From Webseries to Comedy Central Hit

Here’s a bit of Just Do It attitude for your Friday night. Or whenever.

Comedy Central’s awesome slice-of-life comedy, Broad City, is currently on it’s second season. Good for them. That in itself is not necessarily interesting from a filmmakers perspective. But if you look at what came before, it’s suddenly a pretty interesting case study. More often than not, when I see a successful, offbeat comedy show with all the markings of a bonafide indie hit, I see right through it. I see the studios behind them. I see the pilot episodes. The spec scripts. The development process helmed by veteran producers. Maybe there’s even star talent (or star creatives) attached, making it easy to scoff at the “bold newcomer” label.

But with Broad City it’s different. The quirky Comedy Central hit started exactly where a lot of newbie directors and actors go when the spec scripts or pilot auditions aren’t moving their careers forward at a desirable pace: The Webseries.

Whenever the talk turns to what not-yet established filmmakers and actors can do to be proactive about their careers, the webseries comes up. Stop waiting for the call, start making the calls. You have an idea? Put it on paper, wrangle up your most talented (and patient) friends, borrow a camera and start shooting. The results are of varying quality, indeed, but it’s inspiring and comforting when a show like Broad City comes along and shows us that your weekend project doesn’t have to look like (or cost) a million bucks for it to stir up exactly the kind of interest it’s supposed to.

The recipe for success? In this case, it’s short, on-point examinations of what makes everyday life gloriously awkward. It’s funny, because it’s true. And Abbi and Ilana are both amazing – though there’s a world of difference between their acting in the early webisodes and the recent Comedy Central episodes. Practice makes perfect. The bizarre-but-plausible antics were adorable and laughable from the get-go.

Sure, now on it’s second season, Broad City does look like a million bucks (it’s shot on Arri Alexa). But check out some of the 25 webisodes from 2010-2011 that started it all. And then go do it yourself. It’s totally possible.

Episode 1: Making Change

Episode 3: Subway on a Sunday

Episode 7: Laundry

Episode 16: Date Night

And there are many, many more on Broad City’s YouTube channel. The new episodes are available on Comedy Central or online on Hulu Plus.

Mads Black

About Mads Black

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Mads is a Scandinavian-born, Los Angeles-based actor and aspiring film maker. He's dabbled in stunt driving (no one got hurt) and once rescued a baby bunny from his garage.

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