Q&A with Jerod Couch, creator of indie TV Series #WASHED
In late January, Dallas Art Beat attended a screening of the Season 2 preview of the Dallas-based television series, #WASHED. Created and Directed by two-time Regional Emmy Award Winner Jerod Couch, the series follows character Mark Fields through his quarter-life crisis, and through an ensemble cast examines the different struggles of various 30-somethings. Season 1 of #WASHED is available on Amazon Prime. Both seasons of the series boast a stellar local cast including Dennis Raveneau, Jaquai Wade Pearson, Nadirah Shakir, Byron Hardy, and Corey Pratt.
Season 2 is still in production. At the screening, we previewed the first 3 episodes of the new season. The show is funny and engaging with relatable themes – especially if you’re a 30-something Dallasite trying to “live your best life”. I won’t spoil it, but the series also delves into the darker aspect of the lengths we go to to accomplish our dreams, however misguided our choices might be. With the new season came a new Director of Photography, Jamarrio Washington, and through his contribution to the project, you’ll recognize a lot of the locations, and the exquisite shots of the Dallas skyline will make you proud to live here.
Dallas Art Beat got the opportunity to ask Couch a few questions about the series, including the inspiration behind the story, the meaning of the title, and some of Couch’s personal takeaways from the experience of creating an independent television series.
What was your inspiration to create #WASHED?
I was at a point in my life where I was in a major transition. After working in TV for 7 years, I had taken a job with a media company as a strategist. I had just gotten an MBA from UT-Austin, so I was looking to utilize that newly minted grad degree. A year into that job, my position was eliminated. I went from six figures to the unemployment line. It was humbling. At the same time, I was entering my thirties and looking to get back to my passion of Directing/Producing/Writing and just overall creating video content. The initial idea was to tell a story of a male in a quarter-life crisis and straddling two different worlds – corporate America and his childhood past in the hood. Season 2 evolves into an ensemble where we explore the #WASHED life through the eyes and experiences of various 30-somethings. I had done commercials and documentaries at ESPN but this would be my foray into long-form scripted. I loved the challenge of building a show from scratch.
What is the significance of the title?
#WASHED is short for washed-up. I see it as young enough to achieve your dreams but too old to just be a dreamer - the choice is yours. It’s a very popular term on social media. Recently Lebron has started to call himself the #WASHED King.
What did you learn filming the first season, and did it change how you approached the filming of Season 2?
[I really learned] how to be a leader and how to maneuver through the obstacles -- which are plentiful in indie film! Specifically, as a leader, you take all the bullets and keep moving. My job is to serve the product and that means making tough decisions. I won’t let anything or anyone stand in the way of our dreams – including myself. If you couldn’t level up in Season 2, you got left behind. We added a bunch of talented crew members in Season 2. I had to give them the resources and guidance but then get out of the way and let them be great.
What has been the most surprising part of filming this series and how did it impact the process?
It’s humbling and heartwarming to see so many talent filmmakers believe in my vision and blueprint. To see them pour their energy and life experiences into these words on a script is amazing. We are all filmmakers from the Production Assistants to the Actors and the Executive Producers so to see all of us come together to produce a network level show makes me so proud. We are all dependent on one another. If one element fails, we all fail. Our crew grew from 30 people to 150+ on cast & crew in Season 2. We shot for 5 months almost every weekend for a total of 40 days each over 15 hours. Their work-ethic and dedication are unparalleled in indie film making. We deliver big budget quality with indie hustle.
*Article updated February 11, 2020 at 12:00 pm to correct the spelling of the series creator, Jerod Couch.