by Lorie Lewis Ham
Scott Davis is the Creator/Writer of The Disappointing Life of Cassie Starr, a new web series that will be set in and filmed in Fresno! We sat down with Scott to learn all about it.
KRL: What is the premise of The Disappointing Life of Cassie Starr?
Scott: Cassie Starr, to be blunt, is a failed TV and stage actress that moves back to her hometown to live what she considers to be a “normal” life. That’s where the show starts, but what it’s about is this woman that thinks she’s better than everyone but comes to realize she has a false view of herself and needs to deal with her own issues. We’re creating a show that will be very funny but deeply relatable, heart felt, and maybe a little soul crushing.
KRL: How did you come up with the idea for this show?
Scott: A friend of mine forwarded me a message from a new website (Candivan) that was looking for show pitches for a new streaming platform. Justin McAleece and I had been working on a few projects together and enjoying the team-up, so we decided to write up some pitches. We had a few different ideas. One was a fake reality show that would have been fun but maybe too expensive to produce. But this idea of Cassie Starr came from a situation I had where I was really annoyed by something and realized I was the one being a jerk. So we brainstormed some ideas, brought Shalyah into the project and slowly put together the first episode.
KRL: How did you end up connecting with the lead actress Shalyah Evans?
Scott: I’ve known Shalyah for many years, first meeting her in New York and then becoming good friends with her when she moved to LA. She’s a very funny actor and writer, known for MTV’s Girl Code and Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls (she went to the set of Wonder Woman and became a real warrior queen!) As soon as this idea came up, I thought she’d be perfect and called her up to see if she’d be interested in creating it with us and making trips up to Fresno to film. She loved the idea and is really bringing her own experiences and feelings to the project. She’s really fun to write for and her dog, Lola, will also be a big character in the show.
KRL: Can you tell us more about Candivan, who will be producing the show and more about how that came about?
Scott: We submitted our pitch through their website and went through a few different stages of the process and were ultimately chosen as one of their launching shows. Candivan is a new social streaming platform for creator-centric web television series. We’re super excited to be working with them. So far they’ve been very supportive and it seems like their main goal is to let creators keep creative control of their projects, which is pretty rare and exciting. All the shows that will be coming out on their platform this summer are very different and interesting and are not only entertaining but deal with important social issues.
KRL: Was that the plan from the beginning and if so why web series?
Scott: We pitched it to Candivan for their website and each episode will be about twelve minutes long. I could see it as a thirty minute television show possibly, but as it is being made now, it’s a shorter form. I think we’re at a point where the line is being blurred between web series and television series. Adult Swim makes television shows that are fifteen minutes long each, and some are constantly shared online. Facebook and Youtube are making thirty minute series that are right up there in quality with anything on cable TV. You could even argue that Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon shows are web series. It’s kind of an exciting time to be making stuff!
KRL: Why did you decide to set the series in Fresno?
Scott: The story of the show is that she moves back to her hometown, and both Justin and I live and grew up here. Justin owns a production company in town, BLARE Media, and is very experienced shooting in the area. I’m excited to use the city as the backdrop for this story. In LA, everyone is filming everywhere, and it’s looked at as a nuisance. In Fresno, people think it’s cool that you’re shooting a show at their coffee shop or on their street (Which it is! It’s super cool!). We’re hoping everyone in America will be able to see their hometown in Fresno, while also filling the show with very Fresno-specific things for the locals to be excited about. Keep a look out for local celebrities!
KRL: Will it always be filmed in Fresno?
Scott: Yes. Until season three—The Disappointing Life of Cassie Starr: Hawaiian Nights.
KRL: I understand you hope to use some Fresno actors. Do you know yet when you will be auditioning them? Where can actors go to watch for that announcement?
Scott: We’re figuring out our timeline right now. We know we want to use local talent throughout the show but unfortunately at the moment we don’t have the info. We will make sure to post everything on Facebook, in the Actor group, and anywhere else we might be able to get the word out. It’s going to be a really fun project, so hopefully people will be excited about it and want to be part of it.
KRL: Being from Fresno yourself, please share some of your background: schools growing up, were you born here, etc?
Scott: Yes, I grew up in Fresno, graduated from Clovis West, majored in theatre at Fresno State, did a ton of community theatre, then moved to Montana to work for the Missoula Children’s Theatre for about four years, touring all over the US, Canada, and Asia. After that, I moved to LA and lived there for eleven years performing comedy and writing and producing on TV shows. Now I’m back in Fresno for a while.
KRL: When and how did you first get interested in writing/producing TV shows?
Scott: In LA I started working on reality shows at first (The Bachelor, Project Runway, Chef Academy) working my way up to a producer role and then moved over to comedy shows (Web Soup, Nerdist, Ridiculousness). When I first moved there, I started taking improv and sketch classes at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre, which was just opening up in LA, and I started writing comedy sketches and characters for myself. Then I just started writing all the time and really fell in love with storytelling. I was able to shift my producing jobs into more writing/creative jobs and eventually was spending all my time, whether pair or not, writing and running around shooting stuff.
KRL: What are all the shows have you worked on?
Scott: The Bachelor, American Inventor, Chef Academy, Project Runway, Project Greenlight, Web Soup, Ridiculousness, Upload w/ Shaquille O’Neal, The Nerdist, and a ton of web stuff for Funny or Die, College Humor, UCB Comedy, Defy Media, Buzzfeed, and more. I know I missed some there.
KRL: Do you know when the show will air?
Scott: It will start over the summer, but I don’t know an exact date.
KRL: Will it only be available on the Candivan website? Will there be a cost to view it?
KRL: I understand that there will be a Kickstarter. Do you have info on that?
Scott: Yes, there will be a Kickstarter to help the website launch and help produce our show and the other great series. I don’t have the information yet, but please check out the Candivan website for updates and sign up for the mailing list.
KRL: If people want to keep up on the development of this show, where can they find you online? Social media?
Scott: The best place to get information on our show and all the shows is at candivan.com. Please sign up for their mailing list. Also our show is on twitter @CassieStarrTV. Follow us for all the show information and updates from production and other fun stuff!
KRL: Is there anything you would like to add?
Scott: WATCH THE SHOW! Support local art. Help Valley natives make a really great thing that says, “Life rarely turns out the way we think it will, and that’s okay.”
You can find more entertainment articles, in our Arts & Entertainment section. Also, watch for our new mystery podcast coming soon which will feature the voices of local actors.