Anna Roisman’s come a long way from her years as an undergraduate studying Television Production at Boston University. She wears a variety of hats – comedian, actress, producer, singer, writer, #content creator – in her day-to-day life as a creative based in New York City. Her Snapchat film Owen Wilson Dates Himself screened at the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival and she pitched her half hour comedy pilot This One Time At Camp at the Montreal Just For Laughs Festival. She broadcasts her Facebook Live show, The Unemployed Show, every week from her living room couch. Anna graciously answered our questions about DIY television production, the value of a college degree, and her professional aspirations.
Q: How has your degree in TV production benefitted you creatively and professionally? In your experience, do people *need* a degree in a creative field to break into it?
A: Normally I like to joke that my degree in TV resulted in me graduating with an Ugly Betty spec script & a dream! But I guess now that I’m writing and producing my own stuff, I guess I can say it has helped a bit. Creatively, having a degree in TV means I (should) know how to write a treatment, and anything in the half hour/hour show area. It’s funny because I never took a screenwriting class, so I have yet to attack a feature! I always liked to watch a lot of TV, all different genres, and felt very justified in doing so as a “TV Production Major.” Professionally I don’t think it has helped me much, which is why I think people don’t *need* a degree in a creative field in order to break into it. If you are passionate about something enough, you’ll figure out how to master the tools to get there. It’s all about the work you put in…not where you went to school.
Q: For “The Unemployed Show,” you chose Facebook Live as your method of distribution. What are the challenges of producing a show on Facebook Live every week?
A: It’s funny that we decided on the Facebook Live format to me because a lot of the content I’ve made in my life is mostly not live. In the beginning, I thought of this as something comparable to a comedy show at night, which is performed live. I felt like there was this element of surprise when you watch live content that your audience can’t experience when you’re edited. I had started seeing people use Facebook Live on their phones and they were taking videos of themselves on their way to work, playing with filters, playing video games, etc. I thought, Wouldn’t it be fun to watch a comedy show like this? Also Brian, my Tech Director works (as a freelancer!) for Good Morning America. He’s worked in the world of live television for years and has amazing experience. He’s brilliant when it comes to the tech side of this whole show we’ve created. Of course going live comes with challenges. For many episodes we weren’t sure what the quality of each episode would look like on Facebook. It was kind of a guessing game, as the platform was growing and evolving. Some weeks our sound wasn’t working and we wouldn’t find out until our viewers told us, so we’d stop and go live again. I think in terms of tech, we have it pretty locked down now that we’ve done 30 episodes. Other challenges are to keep the show fresh, to make sure guests and crew are on time (because this is live!) and to make sure we keep the audience engaged. It can always be shorter, and I try to do that as best I can. It sounds like a lot more pressure when I type this out, but I think that as long as we keep the show as engaging and interesting as possible, that’s the best we can do. We don’t have post production so what we put out has to be the best! Our goal is to make it look different from anything else people are scrolling by in their newsfeed. Also, anything can happen live, so if something goes majorly wrong, it’s entertaining in its own way.
It's the SEASON 3 FINALE of The Unemployed Show! Thank you to all of our friends, family, ex-bosses, and fans. This episode was very special and it features, "Anna's Friends On TV!" Josh Gondelman (Last Week Tonight With John Oliver) & Emily Tarver (Orange Is The New Black). We also have Anna's list of things she's learned while being Unemployed and shout outs from fans!
Posted by The Unemployed Show on Thursday, November 16, 2017
Q: What is your dream creative job?
A: My dream creative job is to write/produce/star in my own TV shows. We have so many incredible examples now, which makes the dream seem not so far off. I dream of The Tina Fey, The Broad City, The Julie Klausner, The Chelsea Handler, The Sarah Silverman. Do those count as jobs? [Editor’s note: Absolutely!]
Q: What advice do you have for women pursuing comedy professionally?
A: My advice is always do the work that you find funny. Don’t change too much of you to appeal to different crowds, clubs, theaters, networks, etc. The more you hone in on your voice and what you find funny, the more people will fall in love with you. Also, definitely have a go-to candy to have around when you write. Mine is Skittles!
Q: How can people keep up with your work / where can they find you online?
A: People can find me at www.AnnaRoisman.com or on the show page www.TheUnemployedShow.com or on Twitter (@UnemployedAnna)…do you see the theme? Or on Snapchat: @AnnaRoseRois *Sweet named me “Best Snapchat Filmmaker” of 2017! Or on Instagram! @AnnaRoseRoisman Or just follow my dog on instagram: @BobbyFlayTheDog Also, you can see our show featured on Facebook’s new site: Facebook.com/Creators! Or call me at (212)…