The original idea for the “Regrets” series came from “We Sell Boxes” signs that director and writer Steve Delahoyde had seen on buildings throughout Chicago. The idea of talking to someone whose life had devolved to such a simple and mundane task seemed funny. Collaborating with Justin Kaufmann, a member of the sketch group Schadenfreude, Delahoyde produced “Boxes.”
“I had no intention at all to make it into a series.” Delahoyde admitted. However, within a few weeks of putting it up on youtube the video had close to 100,000 views. As traffic increased requests came in from short film festivals and Delahoyde began to hear that the short was being used in acting classes as an example of a quality character performance. Delahoyde began to hear from people outside of the comedy community: “I once got asked by an Australian high-schooler if she could do one of the monologues for her theater class. That’s probably been the highlight of all this.”
Speaking for Schadenfreude, founding member Sandy Marshall said: “It’s safe to say that the series has exceeded our expectations.” Marshall portrayed a man who regretted never learning to play the spoons in the second installment. Other Schadenfreude members have been featured including Peter Grosz as a gay man who regrets failing to uphold his family’s racist heritage and Kate James as a mother who regrets constantly forgetting her infant child in public places. The series has also featured David Pasquesi regretting his habit of taking up hobbies and – most recently – Greg Hess regretting his interest in Dave Matthews Band. The series has even produced commercial work for Delahoyde and Kaufmann when the “Boxes” character was resurrected to film viral webisode ads for Boxes.com.
Delahoyde writes all the scripts but prefers to keep them from his actors until very close to the shoot date. “That way they can’t get too comfortable and memorize everything. It’s much better if it’s loose and feels organic.” For the shoots, Delahoyde and his actors go one paragraph at a time. “I do 5-10 takes of each, getting different things every time. From there it’s all just editing it into one big, somehow -coherent jumble.”
Both Marshall and Delahoyde believe the success of the series has partially to do with the inherent advantages of the format. Marshall suggest the structure itself has advantages: “The great thing about webisodes is that they appear in small, bit-like capsules and can follow an over-arching thread as future episodes are released. Closing the boundaries early on is super helpful when looking for hooks and bits that can be revisited in new and interesting ways.” Delahoyde noted the large potential of the medium for aspiring artists: “It’s a great easily digestible format and can provide a nice method of getting your work out there and seen quickly by, potentially, a lot of people…The important thing is to just keep it short, simple – a description that would work well in an elevator pitch – and don’t get so attached to your footage that you’re afraid to edit. Less is always more.”
Directors: Steve Delahoyde
Writers: Steve Delahoyde