On the west coast is a small town girl from Waxahachie who is overloaded with excitement.
A nontraditional experience in the world of entertainment fueled Keylee (Koop) Sudduth to take her passion into her own hands. She then, along with her husband, created a newly launched web series.
The 2007 Waxahachie graduate has spent the better part of the past year counting down the days on Facebook until “Home” is available for everyone to experience. Keylee and her husband, Micah, wrote, directed, starred and funded the project, which was also featured during the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival in New York last April.
“Micah and I are so unbelievably excited to release 'Home' to the public,” Keylee said. “More excited than we were for our own wedding — seriously — we poured our hearts and souls into this show and to finally be able to put it out into the universe and share it with others feels so surreal.”
The two Texas lovebirds moved to Los Angeles six years ago and attempted to make an unfamiliar place "home." In between day jobs, sparse acting roles, improv and writing classes, they also studied admirable artists and realized they all had one thing in common: They were all multi-hyphenates.
“It means someone who does several jobs, especially in the entertainment industry,” Keylee explained.
As the two talented actors longed for stardom, they collaborated their creative capacities and created a comedic, semi-autobiographical series. Keylee explained moving to Los Angeles with a dream of acting can feel disheartening at times. She also noted booking roles these days has become more about followers on Instagram to schedule an audition.
“The work, when we got it, was great and helped to pay the bills,” Keylee elaborated. “But honestly, it’s not that fulfilling as an actor to play ‘girl on the couch selling a cell phone’ or ‘man who wins the chicken finger lottery’ in a 30-second advertisement. It’s fun; don’t get me wrong. But not that fulfilling.”
So, Keylee and Micah took a risk to advance their careers.
Instead of soaking in the darkness of failure and insecurities on the coach, the couple decided to put all of their energies into a show that reflected what they have gone through to get to this stage of life.
“'Home' is sort of a love story, an ode to some of the darkest years of our lives in L.A. – and in hindsight, the brightest,” she elaborated.
Keylee listed shows like “Fleabag,” “The OA,” “Atlanta,” “The Mindy Show,” “LOVE,” “Crashing,” “Girls” and “SMILF,” and noted they were all created, written and sometimes directed by the actors that play the show’s lead role.
These are key examples that influenced Keylee and Micah to begin the path to indie films. She then named “Workaholics,” “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend,” “Flight of the Concords,” and “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” which were originally created as small independent, low-budget web series — just like “Home.”
“The system has changed,” Keylee emphasized. “As actors, and as people wanting almost any career in this day and age — opportunity is something you have to absolutely create for yourself. You are the only one who can work to ensure your own success. It's not up to anyone else. It's up to you.”
The couple emerged into episodic television, where they challenged each other to write a more extended narrative, which converted to the long-term goal to create “Home.” The theme of the show took a year and a half to solidify and reflected the first years as newlyweds, moving to Los Angeles to pursue acting careers. The premium episodic dramedy series includes a total running time of 85 minutes.
“Home” reveals the challenges they faced through a comical and dramatized lens. It took nine months to write the script, and a total of three years to solidify. The series was shot in December 2016 and took years to save the funding.
TIME TO CELEBRATE
The first-time filmmakers never thought about film festival submissions, but went for it anyway and the results have been shocking.
“Home” was featured in the new online works category at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival along with five other submissions. Keylee described the New York festival, founded by Robert De Niro, as “well-respected and a prestigious platform.”
The series produced by Bob Billiams Productions also won Best Web Series at the LA Indie Film Festival, 2018 Official Selection for the ITVFest and Official Selection by LA Web Fest.
The first season of “Home” premiered Thursday on the website, hometheseries.com. All six episodes can be viewed from the website for free and can be shared via Facebook and YouTube at youtube.com/c.bobbbilliamsproductions. To stay up-to-date on "Home," visit https://www.facebook.com/thebobbilliams.
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Ashley Ford | @aford_news | 469-517-1450