Local artist and actor Andie Bottrell has directed, written, produced, edited and stars in "Seek Help," a ten-episode dramedy web series that was shot here in Springfield. She’ll screen the entire first season, binge-style—each episode is only 5 to 10 minutes in length, so all together it comes out to an hour and 12 minutes, roughly feature-film length—at the Moxie Cinema, 305 S. Campbell Suite 101, Sunday June 25th at 6:30pm.
Bottrell says the initial script was written about six years ago when she was living in Los Angeles, “trying to work as an actor and a writer and all that stuff.” It was late at night, she was in her apartment, and she remembers looking out the window and seeing, in an apartment across the street, a man in an FBI t-shirt. “Is this a sting operation?” she wondered... “and then I wrote ‘Seek Help’—which has nothing to do with anything,” she laughs. “But that’s how it happened!”
“Seek Help” follows the story of former child genius Dr. Richard Pinkett, who genius is inexplicably fading... Dr. Pinkett is losing his beloved dog AND his mind. “He has more problems than he even knows, really,” says Michael Watterson, who plays Pinkett. The episodes also explore Pinkett's complicated relationship with his patient Alexandria (played by Bottrell). “He sees her as kind of this ‘safe haven’—whether she is or not—in this chaotic life he has,” adds Watterson. She’s one of Pinkett's first patients, and their first session begins with a huge mistake that alters their lives forever. Both are trying to deal with different forms of loss in their lives—Alexandria is losing her wife--and they can't help but gravitate towards each other as they embark on an unconventional therapeutic journey.
Bottrell has been back in Springfield three or four years, and shot all ten episodes of “Seek Help” here. “It’s been a journey,” she says. “As I said, I wrote (Seek Help) five or six years ago and had wanted to make it ever since. But as anyone who’s tried to make anything on film knows, it’s really hard. This last year I did a Kickstarter (campaign)—which failed. We didn’t get the funding, which was sad. Thankfully, several people who pledged a donation still wanted to contribute and see it come to life. And so they honored their donations—so we got some money.”
As with many productions like this, Bottrell produced the “Seek Help” series with a skeleton crew—five actors (who worked as tech crew as needed when they weren’t on-camera) and two camera operators. “We made do,” says Bottrell. “The good thing about having a small crew is that you can sometimes move more efficiently. Everyone is on the same page as far as ‘we all have to work together to make it happen.’” They shot the ten episodes on weekends over about a two-month period. “Sometimes we had to do four episodes in one weekend.”
She calls “Seek Help” a “dramedy”, and a fairly even mixture of comedy and pathos was her aim, she says. “That’s my favorite genre. I love watching a show that makes me cry, then follows it up with a hearty laugh and kind of cleanses the palate.” Bottrell refers to this as the “first season” of “Seek Help. “It definitely ends with room and questions for another season. I would like to do another season—it’s just... logistically and if there’s interest, and all that.”
Tickets for the binge-screening of all ten episodes of “Seek Help” at the Moxie are $5.00 and are available at www.moxiecinema.com/films/seek-help/ or by phone at 429-0800. For information on the series itself—and to check out the complete first season--visit www.seekhelpthewebseries.com.