Local filmmaker trying to make web series a reality

A crowdfunding effort is underway for The Understudies, a show about two 20-somethings trying to make it as actors

A Kamloops filmmaker is hoping his crowdfunding efforts will allow him to complete the first season of a web series he’s been working on since he was 16 years old.

The Understudies stars Cody Childs and Gareth Rees as two 20-somethings trying to make it in the competitive acting world, with no help from their dim-witted agent.

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Childs released the first episode of the series at the end of July and is now undertaking a crowdfunding campaign to raise funds for the remainder of the first season.

The episode was created on Childs’ dime — something the 24-year-old Vancouver Acting School graduate has been saving for ever since he was a drama student at Westsyde secondary.

“It started off about me trying to make it as an actor — sort of a mockumentary The Office-style series. As I got older, it kept changing, and now we’ve been working on it for the past couple years,” he said.

The first episode was filmed in Vancouver, but Childs said filming in Kamloops is “absolutely” something he’d like to do as long as he can find the crew — background extras and other actors — to make it work.

Cody Childs
Cody Childs, 24, is a Kamloops filmmaker trying to make his web series The Understudies a reality.

“We wanted to get those tall buildings and big city vibe in the first episode, but there’s a lot of stuff we could do in Kamloops,” he said. “It’s just a little harder to find if you don’t know too many people.”

Childs has been involved in drama and theatre since Grade 8, when he started working behind the scenes on productions at Westsyde secondary. He didn’t step on the stage until Grade 11, but made the best of his time there, appearing in Dearly Departed and Murder Me Always under the tutelage of drama teacher Stephen Sawka.

Childs also credits his teachers at Vancouver Acting School, from which he graduated in 2013, and his older brother, who also works in the film industry, for pointing the camera his way when he was just six years old.

The series was something Childs said he has always come back to, especially after going through the rigors of auditioning and trying to make it as an actor fresh out of acting school in Vancouver.

“You’re often thinking about trying to be something a lot of other people want to be — and I had this script, which is what I wanted to say. So I thought why not, instead of going out for auditions and getting rejection after rejection, to try just try making this series on my own to see if it gets noticed,” he told KTW.

The writing and planning work for the first season’s 10 episodes has been completed, Childs said. He plans to use the Kickstarter funds, if it’s successful, to carry out the work and make the show a reality.

Beyond that, a second and third season are also planned out, but the dream is a little bigger.

“In a perfect world, I would love to get picked up by a network — CBC, Comedy Central — something like that would be great,” he said.

Find the first episode of The Understudies on YouTube and to donate, visit the show's Kickstarter campaign page.

© Kamloops This Week


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