We had the opportunity to chat with Ronnel Parham the creator Odd Man Out: The Series. During this exclusive Q&A Ronnel shares the inspiration behind the series, how he started film-making and more.
1. For anyone who hasn’t seen the web series Odd Man Out yet can you give us a brief description? For those that haven’t seen Odd Man Out: The Series yet, this show is about an African American man who’s struggling to find acceptance in his life. Many issues brought up in this show are based upon true events that I experienced in life. This show is about the struggle between being who you are and accepting who you are while being misunderstood by majority of people you encounter throughout your life.
2. Being that this is loosely based on a true story, when or what was the moment that you knew you needed to write this series? To be quite honest, I knew I needed to write this story when another project I was working on fell through. This was a project that I partly created as well with a few other people, but the overall direction of that project wasn’t going down a path I supported. I’m actually very thankful for that experience because that was the final push I needed to start creating on my own projects. I needed to tell my story. I needed to speak from my truth first instead of figuring out how to tell someone else’s truth. I knew for years that somehow someway I needed to explain my story and the many things I dealt with growing up. The phrase Odd Man Out literally personifies my childhood into adulthood.
3. It seems like each character represents a certain mindset. Where do you see each characters going in the future?I see each character I’ve created, bit by bit, showing the audience their version of being the Odd Man Out or Odd Woman Out. If you analyze the main characters in season 1 and 2, they all have their own stories to tell about being misunderstood or mistreated and are generally in a confused place in their lives. My goal for each character is to continue to reveal their stories of finding acceptance just as Charles is desperately seeking that acceptance in his life.
4. What independent Black media makers inspire you?Issa Rae for sure. She created multiple media projects and stayed focused on her goals. She knew she had multiple ideas that could be made into something bigger and continued to create, write, act, and hone her skills until one of her ideas hit. She mainly comes to mind but anyone right now or in the past that has fought for and continues to fight for the culture and promote diversity on TV and film. The Ava DuVernay’s of the world, I’m continuously motivated and inspired by them.
5. How did you start creating films?I started creating films once I fully started believing in myself and my place in this industry. I had come to the realization that acting wasn’t enough. That I needed to learn more and continue to work hard to add other skills to my resume in addition to being an actor. I specifically started creating films when a friend came to me about helping him put together a project, a short film that he wrote. That person turned into my producing partner who also is the director of season 1 and season 2 Of Odd Man Out: The Series. It was the first project I was able to co-produce and act on. It provided me with an amazing experience into producing and how to structure a story in a way that grabs and keeps people’s attention.
6. What was your biggest obstacle creating this series and how did you get over it?My biggest obstacle was having so much content, so much of a story to tell but only being able to tell it in a shortened web version. You always want more money to create bigger projects or finding and locking down locations can be expensive (especially shooting in Los Angeles), but my biggest obstacle was figuring out ways to tell my story without doing too much or saying too much. I’ve learned that less is more. Sometimes saying less or saying nothing at all, speaks volumes much higher than saying a lot or writing a bunch of dialogue.
7.f you could work with anyone in Hollywood who would it be and why?I’m unsure if there’s any specific person over another that I’d want to work with in Hollywood right now. I’m sure I’d learn amazing things from them all. But I would particularly like to work side by side with the show runners of some of my favorite scripted television shows. In doing this, I’d be able to tap into producer meetings, writer meetings, meeting with the studio executives, castings, table reads, etc. Every part of that show and creating it comes across their desk and I would love to see how different show runners manage it all.
8.What upcoming projects do you have in the works? After we finished shooting Season 2 back in June, a week later I quickly transitioned into another web series that I’m acting in and co-producing entitled Class Act. We shot 6 episodes of that project over the course of a month and a half. Both series we are hoping to get featured on Amazon Prime. I’m currently co-writing a short film in which I’ll be producing and acting in as well, entitled “Between Us.” My production company will look to shoot this project by the end of the year. Odd Man Out: The Series and the two projects I just mentioned will be under my production company, 5R Productions.