Hampstead web-series Missing Something could be Britain’s answer to ‘Girls’
- Credit: Archant
Filmed in a Hampstead flat, and produced by South End Green-raised Melissa Johnson-Peters, Missing Something is part of a new breed of short and sweet web-only sitcoms for today’s concentration-challenged 20-somethings.
The surreal comedy, which owes a debt to both US series Girls and Arrested Development, and home-grown sitcoms The Office and Spaced, follows interning media graduate Rachel as she wrestles with dodgy landlords, histrionic flat-mates, absurd jobs and a tragic love-life.
Her quarter-life crisis, familiar to many young Londoners, crams the unfolding action into 12 episodes of three to five minutes.
Johnson-Peters says it’s made by young people for young people on subjects the “Y generation” can relate to.
“It’s Girls, meets Spaced, but put through a compressor. It’s intended for the social media multi-tasking generation, tweeting on one hand with a screen in the other.
“We’ve made the episodes as short as possible because the online audience have short attention spans and there is so much material competing for that attention. You only have a short amount of time to grab people before they click off the page.”
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Johnson-Peters, who attended Camden School for Girls, adds: “It was created, devised, performed, filmed and produced by young Londoners facing a quarter-life crisis themselves.
“Having gone to uni, you are qualified to the hilt but the recession hit, things got a bit harder and there’s nowhere to go. We are seeing the humorous side to that element of trying to forge your own path amid uncertainty about career.”
An English graduate, who previously sold the film rights of books to TV companies before moving into freelance film production, Johnson-Peters celebrates the immediacy of a form that can be shot and broadcast within weeks using technology and a skilled crew that can produce high-quality production values on the cheap.
“Web series are an exciting development that haven’t taken off here as much as the States.
“It’s exciting for young creatives because TV is a closed shop with the big four broadcasters which makes it hard to get into or get funded.
“We developed this ourselves and funded it through an online kickstarter campaign from members of the public so weren’t constrained by any broadcasting organisation.
“Web stories are a great way to get past the financiers and make your own thing. Lead actress Leila Sykes also co-writes the show, so it’s a fantastic opportunity for her to get her talent and work out there and seen because, if you are not an established name, it’s difficult to break through and make yourself known.”
The series, marketed entirely through online platforms such as Twitter and Facebook, has picked up good reviews and been named among the best female-driven UK web series.
Johnson-Peters says it’s a good to boost female-centred stories which traditional broadcasters tend not to develop.
“It’s about a young person in London with surreal elements about her work and love life and shows female stories in all their glory, good and bad. It’s sometimes hard to get female-centric films past broadcasters because there’s still this belief that female stories don’t make money, but that’s not really true any more.”
There are plans for a second series and hopes of further recognition or even being picked up by conventional broadcasters.
“I love longer form content and storytelling and it would be fantastic to go longer form or be picked up by broadcasters, although there’s not that precedent in the UK.”