A student-made web series, ON SET, has just released its first wave of episodes on Vimeo, found here. Created and written by Jaime Ryan, a Media and Screen Studies student in the honors program, the web series is a comedy about two production assistants (PAs) and best friends on their first feature-length film set. ON SET follows their experience as they discover all the ecstasy and despair of movie making. While the pair, played by students Alyssa Calloway and Riley Cohen, start their journey with a glowing excitement to break into the entertainment business, their energy is slowly chipped away by other colleagues and the tedium of creating a movie. The struggle is relatable, relevant, and comical.
Jaime, who is an aspiring production professional herself, was inspired to create the ON SET web series by her own personal experiences.
“When I graduated high school, I worked on a few short films, at the bottom rung of the team, where there were highs and lows,” she explained. “This web series is a tribute to that time in my life.”
The style of the 10-episode show, created with the help of an honors department grant, can be described as “misery comedy” that transforms into more of a drama – and challenges audience members to ask themselves what they would be willing to go through to achieve their dreams. It encourages viewers to stick with their gut and listen to their heart when thinking about where they want to be in their careers and lives generally.
Jaime was also inspired by recent CAMD graduate Non Kuramoto’s web series, Non Kuramoto (Former) Master Electrician (NK(FME)), which Jaime played a role in creating, serving as boom operator and sound mixer.
“Working on Non’s web series gave me valuable experience, and seeing how the show succeeded was motivating to create my own project,” said Jaime. “While both of our shows are web series, I made my episodes shorter (each one is 5-6 minutes long) to fit the storyline and capture audience interest.”
Her work with Non Kuramoto last semester is just one example of how Jaime’s classes and experience in CAMD have helped her build and make important connections. She met most of the people she is working with now – almost 20 people on the cast and crew! – through her Media and Screen Studies classes.
With this large of a team, unsurprisingly, creating ON SET has been a semester-long project for Jaime, who is heading to New York City next semester to serve as a co-op for Red Summit Productions led by alumnus Mike Krentzman. She held auditions in September, and has spent months writing, developing, filming, producing, and editing the episodes.
“Since everyone involved in this project is a student, juggling schedules was definitely a challenge, but we got into a routine and a groove,” she described. “The experience has been a good lesson in learning to say ‘it’s okay’ to just about any problem that comes up… and to stay strong!”
As the leader of the project, it was important for Jaime to keep her energy and positivity high even when the production schedule and timelines became tough to manage.
“Looking back on the whole experience now, my time creating ON SET has been so valuable, and I wouldn’t change it for anything,” Jaime said. “It has given me so much experience as a showrunner. Being the main contact for this project, and working through the challenges and problems, has given me a whole new perspective.”
Be sure to follow the show on Instagram (@ONSETwebseries), where they will be introducing cast and crew members, and serving as the one-stop resource (including behind-the-scenes content) for everything related to the web series. The first three episodes were released on December 6, and will soon be followed by the next three episodes on December 10. A few days later on December 13, episodes seven through nine will be available, followed by the finale on December 14.
For Jaime, a few key takeaways from her experience stand out.
“First of all, this project confirmed that I do want to do this for a living,” she concluded. “And, second of all, it confirmed to me that I love making art about women, gender norms, and about overcoming the structure of authority. I want to give voices to the voiceless through fiction and comedy, and I believe that ON SET does this, in its own, unique way.”
Great work to all of the talented students, representing a wide range of majors, involved with ON SET:
Jaime Ryan – Creator and Director, Media and Screen Studies
Artie Ghosh – Director of Photography, Communication Studies and Media and Screen
Tiffany Yu – Set Designer, English and Theatre
Connor Lewis – Audio Engineer and Editor, Marketing with Film Production minor
Eric Tatar – Editor, Northeastern alumnus
Amelia Kuskin – Script Supervisor, Marketing
Khanh Vo – Script Supervisor, Communication Studies and Business
Gabriel Reid – Cinematographer, Media Arts and Media and Screen
David Murphy – Production Assistant, Media and Screen
Avinash Navani – Production Assistant, Media and Screen
Kaitlyn Mangelinkx – Scheduling Coordinator, Behavioral Neuroscience
Alyssa Calloway – lead playing Lucy Espino, Communication Studies with Theatre minor
Riley Cohen – lead playing Jesse Reyes, Undeclared
Ishaan Lohia – playing Ryan Nez, the director of the in-universe film “Tide Out”; Physics and Math; Theatre and Chemistry minors
Travis Bergman – playing Chaz Michaelson, the producer; Information Science
Fatou Jackson – playing Mara Agnihotri, the Director of Photography; English with Theatre minor
Kate Kelly – playing Gwen O’Toole, the annoying PA; Theatre with Musical Theatre minor
Somaiya Rowland – playing Ania Zelle, the star of “Tide Out”; Theatre