Life After Fat, a new web series kicking off its first season, is centering its show on young, 20-something-year-olds dealing with insecurities, mostly body issues. It’s not all serious though. There’s a quirky, facetious comedy element that adds edge and a little bit of reality for the not-so-perfect young adults.
Writer/creator Julia Pugachevsky, has taken this unrealistic weight loss happiness that is fed into thousands of women, and making her protagonist Maddie, experience some of the realities that comes with losing weight. Pugachevsky and director Jason Hood spoke to Red River Noise about launching the web series, and why they’re directing it towards young women.
1. What inspired you to create a show, especially one that heavily deals with body issues?
Julia Pugachevsky: I used to intern with this publication called xoJane and wrote a lot of articles, and a lot of the articles were about body image and that sort of topic. I also knew a lot of friends, or had a lot of people that I knew who struggled with body image, including myself. And I wanted to explore that.
2. Were there any shows that helped you come up with this concept?
Pugachevsky: I feel like a lot of the shows that I’ve seen about weight loss have been kind of one sided. Like it’s always a show about someone [who] loses a bunch of weight, and then they feel really confident, and then happy and then everything’s perfect. And I don’t actually think it’s the case.
3. As the writer of the show, how do you keep the topic of body issues interesting?
Pugachevsky: I constantly try to write ideas down. Even my personal experiences are definitely in there [script] as well. I read a lot of stories online as well, about people speaking about their experiences. I’m just trying to capture what I feel and see as a 20 year-old…and trying to keep it as authentic as possible.
4. Being the director of this show, how did you become involved with this story that is so female driven?
Jason Hood: I think female stories are more interesting because they’re not told as often. I remember when I was in college, and I was talking to people about their film projects they would always start it with the same phrase, ‘well there’s this guy,’ and it’s always about a guy. And it’s a little more interesting if you can take it from a different perspective.
5. What are some of the challenges to creating a web series?
Puguachevsky: The way it’s [the story] structured is pretty lose because we only have five minutes per episode. So we can’t really develop a character in the way that you can with a real television show. So that’s sort of been a trick, and we kind of have to write it in a different way. It’s more like vignettes; it’s not like a Breaking Bad type thing where the protagonist has one goal. It’s a little more loose.
6. So for someone who is interested in starting his/her own web series, how did you make that happen?
Pugachevsky: For me it was sort of a chance meeting. I went to this random party where I didn’t know anyone and I started talking to this girl and we were talking about different shows we liked. We talked about Girls on HBO and shows like that. She mentioned that her boyfriend graduated from the UT film school. I didn’t have an idea for a web series at that time, but I knew I had to contact her within two weeks otherwise she would forget who I was. The idea just sort of came to me and I was like ‘of course.’ We started to film the pilot and crowd fund the rest of the episodes.
7. What did it feel like to have the first episode completed?
Puguachevsky: It was great! Watching it for the first time all I could think about was ‘omg we were filming this in the apartment, and there was a cat and it was meowing’ and you think about all the stress of it, and it’s sort of hard to see it from a fresh perspective, but I am very happy with it.
Life After Fat is currently launching their first season on Vimeo and Youtube. The independent production was in collaboration with Indiegogo, a crowd-funding site for movies and shows, to help fund their project. For more information on the show, the people behind it, and upcoming episodes visit their official website. Contribute to the continued production to Life After Fat here.