Right Hand Man
Hello. Chris Rebbert here. Thanks for joining me. I wanted to take some time today to talk about a very special project I’ve been involved with called Right Hand Man.
What’s a Right Hand Man, you ask? First of all, have some patience. You’re six short sentences into this blog post and you’re already demanding answers? Jesus, let me take some time to ease you into things, to entice you. I was trying to be formal and polite by introducing myself. Oh, “It’s the 21st century,” you say, and you have neither the time nor the attention span to be enticed, to read a self-indulging blog post about a rookie project with no known talent attached to it. You need a picture – an animated gif if possible, or a sound byte or a video. Alright, fine. Here’s a video so you can have your quick laugh. But do me a favor, if you like it, please come back and read the rest of this article.
Funny, right? We really hope you think so. It’s stupid, and kind of cheap, but it makes us laugh. And, well, that’s just a taste of what’s to come.
So let me really tell you about Right Hand Man. RHM is a six episode comedy web series about the unlikely friendship that emerges between two young men named Michael and Will. Michael (portrayed by Michael J. Mejia) describes himself pretty accurately by saying he is “part Tina Fey, part Beyoncé and part wookie.” He’s a hefty but lovable gay Chicano man having trouble finding love in the highly sexualized and superficial Los Angeles dating scene. One desperate night he decides to take his efforts to the next level by swallowing some artificial courage (drugs and alcohol) and just going for it in a hands-on dance club, grabbing every body part in sight. His ambitious tactics bring him some new friends, but also earn him some dangerous enemies, one of whom curses his grabby right hand to be possessed by the spirit of Will (voiced by D.F.W. Buckingham), a wise-cracking, annoying, and 80’s-movie-loving former frat boy slash hopeless [straight] romantic.
The series follows them as they try and coexist long enough to piece together what happened so they can reverse the curse and get things back to normal, but it hopefully goes a little further than that. Hopefully – if we’ve done our jobs – you’re watching an odd little friendship grow between a man and his hand.
Look, it may seem like a silly idea, but we really worked hard on this. We initially got the idea while we were joking around at a Tisch Asia party last summer, but it quickly snowballed into something we couldn’t stop talking about. We (Will Buckingham, Mike Butler, Amy Hartman, Matt McRee, Michael Mejia and myself) kept having more and more ideas until we knew we had to do something with it. It was one of those ideas that’s just got some natural momentum to it, like there’s just something in the idea that makes it the gift that keeps on giving. The momentum increased even further when the idea to cast Michael J. Mejia in the lead role came about. He was the only one of us who – at the time – had any real acting clout, and he’s such a great, vibrant and physical person/performer that the whole series just developed around him. And who’s the polar opposite of Michael Mejia? Well, we had him too. That’s our good friend D.F.W. “Will” Buckingham. He’s everyone’s favorite loud-mouthed, idiosyncratic, too-dumb-to-be-offensive man-boy with very distinct tastes. The two of them couldn’t be any further apart and both on paper and in real life they make a great odd couple you really have to experience to believe.
Once we got our players in order, we sat around and came up with some fantastic supporting characters. First, there’s Leezo (tentatively portrayed by our good friend Nevil Jackson), a suave homosexual man’s man with an answer for everything. Then, there’s Janet (casting still in process), Michael’s clingy next door neighbor who gloms onto Michael’s good nature and is obsessed with the idea of being his “fag hag.” And finally, there’s Silvanus (portrayed by yours truly, Chris Rebbert), an exotic man of mysterious heritage who is slowly and painfully discovering his homosexuality and attempting to wrestle its existence with his strict, deeply-entrenched religious beliefs. There’s also a dog, but I don’t want to give too much away.
Anyway, once we had our characters and the general dramatic situation, we took some time to sit back and outline a journey for these players, one where all five of our main cast members would see themselves completing some sort of arc and remain relevant to the story. Every time we felt like we were coming up against something predictable, we’d throw a Right Hand Man style wrench in the spokes and mix things up with something unique that would help expand this cartoonish and magical world. We spent weeks planning this out, then, when the time came, we split apart and wrote our respective episodes. But that wasn’t the end. We kept getting back together and re-wrote and re-wrote until everything was as tight as possible. As far as we see, there’s not a single opportunity for a joke that’s wasted and not a plot hole to be found in this series of scripts. All of our emotional beats are there and we butt up against some great comedy set pieces that can only exist in this world we’ve created together.
And now the time has come that we want to make this thing and share it with the world. That’s where you come in. First off, check this video:
That’s the pitch video we put together for our IndieGogo campaign. We put about 1/4 of the time and preparation into that one as we did the actual series, and you can see what we were able to achieve with just that. If you followed the link at the end of the video, it would have taken you to our IndieGogo page, where you could see our whole video gallery (including the g-rated cut of the IndieGogo video, as well as a few other shorts like the one at the top of the article), and you can also see all of the love and support we’ve received so far. It’s amazing to me that as of right now, 3:40pm on Thursday, July 31 2014 we’ve received $6,426 towards our $15,000 goal and I and the rest of the Right Hand Man team can’t thank our contributors enough for the generous amount of money they have given.
But we still have a long way to go. $15,000 may seem like an arbitrary, nice-and-round number that we just pulled off of the top of our heads, but shooting a web series (or anything independent) in Los Angeles costs money, and this is a super ambitious project for such a small budget. We’ve got a lot to pay for: locations, costumes, props, meals for the crew, camera equipment, lighting equipment, sound equipment, post-production (sound work, editing, color correction, special effects, possible animation), and so much more it’s ridiculous. We’re shooting 60 pages of material here. That’s almost as long as a feature-length film.
Before I go any further, I hope I don’t sound like I’m begging. I hope I don’t seem ungrateful for the money we’ve already gotten or the support we’ve received, I just really believe in this project. While working on this project I’ve come to realize that the other five people involved in this are some of the best, most hard-working, talented people I’ve ever met, as well as some of the best friends I’ve ever had. They’ve entrusted me with the role of showrunner, but I mean it when I say that this project belongs to all of us. More than anything I want to raise that money because my good friends here deserve to have their hard work and great talents rewarded, and I really think that if we can make this thing right, we’ll create something that a lot of people can enjoy and enjoy for free. What we’re trying to do here is essentially make a free television show of ten minute episodes and put it out there for the world to enjoy, then if they want to see what else we have to offer, hopefully we can make a career out of it.
So again, I really want this project to succeed, because my friends deserve it. If you donate to our cause, you will essentially be investing in us as filmmakers and people. The six of us have taken some pretty big risks and dedicated a lot of time to Right Hand Man, and now we’re asking you to just help us along on our journey. If you do, we [probably] will never forget you, and some time next year when Right Hand Man takes the Internet by storm, you’ll be able to say that you helped it happen.
Until next time, love and stuff.