More than three years into her relationship, Kai Soremekun had a knife before her, her boyfriend’s hand on the handle. The emotional abuse had gone too far, and she needed to get out.
“I had such a low self-worth at that point,” Soremekun told me. “When I finally got out, I spent a lot of time realizing how that happened.”
That process of soul-searching led to several different scripts, most of which were tough-girl narratives stemming more from her anger than from a fully matured artistic sensibility. They were “more a self-healing tool than something I should make,” she said.
Eventually she wrote a story of empowerment with the right tone and plot. The result is Chick, a new web series Soremekun self-financed premiering today on web series network Koldcast.tv and RowdyOrbit, a new site distributing web series by and about people of color.
In the series, Lisa leaves her loser boyfriend to pursue loftier dreams. She hears about a secret academy that trains superheroes, and the story progresses from there. While obviously a narrative of female empowerment, Soremekun does not want to scare off men; she wanted to story to have multiple layers.
More from my interview with creator Kai Soremekun after the jump.
The headline for this post is a little misleading, because even though the protagonist of Chick is a woman, played by Kai Soremekun herself, the series is not only aimed at women.
“I wanted to explore content that was geared toward everyone, that was a little more hip, a little more edgy,” said, Soremekun, who also wrote and directed the show. Still, Soremekun thinks too often the media limits the kinds of female characters available on screen. “I think I’m much more a blend of male and female stereotypical characteristics…I just think there’s more complexity to us that isn’t given to us out there.”
I liked that Soremekun, who made the show initially without the kind of capital investment a number of web series are getting, is still including an ARG component to her show, with vlogs and other narratives that will eventually converge.
“You really can create magic,” she said of interactive storytelling. “I love the idea of the audience being engaged.”
The series looks quite good; the lighting and costuming are great. The people who worked on the show with Soremekun volunteered their time and services; she self-funded the project.
The beginning sets up an ambiguous dilemma: why is Fantastica jumping off the building? Is she committing suicide or testing out her powers? Is this the beginning of the story or the end? The series takes a familiar fantasy trope — it recalls, for me, the first episode of NBC’s Heroes and the key scene in Sam Raimi’s Spiderman — and attempts to add more drama than simply “will she die or won’t she?”
I wish Kai and Chick all the best!