Lights, camera, action: Web series Synesthesia

Harsh Jain

“Synesthesia” is an upcoming web-series created and directed by senior Mayer Adelberg and will premier on May 6. “Synesthesia” delves into the life of teenagers in the Bay Area and their interest in the arts; inspired by one of Adelberg’s passions of integrating the arts into the dominating science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) curriculum of the Bay Area, this show is a witty, realistic depiction of what challenges a teenager pursuing art in the Bay Area would face. More than that, “Synesthesia” is a story about the fluctuation of experiences in a teenager’s life.

Adelberg came up with the idea for this web-series in Aug. 2016, mainly inspired by the song “Synesthesia” by Andrew McMahon.

“I was so motivated by the lyrics and song in general that it got me interested in writing the script for the series,” said Adelberg. “I wanted to incorporate the idea of the song, but I also wanted to incorporate ideas that I’ve been wanting to write about for a long time, about high school artists, and a show on high school in general.”

Adelberg began writing a script and pitched the idea to one of his friends from the film department at De Anza College, which he attended for one year as a participant of the Middle College program. The series revolves around a high school artist, Zeke Griffiths, and his experiences and struggles to create the best senior prom the school has ever seen, after being spitefully chosen as the head of the senior prom committee by his arch-nemesis, Rick Nespo, who also happens to be the senior class president. After Adelberg decided to turn his idea into a full-scale production, he invited other Lynbrook students to help him with his project.

Junior Diana Magnusson was approached by Adelberg in Sept. 2016 for help and criticism on the pilot episode. They stayed in contact through the drafting and brainstorming process, and when the project finally became a reality, she was brought on as a casting director and eventually became second Assistant Director as well as a writer. As production continued Magnusson began to add more responsibilities. Magnusson enjoyed her experience working on the project and is hopeful that students will love it.

“It’s great to work with a wonderful group of people to try to make this web series the very best it can be and who are extremely passionate about the work that they do,” said Magnusson.

Senior Natalie Fine, who joined in January, is another integral part of the production as the Script Supervisor. Being part of the show’s production has been impactful.

“Since I joined the team, I’ve started to perceive film differently,” said Fine. “My favorite [part] has probably been getting to learn about what goes into making films or TV shows. I just think about the work for making the shot and feel extremely proud of the work that we have produced. ”

Other students involved in the project include senior Reece Breuckman, who plays the role of Kiersten Sullivan in the show; senior Thibaut Gontier, the first Assistant Director and Production Supervisor; sophomore Adam Katz, who plays the part of Jason Lewis; senior Joshua Soong, the Unit Publicist; sophomore Patricia Wei, the Key Production Assistant; senior Advaith Narayan and sophomore Greg Gontier, who serve as Production Assistants; junior Nicolas Rios, the first Assistant Camera; and senior Alyssa Echanove, the makeup artist.

Shivateja Vemireddy
Director of Photography Matthew Marcum prepares to film a scene.

Throughout the process of creating “Synesthesia,” Adelberg faced many struggles and challenges, from financing issues to roadblocks in creativity. In January, Adelberg created a Kickstarter campaign in hopes of funding the project, and was able to garner $5400.

“In the beginning there were times when we had trouble carving out the script we envisioned,” said Adelberg. “Later on we had some challenges with finances, but luckily with generous sponsors we were able to get past that.”

The pilot episode is set to release on Saturday, May 6, and there will also be a premiere of the series in San Francisco on May 5. The first season will include seven total episodes, with one episode released every subsequent Friday night on the series’ website (synesthesiaseries.com), Youtube, Vimeo and IMDB. The series has been rated TV-14 for strong language, sexual situations, teen drinking and drug use. “Synesthesia” takes a look into the typical challenges facing high schoolers in today’s day and age, and Adelberg and the rest of the production crew hope that those who watch the series will be able to relate and sympathize with the characters, while enjoying the plot of the series.

Photo courtesy of Mayer Adelberg