If you don’t see an obvious window of opportunity to break into entertainment, make one for yourselves. This was the ethos of #millennials co-creators and co-stars Casey Geraghty and Julia Valentine Larson, who made five short episodes of the series on a lark before AT&T Audience Network picked up their short-form project.
“We were making [shorts] on our own, just for fun, to make our friends laugh,” Geraghty recalls. “We had no intention of making anything more than the first episode, and then our friends encouraged us to make more.”
Basing their characters loosely on themselves and their peers—observing the often-odd, sometimes-frustrating behavior of millenials—Geraghty and Larson found there was a lot to say on behalf of their generation. “We know that we can be the worst sometimes, as the generation of millennials, and being able to accept that and laugh at yourself, I think is what we’re really trying to show,” Larson says. “Not that being obsessed with your phone is exclusive to millennials, anymore. But I think it’s something that we can make fun of and hopefully everybody can laugh at.”
With encouragement from their friends, they continued to pursue the project, not realizing how quickly it would jump from the web to TV screens. “We felt like we should keep going and keep making stuff, and keep pushing ourselves to write more, and it sort of happened organically,” Larson explains.
There is a further wrinkle to the story—at the time he was developing the series, Geraghty was also working for the network on the East Coast, in the arena of original content. “When I was on the East Coast, I was hosting a show that was on Audience, and when I transferred out here [to Los Angeles], I still worked for Audience Network doing original content,” he explains. “We didn’t even pitch this show to Audience. One of the editors that I work with showed it to the head of the network, Chris Long, and he loved it, and wanted to start airing them as interstitial things.” In order words, a classic story of luck meets preparation.
The series would expand in its third season from a series of three-minute clips to longer, ten-minute episodes, with higher production values and a broader world displayed on screen. For Geraghty and Larson, the adjustment to the longer end of the short-form spectrum came with its challenges. “It was super challenging. A whole season, for us, was 30 minutes, and now to make the jump to a season being 100 minutes—essentially like a short feature—I was nervous,” Geraghty admits. “I didn’t know if we could do it, but we work really well together. Our whole cast and crew are all our friends, and it felt like we were doing something fun.”
With the fourth season of #millennials soon to come, the creators both feel that they have refined their process, in this trial by fire, with the expectation of their best-ever episodes ahead. “I think this new season is going to be our best work yet, for sure,” Larson says. “We’re very proud of what we did last season, with the amount of time. We really made it happen, and it maintained a voice, which is also really cool to me.”
Speaking as series creators who are themselves millennials, Geraghty and Larson are hopeful for the future of entertainment, and short-form content in particular, as an endless amount of avenues materialize, with a hunger for strong voices and diverse content. “I think [short-form content]’s the most digestible way to get points across, nowadays—with quick memes and gifs and quick videos and Vines,” Larson explains. “Everything’s so quick, and kids, millennials, everyone wants to digest a concept really quickly.”
Much like Iliza Shlesinger with her Netflix special Confirmed Kills, Geraghty and Larson have an awareness of social media in both a tongue-in-cheek and a more serious sense, making fun of millennials’ obsession with technology in their show, while incorporating their Twitter handles and those of their crew into the series’ credit sequences. “I think it’s a testament to how scrappy and hard-working we’ve had to be,” Larson says. “We’re really excited to have our friends [on crew], and give them a shout out.”
“It is very grassroots,” she says of #millennials. “We have worked really hard to build it to be what it is.”