Story by Kelly Hendricks
It seems like just about anyone can get a reality show these days. But a good reality show? That can be hard to come by.
Senior theater major Matt Haupert and his friend Jesse Swatling-Holcomb from Hope College in Michigan, have started a reality show, currently a web series entitled “Friends without Benefits.”
Haupert and Swatling-Holcomb were roommates when they worked together at a theater company during the summer. They both said something about them just “clicked.” Since they are both into theater and comedy, they decided to pursue a show to promote themselves for their future acting careers. Haupert describes what they have put together as a “bro-mantic comedy.”
“The idea for the show is that there are two great friends and roommates who have lousy luck with girls and decide to heterosexually date each other, which is just as potentially complicating as it sounds,” said Swatling-Holcomb.
The biggest challenge in filming “Friends without Benefits” came with the distance since Haupert is currently in Iowa and Swatling-Holcomb is in Michigan. Determined to make their dream come true, they hustled through filming in just a few short days.
“Since we had about 35 minutes of footage to shoot in only a couple days, our schedule was pretty ridiculous, there was one day that we shot from 9 a.m. to 5 a.m., and then woke up again at 8 a.m. to get started again,” Haupert said.
Haupert and Swatling-Holcomb say they are happy with their publicity so far.
“I’ve been really pleasantly surprised actually. Our first episode has roughly 2,000 views right now, which isn’t going to beat out ‘Gangnam Style’ anytime soon, but seeing as we started the whole project just because we wanted to do something creative together, it’s absolutely thrilling for me,” Swatling-Holcomb said.
Haupert said there are a total of six episodes so far and although the taping is done, the footage is still being edited. Since everything had to be done so quickly, the boys said there is a lot of improvising, but that’s what makes the show what it is. There isn’t a set plot as it varies each episode.
As of now, the show is being shared on YouTube (FWB2013) and on their Facebook page (facebook.com/FWB2013), but on Friday it will be shown on TV for the first time on a Minneapolis network with the potential to be featured every Friday night as part of a variety show.