How I Made a Mermaid Web Series
Life is a series of surprises and one of the grandest adventures I have embarked on has been the creation of my newest web series, LA Mermaids!
I was always known as the “mermaid girl” and I have always recognized the lack of mermaid content. Movies like Aquamarine and The Little Mermaid with television shows like H2O: Just Add Water, Mako Mermaids, and Siren are the few that come to mind, but also, the few that actually exist.
So, I decided to create a mermaid web series of my own.
How did this happen though?
In May of 2018, I was wondering how to make the summer the best it could possibly be. I was wondering what sorts of videos could be created and what stories could be told. The previous summer, the idea of making some sort of mermaid show popped up, but acting on it was difficult. After all, without a tail or the ability to film underwater, how was I supposed to bring a mermaid persona to the screen?
Looking for ideas but not really actively thinking they would lead anywhere, I turned to a group chat of my junior thesis short film cast and crew. There was a very casual mentioning of a potential show about mermaids and/or life in LA. The reactions were overwhelmingly positive! Joanie, who I met when casting for the short film, shared her passion for the mer-life and we decided to plan out the series and chat about it more. This conversation led to a full first season planned and cast and crew already being contacted. With the plans, we co-wrote the scripts, edited them, and began to film within the next week or so. The process sped up at a shockingly wonderful pace!
Filming was such an incredible experience! We filmed on the beach the first day (which is a nightmare for audio but somehow manageable) and then a really lovely house the following day. Another day was spent filming around Santa Monica. It was a whirlwind of meeting new friends, getting to better know friends I already knew and collaborating. I find a lot of film projects in the film school setting can seem overly “professional” and intense with stress, but this was the purest definition of a passion project. I strive to create, collaborate, and have a great time in the process with more laid back sets. Thankfully, this was that and then some!
I took a break after that to go back home for a bit. My brother, Adam, graduated from high school and I got to take a nice pause from the hustle of LA life. I returned with my family for a couple of fun weeks, so the series stayed on pause for about a month. Everything was going quite swimmingly! That is, it was… by the time I was officially back, everything seemed to crumble.
Turns out, life got busy for everybody. Planning the last three episodes with many cast and crew members traveling, about to study abroad, or with busy work schedules slowed the process down. Yet, I already had so much together. Plus, I reached out to companies and got both Mermaidful (mermaid subscription box company) and Mermaid Kat (mermaid school and tails company) on board to help provide props and costuming. This series HAD to happen, despite the lack of my ability as one person to make it so. To make matters more chaotic, I had yet to work on a project on this scale before, so the stakes were high and I felt small.
Skip ahead a tiny bit to early August. Positivity and dedication kicked in. I felt like a mess, but extra motivation appeared in the form of my friend, James, who wanted to be a part and planned a flight to make it happen. Scripts were re-written, plans were adapted for the lack of characters and locations available, and I worked around everybody’s outrageously busy schedules to set a couple of days to film at the end of August. By the time filming began, I was incredibly overwhelmed, excited, and straight-up terrified by just how out of control I felt. Yet, the series was happening and it was in my power to make it so.
Positivity and manifestation are key!
Filming: part two, was absolutely amazing! The instant the camera started rolling again, everything was better than I could have ever expected! By the time the first season was wrapped, and then after some bonus b-roll filmed at nine at night in a mermaid tail in a pool (my young dreams of being a mermaid with those Aquamarine-vibes was oh-so-wonderfully met!), I was struck with post-show sadness. I even got pre-post show sadness! The bittersweet ending to the most incredible summer so far hit hard but left promising hopes for the future.
From that point forward, there was all of the editing to be done. It was a test of my ability for months alongside the school, work, and life as a first-semester college senior. I made a mess with the way I shot and organized the footage and audio and didn’t plan out the season as well as I could have. A ton of lessons was learned in the process. It took far too long to edit, but by the time music got added, the show finally came together. I brought it back on a drive to get some edit adjustments from Adam, who is far better at editing than myself. He magically did wonders on it and it was officially exported early January 2019. I set to release early February 2019 to allow ample time for promotion through social media and a solid plan.
At the beginning of 2019, I posted the first season, one episode at a time, EVERY FRIDAY from February 8th to March 8th for season one, along with Instagram and Facebook posts. With the help of cast/crew/friends/family, I promoted as much as possible and share the show with the world. I’m in the works of filming and editing season two, which has been put on delay due to the coronavirus. Also, I can pitch this show to studios and production companies to prompt it forward. If this series turns into my ticket to acting and show running, the level of dreams coming true will certainly hit an all-time high. Plus, being able to share this with my friends is absolutely incredible.
*This process also may have inspired a part of my upcoming senior thesis film too and made the script extra meta, so I’m totally here for that as well!
Long story short, this series is a dream come true. It keeps spiraling far beyond my control, but I believe in it and apparently, so do others. I am eternally thankful beyond words to everybody involved and the amount of dedication put towards this passion project. This has been everything and then some and I am incredibly excited to see what happens next! Surprises are wonderful and every moment along this journey has been a spontaneous miracle.
With that, follow your dreams, let life happen, and enjoy every moment!