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article imageMeet Jeremy Dozier: Actor and writer of 'Poor Us' digital series Special

By Markos Papadatos     Jul 10, 2020 in Entertainment
Jeremy Dozier chatted with Digital Journal's Markos Papadatos about writing and starring in the digital comedy series "Poor Us," and being a filmmaker in the digital age.
On his inspiration to write Poor Us, he said, "Well, the answer is really two-fold. On the one hand, the concept was born out of the character of Tanner. I wrote Poor Us because Hollywood wasn’t really writing for my character type. Every part I auditioned for either centered around weight in some way or was Security Guard No. 4. I can’t tell you how many parts I’ve auditioned for where the character is either stuck on a roller coaster because he’s too fat, or is in some type of eating contest, or is merely there to be the butt of one of the main character’s fat jokes. I wanted more, so I set out to get it by creating my own web series. And if I’m going to write and produce my own series I might as well cast myself as my dream part - a rich, slutty bitch. Enter Tanner."
"The series was also inspired by my time living in Los Angeles," he said. "LA is a weird place where you have two worlds that really coincide with one another - the world of the super-rich and then the world of the normal 'poor' folk. Having grown up middle class, coming into contact with the world of the wealthy, it really struck me how differently rich people view the world. They live by a different set of rules and have a very different mindset which governs their lives and their actions. Realizing this made me wonder, what would happen if you popped their protective bubble? How would they function in the real world? What would that look like? Poor Us is an extreme, satirical take on that concept."
When asked about his favorite part of the Poor Us experience, he said, "This sounds super cheesy but I truly loved every part of the experience. This was the first project that I ever produced and made. I spent years writing the scripts; honing the characters, punching up the comedy, learning from my past failures. So when we finally moved into production it was surreal seeing it all come to life."
"In retrospect, I wrote the scripts not realizing the herculean effort it would take to be able to pull them off. There were so many times I didn’t know how I was going to do something, whether it was building a life-size cake from scratch, or booking the wide variety of locations I had written into the scripts. At the end of each weekend, I would come home, watch the footage, and realize all the sleepless nights were worth it. And there’s no better feeling than seeing your hard work pay off," he elaborated.
"I also have to say, the cast and crew were amazing," he exclaimed. "And getting to see them shine, on screen, on set, off set, was also super rewarding. I’m unbelievably proud of the final product we turned out and I can’t thank them enough for putting their trust in me and for joining me on this amazing journey."
Poor Us was nominated for multiple 2020 Indie Series Awards, and it took home wins in two ISA categories. "It felt right. No, just kidding haha. It felt amazing and validating. The tough part about creating your own material is you lose sight of its value the deeper you get into the process. I knew that I liked the finished product and I thought it was funny, but I really had no grasp on what other people would think. So for the series to receive such positive feedback, and to have people react to it in such a joyous way, was amazing," he said.
"As filmmakers, you pour your heart and soul into your projects. So when the nominations came out, and I saw my little baby got eight Indie Series Award nominations, I was beside myself. And then to win two, including 'Best Ensemble'… It was just icing on the cake," he exclaimed.
Regarding his plans for the future, he responded, "Unfortunately, COVID put all our plans on hold for now. Once we get a vaccine and it’s safe, I’m hoping we get the opportunity to do a second season. I think it’ll all depend on where everyone is after this crazy year. I loved making the first season of Poor Us. I had the most amazing team and would love to get the band back together and do it all over again. We’ll see, fingers crossed."
"I am also currently writing some other projects, including a pilot that I’m super excited about. I just started working on the third draft of that and am eager to see where it goes. Again, fingers crossed," he added.
On being an actor and filmmaker in the digital age, he said, "I feel incredibly lucky to be an actor and filmmaker in the digital age. There have never been more opportunities. We’re in a golden age of storytelling - both on television and on the web. I watch some of these web series and I’m so impressed with the talent out there. Two decades ago many of these creators wouldn’t have had the opportunity to express themselves and create the fantastic art they’re creating."
"Thanks to the advent of the Internet and reasonably priced equipment, you really don’t have an excuse anymore," he admitted. Do you have an idea? Write it, shoot it, release it. You never know what may happen. I think indie episodic television is the new pilot in a lot of ways. I think it’s a great way to show what you can do and to showcase your voice and your talent."
"I also think it’s a great way to bypass the gatekeepers of Hollywood and play the roles you want to play and make the content you’re interested in creating. You’re not beholden to anyone else. If you have a passion to create something you can, and that’s amazing," he said.
For young and aspiring actors and comedians, he said, "I would say, first and foremost, create your own projects. No one’s going to believe in you more than yourself. And so much of this industry is doing everything but acting - networking, auditions, classes, survival jobs. It’s easy to lose sight of your dreams and to forget why you wanted to pursue a career in entertainment in the first place. So if Hollywood isn’t giving you the opportunities you want, create your own opportunities."
"I would also say, surround yourself with good people, creative people," he said. "They say 'you’re the product of your five best friends.' So take account of the people around you. Are they driven? Are they supportive? Are they helping you down your path or are they yanking you back in the other direction? If you don’t like what you see, change your friend group."
Dozier continued, "Another lesson I’ve learned over the years is a good script is key. The quality of the script will determine the quality of the project. A good script can possibly end up as a bad product, but a bad script will never end up as a good product. Do not rush this part of the process. Write, rewrite, then rewrite again."
"Finally, enjoy the process," he enthused. "As a wise woman once said, it’s all about the climb. They say it takes ten years to break into the industry. Believe them. It’s a long journey, but if you’re creating your own projects, surrounding yourself with positive people, enjoying every minute you get in front of a camera, and continuously learning and growing throughout the process it’s all worth it. At one point in time you would have given anything to be exactly where you are right now, so soak it up."
Dozier defined the word success as contentment in life. "Success to me means happiness. I think everybody has their own definition of success. For some, it's having a family, for some it’s having a certain amount of wealth, for others it’s reaching a certain level in their career and for others, it’s living a sober life. What all these things have in common is happiness," he explained.
"Personally, I would say my biggest success is living an authentic life," he said. "Coming out was difficult for me; there was a lot of fear and shame. So being on the other side of that and feeling comfortable and confident in my own skin is a huge success for me. Doing so has allowed me to spread my wings and really soar. I’m very thankful to live in a time when that is possible and very thankful to have the love and support of my close friends and family. It truly has been life-changing."
"Poor Us is an award-winning dark comedy satire about two spoiled twins who are cut off by their filthy rich father and are forced to rebuild their lives in hell; or as it’s better known: Van Nuys," he concluded. "It’s funny, it’s edgy, it’s pop-culture-obsessed, it’s on YouTube, so check it out. I’ve heard it described as Broad City meets Schitt’s Creek, but gayer, so if you like those shows then you’ll love this web series. Also, you can find us on Twitter and Instagram @PoorUsWebSeries. Hope you enjoy it!"
Read More: Poor Us earned a favorable review from Digital Journal, which was hailed as a "hysterical digital comedy series on YouTube."
 Poor Us  digital comedy series
'Poor Us' digital comedy series
Photo Courtesy of 'Poor Us'
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