Vienna native to debut web series

PITTSBURGH – Vienna native Chris Lee is releasing a web series, “Internet Famous,” on Wednesday.

The show will premiere at the Hollywood Theater in Dormont, Pa., near Pittsburgh, at 7 p.m. Wednesday with a screening of the web series’ entire first season of seven episodes.

Webisodes will be simultaneously launched at and continue each Wednesday through Feb. 19, said Lee, co-creator and co-director of the show with fellow writer Tom Williams.

Lee, a 2003 graduate of Parkersburg High School, lives in Milwaukee.

The web series about Internet fame, produced in Pittsburgh, focuses on Andy, played by Trent Wolfred, a 30-year-old Pittsburgher whose life isn’t going as planned. When a video of Andy ranting about pop culture goes viral, his life veers even further off course, according to a press release.

The show follows Andy and his friends as they discover the ups and downs of instant celebrity and Internet fame.

The cast also features Matthew Robison as Andy’s roommate Dave, Cori Shetter as Andy’s best friend and unrequited love Emma, Lish Danielle as Andy’s unemployment caseworker and newfound love interest Kim, Elyse Alberts as Emma’s intellectual girlfriend Gabby, and Richard Eckman as Andy’s British boss Tom.

The web video will carry the note NSFW (Not Safe For Work) above it for its adult language and scenes, Lee said. If it followed a standard movie rating, “Internet Famous” would be rated “R” for its adult language, he said.

Lee said his dream is for a major television network to pick up his show. The show’s creators are looking forward to producing a second season, Lee said.

“Internet Famous” explores relationships and friendships, Lee said. He believes they have assembled a strong cast for the show.

Money to produce the web series was raised by crowd funding on the Internet. The show features locations throughout Pittsburgh.

The soundtrack contains favorites from the Pittsburgh music scene such as The Harlan Twins, Neighbours, Action Camp, Pittsburgh Track Authority, Andre Costello and the Cool Minors, Delicious Pastries, Nic Lawless and His Young Criminales, Triggers, Matt Fiorillo, Scenes from A Movie and The Gotobeds, according to a press release.

This is Lee’s first web series. He hopes it opens doors for him in the film industry.

Plans call for “Internet Famous” to be shown at film festivals and online, Lee said.

The web series concept has been growing in popularity over the past three or four years, Lee said.

It has been a proving ground for science fiction and comedy series, he said.

The creators of “Internet Famous” first developed it as a feature-length script before changing it to episodes. “We got some interest in it as a movie,” Lee said.

Lee, whose father, Buddy, lives in Vienna, received a bachelor’s of arts degree in English from the College of Wooster in 2007 and a master’s of fine arts in creative writing from the University of Pittsburgh in 2011. He studied screenwriting at the University of Pittsburgh.

Williams, a Pittsburgh-based writer and filmmaker, is a graduate of Pittsburgh Filmmakers with several production credits to his name.

Lee’s short fiction and essays have appeared in independent literary journals and online magazines.

Lee and Williams share a mutual admiration for what they consider “good” comedy, such as “Mallrats” and “Raising Arizona.” Both say they are obsessed with the TV sitcom “Seinfeld.”

The filming of the series took place in July and August and received assistance and support from Spruce Films. Sandbar Stories is the production company for the web series.