(main Photo by Caitlin Custer)
Lauren Reeder is not only starring as “Lauren”, the main character on the “faux-reality” web series Living With Models (LWM), she is also the writer and creator. I was thrilled when Lauren took time out as she prepares Season 3 of LWM for an interview with The Whole (S)tory.
In our interview we go deeper into the story behind the show, Lauren’s creative process, and more.
The Whole (S)tory (TWS): According to your IMDB Bio, you studied drama at the University of California Irvine, how did you go from being on stage to creating a web series?
Lauren Reeder (LR): I was a bit of a late bloomer in the performing field. I was always more of an athlete my whole life. That was my identity. When I did a musical later in high school I realized I loved performing and also loved to sing. And didn’t suck at it! This new passion for theater coincided with applying for colleges. So, I went with a major in Drama at UCI because they have such a wonderful musical theater program there. However, I have always been OBSESSED with film and television. I realized I enjoy acting in film and television so much more (most of the time). So when it came time to choose what to pursue, I chose LA.
TWS: You are the creator Living With Models (LWM) as well as the writer and lead actress in the series, how do the different positions compare? Do you prefer one to the others?
LR: I’m ONE of the creators and writers. My co-creator and co-writer Jeff Newman would appreciate a mention here I’m sure (wink). I’d say the positions are more of a hybrid on our project. I am executive producer, which means I do all of the things an EP would, combined with all the other things we can’t afford to hire people for, really everyone is doing 17 gajillion jobs. As for what I prefer…I suppose I can’t really choose. I don’t really get to compartmentalize enough to enjoy one more than the other. I’m always doing all of them.
TWS: When coming up with LWM you obviously had a creative vision and brought that vision to life, what advice would you give to others who want to do the same?
LR: Hmm…good question. Because, it’s hard. It’s really friggin’ hard. It’s hard to create, fund, execute, film, edit, distribute, etc. ANYTHING from start to finish. I’d say, “Keep your eye on the prize.” (Original)
TWS: Where do you come up with locations where the episodes in season 1 and 2 are shot? Those are some pretty great houses the characters live in.
LR: Haha! Thanks. Well, we really lucked out Season 1. We wanted basically any nice house, and we were reaching out to anyone who might have an in. This lovely beach house opened it’s doors and we all fell in love with it. We thought nothing could top it. Then, Season 2 we got a castle. So… Season 3 we knew we couldn’t go bigger and better than a castle, so we decided to take everyone outside into the wilderness. Big Bear is really beautiful but…let’s just say everyone missed the castle. Not that we didn’t love the rain. ALL OF THE TIME.
TWS: I really love how each season has one main storyline with little stories branching off and they are all similar but different enough to keep interest, what was the inspiration for LWM? How do you come up with ideas for each new season?
LR: The inspiration came from an actual living situation I was in when I first moved to LA. Now, some of the characters are nothing like the actual people, but the experience of living with actual models is weird enough in itself. I wrote a script and sent it to Jeff to see what he thought. He loved it, and the Season 1 characters just developed naturally between the two of us. As for the little storylines: we just love every single character so much. Most of the time we actually want to figure out what happens to all of them.
TWS: It’s really nice that each episode is only a few minutes long, it makes it easy to watch if you only have a few minutes to kill. What do you like best about having a shorter formatted show?
LR: I’ve gotten used to writing in this format. I think it helps you to “trim the fat” in other writing as well. You learn to get to the point as quickly as possible without making it feel fast to the audience. It’s actually pretty wonderful.
TWS: You said the main character, Lauren, is based off of you, how did you come up with the other characters? How do you go about adding new characters into each new season?
LR: Yes, she is based off of me. We are not the same. But, when I play her, I basically always react the way I would in the situation. So, it’s a really easy gig. After we created the Season 1 characters, the new characters just came so naturally. We needed backstory to each main character and just decided what new character would add the most “drama” to each dynamic.
TWS: I won’t say how each season transitions into each other because I don’t want to give anything away, but I really like how your character is surprised about what’s going to happen at the beginning of each season. Do you think she’s nervous not knowing what’s about to happen to her in the coming months?
LR: You mean for Season 3? She doesn’t know that Season 3 is a go…at least in Living with Models world…she’s definitely surprised again. The fun thing about Season 3 is that we’ve evolved her into a much stronger person. Her reaction is definitely different this time.
TWS: You and the LWM crew recently ran a KickStarter campaign to fund season 3 and you were successful, congrats! How does it feel to have so much fan support?
LR: SO GOOD! That KickStarter campaign almost killed me. When it was done I cried some really nice tears of joy.
TWS: Can you give us any hints about what’s coming up on Season 3 of LWM?
LR: Hmm…I’ll just give you some fun words/phrases to pique your interest…Island. Polar Bear. Jail. Kissing. Dominic. Pregnant. Hatch. Teri Polo. Speedo. Big Trouble in Little China. Walkabout. Hero Cliff. Model Games. Kissing. Bow and Arrow. Robby. Rain. Boat. Decisions.
TWS: Are there any other projects you are working on you want the readers to know about?
LR: Most of the cast, Myself, Katie Savoy, Justin Ray, Tim Chiou, Jessica Bailey, Chris Reidell (LWM Season 3), and Chris Dinh (LWM Season 3), are in this terrific horror film making the rounds at festivals right now. It’s called Crush the Skull! As for me, I’ve got a movie I produced on last year coming up at the “Austin Film Fest”, and I’m writing a pilot. Woo! But, first, editing Season 3 of LWM.
Here for your viewing pleasure, Lauren, the first episode of Living With Models! Let us know what you think in the comments below 🙂