BlogTHAT: New Web Series Tackles Blogging Life
Jessica Bern is hilarious. Not just in toothpaste commercials (although also in toothpaste commercials); in real life, too, and especially on the internet. Which is why I was so beyond psyched to hear about BlogTHAT, the new web series she is co-writing and directing with fellow blogger (and business partner) Deb Anderson, and had to grill her about its every detail to share with you.
Morgan Shanahan:Tell me about your career in Hollywood and how it's lead you to The Internet, and ultimately BlogTHAT?
Jessica Bern: I was a stand up comic for 9 years and traveled all over the country performing. I appeared in about a dozen stand up comedy shows on networks such A&E, FOX, MTV and then became a very successful commercial actress. This gave me a very good idea of how things worked on the other side of the camera. I also studied acting and improv and wrote several scripts and one person shows. All that along with the non-stop rejection I've dealt with over the last fifteen plus years pretty much prepared me for this and everything else that is tossed my way.
MS: What was it about your blogging experience that made you want to do a TV show?
JB: Blogging literally saved my life and I wanted to share that experience as well as that of being a single mom and starting my life over at the age of 39, because I know there are many people out there who can relate to what I went through. After my ex and I separated, I quickly found myself alone as all our friends just disappeared and not in a "and they've still never been found" kind of way. They just didn't want anything to do with either of us. On top of that, my career suddenly fell off a cliff and I had no familial support as they all live on the East Coast. I was truly on my own, scared to death but I had to move forward. I had a 16-month-old child and I owed it to her to give her a good life and to show her that women can survive on their own. I ended up taping some videos about my life based on some essays I'd written and then I started my blog bernthis.com as a showcase for them. Within a year, I was up to my ears in the blogging/social media world and loving every second of it. I'd found new friends, a new family and I saw my life coming together again. I'd found my new normal.
What would you say to encourage non-bloggers to tune in?
JB: Although the show is about a blogger, and her engagement in social media, it also focuses on more universal themes such as relationships, parenting, starting over after a tragedy, and the idea that you never know where life will take you and that isn't always a bad thing. I've watched shows about people who do things I don't do but who life a live similar to mine and that is what gets me to tune in every week. I think BlogTHAT is something that a lot of people will relate to.
MS: So, the project is semi-autobiographical...did your husband really leave you for his mother?
JB: Let's just say they were "tight" ;)
MS: Do you see the Internet as the ultimate destination for the series? Where do you see this project taking you?
JB: I honestly don't care if the shows stays on the web or finds itself a home on network television as long as people see it and laugh so hard they want to see more and more.
MS: What gave you the idea for the kickstarter?
JB: My friend and fellow blogger Nichole Beaudry of In These Small Moments was the one who encouraged me to go for it. Ironically, at the time, we were both attending a sponsored event for bloggers.
MS: Was the experience what you have expected? How did your donors find you?
JB: I can sum up our experience using Kickstarter in two words: Blown Away. Our Kickstarter campaign was funded 90% by bloggers in 3.5 days. Our donors, 90% of whom are bloggers helped us get the word out via Facebook, Twitter and Google +. Deb Anderson, the co-writer of the show also reached to some of her personal friends via a letter written by her husband which made me cry it was so full of love and honesty and I sent a few emails myself but there's no way we could have done this without the help of this incredible community.
MS: So your fellow bloggers have been supportive?
JB: Very supportive. People are so excited for us.
I really am. Jessica and Deb are hilarious (check out their production company Two Funny Brains) and entrenprenawesome (I just made that word up -- it's a combination of entreprenureal and awesome).