Ever had one of those days where you keep facing rejection? Susie Yankou, creator of the comedy web series 101 ways to get rejected, might be able to empathize. The USC student-created comedy web series, which has received more than 17,000 hits on Youtube, sheds light on the misadventures of what it’s like being a less-popular kid in high school. In addition to Yankou, a screenwriting major, the series also stars USC theater students Taylor Dearden, David Mandell, Grady Northrop and Alyssa Layne Overbeck.
Yankou, who loves writing comedic scripts as well as starring in comedy roles, had written a one-act play, a comedy about five friends set in an apartment. She had also written and starred in a 15-page comedy short film recently, called Stuck. But 101 ways is her first big project that she hopes will help get her name out there.
Set at the fictional Moore Park High School, each episode of 101 ways features different ways that these high school misfits get rejected by cooler, more popular kids. Sam, a more exaggerated version of Yankou, expresses insecurities and gets herself into sometimes awkward, sometimes embarrassing situations. The same can also be said about Dearden’s character, McKenzie, and her slightly-off but charming sense of humor. Then there’s Mandell who plays Smith, a happy-go-lucky but sometimes absent-minded guy, and the “popular kids” played by while Northrop and Overbeck.
Inspired by the frustration and chaos involved in getting ready for prom, Yankou wrote a monologue about the hyped high school experience. When she was thinking about a project to work on over the summer before college, this monologue came to mind. At the time, Yankou wasn’t too serious about expanding on this idea, since both time and content proved to be two major obstacles. But a friend agreed to help direct this series and soon 101 ways was born.
In addition to creating the show, Yankou also handled a number of other responsibilities, which included securing locations, organizing a production team and casting actors.
“I never knew I was capable of playing so many roles. 101 ways has taught me a lot,” said Yankou. “I had to leave my house at 7 in the morning, drive to the location for about an hour, and after filming for 10 straight hours, I had to come home and finish writing the script for the next episode.”
Despite the long nights, Yankou took away many lessons and memories from the whole experience. “One time, there was a scene in which Grady [Northrop] was supposed to kiss me. So he had me against the locker, and we shared a very passionate kiss. Everyone was really happy with the take. But when he pulled away and said his line, his voice cracked, and all of us burst into laughter,” said Yankou. “Of course, we couldn’t use that shot.”
Even if you might not be able to identify with the characters of 101 ways, you definitely won’t be disappointed by the wit and humor in each episode.
New episodes of the web series come out every Thursday until the end of April, with a highly-anticipated prom episode marking the finale on April 25. You can watch these videos and more at: www.youtube.com/user/101waystogetrejected .