What it’s like to create a TV sitcom in Seattle

The tech industry is a part of Seattle’s DNA, but that doesn’t mean we can’t poke a little fun at it from time to time.

Bethany Buer and Rob Polonsky are two Seattle-based actors who met while taking classes at Gilmore Studio in Ballard and are now in the middle of creating a TV comedy series called “Everybody’s Watching.”

The premise will sound familiar to anyone who’s ever worked for a tech company — or even just a modern-day corporation. Rob, the protagonist, works for a Seattle-based tech giant called “Microzon,” where he earns a comfortable salary but dreams of escaping to pursue a career in acting. He struggles to pursue his passions while remaining dedicated to his day job.

The team — which includes folks who work for Amazon, General Assembly, Tableau, and Microsoft — just finished a crowdfunding campaign to raise money for a pilot episode. Filming is set to take place in late June.

We caught up with Bethany and Rob to ask them a few questions about the project and find out how local folks can get involved:

How did you get into tech, and what made you decide to pursue acting as a side hustle?

Bethany: Not having a clear sense of what I wanted to do with my life after college, I fell into the tech industry. I was lured by the perks and being in a “cool job” that other people could understand.

After a while, I felt like I couldn’t get out of it. About a year and a half ago, I started to see that I was primarily rewarded at work if I pushed down my impulses and put on a blank face. As a female working in tech, I find it difficult to be expressive and curious — all the while trying to be taken seriously as a leader. I started acting classes in the evenings to let out some of the emotions that I couldn’t show during the day, and I immediately fell in love.

Why set the story here?

Rob: Seattle plays a main character in the show. For one, we want to capture how Microzon, the fictitious mega tech company, has completely taken over the city. On the other side, the protagonist truly believes that Seattle is the best place for an actor like him to grow his career. Seattle is a city in flux. It’s also a city that has a ton of character and deserves to be a setting for more film and TV.

What’s it like to try to put together a project like this in Seattle, instead of, say, Los Angeles or Vancouver, B.C.?

Bethany: As someone who is new to acting and film production, I’ve found the Seattle community to be small but mighty. It is true — there are more narrative productions being done in Portland and Vancouver, B.C., and yet the more I dig, I find a strong and vibrant film community with a steady beat.

As creators who live in Seattle, we are excited to support #KeepFilmInWA, and we hope to create more awareness and drive more film and television production in Washington state.

Are you looking for extras or folks to get involved in other ways?

Rob: Follow us on Facebook and Instagram to stay in the loop and join us on this journey. We’ll be casting a ton of extras soon, so if you want to come work at Microzon for a day, stay tuned to our social accounts on how to sign up!

By Caitlin Moran
Caitlin writes newsletters and stories for The Evergrey. She's worked as a journalist in and around Seattle since 2010 and is a proud resident of Capitol Hill's Summit Slope neighborhood.