Denayja Reese, CRYING IN PUBLIC

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***The Thursday Interview is a showcase for creators, innovators, troublemakers, small business owners to share news and insight about the creative impetus and inspirations behind their latest project, launch or business.

Put out a call to your community  and watch how the community responds. As an event curator for  Her Agenda, a career and lifestyle hub for millennial women, I belong to #TheAgenda Slack community.  Women from all over the world and various industries share resources, struggles and triumphs.  A call seeking interviews introduced me to Crying In Public and  executive producer Denayja Reese.    And now here’s your chance to find out about more about a series that captures the glee and uncertainty of being new to New York.

Name: Denayja Reese

Occupation: Executive Producer of events and short form web series. I also make music videos and short films.

Motto: Mind your own business.

Tell about the moment(s) of inspiration that led to Crying In Public?
CIP was inspired by a few things. First, Courtney Case, the creator was frustrated with auditioning and waiting to be cast in other people’s projects. I, at that point, just wanted to help her and do more writing so I joined the project. We wanted to create something that felt relatable, was funny and that women could connect to.

How did you connect with creator Courtney Case?
The divine forces of the universe brought us together at 11 years old. We’ve been best friends ever since and that was 15 years ago. It was amazing doing this project with her because she’s so talented and smart. I’ve always been in total awe of her in that ‘that’s my best friend’ sort of way. I never saw myself as a Creative until this project and if it were not for her deciding to take the vulnerable moments of her life and turn them into this series, I never would have.

Crying In Public – Sneak Peek from CIP Web Series on Vimeo.

The production process for the web series is…
Our process was a little different. We’re more than a little different though, so it made sense. We wrote the web series over the course of ten days in Lima, Peru, specifically booking the trip with the purpose of writing the series. We wrote the second draft (the first being the one Courtney wrote before I came along) on the roof of our Airbnb in Barranco, a jerk broke up with me via email, we spent 4 days in the breathtaking heights of Cusco and did draft three in a cafe in Miraflores.

To produce the actual show, we were blessed to have Mark Beckerman, Courtney’s partner as our Director of Photography and he put his crew together. After a few casting sessions and calling in many favors, we had the most supportive and talented cast. The series was shot in six shoot days over five weeks in NYC. I lived there for 7 weeks to produce the show. Editing was intense because I went back to Chicago for the summer, so we did a lot of back and forth on the phone. The show came together beautifully. While it is not perfect or exactly the way we thought it would turn out, that is what it means to create something. I’m really proud of what the show became.

Share your favorite and least favorite production memory from season one
My least favorite moment was when we were kicked out of our location on a day that was supposed to be really good. We made the most of it and it was a great lesson in rolling with the punches but it sucked. My favorite memories are from the screenings we did in Chicago and NYC. Seeing people laugh at the show and being with all of the people who supported us through the process was incredible. I suggest anyone producing a web series plan to do a screening.  It really brings it all full circle.

What’s the backstory to the cringe funny Panty Guy?
That is an actual person who frequents the bar Courtney used to work at in Bay Ridge. It was definitely one of those ‘awkward to share with the world but willing to do it for the laughter’ moments. I am still really proud of Courtney for putting it in there.

My favorite episode (so far)…
My favorite, episode four, hasn’t aired publicly yet. We’re working on a partnership with HerAgenda.com to re-release season one including the second half, through the site. I wanted to embrace ‘thinkpiece’ culture and celebrate our desire to have women feel connected to the story. One of their writers will be writing a piece to go with each new episode. I am really excited about it! We haven’t figured out a date yet but it’ll happen sometime this Winter.

Fast forward to January 2017, what news would you love to be sharing about the series?
We submitted to Seattle Webfest so hopefully we’ll be able to say that we won haha!

This is your chance to shout out to your Crying In Public family and fans….show your love!
We could not have done this with without the support of our community. To everyone who helped us create and produce the show, thank you. To everyone who watched it, we hope that it made you feel less alone and more brave. Thank you and keep crying in public!

It’s a good time to catch up on season 1  on Vimeo.  You can also get Crying In Public news via Instagram and Twitter.

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