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Polly Frost author of Deep Inside talks books

Polly Frost talks about her webseries The Fold...

READERSVOICE.COM: Do you mainly hang out with actors and writers in New York? What parts of New York do they live in and what sorts of jobs do they have to keep them going?

POLLY FROST: Yeah, we hang out with our performer friends a lot. They’re talented, fun, sweet, and attractive — what’s not to love?

Some of the actors we’ve worked with have full-blown acting careers underway. Some of the others are working at it, and are doing the whole day-job-while-auditioning thing. I can’t tell you how much I admire not just the talents but the adventurousness and persistence of the actors we know.

One thing that’s been great about “Sex Scenes” and “The Fold” is that the people involved in these projects have started collaborations with each other, and they’re doing great stuff!

RV: What is the webseries The Fold about, starting August 4, which you co-wrote and produced with your husband Ray Sawhill?

PF: We co-wrote and co-produced “The Fold” with Matt Lambert, who directed the series. Matt’s an amazing young talent. He won awards at New York University, and he really has been the dominant vision and energy behind the series, though it’s also a full collaboration in terms of co-writing, co-creating and co-producing. But the visuals, cutting, soundtrack, all that — that’s all Matt.

Anyway, the three of us like to describe it as “Barbarella” meets “The Matrix.” Matt, Ray and I drank a lot of beer and wine, and I made us guacamole and fajitas, and for days we jammed on some ideas we discovered that we shared about sex in an age of virtual reality, and we grew the script out of that.

RV: How do you go about producinga webseries? Is it expensive? What are some of the steps involved? Where do you get the actors and the technicians?

PF: It’s a great time for new media! What with digital cameras, Macs, and the web, you can not just make but distribute your own media. We made the whole webseries of “The Fold” on an $8000 budget. Reviewers like Peter Syslo of Infernal Dreams have said how great it looks. That’s all thanks to Matt Lambert.

With any collaborative art form, you need to trust your instincts about the people you’re going to work with. It’s an intense relationship, making a movie. Especially a webseries on a micro budget and with only two weeks to shoot it in winter. And you’ve got to be a team.

We found some of the crew and cast through ads. Ampora McLean auditioned for the role of Stephanie Blommaert. Matt and I immediately knew she’d be fantastic, and she was a complete joy to work with from start to finish.

Many of the actors came to “The Fold” from working with Ray and me on “Sex Scenes”: Jake Thomas, Francesco Paladino, Karen Grenke, Josh Matthews. Jeremy Lawrence had been recommended to me by Robin Hirsch. Jeremy is an award-winning stage actor who’s done incredible performances as Tennessee Williams. He’s just the most incredible actor.

Given that Ray and I have no digital skills beyond maintaining our own websites, my advice to writers who want to produce new media is: Meet someone who knows what he/she is doing technically. Someone who believes in your project. Someone you can communicate with.

RV: When you were touring with your 18-episode Sex Scenes show, what places did you go to and how did you travel, and where’d you stay?

PF: When I was arranging to tour “Sex Scenes” my main goal was to book the show into venues where the audience could drink. It’s erotic comedy, after all. I didn’t want a traditional theater setting. I wanted people to be able to laugh and get rowdy.

I wound up taking the show to Austin, Chicago, Albany, Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, and five other cities. Each was great, each was different.

The experience of performing Sex Scenes live across the country was eye-opening, to say the least. What was super-cool was that audiences across the country were eager for the material. As edgy and naughty as it was, they lapped it up and wanted more. They were wild!

I also had a lot of fun experiences casting Sex Scenes in different cities. I cast a hundred actors in just six months! I worked with local actors in each case. I’d put out a casting call and would interview actors over the phone. I can report that the U.S. has no shortage of talented and sexy actors, that’s for sure.

All in all, I had just two actors not show up for the performance. They got nervous about the material apparently, and left me stranded at the last minute. That’s a risk you take when you put on edgy stuff, I guess. Luckily the actors who did show up were able to double competently for the missing actors and the audience was none the wiser. In fact, those evenings turned out to be really successful.

And I’ve been told over and over that we should do a show in Australia — that we’d love the audiences there. Uninhibited and enthusiastic, I hear. Is that true? It sounds great. I hope we can make that happen someday!

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-copyright Simon Sandall.