Everyone Is Doing Great Creators James Lafferty, Stephen Colletti Talk About Producing Independently, Look Forward to Season 3

James Lafferty and Stephen Colletti, former cast members of the popular TV series “One Tree Hill,” returned to the Monte-Carlo Television Festival this week to present the premiere of the second season of their independently produced comedy “Everyone Is Doing Great,” described by the duo as an “anti-Entourage.” According to Colletti, the show will have a third season, and will continue to operate independently for now.

They were accompanied at the festival by two of their co-stars, “The Royals” actor Alexandra Park (who is also Lafferty’s wife and served as an executive producer and writer on Season 2) and Cariba Heine.

Lafferty and Colletti held a masterclass during the festival’s Business Content section, sharing insights on how to navigate independent production in Hollywood, and the challenges facing independent television producers. Lafferty said: “I would say the biggest challenge is the overall uncertainty.”

Their fortunes began to change when Fifth Season (previously known as Endeavor Content) came on board to handle the U.S. and international sales for their show. Colletti emphasized the pivotal role of a sales agent, stating: “They really changed the game for us.” He also praised their ability to effectively market the show, leading to its acquisition by Hulu for the U.S., and Paramount Plus for release in the Nordics and Latin America.

After distribution, the next crucial step is ensuring a dedicated cast. Lafferty explained: “Making sure that your cast is invested and engaged on social media can make a huge difference between nobody knowing about your show and people genuinely caring about it.” Having fan-bases like those from “One Tree Hill” and “The Royals” can greatly contribute to the success of crowdfunding campaigns aimed at allowing the show to have more than just a pilot. Lafferty recalled their crowdfunding campaign in 2018, which raised funds to complete an entire season, stating: “The outpouring of support made us feel incredibly grateful. The fact that it worked out was a dream come true. We owe it all to the fans.”

Now, they are excited about the second season, as it showcases the unique aspects of their show and their growing confidence in their craft.

Speaking at the festival, Park, who officially joined the writing team for Season 2, described their writing process, which primarily consists of creating outlines instead of complete scripts, leaving the actors with creative freedom to improvise dialogue, a way of writing which is much appreciated by their celebrity guest stars.

Park expressed her desire to bring a female perspective to the show as a writer, promising some intense episodes centered around the characters of Andrea and Izzie. The dynamics between the male and female characters undergo significant changes in the second season.

Heine elaborated, stating, “Season one depicted the boys falling apart while the girls appeared aspirational, having everything together. In season two, we flipped the script, and the girls go through some heavy stuff, leading to absurd and hilarious situations.”

The increase in the episode count to 16 in Season 2 not only provides more content for the market but also enhances sales potential internationally.

Regarding the WGA strike, they are all concerned and supportive, even though their production is not affiliated with the WGA but just with SAG for now. They have friends in the guilds and seek advice from them on how to navigate this situation, which poses unique challenges for independent producers.

Lafferty said: “What’s going on right now really matters, of course. You think about it a lot when you have something going out to market, when there’s a strike going on. But at the end of the day, the show is done and dusted. We’ve shot it, we’re editing it. We obviously have the responsibility to ourselves and our investors to get it out there. At the same time, we have the responsibility to stand by our guilds.”

Lafferty added: “The goal is to be in the WGA someday. We would love to get a commission. We would love to get a studio behind the show so that we can be signatories to all of these great guilds and also provide the people that are behind the camera on our show with access to those guilds.”

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