Marion County is now home to a new web series titled “Buck’s.”
Hillsboro native Molly Wiebe Faber has returned to the area for the summer to work on the artistic endeavor with Hillsboro resident Austin Calam. She was more than happy to give some information about the new project that she is very excited to be working on with Calam and several others in the area.
“The log line is: Shenanigans abound as a group of misfits fight to save their jobs at the local coffee shop. Basically, it’s about a group of small town baristas and the adventures they get in as they prepare for the big, upcoming barista competition. Stakes are high, because if they lose, rumor has it they will all get fired. We plan to enter this series into film festivals, and then eventually put it on YouTube, or potentially another streaming service, so that people can watch it. Filming of episodes one and two took a little over a week, but we’ve been working on the series and prepping for filming since October. We have seven episodes total, and hope to get all of them filmed, time and funding permitting,” said Wiebe Faber.
The idea for Buck’s came while she was working full time at a coffee shop in the fall of 2020.
“I was bored of my job and feeling dissatisfied with life. I have a degree in acting and hated that I wasn’t using it. The combination of being in the middle of a pandemic and being new in a big city (Denver) meant acting work wasn’t available for me,” said Wiebe Faber.
She soon realized that she could make her own work.
“I am a huge fan of workplace comedies, and realized that there isn’t one out there that takes place at a coffee shop. Having worked at various coffee shops since I was fifteen, I knew that I possess the knowledge to make that happen. Additionally, Austin has experience being a barista and knows the style of comedy I was going for. Austin and his wife, Kalie, own a production company. After talking to them about my idea, I knew that we would make a good team for this project,” said Wiebe Faber.
It was also important to her to do the project in Marion County even though she was living in Colorado.
“We wanted this project to be a local project. Both Austin and I feel strongly about seeing the arts community in Hillsboro grow. We were excited to be able to provide an opportunity for the community to engage in a project they otherwise wouldn’t have,” said Wiebe Faber.
Calam also found the community to be helpful and very open to the project, “It was a wonderful experience. The support we received and the curiosity expressed by Hillsboro, showed me the interest our community has in filmmaking.”
Most of the crew members were recent graduates of Hillsboro High School.
Wiebe Faber was intentional in doing that because she could “remember attending high school here and wanting to pursue a career in acting, but not knowing anyone from Hillsboro doing that, it was hard to believe I could. We hope that this project will show any aspiring artists, actors, and filmmakers in Hillsboro that it is possible to pursue those careers and be from a small town in Kansas.”
The actors have been a combination of both locals and actors from out of town. Three of the main characters were played by Marion County locals, and the other actors either went to Tabor for a time or came from Wichita or Kansas City.
“Our desire was both that this show would be a local project, but also that any actors we had for our main characters would be trained and experienced actors,” said Wiebe Faber. “I love coming back to Hillsboro, so I am glad we could film in Marion County.”
While she has had a lot of acting experience, creating a project and managing it all at the same time is brand new to the actress.
She said, “It’s been crazy! What started as a silly idea has already become something bigger than I could have hoped. We have had so much support from friends, family, and the community. It’s truly been a blessing. This has been a big learning curve for me. I have directed, I’ve coached actors, and I’ve written performance pieces. But never have I done all of those things at the same time, while also acting and producing. It has been thrilling and exhausting.”
Wiebe Faber said she has enjoyed all of it but her favorite part of the process has been the time spent filming.
“It was so good to be in rooms with people, in person, doing work we all felt passionate about. From the actors to the crew, it was a delight to see people in their elements, everyone collaborating and giving of their unique talents so generously to make this project happen,” she said.
Calam said, “It has been both challenging and rewarding. Although the writing process has been a favorite aspect of production, there’s nothing quite like gathering together a group of creative people to bring a story to life. Don’t get me wrong, producing a film is a tedious, time consuming and difficult process, but in the end there’s nothing quite like the collaborative art of filmmaking.”
He also enjoyed the humor in the series.
“Oh the jokes! Not only reading them on the page for the first time, but also hearing them land in-person was so fun. Molly has such a fun sense of humor, plus each actor brought their own flavor to every moment of the show,” said Calam.
The obstacle most in the way has been the desire to do a high quality project with a small budget.
“Most people, myself included before starting this project, don’t realize how many expenses go into filmmaking. That’s a big reason we only filmed two episodes, instead of all seven. However, we have been fortunate to have had many of the items we needed and filming locations donated to us for this project. We also have many generous donors for this project,” said Wiebe Faber.
Calam added, “Communication can be difficult within the context of filmmaking, especially when working with a new team. Both Molly and I learned how to adjust and accommodate our visions to overcome the various challenge we faced. For someone producing a show for the first time, Molly did an excellent job.”
Since the duo plans to enter Buck’s into various film festivals there isn’t a set date yet for when the series will be available. This is due to the fact that some festivals have rules regarding when the projects can be released to the public. The team recommends following along on social media @bucksthewebseries Instagram or Facebook to see all updates.