Ari Frenkel Talks Creating the Web Series 'Sorry, Ari'
image by Courtney Lindberg
‘Sorry Ari’ has been selected as One of the Best Web Series by IndieWire and Won Breakout Series at GlowFest. The 14 episode comedy web series follows Ari, a positive guy with the worst luck in the world, in situations involving topics like dating, debates, and Hamilton the musical. We spoke to creator, writer, and actor Ari Frenkel about what inspired the project and working in L.A.
Tell me about your work, have you been acting and writing long?
I am a Los Angeles-based Actor, Writer, and Producer. I have been acting since I was 10 years old and have been writing and producing since college. As an actor I've worked professionally on several TV shows, in independent films, national commercials, and theatres around the country. I started getting into writing as a means to create more opportunities for myself, but since then have gone on to love it as well and write multiple films, TV pilots, and my digital series "Sorry, Ari," which I've written 13 of the 14 episodes.
Was there a specific aha moment where you felt like it was time to make a web series?
I wouldn't say there was a definitive moment as I've been making web content for years, but I knew that I wanted my show "Sorry, Ari" to be on Television (and still do). So I made the first 4 episodes as a sample of the work and people responded so well to it and encouraged me to make more. Now there's 14 :) We even held our first "Sorry, Ari" LIVE show, where we screened a few episodes, had some great comedians, live music and even a live episode. It went so well that I'm now planning on doing it annually.
The cool thing about a web series that nobody tells you is that it becomes an incubator. If you stick with something, especially for years, you really can see over time how people respond to different episodes and what works with your voice, helping you develop your authentic POV, whichI think is what people are really after. What the show has become is never how I expected when I started it, so I think there's really great value in digital content that people dismiss: you're allowed to fuck up multiple times as long as you keep going until you get it right.
Tell me about the team/the people you work with.
I work with a ton of amazing artists on the show - I try to use different directors so that the episodes can feel unique, yet complement each other (like a traditional Television show). Every single one of them has done an awesome job. For most of the show, I've used the same DP (Nate Cornett) and Sound (Darren Augustus) who are both excellent, hard-working guys who I've never heard complain once. Our sets are very collaborative and I use a lot of my super talented close friends in various roles. One of the biggest advantages of being an actor is studying (and also teaching) at Los Angeles acting studios where I have access to amazing actors who are hungry to do good work. My show is only as good as all of the wonderful people who contribute their talents.
How much of the series is inspired by real life?
The show is heavily inspired by real-life - what made me start writing it in the first place was having a huge collection of stories from terrible dates that were too funny to not theatricalize. Now that the show has evolved beyond dating, I am definitely trying to pull from more personal experiences because I think in the end that's really the main thing that will make show both different and relatable.
image by Courtney Lindberg
Any interesting production stories?
Honestly, nothing crazy has happened on set :) Everyone always brings their A game and we have the best time together. It's really a joy to make art with your friends.
What are you currently reading/watching/listening to?
I'm currently reading: "BORN A CRIME" by Trevor Noah.
Watching: "Game of Thrones" (duh), "Veep," and "Barry."
Listening to: Imaginary Future covers, Paul Simon (any day!) and I still somehow have not gotten sick of the "Hamilton" soundtrack.
What's your favorite thing about L.A.?
My favorite thing about LA is that it's a community of people who really want to make great art in any capacity. I have found such an amazing network of artists that support each other and lift each other up. It's a place where you can see how easy it is to get bitter or jaded since it's saturated with so many people trying to do the same things, but at the end of the day, the people who really want it for the right reasons and who approach the work with kindness and collaboration are also there in spades. And the weather is the best and that makes your standard of living infinitely better.
What's next for you?
I have a bunch of fun projects I'm working on right now. Going to continue to shoot "Sorry, Ari" episodes, which you can watch at SorryAri.com. Acting wise, I'll be on an episode of a new Apple show called "Truth be Told" with Lizzy Caplan whenever their platform launches (September I think?) and I'm the lead of a comedy feature film called "Misfits" that's supposed to release this year. I have my own comedy feature film that I wrote to star in, that I'm currently trying to get made, and within the next month I'll be doing a live reading of another comedy feature film I co-wrote about Benjamin Franklin & George Washington. It's insane, if you're in LA, you should definitely come check that out. And as always, I'll keep churning out short comedy sketches on my social media for fun, so keep an eye out!
Find Ari at AriFrenkel.com