TV Insights, Observations and Obsessions from the NYTVF
Check out our Q&A series with Fest Founder Terence Gray (and others), designed to provide submitting artists and TV fans with insight to the current development landscape. If you're thinking about submitting to the NYTVF, this is for you.
A Conversation with NYTVF Alum Danny Abrahms
As part of our ongoing Development Download series, the NYTVF recently sat down with NYTVF Alum Danny Abrahms, whose series Self-Help, an Official Selection at NYTVF 2013, recently premiered on My Damn Channel. Danny spoke about his development history, his time with the Festival, and more:
Your series, Self-Help, recently premiered on My Damn Channel. How did that come about?
I met Rob Barnett and Eric Mortensen at the New York Television Festival, where Self-Help was a semi-finalist for the MSN Short-Form Storytellers Challenge. Rob was a panelist in the Festival and Eric was taking meetings with different producers. We hit it off, and, after I showed them a couple more episodes, they offered me a partnership with My Damn Channel in November.
Could you tell people a little about your series?
Self-Help is a comedy about a self-conscious 20-something’s inner dialogue brought to life. I play the patient and therapist of my character’s mind as he struggles to make the transition to independence and adulthood. The idea behind the series was to shine a light on the neurotic way we handle different issues like career, dating, sex, lifestyle, etc., as well as on the conflicting relationship we sometimes have with ourselves.
Where did the idea originate, and how has the show changed through the development process?
I shot the pilot for Self-Help in October 2012, but it wasn’t even a “pilot” back then. At the time I was just shooting random sketches with some improv friends, and that particular sketch seemed to get the most attention in my Facebook community. A few different people encouraged me to turn it into a series and make more episodes, so I took their advice. Since then, I’ve kept my development process pretty open. Sometimes I write about a random funny thing I’ve caught myself doing, other times I dig deep into the things I’m most insecure and vulnerable about. The series is ironically therapeutic for me. My hope is that it will offer the audience a similar catharsis knowing they’re not alone with these issues, in addition to making them laugh.
What has it been like working with My Damn Channel?
Working with My Damn Channel has been a privilege. They are totally supportive and collaborative, and, as a new content creator entering the scene, I feel lucky to earn that trust. It’s kind of a relief being able to focus on the content and then having a platform like My Damn Channel to take the reigns on the business end, i.e. marketing and distribution. I’ve worked with a few different people at the company getting the series ready for launch, and I’ve had a positive experience with all of them.
The first episodes are very insular to the main character, as he's basically talking to himself. What issues will he be tackling in the rest of the season and beyond? Will we ever see any other characters?
Right now I’m totally immersed in exploring the main character’s relationship with himself, as weird as that may sound. It’s the foundation of the series and after shooting seven episodes, I still feel like there’s a lot to cover. That said, if I feel like I’ve sufficiently explored that relationship, I could definitely see the series opening up to the outside world and other characters. Maybe that’s what season 2 will be about, if the series goes that far.
What advice do you have for indie creators looking to develop their ideas and get them out into the world?
Continue to improve your content and collaborate with others. I got abnormally lucky in that I was able to create a series on my own and get it picked up by a multi-channel network like My Damn Channel. Again, NYTVF had a lot to play with that. But it’s much easier getting your content out into the world when you have a network of like-minded collaborators supporting you and doing the same thing. So keep honing your craft to make yourself valuable to others, then start connecting, collaborating, and supporting. In the spirit of taking my own advice, feel free to connect with me if you’re in the LA area. I like to know what people are working on.
Be sure to check out the first episodes of Self-Help, which premiered March 18 on My Damn Channel (new episode posted each Tuesday). You can also find out more about Danny Abrahms at any of the following locations:
Check out previous downloads here:
Drama Advice - 3/13/14 | Advice from Chicago - 3/10/14 | Unscripted LA Panel - 2/25/14 | Drama Development - 2/20/14 | MSN Development - 2/12/14 | Casting - 2/5/14 | The Network Development Process - 1/29/14 | History Development - 1/15/14 | Comedy Formats - 3/18/13 | A&E Pipeline - 4/3/13| Fox Script Contest - 4/10/13 | From Film to TV - 5/17/13 | Lifetime Unscripted - 9/4/13