Clovis West grad makes Web show with a little help from her friends

The Fresno BeeOctober 21, 2013 

Clovis West grads Kelsey Long and Karolina Sivas prepare to shoot a scene.

RICK BENTLEY — Fresno Bee Staff Photo

LOS ANGELES — One thing Clovis West High graduate Karolina Sivas has learned while making her Web series "Broken At Love" is how to get a lot out of a little.

Webisodes don't generate much cash — if any — so that means counting on friends and family to help keep production costs to the barest of minimums.

It's all part of the guerrilla style of filmmaking that has allowed the local actress to create the Web series about college senior Vivienne "Vivie" Taylor (Sivas), who gets to meet her celebrity crush, professional tennis player Holden Gregory.

In the case of filming the season finale, it means fitting a cast and crew into an apartment that is only a few feet larger than a walk-in closet.

Sivas isn't complaining. The apartment belongs to a cast member willing to open his door to the production. All of the actors have donated their time, and even director Ivan Silvestrini offered his services while in Southern California visiting from Italy.

"It feels like you can do anything," Sivas says of the community effort that goes into making each episode.

Sivas didn't set out to be the creator, star, writer and director of an online series. As part of her acting classes at USC, she made student films. When she graduated, she decided to take those skills and make something for the Internet that would spotlight her acting skills.

Her efforts began to open doors.

"It turns out I got to meet a lot of people I never thought I would meet," Sivas says. "I had agents submitting their clients to me to be in the project."

One of those actors is Sharon Farrell.

A Web series is a long way from the days when Farrell appeared on '60s and '70s TV shows such as "Gunsmoke" and the original "Hawaii Five-O." The 73-year-old actress had taken a break from acting in 2000 and saw the Web series as a way to get back in front of the cameras.

"When I decided to start acting again, I found out my agent had died. I knew I was going to have to start all over again. I saw this show on YouTube and thought it was great," Farrell says.

Farrell's not the only veteran actor willing to donate time. The cast also includes Tony-nominated Marcia Rodd, TV actor Ben Reed, international model Renee Suran, former professional tennis player Vince Spadea and "So You Think You Can Dance" contestant and "Dancing With the Stars" professional dancer Dmitry Chaplin.

Sivas also has given acting newcomers, such as Clovis West graduate Kelsey Long, some on-camera experience. The pair have known each other since they shared a French class in high school and now they play best friends in the online series.

On the set, Long moves to a spot on the couch next to Sivas, who is making final checks on the script while Silvestrini is moving furniture in the cramped space to clear a spot for his camera. Sivas said she is happy that Silvestrini volunteered to direct the episode.

"I really don't care to direct. Acting is my favorite thing to do," Sivas says. "I am also glad that my mom and some of the other actors have started helping to produce the show."

All of the volunteer work has taken some of the pressure off Sivas, who admits that her expectations were so low when the Web series started that she never expected to do more than one scene.

Now, she has fans pressing her to make a third season. Sivas hasn't made up her mind on whether the series will continue because, she thinks, at this point the show has surpassed the amount of attention and response she could have ever imagined.

Sivas plans to take a few weeks to recover after the second season is wrapped. That's when she'll decide on a third season.


Show info

New episodes are posted at 7:30 p.m. every other Thursday, which means the third episode will be available this week. Go to youtube.com/brokenatlove or brokenatlovetheseries.com to see the webisodes. Sivas will be in town at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 23, for a special screening of the upcoming episode at Eureka Burger, 7775 N. Palm Ave.

 

TV and movie critic Rick Bentley can be reached at (559) 441-6355, rbentley@fresnobee.com or @RickBentley1 on Twitter. Read his blog at fresnobeehive.com.

The Fresno Bee is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service