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Ronda Roberts Brandon Bautista and Joshua Ortman, Co-Creators of Circles
September 14, 2008
Brandon Bautista and Joshua Ortman met in Lansing, Michigan as members of a local improv group. The two found they shared a common vision and began the creative partnership that led to the creation of their original web series Circles. The team’s first joint venture was the independent film Last Night Out, a character-driven romantic comedy produced through their production company, Drop the Fork Films. Bautista and Ortman were the featured actors, and after the successful completion of the film project, they decided to continue their collaboration. Bautista had been following the development of online TV, and the two decided an internet serial would be their next project.

The concept for Circles developed after Bautista went to his 10 year reunion and thought, “for every person, there’s a different story… There [were] so many different story lines,” From that point, they honed in on a couple of characters and intertwined the stories. The novelty of Circles is its focus on two different time-lines shown from each of the main characters’ perspectives. Bautista says they focused on the prom “because it’s the culmination of the high school experience, and where you are as an 18 year old.” After a period of intensive research, they started writing the screenplay for Circles, cast it, and started filming within the time frame of a month and a half.

In addition to writing and producing the series, Bautista and Ortman also act in the show. Bautista plays the role of Lucas, and Ortman plays the role of Noah. Do these multi-talented co-producers have anything in common with the characters they portray? The answer is a cautious yes and no. While Bautista and his charater Lucas want to please everybody and not have any enemies, Bautista says “There’s a fine line between bending over backwards to help someone, and getting totally walked over. I feel that he [Lucas] allowed himself to be in situations that I never would have.” Ortman thoroughly enjoys playing role of Noah because he likes being an entertainer, but admits that he doesn’t have much in common with Noah, a misguided good guy. When asked how about how they perceive their dual roles, Bautista replied, “It’s a little bit harder than I thought it was going to be. As a writer, you are always trying to improve.” Bautista explained that when they are filming they are “constantly rewriting it in their heads.” This leads to mixing up old and new lines – but they work to stay true to their improv background. Ortman hinted that there might be a blooper reel released at some point.

When asked what fans can expect in Season Two of Circles, Bautista replied that more shows are in development. Online television has “really changed a lot of people’s lives who used to make appointments to watch TV.” Ortman explained production is planned to resume in December 2008, so Circles fans will have to wonder what happened after the reunion for a little while longer, but viewers can “expect laughs, and stories that will hopefully touch a part of them.”

 Copyright © 2008  F. R. Perro Inc.