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"Failing Upwards": Comedy of Unemployment!

Michelle Bonilla and Matt Crabtree web series premieres September 3rd

By Elia Esparza, Latin Heat Online
Published on LatinoLA: August 24, 2012


"Failing Upwards": Comedy of Unemployment!


Latin Heat Online

Actor Michelle C. Bonilla (The Closer, Slip Away, ER) who is also one of our favorite ALMA award-winning ladies, has joined forces with Matt Crabtree (NCIS) under the marquee of MCBMC Productions to launch Failing Upwards, a feel good comedy web series that premieres September 3, 2012.

Since when is unemployment funny? We'll get there. Woody Allen once wrote: "Show business is not so much dog eats dog, as dog doesn't return other dog's phone calls." This is his opinion on unemployed actors and those working in the film and television industry. Bonilla and Crabtree know this no love reality all too well and instead have set in motion a web series that tackles our current unemployment issues and how its sad reality affect each and every unemployed person in America.

Failing Upwards is a timely social series that creates comedy out of heartbreak (how many times did we see it on Friends?), provides a chuckle to those who "pound the pavement" every single day; and ingeniously gives back to the job-seeking community by supplying online viewers with links to job source sites, discounts, tips and other relevant news topics of the day. I'm seeing the elements of a really cool show that offers more than entertainment by connecting its viewers with vital resources that could turn their lives around.

The writers/creators and stars of the web series are Bonilla who plays the part of "Celena" and Crabtree who gives life to "Charlie." Writers Deidra Edwards becomes "Annabelle" and Pip Lilly shines as "Pip." Thea Gill (Queer as Folks) and Stephanie Erb are also featured along with Gerald McCullouch who guest stars.

With the current influx of job-related shows like A&E's Job Whisperer, Sundance Channel's Get to Work… to MTV's upcoming new series Unemployed… unemployment is the hot topic "du jour" that can only further heat up as we get closer to the presidential elections.

"We want to provide a respite," says Bonilla, "for working individuals everywhere. We know how difficult it is to get a job and it can really dampen someone's spirit. It is our goal to be able to provide some levity to all those job seekers who 'pound the pavement' every day, make them laugh, and inspire them to continue on their searches."

On a personal level, I'm loving all of the web series' being produced. They are such a welcome change from watching the popular network and cable reality shows like Keeping Up With The Kardashians or The Real Housewives franchise, which all deal with wealthy people with little to no talent, with enormous budgets, dedicated to lucrative shopping sprees.

I asked Michelle Bonilla how long and how difficult a process it was to get her project to this airing point and she said that Failing Upwards was an idea started by both her business partner, Matt Crabtree and herself.

"As actors, we knew first hand the experience of having to look for work and constantly being 'unemployed'… until our next job!" she says. "We also knew (especially in this economic environment) that we were not the only ones who were dealing with this prevalent topic. So we wanted to create a show based on normal, everyday, middle class people of different social and economic backgrounds who find themselves dealing with unemployment. And, we wanted to make it funny!"

Bonilla went on to talk about the process of kicking around storylines, creating characters, and having writing sessions. "We brought other writers in who also happen to be part of our cast (Pip Lilly and Deidra Edwards), and together we wrote. This process was extremely fun and a joy to create… so it wasn't difficult in that aspect."

And when I asked about the most challenging, difficult aspect, she answered without hesitation, "financing, of course." "We relied on donations, favors and started an internet campaign to help us get rolling. It takes a village to get a [quality] project produced.

So if she had to do it all over again, would she? "Yes! Yes, because I got to co-create something that was ours to create. And, that is a very freeing and powerful feeling."

Failing Upwards appropriately premieres on Labor Day, September 3, 2012!

Season one consists of six 5-7 minute webisodes and will air every two weeks to coincide with the due date of most unemployment benefit forms, starting Monday, September 3, 2012 on the Failing Upwards YouTube Channel and on their official website, http://www.FailingUpwardsTheSeries.com

Bonilla and Crabtree invite Latin Heat readers to follow them on Twitter @Failing_Upwards and to LIKE them on Facebook.

Edited by Casandra Moreno Lombera

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