Chad Burris has a lot going on at the moment.
He’s been in rehearsals for an upcoming off-Broadway musical which and his first web series is about to launch.
Burris, a 2011 from Alma High School graduate, starred and co-created a web series with Cory Stonebrook, called “City Boyz” about a pair of brothers who win a trip to New York City. Burris is also in “The Book of Ethel Merman,” an off-Broadway production set to premiere on Oct. 5 after a successful run in Chicago.
“We’re trying to get it all done,” said Burris of the musical. “It has a limited schedule and budget much like City Boyz.”
City Boyz is written by both Burris and Stonebrook, who also directs the episodes. The duo finished raising the money in March. Burris was off to Cleveland for a run of “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” until April.
They shot the series over six days in late May to early June. Both Stonebrook and Burris are executive producers of the series. Cory’s wife Tiffany Trainer is the co-producer. Jordan Batiste shot and edited the series along with help from Li George (gaffer), Jacopo Messina (sound) and Patrick Badescu (colorist).
Also featured in the series are Broadway and TV/film actors, Ali Stroker and Mary Stout.
Burris said the experience was “awesome” as it gave him the chance to write and see project through the lens of a producer.
“We had a really awesome crew, and it was a learning experience since there was so much to figure out just from writing,” Burris said. “This was my first go-around as a producer, which is like putting out fires.”
Burris added the illustration about how they needed an interior shot for some scenes inside a house. Once that was located, it became a matter of transporting the crew to the location.
While the story about the series follows Burris and Stonebrook, who play brothers, Teddy (Stonebrook) and Trystan (Burris), they wanted to feature New York City as a character as well.
“We really wanted to make something everyone could enjoy,” Burris said. “Sometimes Cory and I would get parts and it’s just a couple of lines, we wanted to put something out there to display our strengths. The crew will also has something high quality to show their strengths at what they do as well. The internet makes the world a smaller place for us to showcase what we can do.”
Burris and Stonebrook had an online fundraiser to help pay for the production costs of the series and raised more than enough money to shoot five episodes of less than 10 minutes each.
“The length of each episode certainly played a role in keeping the story tight or w really could have gone crazy,” said Burris.
Burris added that he and Stonebrook are looking at doing future projects together and would like to shoot a pilot in the Fort Smith area.
“We have a few ideas, but we keep coming back to one which really would be great to do in Fort Smith,” Burris said. “There are a lot of exciting things happening in that part of Arkansas with the new season of ‘True Detective’ and Devon Parks’ movie.
“Cory and I work really well together. I can get the story but struggle with dialogue. Cory has said gets stopped at the story, but he can come up with some really great dialogue and great one-liners. So, we plan to do more projects together.”