Recently, I had the opportunity to sit down Allen Sowelle and Joshua Feinman, director/writer and producer/actor, respectively, of our innovative web series, Front Seat Chronicles:
So Allen, Josh–
What inspired you to create Front Seat Chronicles?
Allen: I got the inspiration for the series from a short story written by PIC Executive Producer Mohammed Bilal. The story was on a pivotal moment in a young man’s life, and it reminded me of the numerous discussions in my own life, whether dealing with a family tragedy or a personal relationship – we’ve all had them. And the car seemed perfect – somewhat captive, but more importantly as a metaphor for transition, moving us from one emotional chapter to another in our lives.
They other thing (that was) important to me was to expand the narratives. We reached out to our friends, asking them to contribute either as writers and/or directors. The result was a wonderful cross-section of simplicity and sincerity given life by the incredible actors who joined our cast.
Josh: Nobody likes to hear about the struggles of an actor. Even other actors get sick of it. The truth is acting is like any other job. The entertainment industry is like any other industry. In fact, acting is like a lot of other jobs in the sense that you are the owner, manager, salesman and the product all wrapped up in one. That being said…..the reason I got involved in Front Seat Chronicles is because I am unemployed right now. It’s ironic that my episode is about unemployment. When Allen proposed the series to me over breakfast with both of our growing families I was instantly drawn to the idea and here’s why:
1. I’ve got lots of free time right now. (yes even with a new baby) I’m not working.
2. a chance to act, direct and write which in turn can help me get work in the future.
3. I am interested in producing and I knew that this series could be done simply and effectively with little or no budget, calling on favors and utilizing the talent we have worked with over the years.
4. I want to help people and make a difference and this series can do that.
Why tell this story now?
Josh: Why tell this story now is a good question. I suppose you tell it now because its no longer the story of strangers. Now its the story of your neighbor, your best friend, your father. We all know someone struggling to make ends meet. By hearing their stories we can help them and ourselves and people all over.
Allen: This particular episode unfortunately still reflects the reality with the lives of too many Americans. While not as dire as the deepest years of the recession, too many folks have given up or are severely underemployed. Many of us have hung on a prayer of follow-up interviews, call-backs, or some other promise, only to come up empty or passed over for another applicant. I wrote this to remind people they’re not alone.
How can viewers use the film to improve their lives?
Allen: It was always our intention to impact the quality of people’s lives by providing quality information, resources they can access and utilize immediately. Thus, with each episode of Front Seat Chronicles the viewers will have relevant content, links, blogs, localized info the Beelocal app, again content that inspires, informs and more importantly is actionable.
Josh: My first idea was that viewers would be able to write in their own stories. Maybe even some of them get produced in the series. The series can help your life by opening up your situation to the experiences, successes and failures of other people going through the same or similar events. The series should start discussions and provide relief to those who need to know they are not alone.