At the Bar with Audrey Kelley

Audrey Kelley is a writer, actress, and owner of Kelley Co. Productions.  Her recently completed project, Audrey & Dre, has made international waves for almost a year now, drawing in a devoted following before the first webisode/mobisode was ever even aired.  I had the privilege of completing this interview with her on May 16, 2011.

So, Ms. Kelley, I guess my main question is...how?  How did it all get started?

I started my company, Chrysopoeia Enterprises (d/b/a The Kelley Co. Productions) in July of 2008 to provide a platform for myself and others to create and present original, creative projects. In the world of fantastical alchemy, the transforming agent that turns metal into gold is called "chrysopoeia." I named my company Chrysopoeia because we create something out of nothing. An analogy would be that a jewelry maker takes pearls, gems and precious stones, then strings them into fine jewelry. If my company were into jewelry making, we would take the earth and make the pearls, gems and precious stones, then string what we made to make beautiful jewelry.

As you can guess, I’m very interested in your new show, Audrey & Dre. How did the idea come about? Who are the writers and directors?

I wrote Audrey & Dre to learn how to make a film. I have other projects on the table that I'm looking forward to producing, but without any producing experience under my belt, I had to create a project to teach myself the process.

Sam Cacas’s blog post about your show got me wondering about a few things. You said the leads were written not to be race-specific; this pairing just happened to fall this way. What was the casting process for the male love interest?

The Audrey & Dre script could have been played by anyone of any race. The original script had no references to race. It is a story about 2 people in a relationship. If you're a person - no matter what color - then there's a good chance you can relate to the themes.

After posting the first Audrey & Dre previews on YouTube and getting a strong response from people who were very interested in the mixed race element, I decided to address the issue in 2 episodes of the 13 episode web-series (it would be 18 episodes as a mobisode). In order to do this, I interviewed several Asian-American males and did some research on the social history of Asians in America. Since I'm African-American, I was already familiar with the issues facing black women in America.

Andrew Chen was cast in the role of "Dre" after two auditions where he had to perform several scenes and dance. Aside from nailing the acting scenes, Andrew did very well in his dance portion of the audition and felt comfortable getting close to his partner. Audrey & Dre are a married couple with several intimate scenes so that was important.

And while we’re on the subject, could you tell me a few things about Mr. Andrew Chen? How did you meet? What’s he like as a person? And what’s it like to work with him?

I met Andrew at his audition. He was great to work with and very open and receptive to the process. This made it easier for us to build the scenes we were creating.

You also mentioned in Cacas’s post you didn’t realize there was such a desire to see a Blasian pairing. This usually astounds a lot of people. What was the discovery like for you?

Sam Cacas, Andrew and a handful of other actors who worked on the project opened my eyes to some of the experiences and feelings Asian-American men have while living in and being citizens of America. The most interesting thing is that a lot of their issues parallel those of African-American women. We discuss this in the film.

How has your life changed since you unveiled this project?

My life has been full of work, work, work, work, work since I started this project. My company is not big enough to support myself all by itself, so, I have a full-time day job. Producing films is also a full time job, especially when you don't have a lot of money. Lack of available funds stretched the production time of this project to 2 1/2 years. I saved up for each step of the way and learned as many computer programs as I could so I wouldn't have to pay someone money I didn't have to work on the film. Part of me can't believe the project has made it this far because it was such a long - and often times grueling - process.

Because of this process, I am definitely a much more focused and disciplined person than I was 2 years ago.

Your new show is very 21st Century in terms of delivery. How did you decide upon the mobisode format?

Where can a small company with no money make a splash? In new media. It's pioneer territory at the moment. If you have your wagon, go claim some land...and if you don't have a wagon, build one! The film will also be released on the internet.

How long will each mobisode be, and how many can fans expect?

As a Mobisode, Season 1 of Audrey & Dre is 18 episodes. Each episode is 2- 4 1/2 minutes totaling 58 minutes.

As a Webisode, Season 1 is 13 episodes. Each episode is less than 5 minutes.

Without revealing spoilers, of course, which actors can fans expect to see on the show? What was it like getting all these people together to work on this project?

The stars of the project include Zuri Alexander (Audrey), Andrew Chen (Dre), Hollie Hunt (Dr. Carol Fischer), Simone Sullivan (Dr. Hathaway) and Adam Friedman (Laurent). We also have an amazing group of Vloggers played by Gerald Chung (Adrian), Andrew Michael Clements (Benson), Amanda Chism (Chloe), Maren Swanson (Debbie), Alex Chu (Denison), Annie Hsu (Eileen), Corey Browne (Eugene), Adrian Quihuis (Justin), Matt Fox (Kyle), Anne Alti (Liza), Major W. Latimer (Monte), Destiny Aja (Renee), Kimiko Gelman (Shannon) and Donal Thoms-cappello (Zeus).

I love working with groups in a team. Working with the cast and crew was the highlight of the project for me.

You’ve mentioned you’d like to continue working within the Blasian genre. Which formats do you have in mind for future projects? Do you foresee a film in Kelley Co. Productions’ future? Are there any specific channels (e.g., HBO, Showtime, etc.) which you’d like to see your work on?

I do have Season 2 in my head for Audrey & Dre. It's been very fun to see it playing in my head. We'll see how Season 1 goes. I just might be able to write Season 2 which has lots of twists and turns. I would be happy if any channel picked up Audrey & Dre.

Last but not least, could you tell me a little more about the upcoming projects? I see on your company site that you Kelley Co. intends to produce a horror film and sitcom.

The next project on the table is a short-film thriller. I have enjoyed studying Alfred Hitchcock and mystery thrillers to prepare for that one. There is also a beautiful piece that I co-wrote with the very talented screenwriter, Asia Winston. It's a webisode. If we could secure funds to produce that one, it would be a gem!

And I sincerely hope you do.  I, for one, cannot wait to see what you do next.  Thank you so very  much for stopping by the Bar.

Comments

  1. K, I swear you know the most awesome people.

    Ms. Kelley, I will certainly be checking out your series. Thank you for this interview.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Honey, I wish I did know this woman in person. She's outstanding.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

This blog is strictly moderated. Everyone is now able to comment again, however, all Anonymous posts will be immediately deleted. Comments on posts more than 30 days old are generally dismissed, so try to stay current with the conversations.