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Sunday, Sep. 21, 2014

JACKSON GIRL TAKES "ACTION" IN HOLLYWOOD

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Thursday, January 10, 2013

(Photo)
Alisha Peats as Skylar on the set of Redwood.
I grew up in Jackson. At the age of thirteen, I volunteered at the Humane Society of Southeast Missouri. When I was seventeen, I bought my first car at Cape Girardeau Honda. And when I was eighteen, I drove that car 2000 miles to Los Angeles.

Now I've been a City of Angels resident for four years, and I've recently wrapped production on the web series that I wrote, produced and acted in. It's called REDWOOD, and it is a dramatic vampire-genre series which was made with $18,000 (a shoe string budget by Hollywood standards.) We raised the funds through crowd source funding on Kickstarter and about 10% of the money came from Southeast Missouri locals who are my Facebook friends and decided to show their support after seeing my frequent postings. I am very grateful to have such amazing friends.

The show is about a vampire, Max, who keeps a sick young woman alive by feeding her his blood. But it is a risky arrangement. The young woman's brother is a vampire slayer who would kill Max on first sight. So they must keep their arrangement a secret or risk losing both of their lives.

Even though we were working with very little money, I wanted the show to LOOK and SOUND top notch. So the budget was split between renting good lighting, sound, and camera equipment and hiring professional actors. Our cast includes Rane Jameson (CSI:New York, Suburgatory, The Young and the Restless) and Mark Berry (Castle, Criminal Minds, Lie to Me). Casting was a three-day process but I think the end result is pretty awesome.

However, it was not all smooth sailing. The Kickstarter campaign was slow to pick up momentum and there were a few times when I honestly did not think we were going to be able to raise the funds. And with Kickstarter, if you don't reach your goal, you get NOTHING. Then once we had the money, it was difficult to find crew members who were willing to go on location without getting paid big Hollywood bucks. Once we had a good crew assembled, people told us there was no way to film six episodes in seven days. Everyone was very eager to tell us what we COULD NOT do. What was IMPOSSIBLE. There was a lot of negativity and doubt that we had to ignore.

But here we are. The first season is completely wrapped and in post-production. The first episode airs next week on YouTube and Vimeo and it will also be viewable on our official website (www.redwoodtheseries.com). From there I plan to get us on KoldcastTV and BlipTV, both of which are kind of like Hulu for web series. I'm really going to be focusing on getting the show out there to as many people as possible on an international level. It is my hope that we get corporate sponsorship for a second season.

I think the moral of the story it to just DO IT. If you have something you believe in, no matter how many people tell you it can't be done, just DO IT. Prove them wrong. And just because you are from a small town, doesn't mean you can't do big things.



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