Toronto’s ACTRA and Social Media Web Series

IRL IconBy: The Press Pass

On September 10, 2015 at The IYA Studio in Toronto Bobby Del Rio and Amanda Jane Smith gear up for the first IRL the Series shoot. The small studio feels cluttered with Tony Babcock working in the office at the back, and hair and make up set up on the table next to him. The two women work on finishing Celeste Bruno’s hair while Smith, who’s also in the scene, runs around greeting actors and getting everything finalized. The kitchen separates the office and make up from the set. Del Rio works with a key crew setting up the scene with full lights, a Black Magic 4K camera, and a sound technician. Del Rio focuses only on directing and setting up the scene, and any questions outside of this Del Rio answers with, “that’s an Amanda question.” The same answer, repeated several times throughout the day, refers immediately to Executive Producer Smith.

Once the scene is lit and actors wired for sound, Del Rio stands right next to the camera studying the monitor. Smith and Bruno settle in, and Del Rio instructs them to repeat one of their lines back and forth to each other. The exercise, meant to charge them for the scene, goes on right up until Del Rio yells, “action!” This director’s push reminds one how much hard work goes into acting.

The scene is part of one of the first episodes for IRL, but clips of this will work into the Indiegogo Campaign video. “[This episode] is perfectly emblematic of the aesthetic of IRL,” explains Del Dio, “because they’re looking at these lives but it’s the disconnect between real life and the perception of life online.” The episode shows two straight guys looking at a lesbian couple on Facebook, and then cuts to the couple’s personal space, as they deal with the heartbreaking challenge of trying to have children. The juxtaposition of these two scenes aim to sell the series for what is it to potential viewers and contributors.

In Real Life (IRL) is a web series looking at, ‘the intersection of social media culture with contemporary society.’ The truth on how social media is entrenched into our daily lives is not a new concept. This is especially evident in the previous generation of critics currently citing the negative effects of social media on today’s youth. Anyone can Google the countless political cartoons, visual art, and social experiments on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter damaging society. The irony is it’s these same social media tools that make these old media criticisms go viral. The whole concept gets incredibly meta.

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