Web series ‘boyband’ debuts its second season

Mockumentary webseries, “boyband,” follows five band members as they navigate

By Niamh Cremin | March 14, 2016

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While other parents spent their summers carpooling to day camp and waiting in never-ending lines at the local waterpark, Colleen Griffen, mother of three from Evanston, Illinois, had a different adventure in mind.

It began one afternoon as her teenage son, Matthew Chappelle, and his four best friends walked into her home. After watching One Direction’s debut movie “One Direction: A Year in the Making,” Griffen couldn’t help but note how much her son and his friends looked like the members of the famous boyband.

Griffen, a film director, was in the process of wrapping up her most recent film, “The Cold and the Quiet” featuring Chappelle as a main character. In search of a fresh idea, she suggested they team up and shoot a parody chronicling the journey of a young band’s rise to fame. Thus, the mini-webseries, “boyband,” was born.

Snagging No. 18 in LA Web Festival’s Class of 2016, “boyband” follows five best friends as they navigate their way through the ups and downs of life in the cutthroat music industry in pursuit of fame and fortune.

“I watched them over the years, and I knew they were talented performers, so I wanted to work with them and see what it would be like, and it just so happened that some of them were in my family,” Griffen says.

The show features a compilation of one-on-one interviews that gradually expose viewers to the unique personalities of each band member. You have the socially awkward yet endearing Yancy; stubborn, wannabe rock star Lance; singer and songwriter Shaun; and Preston, the glue that holds them all together. Among the five band members of “boyband” is MU freshman David Colton, better known as “Chad,” the self-absorbed womanizer.

“I really like playing a douchebag, because I’m not really a douchebag,” Colton says. “I like to make fun of douchebags. Chad came from a place that I’ve seen other people act like. I’m making fun of other people that make fun of other people.”

To assemble a film crew, Griffen teamed up with her husband, Joe Chappelle, executive producer of hit NBC drama “Chicago Fire” and went to work. The couple fully financed the project, which posed many advantages and limitations.

“What’s exciting about this but sort of painful is that because it’s self financed, I got 100 percent creative control which is the collaborative world that I like to work in,” Griffen says.

Griffen and her husband, both of whom received master’s degrees in Radio/Television film from Northwestern, have thrived in the industry based on their philosophy of providing opportunities to aspiring young artists eager to advance in their career.

Griffen kept this concept in mind as she chose workers from the set of “Chicago Fire” and gave them the opportunity to gain more experience in the industry.

“You take someone from ‘Chicago Fire’ who may be a camera production assistant or a boom operator and you give them an opportunity to do one or two positions above what they do on a big show,” Griffen says.

The idea of a struggling group of aspiring artists making their way in a cutthroat industry is not a new concept to Griffen, who produced her first film at age 53.

Griffen’s nephew, Sam Griffen, was living in L.A. after graduating when she reached out to him for help with season one of the series. Sam hopes that “boyband” can make enough money to produce season three and to have a little more fun with the production.

“I didn’t have a lot of experience having something I’ve written get turned into a show or film,” Sam says. “It was cool to hear actors go over stuff I wrote and hear it on screen, It helped me a lot as I wrote.”

Griffen says the advancements in technology have given creative individuals like herself the opportunity to tell their story. She explains that with resources like the internet, as well as low cost equipment, she wants to encourage young people to “really enjoy what technology has afforded you guys.”

“I know a lot of kids out there have aspirations and they think, ‘oh I’m never gonna be able to do it.’ But you should really pursue it, if you have an idea, if there’s something you wanna do.” Griffen says. “It’s an exciting time for film and TV.”

The second season of “boyband” is available here.

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