one of my first friends in New York. She was already working at FIKA when I started, and we immediately got along. In addition to playing the character Sophie later in the season, she is also my wardrobe person. At the first designers meeting we had (for production design, makeup design, and, obviously, wardrobe), Rebecca made a Prezi, with photos of the particular cast member, outfit inspiration pictures, and key words to explain why Rebecca thought they should be wearing this particular thing. Rebecca isn’t just great with clothes, she’s great with matching clothes to character motivations and creating a consistent apocalypse aesthetic that feels right at home in the Brains universe. I know we’ve barely scratched the surface of Brains season 1, but half of my motivation to try and make a second season is to give her a larger part, because she’s hilarious and talented and I want to spend more time with her.

IMG_0486David Fine was the first person I met from my graduate class. He is my armorer, meaning he helps me find and take care of my prop weapons, and he is also the champ who let Page put him in tons of zombie makeup for the pilot. David is one of the most relentlessly awesome people I know, is a great sport, and is the kind of dude who always comes through. More people should be like David. Also, wasn’t his performance as a hippie zombie amazing??

IMG_1594Stephanie Leschek. Hell yeah. Without her audio and lighting equipment, you would not be able to hear anything anyone said in the entire series, and you would not have been able to appreciate the amazing makeup job Page did for the vlogs. Plus, without her amazing face, you would not have gotten the hilarious apocalypse iPhone video portion of the pilot, which, quite honestly, was the funniest part. Seriously. Steph is incredibly giving and patient and generous and I can’t wait to work with her more in the future.

I also want to give a shout out to the rest of my incredible cast (Connor Bowen, Masha Danilenko, Kmur Hardeman, Joanna McKee, Jamie Gyftakis, and our two gracious extras from the pilot, Houda Chergui and Dina Pimenova), my incredible sound person Emma Vadapalas (a photo of whom I have not yet acquired, but whose plaid shirt looks great on camera for Alison), Norman Steinberg (tireless supporter and mentor), Manisha Ford-Thomas (who helped us acquire the dorm room for Alison’s vlogs), Jacopo della Quercia (a Cracked.com writer who retweeted our IndieGoGo campaign and who is just generally lovely) and all of our IndieGoGo supporters so far.

Seriously. Thank you, everyone, for everything you’ve done so far.

Click here to watch the pilot

Click here to view/support our IndieGoGo campiagn

Click here to like us on Facebook

Click here for our official cast page

We start filming episode 2 NEXT WEEKEND. Exciting things afoot, so stick around!

2 thoughts on “The Brains behind “Brains”

  1. (Hi Bri, I’m just testing to see if your website will let me post a comment–I commented, twice, a few months back, about Doctor Who, but they never showed up?)

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