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  • They Both Die at the End – General Review
    Summer break is the perfect opportunity to get back into reading. Adam Silvera’s (2017) novel, They Both Die at the End, can serve as a stepping stone into the realm of reading. The pace is fast, action-packed, and develops loveable characters. Also, Silvera switches point of view each chapter where narration mainly focuses on the protagonists, […]
  • My Favorite Book – Freshwater
    If there’s one book that I believe everyone should read once in their life, it’s my favorite book – Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi. From my course, Queer Literature under Dr. Bill Albertini, I discovered Emezi’s Freshwater (2018). Once more, my course, Creative Writing Thesis Workshop under Professor Amorak Huey, was instructed to present our favorite […]

Josh Schwartz combines music and drama to create addictive web series

TheWB.com and MySpace.com recently launched a new digital series called ‘Rockville, CA’ created by Josh Schwartz (‘Gossip Girl,’ ‘The O.C.,’ ‘Chuck’). The show debuted on March 17, and there are already 10 episodes. Two new episodes are put up every Tuesday and are streamed on both Web sites 24 hours a day. The series takes viewers on a journey with a group of twenty-somethings who gather regularly at the fictitious Club Rockville to hear live music, blow off steam, fall in love with strangers at the club and then talk about how and why it went so terribly wrong. The two main characters are Deb, played by Alexandra Chando (‘As The World Turns’) and Hunter, played by Andrew West (‘Greek,’ ‘Privileged’). Deb is an attractive, young A’amp;R rep who is responsible for talent scouting and finding new bands to sign to record labels. Hunter is a semi-geeky yet mysteriously attractive, opinionated, music lover who has trouble with girls and getting into clubs. The witty banter between Hunter and Deb is intriguing and entertaining. They have a love/hate relationship but at the end of the day they seem to become good friends who enjoy each other’s company while hanging out at the club. West described the plot with one word: ‘Awesome.’ ‘The show revolves around the drama and comedies that these characters go through and their romantic interests with each other,’ West said. ‘The focus of the show is on Deb and my character Hunter who meet in the pilot episode. Throughout the series the viewers watch them and their pursuits with others and each other and to see who they will end up with, each other or someone else in the club.’ Other recurring characters include Shawn (Bonnie Burroughs), the woman with a tough exterior who owns the club, the goofy, obnoxious Chambers (Ryan Hansen), who believes he ‘co-owns’ the club, Callie (Jelly Howie), the hot new waitress who struggles to find the right guy and Syd (Matt Cohen), who is a mysteriously, quiet guy who plays in a local band and is the love interest of Deb. The characters are all involved with the music industry and they all become connected by either working, playing in a band or simply hanging out at the club. ‘I love the material,’ West said. ‘I had never done a web series before so it was definitely new to me, but I took a look at the script to see what the characters were about and Josh Schwartz did not disappoint. I read the pilot and it was such great writing and my character Hunter was so much fun and had such a great personality in the scripts and I had a very clear vision of who this guy was so I was totally excited about it.’ Aside from Deb, Hunter and the club workers/goers, the show also focuses on a band for each episode. Indie favorites and up-and-coming musical acts appearing on ‘Rockville, CA’ include Kaiser Chiefs, Travis, Phantom Planet, The Duke Spirit, Eagles of Death Metal, Earlimart, Frightened Rabbit, The Kooks, The Little Ones, Lykke Li, Nico Stai, Passion Pit, White Lies, Anya Marina, Bishop Allen, The Broken West, Cass McCombs, Lights, Oppenheimer and The Republic Tigers. ‘White Lies were incredible,’ West said. ‘We get to meet the bands and talk with them and they hang out on set while we’re shooting. I show up to work and then by 9 a.m. or 10 a.m. the band is rockin’ out. I forget that I’m working and feel like I just stepped into a concert.’ The show is packed with entertainment whether the band is performing or one of the characters are once again encountering an unlucky love situation. However, once you finally start to get into the show, it ends. Five minute long episodes can either work or be ineffective, and West thinks it’s the perfect amount of time for ‘Rockville, CA’ to run. Still, I wish I could see more. Getting into the series is easy, but you have such little time during each episode to get to know the characters, and when it comes to an end it almost shocks you. ‘It’s interesting because it’s this new revolution of entertainment that people are kind of playing with right now,’ West said. ‘Not many people are watching TV anymore; they are watching online videos on YouTube or reruns on the Internet. People are testing out these web series and I think it’s a form of entertainment that fits well into the way people’s lives are working today.’ Having the show be web-based provides many opportunities for fans of ‘Rockville, CA’ to learn more about the cast and musicians by offering many extras on the site. ‘It’s very viewer friendly,’ West said. ‘You have extras that you can look through at your leisure and you can tune into at any time. You don’t have to wait for the DVD to see all the special features. It’s all right there when you want it which is nice for the viewers. It’s a fast paced way of putting entertainment out there.’ The full episodes are posted on TheWB.com and MySpace.com with special features including behind-the-scenes photos, links to featured musical performers, entire live performances by each of the 20 artists appearing on the show as well as green room interviews, production diaries and character pieces. To West, doing an online series is much different from television series that he’s used to filming. ‘Shooting ‘Rockville’ reminds me of working on an indie film shoot,’ West said. ‘It’s all shot on location, there’s a smaller crew and there’s only one director as opposed to shooting a television series where you film on a sound stage and change directors every day. Shooting ‘Rockville, CA’ is just more fun because you spend more time with everybody and get to dig in and really get to work on the material with a group of people that you’re close to. It’s definitely a more intimate feel and it has a really good creative atmosphere.’ Make sure you check out the last 10 episodes and the two new episodes premiering next Tuesday.

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