Rueben's Ramblings

Web Series Spotlight: LA Picker

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This month’s spotlight is focused on the comedic web series LA Picker that follows the story of Sally Sandburg (actress Devin Sidell), a vintage geek, as she attempts to build an online business in the competitive world of urban treasure hunting despite being thwarted by her arch-nemesis and fellow picker Jonathan Gelman (actor Scott Epstein).  Her challenges in love and work are largely of her own making, but luckily she has the emotional support of her dog Noodle. [You really can’t go wrong when you have a cute dog as your support system, right?]

LA Picker is produced, directed, shot, mixed and composed by a team of women committed to kicking butt and loving cute stuff. That team includes Elizabeth Yarwood (writer/creator), who is a filmmaker and cinematographer and Rebecca Louisell (writer/director and producer).

Viewers will recognize lead actress Devin Sidell from her appearances in film and television on Numb3rs, Malcolm in the Middle, The O.C., Happy Endings, Parks and Recreation, About a Boy, Anger Management, The Middle, Ray Donovan, 31 and Grandfathered. You can learn more about Devin here (www.devinsidell.com) and follow her on Twitter @devinsidell. Meanwhile, Scott Epstein is an actor, singer, education researcher, policy analyst and community advocate, who has appeared on stage in productions of Charlie Brown in New York and Jesus Christ Superstar [among others]. [Please see below for more details about the cast.]

Here is our exclusive interview with web series creator Elizabeth Yarwood:

Question: What influenced you to create LA Picker?

Elizabeth: Our lead actress and my good friend, Devin Sidell, enjoys going to estate sales and swap meets and then occasionally reselling her finds online. I was inspired by her real life hobby and decided to write a web series based around the idea of “picking.” We were also very interested in working together and thought a web series would be a great first project to collaborate on.

Question: Can you talk about the filming process? How much time did it take to complete the 10 episodes?

Elizabeth: We were fortunate enough to have some amazing community support which allowed us to raise the money for our first season through a Kickstarter campaign. Once we raised the money, we shot the ten episodes over the course of thirteen days. As a number of our cast members had day jobs, we only shot on weekends over the course of about two months.

Question: Can you talk about what the casting process was like?

Elizabeth: We had the easiest casting process ever. All of the cast members were people we knew. Jonathan was played by my husband, Scott Epstein, and Coco was played by my sister, Julia Yarwood. On screen couple Angus and Sally were played by real life couple Shawn MacAulay and Devin Sidell. All of the remaining cast members were friends or relatives who generously lent us their talents.

Question: Was there a difficult scene to write or film?

Elizabeth: In Episode 9, there is a confrontation scene first between Angus and Sally and then Jonathan and Sally. This was the hardest scene for me to write because it was the height of the conflict between all of the main characters. I had to tie everything together in a way that made narrative sense as well as emotional sense for the characters. It was challenging and I definitely had to work hard at it before finding something I felt good about.

Question: Do you have plans to do a second season?

Elizabeth: We do have plans to do a second season! We have already begun brainstorming ideas for plot points and locations. Next will be the hardest part – finding the funding! I can’t wait to continue to give life to these characters because it couldn’t be more fun.

Viewers can check out the 10 episodes of first season of LA Picker on the web series’ official site and on their YouTube Channel. You can also drop the folks behind LA Picker an email at lapickerinfo@gmail.com.

Using her favorite online handle, Rueben is an East Coast-bred gal who is now a permanent Californian and a lifelong tv-oholic. She watches at least 25 TV shows a week, goes to the movies as often as possible, listens to music every waking moment, reads every day and “plays” on the internet every chance she can. Some of her current favorite TV shows are Outlander, Arrow, Grimm, The Blacklist, Teen Wolf, Killjoys, Dark Matter, The Shannara Chronicles, Good Witch, When Calls the Heart, The 100, Switched at Birth, Jane the Virgin, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., The Flash and The Fosters (among others). Follow her at @ruebenrambling or contact her at rueben@nicegirlstv.com.