Randi Garza as Gerty, photo by Jon Dean, used by permission
Randi Garza as Gerty, photo by Jon Dean, used by permission
Randi Garza as Gerty, photo by Jon Dean, used by permission

While the millennial generation gets a bad rap for being lazy or bratty, Atlanta has a strong core of young theater professionals who are working against the stereotypes. Ashley Prince and Randi Garza are two local actors who met while performing in The Rocky Horror Show at Actor's Express about two years ago, and they are now working together to create a new web series called Gerty and Friends. Garza and Prince star in the series, as Gerty Byrd and her sister Willie, and the show will take a comedic look at the impact of reality television on our personal relationships.

The Gerty character is the host of a local TV news segment in Texas, but she loses her gig after being scandalously caught smoking on air. When her disgrace becomes a viral hit on YouTube, a reality TV show producer starts salivating over the chance to make Gerty a star. The show will focus on the relationship between the fame-hungry Gerty and her publicity-averse older sister, Willie as they deal with this new adventure. Garza and Prince hope to explore the comic side of reality television while also examining the effect that this type of fame has on the "real" people who star in the shows.

Gerty and Friends is being produced using a purely local team behind and in front of the camera, and there is an Indiegogo fundraising campaign set up to help with the project. In the first three days, the campaign had raised over $2,500 of the $15,000 goal. Those interested in contributing can do so online. There are rewards offered to funders, from Facebook shoutouts to the $5 sponsors all the way up to a personal hang with Prince and Garza for those who donate $1,000 and reach the "Gerty's Best Friend" status. It's a great way to support local artists, and particularly local female actors, writers, and producers. Unlike the traditional Kickstarter fundraising model, this Indiegogo option allows the artists to keep all funds raised even if they do not reach the set goal. Interested parties can check out Gerty's Indiegogo page for a full disclosure of where the funds will be allocated within the project. The series will begin production in May, 2016.