Benjamin Kapit is a first-year student at Simon’s rock who is currently filming a television series that he created with the help of other students who act, film, edit, design, and do sound work on this project. Most of the work for this show is done on-campus, particularly in Kendrick, so you might have even seen them around. I interviewed Benji the week before our midterm break with the hopes that we could introduce more students to his project, either as viewers or contributors, by letting everyone take a look into his artistic process.
Okay. So, tell me, what is the project you are working on?
It’s called One Door Over. It’s a web series about a group of unlikely friends at a college who—despite the clear signs that they shouldn’t be friends—try to keep their little group together.
So, in making this show, have you found any influences from other television shows?
It’s very heavily based off of—I think it’s like Community and How I Met Your Mother kinda smashed together but with, you know, actual college-aged kids instead of, like, forty-year-olds.
And how would you describe your style generally?
I actually don’t know. I have yet to try and put my style into a box because it differs from project to project. I think it’s just whatever fits the mood.
So, speaking of that: what are the shows and movies you have created before?
Oh man. Well, this is actually technically version two of One Door Over. I tried to shoot it back in D.C., but due to scheduling conflicts the whole project kinda fell apart. Two of the lead actors went to college—myself included—and a few other people just didn’t have the time anymore.
I’ve produced another show called First Act which was just like The Office meets high school. It’s a documentary on an Acting One class, but it’s staged and meant to be really funny. I’ve also done a few narrative films—sci-fi/drama kind of things.
How does being in a dorm space change the show?
Well, I wrote a few episodes of it before coming here and I—There were certain shots and certain scenes that we just couldn’t pull off because of the way the dorm was laid out. Other than that I think just kinda seeing it has given me some ideas for scenes. Like the Kendrick Bridge gave me a good idea for a scene in one of the later episodes that I wouldn’t have come up with if I didn’t know what it looked like. I think just being on campus helped me craft the show more around the campus and around the characters.
So, you wrote it. What other roles have you taken up?
On this show specifically?
So, I am not the only writer. I wrote four episodes, co-wrote another one, and the other seven were written by a bunch of people I’ve worked with in the past. They are all very talented writers, so I brought them in on the project; I gave them a bunch of ideas, we talked for a while about where we would go and then they kinda just wrote—and I gave them notes from there. Other than that, I play one of the lead characters: Matt Miller. I am also going to write the music for the show—either by myself or with a co-composer. Then I do some of the coloring work. But other than that...
How many other students are working on the project?
Currently, there are probably around fifteen in and out; not all of them working at once. I think we have about fifteen people who are around and involved.
How did you gather this group?
I got like—I think I got Morgan [a friend of Benji’s, also a Simon’s Rock student] and then like three other people. And then Morgan got everybody else. She was originally going to just help out a little while on set and then both she and Max [also a friend of Benji’s, and a Simon’s Rock student] took on producing roles and have helped me a huge amount—but Morgan specifically with gathering people and scheduling and making sure everything runs smoothly. She has kinda taken that over, which is really helpful because I am bad at managing that alongside everything else.
What has your favorite part of the process been so far?
For One Door Over, it has definitely been writing the show. Not that I don’t love shooting it. I love playing Matt, but it can be stressful for me a lot of times to act and direct at the same time. And you know, everyone on this campus, they are volunteering. Most of them don’t want to go into film or acting and, you know, they have other stuff to do so it can feel kinda stressful and like we are rushing on set. Writing the show has been a blast; working with other writers, which is something I’ve never done before. It has been a blast and I just love exploring the characters.
Once it’s completed how can people watch it or get involved?
Well, people can get involved before it’s finished if they want to reach out to me or Morgan or Max about working on crew or being in the background. They are welcome to [reach out to me]. And in terms of when it’s done, it will be on Youtube. Second World Entertainment—We have our own channel. It will be up there. I think we will do a weekly release of the episodes. So, when we have completed it—hopefully by the end of the second semester—we will have the summer to edit and work on all of that stuff. So hopefully my during my sophomore year it will start releasing.
[Benji, Morgan, and Max’s emails, along with the link to Second World Entertainment’s Youtube channel are down below].
Who is your intended audience for the show?
I don’t really think of an intended audience. This probably wouldn’t be suited to young children because there is cursing and some other undesirable content for them. But I try to make my work accessible to most everyone. Obviously, college kids are going to be able to relate to it the most. But, you know, I want adults to be able to be able to watch it too. I want, you know, younger teenagers to be able to watch it too.
How much have you done so far and when do you see it being finished?
So, we have shot the first two episodes—or most of them. There are still some scenes that I have to shoot when I am back home because they involve shots of DC or shots of me playing instruments in a band with people who don’t go to this school. So, that will be at a later point. But, we have technically shot the first two episodes. We will have to be shooting through both semesters because there are scenes in the winter and scenes in the spring. I am hoping to finish shooting around April.
When do you think the trailer will be out?
Probably early 2019. I want to get most of the series shot before I release the trailer so that I can include stuff from later episodes. Specifically—there are certain scenes in the tenth and eleventh episodes that I really want in there. And there will probably be multiple trailers.
Can you share any good stories from the set so far?
Probably. I’ll have to think—Oh man! There was just a lot of goofing around—a lot of fun behind the scenes videos and fun stories. There was the time when we were doing a scene in Crosby where my character knocks on the door and the character Emma—who is played by Madeline Millerick—opens the door and says, “Hi.” And we are in the middle of that scene. We’ve done it a few times and I call action and I knock on the door. And then Shep Lewin—the director of photography—opens it and goes, “Oh, Matt! Hi!”
There was also one during that scene where I knocked on the door and just ran away. And I think Morgan has a video of Madeline opening the door and going, “Somebody just ding dong ditched my property!”
Other funny stories. Hmm. There is just a lot of little things that happen here and there that aren’t really funny stories. They are just funny on set. There was a time where Garrison tried to jump onto the seat on the picnic table and sprained his ankle. There was the time where like three of the crew [members] were shirtless and shooting out on the field because it was, like, 95 degrees. It’s just a fun set in general. Everyone always just likes having fun and smiling.
There was a scene where Garrison’s character Cameron has to be eating a sandwich, but he kept going through the sandwiches so quickly because he had to be eating them throughout the scene. So Max went into the dining hall and made like seven sandwiches. And, as Garrison was going through them, he got to one which was just two pieces of bread covered in corn flakes—just a cornflake sandwich.
What’s your plan overall, going forward?
Release the first season—and I want there to be a second season. I would love for there to be a second season. I originally—when I wrote this series like three years ago there was a second season. But, we will have to see if the cast and crew would like to continue. We will have to see what people think of the show. So, my plan is to keep doing it for as long as I can because these are some of my favorite characters to write for and I love playing Matt Miller. I want there to be a second season—a third if it’s possible. You’ll just have to wait and see.
Do you have anything that you can share with people to get them excited about it?
Ooh. Anything thing I can share with them? If anyone wants to watch us film, it’s always entertaining. They can chill out in the background. They don’t have to actually work on the crew. Hmm. There will be a trailer eventually so they can look forward to that. I mean, you know, it’s a show about students at Simon’s Rock. I think that’s pretty exciting for students at Simon’s Rock.
Winnie is the Co-founder and President of The Cad.