Friday, September 16, 2016

In Honor of the Emmys, Here's Jessica Durbin...No, Wait. Here's Martha Schad, the Lady Behind "Poolside Chats" with Jessica Durbin.

By Laura Medina

Jessica Durbin of "Poolside Chats", Martha Schad's alter ego.
Martha Schad, the Mastermind behind Jessica Durbin.

The cast and the director of "Poolside Chats with Jessica Durbin."

With the easy rise of social media, it seems like anyone, anywhere, can be a talk show host.  This scribe wishes them well.

In the immediate surrounding suburbs of Hollywood proper, it just fuels the fire of desperate wanna-bes and had-beens.  This scribe knows them and the feeling very well.

Architectural engineer-turned-stuntwoman/character actress, Martha Schad encounters them and that feeling on a daily basis and decided to do something, a not-so-serious yet edgy commentary on drive, creativity, ageism, sexism, conformity, and the entertainment industry in her YouTube skit series, "Poolside Chats with Jessica Durbin,"

Martha Schad turned to her long-time collaborator and friend, tv director, Roman Cuilla Martinez to helm her alter ego, "Jessica Durbin" in the right direction.

After working together on "Silent Seconds" comedy shorts where Martha plays a cop arresting a robber, she grew to admire and respect Roman's directing.  When she came up with the concept of "Poolside Chats" and the Hollywood caricature, "Jessica Durbin," she emailed him about her idea of a web series.

Within two hours of brainstorming at a coffee house, "Poolside Chats with Jessica Durbin" came to form and took shape.  They agreed that there are parallels between Martha the working actress versus Jessica the struggling aspirant. "Poolside Chats" will be a great and funny platform addressing while mocking Hollywood's "-isms" of sexism and ageism.

"Jessica Durbin" is an over-exaggeration of Hollywood/LA clichés and stereotypes.  This gives Martha and Roman plenty of material to play with.  Then, they took it from there.

The difference between directing Martha the actress and Jessica the aspirant...

"When Martha plays herself, she's very concentrated."

As the lead actor, producer, and writer, she needs Roman to help her focus.  As Martha, she's more reserved.

Jessica...overly-enthusiastic, wearing her emotions on her sleeves.

In order to effectively emote Jessica, Roman tries to get Martha to release more emotions to fully express Jessica.

While "directing Jessica," Roman tries to scale back her emotions and reactions.

Directing Martha/Jessica is like day & night,  Jekyll & Hyde.

Roman and this scribe both joked about her kiddie pool as the "pool" in "Poolside Chats."

It's a metaphor for making do with you're just starting out or having to make do when that's all you got-anywhere.

Roman, "She's in a space that's too small for her, while her ambitions are too big for it."

After encountering ageism and sexism in a sea of creativity and talent that should transcend that, Martha Schad decided to do something about a form of an alter-ego, Jessica Durbin,  a crazy, delusion wanna-be.

This snap, crackle, and pop of a woman, Martha admits that doing a skit, focused on Jessica, she is also jump-starting and expanding her own career.

"It's hard to get noticed in the film industry so, you gotta do your own thing."

"I wanted to do a character who's crazy wild." 

She (Jessica Durbin) is loosely based on personal experience (or anyone's personal experience in Hollywood).

Martha, along with Roman, uses Jessica and Poolside Chats as platforms to make statements on actresses' expiration dates and beauty standards, while skewering them.

She also talks about sexual exploitation and abuse within the industry, "casting couch for stunt performers?"...yes.

So, Martha wants to take those experiences then explore them in a comedic way, because other women have experience those same situations in other industries.

Martha...and her mom, come from an architectural engineering degree and background.

Her mom was a pioneering woman mechanical engineer, the only female in the office.  While pregnant with Martha in the Seventies, she stood up to a male colleague to stumped his smoking in the office.

Even today, there are still fewer females in engineering schools and fields, Martha, "You are in a man's world."

Making her splash in the acting biz, as a stunt woman, "I grew up a tomboy.  I got that from my dad."  Her intelligence and toughness from mom.

Using her engineering background and education in producing her own YouTube series isn't much of a stretch.

According to Martha, a script is like a 2-dimensional blueprint.  The assistant director is the project manager. You still need insurance and permits.  You still need to hire contractors to flesh out the concept into some tangible.

Since "Poolside Chats with Jessica Durbin" just leaped into people's consciousness while barbecuing Hollywood's ridiculous standards, Martha and Roman hope that real folks can laugh at the clichés, not be ruled by them.

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