By Dakota Antelman, Contributing Writer
Westborough – Drinking gingersnap juice in a trailer for their upcoming web series “Detox,” Westborough natives and lifelong friends Betsy Lippitt and Annie Howard describe the trend of using small fixes like juice cleanses to solve larger life issues.
“We want to laugh at it. We think it’s funny.” Lippitt said.
They may laugh in their trailer but Lippitt and Howard have also spent more than a year working to build their self-described dark comedy series from scratch, growing it from an idea in late 2015, to a script, to plans to film the show this summer.
The series focuses on three women struggling with an array of personal hardships. One deals with drug addiction; another wants to have a child, but can’t bring one to term; the third struggles to find strong and positive relationships with love interests and her family. Instead of solving these problems at their respective cores, the characters turn to juice cleanses.
“This idea was born out of the idea that there is this cultural thing going on right now, especially among young women, where we want to really simplify and purify and have everything be very simple and clean and easy,” said Lippitt.
Since Lippitt first came up with the idea, the two have described their work as a “passion project,” juggling script writing and pre-production work with full-time jobs in Los Angeles Calif. They added that their long friendship has helped them over the past year.
“Having our friendship and our collaboration be really based out of where we grew up has been really amazing,” Lippitt said. “It has made the process of working together very easy because we just can relate to one another, having come from the same place.”
The two met at a Bible study group before they started second grade in Westborough. They remained friends through middle school and high school and continued to stay close as adults when they both attended colleges in New York City.
Lippitt then got her professional start working as an assistant to New York fashion designer Nanette Lepore while in still college. While still working in the fashion industry, she expanded her horizons to theater. Lippitt acted for the Bat Company in Tribeca before moving to L.A. roughly three-and-a-half years ago.
Howard, meanwhile, graduated from Fordham University and held jobs in film production, online video and as a magazine fashion writer before also moving to L.A. shortly after Lippitt.
Together again in L.A., the two are hoping for success with their new project. Upon writing scripts for “Detox,” they launched an Indiegogo campaign with the goal of raising $25,000 to allow them to film the first three 10-minute episodes. While they fell just short, raising just over $21,000, they decided to proceed, cutting costs to still film their show.
“The general refrain that we’ve been hearing from people who have read the script has been ‘You have to make this. Just make it,’” said Lippitt. “[They tell us] we shouldn’t wait around for someone to like the idea and run with it. [They say] we should make it ourselves.”
Lippitt and Howard have already assembled a crew, chosen actors, and have scheduled days to film. Once they do enter the production stage of their project in June, the two plan to assess their options for how to distribute their show. They hope to sell the episodes to an online streaming service, but said they will publish on platforms like Vimeo or YouTube if they cannot find interested buyers.
“We are really proud of this project and we think that it’s definitely something that people are going to want to see and relate to,” said Lippitt. “Anybody who has read the script has related to it, especially those in our generation and demographic.”
Their work on “Detox” hardly complete, Lippitt and Howard relish their friendship and celebrate the childhood back in Massachusetts during which it started. That, they said, helps them thrive in projects like their web series.
“When you’re a child, you’re not constricted by any idea of how you should be,” said Howard. “You just are the way you are when you’re 8 years old. Because we came from that friendship founded in play, that’s still how our friendship is and it’s really liberating as an artist to have that creative relationship with someone.”
While their Indiegogo campaign has ended, Howard and Lippitt are still accepting donations to help produce their series. For more information, contact [email protected].