The Vine Yard: Chapter 5

The second day of auditions were interesting. The same three actors from day one returned and read for a handful of different parts. At the end of it, Josh and I couldn’t decide how to cast it. There were 3 problems:


Our one female actor has great chemistry with one of our male actors. We wanted to cast them as a pair; they were so good together! However, the male actor was phenomenal. We could cast him as a tree and he’d knock it out of the park.

The female actor’s performances, unfortunately, were 50/50. Sometimes she’d be incredible, making us truly believe she could carry a show, while other times, she'd be lackluster and bland. She was great as Janice, one of the secondary characters, and the male actor was incredible as Roger, Janice’s bestie. But the male actor was so obviously our lead! We just didn’t know if the female actor could handle landing the role of his love interest.


There was another actress who auditioned that was PERFECT for the love interest. If I closed my eyes and listened to her speak, it was like I was standing in a room with the character.

But that was just it. I had to close my eyes. She didn't have the look that fit the role. Plus, she lived out of town. She would've had to fly into Gainesville for filming, which was majorly expensive. Besides, I didn't want her to fly in and then find out she had absolutely no chemistry with our male lead. There were too many what-ifs involved for us to commit to her.


The second male actor had some great lines in all the male roles, but was not 100% in any of them. He had good and bad moments in every role he tried out for, which made it difficult to cut him, but also to cast him. I actually considered making him the lead for one scene, because he was great! But in the next scene when he read for the lead, he was lame. There wasn't a happy medium that we could work with. So, ultimately, we couldn't put him in the lead role.

Overall, auditions were a lot of fun. Unfortunately, all the other auditions we had were via video. Given that Josh and I were graduating in two months, we didn't have the time to schedule chemistry reads for everyone and figure out our film schedule. So we just had to go on our gut instincts.

On the first day of auditions, I looked at Josh and my friend Anna and said, "I know who my lead is." After reviewing the first auditions, and seeing the second ones, however, I felt like I had to retract my casting, simply because there were other factors to consider. We had to think about schedules, availability, and chemistry. It felt like we were going by the seat of our pants, and I didn't like it. But we still had more audition videos to watch before we made our final decision.

Considering filming started the next week, we'd have to work fast! I honestly couldn't believe I was starting filming/directing a short film of mine. It was crazy!

Tuesday, November 14, 2017, The Vine Yard became a reality.

The Vine Yard: Chapter 0

Let’s take it back to 2015. Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner split, Inside Out came out, Caitlyn Jenner was introduced to society, and Vine was at its peak. The social media app started back in 2013, allowing for people to create 6-second videos and share them with its massive platform. It really was the perfect app! The videos gave you snapshots into people’s lives, one laugh at a time. And the format made it easy to lose hours at a time scrolling through content.

Nostalgia aside, the idea was brilliant. Like tweets in video form, Vine allowed regular people to showcase their talent—and be praised for it. It circumvented the traditional ways to fame. And that is precisely where my obsession came from. I loved the idea that people I knew could become “social media famous” simply by filming an aptly-timed joke. It was relevant, funny, and ranged all different races, ages, and pop culture references.

But what about the people themselves? That’s where I came in. Everyone (read: 16-year-old girls) knew the names of popular Viners but knew next to nothing about what they were like outside of their videos. Who were they dating? Where were they from? Were they friends in real life like they were on Vine?

I had the idea to interview these people and create a collection of short stories, so to speak. I wanted to know about their home lives, their school lives, and everything in between. What did they hope to do with their social media fame? Where did their ideas come from? So, I gathered 200 of my closest Viners and pestered them every few weeks until I got some responses.

While I didn’t get the reaction I had hoped for—such as flying out to L.A. and meeting them in person and becoming best friends with them all—I was thrilled. To me, it was like talking to celebrities.

I corresponded with agents and managers, sounding like the naïve baby writer that I was. But still I persisted. At the end of it all, I had 6 interviews, 1 transcript, a two-hour long conversation with one of the OG Viners I looked up to, and an email from my favorite Viner's brother saying he’d like to work with me. It was going my way. The downside was that transcribing the interviews was a NIGHTMARE. For an hour interview it would take me three hours to write, and that was without editing.

From there, I had to edit the content, and shape it into something people would be able to read—which boiled down to one or two pages. And I wasn’t satisfied with it. What would get anyone other than those 16-year-old girls to read what amounted to an interview about someone they didn’t know? There was no hook, no real depth—other than the guy that used Vine to pay for his college tuition!

What would get someone’s grandmother to pick up this book and read it, someone who knew nothing of Vine and how it changed our way of consumption?

With that realization, I lost my drive to pursue it. Well, that and the fact that I hated transcribing (which, ironically, I had to do my junior year of college). So, the Vine novel fell to the wayside, much to the chagrin of my mother. She was convinced this would be my ticket into the world of writing. And, honestly, so was I. But I didn’t know where to go.

Then came the fall of Vine in January 2017. The urgency to act took over, and I resurrected my idea. But I had nothing to offer these people who were struggling to stay relevant in a world where their content wasn’t easily accessible. What could I do to entice these people to talk to a no-name writer from South Florida with only two self-published novels and three school-published short stories under her belt?

Fast forward to August 2017.

I was sitting in a restaurant with my parents, discussing—again—how my mother wished I’d pursue this Vine book, and about my applications to TV writing programs in L.A. And that’s when my dad turned to me and said, “Why don’t you make it a TV show.”

I was dumbfounded.

In that instant, everything clicked into place. My mind started turning, and I was already afloat on the idea of a show, of gathering the Viners and telling their stories.

In the weeks following, I shaped my characters, the stories I wanted to tell, and thus, the script of The Vine Yard was born. I hope to tell the stories I heard from those I’ve interviewed, as well as the incredible moments that have happened in my life along the way.

This is The Vine Yard.