Keri Pina
February 23, 2016 7:48 am

As HelloGiggles continues to grow, we’re expanding our reader-writer contributor model to include web-series auteurs, lending our platform to support up and coming filmmakers as they create new worlds for us to get lost in. Providing a platform for you to shine is why HelloGiggles was founded in the first place! Here are a few auteurs we are excited to introduce you to.

Starting us off is Lisha Brooks and Dan Robert, co-creators of Beards, a web series about fictional couples where one person is using the other as a “beard” to conceal their true identity. Best friends, Brooks and Robert have been co-creating characters and their corresponding worlds since they first met freshman year of high school. “At our alternative performing arts high school, we would often perform characters at open mics and at events like our annual Halloween celebration Oktoberfest, where we actually first dressed up as and inhibited the characters Trixie and Jethro and what would become Hugh and Vivian,” says Robert, referencing characters from their series Beards. Brooks and Robert developed a system of improvising and recording dialog, which they would later transcribe and craft into scripts.

Although each episode has the common theme of people hiding from who they really are, being closeted impacts each couple in a different way, revealing the complexity of the issue and the depth of the characters experiencing it. This comes as no surprise since Brooks “loves writing fully realized women,” to which Robert adds, “I’ve always said that I would be elated to only ever write for, with, and about women. I think the women we’ve created here are challenging, strange, funny and bold, and I’d want to have a drink or go on a hike with all of them.”

Brooks continues, “Love and romantic relationships are very strange, because for lots of people, that’s their whole universe. So it’s crazy when that universe is built on lie. It’s both devastating and hysterical, and that’s the kind of world we like to create for our characters.” Robert agrees, adding, “You want people to laugh. If you get them laughing, you have them in the palm of your hand. It’s fun to take their focus and ask them to drop in with the character and see them in a moment of pain or making a tough decision.Those are the moments we love and relate to. And if we are able to have a moment, to take a second after laughter to feel for the character, that’s a take away I’m very excited to have happen.”

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Jessie Komitor, creator of People of New York

‘People of New York’ is a female-driven mockumentary series that offers a window into the life of a distinct New Yorker in each episode, all played by the series’ versatile creator, Jessie Komitor.

Watching Komitor transform into a new person in each episodes is as fun for her as it is the viewer. “I love playing Lauryn” she says, referring to her New York socialite character – a clueless, self-aggrandizing entrepreneur with a trust fund, “I can really take my time and let my mind go blank, and it’s so fun to see what I end up saying and it always surprises me what comes out of my mouth.”

On relating to the other characters she plays, Komitor admits to puppy gazing at dog parks like Joey (a misunderstood young man from the Bronx), and says Nancy, her overbearing Jewish mother character is, “in her blood.”

When asked his favorite character, producer Mark Berger explains “It changes! I’ve seen them so many times, then catch something new. In this moment, I would have to say it’s [the immersive theater artist] Joan, but I would definitely have another answer in an hour or tomorrow, and to me, that’s the best part about the whole series.”

“I’m from New York, born and bred, and every time I meet someone I’m seeing so much,” says Komitor. “I think usually when people pass people in the street it’s a quicker judgment. So I was inspired to take a closer look, not only seeing what they’re presenting but what happens when the camera is still rolling, and what’s the real stuff underneath that they don’t confront themselves.”

Berger says, “It’s been amazing to watch Jessie work on this for a really long time. It’s never easy to create your own work and she’s been able to put pen to paper and idea to screen and created something I think enters the conversation of great female comedians who don’t take no for an answer. That’s the greatest lesson to be a part of as a producer, we were going to do this no matter what, and the response has been incredible.”

It’s easy to see from a producer’s standpoint why working with a talent like Komitor is so special. But it’s only after more questions about their process that Komitor reveals that aside from having a great creative and professional relationship with Berger, the two are also dating. (#relationshipgoals, y’all.)

Says Berger, “Jessie is the most passionate and driven person I know. Seeing her piece together ‘People of New York’ has been inspiring, and as soon as we saw an opportunity where I could work on it with her, I eagerly jumped in. It’s amazing to get to work with your best friend, and we’re so excited for the projects we have coming down the pike.”

Our hearts just grew five sizes!

Be sure to tune-in on Friday, Feb 26th for Jessie’s social media take-over as her hilarious characters
and the launch of the series on our video page!