"It Could Be Worse" Co-Creators Wesley Taylor and Mitchell Jarvis Chat About New Comedy Web Series (Plus Outtakes Video)
By Andrew Gans
"It Could Be Worse," the showbiz-minded, scripted comedy series co-created and written by longtime actor-collaborators Mitchell Jarvis (Rock of Ages) and Wesley Taylor (The Addams Family), is quickly becoming one of the most buzzed-about series on the web.
In fact, the series, which debuts weekly on Playbill.com and features a deliciously diva-esque performance from two-time Tony nominee Alison Fraser, was named Best Indie Series on welovesoaps.net for two consecutive weeks.
"It Could Be Worse," which concerns the life and career of hapless actor Jacob Gordon, played by Taylor, also features Adam Chanler-Berat as Ben Farrel, the aforementioned Fraser as stage star Veronica Bailey, Gideon Glick as Jacob's boyfriend Phillip Klein, Jarvis as agent Sam Atkinson, Tony Award nominee Nancy Opel as Jacob's mother Judy Gordon, Richard Poe as Jacob's father Leo Gordon and Audra McDonald as Jacob's shrink.
About the genesis of the series — there are currently ten episodes, each ten minutes or less in length — co-creator Jarvis recently told Playbill.com, "Wesley was developing a pilot episode for a series he called 'Veronica.' While waiting for funding to shoot a dummy pilot of 'Veronica,' we decided to shoot a series of short sketches based on personal stories of humiliation. The first sketch would be Wes' true story of humiliation that later became the 'Ladies Room.' A short later became the pilot episode for 'It Could Be Worse.' At that point our dummy pilot funding fell through, and so we set out to merge those ideas. 'Ladies Room' and 'Veronica' would merge to create the world of Jacob Gordon and 'It Could Be Worse.'"
Although it's obviously a labor of love for long-time friends Jarvis and Taylor, who met while co-starring in Broadway's Rock of Ages, creating a weekly series while juggling other projects has been a daunting task. Taylor said he and Jarvis spend over 60 hours a week editing the short episodes, adding, "We are a two-person crew, and I'm in almost every scene. It's really hard to wear all the hats we have to wear to make the series happen." Jarvis further explained that "Wes plans and organizes location, cast and scheduling, while my strengths lie more in technical preparation. I serve as director of photography and plot the shot lists. Wes writes the script, and I'm the structure police and keep us on track, big picture. We co-direct, co-edit."
That said, Taylor, who can also be seen on NBC's award-winning musical series "Smash," is thrilled with the success the often-hysterical series has already garnered and the chance to create work for himself and his fellow actors. "Being responsible for the kind of work you do and, of course, collaboration is the best reward," Taylor said. "It's an opportunity to play with all your friends, creatively."
And, what are Jarvis and Taylor's ultimate dreams for the series?
"We would like to pitch the series to cable, although the Internet is taking over entertainment. There are many shows thriving on web sources," Taylor answered, while Jarvis confessed, "The dream is for this alone to be our jobs."
Although no new episodes will appear for a few weeks, the co-creators have offered a behind-the-scenes look at "It Could Be Worse," including commentary, cast interviews and outtakes. To watch the video, click below.
To watch previous episodes of "It Could Be Worse," click below.
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