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Alexander W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts | 501 S. Sapodilla Ave, WPB, FL 33401

THE MUSE

Alexander W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts | 501 S. Sapodilla Ave, WPB, FL 33401

THE MUSE

Student series “The King of the Streets” hits the web

Theatre+senior+Michael+Joseph+poses+for+the+poster+of+the+web+series+King+of+the+Streets%2C+directed+and+co-written+by+theatre+senior+Donnie+O%E2%80%99Connor.+Joseph+plays+the+character+Jethro+Johnson.+
Photo courtesy of Donnie O’Connor
Theatre senior Michael Joseph poses for the poster of the web series King of the Streets, directed and co-written by theatre senior Donnie O’Connor. Joseph plays the character Jethro Johnson.

For many, the chance to make it on the big screen is a dream; but for theatre senior Donnie O’Connor, that dream is his reality. Starting out as an amateur filmmaker in his sophomore year, and having had six other projects released since, O’Connor’s most recent project that he directed, co-wrote, and acted in is titled The King of the Streets, and it made its debut on Youtube on Oct. 1.

“My first film that I made, which was in sophomore year, was named Evan and Hunter, and there were two characters there named Jethro and TJ,”  O’Connor said. “The audience really loved those characters so this web series is a spinoff of them.”

Even though the series is based off the characters of his first film, O’Connor says that not having watched the film prior to watching the series would not be an issue. It was something they had to craft around in order to make it a stand-alone project.

“We wanted to add so many references to the first film, but we know that something we made sophomore year wouldn’t appeal to a bigger audience,” O’Connor said. “We tried to make it that you don’t have to know that they came from a prior movie in order to enjoy the series. It’s like a whole new fresh thing, just with adopted characters.”

In addition, the genre of the series changed in comparison to the film the characters are based off of. Rather than focusing on slapstick humor, a large feature of  Evan and Hunter, the series will take a more meaningful approach.

The cast of King of the Streets sits together to discuss filming plans.
Photo courtesy of Donnie O’Connor
The cast of King of the Streets sits together to discuss filming plans.

“This is focused a lot more on what they’re saying and the situations they’re getting in rather than what they’re doing to make you laugh,” O’Connor said. “We took a lot of inspiration from The Office and stuff with awkward humor.”

As for what the series is actually about, it is going to be a mockumentary about the egotistical character Jethro, or as he is better known in his neighborhood as, the ‘King of the Streets’, and the troublesome situations he and his friends get into.

The creation of the series wasn’t your typical walk in the park. It took five months of pure writing and planning, and later, four weeks of actual filming made possible through O’Connor’s connections to the producer, Dart Drew. On top of the rigorous preparation, there were also a few complications that forced them to extend production.

“There were plenty of days where I was planning on sleeping in until I got a call saying we needed to film,” cinematographer and Dreyfoos alumunus Jarret Feldbaum (16) said. “I had to figure out how we were going to shoot this thing according to plan, and there were a lot of different people we had to rely on. If one person doesn’t show up or if a stunt doesn’t go to plan, there’s a whole list of things that have to change.”

Feldbaum has worked with O’Connor for many of his projects throughout the years, ever since Evan and Hunter. Jethro and TJ, two characters in Evan and Hunter and the main characters of King of the Streets, were played by theater seniors Michael Joseph and Mekiel Benjamin.

“Another challenge is dealing with actors who are too funny,” Feldbaum said. “There were a bunch of times where we would be filming, and the actors were actually getting me to laugh behind the camera. My body would shake a little bit and it would show up in the footage and we’d have to start over because I couldn’t help myself.”

Theatre senior Michael Joseph (left) prepares to act in a scene for King of the Streets.
Photo courtesy of Donnie O’Connor
Theatre senior Michael Joseph (left) prepares to act in a scene for King of the Streets.

For Joseph, personal complications included getting into the right mindset.  

“First it was getting the energy up on camera,” Joseph, who starred as Jethro, said. “Because we filmed it like a documentary, we had to be more energetic. If you felt like you were already strong, you had to be stronger than that.”

In contrast, Benjamin noticed the trouble some of the cast and crew had with punctuality.

“It was another thing with people making it on time” Benjamin said. “There were times where people came in late and we had to wait until that person came because we were filming their scene.”

The lead actress, Alyssa Glenn, who had been cast online from the website, Casting Actors, was from Georgia and had to be flown down to Florida in order for her to be able to be in the series. Despite complications like this, the series was still able to pull through nicely.

“Overall, I thought it was very well put together and organized,” theatre sophomore and cast member Quinn Doyle said. “With the creative team and production staff they had, it was a lot of fun.”

Like every show or movie, there are moments when one scene needs to be done multiple times, or something gets in the way and the scene is stopped abruptly. O’Connor describes how once when the three main characters of the show ‘bully’ a kid in a comedic way, the police all of the sudden showed up, because someone in the neighborhood thought that an actual fight had taken place.

Theater sophomore Quinn Doyle (left) spends time with fellow cast mates while shooting King of the Streets.
Photo courtesy of Quinn Doyle
Theater sophomore Quinn Doyle (left) spends time with fellow cast mates while shooting King of the Streets.

“The cops were really nice about it and they were just laughing since you could tell it was a film shoot because of this giant microphone and stuff,” O’Connor said. “The cops wound up staying for like 15 minutes just to watch what was going on so that was really cool.”

On a less dramatic scale, Benjamin’s favorite outtake was when they were filming a dance video.

“We were all dancing and it was getting real late and we all wanted to go home,” Benjamin said. “There was one dance move where I dropped down to do a body roll, and I hit my pelvic area and they didn’t catch it [on camera]. It was just terrible, I did it for no reason. “

Despite dealing with location issues, long  day of shootings, as well as multiple outtakes for one shot,, the cast came together to make their production a success.

“I really hope they make a season two and beyond,” Doyle said. “It’s a great show, it has a great story to it, and the extension of it from the movie Evan and Hunter just ties it together very well.”

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Daniela Esquenazi, Culture Editor
Communications senior Dani Esquenazi is entering her third year on The Muse as Culture Editor. She likes cats, cartoons, and anything that will make her laugh hard enough that she cries or can’t breathe. Preferably both. She is friendly and will talk to you about anything and everything, even if she doesn’t know about it. Yet.   If you would like to contact this staffer, you may reach them at [email protected]
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