Do you suffer from binge watch syndrome? The likelihood you do is about 100%. If you're like me, then you take every opportunity to procrastinate from doing your work, and honestly, I don't have time for my charades anymore.
I recently discovered the solution to my problem: the web series, "Only in HelLA."
This YouTube based show with a play-on-words title features a new episode every Tuesday, ranging from 60 to 120 seconds per episode. The premise of the show is all the good, the bad, and the ugly that may occur on any given day in Los Angeles. Even if you don't live in LA, you're bound to find this show hilarious and incredibly relatable.
Who has time for hour long dramas or twenty minute comedies when you're constantly bombarded with school and work? HelLA is the perfect show to get hooked on: your commitment will not waver.
I chatted with the innovative star of the show, Rory Uphold, who also happens to be the writer and creator of HelLA, where she gave me the inside scoop on the shows second season, the production process for making online content, and some famous faces that show up in the episodes.
Caroline: Tell us the essentials we must know about your web-series, #OnlyinHelLA!
Rory: HelLA (pronounced hell-lay) is a comedy web series about my life in LA. I write, direct, and star in it, but I don’t do it alone. I have an incredibly talented crew of people who help make the show possible. We also put out funny/snarky tweets at @OnlyinHelLA and a cool line of clothing at www.OnlyinHelLA.com.
C: Where did your interest or motivation for writing and starring in your own web series come from? Have you always wanted to be an actress or writer?
R: Yes and no. I’ve always been an actress and a writer, I just never realized I was a writer until HelLA came out. I remember writing poetry and short stories in my journal when I was 12 but it was just something I did to express myself. Then I ended up singing and writing music, and even though I’ve had songs placed on TV shows and commercials, I still never thought of myself as “a writer”. Which sounds weird now that I’m saying it out loud… but I’ve always identified as an actor. HelLA came about because I wanted to give myself the kind of work I wished I was getting as an actress and in the process I realized that I also wanted to be a writer/director. I mean, I am a writer and a director. I go out for jobs for all three. So, yes and no… did I even answer the question?
C: Are the stories you are telling based upon your own personal experiences in Los Angeles or are they more loosely based upon the stereotypes people make about the lifestyle and personality type that embody LA?
R: Most of my episodes are based on real things that have happened to me or to my friends. Of course there are a couple that are exaggerations, but I’d say it’s a blend between a common perception of LA and then things that have really happened to me.
C: What has been your favorite episode to shoot thus far?
R: That’s a tough one… that’s like Sophie’s Choice. Okay, maybe the stakes are a little lower, but still, hard to choose a favorite. I loved working with Sophia (Bush) because she was game for anything (you have to see her episode to understand) and despite her decade plus long career on TV dramas, she’s super funny. But then an episode like “Dating in LA” was a blast because it was almost all improv and I got to combine super talented comedians with super cool digital talent. I could go through every episode and tell you why it was the best one, but I won’t.
C: Which celebrity that has made a guest appearance on the show been the most surprisingly funny?
R: Tuna (@tunameltsmyheart), hands down. That dog is legit so famous it’s funny. I don’t want to ruin his episode but I’ll just say it was a very meta experience and we were asked by a lot of people if they could take photos with him. Also, shooting with a dog is just funny. I mean, he’s going to do whatever he wants, when he wants, because it’s not like he knows we’re filming, so that was crazy. His mom and manager Courtney and Kara are so awesome and I love how they’ve used his celebrity to help raise awareness about adopting instead of buying animals. That’s not part of your question, but I feel like it’s worth mentioning.
*In case you didn't know, this is Tuna.*
C: Speaking of celebrities, how did you entice stars like Kevin McHale, Sophia Bush, and David de Lautour to appear on your show? (Despite the fact that it's incredibly hilarious.)
R: ...I’d like to say that I entice them because I make a funny show, that’s fun to make, and only requires a couple hours of their time, but you’d have to ask them. Everyone that’s been on HelLA has been so incredibly gracious with their time and their talents, and it’s been a truly incredible experience to work with all of these people.
C: What can you tease for season two? How does this season differ from your first season?
R: Well we cover all new ground this season…plus the cast is awesome. I got to take my time with season 2 so I think in some ways it’s just a little more thought out.
C: If you can envision your career and life down the road in 5 years, will you still be in LA? What will you be doing?
R: I will always be in LA, because this is where I’m from and where my family is… Ride or die! In five years hopefully I’m doing what I do now but for a lot more money and on a larger scale. I’d like to think I’ll always be making things on the web, but obviously longer form TV is definitely a goal.
How can you not fall in love with the concept of this show? Super cool celebs (like Brooke Davis from "One Tree Hill"!) make cameos that you certainly don't want to miss.
I can't stress how excited I am for you guys to watch, as I already binge-watched all of season 1 (which you can find on YouTube right now.) Make sure to watch the premiere episode of season 2 on January 26th.
This just in...if you're watching "Only in HelLA", your binge watch syndrome is no longer a hazard to you and your responsibilities. You will have time to do it all! That's a win for the procrastinators of the world, guys!