NEW YORK — Redheads Anonymous is a comedic Web series that looks at the stereotypes, challenges and frustrations redheads often face, as well as the one unique opportunity only a redhead can take advantage of: “The Redhead Scholarship.” The series was created by Elisabeth Ness, who also stars in it, playing Molly, a redhead determined to win The Redhead Scholarship, even if it means creating a profile based on the life experiences of other redheads, and not her own.
“In real life it’s only worth $500, but it’s free money,” she says of the actual scholarship. “Obviously, I took creative liberties with it, but as soon as I discovered that, I said, ‘Wow! This is fantastic for the kind of comedy I wanted to create.’”
Each of the five episodes runs between six and eight minutes, and can be viewed for free on YouTube. Post caught up with Ness while she was attending the Raindance Film Festival in London. The series had also been named an official selection of the Miami Web Fest. According to Ness, Season 1 was financed through crowd funding, and while they were able to achieve good results with a limited budget, her team at Good Porpoise Productions is hoping to get a sponsor in order to produce Season 2.
“Season 2 will happen if we secure funding from a sponsor or distributor,” Ness explains. “We did crowd funding for Season 1 and I loved the experience and am honored that so many people were so generous, but I would prefer not to do that again.”
Daniel Seth directed the series, which was shot using a Canon 5D Mark III DSLR and an external recorder. As many as 15 locations were used in Season 1, and the team planned their shooting schedule so that they could capture everything they need from each location without having to return for a future episode.
“The script and the story really dictate the length,” says Ness of the episodes. “It definitely became a question of how much we could actually produce? I had a fantastic producing team. When you are juggling multiple hats, you do have to have your time for creativity… and you have to have your time for realism and actually putting pen to paper. How would these logistics work? How can I cut this down so that I’m still telling the story and you are still getting invested in the characters without sacrificing our entire budget on something we can’t afford?”
Ness, who is an editor of actor reels and non-profit videos at Good Porpoise Productions — which she set up with EP/DP/editor Ed Nescot — cut the series with the help of two assistants — Rebecca Kopec and Jake Lemmen — using Adobe Premiere. “I don’t think I could have done it without the assistant editors — period — end of story,” she says. “The assistant editors are the bread and butter of everything.”
All of the series’ music is original, created by composers Andres Soto (Episode 1) and Mike Sayre (Episodes 2-5). Dan Melius handled color correction, VFX and sound editorial on Episodes 1, 2 and 3. For Episodes 4 and 5, Pete Scozzari handled post production sound and Ed Nescot performed the color correction. The open/logo graphic was created by Plaidgoose. Assistant editor Jake Lemmen created the ending credit animations for all five episodes.
“We’ve been approached by a few multichannel YouTube networks,” says Ness, “but are hesitant unless we feel they are bringing something awesome to the table. We would prefer not to monetize [the series] unless there is a push by a sponsor or distributor.”
Ness has a number of ideas ready for a second season, but is also leaving room to work with a sponsor in a partner capacity.
“If it’s a hair care sponsor, or skincare sponsor, or sunscreen sponsor, I would want to incorporate more of that into the storyline, whereas I wouldn’t have to worry about that with a distributor,” she explains.