The first time I saw my good friend and fellow West Virginia expat Erica Lies perform comedy was as part of an improv troupe in New York City upon a visit in 2005 (I think). One skit called for the audience to recommend a place you'd go on Spring Break, and I shouted "coal mine," which the cast used for a performance that made me proud. Soon after I moved to Austin for grad school, and a year later Erica, a Morgantown native, followed for the same reason. Since then, my former roommate has been heavily involved in the improv community in Austin, as well as hard at work on a new web series over the past year.
The series "Freelancers" is about two freelancing friends living the post-college career dream of offering a creative life, flexible schedule, and never working for “the man.” But navigating life as a freelancer can be perilous at best for the most talented and tragically hilarious for the hopelessly hapless. Freelancers explores the latter as a work-place comedy about the self-employed. It follows ambitious would-be journalist Anna Feils (Erica Lies), a plucky twenty-something with Joan Didion aspirations but sub-TMZ skills. Her march toward success is alternately aided and upended by the self-aggrandizing Mark (Ted Meredith), a libertarian yoga instructor.
Written by Erica and Ted, the series is based on real-life experiences. "Freelancers" has produced six episodes, and has received positive words from local critics. "The web series totally gets it," said the Austinist, and Austin Eavesdropper wrote, "Something almost every twenty- (or thirty-) something can relate to." As a freelancer myself, I can only agree, and as awkward as it is to watch my friend on screen, the series is quite funny. All episodes are available on the series' YouTube channel, but you can check out the first three here.