How GOLD made a web series HAPPEN

Rat Czar, a five-episode comedy web series loosely based on NYC’s (very real) director of rodent mitigation, wrapped production in NYC a couple of weeks ago.

I wrote the show, but it was directed by four-time Emmy nominee and GOLD’s Digital Teams advisor Ana Breton. Let me put this plainly: the show would not have gone on without GOLD. 

Ana and I met years ago, thanks to GOLD’s digital teams. Fast forward to last year when the Rat Czar’s first press conference went viral–Ana and I knew there were no others better for the job. We started developing the idea together right then. It helped that I look JUST like the real Rat Czar, so I had a really good reason to force Ana to let me be involved. 

Here’s how GOLD played such a key part (consider this a guide for how GOLD might be able to help you in your future endeavors!): 

  • The Ana + Maggie love story
  • Ami Vora and Lynn Harris convinced Ana that Rat Czar was THE idea to develop during a car ride to Maggie’s wedding. 
    • She was deciding between a few ideas but in the end, what made her laugh the most (a czar of RATS? Come on!) was the winner. 
  • Ana developed the idea through Ryan Cunningham’s GOLD Label “Develop and Pitch Any Idea” course
    • Ryan’s support didn’t end there! Without her, we wouldn’t know Drew Lausch, who played “Lesser Staffer” or Daisy Border (Art Director).
  • Maggie staged a reading thanks to the help of fellow GOLDies
    • Special thanks go to Kristina Libby, Deirdre Manning, Chrissy Carroll, and all the other GOLDies who SHOWED UP and SHOWED OUT. It was the very first time we heard the scripts aloud. HUGE.
  • GOLDies donated to the Rat Czar Seed&Spark and helped spread the word.
    • Missed the S&S but still want to help make Rat Czar happen? We’re still raising money for post-production via Ana Breton’s Venmo
  • GOLD got us in touch with celebrity cameos!
    • This is the part where I start a chant: “LYNN! LYNN! LYNN!” 
    • Still top secret! Follow @officialratczar on IG to find out more!
  • GOLDies got involved
    • S Tricker – Director of Photography
      • We’d been DYING to work with S. They completely outshone even our highest hopes. 
    • Abby Silverstein – Script Supervisor
      • Her first time as scripty!! And she kicked ass!
    • Jetta Juriansz – “Jade”
      • Our casting notice said “hottie with a bottie” and “cannot look like she might own rats”…so frankly, we’re thrilled anyone as lovely as Jetta showed up! 
    • Kristina Feliciano – “Lil’ Rat”
      • Kristina is my colleague, my community manager, and my muse
    • Melissa Weiss – Editor
      • Édītör Extrâœrdinaįrê! Timing czar!
    • Emm O’Connor – On Call Producer 
      • SAG document extraordinaire. Which should be an Emmy category.
    • Kristina Libby – Featured Background “Hot, Tall Lady who works for Mayor”
      • Outside of her role in the production, K Libs (as I call her when she is not around) is a support QUEEN. She makes dreams happen.
    • Lynn Harris – “Reporter”
      • Absolutely dazzled the cast and crew by using her real notebook from her real reporter days.
    • Dian Santino – “Reporter”
      • Was so patient and observant on set – just a joy to have!
    • Roe Moore – Production Assistant/Background
      • Took some of the very best BTS pics I’ve ever seen and helped out even though she was in town for her OWN film festival screening. 
    • Michelle Cohn – “Prepper” Background 
      • Hardworking and truly up for anything Ana shouted directly at her! Cannot stress how much she got into this Prepper role. 
    • Miranda Fayne – “Photo Couple”
      • Screamed “Ratatouille!” while running at full speed outside the New York Public Library. Folks, that’s a professional!
    • Margit Detweiler – “City Employee” 
      • SLAYED a very silly joke! Perfect emphasis.
    • Liz Thiers – Production Assistant
      • Voted “Rock of the Week” by Rat Czar, LLC for generally being a rock-solid human being we knew we could always count on.
    • Hebba Gouda – Production Assistant
      • Has the same taste in TV as my wife and I hope we become besties, now.
    • Guneet Singh – Production Assistant
      • Learned to slate, and was a complete fashion icon every day. 
    • Melissa Mayores – Production Assistant
      • A complete pro and a joy to have around! 
    • Celine Elliot – Production Assistant
      • The quietest hardest worker you’ll ever know!
    • Madelyn Miller – Production Assistant
      • Ana had to tell her to “STOP doing too many funny things” in the background because technically there was a whole scene going on. Madelyn was too funny, folks.  
    • Maureen Monterubio – Background 
      • Listen, Maureen showed up in TIMES SQUARE and we never found each other. THAT is the kind of support that WINS OSCARS, people. 
    • Caroline Kreigston – Production Assistant
      • Held ice against my body several times. Would have (probably literally) died without her??
  • GOLDies cheered us on!

When your set is stacked with GOLD members: it’s a great set. Thanks to the folks listed above, we had a set headed up by women, people of color, nonbinary, and queer folks. It was a happy, goofy, collaborative, inviting, encouraging set. Thank God we had them, because I was planning on being a MONSTER. 

The Rat Czar journey is long from over (we hope to premiere in NYC this Fall). The continued support from this community makes the journey a whole lot easier AND better–when so often it’s one or the other. As we enter post, we’re finally able to look back at production and thank those who made our show possible…GOLD is forever at the top of that list.