New web series Guess I'm a Ghost follows a millennial named Diane Egan (Kelsey Siepser) who dies, quite unexpectedly in a ride-sharing accident. The eight-episode series explores Diane's journey in the afterlife as she's forced to confront the person she was as a ghost haunting her former friends.
She learns that maybe she wasn't the best friend she could've been and that she has been wronged as well. The series also deals with death and social media and recognizing your past mistakes. It's a comedy.
We were able to speak with series creator, Chris Sullivan, about how his idea came to fruition. He did pretty much everything there was to do with this show. He not only was the creator but he is the writer, director, and producer of the show. See what he has to say about life, death, and storytelling.
Guess I'm a Ghost will be available for free on Vimeo on April 29th.
TheThings (TH): Where did the idea come for this small series come from?
Chris Sullivan (CS): The idea initially came from finding out about the death of a friend on social media, and seeing how people react and talk about the person in such a public way. I've always been interested in ghosts and thought it would be funny to make a show where the ghost functioned more as an annoying roommate then in a scary, horror movie way. It was originally a project for a web series class at USC taught by The Big Bang Theory’s Dave Goetsch. When I graduated I decided I wanted to expand it into a full series.
TH: Tell us a bit your background in film and production?
CS: I got involved in playwriting in high school, and decided I wanted to tell stories professionally. I went to NYU's Tisch School of the Arts where I studied Dramatic Writing and grew more interested in film. I made several short films, and my thesis film “Mopeds From Heaven” was seen in several film festivals.
I later became a member of the Obie-Award winning Youngblood playwriting group at the Ensemble Studio Theatre in New York. There, my one-act play “Carry the Zero” was produced as part of their Marathon of One-Act Plays, and my full-length play “Metro Cards” was produced in 2015. That year I also moved to Los Angeles for USC's John Wells Writing for Screen and Television MFA where I studied under teachers who've written many hit movies and TV shows like Cheers, Frasier, The Big Bang Theory, and many others. In 2018 my play Best Friend received an Encore Producers Awards at the Hollywood Fringe Festival.
TH: Considering the plot, would you call yourself a spiritual person?
CS: Hmmm...Sort of? I grew up going to church but was never really into it, and now consider myself agnostic. However, my mom is a medium who talks to spirits and I do believe in some form of afterlife where the dead can talk to the living. In my day to day life, I think I’m a pretty pragmatic person and don’t put a lot of weight into too much spiritual stuff. Not that you can’t be pragmatic and spiritual at the same time.
TH: What do you think happens to people when they die?
CS: I have no idea! And that’s a little bit of what the series is about. I think there is some other world our spirits go that can connect with our physical world in certain ways, but who knows.
TH: Was this always meant to be a short series? What are your hopes for it?
CS: Yes. The idea came from the web series class I was taking, and it was always meant to be viewed online with episodes that were as short as they could be for this story. Originally the episodes were going to be around 15-20 minutes long, but I know I hardly ever watch videos that long on my computer, and doubted anyone else would. I split up each of the three characters stories into two parts that are now around 5-7 minutes each.
We’ve been submitting to festivals and have already had some success. I’m hoping this will be something we can show people in the film and TV industry to help showcase our talents.
TH: How did you know Kelsey was right for the part of Diane?
CS: Kelsey was recommended to me from a friend who studied with her in the USC grad acting program. She was in the initial project and I thought she nailed the character.
TH: Diane is killed in a ridesharing accident. What other millennial culture do you play off of?
CS: One of the characters is a bad Tinder date Diane is forced to haunt. We also made this tactile, homemade Facebook world where characters talk to the camera as if it were a post. We poke fun at the way people perform themselves on social media vs. how they act in the real world. The character Courtney leads an online campaign to get the Uber driver fired, claiming Diane was her best friend when they really had a fraught relationship.
TH: What's next for you after this?
CS: I’m currently writing a dramedy TV pilot about a mother and son who are mediums trying to connect with a dead family member, loosely based on my mom who’s a medium. I’m also in the early stages a VR version of my short play Carry the Zero. I’m looking to sell scripts, get staffed in a writers room, and eventually, start a full-fledged production company.
TH: Where can people watch Guess I'm a Ghost?
CS: The series will be free on Vimeo April 29th. The pilot will premiere at the DC Web Fest April 12th, and the Los Angeles premiere is April 27th at the Skiptown Playhouse.
Guess I'm a Ghost sounds great and we can't wait to see it! Thank you so much for chatting with us, Chris! We can't wait to see what you do next.