Meet ‘The Troubadoors:’ a singing Web series sensation with SMU ties
Published: Friday, September 28, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, November 20, 2012 16:11
The music inside the Quarter Bar in Uptown Dallas was blaring when 26-year-old Haley Esposito decided to tell her friend Brina Palencia about her unusual idea for a web series.
“Hey!” Esposito yelled over the crowd and loud speakers. “Come here, I need to talk to you.”
The two friends spent the rest of night talking about Esposito’s idea of a musically outcast group of college students who, due to their melodic rival The Harmonics, are forced to sing door to door about America’s unusual holidays.
The night ended with both girls feeling motivated about the prospects of the idea.
However, when morning came, Esposito doubted Palencia remembered much of the conversation at all.
Esposito was wrong.
“I woke up that morning with a voice mail from Brina [Palencia] with a song that she wrote that night for the show,” Esposito said. “I was like ‘holy crap, we’re actually doing this.’”
The idea soon came to be called The Troubadoors, a weekly Web series produced by Esposito and Palencia’s production company Heal By Rain Productions. The show capitalizes on many of America’s outlandish holidays such as Native American Day, Labor Day and Halloween.
For Esposito, The Troubadoors was the creative outlet she longed for after years of being a talent agent left her artistically dry.
For Palencia, a prominent voice actor in the anime world, the Web series meant returning to her musical roots.
“I went to school for composing and this show gave me the opportunity to write just ridiculous songs,” Palencia said. “It’s what I love to do.”
To start the Web series, the two co-creators not only needed a talented cast, crew and writers but also needed money. A lot of money.
Enter Kickstarter, “the world’s largest funding platform for creative projects,” according to the company’s website. Kickstarter makes it simple for creative people like Esposito and Palencia to gather large amounts of money just by pitching their the series’ to the masses.
Espositio and Palencia wanted to raise $25,000 in just 40 days with their Kickstarter campaign.
Amanda Presmyk, The Troubadoors intern and junior at SMU, was chosen to head the campaign.
“To be honest, starting out I was freaked out -- that number seemed insurmountable to me and the fact that I had a responsibility to manage to the campaign online…it was really really daunting,” Presmyk said. “I never thought that there was the possibility of us not reaching our fundraising goals. One way or another — Kickstarter or not — we were going to shoot a season. That was never a question in any of our minds.”
As the campaign’s 40-day run came to an end, The Troubadoors raised $26,396, 105 percent of their original goal.
With funds in place, The Troubadoors went forward with season one’s production. While the series was originally planned for 15 episodes, the team was forced to cut the season to just nine episodes after one of the series’ regulars, Jonathan Brooks, was offered a job in Los Angeles working with Billboard Music.
“Jonathan [Brooks] called us and said ‘Hey, I’m moving to LA in a week,’” Esposito said. “By then we still had six episodes to shoot so we had to cram three weeks of shooting in three days. I still haven’t caught up on sleep.”
With season one under wraps, the cast and crew of The Troubadoors are looking ahead to the show’s second season.
However, with many of the actors peppered across the country for different acting gigs, season two will be much harder to coordinate.
For Tiffany Hobbs, who plays Camille Prescott on the show, Dallas has to be home for two years due to her recent signing with the Dallas Theater Center. Even though she is contractually obligated to stay in the metroplex, Hobbs said she’ll make it work.
“I don’t care if I have to take three weeks off next summer and live in LA,” Hobbs said. “Season two is going to happen.”