Creator tries to strike balance in his miniseries
Mar 27, 2018
The cast of “Dying is Easy, College is Hard.”
Creating the mini-series “Dying is Easy, College is Hard” was not all fun and games for Aaron Nelson in the beginning.
Nelson, a senior mass communications student at Claflin University, created the miniseries consisting of five 30 to 40-minute episode depicting Nelson's views on the everyday college student's life in America.
“I wanted to quit after episode one. I thought episode one was horrible. I thought it was garbage,” Nelson said. “We started off rough. I didn’t think that people would watch this.”
He couldn’t get people to fill in roles in the beginning.
“We even held an interest meeting, and that didn’t go so well,” Nelson said.
Nelson also said he randomly met a few of the actors and actresses. He talked about how he had a relationship with a few through mutual friends and just decided to ask if they were interested in being in the series.
“I met Kay through Kayla, whom I already knew at the time, and just decided to ask Kay to play a role. Now she's one of the main actresses. The progress is really amazing from episode one,” Nelson said.
In the series, there are lots of different characters with many different personalities.
Nelson said many of the characters in the series are influenced by people he knows and had past encounters with that gave him the idea to do the show.
“Some of these characters I've literally seen in one conversation, but it sparked an idea,” Nelson said. “Some of these parts are played by people I've known and some just come from different ideas or what type of character will help the main character give us a better understanding.”
Nelson's process of getting his actors and actresses consisted of asking students and friends on campus.
“Sometimes it's not about the person understanding their character, it’s literally just the person being their characters sometimes,” Nelson said. “And that’s how it works itself out so well.”
The ending to the miniseries was already in mind when episode one was completed, Nelson said.
The miniseries is a rewrite to another series he had in mind his sophomore year, which was titled “More Than As and Js.” Nelson believes that series didn’t happen because it wasn’t planned out well enough and didn’t have enough detail.
“This is kind of like a reincarnation of that but way more details, way less people and way less episodes,” Nelson said.
Nelson first began working on the series in June 2017. He admits that he had to be realistic with himself and eliminate some characters and some things that he felt did not fit or things that would make the show boring.
“It’s a process of elimination, and it’s a process of actually telling yourself, ‘Oh no, that’s whack,’” Nelson said.
In writing each episode, Nelson also thinks about what the audience may like or may understand.
“Even though it's my content, it's also going to an audience of other people that you want to view and critic your work,” Nelson said.
Nelson also admits to cutting some things out of his show that he may want to incorporate because he feels that it may not be understood by some viewers.
“I know some of the stuff I want to put in there may go over the head of some of my peers that watch,” Nelson said. “I want everyone to be able to watch the show and understand it.
“I'm not saying that I dumb it down, I'm just making sure everyone understands why people act like this.
“I want people to at least think for a sec, so I try to find that balance of overdoing and simple.”
Finding the cast for the series was not easy for Nelson.
He talked about times where he didn’t really know the people playing the role that well, but he asked them anyway and gave them a description of what he wanted.
“It’s a blessing that sometimes you don’t even know them or ever spoke to them, but somehow they see your vision and then it becomes amazing,” Nelson said.
Nelson said he feels the only way viewers can understand the series is they have to "step outside themselves".
“You have to factor in how other people act and why they act the way they do,” Nelson said. “I really wanted people to think on why these characters act a certain way.”
The show consists of 32 cast members who help film, act and direct for Nelson.
“I'm glad that they actually let me lead them,” Nelson said.