If you love the web series “Out of Character” check out our exclusive interview with the creator Joann Guerilus.
1)What inspired you to create the web series “Out of Character”? The characters were the inspiration. They’ve lived in my head for a very long time (since high school, actually) and with the explosion of digital media and so many webseries it felt like the right time to bring them to life again. It was a now or never situation.
2)How do you feel Haley’s character maybe relatable to other young people? Haley is relatable because she’s at that point in her life where she’s becoming her own person and experiencing everything that comes along with that- making her own choices and even her own mistakes. And she wants to do this without disappointing the people around her, which isn’t always possible. I think it’s a challenge we all face at one point or another.
3)What is the biggest message you would like others to take away from the series? The main message I want people to take away from this series is to listen to your spirit; to listen to that inner voice when it speaks to you, even if it defies conventional logic. Conventional logic would say that Haley, who is literally months away from graduating law school, shouldn’t drop out. That she should stick it out just in case. But doing so was only going to make her miserable and her spirit knew that, so she dropped out. Often times, many of us (myself included) stay in place because we fear the unknown. But I think it’s better to bravely walk towards the unknown than to stay stuck in fear.
4)Why did you use a person like Josh to encourage Haley?I used Josh because he was the last person Haley expected any type of support from. He wasn’t in her inner circle of her friends and she didn’t seek him out, yet his words resonated with her. Sometimes the answers we’re looking for come from unexpected places, the places we aren’t looking, and that can make all the difference.
5)Why is Haley’s mom so hard on her?Haley’s mom (Anette) is hard on her because she looks at Haley and sees herself and sees a life that she could have lived if she made different choices. It’s almost like a second chance, if you will. But you can’t mold someone else’s life as your own. You can’t force them to be what you want. So then the only other option is to lash out, which is what Anette does to Haley.
6)What was the biggest struggle you faced creating this series? It was very difficult, financially speaking. I self-financed the entire series and, as we kept going and going, the costs just kept adding up until there just weren’t enough funds to go around. Creating a series is also very taxing and can take a lot of you, especially while working full time and trying to manage personal and familial obligations. The market is also very saturated and it can be tough to break through.
Travis seems to have everything together, but you soon realize he is fighting his own demons. Do you think his problems stem from his mother and his upbringing? Absolutely. Anette is a perfectionist who expects the best from her kids and Travis is no exception. And while she isn’t as hard on him as she is Haley, she still brings with her an unbelievable amount of pressure that very few can live up to. It’s tough when someone places you on a pedestal because there’s always the fear of falling off.
7)Being a media maker of color, how has digital media (youtube, vimeo, facebook) been a game changer? Digital media has been a huge game changer because it afforded me the ability to bring my characters to life. In the past the only way I saw any iteration of this story being told was through traditional media. I thought I had to go through the gatekeepers, but digital media handed me my own set of keys and let me do things my way.
8)The series was originally released two years back, what can we expect next from you and your team? We’re always looking for ways to promote the series because you never know what eyes are watching, and it’s always good to have as many fans as possible. I’m also looking for different ways of financing should we continue in the future. It’s definitely a process, but I don’t believe the series was done in vain and, whether today or tomorrow, something is going to come out of it.